#01 Les Gorges du Verdon

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.

#02 Aix-en-Provence

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.

#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.

#08 Annecy

One of the prettiest towns in the Alps, Annecy has a picture-postcard quality which even the crowds can’t mar.

#09 Medieval Provençal villages

Provence’s hilltop villages attract visitors by the score. Gordes is one of the most famous.

#10 Gorges de l’Ardèche

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.

#12 Jardin du Luxembourg

Paris’s most beautiful park, in the heart of the laid-back Left Bank, is the ideal spot for relaxing.

#13 Cycling

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.

#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.

#16 Carcassonne

So atmospheric is this medieval fortress town that it manages to resist relentless commercialization and summer’s visitors.

#17 Carnac

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.

#19 Les Calanques

The cliffs between Marseille and Cassis offer excellent hiking and isolated coves that are perfect for swimming.

#20 Bayeux Tapestry

This 70-metre-long tapestry is an astonishingly detailed depiction of the 1066 Norman invasion of England.

#21 Bordeaux

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.

#23 St-Ouen flea market

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.

#24 War memorials

World Wars I and II left permanent scars on the French countryside. The dead are remembered in solemn, overwhelming cemeteries.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#29 Abbaye de Fontenay

This complex Burgundian monastery has a serene setting in a stream-filled valley.

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