French Side Travel’s Client Favorite Destinations in 2022

French Side Travel clients traveled to all corners of France in an exciting 2022. Visitors experienced the best of various styles and types of travel including history and culture, romance, adventure, and gastronomy to name a few. Read on to discover French Side Travel’s client favorite destinations in 2022.


French Side Travel’s Client Favorite Destinations in 2022

Paris

paris notre dame view at sunset

Paris, the French capital, is renowned for its historical sights and monumental beauty. Year after year, Paris tops French Side Travel’s client favorite destinations list. The superb Haussmann style townhouses, grand avenues and boulevards, legendary museums, churches, and parks offer endless opportunities for excursions and visits.

In 2022, clients enjoyed exhilarating summits to the Eiffel Tower to take in the legendary views as well as Seine River cruises for a unique vantage point of the city. The Musée du Louvre and Château de Versailles topped lists for extraordinary historical sights.

Montmartre was a favorite area to explore. In addition to offering a great view over the entire city, it also is home to hidden small vineyards, narrow cobblestone streets and numerous romantic places. Wandering about the lively side streets and picturesque narrow alleys, you’ll discover the authentic Parisian ambiance and art de vivre.

Normandy

normandy french side travel's client favorite destinations in 2022

Normandy is a perennial favorite destination thanks to its proximity to Paris along with its fascinating history, fabulous foods, and two major attractions: Mont Saint-Michel and the World War II D-Day landing beaches and memorials.

The island and abbey of Mont Saint-Michel are some of the most visited, most photographed, and most easily recognized landmarks in France. Mont Saint-Michel is on the border of Normandy and Brittany, and is one of the leading tourist destinations in France and an important pilgrimage destination, with more than two million visitors each year. The abbey, known as La Merveille (The Marvel), was built between the 10th and the 16th centuries. Both Romanesque and Gothic style elements of architecture are on display, as well as far-reaching views across the bay.

North of Bayeux rest the iconic World War II D-Day landing beaches and memorials, where thousands of brave allied troops gave their lives to liberate France, and eventually Europe. Clients particularly enjoyed private guided tours to explore the moving sites that hosted the pivotal battles. Two especially powerful places of remembrance include the moving and solemn American cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer and the Pointe du Hoc, with largely untouched rugged cliffs and bomb craters, bunkers, and casements still visible.

Provence

les baux de provence

During the warmer months, the sun-drenched Provence tops many travelers’ lists of places to visit in France. This striking region located between sea and mountains continues to captivate with its striking history, connection to art, beauty, as well as unique regional foods and wines.

Clients especially enjoyed private guided tours of the Luberon Regional National Park. This UNESCO-listed 120,000-hectare nature reserve encompasses limestone mountains, rolling hills, serene valleys, orchards and farms. The picturesque villages of the Luberon are some of Provence’s most charming, unspoiled tourist destinations.

Nestled in the Alpilles mountains, Les Baux-de-Provence, one of the “most beautiful villages in France,” is a typical Provençal fortified hilltop village and offers great views of the plains, the Mediterranean Sea and the stunning rocky landscape of the Alpilles. Narrow cobbled streets wind car-free past ancient houses, up to splendid castle ruins sitting on top of a rocky outcrop above the village.

For wine lovers, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a must. The ruins of the Pope’s formal summer residence dominate a typical medieval village. A sea of blonde pebbles cover the vineyards. The 13 varieties of grapes combined with the various soils create a large palette of complex red wines and elegant white wines.

Where to Stay in Provence
le mas des herbes blanches

Le Mas des Herbes Blanches

This five-star property is a jewel set in the exceptional Luberon landscapes. It’s a refined base from which to explore the villages of Gordes, Roussillon, Bonnieux, Lacost, Goult and Ménerbes.

Provençal charm and old stone meets modern amenities. The 47 luxurious rooms and suites with terraces offering splendid views. Treat yourself in the two onsite restaurants and the bar. The Sothys spa boasts a heated indoor pool, Jacuzzi, fitness room, sauna, and more.

Côte d’Azur

cote d'azur french side travel's client favorite destinations in 2022

The glittering French Riviera, or Côte d’Azur, is a Mediterranean paradise. The Côte d’Azur blends glamour with a certain old-world charm only found in this area. Bask in the bright sun and soak in the superb turquoise waters along the sparkling coastline.

One of the most popular places to visit is the Medieval village of Èze, located on a rock 450 meters above sea level and surrounds the ruins of a 12th-century castle. This quaint little village has stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. Explore the labyrinth of cobble-stoned streets, lined with bougainvillea-wrapped houses, and with views down the steep hillside to the Mediterranean. Narrow, sloping streets and archways open out into hidden squares, fountains and quiet courtyards make this town idyllic.

Another gorgeous tour includes the Loup Valley perched villages. Villages are attached like balconies to the sides of the mountain, combining all the elements you would expect to find on a visit to the south of France: timeless beauty, local authenticity, French flavor, breathtaking panoramas, and the opportunity to forget about the modern world.

It would be impossible to mention the Côte d’Azur without mentioning Monaco. The Casino of Monte Carlo, the gardens, and the nearby Hotel de Paris are worth a visit where people flock to this mythical place. Explore its impressive architecture and grandiose rooms. Consider a pause at the Café de Paris’ terrace to watch the world pass by and indulge in a cold drink or an ice cream. Walk through the old city, by the cathedral and the palace. The changing of the guard at 11:55 am is a visitor favorite. Port Hercule gives off a James Bond feel with its resplendent yachts, the Grand Prix circuit, and the towering Oceanographic Museum.

Loire Valley

loire valley chateau

Known as the Garden of France, the Loire Valley is home to many of France’s most extraordinary châteaux and gardens. The region’s proximity to Paris makes it one of French Side Travel’s client favorite destinations in 2022. Visiting the Loire Valley can be done in a day trip from Paris. To fully enjoy all of the offerings it is recommended to spend a night or two in the region.

Along with seeing fabulous châteaux (you can find a list of French Side Travel favorites here), be sure to leave time for wine tasting and unique experiences like a hot air balloon ride over the châteaux, a cruise in a traditional boat down the Loire River and more.

Champagne

champagne french side travel's client favorite destinations in 2022

Just 45 minutes by train from Paris is the Champagne region, so it is of no surprise that it’s a French Side Travel client favorite destination in 2022. There are hundreds of Champagne producers in the region ranging from small family growers to prestigious houses like Dom Pérignon. Champagne is a perfect romantic escape for food and wine lovers looking to explore using all five senses. The charming villages, assortment of Champagne houses, as well as the fabulous ultra-luxurious accommodations in the region dazzle clients.

Where to Stay in Champagne
royal champagne hotel and spa

Royal Champagne Hôtel & Spa

In the heart of a vineyard, this former, recently refurbished coach house – one of Napoleon’s favorite stopovers – is the perfect base from which to explore the glorious Champagne wineries. All you need to do is visiting the wine cellar, which boasts no fewer than 220 exceptional brut and rosé vintages and crus. The best place to taste them is on the terrace overlooking the vines, which extend as far as the eye can see.

All the 47 luxurious rooms have magical Champagne views. The interiors take inspiration from the natural and cultural heritage of the region. Traditional materials are favorite to create a sleek and graphic mise-en-scene.

Vegetables are grown by the staff. Meat is delivered daily by farmers. All of this makes fine dining in the Michelin starred restaurant contemporary and exciting. Multi-course tasting menus or a la carte meals are paired with wines carefully selected by an expert sommelier.

Burgundy

burgundy vineyards

Eastern France’s Burgundy is a prime wine-growing country. This area was once covered by a large sea, leaving today’s vineyards with unusual mineral-rich limestone and unique terroir. Combined with the vineyards’ privileged location and a favorable climate, the area produces some of the world’s great wines. For true wine aficionados, there is nothing more exciting than a trip to Burgundy. Get up close and personal with Chablis, Côte de Nuits, Beaune, Mâcon, and Nuits-Saint-Georges AOCs to name a few.

