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!

Favorite Family-Friendly Tours in France

When planning a vacation that will be special for the entire family, it’s important to keep in mind specific activities that will be engaging for both young and old. French Side Travel has put together a list of some of our favorite family-friendly tours in France that are sure to make your vacation unforgettable.


Favorite Family-Friendly Tours in France

Walk in the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel with A Private Guide

private walking tour mont saint michel

Take the opportunity to discover the other side of Mont Saint-Michel during a walk along the shore. Step into the water and sand, dance on the quicksand, and admire the landscapes and natural beauty of the Bay. Your private guided walk departs from Mont Saint-Michel, so it is the perfect activity to combine with a visit to the abbey. You’ll walk towards the Rocher de Tombelaine and back to Mont Saint-Michel. It’s also possible to include a seaside treasure hunt to discover the local sea creatures.

Discover the Beauty, History, and Culture of Provence in a Day

provence favorite family-friendly tours in france

You will depart for Lourmarin, ideally on a Friday, which is market day, and have free time to discover one of the most beautiful villages of the Luberon. Don’t miss the Renaissance castle, beautiful vineyards (which you can visit and have a tasting organized), or the quaint galleries and artisanal shops. Stop for lunch in an exceptionally charming village like Lauris, Oppède-le-Vieux, Ménerbes, Goult or Gordes. Afterwards, you will continue the day by taking the Combe, a winding road, to discover from near or far the perched villages of Bonnieux, Lacoste, Ménerbes, Oppède-le-Vieux, Roussillon and Gordes. From the Marquis de Sade to Vasarely, they all have a unique story to tell, and by the end of the day you will know many of them!

Family-Friendly Stays in Provence
Le Vallon de Valrugues & Spa

Le Vallon de Valrugues & Spa

Located 600 meters from the center of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, this luxurious and refined 5 star hotel offers exceptional villas, a gourmet restaurant, a bistro, a bar, an outdoor swimming pool and a 500 m² spa. The village of Les Baux-de-Provence is 10 km away.

Rooms, suites and villas have air conditioning, free Wi-Fi connection, as well as flat-screen satellite television. Offering a view of the surroundings and the Alpilles National Park, some rooms also have a terrace. Some suite and villas also have a private pool.

The gourmet restaurant prepares menus with a Provençal theme, created by the using local seasonal products. The bistro is open for lunch in high season. In summer, you can enjoy a poolside bar with smoothies, ice cream and milkshakes. A shuttle service drive you to the center of the village and back. The spa offers individual or duo massage room, perfect for a relaxing time with your loved one!

Scenic Horseback Ride in Camargue Followed by a Picnic on the Beach

favorite family-friendly tours in france camargue

Accompanied by Laurent, an expert gardian nicknamed “Peù Blanc,” you will ride across over 1,235 acres of land. Discover the natural beauty of Camargue with its terrain divided between rice paddies and pastures. The famous white horses will take you for a ride off the beaten path and bring you close to the Camargue bulls. Experienced riders will even be able to accompany the gardians in the sorting of the bulls. No matter your age or level of experience, the Camargue cowboys will be happy to share their work and passion with you! This special ride will end in Piemenson with a picnic on the natural beach.

Private Guided Chocolate Tour in Bordeaux

chocolate tour in bordeaux

Feel the charm of the city like a real resident, while tasting the best products of Bordeaux in a unique atelier that will share all of its fabrication secrets with you. Enjoy delicious samples of incredibly refined chocolates in this completely chocolate food tour. From the origin of coco beans to the tasty finished product, you’ll discover the history of chocolate in the moon harbor of Bordeaux. This tour is a great option for foodies as well as those who would just like to experience a unique experience and walking tour in Bordeaux.

A Day On the Water: Private Boat Tour of Cassis and the Calanques National Park

cassis private boat ride

Cassis and the Calanques are two spots that are absolutely not to be missed in Provence. You’ll depart from Marseille’s picturesque Vieux Port for a day on the water and see this stretch of spectacular coastline on a private boat. Explore the forgotten coves, tiny ports, and soaring cliffs of the Calanques National Park. Snorkelers will enjoy the turquoise waters and marine life. You’ll stop for lunch in Cassis where you can dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant with a breathtaking view of Cape Canaille, France’s highest marine cliff.

Pedal Through Paris during a Private Guided E-Bike Tour of the City of Light

bike tour of paris

See the real Paris during this fabulous guided e-bike tour. You might come across a hidden game of pétanque at the oldest Parisian monument as you discover all the twists and turns of the Marais. Marvel at the Jardins des Plantes and effortlessly climb the slopes of the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève. Get a look at the student life of the Latin Quarter and then the artists’ cafés of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

Next, follow the grandeur of the Obelisk in Place de la Concorde and travel in time on your way to Les Champs-Élysées. Amidst all the bustle and excitement of this legendary city, your guide will reveal the relaxing calm of the quiet refuges of Paris. This is a perfect opportunity to take beautiful snapshots and unforgettable memories back home!

Family Friendly Stays in the Loire Valley
les sources de cheverny

Les Sources de Cheverny

Tucked away in its own private estate, this 5-star hotel is the quintessential French château. Exuding 18th-century elegance, this striking hotel balances bygone grandeur with a homely charm.

Soft light from tall, gothic windows creates a restful space. An open fire welcomes guests into the dramatic lobby. While 26 rooms and 23 suites pair sumptuous fabrics with stripped wood panelling to create a sense of contemporary luxury. Beyond the twists and turrets of the building, beautiful lawns and gardens are waiting to be explored. The historic building offers room with classic Chateau feeling, whereas the cottages nearby offer more modern decoration.

As the sun starts to go down, it’s time for a cocktail in the courtyard. Then, you can head into one of the two restaurants and take your pick from mouth-watering menus inspired by the season’s finest local produce.

Days are made for relaxing by the pool, or indulging at the spa Caudalie. Private coaching and yoga classes are available on request.

Private Kid-Friendly Cultural Driving Tour in the Loire Valley

favorite family friendly tours in france loire valley

Your licensed driver-guide will pick up you at your hotel for a unique day experiencing the best of the Loire Valley. Discover a private château and stroll through its splendid gardens. Children will be invited to dress up in medieval costumes and enjoy a treasure hunt or a workshop. For lunch, you’ll enjoy a farm-to-table meal made entirely with products from the castle’s garden in the magnificent setting of the park. To finish the day, you’ll stop in Chinon to trace Joan of Arc’s footsteps.

