Guide to beautiful countryside, exotic wine spots and chateaus in France

Talking about a vacation in France, the gorgeous Paris, Cannes, Lyon, and Versailles flash in our minds.  If your soul and eyes are weary of the urban ambiance, look for a few days break in the charming French countryside to infuse a fresh dose of life in your veins. Do not get disillusioned by the tongue-twisting names of these small villages. Honestly speaking, to explore France thoroughly, one should have a glimpse of its countryside wonders.

Vienne:

Vienne

Just an 18-minute train journey from Lyon and you enter a real French paradise. Revisit the ancient historical era by exploring the Roman ruins and the amphitheater. The dainty cafes surrounding the ruins offer tasty wines much to the tourists’ delight.

Take a stroll along the river bank to appreciate the breathtaking beauty of the church and do not miss out on a visit to the park nearby. For some exclusive shopping, surf the adjoining craft shops and boutiques.

Annecy:

This small lake-side town unravels an unexpected beauty of this country. Known as the Venice of Alps for its canals and cobblestoned streets, this small town offers wonderful sights all around.

Whether you enjoy a picnic in the European Gardens beside the lake or take a plunge in its crystal clear water, it is sheer enjoyment. The pastel houses and tiny flower boxes are luring enough for the shutterbugs. Lastly, you won’t like to miss the Sunday Market – one of the best in this country – and get delighted by the delicacies and pleasant surprises spread before you.

Bourg-en-Bresse:

Bourg-en-Bresse

A 40-minute train ride from Lyon would take you to this small dainty town in the Bourgogne region.  A relaxed ambiance awaits you, where you chill out with friends and folks. The town may have some oldish vibes, but the cool shops reveal that it not far away from modernity.

The stunning churches and buildings, though blended into modern forms, still give off the classic European feel. Time flies off in a whisk while relaxing in the main square sipping the choicest beverage and appreciating the gorgeous water structure located right at the center.

French Riviera:

The countryside dotting the Riviera is a much sought after retreat by the tourists tired of hectic sightseeing trips. High-end accommodations, alongside the wallet-friendly ones, are widely available in the local towns. Tourists enjoy a gala time mainly in Cannes, Antibes, St. Tropez, La Turbie and Nice.

Avignon:

Avignon

You can name it as the museum of ancient history. One of the World Heritage sites, Avignon houses the Victor Hugo famous Notre-Dame des Doms Cathedral along with many other historical attractions. Pope’s Palace, the Avignon Bridge, City Hall, Hotel des Monnaies, and the Ramparts are top attractions here.

Music lovers can have a good time enjoying live music and entertainment at Place du Palais.  The Collection Lambert Avignon, a popular museum of contemporary art always buzzes with the gathering the art lovers. Shopaholics can unwind in Avignon’s fifth avenue and Place des Carmes. Avignon’s central market offers the top choices for a memorable gastronomic venture.

Beuvron-en-Auge, Calvados, Normandy:

A quaint village located amidst the luxuriant meadows dotted by ancient half-timbered houses beckons the nature lovers. It would be tough to find a better countryside than this hidden gem displaying a grand range of colors in the natural vegetation. A sumptuous restaurant in the magnificent old market provides the ultimate satisfaction.

Arles:

Arles

Known as the Little Rome since the Roman colonial days, this neat countryside is just a few steps away from Avignon. Ancient Roman ruins form the main attraction, which includes a Roman Theater, a Roman bathhouse, the Elysian fields, and St. Trophime Church. You can enjoy a bullfight or any other show in the preserved Amphitheater d’Arles and get fascinated by the brilliant picturesque view of the Arles from the top.

Arles is popular for Van Gogh, whose artistic soul found solace in this sunny countryside. Art lovers would be delighted to walk down the Van Gogh trail and visit the yellow Van Gogh café and the hospital that sheltered him for some time.

Flavigny, Cote-d’Or, Bourgogne-Franche-Comte:

You may have difficulty in reading out the name, but the pleasant scenery will remind you of school day drawings of houses with perfect isosceles and equilateral triangle shaped roofs. It seems an artist’s immaculate drawing has set up this wonderful village.

Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp favored the undulations of this land to enhance their portrayal of on-screen characters. Two millennia ago, it was chosen by Julius Caesar as the base camp. Caesar, or maybe other Romans introduced anis plant in this land. Since then, anis-based sweets have been spreading their delicious aroma admired by the modern day travelers as well.

Tourist places in France where you will find classy exotic wines

tasting classy exotic wines

French wine is world famous and the French people have a great penchant for wine. It is a great idea to share their affinity for wine sipping and for having access to some of the world’s finest wines it is prudent to go for local French wineries.

You can see the harvest from vineries being pressed and brewed at the winery for you to have the awesome taste, perhaps with a slice of legendary French cheeses. Drop in a French vineyard with a signage reading “Degustation Gratuit”, meaning you have the option to taste for free and if the produce impresses you, you can buy it.

You can also find wine for sale on street markets, wine bars and in supermarkets. Whichever place you choose your pick, the quality and taste is globally unbeatable. Here we have some classy French tourist places with the most terrific wines on ready sale for you:

1. Bordeaux:

Bordeaux wine has a unique taste that conveys closeness of the place to the ocean and it is seasoned with a temperate climate. Most of the Bordeaux wines are a wonderful mix of Merlot (known for richness and depth) and Cabernet Sauvignon (for fruit and body).

The Medoc peninsula is dotted with luxury Châteaux which offer the premium grade Grand Cru wines. These brands are quite a hard option on your wallet. Among the lesser expensive ones, Margaux and St Julien wines are quite amazing.

2. Burgundy:

Burgundy wine

Corton Charlemagne or a red wine from Hospices des Beaune from Burgundy would provide you with some memorable drinking experience in France. The vineyards are set amid breath-taking landscape right across the spectacular valley of river Saone from Dijon in the north.

Here you come across Cote de Nuits (named after walnut trees). Just south of it is the Beaune region. From here right up to Macon you will find the awesome Pouilly Fuisse white wines. For preparing white wines the wineries use Chardonnay and for red wines, they use Pinot Noir. You have access to cheaper varieties of village wines like Volnay, St. Aubin, Puligny – Montrachet, and Chassagne – Montrachet for $20 only.  You would cherish the taste for the rest of your life.

3. Beaujolais:

The region lies South to Burgundy. This place is famous for Breville and Moulin a Vent wines which are quality wines produced from tasty Gamay grapes. The true worth of these wines is overshadowed by a bit of aggressive marketing hype and the campaign has given this region a flaunting image.

4. Explore the vineyards of Rhone Valley:

vineyards of Rhone Valley

Vineyards of Rhone Valley constitute an integral part of the history of French Wine evolution. Viticulture prospered in this region during the 14th century when seven Popes dwelled in Palais des Papes of the city creating the legendary Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines meaning Pope’s New Castle.

You can take a luxury river cruise to explore the incredible Roman ruins spread over the Rhone Valley. After all, it was the Romans who popularized the wine culture throughout the European continent.

5. Underground cellars of the great champagne houses in Reims and Epernay:

Just underneath the city of Reims lies a large labyrinth of chalk caves dating back to ancient times when Rome ruled most of Europe. These dark and cool underground cellars are where millions of bottles of Champagne are stored for aging.

The caves are worth an exploration. You have access to legendary champagne houses. There are famous champagne houses like Mumun, Piper Heidsieck, Pommery and Taittinger who take guests around for a wine tour.

6. Visit Lyons famed indoor food market:

Halle’s de Lyons food market

Halle’s de Lyons food market would stun you with the variety of gourmet delicacies on offer. Lyons is truly called the culinary capital of France. An assortment of food is put on display giving off lip-smacking aromas. Delicious exhibits include dried meat, fresh breads, vegetables, cheese and chocolates for you to shop. You can enjoy all of these along with a bottle or two of Burgundy that would not miss to buy.

