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see + do

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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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Angers, Angers, Loire Valley

The cradle of the Plantagenet kings and former capital of the counts of Anjou is perhaps the most agreeable of the main Loire cities. It is dominated by its...more

see the Loire Valley guide
Editors' Pick
Amboise, Amboise

Amboise is, above all, a spectacular site. The immense château royal looms above the river right in the center of town, with its tiny Gothic chapel...more

see the Loire Valley guide
Editors' Pick
Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix

The world's highest cable car soars 12,600 feet up the Aiguille ("Needle") du Midi, providing staggering views of Mont Blanc—at 15,780 feet, Western...more

see the Chamonix guide
Editors' Pick
Aigues-Mortes, Aigues-Mortes, Provence

Perfectly preserved medieval walls and turrets surround France's oldest port, at the southern end of the Camargue marsh. The town dates to Roman times, but its...more

see the Provence guide
Editors' Pick
Abbaye Saint-Victor, Marseille

On the south side of the port lies the Basilique St. Victor, a Romanesque basilica constructed in the fifth century by St. Cassien, and then destroyed by the...more

see the Marseille guide
Editors' Pick
Abbaye de Fontevraud

This important Romanesque abbey, founded in 1101 under the patronage of the Plantagenets, was ruled by a series of royal abbesses. After an interlude as a...more

see the Loire Valley guide
Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Abbaye de Fontenay, Montbard, Burgundy

Founded in 1118 by Saint Bernard and finished in 1147, Fontenay Abbey is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture and one of the oldest Cistercian monasteries...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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