Beyond Paris 1

Enjoying the French Outdoors

It’s no wonder when people think of France, they think of Paris. The city of lights is magical, the Eiffel Tower is iconic and it is definitely a romantic destination. But the allure of Paris can often overshadow the gorgeous countryside of France, a stunning landscape of wildflowers and vibrant fields well worth a visit!

The different regions in France provide their own distinct experiences, with unique food, scenery, architecture and even dialect. The French countryside is dotted with beautiful landscapes and picturesque villages that can only be enjoyed when you venture outdoors. Here are some places that you might want to add to your next France itinerary:

Cluny is in the Burgundy countryside and boasts a 10th century monastery perfect for exploring. Nature lovers will also marvel at the Arboretum de Pézanin, one of the oldest and richest forest collections in France with walking paths to enjoy trees and plants from all around the world.

Vienne sits on the bank of the Rhone River and is a town filled with Roman ruins and an amphitheater to explore. A beautiful stroll along the river, especially to see the sunset, makes Vienne a wonderful place to spend a day outdoors.

Chamonix is a town synonymous with winter skiing, but it’s actually full of activity year-round. The intoxicating views attract visitors from all over the globe, and in the summer months the valley offers miles of beautifully maintained hiking trails suitable for all levels of hikers.

Vouvant is a pretty village nestled into the rambling countryside of Western France. A small formal garden curated in the 1920s is perfect for strolling, as are the charming narrow streets filled with artist studios and picturesque stone houses.

Annecy is a lakeside Alpine town characterized by sloping hillsides and small canals that give it the nickname “Venice of the Alps.” A favorite outdoor activity is renting a bike and cycling around the stunning lake perimeter. If you’d prefer to be on the water, rent a paddleboat and soak in the mountain vistas surrounding you. The canals also offer a great way to spend time outdoors; get lost among the winding, cobblestone streets for an inside glimpse of this lovely town.

The French outdoors is waiting to be explored. Have a picnic. Rent a bike. Hike the mountains. Explore the forests. Swim the lakes. That is, of course, after you spend a few days in Paris!

Roni Fishkin is the Marketing Directors of Mann Travels which, with local ownership in Charlotte, has been serving travelers with personalized service for more than 35 years. 800-343-6266