by Janis / 6 comments - Orginally published:14th June 2019

14 more for you to weave into a road trip

We are back in France, a country that Gary and I never tire of visiting. We just love jumping in the car, heading across the English Channel, et voila, 35 minutes later you’re in the land of baguettes and brie.

It has so much to offer, from the quaint hilltop villages in the south, little towns hidden amongst the rolling vineyards of Jura in the east, to the bustling harbours in the west.

So, as a sequel to 16 of our much-loved towns and cities in France, we have selected a few more places for you to add to your adventures around this picturesque country.

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Our next 14 destinations

We'll be discovering the following;
You can click on the link to jump to the section, and to return, just click on the title.
Arbois was a lovely little town we discovered last year in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region, in the east of France. Nestled within the vineyards of Jura, this area produces some fantastic wines. Including vin jaune, a yellow wine and vin de Paille, a straw wine, both with quite distinctive flavours.
an idylic rural french scene as the cuisance river flows over some rocks as it makes its way past stone built rustic homes in arbois in the jura region of france
The Cuisance River flowing through Arbois

Arbois is also known for its famous resident, the chemist Louis Pasteur, who lived in the town with his family.

Louis Pasteur's house is now a fascinating museum where you can visit his lab and stroll around the courtyard garden.

The fountain, acting as a roundabout in the centre of Arbois. Bunting leads from all corners of the square to meet at the fountain.
Place de la Liberté, Arbois

If you enjoy cheese, make sure you try the region's speciality, a Comte fondue. Gary and I shared one at La Finette Taverne; it was undoubtedly tasty; however, make sure you're hungry.

We stayed at the wonderful Les Caudalies hotel, fantastic service and very friendly staff.

It’s just a short stroll to the town & a great base to discover the region. We highly recommend the taster menu that they offer in their restaurant, excellent quality food and a cheese board/trolley to die for.

If you want to know more about our visit then check out our post - 'The alluring wine town of Arbois, Jura, France'

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The ancient city of Nîmes is located in the south of France, in the region of Occitanie.

It has an incredible history dating back to the Roman Empire. It's an exciting city to stroll around; there are some lovely bustling squares where you can sit and watch the world go by. However, you must head to the Arena of Nîmes, an amazing Roman amphitheatre built in AD 70. It now holds various events within its ancient walls, including open-air concerts.

The brass statue of a bullfighter in front of the complete, two-storey, Roman arena in Nîmes.
Arena of Nîmes
Only about 14 miles (25km) from Nîmes is another feat of Roman Engineering, and that's the UNESCO World Heritage site of Pont du Gard.

In our opinion

We love embarking on road trips, so our preferred mode of transport is always jumping in a car. We find it’s the best way to discover a country. Rental Cars searches multiple well-known car hire brands and discovers the deals that suit you the best.
The impressive fortified city of Carcassonne can be seen for miles around and is also located in the southern region of Occitanie. The Medieval fortress is fascinating to stroll around; it dates back to the Gallo-Roman period. It has a drawbridge, two outer walls and a staggering 53 towers; they certainly weren't welcoming strangers.
A view from a distance of the historic walled city of carcasonne in the languedoc region of france
The historic walled city of Carcassonne
Carcassonne is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has also been used on numerous occasions for stages in the Tour de France, most recent being 2018.

Have you seen?

We are now heading to the south-west of France to Saint-Émilion in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. You may have heard of this little commune as it is famous for its wines; we can kindly thank the Romans for planting in this area during the 2nd century.

Well, I'll indeed thank them.

Looking over the stone buildings in the centre of old St-Emillion, with a view to the vineyards of the Bordeaux wine region beyond
Looking over St-Emillion
Saint-Émilion has some fantastic history amongst its tiny little lanes, with ruins and tranquil churches to wander around. If you head up through the winding streets to the top, you'll enjoy beautiful scenic views across rolling vineyards.

