One of my favorite areas of France is the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, home to the Bouches-du-Rhône with its medieval villages and castles, ancient Roman monuments and ruins, and giant citadels. Escape to the Mediterranean coast or head inland to romantic vineyards, lavender fields, and olive groves.
Two cities stand out in the region: its capital Marseille, and Aix-en-Provence.
While these two cities are only separated by a 30-minute drive, they are worlds apart, though to experience one without the other would be doing yourself a disservice as despite a long standing rivalry, the two cities complement each other nicely.
So, in encouraging you to visit these two neighboring Top French Cities, let’s dive deeper into how two cities so close together can be so incredibly different, yet equally enticing.
While France may be among the most popular tourist destinations in the world, what with the lure of Notre-Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre, many travellers sadly don’t venture beyond the nation’s capital.
While it may be easy to fall in love with Paris, France is full of plenty of other worthy destinations; smaller cities and rural towns that are bursting with authentic French culture and intriguing history.
One such city is Metz.
Known as the “Ville d’Art et d’Histoire” (City of Art and History), and named as one of France’s ‘Top French Cities‘ for 2020, Metz is the capital of the Lorraine region in north-eastern France, set along the beautiful Moselle River.
Just three hours by car from Paris, or half that by train, Metz elegantly blends a rich past and priceless monuments with modern innovation, and is especially well suited for pedestrians and bikes. Its lively atmosphere and perfect size makes it ideal for short breaks, though you could easily find more than enough to keep you entertained for weeks.
No idea where to start? Here’s a list of things to do; a full run down of churches, parks, museums, festivals, and food!
Known as the roulette capitol of the world, France is considered to be among the leading casino destinations on earth. There are a massive 186 legal gaming places in France, spread across 175 towns, and they truly are spread out; in fact, you’ll only find one casino in the capitol of Paris!
You obviously won’t have time to visit all 186 properties, so we’ve put together a list of the best in the country.
2018 has seen a shift in the way people travel. Movements towards responsible and ethical travel experiences are revolutionizing the travel industry, and right there with it is a trend to seek out more meaningful experiences, and focus on local travel.
And by local travel I don’t mean exploring your own backyard (though there’s a case to be made for that too!), I mean delving deeper into a country or city, and escaping the typical tourist circuit and main landmarks.
Really being able to experience a city … and here’s the buzz word … like a local!
We’re not all fortunate enough to have friends based in every city, but in terms of having access to someone who can show you the real side of their city, there’s definitely something to be said for paying a local to show you around.
This is especially true for a well trodden destination like Paris; private tours in Paris, led by locals, are a great way to experience a city from a more authentic point of view.
This summer we spent a week in Brittany; a beautiful western region of France known for its delicious crepes and cider, as well as the impressive Mont-Saint-Michel.
Though unlike typical tourists who choose to stay in hotels, we chose a 5-star campsite located in Saint-Cast-le-Guildo, a charming village of the northern part of Brittany, also called the french Emerald Coast.
In a place where breathtaking beaches meet wild nature and rich history, you can explore the stunning Cap Fréhel, the picturesque Dinard or the medieval town of Saint-Malo.
Thinking of a 5 stay camping experience in Brittany yourself? This is an overview of our experience.
Paris. Every superlative in the world has been used to describe Paris, and whether they’ve personally traveled or not, I would wager that every person on earth could reel off an impressive list of things to do.
Photographs of Paris are instantly recognizable, and if you’re traveling to snap a photo of the wrought iron Eiffel Tower, or gargoyled Notre Dame cathedral, let’s be honest, that’s not exactly new.
Paris is, after-all, the most visited city in Europe, and many, many, people have walked the lamplit bridges of the Seine before you.
But despite being one of the most travelled cities in the world, Paris manages to keep a few secrets. Beyond the grandoise palaces and boulevards, and behind the museums and historic facades, are cobbled backstreets with many lesser-known things to do.
France isn’t a country that has incredible cities and towns in short supply. In fact, it’s almost unheard of for anyone to come back from France, especially Northern France, without being well and truly blown away!
But there’s a lot to be gained from straying a little further than the usual tourist trail. Paris is fantastic and Bordeaux is incredibly beautiful, but it’s not until you discover a hidden gem that you understand just how quaint and picturesque the north of France can really be.
Being such a short distance from the UK, and with regular cross channel ferry services from Brittany Ferries, it’s easy to see the attraction of Northern France. So whether you’re considering a short break or an extended holiday, consider one of the following towns; you may not have realized this side of France even existed!