Full-Day Tour of Provence’s Lavender Fields

provence lavender

Visit the high plateau to experience one of Provence’s emblematic sites: the blooming, fragrant lavender fields. From mid-June to August, the high plateau blooms in breathtaking purple. Enjoy scenic routes away from the crowds. Get ready to take beautiful photos!

The tour includes the Albion plateau, and the villages of Sault and Banon. The wild nature surrounds Sault, perched on a rocky promontory. It dominates a plain dedicated to agriculture where lavender predominates offering in summer a unique palette of colors. Leaning against the Albion plateau, between the mountains of Lure and Ventoux, Banon has an authentic and natural character. Surrounded by fields of lavender, plains, and hills delicately perfumed by aromatic plants, a checkerboard of striking colors is drawn around the village.

Private Scavenger Hunt to Discover the World’s Most Famous Museum from a Different Angle

family friendly louvre scavenger hunt

One of our ultimate favorite family-friendly tours in France is a private scavenger hunt at the Musée du Louvre. While adults take in the highlights of the historic museum with its many treasures, children will get their own specially-designed booklets and a pencil. They’ll look for clues and answer questions as they walk through the different wings of the museum. At the end of the scavenger hunt, the children will be rewarded with a surprise gift.

Private Walking Tour of Old Lyon with a Storyteller

lyon walking tour

Follow the guide-storyteller in the secret covered passageways of Old Lyon. You’ll learn about the incredible adventure of Petit Pierre, and his thirst for science. This adventure allows you to discover the Lyon of the Renaissance, the great Lyonnais figures of the 16th century and the magic of this district.

“Our story begins in the time of King François I. Petit Pierre was an orphan who knew the constellations by heart. One day, he heard the young Louise Labbé talking about Copernicus’ discoveries. He decided that he had to go further, to know more. To do so, he was helped by a mysterious magic book. But first, he had to reckon with the wiles of the evil master Nicolas”.

Guaranteed emotion and thrills! The story is fictional, but based on real historical elements, and includes historical characters. We recommend this visit for children from 6 to 12 years old, as well as for their parents!


We hope this list of our favorite family-friendly tours in France is helpful when choosing a vacation that will be memorable for your children. 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!

Five Unique Summer Experiences in France: Part Two

With summer travel planning in full-swing, we’re excited to share part two of our list of five unique summer experiences in France. Read on to discover more about this year’s Tour de France and Tour des Femmes, Fête Nationale, and more.


Five Unique Summer Experiences in France: Part Two

Via Ferrata – Hiking and Rock Climbing with a View of Mont Blanc

via ferrata chamonix unique summer expriences in france

Beginners and experienced climbers, adults and children alike can enjoy the fun of the vertical world of via ferrata. This activity is a cross between hiking and rock climbing. Go along routes equipped with cables, ladders, and rope bridges and across rock faces and crags. This particular via ferrata route looks directly at the stunning Mont Blanc. The Chamonix Valley is a wonderful place to experience this unique activity, and the Evettes via ferrata guarantees enormous fun and adventure. You’ll safely push your limits on a varied route with a professional guide.

Celebrate La Fête Nationale – Bastille Day

fête nationale fireworks paris
Photo Courtesy of Groupe F


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.

Where to Stay in Paris
hotel la reserve paris

Hôtel La Réserve

This palace hotel is housed in a mansion dating from 1854, once owned by couturier Pierre Cardin.

Behind its ruby-red doors, it offers guests a world of Haussmann charm and rooms with stunning views of Paris’s finest landmarks. The elegant and stylish decoration was designed by Jacques Garcia.

Practical and aesthetically pleasing, the 26 suites and 14 rooms seamlessly combine tradition with modern technology. It is also worth noting that La Réserve Paris is the first palace hotel to offer a personal butler service for every room. There is special attention to make guests feel as though they are staying in a private home.

Away from the hustle and bustle of the world’s most beautiful avenue, this discrete and spacious establishment also has a private library and a smoking room.

Chef Jérôme Banctel oversees the kitchens at both Le Gabriel restaurant and La Pagode de Cos brasserie. The restaurant serves contemporary French cuisine with Asian influences.

Tour de France and Tour des Femmes

tour de france unique summer experiences in france
REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo

The 109th edition of the Tour de France is back again this year from July 1st to July 24th. The race is set to depart in Denmark and also includes stops in Belgium and Switzerland. This year’s race will cover 2,067 miles of cycling and span four mountain ranges. If you happen to be in Paris on July 24th, don’t miss the final stage of the Tour de France. The finish line is on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Spectators can cheer on the riders around Place de la Concorde and the Quai des Tuileries. The end of the Tour de France in Paris marks the beginning of the Tour des Femmes, the first women’s cycle stage race around France. The Tour des Femmes takes place from July 24th to July 31st.

Kayaking or Canoeing in the Dordogne

kayaking in the dordogne unique summer experiences in france

Begin your journey in either a kayak or canoe at Saint Vincent de Cosse, just next to Beynac-et-Cazenac, which many consider to be one of the most beautiful villages in France. Nestled between the Dordogne River and an immense rocky promontory, the village is not to be missed. With stone-paved streets, houses in light-colored stones, and a château, you’ll be in for a total immersion in medieval times. A shuttle will take you to your preferred starting point on the Dordogne River. From there, you’ll start discovering the amazing villages and châteaux on both sides of the river. You’ll have your pick between three different tours: a half day tour, a 4-5 hour tour, and a full day tour. A perfectly unique summer experience in France indeed!

Where to Stay in the Dordogne
chateau de la treyne

Château de la Treyne

The exceptionally located 4-star hotel is set on a rocky bluff and mirrored in the Dordogne, beneath a wooded hillside covered with boxwood and truffle oaks.

The hotel’s combination of authenticity and refinement is a perfect expression of contemporary luxury, in a sublime and relaxing setting. It offers guests the opportunity to step back in time with all of the comforts and amenities of modern life.

All Suites and deluxe rooms are equipped to the highest standard. A tempting menu of seasonal dishes, using only the best locally sourced ingredients, is served daily at their Michelin-starred restaurant.