I love nothing more than planning a trip through France and so often I use the DK Eyewitness books.  I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our French road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.

We've now reached the town of Épernay in the Grand Est region, this can only mean one thing 'Champagne'.
the courtyard view of the elegant champagne house château perrier on the avenue de champagne in epernay in france
Château Perrier on the Avenue de Champagne in Épernay

Épernay is a lovely town to stroll around. You must wander along the elegant Avenue de Champagne and see the stylish Champagne Houses. The buildings are impressive and have a real sense of presence about them, particularly with their imposing wrought iron gates.
Here, you'll find the likes of Moet et Chandon, Perrier-Jouet and Pol Roger, to name just a few.

If like us, you love visiting different regions of France then this Michelin guide will definitely assist in your planning.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our eastern France road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.

Now I know Aÿ could be considered within throwing distance of Épernay, but I think it is worth a mention in its own right. Ay is now located in the new commune of Aÿ-Champagne, and the vineyards here are classified as Grand Cru. So, it isn't surprising that Bollinger has its Champagne House here.
The sleepy heart of the french village of ay in the champagne region, filled with elegant champagne houses.
The pretty little town of Ay in the Champagne region

This little town is lovely to stroll around, but, make sure you watch out for the grape tractors passing through, these guys have a job to do.

Not only is Aÿ famed for its wine it also has a historical trail guiding you through the life of René Lalique the glass designer, who was born in Aÿ.

We stayed in the heart of the town, at Domaine Sacret. It was a lovely, friendly guest house, with attractive, spacious rooms. Domaine Sacret, produced their own Champagne and each evening offered free wine tasting. Free parking was available on site.

If you'd like to know more about the charming town of Aÿ and the surrounding areas, then check out our post - 'A day in & around Ay, France'

Ahh, we are now in Normandy in northwest France, a region full of so much history.
An illuminated Caen town hall alongside L'Abbaye-aux-Hommes under a pale blue and purple sky at dusk.
Caen Town Hall
There is a castle set high in the town here; however, what I found surprising was that Caen has two Abbeys. The Abbaye aux Dames (Women's Abbey) is now known as Eglise de la Ste.-Trinité. Also, it has the Abbaye aux Hommes (Men's Abbey) which is now known as Eglise St.-Etienne. Within the Men's Abbey is the tomb of William the Conqueror.
We stayed at the Best Western Le Dauphin Hotel, an extremely good location in the centre of town, and if you want to know more about our visit, then why not check out our post - 'The Core of Calvados, Caen, France'

Why not?

Start creating your own French adventure and discover the enchanting French countryside for yourself.  Search for your flights in one easy place with Over 400 airlines are scanned for your favoured routes and chosen dates.

Or alternatively, catch a Brittany Ferry and tour through France under your own steam.

The Medieval hilltop village of Èze is in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, along the French Riviera. It's only around 8 miles from Nice, so if you don't have a car, you can hop on a bus.
a view of the hillside town of èze in the alpes-maritimes department in the provence-alpes-côte d'azur region in southeastern france
The hilltop village of Èze

It is a beautiful place to visit the tiny pedestrian cobbled lanes wind amongst colourful flower pots and charming courtyards.

There is the eye-catching ochre church of Notre Dame de l'Assomption, built in 1764 and can be seen for miles around.

When you reach the top of the village, the views across the Côte d'Azur are incredible.

A water fountain in a quiet courtyard of the sleepy hillside town of èze, surrounded by rustic, golden stone buildings.
Inside the hillside village of Èze
Èze is probably a place you should visit first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon, as it does get reasonably busy around the enchanting streets.

If you love Provence as much as we do, you'll want to start planning your visit now.

I so enjoy using the DK Eyewitness books, as they are extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our Provencal road trip, now you can grab the revised copy.

