France is a country that inspires people with its beauty, and this is why it is very popular when choosing where to spend a holiday. Yet, since it is one of the favourite countries to explore, you get to deal with hordes of tourists when visiting its most famous monuments and places that are well-known. This is why you should become familiar with some of its hidden, or better said, less-known jewels. There are places you can go to when in France where not all the tourists tend to go, yet they are incredibly stunning to see.
If you do not mind driving two hours from Geneva, it will pay off once you see this incredible mountain range on the border between France and Switzerland. Not many people who are not from France know about the Jura because it is not famous for anything really. However, if you did not know where the home of Comté, Morbier and Mont d’Or cheese is – now you do. They also make lovely wine from indigenous grapes there such as Poulsard and Trousseau, and the ones you have definitely heard of – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Canal du Midi
If you want an unforgettable barge holiday in France, you should know that there are many splendid canals and rivers that are interconnected. The oldest one is 300 years old and it is the most popular – Canal du Midi. Located in the south of France, it is still operating and functioning well, making people have experiences to remember. The canal can be reached through Montpellier. When it comes to the sightseeing highlights, the medieval city of Carcassonne can be explored by tourists, just like towns and villages of Narbonne, Minerve, Pezenas and Lagrasse can be visited. At a local domaine, people can taste wine. They can also try the Lucques olives which are very famous.
They call it “the finest small town in France”. People see it as lively and filled with good history. It is famous for the man who deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphs, called Champollion. It has a great centre, food and river. If you go there, you can explore the Lot and Célé valleys, just like the Pech Merle cave paintings. The little villages there are just gorgeous, the markets are must-see and you cannot let yourself miss trying delicious local cheese.
Puy de Dôme, Auvergne
If you think about a dormant volcano when this name is mentioned – you will not be wrong. You will also be right to think about the county around it. What you will be able to see here are amazing uplands, astonishing lakes, awesome churches, some old-fashioned villages and of course, the startlingly good theme park known as Vulcania. Learn more about Clermont-Ferrand, a university city. It is bordered by the volcanic Chaîne des Puys mountains. There are also many beautiful fountains and statues, and you can also see Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption. It was built from lava stone with murals and it is known as a 13th-century Roman Catholic place of worship.
The Basque villages
When it comes to architectural heritage, they are considered the main resorts. Here you will also find many great restaurants and if you like surfing, you can visit Biarritz and St-Jean-de-Luz. Sare, Ainhoa, Espelette and Ascain are the inland villages you may like here. They have galleried churches, countryside that has giant oxblood farmhouses, pelota courts and Pyrenean cross-border smugglers’ trails. You will fall in love with these villages that also have a big number of mountaintop venta shops.
France is beautiful whatever part of it you decide to explore. Yet, if you have never been to these places, it is time you visited them. They are as beautiful as the ones that are better known, yet you will not have to face huge crowds and large number of curious tourists. You can enjoy your nice wine, excellent food like cheese you will not be able to get enough of, canals, mountains, shops, villages and towns that will make you love this country for so many reasons. You will wish to visit all of these places over and over again for sure.