As the largest country in Western Europe, as well as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, you couldn’t possibly hope to explore all that France has to offer in a single trip. While we’ve all heard of Paris, Nice, Marseille, Strasbourg, Cannes, and Bordeaux, as well as other familiar and popular holiday hotspots, exploring rural areas away from the hustle and bustle of the cities and crowded tourist areas often makes for a much more exciting holiday.
Dive in to rural France
Rural France is a treasure-trove of undulating countryside and open pasture, sprawling vineyards, villages perched on hillsides, and deep, forest-lined valleys. Even the phrase, “rural France”, is enough to conjure images of lazy, hazy summer days, bottomless glasses of wine, haute cuisine on the veranda, endless nature rambles, and miles of open road to explore and discover – particularly if you have a convertible car. While the truth is that many areas of France ‘enjoy’ the same climate as the UK, it can’t be denied that, when you really, really look, there are a number of incredibly inspiring regions to be discovered, with some truly charming breaks to be had.
While its name may sound like a flashy car, Limousin, with its rolling fields, quaint farms, famous cattle, and many pathways to be trodden, is a fantastic destination for those looking to travel outside of the tourist circle. Nestled in the centre of France, Limousin is the perfect region for those looking to fully immerse themselves in French culture and history, as well as travellers hoping to experience as much of rural France during their stay as possible; what better region to explore as you’re passing through? Similarly French Jura, which sits between Burgundy and Switzerland, is a region blessed with green pastures and vineyards, hilltop villages, and forests; if you love nothing more than sampling a glass of fine wine, exploring traditional villages and hamlets, or taking the path less travelled, this region is for you. Taking a step back from the appeal of roaming countryside for a moment, if you’re a history buff and enjoy nothing more than discovering a medieval village, or two, Drôme, which sits in France’s south east, is an absolute gem; caves and gorges, ripe for exploration, and perfectly kept vineyards are also a major draw in the region, as well as a number of high octane activities and sightseeing tours.
Discover the Alps
If endless countryside, rural hamlets and villages, and quiet coastal towns aren’t your thing, there are just as many wide and open spaces to be found towards in the mountainous region of the French Alps; a veritable gold mine of adventure, inspirational scenery, and quiet spots for contemplation. Far from being a destination reserved solely for skiers and snowboarders, the French Alps is home to some fantastic summer scenery, activities such as horseback riding, canoeing in the many lakes, rambling, nature-spotting, fishing, and biking, and a plethora of gorgeous lodges, charming hotels, and beautifully equipped campsites and self-catering cottages. When picking your accommodation it is essential to consider the type of holiday you’re looking for; while the Alps are well-connected and never too far from the action, it pays to choose a place that will act as a fantastic base for operations.
The most important thing to consider when planning your trip to rural France is how your holiday will fulfill your expectations; take inspiration from the ever-changing landscape, the numerous activities on offer, and the beautiful properties in which you can lay your head and let your heart decide. Where would you feel most at home, while away from home? Choosing a destination that ticks each of your boxes is the very best way to make the most of your time in France and, if you’re not able to experience everything in one trip, there is yet another excuse to return.