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France see + do

Planning a trip to France? Whether you're a gourmand or a history buff, a sun seeker or a shopper, everything in this country seems to derive from or end up in Paris. It's the starting point for most trips, and with its world-class museums, ever-renewing neighborhoods, and cavalcade of classic and new restaurants, it'd be easy to spend your whole trip there. However, the rest of France provides an equally staggering embarrassment of riches. Hop a train south to Provence where Roman ruins sit among medieval villages and pine-covered mountains, and the Côte d'Azur, where celebs and socialites pack sunny beaches and swanky nightclubs.

Art lovers will want to reserve significant time for classics like the Louvre, Musée Rodin, and Musée d'Orsay in Paris, and then head to the many small Impressionist museums in Provence and along the coast. For architectural grandeur, explore the Gothic cathedrals in Reims, the Champagne region, and Normandy, as well as Paris's Notre-Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, and Saint-Eustache. Or head to the Loire Valley to tour (or spend the night in) the region's grand châteaux. And if you'd rather a feast for your stomach than your eyes, head to Lyon, the center of France's butter-and-cream culinary culture, or to Bordeaux, a revitalized city at the center of one of the world's most prestigious wine-growing regions. Any short visit will tend to excess, mais c'est la vie.

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Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Provence

Wine pilgrims have been heading here ever since Avignon-based Pope John XXII, an early oenophile, encouraged the locals to produce a wine that would compete...more

see the Provence guide
Editors' Pick
Château Royal de Blois, Blois

All six kings of the 16th century spent time at Blois. In the early 17th century, the castle was given to Louis XIII's brother to keep him away from Paris....more

see the Loire Valley guide
Editors' Pick
Chaumont-sur-Loire International Garden Festival, Chaumont-sur-Loire

The Chaumont Garden Festival stands out from other garden festivals, in that it is as much for design buffs as garden ones. Each year, more than 25...more

see the Loire Valley guide
Editors' Pick
Cinema, Paris

Even if you speak no French, Paris is the world's best city for going to the movies. On any given night, hundreds of films, both new and classic, are...more

see the Paris guide
Editors' Pick
City View, Bordeaux

For a great overview, climb the 229 dizzying, twisting steps of the Tour Pey-Berland by the cathedral. You'll survey the entire city, including the...more

see the Bordeaux guide
Editors' Pick
Cluny, Burgundy

This animated town of 5,000 inhabitants about 15 miles northwest of Mâcon was long home to the biggest, most powerful monastic order in Europe: Cluny...more

see the Burgundy guide
Editors' Pick
Collection Lambert, Avignon

Aficionados of contemporary art should make time for the Collection Lambert, which is housed in the 18th-century Hôtel de Caumont. The museum was opened...more

see the Avignon guide
Editors' Pick
Corniche Drives

The sweeping vistas, pink sunsets, and medieval towns along the Grande Corniche were romanticized in Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief. They are all still there and...more

see the Côte d'Azur guide
Editors' Pick
Cross-country in Megève, Megève

Megève is a popular destination for cross-country skiers, with four circuits totaling 43 miles, including a long, scenic track from the Mont d'Arbois...more

see the Megève guide
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Dijon, Burgundy

The many attractions of Dijon, Burgundy's capital city, center on the Ducal Palace and the Place de la Libération that fronts it. Toss a coin from there...more

see the Burgundy guide
Editors' Pick
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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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