4 Places That I “Must Visit” In France For My Families Next Dream Vacation
I have been thinking of vacations that I would love to add to my family’s “dream vacation” list and France is definitely one of my top choices. There is such amazing culture, architecture, style, beauty and history in France that I would love to see first hand and to personally experience with my family and it would honestly be a “dream vacation” indeed. This would be a trip of a lifetime as there will be lots of saving and research involved to ensure we make the most of this vacation by hitting my 4 favorite French hotspots and indulging a bit….. all while trying to stick to a family budget. I already have an amazing source of information that will provide the best options for luxury France vacations…. and they have options available in all of my favorite French destinations and at various price points. You can even do a group family vacation as they have large villas available for larger groups as well. Even if I only visited one of these gorgeous French locations…. I would have amazing memories for a lifetime.
Here are my top four locations that I would love to visit with my family.
A small city with a refined air, Aix-en-Provence has a medieval core of honey-stone mansions and moss-covered fountains. Stroll from cafe to cafe, dip into museums and learn about its rich artistic and intellectual heritage.
This is an amazing place to visit and probably my favorite. Stately and refined, Aix-en-Provence started life as a Roman colony set around natural hot springs and grew into the medieval capital of Provence. Noblemen, lawyers, bankers and their protégées flocked here, giving the city an intellectual air that it still retains to this day. Along with a barrage of handsome mansions and an outstanding opera festival, Aix has strong links to some of France’s most renowned artists and writers. I of course will love trying all of the new foods as the little eateries & cafes look divine.
A hub of culture, cuisine and art for centuries, Paris combines world-class museums and monuments with walkable districts and exceptional food. Discover the timeless treasures of the Louvre, marvel at the view from the Eiffel Tower and explore the cobbled streets of Montmartre.
This would be another stop that I would have to make when visiting France….. good old Paris! Embodying the essence of French refinement, Paris is a city of unmistakable monuments and renowned museums. Nevertheless, it’s retained its local districts, or ‘quartiers’, and remains compact and walkable. This is the city to visit for sure and as a foodie….. my second “must visit” destination when visiting France. This is a gorgeous and romantic city to share with your entire family.
The French Riviera, France
The white-sand beaches, azure waters and special quality of light have drawn legions of artists, aristocrats and celebrities to the French Riviera and its glitzy port towns. Beyond the coast, however, lie charming medieval villages set into the hills.
The French Riviera…. the more I learn about it…. the more I think maybe this should be my first choice. ‘… in the shadow of the mountains a green belt of land runs along the coast for a hundred miles and makes a playground for the world,’ said F Scott Fitzgerald of the French Riviera in his personal essays. White-sand beaches lapped by blue water, glamorous towns packed with exclusive hotels and designer boutiques, but also, set into the hills, tiny medieval villages lost in time. The French Riviera still holds dear to its humble origins beneath the jet-set image enshrined in the pages of Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night.
A lively city with a vibrant cultural life, Rouen’s twisting streets, half-timbered houses and Gothic cathedral give it a seductive charm. With a host of fine museums and strong links to Joan of Arc, it makes a highly engaging destination.
One of the oldest cities in France, Rouen is the historical capital of Normandy and an atmospheric place with a fine medieval quarter of narrow streets lined with half-timbered houses. The city also has a vibrant cultural life with a host of engaging museums, a cathedral that Monet used repeatedly for subject matter, and numerous Gothic churches and mansions.
Devastated by fire and plague on several occasions, occupied by the English in the Hundred Years War, and then the trial and execution site of French heroine Joan of Arc, it’s a place where history has a very visible presence on the modern city.
The city’s crowning glory is its Gothic cathedral. Built between the 12th and 16th centuries, it displays all the major architectural styles of the era, from simple decorative elements in the nave to the flamboyant stonework of the main façade. The cathedral has three towers, one of which, the Butter Tower, was funded by donations from locals who in return were given permission to eat butter during Lent.
Inside the cathedral, you can see some of the original 13th-century stained glass windows, the tomb of Richard the Lionheart that contains his heart, and the zigzagging Bookseller’s Stairway in the transept. The cathedral was the subject of a series of more than 30 works by French Impressionist Claude Monet, who captured its beauty in various lights and at different times of the year.
Rouen’s medieval quarter fans out around the cathedral and is the cultural heart of the city, its cobbled streets lined with higgledy-piggledy half-timbered buildings. Although many of these are original, others were rebuilt in the traditional style after extensive damage by Allied bombing and subsequent fires during World War II.
The area has numerous impressive streets, including the Rue du Gros Horloge with its gilded astronomical clock. A host of Gothic churches include the Church of Saint-Maclou with its elaborate detailing and the lavish Saint-Ouen Abbey Church.
Also of note is the modern church dedicated to Joan of Arc in the Place du Vieux Marché. Its unusual angular shape is tempered by stained glass windows taken from a previous Renaissance chapel. The church stands near to the spot where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in 1431.