Every town and village has one, but those in Aix-en-Provence and Antibes are particularly atmospheric. You’ll see this Gallic version of bowls played on countless squares across the country, where groups of mostly middle-aged men in baggy shorts congregate around gravel-and-dirt boulodromes to lob heavy metal boules at diminutive wooden ones called cochonnets (literally “piglets”). So check out our France Travel Guide and many articles on France below so you don’t miss all that France and the big city of Paris have to offer. The south is significantly warmer, particularly behind the Mediterranean coastline. Happy travels! To this day, memorials in every village, hamlet and town of France are inscribed with the names of men slaughtered at Verdun. In almost every patisserie, you’ll find a mouthwatering array of fruit tarts made with rhubarb (topped with meringue), wild blueberries, red cherries or yellow mirabelle plums. Haut Koenigsbourg A massive pile of honey-coloured sandstone that sits astride a 757m bluff, this castle dates from the twelfth century. France Travel Blog is aimed to be the Best Travel Guide for France and Paris. The route is blanketed with neat terraces of vines, which produce the famous white wines. France remains at the forefront of technology, architecture, fashion, and cuisine. On 6 June 1944 (the 75th anniversary is in 2019), beaches here became a cacophony of gunfire and explosions, the bodies of Allied soldiers lying in the sand as their comrades-in-arms charged inland. His troops advanced to within 5km of Verdun, but never captured the town. Millions more watch on television – though few of them are cycling aficionados. The birthplace of mountaineering and winter playground to the rich, famous and not-so-famous, this iconic ski resort in the French Alps has something for everyone. Nearby, a simple engraving lists all the years between 450 and 1916 that Verdun has been involved in conflict. Feeding of animals takes place several times a day; the wolf-pack feed is the biggest draw. During the twenty-odd years of his office in the mid-eighteenth century, he ordered some of the most successful construction of the period in all France. But we do accept advertising from hotels, chateaus and guest houses. Many dream of its joie de vivre shown by the countless restaurants, picturesque villages and world-famous gastronomy. Motoring in this far northeast corner of France takes you through a kaleidoscope of lush green vines, perched castles and gentle mist-covered mountains. All you have to do is select the type of places you'd like to include (restaurants, museums, etc.). France Travel Guide. Of no great interest in itself, what makes this sleepy provincial town remarkable is its association with the horrific battle that took place on the bleak uplands to the north between 1916 and 1918. The importance of these traditions is felt deeply by the French state, which fights to preserve and develop its culture perhaps harder than any other country in the world. The only pit stops en route are half-timbered villages and roadside wine cellars, where fruity Alsace vintages can be swirled, tasted and bought. Photograph by Christian Heeb, laif,Redux. In 1916, aiming to break the stalemate of trench warfare, the German General Erich von Falkenhayn chose Verdun as the target for an offensive that ranked among the most devastating ever launched in the annals of war. Despite the long, tall bottles and Germanic names, Alsatian wines are unmistakably French in their ability to complement the region’s traditional cuisine. The picture is similar in Alsace-Lorraine where Germanic influences are strong, notably in the food. Most villages are medieval, built from golden stone and riddled with cobbled lanes, flower-filled alleys and hidden squares silent but for the glug of a fountain. Other wines you’re likely to come across include the grapey Muscat, straightforward Sylvaner, and delicate Pinot Blanc/Auxerrois, which also forms the base of the region’s excellent sparkling Crémant d’Alsace. France : prepare your stay with the Michelin Green Guide. Top image: Le Mont Saint-Michel, France © canadastock / Shutterstock. These days, in the wake of a series of high-profile doping scandals, performance-enhancing drugs pose the main threat to the survival of the 3600-km (2200-mile) race, though La Grand Boucle (the “Great Loop”), as it’s known, still casts a powerful spell over the nation. Other monumental castles to look out for include those at Ambroise and Nantes. The game was invented in 1907 in the town of La Ciotat on the Côte d’Azur by an enthusiastic bowler whose rheumatism prevented him from making the usual extended run up. In our France Travel Guide for Kids you will find some interesting travel information for children and families that was chosen and researched by kids, especially for kids. Come along as we explore this great country. Traditionally it’s served with large helpings of smoked pork, ham and sausages, but some restaurants offer a succulent variant replacing the meat with fish (choucroute aux poissons), usually salmon and monkfish. And it’s not just an obsession for the French; in 2012, Britain’s own Bradley Wiggins clinched the title – the Tour’s first British winner – successfully ensuring a new and ardent fan base just across the Channel. The difference here is the inclusion of juniper berries in the pickling stage and the addition of goose grease or lard. France Travel guide. Featured Stories. Started in 1903, the Tour was born out of the rivalry between two sporting papers, L’Auto and Le Vélo, as a ruse to boost sales. On the south side of the square stands the imposing hôtel de ville, its roof topped by a balustrade ornamented with florid urns and winged cupids. Take part in a tour, also possible along the Loire River, and explore the historical towns and get a real feeling for French history and culture. But – our tip – much of Champagne's finest liquid gold is created by passionate, small-scale vignerons (winegrowers) in drop-dead-gorgeous villages, rendering the region's scenic driving routes the loveliest way of tasting fine bubbly amid rolling vineyards. For most people, however, it’s the unique characters of the regions that will define a trip. Flanked to the west by the rising forests of the southern Vosges, which stretch all the way down to Belfort, Alsace’s picturesque Route des Vins (“Wine Route”) follows the foot of the mountains along the western edge of the wide and flat Rhine valley. Here are 11 top food experiences. From travel safety to visa requirements, discover the best tips for traveling to Travel Guide France. France - Around Paris (PDF Chapter) Details. All rights reserved. Disputed for