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Epic France Bucket List: By Air, Land and Sea

From strolling the historic halls of the Louvre to marveling at its Renaissance castles, France offers endless dreamy experiences. But perhaps you’re craving even more adventure for your trip to France than the typical tourist experiences. If you’re pining for the most luxurious activities for your trip to France, look no further. From hot-air balloon to helicopter rides, we’re sharing our epic France bucket list – by air, land and sea.

Epic France Bucket List: By Air, Land and Sea

France Bucket List Experiences by Air

Sure, wandering French village cobblestone streets is enchanting, but the views from up high aren’t too bad either. Here are some of our favorite bucket-list experiences for those who’d like to see France from the air.

Take a Hot-Air Balloon Ride Over Champagne

Nope, it’s not just for the movies. With French Side Travel, you can enjoy the hot-air balloon ride of a lifetime over the wine region of Champagne. Float above the idyllic vineyards and see France from a perspective most never have. Our pilot will pop open some champagne for you as you bask in the beauty of this region. You’ll even have the opportunity to prepare the canvas or even fire up the balloon if you so choose. This bucket list hot-air balloon ride will allow you to indulge in a special moment as a couple, family or friends. 

Explore Corsica by Helicopter

Start your journey by hopping aboard the Ecureuil AS350 B3 helicopter and prepare for a takeoff fit for postcards. You’ll begin your private ride at Porto-Vecchio and then glide over Massif de Bavella. Peel your eyes for the summit and the Trou de la Bombe, a well-known rock formation. Your pilot will guide you to the turquoise waters of the Bay of Fautéa and swing by Bonifacio, a Mediterranean city perched on rock. Your private helicopter ride can be a deep dive of Corsica’s sea views, mountain views or both. No matter which route you choose, your helicopter ride will enchant you with Corsica’s rugged nature.

Fly through France with a Former Military Pilot

wine harvest in a champagne vineyard

See the region of Champagne at low altitude from the perspective of former fighter pilots, who have embarked upon Rafale and Mirage jets. Start your aerobatic aircraft experience with a safety check and mission briefing. 

France Bucket List Experiences by Land

France’s various geographies intrigue you, and you’re searching for unique experiences to be had across the country. We’ve rounded up some of our top France bucket-list experiences by land.

Wander the Forests of Chambord

a fall getaway to the loire valley

Escape from the hustle of metropolitan France into the forests of Chambord in central France. French Side Travel will secure an exclusive visit where you’ll observe and hear the stags — all from a watchtower. This experience is best enjoyed between September and October in order to hear the stags’ bellows to attract mates and mark their territory.

Paint with Wine in a French Vineyard

Wine isn’t only for drinking; it’s also for painting! In this epic France bucket list experience, you’ll explore your inner artist with a paintbrush and wine-based paint. This domain offers an art center where you can find inspiration from the domain’s rolling vineyards.

Ski Courchevel’s Slopes in Exclusivity

Ever wondered what happens after a ski station closes for the day? At Courchevel, you can have exclusive access to the slopes with French Side Travel. You’ll start your evening enjoying a glass of wine during golden hour. Then as dusk sets in, you’ll get equipped for a night skiing adventure. Your ski headlight will be provided and allow you to admire the town’s lights from a privileged spot. 

Dine in a French Château

Treat yourself to a splendid meal at the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte in exclusivity. Dating back to the 1600s, this French castle and its gardens could have been pulled right out of a storybook. The same group of designers who created these gardens were later hired by Louis XIV to create the gardens of Versailles. Enjoy your meal fit for kings and queens in the castle all to yourself.

France Bucket List Experiences by Sea

From its Sunday morning markets to its snow-capped Alps, France offers endless nooks and crannies to explore by foot. But its water access is just as idyllic and promises unforgettable moments. Here are some of our favorite France bucket-list experiences by sea: 

Set Sail for Porquerolles

This idyllic island off the coast of Hyères is car-free and the perfect place to explore by foot or bike. But the journey there is an enchanting moment in and of itself. You’ll board a boat and see the Mediterranean from a new perspective. Your first stop will be at a wild cove where you’ll enjoy a French breakfast. Take a dip in the crystal blue waters or admire the underwater creatures by snorkeling. Later you’ll sail to an exclusive winery, which you can explore by e-bike or 4×4. You’ll have your choice for lunch: a gourmet picnic aboard in a deserted cove or in a restaurant in Port Cros.

Cruise the Calanques

overlooking the port pin calanque boats on tourquise water

Along the coast of Marseille and Cassis sits the multiple calanques, awe-inspiring rock formations that meet the sea. It’s possible to hike through the calanques, but if you’re looking for a luxurious experience on the Mediterranean, taking a private boat ride is the ideal choice. Head out at peak of day to take a swim in one of its creeks or opt for sunset departure for an apéro aboard.

