Let's kick-start this new conversation space! What's your favorite destination in France and why?
Sorry, I know... I've been south and west and north, and Paris is hands down my favorite place in France. I adore the Loire Valley, and love Normandy and Provence and Burgundy - but Paris is da' BOMB. The food is amazing. The architecture is amazing. The shops are amazing. The ART blows my socks off every time!
Paris is romantic, polyglot, cosmopolitan, edgy, traditional, exciting, urbane, cozy, thrilling, fancy, spendy, down-to-earth, friendly, challenging, relaxing, invigorating, and heartrendingly beautiful all at the same time.
In the spring, the breeze can almost make you drunk with the scent of flowers and things growing in all the myriad gardens.
In summer, the heat and sun make a perfect background for louche hanging about and drinking something cooling along the Seine.
In autumn, the leaves turn and the air is bracing and sometimes damp, and the clouds shift restlessly in the sky, dappling the ancient stone with rueful light.
In winter, there's Christmas! Lights - decorations - flocked fir trees in hot pink and pristine white - skating rinks and vin chaud and Yule logs in all the bakery windows.
Want to shop? Come to Paris!
Want to eat? Definitely come to Paris!
Want to poke around in gorgeous old cemeteries? Paris!
Want to spend days immersed in Medieval manuscripts, or 18th century political cartoons, or the greats of the Roman Empire or the 20th century in Europe? You're catching on!
Want to make out in public and not have people hiss "get a room!" at you! You got it. ;-) Paris. The one, the only, the best.
Well, that's me.
We enjoyed the Cote d'Azur more than Provence, and were blown away by the Dordogne. Haven't seen anything north of Paris yet, hopefully soon!
Kira makes a good case for Paris, and I have to agree. I love Paris!!. The architecture, the history, the museums, the sidewalk cafes, the parks... That said, there is much more France for me to explore. I'm going to spend about 3 weeks in France next Fall, where I will get to experience some new places. Normandy, Loire and Burgundy are on the list. I will return to Provence. I enjoyed it there and want to check out some new villages. And so many villages there are. And of course Paris. I was only going to spend 3 nights there so I would have more time elsewhere. Nope, I need more time. This will be my 4th trip to Paris. Over 3 trips I've spent 3 weeks. There is so much to do there, I don't think anyone could do it all!
PARIS... and yes I have been in alot of other areas.. spending summers with my grandmother as a child/teen and being shipped off to various relatives summer homes by the sea.. in the country.. etc.. and enjoying all of them,, but due to much of what Kira cited.. Paris is my favorite overall.
Note.. as a child I hated Paris and preferred the country or just grannys yard.. but by the time I hit about 13 it started to change.. soon I started to really appreciate the museums and galleries and historical sites.. they simply bored me at 7 , 8 or 10.. ( all except the Towers of Notre Dame.. they were so mysterious to me.. the dark winding medieval staircase was so "hunchback of ND to me)
Kira and Andrea, you both said it so well! I love Paris....and Provence....and the Périgord....and the Alsace and...and...but I really need to go to Paris at least once a year. (3 nights in the Spring is not enough in spite of what Doug says so I'm going for a week in the Fall!)
Paris, Paris, Paris. In 3 months and 4 days I'll be there again. Over the years we have travelled all over France, loving it all but every trip has started or ended with some days in Paris. I'll be in Rome in late May for a couple of days before a cruise, my 4th or 5th visit, and that will be wonderful, but Paris has my heart. Just today I found that I have never been to Hotel de Sully .... always something new to discover in Paris, though I adore revisiting places I have been to before such as the Pompidou or the d'Orsay.
I love Paris too, but I have nothing to add to Kira's eloquence on the topic. That said, there is something about Normandy that tugs at my heart. The country is beautiful, the food is delicious, and the people are wonderful. I think it's knowing what happened there in 1944 (and being able to visit the sites and graves) that makes it so special. The combination of history and beauty makes it hard to beat.
Paris, hands down. Kira said it so well. Not only my favorite place in France, it's my favorite place on the planet. And my favorite place in Paris, no surprise to you guys, is the Luxembourg Gardens. Pure Heaven.