But Burgundy is more than just wine. The region is also incredibly well-known for its food. Don’t miss Beaune, the capital of Burgundy, with its fabulous Wednesday and Saturday markets. The Hospices de Beaune with its stunning tiled roof is located just alongside the market. A cooking class in Burgundy is an incredible option for discovering some of the regional specialty foods.


We hope this list of French Side Travel’s client favorite destinations in 2022 help inspire a future trip. Our travel designers are standing by to create a tailor-made itinerary just for you. Some of our favorite destinations include Paris, Bordeaux, Normandy, and Southern France.

Winter in France: What to See and Do

While it may come as a surprise, one of the best times to visit France is during the winter months. You can experience the country with less crowds while still taking advantage of all of the rich cultural offerings. In fact, there are numerous food and wine and outdoor and adventure excursions only available in the cooler months. Read on to discover French Side Travel’s picks for what to see and do during the winter in France.


Winter in France: What to See and Do

Provence: Private Truffle Hunting and Tasting Tour

winter in france provence truffle hunting

From November until April, you’ll have the chance to explore the world’s most secretive and exciting business. Visit a Provençal truffle plantation where you’ll take a tour, learn about the cultivation of truffles as well as the training of truffle dogs. Afterwards, accompany trained hunters to hunt for France’s elusive “black gold.” You’ll soon know the difference between a real Provençal tuber melanosporum and its inferior Chinese counterparts as well as the process of cleaning, storing, and cooking truffles.

Truffles aren’t the only thing you’ll discover on the exciting tour. Along the way you’ll see wild herbs, vineyards, olive groves, and beehives.

Following the hunt, enjoy different hors d’oeuvres including truffle ice cream and truffle honey, a tasting of the plantation’s own truffle oils, truffle salts, and organic extra-virgin olive oils paired with Champagne. A wonderful winter in France foodie experience!

Where to Stay in Provence
villa saint ange provence

Villa Saint Ange

This 5-star hotel is unique in Aix-en-Provence. Housed in an 18th-century villa with expansive grounds, it is nevertheless within walking distance of the historic city center.

Rooms and suites are large with modern amenities and sophisticated décor.

The onsite restaurant offers a take on Mediterranean and Italian classes. Lunch on the large terrace is divine in warm weather. The bar serves creative cocktails inspired by artists like Picasso and Vasarely.

Guests can enjoy access to the spa, gym, heated swimming pool, terrace, and large garden.

Loire Valley: Exceptional Vintage Wine Tasting

loire valley wine tasting

With the Loire River, north meets south. Thanks to the mild climate and all the different “terroirs,” there is a wonderful diversity of wines: 50 appellations and PDO for 70,000 hectares of vineyards.

You will find a large choice among the refreshing, fruity and delicate rosés, reds that are both complex and easy drinking, and whites ranging from dry to sweet reds. There are also wonderful sparkling wines produced using the same method as Champagnes. The wines are all perfect for specific food pairings because most are made with a single grape variety.

Visit a domaine with an astonishing 10th century cellar, excavated in limestone. It contains very rare wines from exceptional years which date back to 1874. You will have the chance to take a tour of the cellar, during which some of the secrets of the winemaking will be revealed. During the tasting you’ll enjoy a variety of wines, including five exceptional vintage wines, paired with local charcuterie.

French Alps: After Hours Skiing

winter in france after hours skiing in courchevel

Have you ever dreamed of having the iconic French Alps slopes to yourself? With this unique winter in France experience, it’s completely possible. You’ll have the opportunity to continue skiing after the slopes are closed for the day. You’ll meet your expert guide at the top of Courchevel to have a drink and enjoy the sunset.

Then, once the sky is dark and everyone is at home, you’ll have the entire slope to yourself and experience after hours skiing at night. This is an excellent opportunity to take in the unique view of the lights of Courchevel from above!

Burgundy: Private Mulled Wine and Gingerbread Experience

burgundy wine and gingerbread

The wintertime is the best time to enjoy hot mulled wine. The best, of course, come from Burgundy! Tour Philippe le Bon, which is over 150 feet tall, provides an exceptional panoramic view of the city of Dijon and its surroundings. It’s an ideal, yet unexpected, place to enjoy a hot beverage.

After a climb to the top, you’ll be able to sip mulled wine paired with gingerbread, which is another specialty of Burgundy. During this unique experience you’ll have the Tour Philippe le Bon completely to yourself. A unique and romantic winter moment in France indeed.

Where to Stay in Burgundy
relais bernard loiseau

Le Relais Bernard Loiseau

This 5-star hotel is located in the Morvan regional natural park in the heart of Dijon. The 33 rooms and suites are organized on four levels, served by the emblematic oak stair tower. The rooms of the hotel are authentically furnished and have a heritage look blended with modern amenities and comforts.

The restaurant embodies the excellence and attachment to the land of Burgundy. The chef seeks to bring nature, specifically the Morvan, into the plate.

The spa has been multi-distinguished for the unique experience it offers to customers. It is composed of a multi-sensory space for an intense and diverse stimulation of the five senses along with another space conducive to relaxation and well-being.

Versailles: VIP Experience at the Château de Versailles

versailles vip experience

Experience one of the most popular landmarks in France without all of the crowds. During this unique private tour, a guide of the Palace will take you to discover the lesser-known gems of the amazing Château.

The Palace of Versailles holds genuine treasures that are unknown to most visitors – think secret passages, rooms, private apartments, bathrooms and other hidden places. Apartments belonging to kings, queens, mistresses and courtiers in this royal residence, a symbol of French absolutism and artistic and cultural influence, reveal everyday life in the Court and key events in the history of France.

After your tour, it’s only fitting to relive the sumptuous evenings of the King. From the menu to the waiters’ attire, from the setting to the tableware, everything comes together to make a dinner in the Ducasse salons at the Château de Versailles an experience. For this 12-course dinner, Alain Ducasse carried out careful research and took his inspiration from 18th century menus. Yet behind the ancient names you’ll discover a contemporary interpretation of the cuisine. Beyond dinner, it is a genuine experience.


Ready to see and do all of the fabulous offerings this winter in France? There’s still time to make it happen! Our travel designers are standing by and can help you book any of these activities and create the perfect fall itinerary in France. Some of our most popular fall destinations include Normandy, Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, and Southern France.

Christmas in France: Must-See Highlights by Region

The holiday season in France is something that every traveller should experience at least once. Starting in mid-November there is an unrivaled festive atmosphere that overtakes the country. Whether you’re coming to get some shopping done in Paris, visit the Christmas Markets in Strasbourg, or to see the Loire Valley châteaux decorated, there’s truly something extraordinary almost anywhere you go. We’re breaking down the Christmas in France must-see highlights down by region.


Christmas in France: Must-See Highlights by Region

Lyon: Fête des Lumières

lyon fete des lumieres 2022
Photo Courtesy of the City of Lyon

For four nights in December, a variety of different artists take over Lyon for the Fête des Lumières. You’ll be able to discover illuminations on buildings, streets, squares and parks throughout the city. The 2022 Fête des Lumieres runs from December 8th to 11th. You can find more information here.

Paris: Christmas Shopping

galeries lafayette paris christmas

There’s so much to do in the French capital during the holidays that we have an entire post about visiting Paris in the winter. One activity that brings a lot of seasonal highlights together is Christmas shopping. Whether you’re visiting the Grand Magasin department stores or one of the Christmas markets you’ll be sure to take in the festive decorations and lights, and you’ll be able to bring back gifts from Paris!

Île de France: Vaux-le-Vicomte

christmas in france vaux le vicomte
Photo by Yann Pirioux

While the Château de Versailles doesn’t decorate for Christmas, one stunning castle in the Paris region that does is Vaux-le-Vicomte. Visitors will discover illuminations in both the gardens and the château. Inside, decorations have a gourmet theme this year. Rooms will be scented with gingerbread and cinnamon. To complete the cozy atmosphere, fireplaces will be lit and carriage rides will be offered. This year the festivities go from November 19th until December 31st (closed on December 25th). Reservations are required.

vaux le vicomte christmas
Photo Courtesy of Vaux-le-Vicomte

Private Guided Christmas Tour of Vaux-le-Vicomte with Afternoon Tea or Cocktail in a Private Room

After the castle is closed to the public, discover the State Rooms and the private apartments in peace. Your private guide will recount the tales from the heyday of the estate; from its creation by Nicolas Fouquet, through its operation in the 18th and 19th century, until its opening to visitors in 1968 thanks to the current owners, the De Vogüe family.

