The most beautiful destinations in France
Provence with the Côte d'Azur & South of France
South of the Alps, a truly picturesque landscape begins to stretch to the Mediterranean Sea. Olive trees, pine forests and fragrant lavender fields characterize French Provence. A worthy conclusion to the scenery is the gorgeous Côte d'Azur. The Riviera comes up trumps with elegant Mediterranean cities like Nice, St. Tropez and Cannes. Along the coast of southern France you reach the imposing Pyrenees.
Bordeaux & Vallée de la Dordogne
Around 7,000 winegrowers make Bordeaux clearly the wine stronghold of France. The best vines are needed to produce a noble drop. These can be found on the exclusive vineyards of the region. The water for the grapes comes from the rivers Dore and Garonne. On a journey along these waterways, you will pass castles and chateaux, to the Vallée de la Dordogne. Here you will be immersed in the history of medieval chivalry and Renaissance art.
Brittany, Normandy & Northern France
Brittany's 2,700 km coastline reflects the strength of the sea it faces day in and day out. The rather rugged landscape with rounded rocks alternates with quiet bays with fine sandy beaches. Towards the east, the hilly and green landscape of Brittany runs towards the steep, white limestone cliffs of Normandy. In the "Parc du Marquenterre" in northern France, one witnesses a natural spectacle. The waters of the Somme Bay flow alternately in different directions - completely subject to the tides. A fantastic home for birds and seal colonies.
The East of France with Alsace and much more
The landscape of eastern France provides variety. From romantic towns in Alsace, to the mountain ranges of the Vosges, to a dreamy lake landscape around Annecy - there is everything for culture enthusiasts and nature lovers as well as sports enthusiasts. Active vacations are best spent in the natural paradise of Franche-Comté. Here you can hike past waterfalls, through gorges and discover hidden grottos along the way.
Italian flair on Corsica
"L'Île de Beauté" - the island of beauty: Corsica enchants with a play of colors in a class of its own. Red cliffs dive into the turquoise water and form a special contrast to each other. Napoleon's home is the fourth largest Mediterranean island and resembles a Caribbean dream. Swim in the crystal clear water or discover the lush underwater flora and fauna while diving. In addition, you can hike wonderfully on dry land. Almost half of the island is covered by a nature park. From the busy beaches such as Pietracorbara, to the more tranquil coasts of Saleccia and Rondinara, you can also reach high on horseback along a total of 1,900 km of bridle paths.
The best ways to discover France - our top 3 recommendations
French metropolises for special city holidays
Rank 1: Lyon was built by the Romans more than 2000 years ago. Even today, the cultural-historical heritage can be experienced in France's second largest metropolis. A walk through the medieval old town and the Croix-Rousse district is highly recommended. From the hill Fourvière you can enjoy a fantastic view over the whole city, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998.
Place 2: Strasbourg, the city in Alsace enchants throughout the year with picturesque half-timbered houses and romantic boat trips across the Ile or the Rhine. However, the discovery tour through the narrow streets is especially advisable at Christmas time. Then the city shines in festive lighting and from all sides it smells of winter delicacies. The aromas come from one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe, which transforms the city into a shining jewel.
Rank 3: Paris, the city of love, cannot be missing in our top 3. The Eiffel Tower, Nôtre-Dame and the Arc de Triomphe are only three of the most famous sights of the French megacity. No entrance fee, by the way, you pay in the white basilica Sacré Coeur in the artists' quarter Montmartre. And the 1st Sunday of the month entitles you to free admission to the Louvre and many other museums during the winter months.
Culinary highlights through France
1st place: True wine connoisseurs choose a vacation at a winery. Whether you go to Burgundy, the Loire Valley or Bordeaux is up to you. But we have a tip for you: Every two years, the "Bordeaux Fête le Vin" takes place. At this wine festival, you have the opportunity to taste fine wines from all over the world and visit various wineries. For families, the supporting program with a sound and image show as well as the fireworks is an exciting diversion.
2nd place: Camembert is one of the most famous cheeses in France. The original comes from Normandy. In the museum "La Maison du Camembert" you will learn everything about the history and the production process of the classic.
Rank 3: Dinner, "le dîner" is the most important meal of the day for the French. For starters, seafood is usually served in the coastal towns of the Atlantic, such as La Rochelle or La Tranche-sur-Mer. The main course is followed by the catch of the day. Before the sweet dessert, the dinner is concluded with a selection of cheeses. Tasting is a must.
Vacations in the French mountains
Rank 1: In the shadow of Mont Blanc, walk among mountain huts and immerse yourself in the traditional crafts of the region. In winter, the region's ski resorts beckon with numerous summit restaurants. Sit in the sun and enjoy the fresh air of the Alps. Did you know that the Portes du Soleil ski resort is one of the largest in the world? It is located on the border of France with Switzerland and extends over 12 resorts.
Rank 2: After alpine skiing in the Pyrenees on the border with Spain, the best place to relax is in Luchon in the hot spring overlooking the snow-capped mountain peaks. Cauterets is ideal for cross-country skiing with its Belle Époque decor. In summer, you can also quickly get from there to the Pyrenees National Park and the region's many hiking trails.
Rank 3: Just like the previous regions, the "Massif des Vosges" is suitable for skiing and snowshoeing during the white season. During the green season in the summer months, you can walk here with the family among lakes, forests and meadows. The sandstone, from which many exceptional monuments of the region are built, adds a splash of pink to the "Massif des Vosges". Exemplary for the play of colors is the Château du Haut Koenigsbourg. The mountain fortress dates back to the 12th century and offers a unique panoramic view over the valley, the Alsace plain, the Black Forest and, on a clear day, even the Alps.
