The Many Faces of France: Exploring ‘l’Hexagone’

exploring france tips

Looking to explore France on your next getaway? Known for it’s passion and romance, delicious food and incredible culture it’s definitely one to add to your list of countries to visit. But what exactly is there to do in France (nicknamed ‘l’Hexagone’ after the shape of it’s borders) that appeals to you? Here are some ideas that would suit any kind of trip.

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Go skiing in incredible snowy resorts

France has some of the best skiing destinations in the world- explore quaint Alpine villages and incredible snowy resorts where you can hit the slopes and take in the mind-blowing scenery. From Chamonix to Chalet Neve and so many more you’ll be spoilt for choice. The skiing season tends to run roughly between November to April, but some peaks in France are so high you can even ski through the summer. Do some research on the resort and conditions beforehand, so you can book at the optimal time. Whether you’re a total beginner or no stranger to the slopes, you’ll find everything you could wish for when skiing in France. 

Enjoy retail therapy, nightlife and Michelin star restaurants in the cities

When you think about France, chances are the first thing that springs to mind is Paris. However you also have Nice, Lyon, Bordeaux and Toulouse amongst many others if it’s a city break that you crave. Brush shoulders with celebrities in these super glamorous destinations, take in the culture, enjoy a traditional French dessert in a cute patisserie or go all out and indulge at a high end restaurant. With plenty to see and do in any city it’s always going to be a fun experience, and French cities are said to be some of the best in the world!

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Soak up some sand on the beach

There are many stunning beaches all along the east and in the south of France which are perfect for soaking up some sun and sand. France enjoys sunny, mild summers making the climate perfect for enjoying family holidays. If you’re after some more tropical weather, head to Côte d'Azur, also known as the French Riviera. This is the Mediterranean coast of southeastern France, and includes famously glamorous beach resorts such as Saint-Tropez, Cannes, and the independent microstate of Monaco

Go yachting on the waters

Another way to explore France if you’re by the coast is by to go yachting. There are lots of boat charter companies out there giving you the option to self drive or hire a captain. It’s not a cheap option, but if you’re travelling with a few friends you can always split the cost, plus it’s one of those ‘bucket list’ type of things that it’s worth paying the money for if you’re able to! With the wind in your hair and blue skies all around, it makes an incredible addition to your trip and something you could add on to a beach holiday or even make a full week of. 

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Try out a canal boat holiday

If you fancy the idea of a boating holiday but aren’t visiting anywhere near the coast- no need to fret. With hundreds of miles of rivers and canals, there are plenty of inland boating holidays you can book. It makes a change from a regular cruise if that’s your usual type of vacation, and as towns and cities were built right around these water networks they take you 

right to the heart of the action. You can cast off at the helm of your self drive canal boat and take a leisurely cruise at your own pace, along the canals and rivers, among the most beautiful in Europe, or book a set canal cruise holiday which will be driven by a captain and provide you with many of the luxuries as a standard cruise ship. 

Go backpacking through the Pyrenees

Finally, if you want to see France in a completely different way then why not go backpacking? Sure, it’s not as glamorous as the cities or beaches, but just as amazing! Trek through the Pyrenees mountains, if you go straight through the peaks the hike is around 24km and takes around six hours to complete, however there’s plenty of interesting surrounding terrain from the Pyrenees National Park and other areas of outstanding natural beauty nearby that you could easily make a full trip of exploring on foot. 

Have you visited France before? If yes, where was your favourite part?

*All pictures in collages via Pinterest.

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