Southern France Archives -

Love in Every Corner: Top Five Romantic Hotels in France

Discover the most romantic hotels in France with the expertise of French Side Travel. From Paris to Provence and everything in between. Embark on a journey through the enchanting landscapes and iconic cities of France, where timeless romance meets unparalleled luxury. Our curated selection of hotels and unique experiences invite you to indulge in a romantic escape. Let these exquisite destinations set the stage for an unforgettable stay in the land of love.


Paris

Château des Fleurs

Within a stone’s throw of the Arc de Triomphe, Château des Fleurs stands as a beacon of intimate luxury. This enchanting haven pays homage to the refined merriment of 19th-century Parisian celebrations and the joie de vivre of the Belle Époque. What sets this romantic retreat apart is its unrivaled proximity to the famed Champs Elysées. As you step inside, the red accents and curated decor create an ambiance of romance, providing an idyllic backdrop for your stay in Paris. Immerse yourself in the timeless allure of Château des Fleurs, where every moment is a celebration of love and luxury.

Courtesy of Château des Fleurs

Private Seine River Cruise

Enhance your romantic escapade in Paris by reserving an exclusive private Seine River Cruise. Picture yourselves gliding along the Seine at sunset, passing by iconic landmarks as the city gradually illuminates. This tailor-made cruise down the world-renowned Seine River promises a uniquely intimate experience. Seated in the plush leather banquette, surrounded by tinted windows to ensure your privacy, you’ll embark on a journey through the heart of Paris. The cruise encompasses the historical center, featuring landmarks like Notre Dame, the Louvre Museum, and the Eiffel Tower. A bottle of champagne accompanies this enchanting voyage, transforming your evening into an unforgettable and magical moment. Allow French Side Travel to add an extra layer of romance to your stay at Château des Fleurs.


Champagne

Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa

Amidst the picturesque vineyards of Champillon, the Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa stands as a testament to refined romance. This luxurious haven offers an enchanting retreat for couples seeking an idyllic escape. Surrounded by rolling vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see, the hotel boasts a stunning location that captures the essence of the Champagne region. The Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa harmoniously blends charm with elegance, providing an intimate setting for a truly romantic experience. Don’t miss the chance to unwind and pamper yourselves at the hotel’s amazing spa, enhancing your romantic escape.

Courtesy of Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa

Candlelit Dinner in a Vineyard

Experience the romance of a private candlelit dinner amidst the vineyards of Champagne. This unique and intimate encounter, curated by French Side Travel, offers a rare opportunity to indulge in the beauty of the French countryside. As the sun sets, casting a warm glow over the rolling vineyards, embark on a culinary journey like no other. Begin with an introduction to the vineyards, savoring the aroma of the terroir and the gentle rustle of grapevines in the evening breeze. Your private chef will then craft a four-course culinary masterpiece, perfectly complemented by selected champagnes. This dinner promises to be an intimate feast for the senses, creating cherished memories of your time together in Champagne.


Normandy

La Ferme Saint Siméon

Perched above Honfleur, Ferme Saint Siméon stands as a testament to timeless romance. This 17th-century inn, a cherished retreat for the masters of impressionism, offers a panoramic view of the Seine estuary. The charm of this unique hotel lies not only in its scenic location but also in its carefully decorated accommodations spread across three distinct buildings. The 34 rooms and suites exude history and beauty, featuring traditional paneling, oak flooring, and noble materials. Each room, equipped with modern amenities, provides a comfortable haven for guests. Ferme Saint Siméon beckons couples to explore the picturesque town of Honfleur. A stay at this charming retreat promises an intimate escape, inviting guests to discover the beauty of Normandy from this enchanting vantage point.

Courtesy of Ferme Saint Siméon

Day Trip to Fécamp & Étretat

Make your way to the picturesque towns of Fécamp and Étretat, nestled along the stunning Alabaster Coast. These idyllic destinations offer a perfect blend of cultural charm and natural beauty. In Fécamp, the historic harbor and the renowned Palais Bénédictine, home to the production of their famous liquor, stand as a testament to the town’s rich heritage. Palais Bénédictine is a masterpiece of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, providing a captivating journey into history and the art of liquor-making. Meanwhile, Étretat, with its famous arches and towering cliffs, boasts awe-inspiring scenery that has been immortalized in numerous paintings. A private guided driving tour ensures an immersive experience, allowing you to explore these coastal gems, making your romantic escape to Ferme Saint Siméon truly unforgettable.


Provence

Domaine de Fontenille

In the heart of the Luberon, Domaine de Fontenille stands as a celebration of romantic French charm. Surrounded by organic vineyards and cypress trees, this 4-star haven offers a unique blend of modern luxury and classic elegance. The 19 rooms and suites provide enchanting views of the with several boasting private terraces. While only a short drive from Aix-en-Provence, the estate transports guests to the true essence of Provençal countryside living. Domaine de Fontenille is not just a hotel; it’s a celebration where romance flourishes amidst lavender fields and rolling vineyards. The estate invites couples to immerse themselves in the vibrant local markets, saunter through fragrant gardens, and soak up the warmth of the Mediterranean sun. In this captivating setting, create timeless memories that linger like the sweet scent of lavender.

Courtesy of Domaine de Fontenille

Private Guided Tour of the Luberon Villages

Enhance your stay at Domaine de Fontenille with a full-day driving tour exploring the renowned villages of the Luberon. Nestled within the picturesque Luberon Regional Nature Park, a UNESCO-listed reserve, this off-the-beaten-path area boasts limestone mountains, rolling hills, and captivating villages that encapsulate the essence of Provence. Your day begins with Gordes, a hilltop village resembling a postcard with its dramatic setting and vibrant town square. Continue your journey to Roussillon, known for its striking ochre cliffs and unique village built from these vibrant pigments. Conclude the day in Lourmarin, a charming village with tree-lined streets, a Renaissance castle, and a delightful atmosphere. After a day of discovery, your driver will seamlessly return you to the comfort of Domaine de Fontenille, adding a touch of cultural richness to your romantic escape.


French Riviera

Chèvre d’Or

In the captivating village of Èze, La Chèvre d’Or stands as a romantic haven, offering an intimate escape amid the picturesque landscapes of the French Riviera. This luxurious gem boasts an array of individually designed rooms and suites, each exuding a unique charm. Guests are invited to savor exceptional cuisine at the hotel’s prestigious Michelin-starred restaurant, where panoramic views of the Mediterranean provide a breathtaking backdrop to every meal. The terraced gardens, adorned with vibrant flowers, create an enchanting ambiance for quiet moments. With its harmonious blend of natural beauty and sophisticated elegance, La Chèvre d’Or beckons couples to indulge in the serenity and sophistication of the Côte d’Azur.

Courtesy of La Chèvre d’Or

Discover the Splendor of Monaco & Menton

Immerse yourself in a day of romantic exploration with a private full-day driving tour of Monaco and Menton from La Chèvre d’Or. Your driver will whisk you away in a luxury vehicle, setting the stage for an unforgettable experience. In Monaco, a realm of sophistication, explore iconic landmarks such as the grand Casino de Monte-Carlo, the historic Monaco-Ville, and the captivating Prince’s Palace, evoking the timeless romance of Grace Kelly and Prince Ranier III. After a leisurely lunch, traverse the picturesque coastline to Menton, where the scent of lemon trees and vibrant gardens fills the air. Stroll along the Promenade du Soleil, immersing yourself in the colorful facades against the Mediterranean backdrop. This tour curated by French Side Travel promises a day of refined romance and memories to cherish.


French Side Travel – Where your love story meets the magic of France.

