In anticipation of launching our brand new Bonjour France trip for 2020, we asked our resident expert, Max, about his favourite locations from his homeland. Are you ready to be inspired? We know we are!
France is one of the most diverse countries in Europe (if not the world) when it comes to landscapes. From the famous Eiffel Tower to the French Riviera, the rolling vineyards of Bordeaux to the enchanting castles of the Loire Valley – there really is something for everyone. Not to mention all the delicious food, wine, cheese and hidden gems most visitors have never heard of. Let me take you on a journey through some of my favourite French destinations. C’est parti (let’s go)!
Between land and sea
The highest tides in continental Europe are found at Mont Saint-Michel – where there’s a difference of up to 15 metres between low and high tides! At the peak of the spring tides, the sea goes out 15 kilometres from the coast and comes back in very quickly – and the rushing water is said to make the noise of hundreds of horses running. On Topdeck’s 15-day adventure through France, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the enchanting island village to stock up on souvenirs, grab a selfie and take in the 8th-century fairytale vibes. Trust me, this sight is truly unforgettable!
See an alternate view of Nantes
Fancy taking a tour around Nantes that’s a bit… different? Jump on board The Great Elephant – a giant mechanical elephant that can take up to 50 passengers for a unique 45-minute walk around the city. Part of The Machines of the Isle of Nantes installation, this quirky attraction pays homage to Jules Verne: author of Around the World in 80 Days and Journey to the Centre of the Earth. You’ll visit this vibrant city on day four of Topdeck’s Bonjour France trip, with plenty of time to check out the remarkable gardens, the 13th-century château and some very sophisticated shopping arcades.
From riding elephants to carving up waves in Biarritz
Enclosed by high cliffs, Côte des Basques is the most famous surfing beach in Biarritz and is said to be the birthplace of surfing in Europe. The impressive waves provide challenging conditions for surfing, and many pro competitions are held here. Right next to Côte des Basques is the Plage de Marbella – another favourite amongst surfers for its powerful waves and unspoilt sandy beach. Hit the waves in Biarritz on day eight of Topdeck’s epic-Frenchy trail with an optional surfing lesson *insert shaka*.
Fill your food baby in Carcassonne
Need a little (or big) bite after all those days adventuring? How about a quick stop back in time where knights, lords and ladies ruled, loved and ate delicious cassoulet (casserole). This medieval city is the birthplace of the hearty, mouth-watering casserole and some yummy Languedoc wines. Miam miam! And when your tummies are full – you can always go for a stroll around the three-kilometre long walls and re-enact some epic medieval battles. Grab your swords and pitchforks – you’ll visit Carcassonne on day nine of your French adventure.
Are you not entertained?
Channel your inner gladiator with a visit to the incredible city of Nîmes. The Nîmes arena was built not long after the Colosseum in Rome and is one of the most well preserved ruins from ancient Roman times. Today, the Arène de Nîmes is still in use for events and festivities – keeping the spirit of the gladiators alive. If you’ve got a bit of time here, take your conquest further and venture to the stunning Pont du Gard. A Roman aqueduct that supplied the city with water 50 kilometres away, this baby is sure to get some Insta likes.
Time for a dip at Calanques National Park
Welcome to Marseille! With its quaint old port, delicious fresh sardines, famous golden statue, sun soaked beaches and ridiculous reality TV show Les Marseillais (Google it: trust me), what else could you need from a coastal getaway? Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret… there’s a hidden paradise waiting to be explored just a few kilometres from the city centre. The locals call it Les Calanques – 20 kilometres of glittering aquamarine coves surrounded by sharp limestone cliffs in Calanques National Park. Don’t fret, you’ll have the option of visiting this natural wonder on day 11 of Topdeck’s Bonjour France trip. You’re welcome!
Reach new heights in the French Alps
Ever wondered what it feels like to reach the highest point in Europe? Nestled amongst the French Alps, towering a massive 3842 metres above sea level, sits the impressive Mont Blanc. On the final days of your French Topdeck sejour, you can take the cable car for part of the way up this great peak and observe brave climbers venturing to the summit. While you’re here, why not play in the snow or take a step out over a 1000 m drop in Europe’s highest tourist attraction: Step into the Void? After all those views, head back down to Chamonix for a well-deserved cheese fondue or raclette. Yum!
Well, we don’t know about you, but Max sure has got us convinced! If France has caught your eye, make sure you check out our brand new 15 Day Bonjour France trip for 2020. À bientôt (see you soon)!