Fairy tales have captured our hearts and minds since once upon a time, and these imagined lands are often so vivid that they stay with us into adulthood. We dream of escaping to these fantastic, otherworldly settings to escape the bore of daily life.
But the authors who imagine these enchanting lands often draw inspiration from locations in real life. From the mountains of Germany to the plains of sub-Saharan Africa, there are many places around the world which look like they’ve been ripped from the pages of a fairy tale. And that’s because the real world inspired the story.
If you love fairy tales and have a serious case of wanderlust, you can visit these real places that inspired some of the best stories of all time. None of these destinations require a fairy godmother to reach – just a short flight!
Whether you’re planning on staying in Paris for a few days, a few weeks or a few months, staying in an apartment is the best way to get a taste of life as a local, among locals. Hotels are still popular, of course, but if you’ve ever dreamed of living the Paris lifestyle, it’s now very easy and affordable for travelers to pick up the keys to a proper home!
With more space, a kitchen, and a washing machine, more travelers are choosing to stay in apartments over hotels (especially in Paris), and it’s become quite a popular trend. So much so that rental agencies like Paris Attitude, who cater to travelers, have gone from a portfolio of 20 properties 10 years ago, to 7,000 today!
And why not?! You get to spread out in some of the city’s most famous residential buildings for often a fraction of the normal nightly hotel price. And you have far more choice when it comes to location, with apartments on every street corner, with views of your favorite monument / attraction.
There is a definite shift away from hotels in favor of apartment rentals, so we’ve covered some of the best apartment rentals in Paris for travelers.
Paris is one of the world’s most iconic destinations, inspiring travel fantasies and capturing hearts and imaginations all over the world. But with so many highlights it can be a challenge to experience the city like a local would. And with 20 million odd travelers who visit the city every year, I wanted a more authentic experience than your average tourist would.
Short of moving to France (tempting), Cobblestone Paris offers that authentic experience even if you’re just visiting for a weekend; they rent impeccably furnished and conveniently located apartments which allow travelers to experience Paris the way a Parisian would.
Flights are one of the most obvious ways to travel throughout Europe, but that doesn’t mean that they’re the most affordable, comfortable, or even the most memorable. In fact, one of the best ways to explore Europe is to drive.
There’s a huge diversity of natural scenery throughout Europe, much of which you miss when you’re flying at 35,000 feet. And with roads which wind directly through some of the world’s most incredible landscapes, if you’re visiting the following European hot spots you should trade in your plane ticket for a set of car keys and drive.
Europe is one of the best places in the world to experience art and culture, and the continent’s expansive history has created a very diverse cultural experience.
The next time you visit Europe, spend time taking in museums, galleries, music venues, and events. If you plan to visit the following cultural cities of Europe, you won’t be disappointed. The following are just a few experiences you should add to your cultural bucketlist.
Taking a Mediterranean sailing trip is one of the best ways to explore the region, while spending time in the outdoors and enjoying a mode of transport which is incredibly good fun.
The following destinations are the perfect starting point for any Mediterranean sailing adventure. Each of these locations will make for a terrific itinerary that gives you the best that this glorious region has to offer. So, where are you starting your trip from?
The Eiffel Tower truly is one of the most iconic, most visited and most photographed landmarks in France, and if you love travel photography, getting the perfect shot will most likely be at the top of your list.
Situated in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, whether you’re cruising past it on the Seine, climbing to the roof of a nearby Cathedral, or standing directly below it, there are a million ways to get a shot of the Eiffel Tower, and it’s quite easy to take a great photo here. Though this is one of the most photographed landmarks in the world, so what’s not always easy is taking an interesting one. As a tourist, it’s difficult to capture a unique angle which the world hasn’t already seen.
The following are great photography locations for shooting the Eiffel Tower. Head here if you’re looking to travel like a photographer and not a tourist.
If you’re planning on hitting the slopes this winter, Europe is home to some of the World’s most iconic ski resorts. And while skiing might have originated in Norway and Sweden, it’s the southern ski destinations that have cemented their names as a classic.
“From Ernest Hemingway in the 1920’s and James Bond in the 1980’s to the snowboarders of today, the mighty Alps provide both framework and backdrop for skiing in France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland.” You’ll find reliable snow, vast skiing terrains, legendary night life and family friendly facilities. There are Michelin-starred restaurants, five-star hotels and destination spas with ultra-luxury chalets.
