Beyond Paris

Beyond Paris

I absolutely love this time of year.

Everything has a fresh feel to it, and the Australian summer days are tailor made for slowing down. For me, it is the perfect time of the year to make plans.

And this year, I’ve been having a lovely time planning for September and October – the two months we will be spending entirely in France.

Of course, I haven’t been able to keep my excitement under control. I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen about where we’re considering visiting (many of them feature on this list) and why.

And these conversations have been quite interesting. This has been due to the level of surprise that registers when I share with others the fact that – of the almost nine weeks we’ll be travelling – we’ll only be spending six nights in Paris.

Now I don’t what it is like in your part of the world. But where we live, it seems people automatically assume that if you are visiting France, you will be spending the bulk of your time in Paris.

Of course, I understand the fascination with Paris. We’ve braved the excruciating long flight times every year for over a decade now to experience the magic that only Paris can offer. But I also feel that travellers who don’t venture beyond the French capital are cheating themselves of wonderful French experiences.

Here are four reasons it is to consider visiting parts of France beyond Paris.

Beyond Paris

Local Cuisines

French restaurants the world over have done a good job of creating the impression that French cuisine is composed of bistro classics. And if you only visit Paris, there is a good chance that this view will be reinforced.

In reality however, the food of France is far from generic. And in fact, the dishes or the delicacies you fall in love with in one part of the country may be impossible to find in another region. Head south of Paris to Provence offers a taste of the mediterranean diet. You’ll discover seafood in the south west and German influences to the east. Every region offers unique cheeses, and pastries too. The variety is endless. And mouth watering.

More Budget Friendly Options

Paris is like every other iconic city on the planet. It’s expensive. Like New York and London, this shouldn’t stop you visiting. But you do need to be aware of fact that these places aren’t cheap and plan accordingly.

If you want your travel dollars to stretch further, it’s worth considering your options beyond Paris. Prices on almost everything will be lower and high quality holiday bargains abound. This may give you the chance to stay for longer or to try a wider variety of experiences. And given the outstanding French rail system, you can easily do day trips if a dose of Paris is required.

A Different Feel

Paris is a big, modern city, albeit a very elegant one. But you will still find traffic jams, and packed boulevards. Outside of Paris however, you are likely to encounter a different brand of French charm.

All over France, you’ll find villages and cities that will delight you with winding streets, colourful doorways and breath-taking views. Although they are different to Paris, they’re sure to deliver beautiful vacation memories for years to come.

Increased Opportunities To Practice Your French

Despite what you might read, you can very easily travel to Paris without needing to speak French. English seems to be spoken more widely every time we visit. Away from Paris though you’re more likely to strike non-English speakers. Which forces reluctant French speakers like me to try a whole lot harder.

Where is your favourite French destination beyond Paris? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

And until next time – au revoir.

About Janelle

I believe that everyone can bring French elegance and inspiration to their life, no matter where they happen to live in the world. They only need to learn a secret or two to be on their way. When you join the Distant Francophile community, you’ll have access to the secrets that allow you to bring the best of the French lifestyle into your everyday life. I’m talking about things like style advice, recipes and book reviews. And you’ll also receive regular doses of French inspiration, as well as travel and packing tips galore.

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13 thoughts on “Beyond Paris

  • Sharon North

    I’m glad you’re promoting the French regions. We live in Corrèze, technically south-west France but more importantly the home of the Limousine cow, reknowned for the quality of it’s beef. The area is rich in quality food – foie gras and mushrooms, particularly cepes. Coupled with stunning scenery it’s the perfect place to live!

    • Janelle Post author

      It’s a pleasure Sharon. It turns out Scott and I love all of France – not just Paris! You live in an amazing part of the world – not least because of the amazing cuisine. I’ve just started following your blog so I can learn more.