Loire Valley Bike, Wine, and Châteaux Tour

loire valley cycling wine and biking

Join a licensed guide for an incredible private tour and day experiencing the best of the Loire Valley’s biking, wine, and châteaux. Stop at the Château de Villandry, one of the last châteaux built during the Renaissance period. There you’ll discover perhaps the most breathtaking example of Renaissance garden design in all of France. Afterwards, bike along the banks of the Loire River to an old fisherman’s village. You’ll stop for a picnic lunch on the riverside with local delicacies and wine.

Play amateur photographer in Rigny-Ussé where you can admire the exceptional exterior architecture of the Renaissance château. The view of the château from the bridge over the Indre is quite simply stunning. To finish the day, stop in the Vouvray vineyards to visit a cellar and taste the delicious local sparkling wine. A simply wonderful way to have a unique summer experience and experience some of the best of France all in a day!


We hope part two of five unique summer experiences in France helps inspire a trip later this year. We 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!

Five Unique Summer Experiences in France: Part One

Visiting France in the summer is always a popular choice thanks to mild temperatures and an endless variety of activities, both outdoors and indoors. Every year there are numerous special events not to be missed. Read on to discover part one of French Side Travel’s list of five unique summer experiences in France.


Five Unique Summer Experiences in France: Part One

La Fête de la Musique

la fete de la musique france

Each June 21st in France is La Fête de la Musique, the same day as the summer solstice and longest day of the year. 2022 marks the 40th edition of this free event that takes part all across France – in both major cities and rural communities. La Fête de la Musique celebrates live music of all kinds and is open to both amateurs and professionals alike. People gather in the streets to enjoy concerts and performances that go well into the night. If you are in France on June 21st, celebrating La Fête de la Musique is a must!

Château de Versailles Gardens: Music, Fountains, and Fireworks

versailles musical gardens five unique summer experiences in france

The world-renowned gardens at the Château de Versailles take on another dimension during the warmer months. On almost every day of the week there is something special going on.

During the Musical Fountains Show, visitors can follow several paths to both masterpieces and secret spots in the gardens to see the fountains spouting water in sync with baroque music.

On Musical Gardens days, enjoy your walk through the garden to discover groves that are exceptionally open to the public, along with music.

On Saturday evenings, along with a few select dates, the Night Fountains Show is the main attraction in the gardens. This show of light and sound is accompanied by water features and ends with a dramatic firework show in front of the Grand Canal. If you happen to be visiting on a Saturday, the Royal Serenade might be of interest: a French-style ball in the golden Hall of Mirrors.

You can see the full schedule here.

Where to Stay in Arles
hotel particulier arles

Hôtel Particulier Arles

This intimate 5-star hotel is set in a historic mansion in central Arles. This is the perfect spot from which to discover the charming city and the Camargue National Park.

The hotel’s lush garden and terrace feels particularly Provençal, and is a shady oasis during the summer months. Relax in the heated outdoor pool or in the spa and fitness area.

The spacious rooms and suites evoke a bygone era. They are bright, decorated with white fabrics, and feature modern amenities.

Photography and Theater Festivals in Arles and Avignon

les rencontres d'arles five unique summer experiences in france

In 1970, Les Rencontres d’Arles was founded. It highlights eclectic and contemporary photography in Arles, the international capital of photography. Numerous exhibits take place throughout Arles in emblematic locations, many of which are usually closed to the public. A must-see is the Luma Museum, an architectural wonder designed by Frank Gehry and filled with contemporary art. This year, Les Rencontres d’Arles is from July 4th to September 25th.

Also in July, in neighboring Avignon, is the Festival d’Avignon. The city of Avignon transforms into a theater as a celebration of contemporary performing arts. Performances take place throughout the city in both iconic and unexpected locations. There is a focus on sharing contemporary and living culture, so along with the shows there are also readings, exhibits, films, and discussions. This year’s Festival d’Avignon runs from July 7th to July 26th.

Where to Stay in Avignon
la mirande avignon

Hôtel La Mirande

Built by one of Pope Clement V’s cardinals, this 5-star hotel dates back to 1309. It enjoys a privileged location in Avignon’s city center.

Rooms feature decorations like wall tapestries, oak-wood flooring, and silk-lined curtains. All rooms have a private bathroom featuring marble. Some offer a view of the Palais des Papes.

Enjoy gourmet cuisine at the in-house Michelin-star restaurant. Culinary enthusiasts will also want to book a cooking class in the hotel’s rustic kitchen. Spend a few hours around the vast, wood-burning oven and use local produce to craft a delicious meal. You’ll enjoy an aperitif in the cellar before sitting down for lunch.

See the Vibrant Lavender Fields in Provence

provence lavender fields

The world-famous lavender fields are among the most beautiful landscapes in all of France. Throughout the years, lavender has held a prominent place in the history and culture of Provence. The lavender fields start blooming in June each year and usually by mid-July reach peak bloom. By the middle of August the lavender is usually harvested. Some of the best places to see lavender include Valensole, Abbaye Notre-Dame de Sénanque, Sault, and Drôme. Visit a distillery to bring some of the scents of Provence home with you in the form of essential oils, soaps, or honey.

Dinner Cruise with Fireworks on the Côte d’Azur

cannes firework show

For a special summer experience on the Côte d’Azur, consider taking a dinner cruise complete with a firework show. Cruises depart from Cannes and feature a cruise around the Îles des Lérins with a stop on Île Sainte Marguerite. Dinner will be served on board as the boat heads back towards the Croisette to watch the dazzling firework spectacle. It is also possible to go on a cruise to watch the fireworks without a meal from Nice.


We hope part one of this list of five unique summer experiences in France helps inspire a trip later this year. We 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!

A Winter Getaway to Nice

For a winter getaway filled with sunshine, a trip to Nice and the surrounding areas is a great option. Travelers have a chance to experience the Côte d’Azur without an abundance of tourists. French Side Travel’s co-founder Mark Bonte spent time in the area following the ILTM Cannes conference is sharing his findings.


A Winter Getaway to Nice

Visiting Nice in the Winter

nice carnival parade

Nice has mild temperatures year round, making it an ideal place to visit in cooler months. In fact, the famous Promenade des Anglais was built in the early 19th century when the English upper class began coming to the French Riviera for the winter.

Take in the impressive backdrop of soaring hills and the famous blue waters of the French Riviera. The Cours Saleya is the main street in the old town and hosts a daily flower and vegetable market. You can find top-notch seasonal produce here, and there is a good selection of other local souvenirs.

