France is surely the top tourist destination in the world for most of the tourists. This western European territory is full of different landscapes from 2,900 km of shoreline to the picturesque mountain ranges of the Alps and Pyrenees. This feature, I think, is the first draw to attract folks of all ages. All attractions in France are set amidst such natural beauties. So you can expect anything such as chic shopping malls, adventure activities like Alps skiing, a sandy beach on Riviera, and the citadels of the Loire Valley. So, you are assured an engaging and fun filled holiday – all thanks to the unmatchable attractions in France.
I first explored Normandy that is a pure agricultural region near the English Channel. One of the top attractions in France is here – Mont-Saint-Michel and its bay that are the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Here, the tides are really exceptional – when at the peak, a difference of 15 m amidst the tide and flow can be seen. The sands are flat enough and that the sandbank changes from ebb to ebb. The Abbey of Saint-Michel is one more attraction, which was made in the 18th century. Bishop Aubert was the holy man behind the abbey whose skull has finger mark of the archangel Michael.
Bayeux in Normandy is famous for its beautiful tapestry that is not to be seen anywhere else. The historic landing shores and World War II battlefields can be explored in the museums in Arromanches and Bayeux where the Battle of Normandy was fought. Head to Caen for its serene peace museum offering a beautiful Romanesque church and ruins of a huge castle set by William the Conqueror. Other great monuments are 14th century Church of St-Etienne, the Church of St-Pierre (Renaissance), and the Abbaye aux Dames.
To explore some interesting châteaux in Normandy, drive along the route between Paris and Rouen where the Boury-en-Vexin, Bizy-Vernon, Gaillon, Gaillard-les-Andelys, Vascoeuil, and Martinville are worth seeing. On the same route, check out for the Claude Monet House and garden in Giverny, the Abbey de Mortemer (Lisors), and the village of Lyon-la-Fôret.
In the old capital of Rouen, there are restored ancient streets, Vieille Maison of 1466, the place du Vieux-Marché where Jeanne d’Arc was burnt, 13th century cathedral that was painted by Monet, many museums, and churches such as St Ouen and St Maclou whose cloister was a burial ground for the Great Plague victims.
Then, I discovered Burgundy & Franche-Comté. Near Auxerre, Burgundy is a medieval town offering a wonderful Gothic cathedral and many vineyards. Drive and explore the vineyards of Mersault, Volnay, Beaune, Aloxe Corton, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Vosne-Romanée, and Gevrey-Chambertin. The Knights of Malta, Carthusians, Carmelites, Benedictines, and Cistercians owned these yards and so you will also encounter many abbeys, monasteries, and superb Romanesque churches in Fontenay, Vézelay, Tournus, and Cluny.
Dijon, a vital political and religious area of the 15th century, is packed with many fine museums, art galleries, and the Palais des Ducs that was once the abode of the Dukes of Burgundy. To explore the great churches of the 12th century, the towns of Sens and Macon are the best destinations.
Franche-Comté is where you will be amazed to see the high French Jura Mountains towering in steps along the French–Swiss border. In the west, the forested Jura plateau, the hills, and the fertile plain called the Finage make up for the scenic beauty. The slopes and valleys of the Jura mountains are approachable and it is this area that the milk cows graze on the pasture land, which play a vital role in producing cheeses of Comté. Further, there are many beautiful rivers such as Gugeotte, Barquotte, Colombine, Rigotte, and Romaine named by Julius Caesar. This place is perfect for summer vacations and winter sports.
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