I love Paris for what it is now, but also I grew up there, so for me, it's my home town. All the wonderful childhood memories I have are woven throughout wherever I go. They say you can never go home again, but I truly feel like I am home when I'm there.
I love Normandy too, for all the reasons Carroll said. The people are so, so wonderful. My Dad landed at Omaha Beach during the Invasion so it's always been a special place for me. I always feel his presence when I'm there. My first time there, when I was 7, I walked along Omaha Beach with my Dad... I'll never forget it.
Then there's the Loire and Burgundy... love them too!
Yes, Paris for all the reasons said and more. I also love the French Alps, Chamonix in particular, walking along flower-strewn pathways with stunning views of Mont Blanc, ascending to 12,000 feet in a cable car to Aiguille du Midi and then taking another from this summit to a point in Italy - just you, clouds, unbelievable air, and God.
Provence too, the little villages straight out of "Village en Vaucluse." I still have so much more to see in France - little by little I'm expanding ... but you're right, a trip always includes Paris. As a former French major, I'm a sucker for it all!
The Luberon in the uncrowded months. Lovely scenery, perched villages, Provençal architecture, food and wine and more make it irresistible to us.
We've loved everything we've seen so far in France but Nice is our favorite- lovely climate, extraordinary scenery, opportunity for many sidetrips. We love the area.
Paris is a must of course! But our family always returns to the north of Brittany. The area is absolutely stunning with picturesque villages, castles, prehistoric sites, and gorgeous beaches. Google St. Malo, St. Briac, Dinan just to start. Brittany has a unique culture and absolutely amazing food and markets. It's certainly a favorite destination for Brits to vacation - a you can easily take a ferry to England from Brittany.
A very well maintained tail runs along the entire northern coast from Mont St. Michel (a bit into Normandy) west. Little towns all along the way so you can do the whole trail or a day here and there. I've hiked the entire northern coast and I can't recommend it enough!
The Loire Valley (stationed in Tours). This region is just magical. There's something special on those warm summer evenings in the air. There's so much to see in the vicinity: Le Mans, Angers, Blois, Chinon, Chenonceau, Amboise, etc, etc. I always go back to the Loire Valley no matter what region in France I visit. It's always nice to have some sparkling Vouvray.
Wow, picking a favorite destination in France is like picking your favorite child - can't be done. My gut reaction is to say Paris because I love it there and can't get enough. But after thinking about it for a while other places come to mind.
I spent 5 nights in Roussillon and fell in love with the whole Luberon region of Provence. I would also not hesitate to go back to any of these (in no particular order):
Nice and surrounding villages.
Annecy - may be my favorite small city in France.
Alsace region, especially Colmar and Strasbourg.
Another vote for Paris! I've been 8 times but still discover lots of new things to see and do each trip. Yes, the biggies (Tour Eiffel, Notre Dame, etc.) are great but also try an educational walking tour based on your interests (Paris-Walks), or a personalized one with Paris Greeters, or a cooking class at La Cuisine. If you're going to be there a while, volunteer with a local group - you'll meet locals and expats who love this city as much as I (and hopefully you) do!
PARIS!!! This is the only place in the world that me cry with joy! The predictable biggies are amazing. Just walking through all the streets was amazing. We stayed near the Tuilleries gardens and loved walking through the amusement park. I went on a haunted house ride, a lot scarier than American haunted houses. It actually had actors pop out and had an evil clown scraping a knife on a jail cell. We loved the Louvre and the Orsay galleries. The Arc-De-Triomphe was the highlight for us. Our last night in Paris we had pizza on the Champs-Elleyse and the manager was hilarious and so friendly. He was flirting with me mom.
Paris & Villefranche-sur-mer. I was introduced to Villefranche on a RS tour, a small wonderful town. I have returned 3 times; it is easy to bus and train all along the coast to Monaco, Nice, Menton.
Paris is my favourite place in the world. The bridges, the markets, the architecture, I love it all. The museums, large & small are outstanding. The churches are also wonderful. I will return again and again.
The Dordogne. The countryside was beautiful. We spent 3 weeks making the "grand circle" tour around France, and the Dorodgne was my favorite area by far. We also loved the Normandy area.