Vacations with the whole family
Rank 1: Bathing vacations - the French Mediterranean coast is one of the most popular vacation regions in France. With the azure waters and pleasant temperatures, you certainly won't go wrong here. However, the coasts along the English Channel or the Atlantic Ocean offer something different from the typical beach vacations. Here you can marvel at steep cliffs, long sandy beaches and picturesque fishing villages in unspoiled nature.
Rank 2: Holidays in nature - In the southeast of France is the leisure park Mysterra. A whole 11 hectares of forest are crisscrossed by maze-like paths. Here you can solve exciting riddles together with the whole family, or go for a walk on the shore of Lake Baron-Desqueyroux.
Rank 3: City Holidays - You can't go wrong with a city tour of Marseille. After all, the city on the Mediterranean bears the "famille plus" tourist label. Ideas for a family outing in the coastal city: exploring street art, a boat trip to the Château d'If or a visit to the Vélodrome soccer stadium.
And because three places are not enough, here we add more theme park recommendations in France. Each of them is sure to make children's eyes light up: one of the best-known theme parks is certainly Disneyland Paris, where everything revolves around Rapunzel and Co. At Parc Astérix, you can immerse yourself in the world of the Gauls and the comic characters Asterix and Obelix. In Toulouse, your children will be transformed into budding astronauts in the "Cité de l'Espace" space city. And at "Festyland" in Caen, you will be taken back to the time of the Vikings.
Did you know that France is not only located in Europe? Whole 12 islands and overseas territories also belong to the national territory. This is where it gets exotic! We present you three of these top destinations.
Place 1: Martinique - This island belongs to the French Antilles in the Caribbean. The Montagne Pelée volcano towers between banana, sugar cane and cocoa plantations. The paradisiacal sandy beaches are also popular with travelers.
2nd place: New Caledonia - This group of islands in the southern Pacific is known for its white sandy beaches and rich flora and fauna in one of the largest lagoons in the world. Surrounded by a colorful coral reef, New Caledonia is one of the most popular diving destinations. It is clear that these islands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Rank 3: La Réunion - This French island is located in the Indian Ocean. Hikers and mountain bikers will immediately feel at home in the mountainous landscape of La Réunion. However, the island is also interesting for those who like to watch the best surfers in the world surfing.
The most beautiful castles in France
Everyone knows at least one French castle - Versailles is located near Paris and impresses. The palace complex is one of the largest in Europe. Nevertheless, it is far from being the only castle to be discovered in France:
The Château de Cheverny south of Blois in the Centre-Val de Loire region has already served as the model for the Mühlenhof castle in the comic strip "Tintin" and has had an exhibition in honor of the Belgian comic strip character since 2001. The Château d'Ussé to the northeast of Chinon is also said to have served as a source of inspiration. According to legend, writer Charles Perrult wrote his own version of the classic "Sleeping Beauty" after visiting the fairy-tale castle.
Mont Saint-Michel is also one of France's great castles worth visiting. The bay of the monastery mountain is the scene of the strongest tides in Europe. Periodically, the castle becomes an island. How nice if one could live in such a palace. But even that is possible. With us you will find a selection of fairytale vacation homes in European castles and palaces.
Our insider tip
Mediterranean vacations with a difference - in the Calanques National Park you won't find a classic sandy beach, but fjords in a class of their own. The coastline between Marseille and Cassis boasts impressive limestone cliffs. The countless bays are difficult to access on foot. Therefore, the way over the turquoise blue water is recommended. A small boat will take you through the southern French fjords to quiet bathing spots with crystal clear water. Here you are all to yourself. For families with children over 10, a kayak trip to the Calanques is tip number 1.
Things to know for vacations with dog
In France, there is often a ban on dogs on the beaches. However, during the peak summer season, municipalities are usually stricter than during the winter months. On the Côte d'Azur there are relatively many dog beaches - for example at Ramatuelle, Nice Villefranche and Cassis. In Normandy, Criel-sur-Mer and Belleville-sur-Mer are recommended for a walk with the four-legged friends. On the Atlantic coast, Santec and Trébeurden, among others, allow dogs on several beaches. Everywhere, however, it is advisable to look for signs near the beach explaining local regulations. On public transport, small animals in transsport bags or baskets are usually free. For larger dogs, an additional ticket must usually be purchased. As a general rule, dogs entering France must be older than 3 months, identifiable by microchip and vaccinated against rabies. Also, take the vaccination certificate with you.
The climate & the best time to travel
Basically, France can be visited all year round. In winter, average temperatures in Paris are around 6°C. Alsace is usually the coldest with about 0°C. In the south of France, however, it is a mild 13°C. Here you can relax especially in spring and autumn with pleasant temperatures, when it is still a lot cooler in Switzerland. And in summer, the south of France welcomes you with warm average temperatures of 27°C. Perfect for a swim in the Mediterranean. And even in Paris it gets summery warm with 25°C. Meanwhile, it stays cooler in Alsace with about 18-19°C.
Arrival and general information
Many roads lead to Rome and almost more to France. However, the country is more than 10 times the size of Switzerland. Therefore, a somewhat longer journey must be expected. From Zurich it is only about four hours to Paris by TGV, the French high-speed train. However, it takes more than six hours to reach the Mediterranean coast, for example near Marseille. It takes just under 8 hours by train to reach the Atlantic coast near Bordeaux. By car, the journey tends to take a little longer. Of course, it is much faster by plane. From Switzerland, you can reach about 10 airports in France with a direct flight. For the trip you only need your Swiss identity card or a passport. In addition, you should not forget to change Swiss francs into euros.