We are still in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region; however, we are now in Arles. Wow, this town has some history and just shouts Provence to you. Wooden window shutters flung open to the sunshine and the rustic streets tempting you with lavender.
Earthy ochre tones of a series of shuttered windows in a home in Arles, Provence
A window in Arles, Provence

There is an incredible amount of history in Arles; the two-tier Roman Amphitheatre, which was founded in 90 AD, stands very prominent in the town.

Arles Roman monuments have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. Also, one of its famous residents was once the artist Vincent van Gogh.

A view of the french town of arles in provence featuring the edge of the historic roman amphitheatre with a view towards the centre of town bathed in golden light
The edge of the amphitheatre in Arles
A cream motor scooter parked outside shuttered apartments in the historic centre of Arles in the heart of the Provence region of France
The quiet streets of Arles

Arles is just on the edge of the Camargue Natural Region, where the locally sourced fleur de sel comes from and also the ancient breed of Camargue horses.
This is a lovely area for a day out.

If you love Provence

One of the towns we love to stay at in Provence is Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. It’s fantastic to use as a base to explore the region. You definitely won’t mind returning each evening to discover another restaurant.
Obernai is in north-eastern France in the Alsace region, and I would say reasonably unknown. Often, people visit Strasbourg; however, there are some lovely little towns like Obernai that are so worthy of your time as well.
A stone fountain in the town square in Obernai, in the Alsace region of France, lined on all sides by historic half-timbered buildings of the region
St Odiles Fountain in the Place du Marche in Obernai

You can feel that you are close to the German border, with colourful half-timbered buildings overflowing with brightly planted window boxes. Head to the old town market square, where there are some beautifully kept buildings in this picturesque town.

While you're here, you must also try the regional tarte flambée, washed down with the local tipple. We visited Alsace a few times, and the little wine glasses with the green stems always remind us of Alsace (we've even brought some home with us).

For our visit, we stayed one night in Obernai at the L'Ecurie. It was a family-run B&B, and the room we had was lovely and very modern, over two floors.

For more on our brief visit to Obernai, check out our post - 'Obernai, an Alsatian delight in France'

Last year, we finally visited Annecy; I'd seen so many beautiful pictures of the place I just wanted to go, and it didn't disappoint. I can imagine in the summer months it would get quite busy, as there are plenty of outdoor activities to do, as well as visiting this historic, picturesque town.
the fortified stone palais de l'Île in the centre of the le thiou river in the heart of the historic alpine town of annecy on a bright clear day under blue skies
The Palais de l'Isle in Annecy
Annecy is in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and has an incredible mountain backdrop to look upon, and don't get me started on how pretty the lake is.
a lone paddleboarder on lake annecy in france under clear blue skies
A view over Lake Annecy in the morning
Wind your way through the ancient lanes and canals, and you'll find some charming little squares, especially along Rue Sainte-Claire. If you're heading to Annecy for the market, arrive early. Tuesday is for the food market and Friday and Sunday are for the larger food and textile market.

We stayed at the ibis Annecy Centre Vieille Ville Hotel. The location is fantastic, just a few steps and you are right in the heart of Place Sainte-Claire in the Old Town.

For more on our stay in Annecy, you can check out our post - 'The Allure of Annecy, France'

Another picturesque hilltop village is Saint-Paul-de-Vence in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. It is one of the oldest medieval towns in the French Riviera.
A view over the lush green landscape of provence as seen from the quaint french village of saint paul du vence
The view out over St Paul de Vence
The views across the surrounding countryside are incredible; you most definitely know you've arrived in Provence. I just love all the rugged hills and the buildings nestled in between.
A stone fountain in a courtyard of the provencal village of st paul de vence, below the red parasols of a roof top cafe under deep blue skies
A fountain in St Paul de Vence
An elegant dressed, mature seated woman wearing a blue felt hat, smoking a pipe in st paul de vence in the south of france
Some surprises in St Paul de Vence

Take a stroll through Saint-Paul-de-Vence's pedestrian cobbled lanes, and you'll see why it is such an attraction for artists. Every corner you turn, there is something else to discover: a charming little courtyard, tiny narrow streets or steps leading through to archways beyond.

