Top five lesser-known French holiday destinations

France is a haven for delicious food, fascinating architecture and romantic film montages. Yet when most visitors reminisce about their time in France, they invariably talk about their trip to Paris. Yet the country has much more to offer than just its buzzing capital.

From the far-flung country towns to the overlooked big cities, here is a look at five great destinations that ought to feature on everyone’s French itinerary.

Biarritz

While many tourists today head to Cannes for glorious French beachfronts, it hasn’t always been the case. For much of the 19th century, Biarritz was the jewel in crown of luxurious seaside getaways. It took this elevated title after Napoleon III and his Spanish-born wife, Eugénie, proclaimed it to be their getaway spot of choice.

Today it attracts a diverse crowd, with everyone from hippies and surfers to the wealthy and the beautiful. This is the perfect destination for a more relaxed side of France, but if you prefer the finer things in life then there are ample resorts and casinos to pick from as well.

Aix en Provence

Instead of witnessing the works of artistic greats hanging on gallery walls, why not journey to the stunning Aix en Provence to see the landscapes that inspired them? One of art’s legends, Cezanne was famed for his love of painting both the natural and the urban landscapes of the region.

The city is a masterpiece in its own right, with beautiful winding roads, colourful buildings and spectacular plazas and fountains. Not only is this a dream destination for art lovers, the city’s laid back-approach and authentic culture makes it one of the most ideal destinations to learn French in France.

Strasbourg

Nestled only a stone’s throw from the German border and the stunning Rhine River, the city of Strasbourg thoroughly deserves its title as the City of Roads. This unique geography means the city boasts a melding of French and German language, food and customs.

You could equally enjoy a hearty meal of Bratwurst and Sauerkraut as you would a croissant with your coffee. The township itself features a beautiful old-world atmosphere and if you’re visiting in December be sure to make the most of France’s oldest Christmas market.

Antibes

If you’re after young and trendy then you need look no further than the city of Antibes. With most of the population under the age of 25, Antibes boasts an abundance of nightlife in the evening, and a long list of water sports by day.

However there’s plenty to attract visitors of any age, with a long list of museums, festivals and concerts. Antibes is also home to the annual World Festival of Underwater Pictures, as well as Juan-les-Pins Jazz Festival, Europe’s largest jazz festival.

Amboise

Amboise is the birthplace of many of France’s greatest traditions, discoveries and claims to fame. For instance it was the place where Leonardo Da Vinci made many of his genius discoveries. The region is dotted with grand and beautiful châteaux, and the natural scenery is just as spectacular, boasting lush green pastures and burbling streams and rivers.

Amboise has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the capital. Such isolation can however has its downside, as many of the locals will be less able or willing to converse in English.

If you’re interested in learning French, however, Amboise features an excellent French language school thanks to the range of courses abroad with ESL.

To stay up to date with the courses and programmes that ESL offers, simply check out their website or follow ESL language on Twitter.

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