Where to Stay in France

Courtesy of Four Seasons

Relais de Chambord
A mere four minutes from the Château de Chambord, this hotel is at the heels of royalty. With 16th century roots, this four-star hotel offers 55 unique rooms, including a boat suite. After a day of castle exploration, you can dine at one of the hotel’s restaurants. We’re certain that you’ll be tempted by its herb-crusted venison at Le Grand Saint-Michel or a café gourmand at Les Armes du Château.

Les Bords de Mer
A stay at this hotel is a bucket list experience in and of itself! Located at the feet of the Mediterranean Sea and on Marseille’s corniche, or its boulevard lining the sea, Les Bords de Mer promises a luxurious escape. Once a waterside villa in the 1930s, this retreat has been reimagined as a contemporary 4-Star boutique hotel. All of its 19 rooms boast sea views, and light pours in through its massive windows. 

Thinking about one of these France bucket list experiences? We’re ready to help you organize the trip of your dreams. You might enjoy: An Incredible Wine Trip to the Champagne Region or Luxury Escape to the Loire Valley. Need some help planning your trip?

Corsica: France’s Under the Radar Island Paradise

Located off the coast of mainland France is the stunning island of Corsica. The island has a unique culture, history, and gastronomy, and truly has its own identity along with French and Italian influences. Known as the Island of Beauty, landscapes from impressive mountains and perched villages to quaint beaches are truly astounding. Read on to discover Corsica, France’s under the radar island paradise.

Corsica: France’s Under the Radar Island Paradise

How to Get to Corsica

bonifacio in corsica

Corsica is located just off mainland France. With airports in the cities of Bastia, Ajaccio, Calvi, and Porto-Vecchio, Corsica can be reached in under two hours from many major cities in France and throughout Western Europe. Alternatively, Corsica can also be reached by ferry. Regular ferries depart from Nice, Toulon and Marseille as well as from Sardinia and mainland Italy.

When to Visit Corsica

when to visit corsica

The best months to visit Corsica are from May through the end of September. Temperatures are warm but not too hot in May, June and September, making these months ideal for rigorous outdoor activities, like hiking the mythical G20 trail. July and August are the hottest months in Corsica, and are ideal for enjoying the stunning beaches. French Side Travel recommends visiting Corsica in September, as travelers benefit from mild temperatures, warm water, and less crowds. It’s best to avoid visiting Corsica in the winter as many accommodations close and the mountain passes can be snowy.

What to Do in Corsica

corsica private boat

There is something for everyone in Corsica. It’s easy to see why Corsica is truly an island paradise in France.

One of the best ways to experience the Island of Beauty is with a private catamaran cruise. Groups of family and friends as well as couples looking for a perfect romantic moment will enjoy discovering Corsica from the water. Stop in picturesque hidden coves where guests can swim, snorkel, paddle board, or simply soak up the sun.

Corsica is known for fabulous hiking. Your expert guide will lead you along the Sentier des Douaniers path, past the old Genoese tower and the impressive rocks overhanging the blue sea. A perfect relaxing and easy walk for those who want to soak up the pure sea breeze and marvel at the beautiful scenery.

Adventure seekers will be thrilled with a panoramic helicopter flight over Corsica. Choose between a flight over the sea, over the mountains, or a combination of the two. Flying over the sea will afford views of Bonifacio and its white limestone cliffs and the wild coast. Those who prefer mountains will discover a waterfall, perched villages, a Moorish tower and of course the gigantic and splendid granite mountain peaks. A sea and mountain combination flight brings together the best of both worlds.

A true highlight is spending a day discovering traditional Corsican gastronomy and wines. In the vineyards of the Ajaccio Protected Appellation, visit wineries and taste the unique wines of the region. The owners will tell you about their passion for winemaking, the Corsican vines, and will share a few secrets. A memorable lunch will be served in a traditional inn in the heart of the vineyards. Afterwards, visit Sartène to enjoy the atmosphere of the old Genoese town and its many gourmet and artisanal shops.

Where to Stay in Corsica

Corsica is home to fabulous unique, authentic, and luxurious hotels. Read on to discover a few of French Side Travel’s favorite hotels in Corsica.

Hôtel La Villa Calvi in Calvi
hotel la villa calvi

Hôtel La Villa Calvi

This luxurious 5-star hotel is located above Calvi, which gives it a superb view of both the bay and the city.