Europe has literally hundreds of ski resorts to choose from, though only a couple of classics. Here are our favorite top 10.
There are many, many reasons you should purchase health insurance when traveling abroad, the most obvious being to protect yourself in the case of an emergency, though some countries are beginning to require health coverage as a mandatory condition of entry, meaning travelers no longer have the choice to travel without a plan.
Expat hubs around the world are beginning to require mandatory health insurance before issuing a visa, and more and more countries are deciding to refuse entry without it. Many travelers don’t realize that without the correct insurance, they could be turned away from the destination they are visiting before they make it past airport arrivals.
The following countries are among those jumping on the trend of making health insurance mandatory for those wishing to travel or live overseas.
To much of the developed world, especially in recent years, tattoos are seen as beautiful/trendy additions to one’s personality, with many tattoos succeeding in telling interesting stories about a person’s past.
But in some countries, tattoos are still seen as extremely taboo. Exposed tattoos in such countries can commonly result in arrests, and where a traveler is concerned, sometimes deportation.
So the following is a list of countries where you should be extra careful about flaunting your ink – otherwise you may end up in more trouble than previously thought!
Entering into a restaurant in Paris can be a formidable experience for uninitiated travelers. Not only do they have to contend with trying to make their wishes understood by a waiter who may or may not speak their language, but they must learn quickly how to adapt to local dining customs.
The Paris dining scene can be bewildering for those first time travelers who have no idea where to start, though if you’re confused about the difference between a bistrot and a brasserie, or if you feel intimidated by the prospect of going into any French restaurant and ordering a meal, then you’ve come to the right place!
The idea to attempt a long walk had been in my head for some time. The book Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, came into my hands, shortly followed by Patrick Leigh Fermor’s A Time of Gifts; two autobiographies which detailed epic adventures across magical landscapes on foot.
It became clear to me that something very special happens to a traveler in this situation, so I decided I had to be involved. Though having never walked long distance before, I had to figure out where I should start.
The obvious choice for most travelers these days is the Camino de Santiago, or Way of St James. One of the most popular long distance routes made famous by films such as The Way with Martin Sheen, thousands come from all over the world to walk it every year. I imagined I’d probably be one of those thousands until – surprisingly – I started to learn a little bit more about European pilgrimage routes.
Famous for its picturesque beaches, warm summer days and rustic countryside, it’s no wonder that the South of France is one the most popular holiday destinations. This region is famous for its rich history, delicious food and unrivalled culture, and should be at the top of your list for places to visit in the forthcoming year!
Check out these 3 places you should visit whilst you’re in the region.
Winter is a fantastic time of year to travel to Europe, and Europeans believe that winter is truly something to celebrate. During the holiday season they really go all out!
Buildings are lost underneath layers of fairy lights, and ice skating rinks are set up in public areas. Outdoor Christmas markets line main squares in all major cities across Europe, and provide unique shopping opportunities along with a celebratory atmosphere, festive treats and seasonal delicacies you’ll want to write home about!
If you’re planning to be in Europe over Christmas and wondering which markets are the best, you can’t go wrong with any of the following.
Paris is a European shopping mecca, and the buzz and hype that surrounds the shopping experience here is like no other. Beautiful neighborhoods are bursting at the seams with designer fashion stores, and stylish people strutting the streets. It’s safe to say that Paris is a shopper’s dream.
Set up with over five major department stores and 17,500 + shops, the shops in Paris don’t sell clothes. They sell lifestyles. Though for those who can’t afford to shop at flagship stores, the city is still packed with an amazing range of discount and outlet stores.
In the lead up to Paris fashion week, the following is a guide for Paris fashion you can afford. For those fond of fashion who don’t want to spend a fortune, these are the best discount stores and factory outlets. You’ll find top international designer brands at prices discounted from 30 to 80%!
We sped across the ice, 187 feet above Paris. We took in breathtaking views of the city skyline while sipping warm hot chocolate on the ice. We braved the bitter chill to carve out figure eights high above the rooftops of the French capital, illuminated by the twinkling lights of the tower above us.
It was almost as if we were skating on air; but no. We were skating between two immense latticed steel legs. We were skating inside the Eiffel tower!
It was on this day that we realized how little we actually knew about the iconic French landmark we were skating inside. The Eiffel Tower is instantly recognizable across the globe, though do you know anything about it?
Here are 25 fun facts about the Eiffel Tower you probably didn’t know.