Discover France – What to eat, drink & read before you go

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Discover France – What to eat, drink & read before you go

Best time to visit: April to June, September and October.

Eat: Brenton crépes in a traditional long house encircled by a cromlech (prehistoric megalith) in Brittany.

Drink: Cider in Normandy, pastis in Provence and well-aged red in Burgundy.

Before you go

Read: Sixty Million Frenchman Can’t be Wrong: What Makes the French so French by Jean-Benóit Nadeau and Julie Barlow for a witty insight into the French.

Listen to: Serge Gainsbourg’s breathless “Je T’aime … Moi Non Plus” and feel your soul turn Francophile.

Watch: La Febuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain and imagine yourself a Parisian in Montmarte.

Essential Experiences:

  • Encounter the mind-blowing glacial panorama atop Aiguille du Midi (3842m), a cable-car ride from the mountaineering mecca of Chamonix in the French Alps
  • See how the French Kings and Queens lived at France’s grandest chateau in Versailles (more on that below)
  • Visit the art capital in Paris; Mona Lisa at the Louvre, The Kiss at Musée du Rodin, and cutting-edge contemporary works at the Pompidou
  • Discover the garden that Monet painted at his home in Giverny
  • Explore Europe’s highest sand dune (Dune du Pilat) with views that over-look the amazing surf

Top things to do:

  • Taste champagne in ancient cellars in Reims and Épernay
  • Walk barefoot across kilometres of wave-rippled sand to Mont St Michel
  • Pedal through vineyards, cherry orchards and lavender fields in rural Provence
  • Tuck into French gastronomic art de vivre in gourmet Bordeaux
  • Motor the mythical corniches (coast roads) on the French Riviera

In a word: Salut! (Hi!).

Random Fact: Among other things, the French invented the first digital calculator, the hot-air balloon, Braille and margarine.