The hotel has five swimming pools, including an elegant 25-meter swimming lane, surrounded by a large swimming pool to which the black stone gives a unique look. A children’s pool is also available on the site. Surrounded by the Pool Bar, it dominates the bay of Calvi. A swimming pool is located at La Nouvelle Demeure, with a unique view of the citadel. Another one is in front of the villas. Finally, the three Private Villas each have their pool.

The hotel features two restaurants and a bar. Experience the Mediterranean flavors in harmony with the location, which reveals the riches of southern gastronomy at the restaurants. Make the most of the bar which offers a simple and cozy atmosphere.

Let yourself be pampered with the best spa services that offer absolute well-being experiences.

A Piattatella in Monticello
A Piattatella in Monticello

A Piattatella

Immerse yourself in a world of luxury and refinement at this 5-star hotel. Located in the middle of gardens overlooking the Reginu valley, the hotel welcomes you warmly. The staff will provide exceptional and professional service throughout your stay.

The decor is a mix of neutral shades and noble materials, a concept designed for all beauty lovers in search of an exclusive retreat. You will find three categories of rooms: Comfort, Superior, and Luxury. All rooms include a private terrace overlooking the valley, the lake, and the mountains.

The hotel offers a range of treatments, including Swedish massages, Thai reflexology, and beauty treatments. Guests can also relax in the massage chair, the sauna, or the library equipped with local books and games.

The hotel has its own restaurant, which serves gourmet cuisine prepared with products from its own garden.

Ideally located, the hotel is a 10-minute drive from the beaches of Balagne and a few steps from the village square of Monticello. You can also take a relaxing walk in the nearby lakes and mountains and enjoy a serene day in the middle of nature.

Version Maquis Citadelle in Bonifacio
version maquis citadelle

Version Maquis Citadelle

Located just a stone’s throw from the bustling port of Bonifacio, this 5-star hotel is nestled in the heart of the luxuriant vegetation of the Corsican maquis. This exceptional recently renovated property perfectly blends luxury and intimacy. It is a confidential address like few others, a small oasis of exclusivity in the heart of Corsica.

With only 22 rooms and one villa, the hotel is far from a big impersonal resorts. Wood, stone and marble blend harmoniously to create an elegant and welcoming atmosphere. Rooms with a view of the maquis and the Citadel of Bonifacio, an infinity pool, a spa, a gastronomic menu combining creativity and simplicity… all of the elements are there for you to enjoy an unforgettable stay.

Domaine de Murtoli in Sartène
domaine de murtoli

Domaine de Murtoli

An ultimate destination in southernmost Corsica, this 5-star hotel is split into different buildings, including shepherd’s houses and landlord mansions dating back to the 17th-century.

The stone houses are beautifully simplistic and authentic, with private heated pools, fireplaces, and comforts like televisions, air conditioning, and fully equipped kitchens. All the villas and houses provide quick access to the large beach of the hotel. There is also an outdoor space and with a summer kitchen, a heated swimming pool carved in rock, and a dining-lounge area.

The hotel offers four different restaurants each with its own unique menu and ambiance. Made mostly with local products from the hotel’s farms and the nearby sea, the dishes are a splendid mix of wonderful flavors, all seasoned with the scents of regional maquis herbs.

With a golf course, a seaside beach, spa, horseback riding, excursions, fishing, and more, the hotel offers plenty of leisure activities to keep guests entertained.

Miramar Beach Hotel in Propriano
miramar beach hotel corsica

Miramar Beach Hotel

Perfectly located between Ajaccio and Bonifacio in the region of Propriano-Sartene-Campomoro, this 5-star hotel , surrounded by a two-acre garden, is only minutes away from the unspoiled sandy beaches and crystal clear waters of Southern Corsica, charming villages, and fishing harbors.

The hotel is reassuringly cozy with simple and well appointed Mediterranean decor: whitewashed walls, arched ceilings, Italian terracotta tiles making your stay here more like a holiday in a private villa. The hotel also offers breathtaking sunset views of one of the most beautiful bays on the island.

Guests can unwind under the pines at the heated pool, soak up the sun on the deck lounge with views of the coastline or get adventurous. The hotel offers a plethora of activities such as boat and jet ski excursions, paddle board yoga, sailing, horseback riding and scuba diving.

Nestled in the greenery with a breathtaking view, the restaurant is a must-see for those who want an exceptional experience. Sardinian and Sicilian chefs offer authentic and gourmet Italian cuisine.

Corsica, France’s under the radar island paradise, begs exploration. Contact an expert travel advisor to get started planning your perfect trip to the Island of Beauty. French Side Travel has something for everyone whether you’re interested in food and wine, history and culture, adventure, or romance and scenery.

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