Nice Market Tour
cours saleya market nice winter getaway

Cours Saleya Market Tour and Cooking Class with Lunch in Nice

The day begins at the famous Cours Saleya market, while there is still a fresh morning breeze. The narrow maze of centuries-old streets opens up onto a splendid space lined with bars, cafés, and restaurants on either side and 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 dazzling thanks to their array of colors, what is really interesting are the small producers’ stalls. The fruit and vegetables are not as uniformly shaped and the variety not as great, but every ingredient is firmly rooted in the region. Much of it is organic! The meal will be made around the best of the season’s produce. And not to forget cheese and wine to make the meal complete!

Next you will head to the cooking studio, where you will help prepare the meal. Afterwards you will sit down to an authentic Niçois meal and toast your efforts with a glass of local wine.

From the harbor, you can climb to the Colline du Château for great views of the city. There is a beautiful park with views of the beach stretching along the Baie des Anges (Bay of the Angels). There are also several festivals and carnivals that take place in February on the French Riviera including the Lemon Festival in Menton, the Nice Carnival, and the Mimosa Festival in Mandelieu.

a winter getaway to nice

Excursion from Nice: Saint-Paul-de-Vence

No winter getaway to Nice would be complete without seeing some of the area’s most breathtaking hilltop villages. There are more than 120 scattered through the area. Saint-Paul-de-Vence is a perennial favorite for art lovers thanks to its numerous galleries. This village is among the most beautiful and most visited in France. It is best summed up by the sign at the entrance to the village which reads: Authentic and touristy, quiet and buzzing, Saint-Paul is proud of its paradoxes – they are the key to its charm and identity.

The beauty of this perched village has attracted many artists during the last century, including Modigliani, Picasso, Braque and Miro. It now has a very regarded reputation as an artistic village, as well as a place of great natural beauty.

Wednesday and Friday are especially nice days to visit so that you can enjoy the small local market. Here you can taste the flavors of the Mediterranean: fruits and vegetables, confectionery and pastries, teas, oils, meats, cheeses, and socca, a cross between a flatbread and a pancake.

Where to Stay near Saint-Paul-de-Vence
chateau le cagnard hotel

Château le Cagnard

Built in the 13th-century, this stylish château not far from Saint-Paul-de-Vence and Nice in Cagnes-sur-Mer was later converted into a 4-star hotel.

Completely renovated in 2012, visitors find the hotel more glorious than ever. It offers 28 rooms and suites with beautifully restored period furniture in Provencal style, full of charm and character.

The restaurant is an absolutely magical place. The main dining room is renowned for its sliding ceiling. The ceiling opens up to reveal the blue sky and extends the beautiful terrace and its sublime view over the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding hills. The cuisine is a mix of local and seasonal products served with a brilliant wine list.

Excursion from Nice: Art and Culture Tour of the French Riviera

villa ephrussi de rothschild

From the middle of the 19th century until World War II, the French Riviera was the worldwide standard of elegance of architecture and lifestyle. There is a broad range of different styles of architecture to enjoy: Victorian, Belle Époque, Art Nouveau, Modern and more. This former version of the Riviera still exists, although hidden away. During this day you’ll see it all from Cap d’Ail, Cap-Martin, Monaco, and more.

A favorite of the tour is a stop at the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. Known as Villa Île-de-France, it is one of the most beautiful Renaissance-style palaces on the Côte d’Azur. Baroness Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild built the mansion on a summit of the Cap-Ferrat peninsula between 1905 and 1912.

Nine gardens surround the villa on over 17 acres. In addition to the French, lapidary, Japanese and rose gardens, there are also the Spanish, Italian, Provençal, and exotic gardens, reminiscent of the Baroness’ travels. The Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild will be a highlight of your winter getaway to Nice!

Where to Stay in Nice
hotel laperouse nice

Hôtel La Pérouse

Set on the cliffs of the Colline du Château and overlooking the Baie des Anges, this hotel offers a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean Sea. It is also in the heart of Nice, close to the Cours Saleya flower market and just behind the old port, giving it a perfect location.

Highlights of this 56-room boutique property include its sunny rooftop terrace and heated outdoor pool set against an impressive limestone cliff. Sit in the shade of the lemon trees and feel the gentle sea breeze while enjoying exquisite Mediterranean cuisine at the outdoor restaurant Le Patio.

All of the rooms are spacious, bright, cheerful and beautifully decorated in an elegant Mediterranean style. Most offer amazing views.

At the foot of the hotel, you have access to a private beach for sunbathing or a dip in the sea.


Don’t miss out on an opportunity to experience the glorious French Riviera in the winter with a getaway to Nice. Many of our travel designers are based locally in the South of France and will be able to provide fabulous insider suggestions to make your trip exceptional. Our travel designers are standing by to create a tailor-made itinerary just for you.

French Side Travel Favorites: Paris

Recently part of the French Side Travel team met up in Paris. The team visited suppliers and experienced several of the most-loved and most-booked experiences, tours, hotels, and restaurants. There’s no shortage of things to do and see in the City of Light, and we’re excited to share the French Side Travel favorites in Paris.


French Side Travel Favorites: Paris

Favorite Paris Experiences

Seine River Cruise with Champagne

paris seine cruise

Nothing quite compares to seeing Paris from the water. A Seine River cruise is a great way to orient yourself or fight off jet lag all while discovering Paris from a unique vantage point. There really isn’t a bad time for a Seine River cruise – boats depart every 30 minutes during high season. French Side Travel works with smaller boat companies for a more intimate and personal experience. There’s even live commentary instead of an audioguide. Our top cruise recommendation? One that departs around sunset and involves a glass of Champagne!

Market Visit, Cooking Class, and Traditional French Lunch or Dinner

french side travel favorites paris cooking class

What’s the ultimate foodie experience in Paris? Surely a market visit followed by a cooking class and a meal at an inviting cooking school on the Left Bank. You’ll have the opportunity to learn how and why French people select certain products at the markets, prepare a multi-course meal, and sit down with a chef to enjoy the meal. This unique activity is always a French Side Travel client favorite. The cooking school also offers specific classes on macarons, French breads and baguettes, éclairs and more!

Where to Stay in Paris
hotel brighton paris view

Hôtel Brighton

Built-in the 19th century by Lord Egerton, this 4-star hotel was one of the first hotels in Paris. The hotel is truly ideally located with a sublime view of the Tuileries Garden, Louvre Museum and Eiffel Tower.

