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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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Médoc Wine Region, Médoc

Rent a car and head north of the city into the Médoc, home of Château Latour Martillac (Chemin de La Tour; 33-5-57-97-71-11;...more

see the Bordeaux guide
Editors' Pick
Menton

Menton is at the end of the French Riviera in the last dazzling cove before the Italian border. Long known as a winter spot for English aristocrats, Menton's...more

see the Côte d'Azur guide
Editors' Pick
Mer de Glace, Chamonix

The massive, desolate glacier known as Mer de Glace is 4.3 miles long and moves 295 feet per year. In summer, a number of gorgeous walks start here; in winter,...more

see the Chamonix guide
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Montmartre, Paris

The bulbous white-stone domes of Sacré-Coeur (built from 1875 to 1919) are Montmartre's dreamy visual emblem, but its real appeal is far earthier. Lacking...more

see the Paris guide
Editors' Pick
Mougins

Picasso met his maker in this gorgeous hillside village-perché about 15 minutes from Cannes. Amazingly, the town contains precious little Picasso-related...more

see the Côte d'Azur guide
Editors' Pick
Musée Angladon, Avignon

The former home of the heir of Parisian couturier and collector Jacques Doucet (1853-1929) exhibits half a dozen Picassos as well as paintings by Degas, Derain,...more

see the Avignon guide
Editors' Pick
Musée Calvet, Avignon

The Musée Calvet is worth visiting for the structure alone, an elegant 18th-century mansion built around two courtyards. It also has a fine collection of...more

see the Avignon guide
Editors' Pick
Musée Carnavalet, Paris

Ignore the Mona Lisa's prima donna claim on the world's imagination. The first museum you should go to in Paris is this superb 140-room collection dedicated to...more

see the Paris guide
Editors' Pick
Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Since opening in 1986, the Musée d'Orsay has become one of the most successful and beloved museums in the world. The grandiose limestone edifice was...more

see the Paris guide
Editors' Pick
Musée de L'Annonciade, St. Tropez

A superb collection of paintings by artists who brought St. Tropez its initial renown, particularly pointillist Paul Signac, whose boldly pixilated paintings...more

see the St. Tropez 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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