The mighty gorges are Europe’s answer to the Grand Canyon, and offer stunning views, a range of hikes, and colours and scents that are uniquely, gorgeously Provençal.
© PHB.cz (Richard Semik)/Shutterstock
Aix is Provence’s regional capital, and with its wonderful market, top-class restaurants and lively bars, it makes a very satisfying stop.
#03 The Louvre
The palace of the Louvre cuts a grand Classical swathe through the centre of Paris and houses what is nothing less than the gold standard of France’s artistic tradition.
#04 Prehistoric cave art
The most impressive prehistoric art in France is found at Lascaux, Dordogne.
#05 Dining out in a Lyon bouchon
Famed for its gastronomy, Lyon offers no end of wonderful eating places, not least the old-fashioned bouchons.
© Dmitry Naumov/Shutterstock
#06 Mont St-Michel
One of France’s best-loved landmarks, Mont St-Michel is a splendid union of nature and architecture.
#07 Amiens cathedral
The largest Gothic building in France, this lofty cathedral has a clever son et lumière show.
© PHB.cz (Richard Semik)/Shutterstock
One of the prettiest towns in the Alps, Annecy has a picture-postcard quality which even the crowds can’t mar.
© Vlasyuk Inna/Shutterstock
#09 Medieval Provençal villages
Provence’s hilltop villages attract visitors by the score. Gordes is one of the most famous.
© Fabio Michele Capelli/Shutterstock
The fantastic gorges begin at the Pont d’Arc and cut their way through limestone cliffs before emptying into the Rhône valley.
#11 Canal du Midi
Cycling, walking or drifting along the Canal du Midi is the most atmospheric way of savouring France’s southwest.
Canal du Midi, France © thieury/Shutterstock
Paris’s most beautiful park, in the heart of the laid-back Left Bank, is the ideal spot for relaxing.
© Vit Kovalcik/Shutterstock
Cycling is an ideal way to explore France’s scenic back roads, and there are some great long-distance cycle routes, too, such as those that lace the Alps.
© Elena Dijour/Shutterstock
#14 The GR20
Arguably France’s most dramatic – and most demanding – long-distance footpath climbs through and over Corsica’s precipitous mountains.
#15 Champagne tasting at Épernay
Dom Pérignon is the most famous, but there are plenty of other bubblies to try in the cellars of Épernay’s maisons.
© Melanie Lemahieu/Shutterstock
So atmospheric is this medieval fortress town that it manages to resist relentless commercialization and summer’s visitors.
© Jacques VANNI/Shutterstock
Archeologically, Brittany is one of the richest regions in the world and the alignments at Carnac rival Stonehenge.
#18 Châteaux of the Loire
The River Loire is lined with gracious châteaux, of which Azay-le-Rideau is the most staggeringly impressive.
© Vladimir Sazonov/Shutterstock
#19 Les Calanques
The cliffs between Marseille and Cassis offer excellent hiking and isolated coves that are perfect for swimming.
© Gaspar Janos/Shutterstock
#20 Bayeux Tapestry
This 70-metre-long tapestry is an astonishingly detailed depiction of the 1066 Norman invasion of England.
Bayeux France near the coast of Normandy with it's medieval houses overlooking the River Aure © Kirk Fisher/Shutterstock
Bordeaux was the principal English stronghold in France for years, and is still known for its refined red wines.
#22 Bastille Day
July 14 sees national celebrations commemorating the beginning of the French Revolution, with fireworks and parties.
© Maria T. Santi/Shutterstock
It’s easy to lose track of an entire weekend morning browsing the covetable curios at St-Ouen, the mother of Paris’s flea markets.
© gigi rosa/Shutterstock
#24 War memorials
World Wars I and II left permanent scars on the French countryside. The dead are remembered in solemn, overwhelming cemeteries.
© Joop Zandbergen/Shutterstock
#25 Cathar castles
These gaunt fortresses are relics of the brutal crusade launched by the Catholic church and northern French nobility against the heretic Cathars.
Peyrepertuse cathar castle © Marisa Estivill/Shutterstock
#26 Winter sports in the Alps
The French Alps are home to some of the world’s most prestigious ski resorts, offering a wide range of winter sports.
#27 Corsican beaches
Some of France’s best beaches are found on Corsica, with its white shell sand and turquoise water.
© DUSAN ZIDAR/Shutterstock
#28 Bastide towns
Monpazier is the best preserved of Dordogne’s medieval fortified towns – bastides – built when there was fierce conflict between the French and English.
© Gordon Bell/Shutterstock
This complex Burgundian monastery has a serene setting in a stream-filled valley.