From the iconic allure of Paris to the tranquil vineyards of Champagne, the coastal charm of Normandy, the lavender-scented realms of Provence, and the sophisticated ambiance of the French Riviera. French Side Travel stands as your trusted expert, seamlessly weaving dreams into tailor-made vacations. As you embark on this journey, let our expertise curate moments where the romance of each location intertwines with your love story.


Ready to make your dream vacation a reality? Contact our experts to tailor an unforgettable experience, ensuring every moment resonates with the magic of your love. Let French Side Travel be your guide to a romantic escape like no other. Check out: Incredible Wine Trip to Champagne, Romantic Getaway to Monaco & the Riviera, and Cultural and Culinary Stay in Provence.

Elevate Your Game: Best Hotels for Golfing in France

Elevate your golfing experience in France with our expert-selected hotels, where sophistication meets the fairway for an unforgettable stay. No need to wonder where to golf in France, we have done the work for you. Unveil a collection of exquisite accommodations nestled amid scenic landscapes, providing avid golfers with world-class courses and lavish amenities.


Versailles

Airelles Le Grand Contrôle

Courtesy of the Palace of Versailles

Nestled next to the historic Versailles Palace, Airelles Le Grand Contrôle stands as a beacon of refinement and elegance. This luxurious hotel boasts a regal ambiance and access to some of the finest golf courses in the region. For an unforgettable experience, guests can indulge in a round at the prestigious Le Golf National and Le Golf de Saint Germain. Both courses offer immaculately manicured courses that challenge and captivate golf aficionados.

Le Golf National

A golfing haven boasting two full courses and a nine-hole gem, Albatros stands out as the hero among them. It was a host of the French Open and the second course in Europe to showcase a Ryder Cup. Its 2018 edition witnessed a historic victory spearheaded by Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari. The anticipation builds as the Olympic Games are scheduled to grace Le Golf National in 2024, solidifying its spot on every golfer’s must-visit list.

Courtesy of Golf National

Golf de Saint Germain

Designed in collaboration with Harry Colt, the Golf de Saint Germain emerges as a stunning course nestled within the enchanting forest of Saint Germain, just west of Paris. Having played host to the prestigious French Open on nine occasions, this course has witnessed remarkable moments, including Sandy Lyle’s triumph in 1981 and Seve Ballesteros’ extraordinary feat in 1985, where he set a course record with a remarkable score of 62. Immerse yourself in the rich history and captivating beauty of Golf de Saint Germain, an iconic destination where the legacy of golf’s finest moments continues to unfold.


Brittany

Domaine de la Bretesche

Courtesy of Domaine de la Bretesche

Discover the pinnacle of golfing excellence at Domaine de la Bretesche. Set against breathtaking landscapes, this premier hotel and golf resort combines luxury hospitality with world-class golfing facilities. The Domaine de la Bretesche features elegant rooms and suites, ensuring a comfortable and memorable stay. Immerse yourself in the charm of Brittany while enjoying top-notch amenities, including gourmet dining and a spa retreat. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a leisure seeker, Domaine de la Bretesche stands out as an ideal golfing getaway in France.

Golf de la Bretesche

Courtesy of Golf de la Bretesche

Golf de la Bretesche is a floral paradise. Each hole is uniquely adorned by hydrangeas, roses, azaleas, or rhododendrons. The 18 holes, comprising 4 par 3s, 10 par 4s, and 4 par 5s, offer a diverse range of challenges. Pay attention at the enchanting green n°9, where the castle of La Bretesche is magically reflected in its pond. It’s worth noting that, the 18-hole golf course, expertly designed by renowned architect Henry Cotton, offers both a challenging and picturesque experience for golf enthusiasts


Seignosse

70 Hectares… et l’Océan

Courtesy of 70 Hectares… et l’Océan

For those who seek a coastal golfing escapade, 70 Hectares et l’Océan in Seignosse emerges as an idyllic retreat. This exclusive destination offers a harmonious fusion of oceanic serenity and expansive green landscapes spanning 70 hectares, hence the name. The golf course, set against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, provides an exhilarating challenge for golfers of all levels. The hotel itself exudes a laid-back luxury, ensuring a tranquil retreat after a day on the links.

Golf de Seignosse

Courtesy of Golf de Seignosse

Golf de Seignosse stands as a captivating masterpiece on the southwestern coast of France. This premier golf course, renowned for its scenic beauty and challenging layout, immerses golf enthusiasts in a harmonious blend of nature and sport. Designed by the legendary American architect Robert von Hagge, the course winds through lush pine forests and sandy dunes. With its strategic bunkers, undulating fairways, and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, Golf de Seignosse promises an unforgettable golfing experience. Whether you are a seasoned player seeking a challenging round or a leisure golfer looking to soak in the coastal charm, this course offers a perfect blend of captivating landscapes and golfing excellence.


Provence

Domaine de Manville

Courtesy of Domaine de Manville

Nestled in the heart of the Alpilles Natural Park in Provence, Domaine de Manville is a luxurious haven that blends historic charm with modern elegance. This five-star hotel, set within a meticulously restored 18th-century farmhouse, offers discerning guests a tranquil retreat. Boasting spacious rooms and suites adorned with stylish furnishings, the hotel provides a sophisticated ambiance for relaxation. Guests can indulge at the on-site restaurant L’Aupiho*, or simply bask in the serene beauty of the surrounding landscape. With its commitment to excellence, Domaine de Manville ensures an unforgettable and indulgent escape in the heart of Provence.

Golf de Manville

Courtesy of Golf de Manville

Golf de Manville presents a golfing paradise amidst the enchanting landscapes of Provence. This 18-hole championship golf course, designed by Thierry Sprecher and Anne-Laure Ricci, offers a perfect blend of challenge and beauty. Surrounded by olive trees and featuring strategically placed hazards, the course provides an exhilarating experience for golfers of all levels. The meticulously manicured fairways and greens complement the picturesque setting, creating a harmonious balance between sport and scenery. Whether you are a seasoned golfer or a casual player, Golf de Manville promises an immersive golfing experience, where each swing is accompanied by breathtaking views of the Alpilles.


French Riviera

Terre Blanche Hôtel & Spa Golf Resort

Courtesy of Terre Blanche

Situated in the heart of the French Riviera, Terre Blanche Hotel Spa & Golf Resort offers an unparalleled blend of sophistication and sporting excellence. Boasting two championship golf courses, designed by golf legend Dave Thomas, the resort provides an exclusive golfing experience. Guests can bask in the Mediterranean sun as they navigate the challenging fairways, and later, unwind in the lavish surroundings of the hotel, indulging in world-class spa treatments and gourmet dining.

Le Château

Courtesy of Terre Blanche

This 18-hole championship course offers a challenging yet picturesque golfing experience amidst the stunning Provençal countryside. With its undulating fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and breathtaking views of the surrounding hills, Le Château Golf Course provides a test of skill for golfers of all levels. Impeccably maintained and seamlessly integrated into the natural terrain, this course stands as a testament to the perfect marriage of sport and scenic beauty.

Le Riou

Courtesy of Terre Blanche

The resort’s second 18-hole championship course complements the landscape with its meandering fairways and strategic water features. Le Riou offers a golfing challenge set against the backdrop of the picturesque Provençal hills, inviting players to navigate through well-manicured greens and enjoy the panoramic views. With its thoughtful design and commitment to excellence, Le Riou Golf Course ensures a memorable and rewarding golfing experience within the refined ambiance of Terre Blanche.

Effortless Travel for Unforgettable Experiences

Embark on a stress-free vacation with French Side Travel, where luxury extends beyond your hotel suite. Our exclusive service includes a private driver-guide seamlessly integrated into your itinerary, ensuring effortless travel from your accommodation to various activities and back. Envision being chauffeured in a luxurious vehicle, ready to explore the finest destinations in France. Whether you’re indulging in sightseeing, enjoying exquisite dinners, or partaking in other planned activities, your dedicated driver ensures a smooth and comfortable experience. Allow yourself to unwind as you’re effortlessly transported back to your accommodation, creating cherished memories of your French getaway.