centuries by French kings and the princes of the Holy Roman Empire, and subsequently embroiled in a bloody tug-of-war between France and Germany, France’s easternmost provinces, Alsace and Lorraine, share a tumultuous history. Expect to spend around two hours here; there’s a café, as well as workshops for children (ask at reception for details). A versatile food wine; try with white meat in creamy sauces and milder cheeses. Some phallic fertility cult? • With a land area of 547,000 square kilometres, France is the largest country in the EU; its population of 66 million is second only to that of Germany. A whole lexicon has evolved around pétanque to describe different throws and scenarios. View CNN's France Travel Guide to explore the best things to do and places to stay, plus get insider tips, watch video and read inspiring narratives. The castle is also a venue for cultural activities, music concerts and children’s workshops – check the website for events. The law is still in place, though no longer enforced. On the rest of the panels, you’ll find a truly disturbing representation of the temptation of St Anthony, who is engulfed by a grotesque pack of demons; note the figure afflicted with the alarming symptoms of ergotism. But the main attraction is the zoo – one of the largest in France. The same spirit reigns here as in Paris: showing off a varying percentage of the Parisian stock, the aim of the museum is to bring modern art to the masses, and judging by the queues it’s working. Château Kintzheim Small but wonderful ruined castle built around a cylindrical refuge-tower and located just south of Haut Koenigsbourg. It is one of France's most popular drives – and for good reason. If you're not spending more than a few days in Paris, Rick Steves France is all you're likely to need. France is located in Western Europe, bordered by the English Channel and Bay of Biscay, with Belgium and Germany to the north, Switzerland, and Italy to the east and Spain to the south. Nice's Carnaval, with roots going back to the 13th century, really came into its own in the 1870s, with the advent of elaborate floats, masked costume balls, and batailles de fleurs, in which young women riding in elegantly decorated carriages would shower the crowds with fresh-cut flowers.A century and a half later, much remains the same. The Dune du Pilat is a 'mountain' that has to be climbed – and gleefully romped down at speed. Beyond it, further along rue Mazel, a flight of steps climbs up to the towering Monument de la Victoire, where a helmeted warrior leans on his sword in commemoration of the 1916 battle, while in the crypt below a roll is kept of all the soldiers, French and American, who took part. Alsatians are fond of their pastries. Things Not to Miss in France • Visit wineries in … If visiting for the first time, or as a returning traveller, planning an itinerary ensures you experience as much of the country as possible, particularly if driving. Yes, food and drink can be cheap if you eat at the markets but, generally, accommodation and transportation cost a lot and it takes a delicate balancing act to visit France on a budget. From cycling between châteaux in the Loire, to biking among vineyards in Burgundy, here are ten of the best spots to explore by bike in France. Its small canals and picturesque narrow streets are a flaneur’s paradise. Defining beauty and wonder in southwestern France. Winemakers take advantage of the long, dry autumns to pick extremely ripe grapes producing wines with a little more sweetness than elsewhere in France, but good wines will have a refreshing natural acidity, too. French cuisine is as varied as it's landscape, as the creator of the Michelin Star, France takes its food reputation seriously. Rick Steves Sicily Rick Steves and Sarah Murdoch. Alsace’s less prosperous and less scenic neighbour, Lorraine, shares borders with Luxembourg, Germany and Belgium. $19.59 USD. The dramatic play of tides on this abbey-island in Normandy is magical and mysterious. For your average Frenchman, any recipe for a relaxing summer’s evening would have to include the three Ps: plane trees (or palms at a pinch); pastis; and that most quintessentially French of games, pétanque. Pétanque matches played after work and on weekends are part and parcel of the daily rhythm of life, especially in the south. Start exploring here: Northern France with Brittany, Normandy & Paris. Train services are admirably efficient, as is the road network – especially the (toll-paying) autoroutes – and cyclists are much admired and encouraged. Unless you take an organized tour the only viable way to explore the area is with your own transport. My Life in France This classic Julia Child book will make you fall in love with French cuisine. Who says Christmas has to be conventional? Both books are packed with hand-picked recommendations and Rick's travel advice and tips for saving time, money, and hassle. Here's all you need to know. Where is France? Get information on France Travel Guide - Expert Picks for your Vacation hotels, restaurants, entertainment, shopping, sightseeing, and activities. Getting Around France. It remains one the planet's most visited tourist destination, meriting its standing with an almost overwhelming mass of historical treasures, storybook landscapes, and cultural idiosyncrasies. Marseille, in particular, has a host of exciting new cultural institutions, a legacy of its year as European Capital of Culture in 2013. Metz (pronounced “Mess”), the capital of Lorraine, lies on the east bank of the River Moselle, close to the autoroute de l’Est linking Paris and Strasbourg. Rolling hills with vineyards stretching to the horizon. • A great source of confusion when meeting and greeting French people is the double kiss, or bise. Free access. 5.011 restaurants . The food revolves around Alsatian classics, such as choucroute, all accompanied by local wines (or, in a bierstub, beer). Rick Steves Paris 2020 (Rick Steves Travel Guide) Rick Steves. Antibes, a much beloved vacation spot of everyone from F. … To the south, the great mountain chain of the Pyrenees rears up along the Spanish border, running from the Basque country on the Atlantic to the Catalan lands of Roussillon on the Mediterranean; there’s fine walking and skiing, as well as beaches at either end. Updated 01/19/20. Share Pin Email Tim Stocker Photography / Getty Images. 20.450 attractions . The diversity of France's beautiful landscape means there are many routes to choose from, so if you have a particular mission in mind, check out our range of itineraries, or alternatively plan a tailor-made trip with one of our experts. "Wonderful tour. 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