Top 5s France
I have been to France 3 times now on my European adventures, however I feel like I have not spent a lot of time there. Its always been a few days here and a few days there. One day I will explore more in depth – it is just such a large history, art and food rich country! My top 5s France is based primarily on my trip in 2015, the only exception being the Louvre. As always, my Top 5 list is in no particular order. Here we are, Top 5s France!
1. Going up the Eiffel Tower
While I try to refrain from listing the main tourist attractions on my top 5 list, I just could not help it. Yes, it was crowded, we waited a long time in long lines and the prices were inflated but I could not get over the craftsmanship the beautiful art deco details in iron and the fantastic view of all Paris. We took the stairs up and down – prepare yourself, it is a bit of a workout, but I found that way all the more enjoyable. We stopped at various points on our way up; this grew our excitement as the view stretched further and further across the horizon. That place stone facades, wide tree line boulevards, tops of churches rising above the rest. Paris truly is a magnificent city.
2. Bordeaux Wine Tour
Ah Bordeaux, one of the most famous wine regions in the world. In retrospect, we needed to spend more time here. I could have taken a wine tour each day for a week straight, if not more. The variety is amazing, between the regions, the wineries, the grapes themselves. Not only did we have the chance to have a peek at some gorgeous chateaus, but we drank some of the most delicious wine and learned a lot more than I ever expected to. There is a lot of history in this wine region, along with a lot of strict rules and regulations. Besides the vineyards, Bordeaux itself is a lovely city, worth a wander in its own right. We toured with Rustic Vines to the Saint Julien appellation, stopping at Leoville-Poyferre and Chateau Siran vineyards.
3. Hill Towns in Provence
We originally planned to rent a car for the day and venture out into the countryside, exploring some hill towns like Gordes, Roussillon and others. However, there was a mix up with our dates and the rental fell through – probably for the best though, they are crazy drivers in France. We still made it to Gordes, the nearby Abbey d’Senaque and Roussillon. The countryside was beautiful, and the hilltowns confusing but fun. The air. Oh the air smelt like lavender, even though we missed the lavender plants in bloom. We tried just about lavender everything, including ice cream, which was surprisingly so delicious. Roussillon was an photographers dream – the red ochre cliffs, and all the buildings tinged with reds, oranges and pinks. If in Provence, take some time to visit the hill towns, you will not regret it!
I don’t know about you, but I studied a little history in university and learnt all about the Popes moving the home of the Catholic Church to Avignon. The Palace of the Popes is one of the top sights in Avignon, and much like any castle – I thoroughly enjoyed exploring it. Aside from the history, Avignon is an adorable little city, mostly contained inside the medieval walls, which are remarkably intact. Avignon also boasts an 13th century bridge, Pont Saint-Bénézet, though more commonly known as the Pont d’Avignon. Avignon itself can be explored in a few days, but it is a great base for exploring the hill towns, mentioned above. I found Avignon to have the vibes of a city during the day, with enough restaurants and shops to keep you occupied, but had a quieting down, relaxed vibe in the evenings.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have an eye for art, the Louvre is full of some of the most important, beautiful, not so beautiful and famous works of art ever produced by man. With such a wide range of styles, there is bound to be something everyone can enjoy. Really the Louvre speaks for itself, a must visit. I would recommend, if you can, to split your visit to the Louvre into two or three days. It is possible to be over saturated with art. Spend the mornings or the afternoon here, and the rest of the day wandering Paris or sitting sipping a cafe (or better yet some wine) at a cafe people watching.
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