Ready to tee off your dream golf vacation? We know where to golf in France. Our experts stand ready to tailor-make your journey, ensuring every swing is accompanied by unparalleled luxury and breathtaking landscapes. Contact us today to unlock the doors to a world where your golfing aspirations align with French hospitality. Let us craft the perfect golfing escape for you!

Our Guide to the Principality of Monaco

From its captivating history to its opulent charm, Monaco beckons with a blend of luxury, culture, and mystique. Uncover the Grimaldi legacy, explore the exclusive resort life, and follow in the footsteps of icons like Grace Kelly. Whether you seek a yacht adventure, a cultural journey, or simply a taste of sophistication, this principality awaits your visit. Plan your escape today with our guide to the Principality of Monaco.


Our Guide to the Principality of Monaco

Unraveling the Allure of the Principality

Monaco does not disappoint. Only 30 minutes from Nice, nestled along the sun-kissed shores of the French Riviera, you will find Monaco. This destination that exudes elegance, charm, and an air of mystery. Known for its stunning coastline, star-studded affairs, and vibrant culture. If you desire to dive deep into the storied past of this highly contested city-state, see and be seen in the playground of the rich and famous, or simply searching an unforgettable escape, make your way to the Principality of Monaco.

Monaco Explained

Naturally, when thinking about Monaco many questions come to mind. Why is Monaco so small? Who are the Grimaldi’s? Soon you will be asking yourself, When can I visit? Monaco is only 520 acres, just to put into perspective, it fits inside New York’s Central Park (843 acres). While the Principality of Monaco has changed hands numerous times, the Grimaldi Family has remained at the helm since 1297. This is when Francesco Grimaldi seized control of the Rock of Monaco. According to the Ancient Greeks, Monaco may have a more mythical origin story as it is proclaimed that on Hercules’ journey back to Greece after his tenth labor, he built the Rock of Monaco.

Eventually with the opening of the renowned Casino de Monte-Carlo by the Société de Bains de Mer de Monaco in 1863 and the arrival of railway travel in 1868, Monaco established itself as a destination for distinguished travelers on the Côte d’Azur. From this point forward, the tourism infrastructure has continued to evolve. Rather than arriving by train, you can arrive in style with a Private Helicopter Transfer from the airport. This allows you to skip the traffic and take in panoramic views of the dazzling coast.

Helicopter to Monaco
Credit: Blade

History of Monaco

Evidently, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to the Principality of Monaco. Beyond the exclusive resort for international jet-setters, there’s a fascinating story. Uncover the history of the nation founded by the Grimaldi’s that went from a perched village to a prosperous country hosting the world’s billionaires. Until 1848, the towns of Menton & Roquebrune were also a part of Monaco, so we recommend continuing down the coast for a visit.

Her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco

Follow in the footsteps of Grace Kelly who gave up her career as an actress in Hollywood to marry Prince Rainier III. Her legacy can be seen at the Monaco Cathedral and the filming locations from Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘To Catch a Thief’ in which she starred. For those truly enamored by the Monégasque Royal Family, opt for an exclusive, private visit to the Prince’s Palace after hours.

Your Stay in Monaco

Upon arriving to Monaco, make your way to the hotel of your choice: Hôtel de Paris, Hôtel Hermitage, Monte Carlo Bay, or Monte Carlo Beach. These properties represent the finest of Monégasque hospitality with impeccable service, exquisite interiors, and exclusive access to the principality.

During your time on “The Rock” take up the favored pastimes of shopping and yachting. Spend the afternoon with a personal stylist who will assist you in curating your wardrobe in the numerous boutiques found in Monaco. From luxury ready to wear & leather goods from houses such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermès, to fine jewellery and watches from Boucheron, Cartier, and Chopard. What better way to see Monaco than aboard a yacht? Make your way to the port and embark on a journey to take in the sunshine, sea, and stunning views.

Where to Stay in and near Monaco

Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo

Internationally renowned 5-star luxury hotel, enchants visitors with its iconic status and recent 2019 transformation, offering exquisite suites like the Princess Grace and Prince Rainier III suites. From the Louis XV-Alain Ducasse restaurant to the rooftop pool of the Wellness Sky Club, this Monaco gem provides an unparalleled experience.

Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo

This Belle Epoque palace and 5-star hotel is located in sparkling Monte-Carlo by its renowned casino. The Gustave Eiffel-designed glass dome, architectural details, and ornate decoration make this one of Monaco’s most romantic spots. The 277 rooms and suite feature Louis XV-style furnishings. The rooms with terraces offer views on the glistening sea.

Monte-Carlo Beach

This 5-star gem built in the 1930s, invites guests to indulge in the Dolce Vita. With a stunning seafront, terracotta façade, and stunning frescoes, the hotel offers the epitome of luxury. Highlights include the exclusive Diamond Suite, a cabana service by the water, an Olympic swimming pool, a spa, and an organic Michelin-star restaurant set in an exceptional natural site.

Monte-Carlo Bay

The sophisticated 4-star Hotel & Resort, redefines the legendary destination with its relaxed ambiance. Situated on its own picturesque peninsula east of Larvotto, the resort offers breathtaking views of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. Featuring a grand private residence entrance, solarium, terraces, and gardens by Jean Mus, this chic Garden of Eden promises a unique experience.


If you’re still asking yourself, “When can I visit?” speak with one of our experts who will curate your perfect stay.

Be inspired by one of our sample itineraries: Cultural Discovery of Monaco, Unforgettable Trip to Monaco, & Family Trip to Monaco.

French Side Travel’s Client Favorite Destinations in 2023

2023 was an exciting year for French Side Travel as clients experienced each region of France. Our expert travel designers crafted tailor-made trips that focused on history and culture, romance, adventure, gastronomy and more. Read on to discover French Side Travel’s client favorite destinations in 2023.


French Side Travel’s Client Favorite Destinations in 2023

Paris

French Side Travel's Client Favorite Destinations in 2023 Paris

In 2023, Paris remained at the top of French Side Travel’s client favorite destinations list. It’s difficult not to be taken away with the beauty of the City of Light, and there is truly something to do for every type of traveler from couples looking for a romantic getaway, to history buffs, families and more.

French Side Travel clients especially enjoyed food tours and cooking classes in the French capital in 2023. Whether it was a private tour to discover the best breads and pastries in Montmartre, a wine and cheese tasting in the heart of a 17th century cellar, or a market tour, cooking class, and meal in the Latin Quarter, our clients learned plenty of interesting tidbits and left with full and happy stomachs!

Netflix also inspired clients through shows set in Paris like Emily in Paris and Lupin, and French Side Travel arranged custom tours based on these themes.

Provence

Provence luberon

It’s easy to see why sun-drenched Provence topped the French Side Travel client favorite destination list again in 2023. This truly striking area set between sea and mountains has it all. The foods and wines are among the best in the entire country, the region has a fascinating history and an incredible beauty, which inspired many famous artists.

Clients loved experiencing the world-renowned markets in Provence along with expert guides. They were treated to tastings of iconic products from the region – think tapenade, Calissons, honey, cheese and more, as well as fresh, seasonal produce picked by local growers that same morning. After a fabulous market picnic clients rounded out the day with a visit to a vineyard to meet with a passionate local winegrower for a cellar visit and tasting.

