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France is one of those summertime destinations where traveling solo can be an endlessly entertaining adventure. Whether you’re looking for a sparkling Mediterranean beach, a bustling big city, timeless architecture or just heaps of cheese, you’ll be entertained. Plus, France in the sunshine is arguably the best time to enjoy the country. In order to make your research a bit easier, we’ve compiled a list of the best summertime destinations in the country. Some places need no introduction, while others are a bit more off the beaten path. Scroll down for the 7 best french cities to visit in summer.
When it comes to the world-class city of Paris, it’s important to put our hipster inclinations aside and not worry that it’s on everyone’s radar. A visit to France’s cultural, economic, and actual capital in the summertime is an absolute bucket list item that will definitely be memorable. Park yourself on a lawn beneath the Eiffel Tower with some classic French delicacies, people watch on the hip Canal Saint-Martin, do the obligatory museum tours, or line up your trip according to one of the many festivals.
Cannes is France’s ritzy southern gem best known for its film festival that kicks off in May of each year. While this time of year is surely chock-full of red carpets and dazzling fashion, the city’s luxury culture is a year-round commitment. Visit during the summer to spot celebrities lounging on beaches and yachts docked in the harbor, and stroll through the old quarter of Le Suquet. If a treat-yourself vacation is long overdue, Cannes could be your perfect option.
Marseille is one of France’s most inspiring comeback stories: a historically gritty and troubled port city that’s now revolutionizing itself with public works projects, artisanal restaurants, and chic galleries. At the same time, Marseille is still filled to the brim with the funky leftovers of a complicated past. Graffiti is slapped on the walls, skateparks exist as important landmarks for social gathering, and decades of immigration create the diverse culture. If somewhere like Marseille strikes your fancy, consider visiting some of France’s other great cities that aren’t Paris.
Palais des Papes
A trip to France wouldn’t be complete without a visit to one of its storied castles. Centuries-old architecture, ruins that spark your imagination of old Medieval battles, and of course, moats. One castle worthy of your summertime tour is Palais des Papes, a prized gem located in Avignon. As one of the most important palaces in Europe in the 15th century, the Gothic-style edifices will floor even the least architecturally-inclined travelers. If you’re a history buff, check out AllTheRooms’ list of the Best Castles in France.
The French Riviera’s largest city is arguably the country’s best summertime destination. The strip of sand, promenade, local shops and colorful alleyways all mingle to create an experience that is quintessentially Mediterranean. While Nice’s highlight is undeniably its pebble beaches, there’s much to do by way of waterfalls, Cathedrals, flower and produce markets, art museums, Nicoise salads, and ratatouille. While you won’t exactly be dodging any tourists visiting Nice in the summertime, we reckon it’s worth the hassle.
Crisp air, turquoise waters beneath towering snow-capped Alps, colorful summertime markets — the little town of Annecy in southeastern France is one of the best hidden gems in the country. The town is often referred to by two names, the first, “Pearl of the French Alps” due to its proximity to stunning nature, and the second, the “Venice of the Alps” due to its series of winding canals that meander through the town. From stand-up paddle boarding to biking and hiring a paddle boat, there are tons of activities for all the active women out there. If you’re looking to lounge, Annecy has plenty of options for grassy picnics, cheese-tasting, and church tours.
For the uninitiated, Hossegor is one of the world’s best surfing destinations. Year round, people flock to this humble seaside town to get a taste for surf culture and try their hand at world-class swells. Hossegor offers huge stretches of unimpeded coastline, a friendly laid-back culture, and a culinary tradition surrounding chocolatine (chocolate croissants). If surfing isn’t quite your cup of tea, Hossegor is close to gorgeous nature that makes for a great solo afternoon in the sun. There’s camping, a forest, a lake, and is under an hour away from the Pyrenees mountains.