Afterwards, enjoy an extraordinary moment of relaxation in the Salon Le Brun. There will be a monumental projection specially set up for you! An evening fit for a King and Queen!

Strasbourg: Christmas Market

strasbourg christmas market 2022

The Christmas Markets in and around Strasbourg are without a doubt a holiday must-see. With more than 300 market stalls, miles of garlands of light, the majestic Big Tree, and dazzling shows and concerts there is nothing quite like the Strasbourg Christmas Market. This year the market is open from November 25th until December 24th at 6:00 pm. The After-Christmas Village at Louise Weiss Square will be open until January 1st 2023.

Loire Valley: Christmas Châteaux

loire valley christmas 2022

The Loire Valley châteaux are marvelous year round (we’ve identified our ten favorites here). During the holidays, many of the châteaux are decorated both inside and out. From Saturday December 3rd through Monday January 2nd, seven of the largest châteaux in the Loire region are celebrating the spirit of the end-of-year festivities through exceptional tours and events. You’ll see Christmas trees, festive wreaths, and holiday tables dressed to the nines. It’s truly a wonderful time of the year in the Loire Valley and especially fun for families.

Normandy: Christmas Markets and Light Shows

christmas in normandy rouen christmas market
Photo Courtesy of Normandy Tourism

In a region known for gourmet specialties including hearty ciders and cheeses, it’s not difficult to imagine that Christmas is a lively time of year. You’ll find Christmas Markets in the most picturesque of places: at the foot of Mont Saint-Michel (dates to be announced), along the port of Honfleur (dates to be announced), and at the base of the Rouen Cathedral (from November 23rd to December 25th) to name a few.

Provence: Unique Traditions

christmas in provence
Photo Courtesy of Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur Tourisme

In Provence, there is a unique Christmas tradition to eat 13 desserts following the Christmas dinner: one for each Christ and his twelve apostles. Each of the desserts served varies a bit based on the region and particular family. Some common items include fougasse, the four beggars (almonds, raisins, dried figs and nuts), Cachat piquant, white and black nougat, calissons, pain d’épice, and of course, the Bûche de Noël.

You’ll also find Santons, little clay figurines in nativity scenes. The literal translation of Santon is ‘little saint.’ There’s an entire Foire aux Santons dedicated to these collectables in Marseille, this year from November 19th through December 31st.

Bordeaux: Christmas Markets in Wine Country

christmas in bordeaux
© Facebook / Marché de Noël de Bordeaux

In the heart of Bordeaux you’ll find the Christmas market back again this year from November 25th to December 25th. It’s a wonderful place to admire the decorations and also get some shopping done. For a more artisanal market, this year there is a special Christmas market in the heart of Saint-Émilion on December 10th and 11th.

Pas de Calais: Fête de la Dinde de Licques

fete de liques 2022

France can be known for being quirky. Perhaps one of the quirkiest Christmas festivals is the Licques Turkey Festival in the north of France. It’s named for the turkey, which is a popular item served on Christmas day in France, but you’ll also find all sorts of gourmet regional products. It’s the perfect opportunity to prepare your Christmas menu and stock up on wine, cheese, chocolate, Champagne, and of course turkey! This year the festival will be held on December 10th and 11th.

French Alps: Snow, Skiing, and Merriment

christmas in france megeve

The snowy alps make them the perfect setting to celebrate a memorable Christmas. Whether you’re in Courchevel or Val d’Isère, you’ll be enchanted by the special Christmas magic including parades throughout town, Santa hitting the slopes and more.

Winter in Courchevel: The Last Track After Hours Ski

You’ll have the opportunity to continue skiing after the slopes are closed for the end of the day. You’ll meet at the top of Courchevel to have a drink while you enjoy the sunset.

Then, once the sky is dark and everyone is at home, you’ll enjoy the entire slope for yourself and experience what skiing at night is like. An excellent opportunity to take in the view on the lights of Courchevel from the top!

Are you ready to spend the holidays in France? Our travel designers are standing by to create a tailor-made itinerary just for you. They can help to identify the perfect region for you to experience the must-see Christmas highlights in France.

Fall in France 2022: What to See and Do

Fall in France brings out some of the best of the country from the crisp weather and stunning fall colors to special seasonal foods and more. It truly is a wonderful time to visit and you can’t go wrong with almost any region. We’ve identified some of our top picks for what to see and do during fall in France in 2022.


Fall in France 2022: What to See and Do

Normandy: Authentic Cider and Cheese Tour

normandy cider cheese tour

Fall is a great time to discover Normandy with fewer crowds compared to the summertime. No trip to the region would be complete without at least a day spent tasting some of the gourmet regional specialties, namely ciders and cheeses.

The morning is dedicated to learning about Norman cheeses, in particular the famous Camembert de Normandie. Meet the last Camembert farmer in the village that gave it its name. You will taste the best products and see the cows and the production in detail. You will also discover the making of two other Normandy PDO cheeses: Pont l’Évêque and Livarot.

After stopping for a fabulous picnic lunch, you’ll be learning all about ciders: apple, pear, pommeau, and Calvados. You will see all the steps of the production in remarkable places. Learn about the traditional raw cider, the 50-year-aged Calvados, and more. This delicious day ends in one of the most beautiful villages in France with colorful half-timbered buildings and great shopping.

Where to Stay in Normandy
chateau d'audrieu

Château d’Audrieu

Gaiety and elegance are the two words that automatically spring to mind to describe this magnificent 5-star 18th-century château-hotel, a listed building set among exquisite French gardens and parkland.

Ever since becoming a hotel in 1976, Audrieu has been a fine example of good taste and the symbol of the French art of living. Period fireplaces and furniture give a personal touch to this ancestral home. Stay in one of its suites and rooms, some of them with original wainscoting, and enjoy a combination of luxury, space, and comfort.

Treat yourself to superb, innovative cuisine in the gastronomic restaurant. For your utmost pleasure, the hotel also features a design bar serving light dishes as well as salted or sweet “Croque en Bouches” to go with your drink, served inside or on the terrace.

Unwind in the hotel’s charming gardens or take a dip in the heated outdoor swimming pool. A charging station for electric cars is available at this property.

Paris: Colorful Modern Art Museums

fall in paris

While the trees in Paris are filled with beautiful colored leaves in the fall, rain can be common, especially further into the season. A great way to escape the rainy weather is with a museum visit. Classics like the Musée du Louvre and Musée d’Orsay are always wonderful options and are always ever-changing thanks to temporary exhibits. However, if you’ve had enough of the gray skies, consider the Centre Pompidou for colorful modern and contemporary art or the intimate and beautiful Musée Picasso in the heart of the Marais.

Burgundy: Fall Along The Wine Trails

fall in burgundy

For wine lovers, the Burgundy wine trails are a highlight no matter what time of year. The visits are especially spectacular drenched in the gorgeous fall colors. Our local wine expert guides will lead you through the renowned estates and surrounding scenery. A wonderful day can be spent exploring the Côte de Nuits vineyards.

The Côte de Nuits is known as the Champs-Élysées of Burgundy – the best of the best. For lovers of Pinot Noir, this is truly a paradise. While it is a small area, there are plenty of terroirs and an incredible variation of parcels and vines that make it renowned around the world. Along the Route des Grands Crus you will discover Morey-Saint-Denis, Gevrey-Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny, Gevrey-Chambertin, Clos de Vougeot, and Nuit Saint Georges. During this incredible day, you will taste 20 wines in total including 14 Premiers and Grands Crus – red and white wines and young and old vintages.

