Ten years ago this week my family and I were getting ready to return home following our first visit to France. On our last day in Paris, as we prepared to brave the 24 hour flight to Australia, Scott and I splurged by ordering two glasses of champagne. We sipped them, gazing out toward the Eiffel tower, taking in the combination of sculptures and greenery that only the Jardin des Tuileries can deliver.
Despite the fact that funds were relatively tight for us at that point, we were happily splurging on champagne for three key reasons.
It was a beautiful, sun-shining Parisian day.
We’d had an incredible time in France.
We’d convinced ourselves that this would be our only visit to the country that had completely captured our hearts.
It turns out that reasons one and two were perfectly valid. Reason three turned out to be anything but true.
We’ve returned more than a dozen times in the past decade. I share that stat not to boast. But rather to show two things.
Firstly, we were completely wrong about never visiting again.
Secondly, the magic of France can draw you back again and again if you choose to continue exploring.
Despite the intervening decade and our regular visits, our obsession with France is as strong today as it was back then.
And we still have a list of must visit French destinations to cross off the list. Many of these are in the north of the country. And there are a whole stack of locations we’d happily head back to if we ever had the chance.
Ten French Destinations We Are Still Wanting To See
- Nice. And the surrounding areas on the French Riviera.
- Normandy – including Le Mont-Saint-Michel and Rouen.
- Biarritz. My Chanel fascination is behind this one.
- Montpellier. A few years ago, we were planning to spend the day in Montpellier. But we jumped off the train in Nîmes. We had an amazing day. But we’ve yet to actually make it to Montpellier.
- Carcassonne. Scotty really wants to travel on Le Petit Train Jaune.
- Brittany. Including Rennes and Saint-Malo.
- Giverny – for Monet’s garden.
- Lille. Graham from A new life in Lille has inspired us.
- The Châteaux of the Loire Valley
Ten French Destinations We’d Happily Return To
- Tain-l’Hermitage. Even though we’ve visited three times already.
- Bordeaux. With a side visit to Saint-Émilion, of course.
- Provence – especially Marseille. We only had the day there – but I remember lunch as one of the best meals of my life. And both Aix-en-Provence and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence could easily tempt us back.
- The beautiful north-east. We loved both Strasbourg and Nancy.
- Paris. I’ve promised myself that on day I will stay at the Hôtel Ritz Paris.
- Villers-Bretonneux. It is such an emotional place for Australians to visit.
- The Champagne Region. I’ll bet that doesn’t surprise anyone….
Which French destinations are at the top your list? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
And until next time – au revoir.
11 thoughts on “Ten Years Later – Ten French Destinations We Still Must See”
Glad to have inspired you, Janelle! Lille is a charming city. I think it comes into its own in winter.
Oh, you’ve definitely inspired us Graham! And I’ll remember the tip about winter!! Thank you for sharing that one.
I rarely leave Paris! But would return to Puyloubiers (for the museum of the French Foreign Legion and to buy a lot of bottles of the wonderful wind the retired soldiers make) (also I ate the best meal of my life at a restaurant there called Les Sarments) and would happily spend a restful week in Tours, a lovely little city not far from Paris where I ate well and enjoyed strolling.
I rarely leave Paris! But would return to Puyloubiers (for the museum of the French Foreign Legion and to buy a lot of bottles of the wonderful wine the retired soldiers make) (also I ate the best meal of my life at a restaurant there called Les Sarments) and would happily spend a restful week in Tours, a lovely little city not far from Paris where I ate well and enjoyed strolling.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with regular visits to Paris Alisa!! In fact, I highly recommend them!! But Puyloubiers sounds fascinating. And if I did a ‘top 20’ list Tours would definitely have rated a mention…Scotty actually asked me when I was going to share the ‘second top 10 list’ of places we need to visit!!!
We have seen a lot of France & we added Brittany & Normandy last year. I must tell you that its very rare my husband is lost for words but as Mont St Michel appeared for the first time on the horizon he was lost for words . This place is a must Janelle!
We haven’t seen the Alsace , Lorraine & Franche-comte regions yet so they are on my to do list . I would love to return & see the French Riviera again in more detail , Nice was lovely but I do like the smaller quieter villages .
We will only get to Paris again next year as we have a few other places in Europe we want to see but Paris is always a must if we are over that way.
Wonderful journey by the sound of this post.
It would be amazing to do all of those destinations in one trip Jackie. Absolutely something for me think about!!
it was wonderful Jackie! The countryside through Brittany & Normandy is simply stunning & we found the most beautiful little villages. The town of Vannes in Brittany was a real find as was the B&B we stayed in there. Also a chateau in Normandy near Mont Saint Michel was another memorable place we stayed , Chateau de Bocheel (I think thats the correct spelling) & its oh so interesting & charming owner. Honfleur, St Malo I could go on as they were all memorable . I would recommend a trip through these regions to anyone. We drove which allowed us to go wherever we wanted.
Quimper on the south of Brittany in mid June for the Fête de la Musique. Gorge du Verdon and Gorge de L’Ardèche for motorbike touring – spectacular scenery and interesting small villages/towns. Great by car too, I imagine.
Thanks for the Quimper tip Kristie. I’ll definitely check it out. And Gorge de l’Ardèche is already on our list. Scotty is very keen to check it out.