Top 5 Destinations in France for 2020
by Youliana Veltcheva
January 19, 2020
You are staying in Paris and your top priority is visiting the main attractions in the France’s capital. That usually translates in walking in crowded destinations, waiting in long lines, stressing over being on time, and rushing so that you can check out things off your list of attractions. But the secret of having the best travel experience and discovering the French way of life, lies in travelling outside of the capital. If you take advantage of some of the top day trips outside of Paris you will be amazed at the lush scenery and stunning architecture, intertwined with some curious pieces of history.
But there is so much to see out there. So, where do we start? Everything is a “must see”, yet our time is limited and so are our budgets.
I hear you and feel your frustration. You’ve come this far, so it is totally worth it to explore some of the areas off the beaten path and those that feature French culture, distinct architecture and amazing history. Here is a list of attractions that are totally do-able as a day-trip from Paris and will give you a unique and unforgettable experience. Whichever one you choose, you can rest assured you will be completely satisfied and grateful that you did it.
Our top 10 selection follows:
1 Mont Saint Michel is an iconic site located between Normandy and Brittany that combines a fort, abbey and an ancient town within the boundaries of a tidal mount island that is ever-changing based on whether there are high or low tides.
Famous for the legend of Saint Archangel Michael who appeared to St Aubert - the bishop of Avranches to ask him to build a church in his honor, this lovely patchwork of architecture, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a pilgrimage destination that attracts more than 3 million visitors annually.
2 Loire Valley, known also as the “Gardens of France", is a beautiful river-laced landscape with pastoral scenes, forests, where the kings and nobility built majestic chateaux to come for hunting and relaxation.
With some quaint medieval villages, small churches, vineyards, it is a wonderful place to see as a day trip from the French capital. It takes only about 1,5 - 2 hours to get here from Paris. The area has over 100 castles, some of which are privately owned. The ones that are best known and most visited are the three Cs- Chambord
. Each one is unique in the way nature and architecture connect wonderfully together in perfect harmony.
3 Vaux-le-Vicomte is one of the less known places to see just outside of Paris, some 55 kilometers Southeast of the capital.
This is a castle, whose beauty and glamour made even king Louis XIV envious and jealous. The amazing trio of architect Louis le Vau, legendary garden designer Andre le Notre and interior designer and artist Le Brun, who worked together to create Vaux-le-Vicomte were later hired by the king to design an equally dazzling chateau - Versailles. The chateau features many events, one of which the candle lit evenings at Vaux-le-Vicomte, in which over 2000 candles illuminate the whole estate in a magical night of romance and beauty.
4 Burgundy is all about gourmet wine and dine. A wine lover’s favorite destination, you are here to indulge your senses.
A train rides takes you to this area in only a couple of hours. You are inspired by the wine-makers’ dedication to excellence in taking care of their land and producing the highest quality wine. The nitty gritty of wine making could be quite confusing as there are many layers and classifications and one could simply be overwhelmed with the complexity of it all. But one thing is absolutely clear - you will be enthralled by the taste and aroma of the wine, the beauty and serenity of the rolling hills and lush greenery. Also to add to its appeal, you will encounter some neat little villages, architectural marvels and historical heritage that will leave you in awe with this area of France.
5 Lourdes is one of the world’s most visited shrines, known for the story of a 14-year old Bernadette Soubirous, who had 18 sightings of Virgin Mary back in 1858.
According to the legend, Our Lady asked that a church be built in Lourdes and a spring dug out, whose water is to this day believed to be healing. Lourdes has become a place of magical healings, sought after by millions of Christians around the world. Even though it is located a little further away than you might have planned to go, the high-speed train shortens the distance and makes it possible to get there in a little under four hours, which renders it perfect for a day trip from Paris.