7. Dinner at La Tour D’ Argent in Paris:

A centuries-old restaurant and definitely an exclusive one with a great inventory of hundreds of thousands of wine bottles in the cellar. You have an access to an incredible variety of wines at any given moment running into 15000 bottles. The food is terrific and from the dining room itself you have a breathtaking view of The Seine and the famous Notredam. The restaurant is famous for tasty pressed ducks raised in its own farm.

5 most beautiful chateaus in France

France is the beautiful largest country in Western Europe. One of the major destinations is the chateaus of the Loire valley. This is the world heritage site famous for the architectural heritage. The word Chateau is used for castles in French. The most chateaus are described in English as Country houses or palaces. There are thousands of Chateaus in france ranging from ruins to estates. Some of the famous visiting French chateaus located in the south of france and in the loire valley which is popular for renaissance style of architecture.

Chateau de Chaumont

Chateau de Chaumont

Chateau de Chaumont is a castle in Chaumont-sur-loire, loir-et-cher, france. It is found in the 10th century by Odo I. Later in 15th century it is rebuilt by Charles I d’Amboise. The name Chaumont is derived from the French words. The meaning of the word is “bald hill”. After a few decades, the wife of King Henry II, Catherine de Medici purchased Chaumont. She uses to get entertained by the numerous astrologers like Nostradamus. The castle passed through various owners over centuries and finally donated to the French government in the year 1938. Today it became a tourist center. Lot of tourists visits the place to see the beauty of Chaumont which consists of gardens, lavish stables and elegant interior. The Loire river views are the attracting part.

Chateau de Versailles

Chateau de Versailles is one of the most famous chateaus in France. It draws three million visitors annually. The beautiful palace was constructed in 1624 as a hunting lodge of King Louis xiii. Later it expanded to become the residence of the French royal family. The palace consists of many attractions like corridor lined with 17 mirrored arches. You can find a queens bed chamber where a hidden door is seen. Gardens designed in geometrical pattern of trees, pathways and flowers. Museum of the history of France was found in Versailles. There is a collection of sculpted, display painted, drawn and engraved images in the palace which shows the history of France since its inception. The museum occupies the wings of the palace.

Chateau de Chantilly

Chateau-de-Chantilly

Chateau de Chantilly is the historic chateau. It is located in the town of Chantilly of France. The site is comprises with two attached buildings Petit chateau and grand chateau. We can find here the finest collection of paintings in France. There is a library of the petit chateau contains 1300 manuscripts and 12500 printed volumes. Chantilly has a park which contains a French landscape garden with rich pavilions, cascade and rustic ersatz village. There is one more inspired thing is the living museum of the horse. This is most beautiful chateaus in France.

Chateau de Chambord

Chateau de Chambord is located in the Loire valley. It is well known for the French renaissance architecture. The building was constructed by King Francois I, which is never completed. During the time of Second World War some the art works from the Louvre and Compiegne was shifted to chateau de Chambord. This is now open to the public. The roof of the Chambord consists of eleven kinds of towers and three types of chimneys without symmetry. These are framed at the corners by the massive towers. There is an attractive moat and walled game reserve which surrounds the charmond with the wild boar and red deer. The castle consists of 440 rooms and 300 fireplaces. This is more attractive castle among all.

Chateau de Pierrefonds

Chateau de Pierrefonds

Chateau de Pierrefonds is mostly seen as a setting for many television shows. It is very fair tale castle. This is situated in the north of Paris near the forest of Compiegne.  Chateau de Pierrefonds consists of characteristics like defensive military architecture from the middle ages. Cardinal Richelieu, when its owner joined a political party opposing the king Louis XIII. Left razed by Richelieu’s troops, the castle remained in ruins for two centuries. After that the Napoleon interested to take on the project and wanted to restore it in the mid 1800s. He upgraded Pierrefonds into grand estate but the rooms were left unfurnished. The visitors still praising the when they view the drawbridge, towers, corridors, courtyard, chapel and embattlements.

Dr Prem Jagyasi and Team (C)

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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