Another highlight was a unique private truffle hunting and tasting tour. Clients toured a Provençal truffle plantation and learned about the cultivation of truffles and the training of truffle dogs. They not only experienced hunting for France’s elusive “black gold” with trained hunters, but they also discovered wild herbs, vineyards, olive groves, and bee hives. The tour finished with a full truffle tasting: hors d’oeuvres with truffle ice cream and truffle honey, organic extra-virgin olive oil, truffle oil, and truffle salt, all paired with Champagne.

Where to Stay in Provence
villa la coste hotel

Villa La Coste

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

The property features 28 Villa Suites surrounded by gardens, herbs, and flowers. Each opens onto a spacious terrace offering expansive views over vines and valley. The hotel’s contemporary architecture is enhanced 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’s clean lines, natural stones and light wood convey a 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.

When booking this hotel with French Side Travel, enjoy a free guided walking tour of the art and architecture path along with a wine tasting.

French Riviera

French Side Travel's Client Favorite Destinations in 2023 French riviera Cannes

The sparkling French Riviera, or Côte d’Azur, is a true paradise. The illusive area is a seamless mix of authentic and local beauty as well as unmistakable glitz and glamour.

One of the most popular places to visit is Cannes thanks to its international reputation. Known for being a modern, cosmopolitan, and fashionable place, it has also lovingly preserved its roots and its traditions. Clients love seeing the old town. In 2023 they visited the ramparts, the Musée de la Castre, the square tower, and the church. They admired the view over the city, the port, the Croisette, the Iles de Lérins, the Bay of Cannes, and the Forville market with its rows of food shops. A stroll around Forville market is like exploring all of Provence, taking a delicious journey steeped in the atmosphere of the South.

Another gorgeous stop includes the quaint village of Grasse, known as the world’s perfume capital. Producing over two-thirds of France’s natural aromas, it is a leader in the industry. The old town is the highlight of Grasse. It has numerous ancient buildings and a great deal of character. Many of the houses are painted in pastel orange colors to brighten the narrow streets, and there are numerous shops, cafés and restaurants.

It would be impossible to mention the Côte d’Azur without mentioning Saint-Tropez. Once an unassuming fishing village, Saint Tropez is now known for luxurious yachts, sunbathing, and exclusive boutiques. In the 19th century, Impressionist painters such as Marquet, Signac, and Matisse immortalized the city in their beautiful works. The most picturesque area of this city is its historic center, known as La Ponche. The small alleyways and charming cobblestone lanes adorned with small souvenir shops, cafés, and restaurants are ideal for strolling.

Champagne

champagne French Side Travel's Client Favorite Destinations in 2023

In 2023, French Side Travel clients showed an increased interest in Champagne. Since it is just 45 minutes by train from Paris to the Champagne region, it’s the perfect addition to a trip. There are hundreds of Champagne producers in the region ranging from small family growers to prestigious houses like Ruinart, Moët & Chandon, and Dom Pérignon.

Reims, the capital of Champagne and the City of Kings makes a great base from which to explore the vineyards. A visit to the Veuve Clicquot house and its wine-cellars is always a client highlight. There’s more to Reims than just bubbles, however. Don’t miss seeing the Notre-Dame cathedral, one of France’s most visually-stunning and historically-important churches. It has an unrivaled collection of Art-Deco architecture mixed with Gothic monuments.

Normandy

normandy Omaha beach

The most popular excursion for French Side Travel clients in 2023 was a visit to the World War II D-Day landing beaches and memorials in Normandy. It was in this part of Normandy where thousands of brave allied troops gave their lives to liberate France, and eventually Europe.

Clients particularly enjoyed private guided tours led by passionate guides 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.

Bordeaux

French Side Travel's Client Favorite Destinations in 2023 Bordeaux

Among all of the wine regions in France, including Burgundy, the Loire Valley, and Champagne, French Side Travel clients spent the most nights in Bordeaux. This is undoubtedly thanks to the diverse range of things to see and do besides taste wines. The charming city of Bordeaux features fabulous architecture and wonderful shopping, much of which is on completely pedestrian streets.

The food scene in the region is also renowned. Oysters from the neighboring Arcachon Bay are considered some of the best in the world, and a visit to Arcachon is a popular insider excursion, as it is a destination beloved by the French. The largest sand dune in Europe, the Dune de Pilat, is a must-see.

Just hour outside of Bordeaux, the picturesque Dordogne valley awaits, offering the chance to discover medieval hilltop villages and prehistoric sites. See spectacular prehistoric paintings Lascaux and Rouffignac caves. Adventurous clients love hiking and kayaking in the area.

Where to Stay in Bordeaux
les sources de caudale bordeaux

Les Sources de Caudalie

Located between vineyards and forests, just 20 minutes from Bordeaux’s city center, this 5-star hotel features a collection of state-of-the-art buildings perfectly in tune with the idyllic surroundings.

The five cottages revolve around the region’s rich, varied culture as reflected in paintings, antiques, and warm-colored fabrics. Each of the 40 rooms boasts a unique decor, featuring antiques, collectible furniture, and fine drapes. Most of them have a terrace or a balcony with a beautiful view on the vineyards or on the lake. The Village des Pêcheurs, a suite on stilts and the Suite l’île aux Oiseaux in the middle of the lake are the perfect place for a romantic getaway.

Set in a former orangery and modeled on an ornamental 18th-century glasshouse, the two-star Michelin restaurant invites guests to savor the chef’s brilliant, well-rounded cuisine. On beautiful days it is possible to enjoy lunch or dinner outdoors on the terrace overlooking the lake and the vine-covered hills.

The spa offers unique treatments which combine the virtues of natural hot spring water drawn from 540 meters beneath the earth – rich in minerals and oligo-elements – with the most recent scientific discoveries of the benefits of the grape and the grapevine.


We hope this list of French Side Travel’s client favorite destinations in 2023 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.

The Best Christmas Markets in France

When visiting France during the holidays, taking in Christmas markets is a not to be missed highlight. Throughout France, markets bring together the best of holiday traditions, local artisans, festive illuminations, gourmet specialties and entertainment for the whole family, yet each is unique. Read on to discover French Side Travel’s guide to the best Christmas markets in France.


The Best Christmas Markets in France

Colmar: Private Guided Tour to Experience Christmas Market Magic

colmar the best christmas markets in france
Photo Courtesy of Noël en Alsace

The small town of Colmar is one of the most exquisite in France with its historic center filled with medieval half-timbered houses and small winding canals. During Christmas, the streets of Colmar are impeccably decorated. It’s impossible not to be amazed and get swept up into the magic of the season.

Colmar’s six Christmas markets each exude the magic of Christmas. Your private guide will show you everything including the Maison des Têtes, an outstanding German Renaissance building and the Petite Venise neighborhood where gorgeous traditional half-timbered houses are lined along the Lauch River. Projected lights on buildings display advent calendars, twinkling stars, and winter scenes.

From November 23rd through December 29th.

Dijon: Gastronomic and Traditional Christmas Market

dijon christmas market
Photo Courtesy of Tourisme Dijon Métropole

Your private guide will lead you through the heart of the UNESCO World-Heritage classified city center of Dijon. To celebrate the festive season, experience the city’s gourmet and traditional Christmas markets. During the Christmas season in Dijon, you’ll find the city beautifully decorated with twinkling lights and festive wreaths. Place de la Libération is home to a 59-foot tall Christmas tree and historic carousel. Place de la Republique features a ferris wheel and ice-skating rink.

No Dijon Christmas market experience would be complete without tasting the specialties from the Burgundy region: think gingerbread, mustards, cheeses, and Bœuf bourguignon to name a few.

At night, experience a walk lit completely by lanterns. During this beautiful evening, your private guide will share anecdotes about Christmas traditions related to Dijon’s culture.

From December 1st through December 31st.

