France is one of the few places that can be chic and rustic at the same time. A mix of upscale boutiques, relaxed cafés and chilled-out beaches, it has something for everyone.
Few cities rival Paris with its cosy cafés, waterways – most notably the Seine – and of course the ever-present view of the Eiffel Tower, which is easily the world’s most iconic structure. Bordeaux, meanwhile, pairs all-night coffee shops with UNESCO-listed and Neoclassical architecture. Over in Nice, you get textbook beaches and a look at the country’s glamorous past.
France has enough coastline to keep beachgoers busy for a long time. Better yet, no two beaches are alike. In the south is where you’ll find the most sought-after supply, particularly along the French Riviera. There’s something to suit all tastes, as well. Whether you want to see and be seen, snooze on a deluxe daybed, and watch multi-million-euro yachts bobbing offshore, or track down a secluded stretch you can have all to yourself.
A foodie paradise
Credited for both the Michelin Guide and the macaroon, France is proud of its culinary achievements. It’s here you’ll find many of the world’s best wine-producing regions, too – from Bordeaux to Champagne. The country also invented the baguette and turns out around 1,000 different types of cheese to go with it. No matter which part of France you choose, you’re guaranteed to not go hungry.
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Corsica is home to some of the most varied, beautiful and unspoilt scenery in Europe. The best way to soak up the views is on foot and, thankfully, the land is laced with hiking trails. The more adventurous walkers can stake a claim on the GR20, a rocky, 112-mile path that takes two weeks to complete. There are several gentler options around Ajaccio, including a pretty coastal route that ends at St Francois Beach.
Nice is one of the biggest and most well-known cities on France’s Cote d’Azur, and is the city that – centuries ago – cemented the region’s reputation as a playground for the rich and famous. Nice caters to its flashy visitors in many ways, from the Michelin Star restaurants to the marina that’s full to the brim with superstar yachts. You’ll come across both of these during a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais, a glossy avenue which unravels along the seafront for seven kilometres.
Much of Nice’s charm comes from its harking back to another, glitzier era. The city has been a billionaire’s playground for centuries, and many of the landmarks of Nice’s wealthy past remain. The pedestrianised Old Town, or Vieux Nice, houses many relics from this bygone era, from the 18th-century Opera De Nice to a handful of cinematic grand hotels.