The individually decorated rooms come with antique furniture and exude an elegant and refined Parisian charm. The traditional marble columns of the bar make it an ideal setting to enjoy a cocktail made by the mixologist. A full breakfast buffet with the very best French products is served every day in the breakfast room.

Cheesemaking Workshop or Wine and Cheese Pairing

Tasting French cheeses is always a top request for clients visiting Paris. To take it a step farther, French Side Travel can organize a special cheesemaking workshop held at a cheese shop. You’ll learn all of the fromager’s best tips and tricks to master making French cheeses and butter at home. Afterwards, you’ll have the opportunity to taste your creations with bread and wine.

If you’d like to skip making cheese and go straight to tasting that can also be arranged! You’ll get to visit the cheese maturing cellar and learn all about the aging process. Next you’ll head down to the historic 17th century tasting room where you can taste up to nine cheeses and four perfectly paired wines. Be sure to note your favorites. You’ll be able to purchase cheeses to enjoy during the rest of your trip!

Favorite Paris Tours

Latin Quarter Walking Tour

Located in the 5th arrondissement between the Seine River and the Sainte Genevieve mount, the Latin Quarter is one neighborhood in Paris that you must not miss. Your guide will show you everything ancient, medieval and contemporary in this diverse quartier. The district is mostly a melting pot of students and tourists thanks to its great shopping, bars and restaurants. There are also iconic museums that shouldn’t be missed including the Pantheon, Sorbonne University, and Cluny Museum. This tour offers you a cultural and historic mix, from ancient origins to bustling back streets and quiet little squares.

Tour Paris in a Classic Car

paris classic car tour

During this two-hour tour of Paris you’ll discover the beautiful monuments of Paris: the Avenue des Champs Élysées, the Arc de Triomphe, the majestic Eiffel Tower, the imposing Louvre and the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral among others. The open roof of the classic French car will give you a fabulous view of the unmissable sights of the French capital, complemented by numerous explanations from your English-speaking driver-guide. Thanks to the small size of the car you’ll also see the city’s chic boutiques, the lively side streets, and picturesque yet narrow alleys reflecting the authentic Parisian ambiance and art de Vivre. This memorable experience is much more than the typical “highlights of Paris” tour!

Where to Stay in Paris
hotel napoleon paris

Hôtel Napoléon

Just a stone’s throw from the Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe, this luxury hotel offers all the splendor of a large private house. Its romantic decor recounts one of the most beautiful pages in the history of France, that of Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte. With its cozy rooms, beautiful suites or large adjoining rooms, the property is ideal for couples and families alike.

Built in the 1920s, it was designed to provide sumptuous accommodation for the high society of the time. The hotel has stood the test of time and developed an outstanding ability to welcome its guests. The intimate atmosphere, which at different times has attracted guests ranging from Jean Gabin to Josephine Baker and Errol Flynn, has made it a legendary place to stay that is just as charming and popular today. Every part of the hotel is luxuriously decorated, making it an enchanting and exceptional setting in the so-called Golden Triangle.

From breakfast in the morning, to gourmet lunch then after-dinner drinks in the evening, not to mention a morning or afternoon tea perhaps tasting a few inventive and trendy recipes, the restaurant is there to satisfy its guests’ every desire.

Montmartre Walking Tour

french side travel favorites montmartre paris tour

Montmartre is truly a charming small village within Paris. Located in the northern part of the city, Montmartre will take you back to a bohemian Paris with its narrow streets steeped in history. You’ll see the famous Sacre-Cœur Cathedral and the Place du Tertre, the former haunt of Belle-Epoque painters such as Toulouse Lautrec, Monet, Modigliani, Degas, and Renoir among others. Afterwards, your guide will show you the lesser-known side of Montmartre’s history and culture as you navigate winding cobblestone streets lined with quaint shops, museums, artist studios, inviting sidewalk cafés and some of Paris’ most storied nightlife spots. You’ll see it all: the best restaurants and brasseries, art galleries, historic homes and mills. Don’t forget your camera – there are plenty of photo opportunities on this fabulous tour!

Favorite Paris Restaurants

Le Ciel De Paris

le ciel de paris restaurant view

For a breathtaking and unexpected view of Paris from above you won’t be heading to the Eiffel Tower, but instead to another tower, the Tour Montparnasse. This restaurant is perfect for a special occasion and offers a look of Paris in widescreen. Choose from either an à la carte or set menu and let the views from 56 floors above the City of Light dazzle you!

Ducasse sur Seine

french side travel favorites ducasse sur seine

Part experience and part restaurant, no other Seine River cruise quite compares to the Ducasse sur Seine. All of the ingredients are chosen according to seasonality, delivered fresh each day, and prepared on-board. Each table offers lovely views of the city as the electric boat glides across the river. French Side Travel always encourages clients to enjoy a moment outside on the deck between courses to take in the truly magical perspective of Paris.

Where to Stay in Paris
hotel bel ami paris

Hôtel Bel Ami

This boutique five-star hotel is located on the Left Bank right in the heart of Paris’s famed Saint-Germain-de-Prés neighborhood. The Louvre Museum is just a 10-minute walk away, and many of the city’s favorite attractions can be discovered on foot.

The hotel’s atmosphere is modern and warm. Onsite you can enjoy a buffet breakfast or weekend brunches.

A spa, sauna, and fitness center are available. The onsite bar serves creative cocktails and is a great place to unwind with a snack and a drink. For travelers arriving in the morning, a relaxation room is at your disposal for a shower or changing clothes before beginning to discover the city.

This property is perfect for travelers interested in the food, culture, and art offerings abundant in Paris’s sixth arrondissement between the two most famous cafés in the city: Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots

Pizzeria Popolare

Pizzeria Popolare is fun, delicious, and good for groups which can sometimes be hard to find in Paris. The Big Mamma restaurant group works directly with producers to provide the freshest and most authentic Italian ingredients. For craft cocktail aficionados, the bar is the largest in Paris and has over 500 different alcohols. You might think you’re in Naples instead of in Paris!


We hope you enjoyed French Side Travel’s Paris favorites. It’s always the small details that make the trips go smoothly. French Side Travel can handle all of them for you! Whether you’d like VIP airport arrival or departure assistance, perfectly timed transfers, or help with a last minute reservation we’re here to help. When you book your trip with French Side Travel our English-speaking Travel Care team will be able to offer assistance, 24/7 while you’re in France. Our travel designers are standing by to create a tailor-made itinerary just for you.

