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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.