France is a country which is ripe for a good road trip, with good road connections and a huge range of different places to visit. Whether your interests are in great wine, culinary attractions or the amazing historic sights of the country there are plenty of places to visit, while there are some interesting cultural areas to explore as well. If you are thinking of taking a road trip in France, here are eight wonderful destinations that you should consider adding to your itinerary.
The French capital is where many people who are flying in to the country will arrive, and it certainly shouldn't be overlooked as a destination to explore. From the amazing Notre Dame cathedral to the iconic Eiffel Tower, there are plenty of things to see and visit in the city, while the cuisine and culture in the city is superb. The Louvre is also a wonderful museum to visit, so if you can give yourself plenty of time to appreciate everything that Paris has to offer.
The Palace Of Versailles
Best known as the location where the Treaty of Versailles was signed following the First World War, this palace is a truly stunning building which served as the home of the French royal family for over a century. Today, you can take tours of the apartments and the luxurious surroundings within the palace, while the gardens are beautifully maintained and have a huge complex of plants, footpaths and water features that provide a great area to explore.
In the north-eastern region of Alsace, this fortified town was built to guard the border with Germany, under the guidance of the influential architect Marquis de Vauban. The town within the fortifications is laid out in a grid system, with a broad central square where you can see the grand church and the heart of the town. Outside the fortifications, the tiers of land rising up to the town is also a fascinating feature in what is one of the most interesting UNESCO World Heritage sites to be found in France.
The vineyards of the Loire Valley produce some of the best wine to be found anywhere in the world, and driving through the fields of vines makes for some lovely scenery as a background to your trip. The area is also home to a great range of historic architecture, including the beautiful Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau, which rises up from the water of a lake, and the grand Chateau de Valencay. The hot summer temperatures would be the perfect setting if you have a convertible to drive with the top down.
This historic recreation of a Roman encampment as it would have been around the time of the Battle of Alesia in the First Century BCis a fascinating attraction that provides a more visual and interactive experience than what you experience by reading history books. The park features the excavated ruins of the original Roman encampment on the site, while the defensive towers and fortifications have been recreated. With the interactive aspects of the museum, and the hands on experiences in the museum, this is an ideal attraction if you are traveling with children.
This beautiful fortified French town is one that has featured in many historic and fictional books, with the stone walls and towers that protect the hilltop fortress making it very picturesque. As well as walking the walls, you can also explore the church and the cathedral, and stroll through the picturesque streets of the town itself. The town is at the heart of the area's wine industry, while you can also take a cruise on the nearby Canal du Midi, which dates from the seventeenth century.
The Palais Ideal Of Ferdinand Cheval
One of the most interesting and quirky attractions in France is this small palace near the town of Hauterives in south east France, which was built by the postman Ferdinand Cheval in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. With almost every part of the structure decorated with different types of carving and architectural decoration, this building took nearly thirty three years for Cheval to complete, and draws inspiration from a variety of different styles.
This amazing village is built on a steep slope above the River Dordogne in the south west of the country, and originated around the monastery and pilgrimage site which lie at the top of the slope. Emerging from the forest, the town appears perched on this almost impossible slope and is one of the most beautiful villages in the country, and the legend states that it is located where the body of a religious hermit was discovered.