If you are planning a trip to France but you will not be stopping in Paris for whatever reason, there are plenty of other thrilling cities in the country. Each big city and little town has its own draw, so be sure to know what kinds of things you want to see and where to find them.
If shopping is one of your passions or if you enjoy the arts such as music and movies, you may enjoy the Cannes region of France. Located in the French Riviera, Cannes offers a visitor excellent shopping no matter what is on your shopping list.
Cannes is also a region where you can find beaches, unique shops, and night life that can only be found in the French Riviera. While you are visiting Cannes, try to board a boat that will take you to the two islands near Cannes. They at Ste-Marguerite and St-Honorat and there are things for tourists to see and photograph on the islands. They are called the “Iles de Lerins.”
If history is an interest, there is a history museum in Cannes as well as a museum dealing with nautical displays. Of course there are also a number of art galleries and museums found here. If you are staying in a townhouse or hotel where you have your own kitchen facilities (or if you want a snack or even fresh flowers!) try the Forville Market in Cannes. The market is open to shoppers daily.
If you will be in the Marseille area of France, try the old port. The French name for this is Vieux Port. If you are visiting the country after arriving by cruise, there is a good chance that this will be one of the places where the cruise ship stops. Be sure to see the “garden of remains” (Jardin des Vestiges) when you are in Vieux Port.
Things to do in the Toulouse area include numerous museums of different kinds, such as an excellent science museum (called the Cite de L’Espace) and religious sites. The churches and cathedrals are beautiful and you may want to put a tour of the convent on your agenda (it is called the Couvent des Jacobins). The Cite de L’Espace offers a planetarium that is always interesting.
No matter how exciting the cities of France are, or how much energy you may have, it is always nice to plan a little quiet time. This can be done by retreating to one of the French mountains to take in some of the fresh air or an exhilarating hike. Just a few of the mountains you may want to check out are the Aix-en-Provence, Annecy, La Tournette, Semnoz Mountians, and Mount St. Victoire.
There is some outstanding skiing all over France so if your trip to a mountain will include skiing, you will not be disappointed with the choice of slopes to use.
Also found on the French Riviera is the Nice region. What can you do in Nice (pronounced not as it looks but rather sounding like “niece”) area? You could spend a day here just deciding what to do, but you can start by spending some beach time at one of the infamous beaches of the French Riviera. Relax while seeing the Mediterranean and hearing the soft sound of water lapping against the shore.
If you are a diver, you may want to rent some equipment here and take an excursion under water to see the sunken statue called Our Lady of the Seabed. It is not the only piece of artwork that you will see if you dive here because there are other underwater art treasures here as well.
Be sure that you take your camera equipment or video camera with you all over France, but especially if you find yourself planning to visit the Loire Valley. Why? Because when you are traveling the highways and small roads of the Loire Valley, you never really know when you will be coming across one of the castles that are found here.
Although it may be possible to actually rent a room in some of these castles, you really have to make plans for something like that well in advance. Some of them give tours and some don’t, so definitely know ahead of time so that you won’t waste your precious moments in France.