Planning a picturesque escape to France

Aleta Fimbres 03/03/2015

The term “picturesque” is evocative by definition, meaning a place that is beautiful or attractive, particularly in a quaint or charming way. No matter what this conjures in your imagination, France is a destination that has it all: twisting cobbled streets, old stone mills with water wheels turning lazily as the river flows by, fairytale châteaux, vast swathes of sun-soaked vineyards, and sandy beaches stretching to a sparkling blue sea. From celebrity-studded St. Tropez and the French Riviera to the quintessential charm of Paris or the beautiful island sanctuary of Corsica, the diverse landscapes offer a never-ending feast for both the eyes and soul. France is the perfect destination for planning a picturesque vacation.

Areas to visit

The French Riviera

The Côte d’Azur, named for the deep blue color of the Mediterranean that sparkles in the bright sunlight all along this stretch of southern coast, has long been the idyllic getaway of the super-rich. This is the perfect location to escape from all of life’s stresses and relax in the sun, which shines year round. Spend a week lying on the pristine beaches, or walk the streets of the exclusive port towns and window shop at the classiest boutiques while admiring the graceful yachts lining the harbor. You may even spot a celebrity or two as you sit enjoying the famed French cuisine at a quaint waterside restaurant.

Paris

A trip to France could never be complete without visiting its romantic capital. The city is home to some of the world’s finest attractions, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Avenue des Champs-Elysées, and Arc de Triomphe, as well as a hundred cobbled streets abounding with cute cafés, smoky jazz clubs, beautiful boulangeries (that’s “bakers” to you and me), exclusive boutiques, and bustling markets. You would be forgiven for wanting to spend your time doing nothing but wander with camera in hand. With attractions ranging from world-class art museums, opera houses, and museums to Disneyland Paris, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Accommodations should be taken into account, and there are many family-friendly hotels for vacations with the kids, as well as boutique hotels in which a romantic couple can enjoy a truly charming Paris stay.

Corsica

Corsica is an island situated off the South coast of France, close to Italy. The wildlife and terrain on this small island are incredibly diverse, calling some to name it a mini-continent in its own right. National park covers most of the island, with more than 100 peaks and scenic trails for hiking and climbing. One of the most popular trails is the 125-mile GR20 trek that stretches right across the island. The warm, crystal-clear waters offer the perfect environment to try snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, or windsurfing. For the less adventurous at heart, Corsica is also home to some of the world’s best food, blending traditional French and Italian cuisines, while coastal drives on twisting mountain roads provide stunning views of the turquoise waters below. Traveling a little inland, you will see more than 300 rustic French villages dotting the countryside, preserving a sense of history just as though you have traveled back in time. Accommodations can be found in towns, with charming hotels in Corsica simply abounding.

Getting there

Flights to France are not hard to find online or in a travel agent’s office. You can often fly direct, and the best news is that a visa is not required for a stay of 90 days or less.

France is the perfect location to enjoy a family vacation, a romantic break, a hiking trip, or a gastronomic adventure. You are almost certain to fall in love with some aspect of this beautiful country steeped in history and culture. A trip to France will furnish memories you will treasure forever.

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