Good vacations: 10 fantastic French vacation spots

Cap Corse, Corsica

This 25-mile long peninsula, which stretches from the northern coast of Corsica, is one of the most untamed areas of the island. On the east are gorgeous beaches, meandering hiking paths, and little ports; on the west are clifftop settlements. While fishing communities like Centuri still send out boats every day to bring in spiny lobsters and fish to eat in the waterfront restaurants, other villages, like Erbalunga and Nonza, feel genuine and unspoiled with their centuries-old houses, churches, and dramatic ruins. Stay at the elegantly opulent Domain Misincu, an east coast bolthole.

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Les Alpilles, Provence

Les Alpilles, a range of low, limestone mountains studded with ten little towns, is a popular destination for French hikers, birdwatchers, foodies, and anyone else seeking a getaway in Provence away from the masses. While St-Rémy and Les Baux attract a lot of visitors for day trips, Maussane, Moures, and Paradou manage to maintain their beautiful character and provide a great network of walking trails that wind through the hills. Treat yourself to a vacation at Domaine du Manville, a stunningly restored property on 100 acres with a beautiful spa and surrounded by olive orchards.

Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Pyrénées-Atlantiques

Nestled peacefully between San Sebastián and Biarritz, Saint-Jean is a popular weekend getaway destination for French families. The town boasts vibrant cobblestone squares, antique streets, and bike and walking trails. Take a boat ride down the coast into Spain, enroll in surf lessons, or stop by Les Halles, the town’s food market, for a gourmet picnic on the sand. Stay at La Reserve, a cozy hotel with stunning views and haute food with a Basque influence in the Ilura restaurant. The hotel is positioned high above the sea.

Cap Ferret, Aquitaine

One of the trendiest locations on the Atlantic coast, Cap Ferret is a slender, pine-covered peninsula about 30 minutes’ drive from Bordeaux. It features charming fishing communities with stores, vacation rentals, and outdoor seafood eateries scattered throughout. Families and people seeking a more sedate atmosphere tend to congregate on the serene eastern beaches, while surfers and bodyboarders primarily from France go to the western beaches, where white-tipped rollers coast in towards the shore. Stay at the quaint 11-room La Maison du Bassin, which has a top-notch cuisine.

Île-de-Bréhat, Brittany

Despite being just a 10-minute ferry ride from the mainland, Bréhat is a popular weekend destination for French travelers and feels completely isolated. These two small islands are devoid of cars and covered with exotic plants, flowers, and bushes that thrive in the warm microclimate. Hikers may explore the seven-mile trail that encircles the island, while birdwatchers can view over 120 species, including over 250 pairs of puffins. The greatest beach on the island, Guerzido, is only ten minutes’ walk away from Bellevue, a Bréhat landmark located directly on the waterfront and home to a well-known seafood restaurant.

Îles d’Hyères, Côte d’Azur

These three islands, located beyond the hustle and bustle of the Côte d’Azur, have long drawn French vacationers drawn by their stunning landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and beautiful, sandy beaches. The two places to go are Porquerolles and Port-Cros; both are recognized as national parks and include cycling excursions, botanical walks, and an underwater trail on Plage de la Palud in Port-Cros. With a touch of the Caribbean, waterfront eateries provide freshly caught seafood, and Auberge Glycines on Porquerolles is the place to stay. It’s a basic but cozy lodging with traditional French charm.

Banyuls-sur-Mer, Languedoc Rousillon

With its palm-backed esplanade, long arc of beach, and lively marina, Banyuls is a lovely seaside resort that is still mostly the domain of the French. There is much to do here to please visitors of all ages. Away from the shore, the three-hectare Jardin Mediterranean and Cap d’Osne’s meandering alleyways provide for beautiful explorations. Banyuls is the ideal starting point for anyone who like to spend time by the seaside and spend days exploring the breathtaking mountain landscape because the Pyrenees are easily accessible from there. Stay at the airy, contemporary Les Elmes, the only hotel with direct beach access and a first-rate spa on the Catalan coast.

Lac du Bourget, Savoie

The French visit Bourget, a glistening body of water at the southernmost tip of the Jura mountains, to sail, swim, stroll the esplanade at dusk, and ride their bikes along the well-marked routes, which include plenty of spots to pause for a swim. Aix-les-Bains, a spa town, is not far away, and there are little marinas all around the lake where you can hire boats of all sizes, from sleek powerboats to straightforward wooden rowing boats. Stay at La Maison des Pêcheurs, where the beachfront restaurant serves regional, artisanal products and wines and all of the accommodations provide breathtaking views of the lake and mountains.

Baie de Somme, Hauts-de-France

This serene section of the northern French coastline, officially recognized as one of the world’s most beautiful bays, served as an inspiration to writers and artists ranging from Degas to Jules Verne. The French go here for leisurely outdoor vacations that include horseback riding, sand yachting, cycling, kayaking, and the opportunity to see thousands of migratory birds and France’s biggest colony of harbor seals. Enjoy the views from the spa treatment rooms and hot tub at Les Corderies, which is located in the historic district of Saint-Valery-sur-Somme. The rooms are placed in a lovely garden.

Colmar, Alsace-Lorraine

The Alsace is rarely visited by British tourists, but French vacationers like it for its superb wines, charming villages with half-timbered homes, and verdant, rolling scenery interspersed with hilltop castles and vineyards. Colmar is a great base and may also be used for Amsterdam. To enjoy the best local products, take a paddle along Little Venice’s rivers or meander through the Quai de la Poissonerie’s cafés and stores. Don’t miss the town’s bustling covered market, either. Stay at the tastefully renovated mansion home, Maison des Têtes, which features a Michelin-starred restaurant.