Strasbourg: Private Guided Christmas Walk

best christmas market strasbourg
Photo Courtesy of Noël en Alsace

In December, Strasbourg is all decked out and oozes a fairy tale ambiance with the lights and Christmas decorations. Strasbourg offers no less than 10 Christmas markets. Take a private guided Christmas walk to discover the best of the city and its markets. Strasbourg is filled with a festive atmosphere from the magnificent Cathedral to its most beautiful squares.

There is nothing quite like the Strasbourg Christmas markets with more than 300 market stalls, miles of garlands of light, the majestic Big Tree, and dazzling shows and concerts.

From November 24th until December 24th at 6:00 pm. The After-Christmas Village at Louise Weiss Square will be open until January 1st 2024.

Bordeaux: Traditional Festive Christmas Market

bordeaux christmas market
Photo Courtesy of Bordeaux Tourisme

If you are visiting Bordeaux during Christmas time, then a visit to the region’s traditional festive market on Allées de Tourny is a must.

Discover the 150 stands that are precisely laid out, divided by a center alley, and encircled by a periphery path. You’ll find artisans on one side and plenty of special drinks, foods, and regional products on the other side of the market. If you’ve come to knock out some Christmas shopping you are in the right place. There are plenty of local objects, crafts, perfumes, jewelry, kitchen utensils, toys, candles, soaps, and more. During your stroll at the Christmas market, do not miss Rue Saint Catherine, the largest pedestrian shopping street in Bordeaux.

The Bordeaux Christmas market hosts a variety of events all throughout December. There is of course the unmissable star: Santa Claus, who is waiting for you for a photo. Near the pine forest, there is also a very beautiful nativity scene. A large covered area for children is installed near the catering area.

From November 24th through December 27th.

Where to Stay in Bordeaux
intercontinental bordeaux

Intercontinental Bordeaux

This upscale 5-star hotel is in an 18th-century neoclassical-inspired building facing the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux. It is in the city’s historic center with the Place de Quinconces and the Saint André Cathedral just a short stroll away

Chic rooms feature ornate furnishings and rich palettes, plus free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and coffee machines. Suites add sitting areas, some with wine bars. Family suites have pull-out sofas and two bathrooms.

Amenities include two upscale restaurants, a stylish cocktail bar, and an indoor courtyard serving afternoon tea. Relax at the indoor pool, the fitness center, the spa, or the outdoor hot tub.

When booking this hotel with French Side Travel, enjoy the following privileges: 85€ value-added amenity (hotel credit), upgrade to next room category, early check in and late check out (subject to availability on arrival), complimentary Wi-Fi (unlimited devices).

Lyon: An Enchanting Traditional Christmas Village

best Christmas markets Lyon
Photo Courtesy of Marcos Lyon Figaro

During the holiday season, the oldest square in Lyon, Place Carnot, transforms into a true Christmas village. The square and the market are illuminated with decorative lights giving it a joyful atmosphere. The Christmas Market showcases the skills and talents of local producers, artisans, and businesses.

Visitors can indulge in delicious local products like fruit jams, chestnuts, ice creams, gingerbread, wine, foie gras and more. You also can shop for unique Christmas decorations such as stars, baubles, garlands, and enchanting santons. Local craftsmen fill their stalls with beautiful retro jewelry, textiles, and accessories.

The Lyon Christmas market is a dream for children. There are numerous activities set up including puzzles and toys to play with. The children’s make believe workshops and story readings are a highlight. Children can also whisper their wishes in Santa’s ear. As a nice gesture of Christmas charity, the proceeds from the photos with Santa Claus are donated to L’Association l’Orchidée, whose aim is to help seriously ill children.

From November 26th through December 24th.

Reims: Christmas Market with Enchanting Chalets

best Christmas market france reims
Photo Courtesy of Tourisme en Champagne

The stunning and historical city of Reims is lovely during Christmas time. The first French Christmas celebrations took place in 496 in Reims. The Reims Christmas market is highly anticipated each year. The event has become one of the most popular Christmas markets in France attracting nearly 1.5 million visitors from all over the world. Visitors can discover approximately 150 chalets lit with twinkling lights and filled with seasonal gifts.

A highlight is the incredible sound and light show Regalia, which takes viewers through the emotion and beauty of a coronation day. The Children’s Kingdom features activities like an animation show, Santa’s chalet, train rides, and Christmas ropes courses. This festive market also has a Ferris wheel and an ice-skating rink.

Visitors can take in musical concerts, watch nativity scenes, savor authentic gourmet cuisine, or just stroll around the streets with loved ones. This season is an excellent moment to discover the city of Reims and its Cathedral.

From November 24th through December 24th.

Paris: Varied Christmas Markets

Paris christmas market
Photo Courtesy of France.fr

A must-see when visiting Paris in the winter is one or more of the fabulous Christmas markets in Paris. You will find the markets sprinkled throughout the city. Each is different and provides a festive mix of ways to take in the holiday spirit. We recommend getting a cup of hot chocolate and wandering the various stalls. You will find holiday decorations, regional and seasonal food specialties, music, sometimes rides and attractions and general merriment!

Some of the most popular Christmas Markets in Paris can be found in the following locations: the Tuileries Garden (formerly along the Champs-Élysées), Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Saint-Sulpice, Place de la Nation, Place des Abesses in Montmartre, Gare de l’Est and Trocadero.

From November 18th through January 7th.

Montpellier: Christmas with a Mediterranean Twist

montpellier christmas market
Photo Courtesy of Montpellier.fr

If you are hoping to experience an enchanting Christmas atmosphere with a Mediterranean twist, look no further than the beautiful Montpellier Christmas Market, also known in French as the Hivernales de l’Esplanade, one of the most popular Christmas events in Southern France.

The event normally sees the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle transformed into a winter wonderland. However, in 2023 the event will take place at Place Royale du Peyrou.

In Christmas stalls, visitors will find a selection of unique crafts from artisanal soaps and handmade jewelry to local food delicacies from the surrounding Languedoc-Roussillon region. Savor Christmas specialties like Bûche de Noël, a classic Christmas dessert that is similar to a sponge cake roll, confit de canard, foie gras, oysters, ratatouille, tarte tatin, and more.

From December 2nd through December 30th.

Annecy: Christmas Market and Light Show

annecy christmas market
Photo Courtesy of Ville d’Annecy

\Annecy’s Christmas festival is held in the little Venice of the Alpine Christmas landscape. Around 90 exhibitors present their wares in 120 wooden Savoyard chalets. In fact, Annecy organizes two Christmas markets for residents and visitors.

The first market is located at the entrance of Annecy’s old town, allowing visitors to stroll in the old streets dating back to the Middle Ages. These Alpine chalets offer ideal Christmas gifts and authentic Savoyard culinary specialties such as tartiflette and diots au vin blanc. For a memorable souvenir, you can buy beautiful hand-made santons, traditional games, or toys.

Then, you can visit Annecy’s second Christmas market on Place François de Menthon. Also known as the Alpine Village, it recreates the atmosphere of an Alpine winter sports resort. Discover the numerous chalet-style stands showcasing original clothing creations and costume jewelry. Visitors can taste gourmet foods like fondue, oysters, or raclette. At the end of the day, stop to enjoy a musical performance in a guinguette atmosphere, or try ice-skating.

From November 25th through January 6th.

Honfleur: Artisanal and Gourmet Christmas Market

best Christmas market france honfleur
Photo Courtesy of Office de Tourisme de Honfleur

The picturesque city of Honfleur is mostly known for its historic harbor, unique church, and many timber-framed houses. The Christmas atmosphere is incredible with glowing fireplaces in the city of impressionist painters.

The Honfleur Christmas market takes place near the Place de l’Hotel de Ville. Visitors can discover the 28 chalets filled with novelties. Enjoy the oyster bar and various food stalls, a Christmas beer barrel, and above all an original attraction called the Double Toboggan Run, a sliding tunnel instead of an ice rink.