Romantic Trips to Take This Winter in France

France is one of the most romantic destinations in the world to visit year-round. The distinct cultures, cuisines, wines and more mean that there’s something for virtually every traveler. Winter is an often overlooked time to visit France, but offers wonderful benefits, namely far less crowds. We’ve put together a list of ideas of romantic trips to France to take this winter. Each would be perfect for an upcoming proposal, honeymoon, anniversary or more!


Romantic Trips to Take this Winter in France

Paris: Classic Winter Romance in the City of Light

romantic winter trips to france paris

There is perhaps no city in the world more romantic than Paris, City of Light and love. From the moment you arrive the beauty of the city will sweep you off your feet. During the wintertime Paris is much less crowded. It’s a great time to visit always popular museums and monuments like the Musée du Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and Château de Versailles.

A Romantic Winter Day in Paris

Start your morning with a delightful French breakfast at your hotel including croissants, breads, delicious jams, butter, fresh-squeezed fruit juices and more. Afterwards, your chauffeur will meet you in the lobby to take you to a private Christmas food and decoration walking tour.

You’ll see the fabulous Christmas displays in the most-celebrated department stores in Paris. You’ll taste traditional French foods served over Christmas: oysters, foie gras, and sweet treats like éclairs and macarons. Next, you’ll be off to take in the best decorations in the city. The last stop is a Champagne tasting in a charming covered passageway. What could be more romantic?

After your tour, stop for lunch at the casually elegant Bistrot des Victories with its beautiful Christmas tree. You could also try one of the best classic French restaurants in Paris (and a Julia Child favorite) Chez Georges.

Following lunch, you’ll be off for a unique wine tasting experience to discover France in six glasses. You’ll taste five wines and one Champagne and the sommelier will teach you interesting anecdotes about each wine and region. It’s like a mini Tour de France!

After such a special day, go back to your hotel to relax by the fireplace or enjoy a spa treatment.

romantic hotel pavillion de la reine paris
Where to Stay in Paris

Le Pavillon de la Reine

This 5-star hotel is a deeply romantic hideaway in the heart of Le Marais. Built in 1612 by King Henry IV, this former 17th century residence is tucked away from the galleries and shops of the Place des Vosges, often referred to as the most beautiful square in the world.

Privately owned and family-run, it offers the understated sophistication of a private home with all the service, charm, and elegance of a grand palace.

The fine dining menu from the Michelin starred restaurant celebrates seasonal ingredients from carefully selected producers and takes guests on a voyage from land to sea.

The lounges have the feeling of a private library, with intimate seating, antique furniture, and open fireplaces – a cozy hideaway where guests can relax and unwind.

Chamonix: Unique Experiences on Mont Blanc for Adventure-Loving Couples

chamonix romantic winter trips france

Chamonix is the perfect destination to explore during a long weekend for an adventurous couple. The stunning scenery and views of Mont-Blanc draped in white will blow you away. You can spend the entire time skiing, but for our romantic stay we’ve selected several unforgettable activities that don’t require skis. Don’t miss our full winter ski guide to Chamonix here.

A Romantic Long Weekend in Chamonix

Start your trip on the right foot with a fun morning of snowshoeing. During this private guided tour you’ll experience the tranquility of snowy forests, summits, alpine bowls and ridges. It’ll be a special moment to share with your partner.

Afterwards, stop for lunch at Le 3842, which is one of the highest restaurants above Chamonix. You’ll enjoy fabulous views and local Savoyard cuisine made from the freshest regional produce. Be sure to reserve in advance as there are only 30 seats!

In the afternoon more breathtaking views are in store with a private panoramic Aiguille du Midi tour. This journey across the glaciers in the highest cable car in France is truly a once in a lifetime experience. It’s hard to think of more romantic winter views!

Be sure to take advantage of the spa at your hotel before the second day of your trip where you’ll partake in a full day private ice climbing tour. Chamonix has two climbing sites in the heart of the valley, and you’ll have everything you need to enjoy a day of fun discovering the magical crystalline universe.

hotel des grands alpes chamonix
Where to Stay in Chamonix

Grand Hôtel des Alpes

Built in 1840, this beautiful, welcoming, and cozy 5-star hotel is a part of Chamonix’s history and has always been a symbol of Savoyard hospitality. At the foot of Mont Blanc, it offers the opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere of the city center while being located near the lifts, the Aiguille du Midi and the Mer de Glace.

All rooms have a view, either over the mountains, the hotel gardens and mountain stream or the pedestrian area, so you can’t go wrong for a romantic stay.

In the evening, relax at the bar with its beautiful fireplace or in the comfortable lounge area overlooking Mont Blanc. There’s also a relaxation center, on the garden with a view on the Mont Blanc range.

Bordeaux: An Intimate Gourmet Destination

romantic winter trip to bordeaux

The city of Bordeaux is romantic by nature with its charming streets, gorgeous architecture, and delicious foods and wines. Its location in southwest France makes it an ideal winter destination with milder temperatures. Thanks to the high-speed train it’s an easy addition to a Paris trip. Once you’ve experienced Bordeaux you’ll see how easy it is to fall in love!

A Romantic Day Discovering Bordeaux’s Food and Wine

To start the day you’ll be off on a private luxury gourmet walking tour. Not only will you discover the charm of the city like a real resident, but you’ll also taste the best of the best of Bordeaux’s regional specialties. You’ll have the opportunity to try rare products and visit a unique and historic atelier that will show you all of the secrets of their fabrication process.

Since the day is truly about food and wines, lunch will be a delightful wine and cheese pairing at Château Pape Clément. The sommelier at this Grands Crus Classés estate in Pessac will lead you through a pairing of eight great wines, each paired with an exceptional cheese.

Your last tour of the day will be a a private guided chocolate tour. During this full-chocolate experience you’ll get to sample the most refined chocolates in the city. You’ll discover the history of chocolate in Bordeaux and understand the chocolate making process from the origin of coco beans to the finished product. It’s the perfect opportunity to buy some chocolates to bring home and remember the romantic day in Bordeaux.

