Usually when people think of France they think of Paris and that is it. It is a pity because there is actually plenty of things to do and see all over the country. Outside of Paris people are much more relax and the food is delicious and affordable.
Since every year we drive to my parents in the west of France, I am using it as a chance to take hubby to my favorite places and show him around the country. Here is our latest roadtrip plan. I have not taken my better half everywhere yet but we are planning to do all the remaining stops on our trip next year.
The Loire Valley
With about 900 castle (Châteaux) to visit in the Loire Valley. Some like Chambord used to be royal castle and are still property of the state but most are private property owned by the same family for generations like the castle of Brezé.
Because the Loire Valley is one of the original part of the french kingdom at a time where it was much smaller than current day France. Back then, the kings used to constantly travel through the kingdom from one of their castle to the next to assert their power over their subjects.
My personal Castle to visit are Chambord and Chenonceaux but there is way more to see. You can also stay in Tours, Blois or Amboise to get the french town small town vibes, enjoy delicious food and stroll through middle age cities untouched by WWII.
When people hear about Normandy, they mostly think about World War II and not about the amazing cultural heritage preexisting D-Day.
Did you know that William the Conqueror duke of Normandy conquered England in 1066? The whole story of the conquest of England has been weaved by all the lady of the Normand court and can still be seen in the City of Bayeux.
If you are interested in World War II, you can visit the memorial of Caen, cemetery, or see the beaches on which allied troops disembarked lie Omaha Beach.
A few kilometers away, you can visit the abbey and village of the Mont St Michel. It was build as a church on a rock emerged by water by high tide and as pilgrim kept on coming, it turned into a village. For 100 of years British kings wanted to expand their kingdom on the continent and the Mont St Michel’s location at the mouth of the Couesnon river became a strategic spot on the way to invading France. Faced to recurring attacks, the villager of Mont St Michel and a small garrison of french royal soldier fortified it overnight. They successfully defended the Mont St Michel for 30 years.
I hope I have motivated you to get off the beaten path and venture outside of Paris on one of your next trip to France.