Loire Valley: A Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride

loire valley hot air balloon

For a unique perspective of the majestic Loire Valley châteaux, we recommend taking a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. Imagine floating above on a misty fall morning with gorgeous golden light touching the vineyards, forest, rivers, and châteaux below. The region is especially stunning with fall coloring. This fabulous experience ends with breakfast and you’ll have the rest of the day to continue exploring!

Bordeaux: Market Visit, Cooking Class, and Lunch

fall market foods france

Southwest France is a region known for fabulous fall foods including foie gras, truffles, and walnuts. During a private market visit, cooking class, and lunch in Bordeaux, you’ll have the opportunity to learn even more about and taste these delicious fall specialties. A chef will lead you on this experience that is both gourmet and a unique look into life in France.

Provence: Visit Chateauneuf-du-Pape with a Local Wine Expert

chateauneuf de pape

During the fall, you can take in the mesmerizing beauty of the historic Châteauneuf-du-Pape village and vineyards dressed in a layer of gold. Chateauneuf-du-Pape is famous for powerful, full-bodied red wines, made from the southern Rhône grape trio of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. Besides the golden leaves, you’ll find distinct lightly colored stones amongst the vines: a spectacular fall combination. Throughout the day your local wine expert guide will take you to meet with three winemakers. You’ll stop for lunch in a charming Provençal restaurant. Afterward, you will get the chance to make local confectioneries in copper cauldrons!

Where to Stay in Provence
hotel villa gallici

Villa Gallici

This intimate 5-star hotel in Aix-en-Provence is just a few minutes walk to the historic center. The elegant design is evocative of a bygone era with antique furniture, ornate woodwork, and fine textiles.

Rooms and suites are large, feature modern amenities, and offer a view over the garden. Some include a terrace.

Guests enjoy access to a spa and wellness area, a large garden, and an outdoor heated pool.

There is a gourmet restaurant onsite that combines Provençal classics with modern cuisine.


Ready to experience fall in France? There’s still time to make it this year! Our travel designers are standing by and can help you book any of these activities and create the perfect fall itinerary in France. Some of our most popular fall destinations include Normandy, Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, and Southern France.

Celebrating ‘La Fête Nationale’ 2022 in France

If you find yourself in France in mid-July, partaking in “the national celebration” is an absolute must. Whether you refer to it as 14 juillet, Bastille Day, or la Fête Nationale, you can be sure to expect festive parades, grand firework displays, and unique activities throughout the country. Read on to learn how to celebrate La Fête Nationale 2022 in France.


Celebrating La Fête Nationale 2022 in France

The History of La Fête Nationale

la fête nationale history

The French Fête Nationale marks the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789, a turning point in the French revolution. It also marks the Fête de la Fédération, which celebrates the unity of the French people on July 14th, 1790. Since 1880, July 14th has officially been the Fête Nationale. It symbolizes the end of the monarchy and the beginning of the French Republic. Celebrations are held throughout France. In major cities like Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux, and Toulouse, you’ll find military parades, games, shows and entertainment for the whole family. There are spectacular fireworks shows as well, especially in Paris at the Eiffel Tower.

La Fête Nationale 2022 in Paris

celebrating la fête nationale 2022 in paris

In Paris, celebrating La Fête Nationale is a full-day affair. The festivities begin in the morning, with the traditional military parade on the Avenue des Champs Elysées. Spectators, including the French president line the Avenue and crowds extend all the way to the Musée du Louvre. This location offers a perfect vantage point to watch the airplanes and helicopters fly above in a synchronized show.

In the evening, near the Eiffel Tower is the place to be. People gather to watch a concert starting at 9:15 pm. At 11:00 pm, the main attraction begins with a dazzling firework show that lasts approximately 30 minutes. There are lots of crowds, so arriving very early is advised. The fireworks can also be seen from places with a view of the Eiffel Tower and on television.

Where to Stay in Paris
maison albar le pont neuf

Maison Albar Le Pont-Neuf

Located right in the heart of the beautiful city of Paris, and a stone’s throw away from the Louvre Museum and the Notre Dame, this 5-star hotel is set in an ideal location.

Designed with luxury in mind, the rooms come with AC, television, a hairdryer, minibar, a coffee making machine, a safe, a desk or workplace and soundproofing.

The hotel’s restaurant serves gourmet cuisine using local and seasonal produce. The wine cellar of the hotel makes sure that the visitors are treated to the finest wines in the world. The hotel also has an indoor pool, spa, hammam and treatment rooms.

La Fête Nationale 2022 in Bordeaux

celebrating la fête nationale 2022 in france bordeaux

In Bordeaux there’s a lively and convivial atmosphere surrounding La Fête Nationale. Starting at 6:30 pm, enjoy a giant picnic set up along Quai Louis XIV. There will be live music, food trucks, and plenty of seating available. It’s the perfect place to take in the military parade going on at the same time. Then, at 10:30 pm the events will culminate with a firework show.

La Fête Nationale 2022 in Aix-en-Provence

fête nationale aix

Celebrate La Fête Nationale in Aix-en-Provence with a retro swing ball, the Ball du 14 Juillet. From 6:30 pm until 11:30 pm enjoy the festivities along the Cours Mirabeau. For the beginners there’s a swing dance demonstration to kick-off the evening, followed by hours of dancing. Afterwards, a large firework display will take place from the Place des Etats-Généraux.

Where to Stay in Aix-en-Provence
villa gallici aix en provence

La Villa Gallici

This intimate 5-star hotel in Aix-en-Provence is just a few minutes’ walk to the historic center. The elegant design is evocative of a bygone era with antique furniture, ornate woodwork, and fine textiles.

Rooms and suites are large, feature modern amenities, and offer a view over the garden. Some include a terrace.

Guests enjoy access to a spa and wellness area, a large garden, and an outdoor heated pool.

There is a gourmet restaurant onsite which combines Provençal classics with modern cuisine.

La Fête Nationale 2022 in Toulouse

celebrating la fête nationale in france toulouse

The 14 juillet festivities in Toulouse bring together the best of music and fireworks along the Garonne riverbanks. Local rising musicians start the evening with performances. Then, the NRJ Music Tour brings popular artists to perform. The highlight of the night is a coordinated sound and light firework show. Fireworks are shot off from rafts and barges int he middle of the river. It’s truly a fantastic scene!


Whether you’re celebrating La Fête Nationale in France in 2022 or in the future, we hope you’re inspired with ideas. French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process.

France from the Water: Cruises in Every Region

For a unique perspective of France, one of the best things to do is take in the scenery from the water. Read on to discover French Side Travel’s list of fabulous cruises in every region.


France from the Water: Cruises in Every Region

Full-Day Cruise Along the Côte d’Azur

cote d'azur cruise france from the water

Embark in Cannes for a fabulous full-day cruise along the Côte d’Azur. Here you will truly see the best of France from the water! Travel to Monaco where you’ll disembark and have time to enjoy. Discover the city, do some shopping, and enjoy a fabulous lunch in the port. After lunch, head towards Mala Bay for a relaxing afternoon swim in the crystal clear waters. Pass by the stunning Villefranche-sur-Mer bay with views of the port and colorful village. The special cruise will culminate with a view of the sun setting over Cannes.

Traditional Pinasse Boat Tour from Arcachon

arcachon cruise

Enjoy the highlights of the breathtaking Arcachon Bay on a traditional pinasse boat. Sail through the small channels, past oyster beds, picture-perfect beaches, l’Île aux Oiseaux (Bird Island), and Lège-Cap Ferret’s charming villages. While on board you’ll be able to sip champagne and enjoy a fabulous picnic of local dishes. It is sure to be a memorable day!

Where to Stay in Bordeaux
les sources de caudalie
Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Les Sources de Caudalie

Located between vineyards and forests, just 20 minutes from Bordeaux’s city center, this 5-star hotel was designed using recycled local materials to create a collection of state-of-the-art buildings that are perfectly in tune with the idyllic surroundings.

Each of the rooms boasts a unique decor, featuring antiques, collectible furniture, and fine draperies. Most of them have a terrace or a balcony with a beautiful view on the vineyards or on the lake.

