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France is a beautiful country at any time of year but in winter it takes on a magical quality. Rural landscapes are transformed by snow, the country becomes quieter and more reflective and the museums, cafes and restaurants of the cities invite you in to find a haven of warmth.

Here are some of the reasons that make a winter trip to France so enticing:

On the slopes


France has a well-deserved reputation for the elegance, beauty and accessibility of its mountain ranges, with the Alps, Pyrenees and Jura all sitting within her borders. Whether you’re a veteran of the slopes or a first-timer, France has no shortage of suitable skiing options available to you.

For a truly relaxing break in the mountains consider hiring one of the many ski chalets in France, so you don’t need to worry about anything other than enjoying yourself and being at one with the surroundings. The scenery inspires.

Ski Chalet in France. The scenery inspires! Photo by Toprural.

Ski Chalet in France. The scenery inspires! Photo by Toprural.

In the hot tub


There are few activities more contemplative and utterly indulgent than sitting in a hot spa. France has several towns that are famous for their hot springs, including Vosges, Evian and Fontpédrouse.

Wine in the hottub is the perfect way to enjoy winter in France! Photo by Barney Moss.

Wine in the hottub is the perfect way to enjoy winter in France! Photo by Barney Moss.

At a room in the inn


Auberges are the equivalent of English inns. Originally established to provide lodgings for travellers in country towns and villages, they’re now cosy, local restaurants and hostels. Generally, auberges offer traditional home-cooked meals on rustic wooden tables in front of an open fire — the thought of those long winter evenings in front of one warms the soul.

Immersed in culture


When it’s cold outside, museums and galleries offer a respite from the chill and feed the mind at the same time. Paris is rightly renowned for its museums and galleries such as the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and the Pompidou Centre but regional cities are also well appointed with cultural institutions.

Consider the museum of the famous tapestry in Bayeux, the Musée Toulouse-Lautrec in Albi and the Fondation Maeght on the Côte d’Azur for modern art.

The Lourve at night. Photo by Jim.

The Louvre at night. Photo by Jim.

Out at the Christmas Markets


France has a long tradition of Christmas markets and many towns and cities host one throughout December. Grab a glass of vin chaud and wander the stalls where you’ll find everything from festive foodstuffs to handcrafted goods that will make ideal gifts for loved ones when you return home.

Just because the warm temperatures pack their bags and let the cold come out to play, it doesn’t make winters all about locking yourself indoors till summer rolls around again. You can have fun in winter. Some might say even more so in summer. That’s for you to decide, though.

Christmas Market. Photo by Francois.

Christmas Market. Photo by Francois.

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