France is located in Western Europe, and incorporates a diversity of lands such as alpine villages, Mediterranean beaches and cities spanning back to the medieval cities. Its capital is Paris, which is famous for its art museums and monuments attesting to its rich history, such as the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, and is home to many celebrated fashion houses. The country is also renowned for its elegant cuisine and wines. France is perfect for those who are romantics at heart, with magical-seeming castles, vast cathedrals, and picturesque villages, all in harmony with its modern-day elements. From the avenues of Paris to the chic coastal resorts on the Côte d'Azur, France is home to some of the most beautiful sights in the world. Every region radiates its own distinctive culture and cuisine. Charming fishing villages of Brittany are known for their seafood and crêpes, whereas the French Alps offer robust meals of cheese fondue with charcuterie. Be sure to pamper yourself and relish all that France has to offer. Afterwards, you can admire the world-class art and architecture. For those who want an active holiday, the land of France offers a variety of landscapes offering a challenge, ranging from rugged cliffs in the north to sand dunes and the vibrant blue of the French Riviera.
Things to do, things to see
Prehistoric Cave Paintings in Lascaux
Start with a walk back into time! Visitors can explore the fascinating domain of prehistoric art in Lascaux, one of the best examples of Paleolithic art in the world. This UNESCO-registered site is in the the Dordogne region’s Vézère Valley. The Lascaux Cave is home to exquisite prehistoric paintings, which were discovered in 1940, but the original site has been closed for the public to prevent damage. However no need to be disappointed - a faithful replica of the cave was produced nearby, named Lascaux II. It is 200 meters from the authentic cave. Lascaux II is a very accurate imitation of the ancient cave and its images. Every detail of the Paleolithic art has been carefully recreated, down to the ochre shades that were used to paint the original images. Don’t miss the Hall of the Bulls, known locally as Salle des Taureaux, which has panels illustrated with what appear to be unicorns and bears, as well as the Diverticule Axial, a narrow hall about 30 meters long, with remarkable depictions of horses, bulls, and cows. The art reproductions of Lascaux II are so accurate that visitors would not be able to tell the difference from the original. The International Centre for Cave Art is a recent addition to the site. It provides an interactive experience for visitors. Built on top of the Lascaux II cave, this modern museum is home to more than 8500 square meters of sleek exhibition space that is used to feature educational materials such as 3-D images and a virtual reality map. To truly experience the cave and museum, tourists are required to book a guided tour, which provides an in-depth circuit peppered with fascinating information from the guide.
Balanced precariously up in the air on a steep limestone cliff, Rocamadour is an extraordinary site. This pilgrimage destination was the third most important in Christendom after Jerusalem and Rome in the 11th century, and also served as a stop on the medieval pilgrimage path to Santiago de la Compostela in Spain. The village has seven olden sanctuaries, but pilgrims congregate towards the Chapelle Miraculeuse, or the Chapelle Notre-Dame, which is home to the acclaimed Black Virgin. This exquisite Virgin Mary figure was made from walnut wood, which darkened naturally over the centuries and is connected with miracles. Another must-see site is the Basilique Saint-Sauveur. This is the largest church of Rocamadour. It is constructed in Gothic and Romanesque style between the 11th and 13th centuries. For a challenging mystical experience, pilgrims can climb the sheer flight of steps, passing the 12 Stations of the Cross – these lead up to the château located at the highest point of the village.
Biarritz is a trendy beach town located in the lovely Bay of Biscay in France's Basque country. This renowned seaside resort has a sophisticated and upper-class air – it was even a favorite destination for the Empress Eugénie, who was the wife of Napoleon III. The imperial couple's lavish Second-Empire-style palace has been transformed into the Hôtel du Palais. This luxury hotel houses a Michelin-starred restaurant and provides extraordinary vistas of the Grande Plage beach. The large sandy beach is attractive with its wide promenade at the seafront. Other sights related to the ocean that should not be missed include the Aquarium de Biarritz; Lighthouse; and Rocher de la Vierge, or the Virgin of the Rock figure, that rests on top of a vast rock worn away by the Atlantic's rough waves against the coastline. While you are in town, be sure to stop at the Miremont tea room, where you can have a taste of the extraordinary pastries it has served since 1872.
With its crenellated ramparts and turreted towers, Carcassonne seems to be taken straight from a page of an illuminated fairy-tale book. This fortified city takes visitors into the world of the Middle Ages. The well-preserved walled town is known as the Cité. It is full of narrow, twisting cobblestone paths and old-fashioned houses and every part of the city still radiates its medieval charisma. Visitors should definitely see the double-circuited ramparts and the Cathedral of Saint-Nazaire.
Vacation rentals in France
France is a destination most only dream of visiting. Why not make that dream a reality, and book a vacation rental with CuddlyNest and truly experience its wealth of history, art, and cuisine? CuddlyNest offers a wide selection of rental properties such as villas and apartments in various cities of France, and you can use our powerful search engine to select your amenities and find pet-friendly options. So make the most of your holidays and have a memorable holiday with CuddlyNest!