Set in a former orangery, modeled on an ornamental, 18th-century glasshouse, the two Michelin-star restaurant invites you to savor the chef’s brilliant cuisine. On nice days, enjoy lunch or dinner in the sunshine, on the terrace overlooking the lake and the vine-covered slopes.

The spa offers unique treatments combining the virtues of natural hot spring water with the most recent scientific discoveries of the benefits of grapes and grapevines.

Private Champagne Cruise along the Marne River

champagne cruise france from the water

Experience the Champagne region differently: while sipping Champagne and cruising in a lovely wooden boat from the 1920s. Your local, knowledgeable skipper will take you along one of the great French rivers to meet France’s most celebrated wine. Travel from one village to the next as you discover a serene and peaceful way to see the vineyards from a different angle. There will of course be plenty of Champagne included with the cruise, but you will also get to enjoy a picnic with regional specialties.

Discover Cassis and the Calanques on a Luxury Boat with a Skipper  

calanques

Enjoy full-day aboard a luxury boat as your skipper takes you to see the fabulous Calanques National Park and Cassis. The Calanques are white limestone cliffs interspersed with secluded coves and beaches. The National Park stretches between Marseille and Cassis’s coastline and offers a playground for hiking, snorkeling, sunbathing, and, of course, sailing. Afterwards, discover the gorgeous Cassis port. Stop for lunch at a Michelin-starred restaurant with a breathtaking view over Cap Canaille. During the afternoon your skipper will show you the best places to snorkel and swim in the area!

Experience the Loire Valley’s Domaine de Noiré Vineyards with A Picnic and Boat Cruise

gabare cruise loire valley

This unique experience will truly immerse you in the best of the Loire Valley with fabulous scenery, an up-close look at a vineyard, a picnic with local products, and a cruise on a traditional boat. Start with a visit of Chinon before arriving at the Domaine de Noiré to get to know all of the work that goes into producing wine. You’ll take a carriage ride through the vineyards to reach a gastronomic, chef-prepared picnic along the banks of the Vienne River. After lunch, cruise the Vienne River and take in the unusual views from a traditional gabare boat.

Cruise on an a Traditional Sailboat from Cancale

france from the water cancale saint malo

Your expert local guide is a dyed-in-the-wool Breton passionate about sailing. He will take you aboard on his traditional Breton sail boat. The boat is one of the first copies of the legendary regional fishing boats that date back to the 18th century. Your captain is not only a skilled and certified sailing instructor, but is also passionate about Breton history. On this authentic and quite atypical cruise, discover an unusual look at France from the water. Take in the the regional heritage, listen to historical anecdotes, relive the 18th-century lives of fishermen, and observe the flora and fauna from the unique perspective off this magnificent bay. Cancale is the self-proclaimed oyster capital of France. You should not miss the occasion to treat yourself to a tasting paired with a fine glass of white at one of the many stalls on the harbor!

Where to Stay in Brittany
villa tri men

Villa Tri Men
This lovely 4-star property is surrounded by magnificent grounds, overlooking the estuary of the Odet river, next to Sainte-Marine port.

An elegant bourgeois house originally built in 1913 and transformed into a hotel in 2003, this villa offers decor to perfectly match its history. The villa was renovated in 2018, adding more charm and comfort to a place with so much character and history. There are 16 rooms and three cottages and a Michelin-starred restaurant, Les Trois Rochers.

Sainte-Marine is a small welcoming port between wild nature, magnificent beaches and local culture. It possesses a unique atmosphere that will make you come and come back.

The Ultimate Dinner Cruise in Paris

ducasse sur seine paris

Enjoy a unique six-course meal experience aboard the most prestigious boat on the Seine River, beloved chef Alain Ducasse’s Ducasse Sur Seine. Your table is reserved with the most beautiful view on the entire boat. Arrive early and enjoy a glass of Champagne on the deck of the boat overlooking the Eiffel Tower. Soon you’ll be off, quietly cruising along the Seine River in a 100% electric boat. Throughout the entire cruise you’ll delight in spectacular views over the most beautiful landmarks of the capital along the journey.

In-between courses take a moment to step outside on the deck of the boat and enjoy the amazing scenery as you pass by. You’ll see it all from the Musée d’Orsay, Musée du Louvre, and Notre Dame to the famous bridges of Paris, and of course the Eiffel Tower. True Parisian romance at its best, this exceptional cruise and experience is sure to be one you’ll never forget.


We hope we’ve inspired you see France from the water. Fabulous cruises await you in each region! French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

France by Bike

In the past, discovering France by bike used to be reserved only for the adventurous. Now, with the rising popularity of e-bikes, it’s possible for almost anyone to enjoy biking in France, families included. Read on to discover the best ways to experience the gorgeous scenery and culture in France by bike.


France by Bike

Discover Nice’s Fabulous Panoramic Views from an E-Bike

france by bike nice
Paul Foulonneau | 3SO L’Agence

This bike tour will bring you to Nice’s most beautiful viewpoints. It’s usually a place that’s difficult to reach, but thanks to your electric bike you’ll be able to easily climb to one of the most magnificent panoramic views along the Côte d’Azur.

The ride is not only filled with scenery, but will give you a wonderful overview of the city of Nice. Start the tour at the Port of Nice. You’ll then ride uphill on the “Castle Hill,” from where you can admire the beautiful views of the City and the Italian Alps. Next, pass by the lovely Place Masséna located just at the gates of the old town. Finish with Place Garibaldi before heading back to the port.

Provençal Charm Bike Tour with Wine and Olive Oil Tastings

provence bike

The day begins in the fabled town of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. The town is renowned for its most famous visitor: Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh spent the last year of his life in Saint-Rémy, tirelessly painting the countryside and completing some of his most important works.

After discovering Saint-Rémy, cycle along the base of the Alpilles mountains where the chiseled limestone cliffs meet vast olive groves. Stop for a tasting of some of the region’s most coveted olive oils. Rounding the mountains, you’ll pass the sleepy villages of Saint-Étienne and Fontvieille. The charming square in Fontvieille practically begs for a pause café. Afterwards, take seldom-used roads to climb through the heart of the Alpilles.

You’ll then reach the perched medieval village of Les Baux-de-Provence, listed among the most beautiful villages in France. Take the time to visit the village and enjoy a leisurely lunch before the real fun begins: enjoy a wine tasting at a small, family-run estate before cycling back to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence.

Where to Stay in Provence
villa gallici provence hotel

Villa Gallici

This intimate 5-star hotel in Aix-en-Provence is just a few minutes walk to the historic center. The elegant design is evocative of a bygone era with antique furniture, ornate woodwork, and fine textiles.

Rooms and suites are large, feature modern amenities, and offer a view over the garden. Some also include a terrace.

Guests can enjoy access to a spa and wellness area, a large garden, and an outdoor heated pool. There is also a gourmet restaurant onsite, which combines Provençal classics with modern cuisine.

Private Guided Bike Tour Along the Banks of the Seine River in Paris

france by bike paris

Take in the most iconic sights of the French capital while cruising along the banks of the Seine River, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Starting on the Rive Droite (Right Bank) of the Seine. Cross the Pont Notre-Dame to kick off this adventure and discover Paris’ winding history. From Notre Dame Cathedral to the Eiffel Tower and from the Palais de Chaillot to the Musée du Louvre – you will enjoy the most beautiful perspectives that the city has to offer.

During the tour, your professional guide will point out the prestigious monuments and multiple treasures of Paris. Discover fascinating facts and trivia about the beautiful old streets, monuments, and people. There will be plenty of opportunities to take photographs along the way.

Full-Day of History and Wine in Saint-Émilion

saint emilion bike tour

The day begins with a guided walking tour through the charming UNESCO World Heritage classified village of Saint-Émilion, which dates from the Middle Ages. You’ll discover much of its fascinating history. Then, it’ll be time to start pedaling to the first château: a beautiful and charming family-run estate located in the heart of Saint-Émilion vineyards.