As we headed out of the village, we stopped to watch the locals play an evening game of boules and spotted a lady smoking a pipe; you wouldn't think smoking could look so elegant.

Take a look

If you’re visiting Saint-Paul-de-Vence, head to the idyllic French Riviera town of Villefranche-sur-Mer, you won’t want to leave.
We’ve now arrived in Burgundy to the town of Auxerre in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region. Standing proud within the town is the lovely Gothic-style Cathedral of St. Étienne, built during the 13th century.
a view of auxerre in france from the pont paul bert across the river yonne to the cathédrale saint-étienne d'auxerre, the town and the quayside
The view of Auxerre on the banks of Yonne
We took an enjoyable stroll along the banks of the Yonne River, which was lined with canal boats, heading off to discover the lush countryside around this wonderful wine region.
rural buildings covered in autumnal coloured climbers line a stream of the river serein that runs through chablis in france
A view of Chablis in the Burgundy region of France

While we stayed in Auxerre, we used it as a base to discover further afield; we couldn't resist visiting the delightful village of Chablis. We had tried their wines a few times, so I thought it was only polite to wander around.

A little further from Chablis is the town of Tonnerre, and here is an incredible spring named Fosse Dionne. The wash basin is impressive; it almost looks unreal and should be in a Spielberg movie.

the fosse dionne natural spring that feeds an historic public wash stand in the medieval fench town of tonnerre
The wash pool Tonnerre
The covered wash basin was added around the spring in the 18th century. Divers have explored parts of the spring; however, it has proved to be very dangerous.
Last, and by no means least, we head to the west coast of France to the beautiful coastal town of Honfleur in Normandy. This place has so much character who could resist sitting by the harbourside enjoying a freshly made galette with a glass of local cider?
Boats in Honfleur's harbour at dusk with the illuminated carousel and Ferris wheel in the background.
An inspiration for artists - Honfleur

Not only does it have a pleasant harbour, but the town is also lovely too. It has become reasonably popular over the years; however, it is still a town I urge you to visit. It is picturesque all year around, so I suggest perhaps heading there springtime.

For our last visit, we stayed one night at the Hotel La Diligence.

For our last visit, we stayed one night at the Hotel La Diligence.

Its location was great; it was just a short stroll down to the quayside, passing by some local shops.

For more on our visits to Honfleur, you can check out our post - 'The call of Honfleur, France'

We love visiting France and each region so different from one another. I find the DK Eyewitness Guides really helpful in planning a trip and so often find interesting little snippets of info.

Take a peek at this revised Top 10 Pocket Travel Guide and see what you can discover.

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  1. You’ve chosen some real beauties here and I’m impressed with the amount of France you’ve managed to cover – there are some towns from lots of different regions here. I’ll be saving this post to inspire future trips as we love France too. Thanks for sharing on #farawayfiles

    1. Gary and I love visiting France, we’ve been to so many regions now, I would go back time and again.

      We also head off on a lot of road trips to other parts of the continent so we usually have an overnight stop off in France.

  2. Whenever I hear about Carcassonne I always think of the game, lol! But in all seriousness, I love your photography. So stunning! #farawayfiles

    1. Thanks very much Allison, the credit goes to Gary for the photography.

      I’ve never played Carcassonne, I’ll keep a look out for it.

  3. Another beautiful and inspiring post! I just can’t get over the photos, and that you’re able to visit so many places, I envy you there. We had France on our radar this summer, but work schedules got in the way… maybe next year? In the meantime I’ll dream of going there while looking at your beautiful photos. #farawayfiles

    1. Thanks very much Hilary, we do have a bit of a soft spot for France, that’s a shame you’re unable to get there this year.

      We are lucky that we only live 40 minutes from Le Shuttle and the crossing is only 35, plus we do love a road trip.

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