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Saumur, places to visit in France on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Top 10 beautiful places to escape the crowds in France

Cognac, places to visit in France on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Considering its chic culture, natural beauty and unarguably great food, it’s not surprising that France is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe. Yet there’s no reason to battle the beach crowds while your staying in Nice or your St Tropez Villas, or fight for table space in a Parisian restaurant. There are plenty of peaceful places in France worth escaping to. Here is our list of the top 10:

1. Dijon

Dijon, places to visit in France on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Most visitors come to Dijon for its famous gourmet mustards but are then drawn into the sights of this enchanting old city. This picture-postcard town centre is a haven for classic architecture; two highlights are the grand Ducal Palace and the beautifully gothic Dijon Cathedral

2. Arles, Provence

Arles, places to visit in France on GlobalGrasshopper.com Photo

Arles is a city of creative flair, and in fact many of Van Gogh’s famous paintings, such as Café Terrace at Night, were inspired by the laid-back charm of this pretty town. Open-air markets and art festivals occur regularly, offering visitors a taste of the local culture.

3. Epernay, Champagne

Champagne Ardenne on GlobalGrasshopper.com

In the heart of the Champagne district, among the rolling green hills and vineyards lies peaceful Epernay. This historic town is the perfect place to stop and ignore the clock for a while. Major champagne houses have their headquarters here, housed within grand villas, most of which offer guided cellar tours and tastings.

4. Saint Malo

Saint Malo, places to visit in France on GlobalGrasshopper.com Photo

Saint Malo is famed for its many seafood restaurants, and oysters are its specialty. Visitors should spend a day in the small village of Cancale to taste this popular delicacy. Taking a stroll along the coastal path towards Pointe du Grouin offers peaceful scenery and great views of Mont St Michel.

5. Saumur

Saumur, places to visit in France on GlobalGrasshopper.com Photo

Perched between the Loire and Thouet rivers is the historic town of Saumur, in a region which is home to some of France’s best wineries. The chateaus and rolling vineyards provide a magical backdrop to the beautiful town centre, much of which is constructed from local Tuffeau stone.

6. Dieppe

Dieppe, places to visit in France on GlobalGrasshopper.com Photo

This sleepy port town sits on the edge of the English Channel, where visitors can take a tour of the breath-taking castle, Chateau de Dieppe, or enjoy the local scallops for which Dieppe is famous. The town also has historic ties to WW2 and there is a rather moving War Cemetery and monument south of the town centre.

7. Grasse

Grasse, places to visit in France on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Considered the world capital of perfume, the pretty little hilltop town of Grasse produces over two thirds of France’s natural fragrances. Visitors can stroll through the local parfumeries, take a guided tour, or visit the International Museum of Perfume.

8. Pau

Pau, places to visit in France on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Pau is perched on the northern edge of the Pyrenees. Its scenic walking trails and funicular railway, which links Pau to the Gave de Pau valley, provide perfect opportunities to take advantage of the views. The Chateau de Pau, which has ties to Henry IV, Napoleon and Marie Antoinette, is the town’s most prominent monument.

9. Cognac

Cognac, places to visit in France on GlobalGrasshopper.com

The riverside town of Cognac is as laid back and classic as the brandy it shares its name with. The spirit cognac is of course produced here, and visitors can tour the process at one of the many cognac houses, as well as visit the six local vineyards which contribute to this famous drink.

10. Paris

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Yes, Paris can be peaceful too! Most visitors think the only chance to escape the crowds is to head back to their Paris hotels, but not so. The lively French capital has plenty of places where you can find some peace – one example, the UNESCO Peace Gardens, offers this in abundance. These Japanese gardens provide a beautiful, tranquil space to stop and unwind.

Born in England, with a few family roots from Bavaria, and a heart in Scandinavia I've always been a bit of a restless soul. My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I've lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up over 40 countries on trips and living in Dublin, South East Asia and Australia. I'm a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, easy-on-the-eye travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian - from cloudberry liquors to Scandi Noirs. When not wandering the world, you'll find me walking my rescue dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Laines on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about returning to my all time favourite places in the world; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Thailand and the frozen landscapes of a wintry Iceland. Follow Becky on Twitter and Google+.

6 Comments

  • Katie Martin

    16 March, 2012 at 12:24 am

    I have never been to France, or Europe in fact, but this post made me want to hop on a plane right away! Like a few others said, the pictures are simply gorgeous. If you took them, bravo! If someone else did, good job finding them. Haha. I think Arles and Paris sound the most interesting to me, but probably only because I am not a huge fan of alcohol or seafood. Going to an open air market in Arles sounds perfectly lovely.
    Have you been to France a lot, or just a couple times and was able to see a lot of the country? Which is your favorite?

    Reply
  • Chris

    2 August, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Have you taken these photos? I have seen so many on your website, and they are just breathtaking and stunning if I can say so myself. France is very much an interesting place, particularly if you are looking to get away in some sort of romantic way. However, I would agree that the major tourist destinations like Paris can really deteriorate that sensation of love; because it is loud, busy, and there is not nearly as much peace there as one would expect. Escaping into the countrysides and so on is just a wonderful idea.

    Reply

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