After a delightful lunch, visit the vat house and cellar where you will discover the traditional way of making wine. Afterwards, you’ll take an easy ride through the beautiful vineyards and see prestigious properties such as Château Pétrus or Château Cheval Blanc – regarded among the best wineries in Bordeaux. Stop for a visit and tasting at a Classified Growth château on the edge of Saint-Émilion to learn more about the winemaking process from grape to bottle. Enjoy a final tasting to finish off the day.

Discover the Châteaux, Wine, and Scenery of the Loire Valley by Bike

loire valley bike tour

Discover some of the most incredible châteaux in France by bike. Visit the Château de Villandry, one of the last châteaux built during the Renaissance period, where you will see one of the finest examples of Renaissance garden design in all of France. Afterwards, bike along the banks of the Loire River to an old fisherman’s village. Stop for a picnic lunch on the riverside, complete with local delicacies and wine.

Next, play amateur photographer in Rigny-Ussé where you can admire the exceptional exterior architecture of the Renaissance castle. The view of the château from the bridge over the Indre is quite simply stunning. At the end of the day, stop in one of the vineyards in Vouvray to visit a cellar and taste the delicious local sparkling wine of the Loire terroir.

Biking and Kayaking in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

isle sur la sorgue

L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, the antique capital of Provence, is also known as the Provençal Venice. Its quays are lined with ancient waterwheels, and the whole village is set on a tiny island surrounded by the emerald waters of the Sorgue River. After taking in the town’s picturesque streets, ride into the heart of the countryside. Quickly the town gives way to farmland: ancient farmhouses are surrounded by apple and pear orchards. You’ll be completely off the beaten-path. The guide will lead you through small and flat country roads with very little traffic.

Stop for lunch at a restaurant in Fontaine de Vaucluse, a pretty village centered around a beautiful greenish-blue pool water from the Sorgue River. After lunch, ride to Lagnes where you’ll descend the clear emerald colored Sorgue River by canoe before returning back at L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue. 

Where to Stay in Burgundy
hotel le cep burgundy

Hôtel Le Cep

Ideally situated in the heart of medieval Beaune, just minutes away from the famous Hospices de Beaune and the Notre-Dame Basilica, this 5-star hotel is a genuine institution. The hotel owes its charm to the merging of two private mansions and their historical 16th century courtyards.

The 62 rooms, of which 32 are suites, are all decorated with antiques collected throughout the years and each room is named after a Burgundian village or Grand Cru wine.

The restaurant proposes a cuisine that is mainly influenced by the region as well as traditional dishes from Burgundy that are revisited by the Chef. The setting is heartwarming, refined and the decor contemporary.

At the end of the day, guests can settle down to enjoy a drink or regional Cru. In the winter, enjoy the comfortable atmosphere whilst sipping a glass of wine in front of the fireplace, and in the summer relax in the sun-bathed 16th century courtyard. The hotel’s luxurious spa offers a wide range of treatments and massages.

Full-Day Private Wine and Bike Tour in Burgundy

burgundy biking

Discover the terroir and vineyards of the Côte de Beaune in Burgundy by bike. You’ll pedal through the vineyards and experience the wine and terroir of the region. Cycle through some of the most prestigious vineyards in the world while admiring the authentic and traditional landscapes. Between châteaux, estates, and vineyards you’ll absorb plenty of history and culture thanks to your wine and cycling professional guide.

Start the day with a visit and tasting at Château de Chassagne-Montrachet. Next, bike to Puligny-Montrachet for lunch at a traditional restaurant, or enjoy a picnic outside weather permitting. Afterwards, continue your journey back to Beaune with a stop at Pommard for another tasting. Throughout the day you’ll see some of the most beautiful landscapes and villages in Burgundy such as Pommard, Volnay, Meursault, Chassagne-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet and more.


We hope we’ve inspired you to discover France by bike. French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

The Ultimate Foodie Experiences in France: Part Two

A wonderful way to get a look into life in France is by visiting local food markets. French Side Travel has a fabulous network of expert guides and professional chefs to show you the best of the each market along with regional and seasonal specialties. Read on to discover part two of the ultimate foodie experiences in France.


The Ultimate Foodie Experiences in France: Part Two

Marseille: Gourmet Walking Tour

marseille market

Savor Marseille’s unique culinary delights on a fabulous gourmet walking tour. The bustling port city is 2,600 years old, so it’s had a lot of time to develop a fascinating history, culture, and food traditions.

The walking tour starts in the emblematic Vieux Port. See the vibrant fish market before exploring hidden treasures in the Noailles. The neighborhood is a true melting pot of cultures and languages. Its lively and colorful market offers a diversity of food for every taste. Sample Provençal and Mediterranean specialties. Panisse, a chickpea flour fritter, and pastis, an anise-flavored spirit, are two local favorites.

After, head to Le Panier, France’s oldest neighborhood. Hidden gems, street art, and artisanal food shops fill the narrow pedestrian streets. Your guide will introduce you to its important sites, artisans’ workshops, and local specialities. Stop for a pastis aperitif and learn about its production. The tour ends with a tasting of local wines.

Nice: Market Tour, Cooking Class and Lunch

nice ultimate foodie experiences in france

Start your day at the famous Cours Saleya market. The narrow maze of centuries-old streets in Vieux Nice opens up onto this splendid market space lined with bars, cafés, and restaurants on either side, with market stalls down the center. You will get to shop like a true Niçois, sample locally-grown produce, and meet the farmers.

Though the bigger stalls are the most eye-catching thanks to their bright colors, what is really interesting are the small producers’ stands. The fruit and vegetables are not as uniformly shaped, but every ingredient is local and much of the produce is organic. Choose a menu focused around the best seasonal produce. Of course, there will be cheese and wine to make the meal complete!

After the market visit, it’s time to head to the cooking studio where you will help prepare the meal. No need to worry if you are a beginner – the atmosphere is relaxed! After cooking, sit down to an authentic Niçois meal and toast your efforts with a glass of local wine. This experience will truly give you a hands-on introduction to Nice’s cuisine and culture.

Where to Stay in Nice
hotel negresco nice

Hotel Negresco

This famous 5-star property has overlooked one of the French Riviera’s most beautiful bays for a century. Unique and timeless, it is one of the most elegant hotels in Europe, and it has been classified as a historical monument. Facing the Mediterranean Sea on the famous Promenade des Anglais, the hotel is just a few minutes’ walk from Nice’s historical center.

The hotel has attracted a veritable “who’s who” of international clientele, kings of the old and the new world, and many of the world’s rich and famous have signed the guest book: Salvador Dali, Princess Grace of Monaco, the Beatles, Louis Armstrong, and Elton John. Jeanne Augier, the owner of the Palace since 1957, has devoted her life to the preservation and the development of this unique heritage. Staying at this hotel is stepping into French history and culture.

The perfect combination of historic and contemporary is the property’s trademark. Equipped and personalized with exceptional period furniture, each one of the 128 rooms and 26 suites draws its inspiration from the most remarkable French art periods from Louis XIII style to modern art.

Have your breakfast under the copolla imagined by Gustave Eiffel, have lunch in the Rotonde restaurant surrounded by white horses and have dinner at the Chantecler, the Michelin star restaurant. And inbetween, why not having a drink at the warm and welcoming bar.

Lyon: Private Full-Day Cooking Class with Lunch to Discover French Gastronomy

lyon cooking class

Any list of ultimate foodie experiences in France has to include Lyon! Begin your day with a delicious breakfast at a gourmet cooking school in Lyon. After breakfast, visit Les Halles Paul Bocuse, which contributes to the internationally renowned gastronomy in Lyon. You will receive a kitchen kit consisting of an “Institut Paul Bocuse” apron, Opinel knives, and a recipe booklet. A chef and a kitchen will be privatized and dedicated to your group. Prepare a starter and a main course while receiving expert advice and tips from the chef.

Sit down for lunch and enjoy the dishes you prepared including a dessert from the pastry chef, wine, and coffee.

