What do wild flamingos, Mediterranean beaches, and fairytale towns all have in common?
Here’s a little secret: you can find them all in France.
Lovely readers, let me divulge one of my greatest travel pet peeves with you. Due to a pesky thing I call “Counting Countries Syndrome”, many people out there seem to think that stopping in one part of a country counts as having ‘done’ it, and once you’ve been there, it’s a tick off the bucket list, now doomed to die forever in the depths of your SD card.
Let’s put an end to this silliness, shall we?
Countries are countries, and cities… aren’t. Ticking off countries based on only a small part is like having a scoop of vanilla ice cream and saying “you’ve done ice cream”. Vanilla’s great, but about speculoos gelato with caramel drizzle and sprinkles, huh? That’s what this post is about today… I’m going to reveal to you some of the most drool-worthy destinations in France that actually aren’t Paris.
Now don’t get me wrong, Paris is still one my favorite cities in the world, but two summers ago, I had the opportunity to visit France in depth, witnessing first hand the insane amount of diversity found beyond Parisian turf. From crazy turquoise coastlines to storybook villages, here are some of my favorite spots in France
For all the devout wine addicts appreciators out there, Bordeaux requires no introduction. The wine economy in this region takes in over 14 billion euros each year, which means you could probably throw your shoe haphazardly and still hit a magnificent glass of vino. Besides the inevitable wine tastings/winery tours, the city of Bordeaux itself is absolutely incredible, with a buzzing food scene, beautiful architecture and the Miroir d’Eau (pictured below), which is the world’s largest reflective pool, and one of my favorite sights to photograph
Close to Bordeaux is the incredibly charming town of Saint-Émilion, renowned of course for its wine but also its ridiculously cool monolithic church, carved out of a single piece of rock. This hilltop wine haven also boasts a great deal of delicious food and medieval views that will set your heart aflutter. When I was there, we even spotted some prominent French stars filming for a TV special about the most beautiful villages in France!
The French Riviera
Where France meets Italy, the French Riviera (aka the Côte d’Azur) is a slice of sweet, Mediterranean heaven. This snazzy coastline is dotted with luxurious resorts and is said to receive over 300 days of sunshine each year. The beautiful city of Nice is, of course, a highlight, but there are plenty of gorgeous smaller towns eastwards that will take your breath away all the same. Be sure to enjoy a fresh socca while you’re here, a chickpea pancake that will make you cry tears of joy.