  • Veronica

    Last September we spent a week in the Loire Valley and it was wonderful. Chateaux, kayaking, cycling…then we spent another week on the Aquitaine coast eating oysters and in Bordeaux drinking wine. We wrapped up with a few days in Paris. Like you, we go to France every year, but that trip was the best so far.
    This year it will be the French alps combined with visits to friends in Switzerland as well as Paris. So much to see, do, eat and drink!

    • Janelle Post author

      My goodness Veronica, that last trip of yours sounds amazing!! In terms of the Loire, we’ve only ventured as far as Sancerre, but I’m looking forward to exploring that part of France further come October. We loved the French Alps when we visited a couple of years ago – be prepared to have your breath taken away! Have the best time!!

  • Taste of France

    Good for you! Life outside Paris unrolls at a very different pace. It is less glamorous but more authentic.
    Your point about prices is spot-on. A two-star Michelin restaurant here has dinner menus from €90 to €170; similar two-star restos in Paris run as high as €580. Gulp. But our favorite restaurant has a fixed-price menu with a great variety of choices (something for everyone), each item truly sublime, and it’s only €28 per person. And it’s in a gorgeous, gorgeous setting.
    Another thing is that as incredible as the architecture is, in Paris and as well as in little villages, don’t forget how jaw-droppingly beautiful the countryside can be. There still are stretches that are quite wild. We had friends over for dinner this weekend, and conversation turned, as it does, to food. Snails, specifically. And how the best snails are to be found in the garrigue, where they have fed on wild herbs and are exquisitely flavored as a result.
    We look forward to meeting you!

    • Janelle Post author

      We’re looking forward to meeting you too, Catherine – and of course to exploring your part of France. Thanks to your blog, Carcassonne has been on my list for the longest time and I’m so pleased that we will finally be able to visit. It’s funny that you raised dining as an example of the price differences between Paris and other parts of France. Scott and I were only discussing exactly that last night. I love the whole Michelin Star experience and will save my pennies to dine at a certain restaurant. But one of the things I adore most about France is the fact that I can also enjoy amazing dining experiences at a tiny fraction of the price. Which leaves me with a massive (and rather obvious) question – what is the name of your favourite restaurant??? Please and thank you 🙂

  • Denise Linkson

    There is nowhere like Paris but there is also nothing like the french countryside & you do yourself a disservice if you you don’t get out of Paris & explore. We will only get to Paris this year but next will travel down through the Rhone valley to the french Riviera . Any suggestions for a smallish village on the coast? We have stayed in Nice so are looking for a village to chill in. Thanks janelle
    Regards Denise

    • Janelle Post author

      Hi Denise, your comment made me smile….I’m quite sure I’ve also used the words ‘only’ and ‘Paris’ in the same sentence!! I’m also sure that you will have a lovely time in Paris – as you say, there is nowhere quite like it. Later this year will be our first real visit to the French Riviera – we are actually flying straight into Nice – so I’m afraid I’m no help for recommendations at this point in time. But I’m quite sure that someone in the DF community has a suggestion for you. Fellow francophiles – if anyone has a recommendation for Denise, both she and I would be grateful xx

  • Joanne Long

    Brittany and Normandy are great places to visit. If you stay in Bayeux, you can see the tapestry and visit the landing beaches. Mont-St-Michel is a good day trip. Saumur is ideal for visiting the chateaux on the Loire. If you enjoy hiking, the Auvergne is ideal. I have stayed near Issoire and hiked every day. We rented a house in the Ardeche once and drove to many small towns in Provence. There are so many different places to visit in France.

  • Denise Linkson

    I know Janelle “only” going to Paris probably sounds a bit pretentious!! Lol. I was looking at Antibes Janelle, so if anyone has been would love their thoughts .
    Kind regards Denise

    • Janelle Post author

      Not pretentious at all Denise – your choice of words accurately conveyed your travel plans, which is all that matters. Call out to the DF readers – can anyone help Denise with a recommendation for Antibes?? Thanks in advance.