Paris: Private Tour of the Best Foodie Shops in Paris

pierre herme ultimate foodie experiences in france

This gourmet guided tour in Paris is an excellent opportunity to discover the history of French food as well as spotlight French chefs. Your food expert guide will share with you this savoir-faire that has forever defined French gastronomy.

Discover the best pastries in Paris and the latest trends in pastries with chefs like Pierre Hermé, Christophe Michalak, Thierry Marx and Philippe Conticini. Of course, you will get to sample their “signature” recipes, which are a mix between culinary tradition and innovation.

During this food-centric walking tour, you will enter in some Meilleurs Ouvriers de France’s shops, a title which since 1924 has been awarded to the best French craftsmen including butchers, bakers, ice cream makers, chocolate makers, confectioners, cheesemakers and fishmongers.

Provence: Luberon Villages and Markets Tour

provence market ultimate foodie experiences in france

Explore the Luberon’s charming markets and villages and enjoy an authentic Provençal market experience. The market schedule changes based on the day of the week, but you can expect the itinerary to include a combination of the best sites and villages like Gordes, Roussillon, Lourmarin, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, the Abbey of Sénanque, and Apt. 

The area is stunning. Take in Rousillon’s vibrant ochre-colored homes, the lavender fields in Senanque in June and July, Gordes’ medieval streets, and L’Isle-Sur-la-Sorgue’s gentle canals. Of course, this tour will also engage all of your senses and include wonderful tastings of local specialties.

Market days are as follows: Gordes on Tuesdays, Roussillon on Thursdays, Lourmarin on Fridays, Apt on Saturdays, L’Isle-Sur-la-Sorgue on Sundays.

Where to Stay in Provence
château la coste provence

Hotel Villa La Coste

Situated halfway between the historic town of Aix-en-Provence, home of Cezanne, and the famous Luberon Nature Park, this Palace hotel is set in the midst of the Provençal landscape, in the heart of a biodynamic vineyard. It is an international destination for art, architecture, and natural beauty.

The property features 28 Villa Suites, surrounded by gardens, herbs and flowers and each opening onto a spacious terrace offering expansive views over vines and valley. The hotel’s contemporary architecture is emphasized by local materials and embraces the natural setting.

The close-to-nature philosophy runs through in each of the four contrasting restaurants, all of which feature organic produce.

The Spa with its clean lines, natural stones and light wood convey contemporary elegance in keeping with the spirit of the property. 100% natural treatments featuring regional ingredients: oils from Provençal plants and flowers, mineral salts, clays and more are used.


We hope part two of the list of ultimate foodie experiences in France helps to inspire future travel. Click here to read part one. French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

The Ultimate Foodie Experiences in France: Part One

A wonderful way to get a look into life in France is by visiting local food markets. French Side Travel has a fabulous network of expert guides and professional chefs to show you the best of the each market along with regional and seasonal specialties. Read on to discover part one of the ultimate foodie experiences in France.


The Ultimate Foodie Experiences in France: Part One

Aix-en-Provence: Private Market Tour and Cooking Class

provence market olives

Immerse yourself into the Provençal way of life and spend a half a day shopping, cooking, and eating like a real Aixois. Aix-en-Provence has a rich history filled with numerous traditional foods. You’ll start your day learning more about this history. Then, you’ll head to the market held in a 700-year-old square where you’ll meet local producers and sample their varied specialties. 

Learn how to choose the best produce before heading to a cooking school in the old town. With the assistance of the head chef, you’ll transform fresh, seasonal ingredients into a tasty three-course meal. You’ll learn about traditional Provençal recipes and infuse them with a modern flair. Simplicity, flavor, and fresh ingredients are the keys to family-style cooking in France. After the cooking is done, you’ll gather around the table with local wines to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Avignon: Private Market Tour, Cooking Class, and Wine Tour

goat cheeses in provence

Start the morning by meeting your local chef in front of Marché Les Halles, a covered market filled with fresh and colorful foods. It’s a favorite place to shop for both locals and chefs alike. Together, you’ll choose the best products to use during your cooking lesson with a focus on local and seasonal foods. Since you and the chef will design the meal together, you’ll also create recipe cards during the cooking lesson.

When the cooking is finished, enjoy an apéritif. You’ll learn interesting tricks and tidbits on food and wine pairings. You’ll sit down and enjoy lunch with the chef where you’ll have interesting and informal discussions about your experience and culture in France. After lunch, you’ll depart for an afternoon wine tour. In each cellar you visit you’ll discover the history of the estate. The owners will welcome you personally and lead you on a visit of the winery with explanations about the harvest.

Where to Stay in Bordeaux
yndo hotel bordeaux

Yndo Hotel

The beautiful 5-star hotel was formerly a private 19th-century mansion. The decor expertly blends late 19th-century sophistication think moldings, ceiling rosettes, and ceiling heights – with modern flourishes. Located in the heart of historic Bordeaux, by the Place Gambetta and Cours de l’Intendance, the hotel is a perfect base from which to explore.

Each room has its own identity with customized decoration. However, two constant characteristics should be highlighted – an element of understatement to create a calming atmosphere and specially crafted furniture. Everything has been thought out down to the last detail.

The inner courtyard is a relaxing place to enjoy breakfast or an aperitif under a splendid magnolia. Hotel guests will have exclusive access to the restaurant. Discover a selection of top-quality seasonal products to delight your taste buds. Everything served is made in-house.

Bordeaux: Gourmet Walk and Cooking Class with a Professional Chef

the ultimate market experiences in france bordeaux

The city of Bordeaux is best explored on foot, and our favorite tours always include food and wine. A professional chef will be your guide for this gourmet experience. You’ll start with a walk around Bordeaux where the chef will lead you to his favorite market. Discover an abundance of local specialties from Southwest France.

Take your pick among the fabulous foods to select your ingredients. You’ll then return to the cooking school for a class with lunch to follow. The chef will help you learn and master both simple and more complex French cooking techniques. Throughout the preparation of your starter, main course, and dessert you’ll get a fabulous overview of French cuisine. After enjoying an apéritif you’ll sit down to enjoy your meal, paired with local Bordeaux wines of course.

Burgundy: Gourmet Food and Wine Tour

burgundy wine tasting

Spend a full day discovering the various specialties of Burgundian cuisine and wines during the ultimate gourmet tour. You’ll taste it all including charcuterie, cheeses, macarons, chocolates, breads, pastries, and more. Depending on the season and on which day you visit, your expert guide will select a market to visit. It could be a local market in a village next to the vineyards, in Beaune, or the famous Halles de Dijon. In each place you’ll be sure to meet local producers and farmers.

Throughout the day, sample fabulous regional products including truffles, jambon persillé, gingerbread, cassis from Dijon, anise candies, chocolates, pastries, and, bien sûr, the famous Dijon mustard. The afternoon will be spent traveling through the legendary Côte de Nuits or Côte de Beaune vineyards. You’ll also see châteaux, former abbeys, Romanesque churches, and charming villages on the Grands Crus Road.

The best of the day will be saved for last. You’ll stop in a traditional cellar for a comparative Burgundy wine tasting including white and red wines and Premier Crus and Grand Crus. Your guide will show you how to pair the local products selected during the day with the wines.

Paris: Aligre Market and Montmartre Gourmet Walking Tour

paris market

You will have the opportunity to discover two of the most famous places for food in the City of Light. Your local expert guide will take you to the bustling and vibrant Aligre market, which has both indoor and outdoor components. You’ll experience an absolute explosion of colors and flavors. You’ll quickly see why it’s regarded as a foodie paradise. Take a moment to recharge with a coffee break à la française before continuing your visit to all the best food shops in the area, where you’ll of course enjoy tastings!

Your next stop will be Montmartre to discover more incredible food shops. You’ll visit the best boulangeries, pâtisseries, and specialty shops. Your guide will also point out historic and delicious restaurants, the famous Montmartre vineyards, and two mills. You’ll finish the tour at the base of Sacré Coeur, where you’ll be in a prime position to continue exploring Montmartre. Your guide will be happy to give you some more tips to make the most out of the rest of your day!