Activities like storytelling, musical choirs, and various craft demonstrations and workshops can also be enjoyed. The exhibitors of the market are carefully selected to highlight regional quality products.

From December 20th through January 7th.

Where to Stay in Honfleur
hotel saint delis honfleur

Hotel Saint Delis

Nestled in the heart of Honfleur’s historic district in Normandy and just two hours from Paris, this luxury 5-star hotel with a discreet charm is an essential part of the city’s arts and historical heritage. Situated among the 17th-century architecture, the hotel appears enchanting from the first glance.

Every room overlooks beautiful gardens and provides a variety of views in an intimate and personalized setting. The bedrooms are elegantly furnished and have magnificent, comfortable bathrooms where the beauty of marble and mirrors combine to create a luxurious and contemporary atmosphere.

Rooms are equipped with modern amenities, each room has a shower hammam, and the Deluxe and Junior suites have a spa bath as well. While you are here, you can also enjoy services such as horse carriage rides, massage therapy, and painting lessons. There are also facilities for child care.

Guests will also be able to savor dishes made from local ingredients and inspired by Saint-Siméon collection restaurants for the best culinary experiences, in the restaurant of Ferme Saint Siméon.

This is an ideal place for a family stay or a weekend of relaxation, as well as a vast array of activities that will delight young and old alike.

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 lumières 2023
Photo Courtesy of the Lyon Tourism Office

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 2023 Fête des Lumieres runs from December 7th to 10th. You can find more information here.

Paris: Christmas Shopping and Concerts

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!

Also not to miss is a series of festive Christmas concerts in Paris. Perhaps the most coveted concerts are those held at the Eiffel Tower on December 24th and 25th. Guests can enjoy classical music along with Christmas traditional on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. Tickets sell out quickly, so be sure to reserve quickly if you’re interested!

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. The 2023 theme is Grand Noël or the Great Christmas. Don’t miss the light projections on the facade in the evenings. To complete the cozy atmosphere, fireplaces will be lit and carriage rides will be offered. This year the festivities go from November 19th until January 7th. Guests can visit from Wednesday through Sunday from November 18th until December 22nd and every day from December 23rd until January 7th (closed on December 25th and January 1st). Reservations are required.

Strasbourg: Christmas Market

strasbourg christmas market 2023

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 24th until December 24th at 6:00 pm and the theme is Le Coeur (the heart), which you will see repeated in decorations. The After-Christmas Village at Louise Weiss Square will be open until January 1st 2024.

Alsace christmas 2023
Photo Courtesy of Alsace Tourism

Private Guided Driving Tour of the Alsace Christmas Markets

Alsace at Christmastime is unique. The region will welcome you with warmth and generosity, good food and drinks, and a magical ambiance.

Whatever you love about Christmas, Alsace allows you to fully participate in the festivities. From iconic sites to hidden gems, this perfect Christmas itinerary will cover it all and guarantee you that this Christmas will be unlike any other!

Enjoy a full-day trip in Alsace to explore some of the oldest and most authentic Christmas markets in Europe. You will visit various traditional Christmas markets in Obernai, Mittelbergheim, and the Haut Koenigsbourg castle. A world of delicious fragrances, delightful handmade goods, and lights quickly takes shape along the rows. Plenty of surprising and mouthwatering discoveries await!

Loire Valley: Christmas Châteaux

loire valley christmas 2023

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 2nd through Sunday January 7th, 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. In 2023, the Bayeux Cathedral will have an immersive light and sound show from December 20th through January 6th. 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 from December 15th through 31st, and at the base of the Rouen Cathedral (from November 23rd to December 24th) 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 18th through December 31st.

Another Christmas in Provence activity not to miss is the Aix-en-Provence Christmas Market from November 15th through December 31st which will feature various foods and craftsman, as well as a Truffle Market.

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 24th to December 27th. 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 16th and 17th.

Radio Classique Christmas Symphonic Concert at the Opera Bordeaux

Radio Classique Christmas Symphonic Concert at the Opera Bordeaux

The Auditorium of the Opéra National de Bordeaux is located in the heart of the city’s historic center. With its spectacular structure and acoustics, this ideal venue offers a program that is as prestigious as it is eclectic.

For this unique concert and celebration, the audience votes and chooses the program of the evening simply by a show of hands. To prepare for these special evenings the orchestra has gone to great lengths. There is an incredibly festive air to these concerts…which of course will not be the same from one evening to the next!

Concerts are held Thursday December 14th at 8:00 pm, Friday December 15th at 8:00 pm, Sunday December 17th at 11:00 am, and Sunday December 17th at 3:00 pm.

Pas de Calais: Fête de la Dinde de Licques

fete de liques 2023

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 9th and 10th.

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.

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.

Southern France during World War II

When thinking about World War II in France, we often imagine the Allied victory on the beaches of Normandy. Perhaps the photos of Hitler and his Nazi army in front of the Eiffel Tower come to mind. History classes often cover the Second World War’s events in Paris and on D-Day, or Jour J in French. This historically significant event proved to be the largest ever naval, air and land operation at the time, according to the History Channel. But beyond Paris and Normandy, what about the rest of France during World War II? It’s true that northern France has much to be explored in terms of World War II history, but don’t overlook southern France. Here are some important World War II landmarks to visit in southern France.


Southern France during World War II

France During World War II

d-day beach american cemetary

The Nazi army began their invasion of France in May 1940. And on June 22, 1940, the French signed the Franco-German Armistice, which put more than half of France under Nazi control, according to History.com. That year, the French established the Vichy regime, which was located in central France. Although under French rule and technically neutral, Vichy collaborated with the Nazis and implemented anti-Semitic policies, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. It wasn’t until June 6, 1944, the Allied armies stormed the beaches of Normandy on its famed D-Day. The Allied forces arrived in southern France in August 1944.

Visiting WWII Historical Landmarks in Southern France

Credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

From the medieval period to the reign of Louis XIV, France’s history makes it a major travel destination. And its history during World War II is no different. History buffs will appreciate traveling to Normandy to learn about the war. But this war touched every corner of France, not just Normandy. If you’re interested in discovering this war’s history and the Resistance movement in southern France, here are some excursions to explore.

Hôtel Caumont

Credit: Round Trip Travel

Located in the luxe town of Aix-en-Provence sits Hôtel Caumont. Today this building is an art center with various exhibitions as well as a permanent exposition on Paul Cézanne. Long before it opened to the public, Hôtel Caumont was built as a private residence in the early 1700s. As you pass in front of Hôtel Caumont, you might just miss it: a small plaque that reads “Hélène Ardevol 1892-1976.” Underneath her name, it reads in French: “Brave mother who lodged numerous Resistants here.” At the time, the building was composed of several apartments, where Ardevol worked as the concierge. Along with her family, this building superintendent used the premises to hide Resistance fighters where the art center’s ticket office stands today, per La Provence.

We’ll set up a private tour of the art center where you’ll not only admire the art but also the bravery of those who fought in the Resistance.

Landing of Provence WWII and Memorial Day

Credit: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Just as you can visit the Normandy beaches where Allied forces invaded, you can also visit the Mediterranean beaches where they arrived, too. On August 15, 1944, the Allied forces carried out Operation “Dragoon” to free France. We’ll set up a full-day tour for you to explore the history of the Provence landings. On this private tour, you’ll be able to learn more about this important event and see history with your own eyes.

