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Paris is one of the top tourist destinations in the world for good reason. But the fixation on this famous city often makes travelers forget about its worthy counterparts. France is full of bountiful wine regions, picturesque mountain ranges, and peaceful beaches. There are so many amazing cities to explore in France other than Paris and we’ve listed out the top five.
Located in the Southwest of France, Bordeaux is known as the wine capital of the world, a perfect getaway for wine-lovers as well as those looking for a romantic vacation. The city is beautiful and peaceful, with an elegant, artistic culture featuring grand architecture and mouth-watering dishes of fresh oysters and prime steaks. Head to the wine museum Cité du Vin to learn about the history of wine.
Southern France has been blessed with Montpellier, the nation’s fastest-growing city with a mix of old and modern France. Start your tour of this city with a visit to one of France’s best collections of European art at the Musee Fabre. Later, head to Montpellier’s main square, Place de la Comédie, where you can visit the Opera house. Find local markets throughout the city and wander narrow alleys to discover excellent shops, cafes, and bakeries hidden along the way.
Caen is a smaller city in the Normandy region well-worth a visit for its excellent shopping and history. Visit various markets with fresh produce and a variety of wines, and peruse the fine art scene and fashion boutiques along the way. Explore the large, 11th-century castle, the Chateau de Caen, and admire the cream-colored limestone, called “Caen stone”. The Caen Memorial Museum is perfect for history buffs and has been deemed one of the best World War 2 museums in France. If you want to learn about local history and traditions, head to the Museum of Normandy.
4. Tours (Loire Valley)
Tours, located in Loire Valley, is one of the most charming cities in France. Stroll the streets of the old quarter, pass through the fashionable Rue Colbert to shop, and spend the evening sipping wine at a quaint cafe in Place Plumereau Square. Tours is also known for its well-kept parks and gardens. Nearby is the commune of Vouvray, filled with old castles and wine vineyards. With a good selection of budget to high-end hotels in Tours, this charming city is well worth a visit.
Marseille is the oldest and second largest city in France with a rich history and taste of the sea. Visit this French harbor city to see the Romano-Byzantine Basilica, Notre Dame de la Garde, and sample Marseille’s seafood stew on the lively waterfront of Vieux Port. Kayak out to the cliffs of Les Calanques, a beautiful stretch of beaches. Stay on the harbor at a nice hotel like Escale Oceania Marseille Vieux Port, with balconies overlooking the square. Marseille is also a good destination for nature-lovers in France to visit lavender fields in nearby Provence.