Dinner will be aboard the restaurant boat Sicambre for a dinner and cruise to discover Bordeaux’s beautiful UNESCO-recognized waterfront and architecture. The menu is inspired by traditional southwestern French cuisine and is all prepared onboard using local, seasonal ingredients. It’s the perfect ending to your day in perhaps France’s best area for foodies.

hotel des quinconces bordeaux. romantic winter trips in france
Where to Stay in Bordeaux

Hotel des Quinconces

What could be more romantic than staying in the heart of Bordeaux in a charming mansion built in 1834?

With just nine rooms and the outdoor garden, you’re ensured an intimate experience at this 5-star hotel. The comfortable and relaxing rooms are a luxurious haven after a day exploring the city. Each room is decorated with care and according to a specific theme including the Oak, Laurel, and Chestnut rooms.


We hope these destinations will help inspire one or more romantic winter trips to France. Whether it’s during the holidays or after the New Year, don’t hesitate to contact French Side Travel to create your custom itinerary. Be sure to check out our favorite tours in Paris, the French Alps, and Bordeaux.

French Winter Ski Guide: Chamonix

Located in the shadow of Europe’s highest peak, Mont Blanc, Chamonix is one of the world’s premier ski towns. It features exceptional on-piste and off-piste skiing. In the town you’ll find nightlife that is as famous as the skiing! Between the great restaurants, exciting bars, wonderful shopping and excursions, this really is the perfect destination for anyone looking for a winter escape. Read on to discover our French winter ski guide to Chamonix.


French Winter Ski Guide: Chamonix

How to Get to Chamonix

french winter ski guide how to get to chamonix

You can get to Chamonix by flying, driving, or taking a train. Flying is perhaps the most convenient option. Chamonix is just one hour and 15 minutes from the Geneva Airport via private transfer. It’s also possible to drive to Chamonix. One needs to be prepared for driving in the snow and inclement weather conditions, plus parking can be difficult. Lastly, it is possible to take a train to Chamonix. The station is just a five-minute walk from the town square, however the small train line requires changing lines. From Paris it takes on average six to seven hours to get to Chamonix by train.

What to Do in Chamonix

chamonix skiing

The Chamonix Valley features five different ski resorts that can all be accessed by a free ski bus. The slopes are suitable for all levels of skiers and snowboarders from beginner to advanced. Chamonix also boasts some of the best off-piste skiing (powder or backcountry skiing) in all of the Alps. The ski slopes are world renowned and include the Vallée Blanche’s 9,000-foot descent from the Aiguille du Midi back to Chamonix. Alternatively, you can take the cable to the top of the Aiguille du Midi (12,605 feet) to appreciate the spectacular views of Mont Blanc and the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps.

If you don’t ski, no problem! There’s still plenty to do in Chamonix. Besides enjoying the shopping, arts and culture, restaurants, and bars in town there are numerous adventures to be had. Activities include ice climbing, helicopter tours and paragliding, husky sledging, trail running, fat tire biking, guided photo walks, and snowshoeing.

An Unforgettable Experience: Ski Joering

Discover Ski joering, another ancestral snow sport, in total harmony with nature. Drawn by beautiful natural horses, this original form of back-country skiing is respectful of the environment and also tremendous fun!

This activity is suitable for both adults and children eight-years-old and older, provided they can use a drag lift. A wonderful activity for the whole family!

Where to Eat in Chamonix

french winter ski guide where to eat in chamonix

After a long day on the slopes, it’s always nice to warm up with a comforting meal. Chalet-chic Le Monchu located at the base of Mont Blanc and the Aiguille du Midi features Savoyard specialties like fondue, tartiflette, raclette, and different meats cooked over a wood-burning fire. With a mix of bistro dishes and local cuisine there is sure to be something for everyone in your group. Another popular option is Le Panier des 4 Saisons which offers traditional French foods in an elegant but relaxed setting. You’ll find the restaurant on a small pedestrian side street – it’s only open for dinner so we recommend reserving in advance.

Albert 1er is known as the best restaurant in Chamonix. Founded in 1903, the restaurant serves local produce from the Mont Blanc and Lake Geneva regions and grows herbs in their own garden. Both the service and the wine list are spectacular – the wine cellar houses over 19,000 bottles!

Wine Experience From Chamonix: Art de Vivre on the Summit of Val d’Aoste in Italy

Your guide will pick up you up at your hotel in Chamonix for an unforgettable visit of Courmayeur, Italy.

You’ll be in for a day of wine tasting in Europe’s highest producing wine cellar. The passionate and expert wine specialist will explain the differences of wines produced at such a high altitude. Next, enjoy a gourmet Italian lunch served from 7,011 feet above, with incredible views of Val d’Aosta and the surrounding mountain ranges. 

After lunch, we’ll visit the highest Italian point of the Mont Blanc at 11,371 feet. The view overlooking the Mont Blanc glaciers and the mythical Dent du Géant peak will knock you off your feet!

Where to Stay in Chamonix

hotel mont blanc in chamonix
Hotel Mont-Blanc

Ideally located a few steps from the main street, the 5-star Hotel Mont-Blanc has welcomed a cosmopolitan clientele since 1849. Nature and the surroundings inspired the hotel’s recent renovations, which you will surely understand after seeing the rooms which face a beautiful panorama of mountains. After a long day on the slopes enjoy the outdoor pool, heated both in summer and winter, with a spectacular view of the Mont Blanc.

For groups of up to 12, Armancette’s Saphir Chalet is the perfect solution. This brand new and highly exclusive chalet is located just at the entrance of Chamonix with ski slopes only 300 meters away. The chalet features four bedrooms and one dormitory room with a sauna, ski room, and stunning decor throughout. One of the best places is certainly on the terrace in the Storvatt Nordic bath where you’ll fully enjoy a spectacular panorama of the Mont-Blanc Valley and Chamonix.

Armancette's Saphir Chalet
Armancette’s Saphir Chalet

We hope our French winter ski guide to Chamonix will help inspire a trip. With the winter ski season about to kick off, don’t hesitate to contact French Side Travel to start creating your custom itinerary. We offer a whole host of itineraries based in the French Alps. Our favorite Chamonix tours include a Skiing from a Historic Hotel in Mont Blanc’s Shadow, World-Class Skiing and Partying in Chamonix, and A Week of Chamonix Skiing with the Family.

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

christmas in france lyon la fete des lumieres
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. This year the festival is from December 8th to 11th.

Paris: Christmas Shopping

paris christmas markets

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. The festivities go from November 20th until January 2nd (closed on December 25th and January 1st).