Take a Walking Tour in Le Panier Neighborhood

Credit: Q via Unsplash

Stroll through Le Panier neighborhood today, and you’ll notice plenty: walls of intricate graffiti, winding pedestrian paths, hole-in-the-wall bars serving up pastis. It might just seem like Marseille’s edgy, historic neighborhood, but this area has strong ties with World War II. Long ago, the Nazis labeled this neighborhood as “Europe’s eyesore,” according to Radio France. In January 1943, French police and the Nazis conducted a major roundup of Vieux Port and Le Panier. One week after this roundup of 20,000 people, the Nazis bombed Le Panier for “the purification of Marseille,” in the words of SS General Carl Oberg

Since this period, life has returned to this resilient neighborhood. Le Panier has become a popular tourist spot for its historical roots, proximity to Vieux Port and eclecticism. We’ll set up a walking tour of this historic neighborhood, which dates back to 600 B.C. 

Camp des Milles

Credit: Round Trip Travel

Based on a true story, the Netflix series Transatlantic recounts the history of the Emergency Rescue Committee, led by American journalist Varian Fry, in Marseille. This committee’s purpose was “to rescue Europe’s celebrated artists, writers, and intellectuals who had fled to the country, many of whom were on the Nazis’ most wanted list,” according to the International Rescue Committee. Along with his team, Fry helped at least 1500 refugees flee France, including Max Ernst and Marc Chagall.

Some of the people that the ERC sought to help were held at the Camp des Milles, an internment camp just outside of Aix-en-Provence. 

During World War II, this former tile factory became a holding spot for different groups. Before Nazi occupation in France, the internment camp was for “enemy subjects,” according to the camp’s site. From July 1940 to July 1942, Camp des Milles was used for transit and as a detention center for those deemed “undesirable.” And from August to September 1942, around 10,000 people were interned here — of which 2,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz from the Camp des Milles

Today you can visit the Camp des Milles and learn about the history of this internment site as well as the brave people who resisted against the Nazis and who fought to protect those targeted.

World War II had great impact on the country of France. Although not the brightest period of French history, these stories play a major role in Europe’s past. With French Side Travel, we can set up a tailor-made trip for you to learn about southern France’s World War II history as well as the those who fought bravely in the Resistance.

Where to Stay in Southern France

Photo courtesy of Château de Valmer

Château de Valmer
Escape to this five-star hotel located in the Saint Tropez peninsula where you enjoy Mediterranean Sea and vineyard views. In 1949, the current owners’ parents purchased this old mansion and turned it into a family guest house. Today, Château de Valmer offers cozy Provençal rooms and even treehouses where you can unwind. Enjoy a meal at la Palmeraie as you nosh on Michelin-starred chef Alexandre Fabris’ craft. Relish in relaxation at the hotel’s adults-only pool or its luxury spa.

Photo courtesy of La Pinède Plage

La Pinède Plage 
Located in the Saint Tropez peninsula, this four-star hotel is just steps away from the beach. Enjoy a grasse matinée in one of its king-sized beds before enjoying your coffee on its private terrace with sea views. Enjoy some freshly caught fish at La Pinède Plage’s beach restaurant. Take a dip in the pool overlooking the Mediterranean or spend the afternoon at this hotel’s private beach. Give yourself some much-needed TLC with its spa access or a trip to its Finnish-style sauna and steam room.


The country of France has quite the history to be explored. Take a look at some of our history-focused tours: Exclusive Trip to Normandy and Highlights, History, and Culture of Paris, Normandy, and Loire Valley. Need some help planning your trip?

Your Luxury Itinerary for Ramatuelle, France

Sandy beaches, stunning vineyards, exquisite gastronomy. Just a short drive from Saint Tropez, the village of Ramatuelle, France, is sure to enchant you. With proximity to downtown as well as untainted nature, the Gulf of Saint Tropez is the perfect destination for both luxury and outdoor lovers. Whether you dream of strolling quaint villages or eating at Michelin-starred restaurants, biking through vineyards or shopping for luxurious threads, a vacation in Ramatuelle, France, is for you. Here’s how to spend your vacation in Ramatuelle, France.


Your Luxury Itinerary for Ramatuelle, France

How to Get to Ramatuelle

The best way to get to Ramatuelle, France, is flying into the Nice or Marseille airports. From there, we can pick you up and drive you to this charming part of France. It’s imperative to have car access for your trip to Ramatuelle as its sights and attractions aren’t all located nearby.

Explore downtown Ramatuelle

Credit: Round Trip Travel

Wander through this southern French village of 2000 inhabitants. Unlike its neighbor Saint Tropez, the village of Ramatuelle is much calmer. You can sip on a café au lait and munch on a croissant as you imagine all the history that has been lived in this town since the 11th century. Later, you can stroll past its Église Notre Dame, whose tower dates back to the 1300s and allowed villagers to spot imminent dangers from afar. You can also appreciate sea views as well as swaths of forests from this quaint village. 

Wine Tasting in the Gulf of Saint Tropez

Given its prized position amidst many vineyards, it would be a pity to visit Ramatuelle without a wine tasting. Our oenological expert will take you on a tour of two wine estates in the AOP Côtes de Provence and explain the ins and outs of the terroir.

Kick back on Pampelonne Beach

Credit: Round Trip Travel

Ramatuelle is best known for its Pampelonne Beach, where you can admire the crystal blue water. Whether it’s lying out on a transat or building sand castles with your little ones, a day at Pampelonne Beach is essential. Beach restaurants and clubs line the stretch meaning you needn’t wander far for refreshments. During its summer season from May to October, we recommend dining at Loulou. Sip on a Ramatuelle Spritz, marked by champagne, rosé, peach and strawberry. Nosh on its sea bass carpaccio or truffle tagliatelle. The restaurant also has its own private beach, which means you can waffle between dining and beaching in a cinch. 

Private Dining in the Gulf of Saint-Tropez

Saint Tropez, city in France

Dinner with a view, that’s the dream, right? But what if we told you that you could have the views all to yourself? French Side Travel can organize a private dinner overlooking the Gulf of Saint Tropez. And the best news: it’s all yours. You’ll enjoy a gourmet meal in total tranquility.

Private Visit, Wine Tasting and Lunch at Château Saint Martin

Only 40 kilometers north of Saint Tropez, Château Saint Martin is worth the trek during your time in Ramatuelle. Your guide will show you the domain and explain the intricate craft of winemaking. You can’t go wrong with a glass of wine, but we recommend you sip on one of their specialties: vin cuit de Provence, a Porto-style beverage, or marc de Provence, alcohol distilled from its grape stalks.

Your domain visit will be punctuated with a gourmet meal as well as chocolate and cheese tastings. We can organize car service for your trip to Château Martin, but the domain can also be reached by helicopter. 

Where to Stay in Ramatuelle

La Réserve

Step into a world of luxury with a stay at this five-star hotel. You’ll fall in love with this modern design marked by its “arty chic spirit pervading the Côte d’Azur of the 1950s,” according to its site. Stay in one of its secluded villas with a private pool and sea views. Don’t skimp on meals while staying at La Réserve: feast on Michelin-starred Eric Canino’s meals at La Voile all while admiring the sea.

Villa Marie
Nestled somewhere between Saint Tropez and Pampelonne Beach, this five-star hotel is a paradise waiting to be tasted. Marked by its vintage accents, this boutique hotel’s 45 rooms will entice you with its cozy yet regal setting. We have a feeling you’ll fall for its Dolce Vita Restaurant with a terrace surrounded by trees and giving views to the Mediterranean.


Packing your bags already for a stay in dreamy Ramatuelle? Be inspired by some of our top tours: The Best of The French Rivieras History and Culture in a Week, A Romantic Trip to the French Riviera and A Unique Wine and Food Excursion to the French Riviera. We’re ready to help you plan the trip of a lifetime.

Need some help planning your trip?

Fall in France 2023: 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 2023.


