Today, I’ve got another guest post for you. When he’s not writing about his travels, Robert Han loves to spend his time outdoors capturing snapshots of people and nature. Robert writes from experience to provide authentic and useful tips to travelers across the world. Here he gives us his take on off-the-beaten-track hidden gems in France.
[This guest post contains no affiliate links associated with my site France-Travel-Info.]
With the travel industry worth an estimated £6.4 trillion every year, and an increasing number of people looking for more unusual destinations to escape to, France remains one of the most visited countries in the world. However, it’s still possible to get off-the-beaten-track and catch some hidden gems that remain remarkably tourist-free and offer great value for money. With more travelers, particularly millennials, now looking to try out more unusual locations, here’s our pick of the best if you want to get away from it all and enjoy something a little different.
Off-the-Beaten-Track Along The Emerald Coast
Brittany is one of the big summer tourist destinations in France for local and international visitors alike. However, the ‘Côte D’Émeraude’ offers the more adventurous an idyllic location with beautiful sandy beaches and a laid back ‘joie de vivre’.
Nestled around the port cities of St. Malo and Dinard, it’s an area of stunning natural beauty where the Breton culture is still very much a part of everyday life. Slightly inland is the often-overlooked city of Dinan, one of the only walled cities in France. With its winding, cobblestone medieval streets and fascinating architecture, it’s certainly worth including on your itinerary.
The French Riviera is undoubtedly one of the most-visited parts of France, with a reputation for glitz and glamour. However, away from the resorts of Cannes and St Tropez, you’ll find a more laid-back vibe. Menton is a beautiful town and the last stop on the coast before the Italian border and has received the deserved nickname of ‘Perle de la France’. It’s popular with the French as a summertime retreat with beautiful beaches and a wealth of stunning architecture to admire, such as the baroque basilica of Saint-Michel-Archange.
For foodies, the seafront boasts some fabulous traditional restaurants where you can taste some of the freshest seafood that the Côte-D’Azur has to offer – at a fraction of the price of the big resorts.
Off-the-Beaten-Track in Bordeaux
Ok, so most people know of Bordeaux as a wine region. However, the city itself (a major port hugging the banks of the Garonne river) doesn’t often make it onto many tourist checklists. Brimming with culture, Bordeaux has a growing calendar of events running throughout the year and offers the perfect mix of beautiful architecture, amazing wines and food to die for. Its position on the Atlantic coast makes summer temperatures more bearable, while in winter the weather stays mild enough to enjoy the outdoors life – and, of course, the wine culture. Santé!
Lying off the southern French coast, Corsica holds an air of mystery. The birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, it’s a fiercely independent island with its own distinct culture, cuisine and even language (however, French is still the official tongue). In fact, the island has a very Italian feel.
Corsica is famous for its walking trails and stunning beaches, with many French tourists flocking here during peak season. Ajaccio (the island’s capital), along with the coastal towns of Bonifacio and Bastia are worth a mention for history buffs, the latter of which has a somewhat ‘shabby chic’ appeal, particularly around the old port.
Grand Site des Deux Caps
Photo by Stijn te Strake on Unsplash
At the other extreme of the country, and with the English coastline often visible in the distance, lie some of the most beautiful stretches of sandy beaches in France. Just a stone’s throw from the ports of Calais and Boulogne in the northernmost region of France, Grand Site des Deux Caps offers the more adventurous tourist stunning scenery, ancient forests to explore and plenty of sightings of the famous Normande dairy cattle – with some of the freshest milk and butter around for your petit déjeuner!