Where to Stay in Paris
relais christine paris

Relais Christine

This 5-star hotel was a former 16th century home in the heart of the Left Bank, built on the remains of a 13th century abbey. This delightful and discreetly luxurious boutique hotel has managed to preserve the intimacy of the private residence it once was.

Between its flowered courtyard and private garden, it is a haven of peace. It’s perfectly located in Saint-Germain next to many restaurants, boutiques and galleries.

On one or two levels, each of the 48 rooms and suites offers a unique atmosphere and is decorated with rich fabrics, some with original wooden beams, some with a more contemporary touch. Two rooms and two suites share a unique private garden.
Many options for families with various connecting options and single units for four people.

Each morning, the stunning vaulted breakfast room offers a rich buffet. To have a drink and unwind in front of the fireplace, try the lounge and its honor bar. Room service is available 24/7. Let the hotel pamper you in the Spa offering sauna, jacuzzi, treatments by Carita or keep in shape in the one of-its-kind vaulted fitness room.


We hope part one of the list of ultimate market experiences in France helps to inspire future travel. French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

The Most Beautiful Beaches in France

With the arrival of summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to plan a beach getaway. The French coastline is sprinkled with fabulous beaches: some in iconic locations like along the Côte d’Azur and others in more unexpected places like Normandy and Brittany. Read on to discover French Side Travel’s list of the most beautiful beaches in France.


The Most Beautiful Beaches in France

Plage du Plat Gousset

granville beach landen kerr

Known as the “Monaco of the North,” most visits to the Normandy town of Granville start with the beach. The Plage du Plat Gousset is a long beach with crystal clear turquoise waters on a clear day. You might actually mistake it for the South of France! At the end of the beach, climb the staircase that leads to the gardens of the villa Les Rhumbs. The Belle Epoque clifftop villa overlooks the sea and was Christian Dior’s childhood home. It is now a museum that bears his name.

Côte d’Émeraude

emerald coast most beautiful beaches in france

The Côte d’Émeraude (Emerald Coast) falls into two departments of Brittany: Ille-et-Vilaine and Côtes-d’Armor. It takes its name from the emerald color of the sea under certain conditions. Here you’ll find some of the most dramatic and strikingly beautiful coastlines in all of France dotted with charming villages and wonderful small beaches. While there are too many beaches to mention individually, you are guaranteed to discover something delightful.

Archipel des Glénan

glenan archipelago

The Archipel des Glénan is accessible by boat just off the southern coast of Finistère. With gorgeous white sand and transparent water, it might be hard to believe that these magnificent islands are in Brittany rather than the Maldives! The archipelago is classified as a Picturesque Natural Site. Feel free to spend your day swimming, snorkeling, relaxing, and simply taking in the surrounding beauty!

Beach Hotels in Brittany
domaine de rochevilaine

Domaine de Rochevilaine

A visit to this stunning hotel is a deeply moving experience. It will surprise and leave you in wonderment. The location of this hotel is at a rare site: a rocky peninsula over one hectare in size, including a 300 meter private marine façade.

Architectural buildings steeped in history are dotted around the gardens. A monumental thirteenth-century porch opens out onto a group of historic dwellings amidst a sea of flowers. Standing at the water’s edge, with your eyes fixed on the horizon, the time has no hold on you.

37 rooms and suites all offer stunning views. The Spa of the hotel with a dedicated 14 000 ft² devoted to your wellness will truly pamper all your needs. To top it all, the gourmet restaurant will cater to all your taste buds.

Côte de Granite Rose

pink granite coast most beautiful beaches in france

The Côte de Granite Rose in Brittany is famous for its romantically-colored pink rocks. This sculpted shoreline and colorful landscape is a paradise for birds and walkers alike. All along the coast you’ll find small coves filled with white sand and turquoise water sheltered by pines, wild natural landscapes, and the famous GR 34 trail.

Biarritz

biarritz most beautiful beaches in france

Despite its small size, Biarritz has some of the most beautiful beaches in France. For surfers and water sports enthusiasts, it really is a paradise. There are six beaches in Biarritz. A few of our favorites include the Grand Plage, Plage du Vieux, and the Plage de la Côte des Basques. Thanks to its strong waves, the Grand Plage is considered to be one of the best surfing beaches in the world. The Plage du Vieux is a small, sheltered beach on the Old Port of Biarritz. With its calm waters, it is a popular seaside resort for locals and is also perfect for families with children. The Plage de la Côte des Basques is very popular with locals for swimming, with surfers, and celebrities alike.

Porquerolles

plage notre dame most beautiful beaches in france

Porquerolles off the coast of Hyères is a true paradise. Azure blue sky and water, picturesque creeks and bays, and fine sandy beaches are surrounded by charming Provençal scrubland. Plage Notre Dame is the most popular beach on the island. It’s the perfect place to soak up the sun, scenery, and breathtaking surrounding nature.

Beach Hotels in Saint-Tropez
jardin tropezina

Château de la Messardière

This nineteenth-century chateau is a majestic much-loved 5-star palace hotel perched on a hilltop on the outskirts of Saint-Tropez, between the village and the famous Pampelonne beach. The property, with its trademark domed cupolas and turrets, has undergone extensive renovation over the last two years and is reopened since the beginning of the summer season of 2021.

Following the renovation of some rooms, the hotel has reduced its room count to 103 rooms and suites, each with their own private terrace. And has created two signatures’ suites boasting over 50sqm of living space and one Duplex Villa with three bedrooms and a private swimming pool ideal for families.

This hotel also offers wellness Valmont Spa, yoga platform, two tennis courts, two restaurants, a bar as well as a beach club.

Plage de Pampelonne

plage de pampelonne

The iconic Pampelonne Beach is perhaps the crown jewel of beaches in Saint-Tropez. Approximately three miles of fine, white sand borders the Mediterranean Sea in Ramatuelle. Pampelonne Beach is also home to some of the most famous beach clubs in France. During the summer, undoubtedly one of the most glamorous places to be in France is at a beach club for lunch on Pampelonne Beach.

Villefranche-sur-Mer

villefranche sur mer most beautiful beaches in france

The picturesque harbor and setting of Villefranche-sur-Mer are a highlight of exploring this part of the Côte d’Azur. The town, built on terraces up a steep hill, overlooks Cap Ferrat and the azure blue sea of the Mediterranean below. The port is predominantly now a pleasure port, but a small fishing fleet does still operate. The harbor is a popular and bustling part of the town with many bars and restaurants along the waterfront and in the small square. The main beach is to the east of the town center and a wonderful place to spend the day. The best view across Villefranche-sur-Mer and the harbor is from the corniche road above the far end of the beach, ideally seen in the morning when the sun is on the front of the buildings.

Saint-Florent

saint florent corsica

During the summer, Saint-Florent springs to life as a bustling, rather upscale holiday destination. Described as a Corsican Saint-Tropez, it attracts visitors with a string of restaurants, a marina full of pleasure boats, and beaches. The nearest beach is Plage de la Roya, a fine sandy beach with a lovely view of Saint-Florent and the Cap Corse. If you want to avoid the hustle and bustle, take a boat to discover the more remote beaches: Plage de Saleccia with its fine sand and crystal-clear water, or the Plage Loto.

Porto-Vecchio

porto vecchio corsica
Copyright: ©Eva Bocek – stock.adobe.com

The old fishing town of Porto Vecchio (old port) is located on the southern part of Corsica. Hidden behind a mountain and therefore not visible from the sea, Porto Vecchio has never shown the typical signs of a Genoese settlement. Take a stroll along the old port, and immerse yourself in the Corsican ambiance on one of the many café or restaurant terraces. Nature lovers may want to hike through the nearby woodland of Ospedale. If you want to relax on one of the many spectacular beaches, you’ll be spoilt for choice!


We hope this list of our the most beautiful beaches in France helps inspire future travel. French Side Travel would love to help you plan a dream trip to France with a custom, completely tailor-made itinerary. Some of our favorite destinations in France include Paris, the South of France, Normandy, and Paris. Get in touch with a travel designer today to start the planning process!

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