Fall in France 2023: 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
hotel saint delis

Hotel Saint-Delis

Nestled in the heart of Honfleur’s historic district, this luxury 5-star hotel with a discreet charm is an essential part of the city’s arts and historical heritage. Situated in a charming setting of 17th-century architecture, the hotel appears enchanting from the first glance.

Every room overlooks beautiful gardens and provides a variety of views in an intimate and personalized setting. Bedrooms are elegantly furnished and have magnificent, comfortable bathrooms where the beauty of marble and mirrors combine to create a luxurious and contemporary atmosphere.

All the rooms are equipped with modern amenities. Each room has a shower hammam, and the Deluxe and Junior suites have a spa bath as well. Guests enjoy services such as horse carriage rides, massage therapy, and painting lessons. There are also facilities for child care.

This is an ideal place for a family stay or a weekend of relaxation, as well as a vast array of activities that will delight young and old alike.

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. Spend a wonderfufl day 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: Private Dordogne Gastronomy and Wine Traditions Tour

fall market foods france

Spend a fabulous day in gorgeous Southwest France focused on gastronomy and wine.

The first stop of the day is at a farm located 10 minutes from Sarlat-la-Canéda called “The Geese of the Black Périgord.” You will discover livestock breeding and taste local products. Then you will head in the direction of Castelnaud La Chapelle, where you will have the opportunity to visit an eco-museum of walnuts and a truffle farm. Enjoy a light lunch before continuing to the village of Castelnaud where you’ll see its impressive castle. Visit a small organic chocolate shop, before a final stop enjoy a tasting of local wine, the Vin de Domme.

Provence: Private Cooking Class and Wine Tasting in Chateauneuf-du-Pape

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.

Enjoy a cooking workshop and experience a real gastronomic experience at the heart of this historic village. You’ll discover the regional flavors and learn how to cook recipes with fresh local products along with a talented Chef from the region. Wine is also a key ingredient in the enjoyment and improves the various tastes in cooking. The cuisine will be perfectly paired with Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines.

Where to Stay in Provence
hotel le pigonnet

Hotel Le Pigonnet

This luxury 5-star hotel is set in an elegant Provençal mansion that marries 18th-century style with contemporary refinements. The property grounds have a large garden so you’ll enjoy calm, but still be just a short walk to the city center.

Enjoy access to it offers an outdoor swimming pool, wellness area, and pétanque grounds.

Rooms feature modern amenities. Some offer a view of the garden and the Sainte-Victoire mountain from their balcony or terrace.

The casual fine dining restaurant serves regional cuisine. You can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the terrace in summer.


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.

Best Luxury Hotels in Provence

From its fragrant lavender fields to its rolling vineyards, the region of Provence promises blissful moments. This area in southern France makes the ideal destination for its ample sunshine, idyllic villages, and landscape diversity. Provence also boasts stunning hotels and accommodations. At French Side Travel, we’d be happy to organize a stay at these hotels and throw in some special perks and benefits. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite luxury hotels in Provence for their convenience, amenities, and jaw-dropping views.


Best Luxury Hotels in Provence

How to Get to Provence

The best way to get to the heart of Provence is by flying to the Marseille airport. From there, our driver can pick you up and take you to the Provençal village of your dreams. The TGV, or high-speed train, also has direct lines from Paris to Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, and Marseille. These towns are all great launch points as you discover this rich region.

Hotel Villa La Coste in Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade

Calling all wine lovers and art aficionados. Hotel Villa La Coste is a luxury hotel in Provence boasting five stars and 28 villa suites. You could spend hours wandering this luxury hotel grounds with its spa, library, vineyard, bar and restaurants. The hotel is situated in the Château La Coste domain, which also boasts various art exhibitions. We’re sure you’ll be tempted by its Pool Villa Suite, complete with a private patio and pool. 

As glamorous as the hotel rooms are, you’ll still be itching to explore the rest of this property. This luxury hotel also offers an art and architecture tour and wine tasting during your stay. Indulge in some TLC at the property’s spa with a rose, poppy seed and lavender body scrub or a pink mud wrap. We’ll book a table for you at the property’s restaurant led by Michelin-starred chef Hélène Darroze. Her menu will have you feasting on local produce and products such as goat cheese, Camargue rice, and stuffed zucchini. 

Private meal in the middle of a vineyard

France may offer some of the most exquisite restaurants in the world, but sometimes it’s the simple moments we remember most. We’ll organize a private lunch or dinner in the heart of Provençal vineyard. We’ll take care of the table, menu, and chef; simply show up and bask in the moment.

Hotel La Mirande in Avignon

Step into another era at Hotel La Mirande, a 5-star hotel fit for a queen and king. Its 26 rooms are tastefully decorated with cotton prints and each has their own name. From La Rivière Enchantée (enchanted river) to Les Oeillets (carnations), you will be enamored with both the names and the loveliness of these rooms.

Explore the hotel’s intimate garden, which is home to a wide array of plants and herbs picked by its chefs. The hotel also has its own cooking school where guests can book sessions to learn alongside decorated chefs. Try your hand at the pavlova pastry or perhaps sauteed, oriental-spiced squid. 

If you’d rather leave the cooking to the professionals, Hotel La Mirande will not disappoint. We’d be happy to book you a table at La Mirande’s Michelin-starred restaurant. Nosh on Chef Florent Pietravalle’s latest creations from black pear to meat paired with a rye-bread crust. Not only is this hotel rich with its cuisine but also its history.  In the 1300s, the popes came to dine in the oldest room of this hotel.

Baumanière in Les Baux-de-Provence

Venture into the idyllic Provençal countryside with a stay at Baumanière. This five-star hotel is nestled in Les Baux de Provence, a village named one of the most beautiful in France. Its 53 rooms have been tastefully and uniquely decorated and feature pieces from nearby villages such as Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.

A stay at the Baumanière would be incomplete without a reservation at L’Oustau de Baumanière. With a decorated history since 1945, this restaurant boasts three Michelin stars and is led by Chef Glenn Viel. You’ll also have your choice in their wine selection, with some wines aged 150 years. If you’re interested in the science and culture of wine, you can even take an oenology class complete with a cellar visit and wine tastings, bien sûr

Wind down at the property’s spa with their Escape to Provence massage with its notes of lavender and olive or perhaps their Hawaiian-inspired Lomi-Lomi massage.

Villa Gallici in Aix-en-Provence

Opt for a luxurious, intimate escape with a stay at Villa Gallici, located in the heart of Provence. No matter your needs or wishes, a stay in one of this boutique hotel’s 23 rooms will be a dream come true. From balconies with garden views to its Baroque-style beds, these rooms are fit for royalty. Lie out on one of its cushy lounge chairs poolside. 

During your visit, be sure to visit the villa’s exquisite wine cellar with hundreds of choices. Indulge in a unique dining experience with both French and Italian flavors. You can also relax with a gastronomic lunch and spa package for two with your choice of a body or facial treatment along with time in the sauna, jacuzzi, and cryo cabin. Or perhaps you’re in dire need of a recharge but solo; Villa Gallici also offers lunch and spa packages for one.

Private art gallery tour

Whether you fancy before the gallery’s opening or after its closing, we’ll organize a private tour of an art center in Aix-en-Provence. Your guide will explain the past of this former mansion and exhibitions. Finish your VIP experience with a meal or hors d’oeuvres in one of the center’s salons. 

From its renowned vineyards to its history-laden villages, the region of Provence will charm you. With these best luxury hotels in Provence, you’re sure to enjoy your visit to the region in comfort and style.


Itching to book a stay in one of these luxury hotels in Provence? We don’t blame you. And we’re more than happy to organize your stay as well as your visits during your trip to Provence. Be enchanted by A Perfect Cultural and Culinary Stay in the Beautiful Provence, Delights of Provence and our Family Trip to Provence.

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