Road trip through France: 9 cities that are worth a visit

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A road trip is a great way to discover a country the size of France. Of course, you will not be able to see all the interesting places as there are so many, but this allows you to visit some of the prettiest cities in the country. Read on to discover this example of a road trip through France with 9 stops and many memories along the way.

Road trip through France, map
Screenshot of Google Images

Mont Saint-Michel

The Mont Saint-Michel is one of the most popular tourist attractions in France. This tidal island in Normandy receives more than 2.5 million visitors every year. What makes this destination so unique is that it is only accessible on foot at low tide as it lies one kilometer away off the coast. In addition to its beautiful architecture and the general unusual setting, the Mont Saint-Michel is also a popular pilgrimage destination. Indeed, ten hiking trails are available, leading from various European countries to the abbey of Mont Saint-Michel. On this island, you will find so many gift shops, famous restaurants, and great sights! It is truly an unmissable landmark in France! 

Road trip through France: Étretat

Étretat is a three-hour drive away from the Mont Saint-Michel and another big tourist attraction in France. This time we are talking about a beach in the north of France, by the English Channel. What attracts so many people to go and see this beach are the cliffs. Indeed, the chalk cliffs form three natural arches as well as a pointed formation called L’Aiguille, or The Needle. The beach is at the foot of the cliffs, so you have a beautiful view of the arches while on the sand. Many photographers and artists go to Étretat because they are very inspired by the view created by the wild sea and the rough cliffs.

Château de Versailles

The Château de Versailles is a little over 2 hours away from Étretat, and probably the must-see landmark in France. And the fact that it is so close to the capital city makes it so easy and convenient to visit. This Palace was the principal royal residence for French kings from 1682 until the start of the Revolution in 1789. There are so many rooms and areas of the estate to visit that it would be hard to list them all. First of all, there is the huge estate, 800 hectares of land, and most of it is landscaped in the classic French formal garden style designed by André Le Nôtre. Regarding the inside, you must see the Galerie des Glaces, the King’s and Queen’s bed chambers, the multiple salons, and much more. 

Château de Versailles
Ceiling in the Château de Versailles, Image by Michelle Raponi from Pixabay 

Road trip through France: Paris

You will need to drive for less than an hour to reach Paris. The capital city of France is an alluring destination for tourists and photographers. A lot of monuments are worth capturing, like the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, or the Basilica of the Sacré-Coeur. Of course, you should also visit the Louvre and one of the beautiful gardens. You can also look for lesser-known places, to make your photographs more unique and personal. Those less famous places include the catacombs, and Canal Saint-Martin, both very interesting and unique ways to discover the city.

Dijon

Dijon is three and a half hours away from Paris. You should stop by this city if you want to get to know more about French gastronomy. This city of 200,000 inhabitants is in Burgundy, a gorgeous historical region in the east of France. In the city of Dijon, you will be able to notice various architectural styles, such as Renaissance, Gothic, and Capetian. You will be able to leave this town with a jar of the famous Dijon mustard, and you should also stop by one of the many vineyards in the region to take home one more souvenir.

Lyon

Lyon is a beautiful city in the southeast of France, and is the second-largest urban area of the country, with about two million inhabitants. You will find it two and a half hours away from Dijon. The city is well-known for its gastronomy, its beautiful sights, and landmarks. There are many things to do in Lyon, such as visiting the Basilica Notre Dame de Fourvière or the Old Town. You can also choose to go to some museums, like the Museum of Fine Arts or the science museum named Confluences. There are also some more unusual ways to discover the city, like walking around to admire street art.

Road trip though France, Lyon
Ferris Wheel in Lyon Image by Thomas Sabatier from Pixabay 

Road trip through France: Nice

Going from Lyon to Nice will take you quite some time, around four and a half hours. However, it will be worth it as you will now be on the Mediterranean coast, completely in the southeast of France. You will be completely charmed by this city on the French Riviera. Nice is even nicknamed Nice La Belle which means “Nice the Beautiful”. There are many things worth seeing in Nice, and amongst them are some museums. The Musée des Beaux-Arts and the Musée Matisse are great sources of entertainment and knowledge that you should not miss. Of course, you can also choose to spend your time sunbathing on the sand or drinking cocktails at one of the beach bars!

Montpellier

Still in the extreme South of France, you will reach Montpellier after three and a half hours. The city of Montpellier is very rich in terms of culture, and its University is one of the oldest in the world. The central point of this city is the Place de la Comédie, a spacious square where you will find shops, bars, and the Opéra Comédie, a famous opera where you might be able to attend a beautiful performance. Other interesting sights include the botanical garden, the Saint Pierre Cathedral, and the medieval tower Tour de la Babote

Bordeaux

You will need 5 hours to drive from Montpellier to Bordeaux. You will now be in the southwest of France, in the Gironde department. Bordeaux is the 5th largest city in France, and one of the most enjoyable to visit. Indeed, the climate is very nice and the city is vibrant. Classified as “City of Art and History”, Bordeaux has 362 monuments historiques or “historic monuments”. So it is impossible to mention all the interesting things to see and visit because there are so many! Do not forget to try local food and wine as it is pretty famous.

Bordeaux
Bordeaux, Photo by Vince Gx on Unsplash

Continue reading, click here to get to know about the places to see in Florence.