Places You Didn’t Know Existed in France
We all very well know places like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Province, Champs-Elysees, and others. However, even though they are the most popular sites in France, there are certainly others, while evidently less-known, still impressive and exciting! So, why not include them on your next French trip? Just so you have an easier time planning, check out our list of places you did not know existed in France.
You are probably well aware of the most famous communes and towns in France, typically very quaint and picturesque, with wineries and sophisticated little cafes – that is the French standard, anyway. So, get ready for another one, entirely off the beaten path but just as worth your time!
Eguisheim is a charming commune in the historic region of Alsace, about 7 kilometers away from Colmar and an hour’s drive from Strasbourg. The village is best known for its scenic surroundings, straight-up keeping up with the more popular towns, at least in terms of natural beauty and the whole streetscape.
The medieval city is adorned with Renaissance-style establishments here and there and a few sightseeing sites if walking around gets a bit much for you. You should spend a relaxing afternoon in the Old Town part of Eguisheim and visit St. Leon’s Castle – the birthplace of Pope St. Leo XI.
We all know France takes pride in the perfectly manicured cityscape and elegant parks and yards. So, in general, Monet’s Garden might not be such a surprise to you. However, if you look closer, there are some unusual things you definitely did not know, and that is if you even knew about it in the first place!
It is all in the name, really. When the French painter Oscar Claude Monet and his family settled in Giverny in 1883, he had a good piece of land cleared out and put a lot of his artistic influence into making it the most beautiful garden. Colors, symmetries, and different perspectives make Monet’s Garden one of the prettiest places to visit in France, even though many people do not even know about it.
There are two parts of the garden, a flower garden called Clos Normand and a Japanese-inspired water garden, both highly impressive, so make sure you have the time to explore!
Good French wine is a typical ambition when you visit the country, and while there are plenty of vineyards, wineries, and wine tasting opportunities, not all of them can give you specifically what the Wine Museum in Bordeaux can!
If stories and explanations of history and development are something you expect out of a museum, you would be correct, and Bordeaux Wine Museum falls into the same category. Located within the former cellars of Louis XIV’s wine vendors, the museum thoroughly explains how the wine was made, who started the whole process, and why. In addition, it gives you knowledge of the brewing techniques, old recipes, and their expansion. You can even get a little sample of vino at the end of the tour!
After admiring and tasting the French wine, take a quick Bordeaux to Paris train and get ready for some new, unknown places to explore!
This time, let’s visit Musee Bourdelle. If it surprises you that a museum in the capital city of France falls into the unknown category, the explanation is quite understandable. With such giants as the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay, it is quite easy to get overlooked, especially for a gallery as relatively small as Bourdelle.
Just a few steps from Gare Montparnasse, the little studio tells the story of what Paris must have looked like in the late 1800s when the city was peaking with new artists and studios. Filled with works by the sculptor Bourdelle, the museum is kind of a combo between an art gallery, a home, and a picturesque French garden and backyard.
While the French Riviera dominates most of the beach holidays here, there are stunning places like Cancale in Brittany waiting to be explored and touched upon!
With a delightful coastline of turquoise waters and white sandy beaches, Cancale could easily take one of the top places as the most beautiful Mediterranean town if only it were more popular. However, even without being well-known, it remains just as lovely. Not only is it perfect if you want a sunny beach holiday and stunning panoramas around, but Cancale is also known for its impeccable seafood! Famous for its oysters and shellfish, the town prides itself on its cuisine. So, we highly consider visiting for the views and the flavors!
Settled between the Meditteranean and Provence, Esterel Massif is a mountain range with exciting development history and the most scenic views.
Initially attached to Africa, this piece of land separated during the formation of Meditteranean, and later when another piece fell off, Corsica was born! Due to the rugged topography and convenient formation, Esterel Massif makes for a perfect hiking spot, so you can definitely get some gear and enjoy the sights of both the Meditteranean region and Provence. From some peaks, you can also see the communes of Saint-Raphael, Frejus, Bagnols-en-Foret, and Les Adtrets de l’Esterel.
Legend has it that the mountain range was named after a fairy called Esterelle, a woman with magical powers to help other women get more fertile, so nowadays, the massif is quite romanticized.
And now you know! Well, not as thoroughly as you will when you visit, but at least now you can spice up your itinerary in the best way with these gorgeous, less-known places. So take opportunities and think outside of the box – this is the best way to enjoy France!
| Article by Viktorija Oksaite.