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.
- 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.