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

christmas in france highlights strasbourg
Photo Courtesy of Strasbourg.eu

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 26th until December 26th. As a note, there may be a limited amount of vendors open on December 25th and 26th.

Loire Valley: Christmas Châteaux

christmas in the loire valley
Photo Courtesy of Touraine Loire Valley

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. 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 (from December 20th to January 2nd), and at the base of the Rouen Cathedral (end of November to December 31st) to name a few. Also special for the holidays is a William the Conquerer-inspired light show inside the Bayeux Cathedral starting on November 27th, on Saturdays in December, and from December 19th to 23rd and 26th to 30th.

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 20th to January 2nd.

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 26th to December 26th. 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 4th and 5th.

Pas de Calais: Fête de la Dinde de Licques

christmas in france
Photo Courtesy of La Voix du Nord

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 11th and 12th.

French Alps: Snow, Skiing, and Merriment

christmas in the alps

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.

Where to Have Thanksgiving Dinner in Paris 2021

Although the French don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, visiting over the holiday is always popular for Americans. It’s a great time to see a mix of fall colors and the festive holiday decorations. If having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is important, we recommend staying in Paris. We’ve put together a list of where to have Thanksgiving dinner in Paris in 2021.


Where to Have Thanksgiving Dinner in Paris 2021

Ralph’s

ralph's paris thanksgiving dinner 2021
Photo Courtesy of Ralph’s Paris

One of the most beautiful settings for Thanksgiving Dinner in Paris is at Ralph’s inside the Ralph Lauren store on the Left Bank. Traditional Thanksgiving foods are displayed in front of the stately fireplace. Guests have the opportunity to taste everything on the menu, including all three types of pies. Ralph’s is known for their annual elegant Thanksgiving dinners, so it’s recommended to reserve well in advance. Ralph’s Paris

Treize au Jardin

Treize au Jardin across from the Luxembourg Garden is famous for their delicious Southern style cooking. They have a special Thanksgiving menu that is so popular that they have dinners on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. The friendly staff at Treize will surely make you feel right at home. There is also a vegetarian option. Treize au Jardin

la réserve paris apartments
Photo Courtesy of La Réserve

La Réserve Apartments

Are you dreaming of a home-cooked Thanksgiving dinner in Paris in your own apartment, but with all of the services of a five-star hotel? Look no further than the La Réserve Apartments. Located near the Eiffel Tower, each private apartment comes with a fully equipped kitchen as well as a dedicated butler 24/7.

Each apartment is family-friendly and large enough to accommodate groups for a Thanksgiving feast. A special Thanksgiving cooking class can be arranged for children to participate in the fun. Your 24/7 concierge will be able to assist you with any and all requests for a perfectly memorable evening.

Sunday in Soho

sunday in soho thanksgiving paris
Photo Courtesy of Sunday in Soho

Sunday in Soho offers three days of Thanksgiving dinners that you can enjoy in the restaurant or have delivered right to your apartment in Paris. The Thanksgiving at Home menu is perfect for people staying in an apartment who don’t want to go through the hassle of preparing a big meal. All you have to do is reheat and serve! Sunday in Soho

Breakfast in America

breakfast in america paris thanksgiving
Photo Courtesy of Breakfast in America

Breakfast in America’s Thanksgiving dinner is back in 2021 after a two year break. On Thursday November 25th they’ll have two dinner seatings where you can enjoy a traditional turkey dinner. Breakfast in America

Hard Rock Café

The legendary Hard Rock Café is bringing back their special Thanksgiving menu for lunch and dinner starting on Thanksgiving Day through Sunday. The menu is available by reservation only and includes a main course, dessert, and cocktail. Hard Rock Cafe

homanie private castle

Thanksgiving in a Private Castle Outside Paris

For a unique Thanksgiving dinner, why not host your family and friends in an almost 65,000 square foot private castle 45 minutes outside of Paris? Dating from the 13th century, the castle is located on over 600 acres of a private park. The property is entirely renovated, yet maintains the stunning Medieval era architecture.

Some of the fabulous features of the property include a chapel, a bakery, a 1930’s bar, three kitchens, a Medieval tea room, a wine cellar and tasting room, a nightclub under a lake, a theater, a tennis court, five massage rooms, and an indoor swimming pool. It would truly be a once in a lifetime Thanksgiving!

Milagro

For a Thanksgiving meal not far from the Eiffel Tower don’t miss Milagro. You can dine in or takeaway the meal on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday evening. A highlight of the meal is sure to be the slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream! Milagro

Café Varenne

cafe varenne paris thanksgiving

For a French take on Thanksgiving, head to Café Varenne in the 7th arrondissement. This neighborhood restaurant is a favorite of Ina Garten and offers “The Best Thanksgiving in Paris!” Café Varenne

Hotel Vernet

hotel vernet paris

Hotel Vernet offers an annual Thanksgiving feast under the beautiful Gustave Eiffel-designed glass dome. This special evening brings together the best of France and the United States! Hotel Vernet

Prepare Your Own Thanksgiving Dinner in Paris

If you feel like preparing a Thanksgiving dinner in Paris, luckily there are plenty of options! You can order a whole turkey (dinde) from most butcher shops as long as you do it one to two weeks before Thanksgiving day. Otherwise a roasted chicken makes a good substitute. American Thanksgiving cooking staples like canned pumpkin, cranberries, and stuffing are available at La Grande Épicerie or the American food store The Real McCoy.

paris fall market

Private Guided Tour of the Aligre Market

Want to shop for ingredients to cook your own Thanksgiving dinner in Paris? Let our private guide help you!

In this market, you will find a melting pot of different cultures and colors, fresh products, cheeses. and wines. The market is divided into two sections: a covered market where you will find French delicatessen, fresh fishes, poultry, dairy, cut flowers and an uncovered market where you can see a curious mix between shouting fruit sellers and antique dealers. It’s half of a food market, half of a flea market.


Your guide will stop at several shops for you to taste a selection of the best French specialties along the way. The tour will be tailored accordingly to your tastes and special dietary restrictions to either include more sweet or salty food.


Need help making Thanksgiving dinner reservations? When you book your trip with French Side Travel our English-speaking Travel Care team will be able to offer assistance, 24/7 while you’re in France. There’s still time to plan a trip to France in 2021. Our travel designers are standing by to create a tailor-made itinerary just for you.

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