The best autumn getaways in France
Autumn is the ideal season to enjoy the treasures of France away from the crowds. The days are still mild and the nature and landscapes are breathtaking, so it is a great time to spend a few days in the countryside, plan a short hike or stroll the streets of Paris. We’ve selected some destinations where you will see all the shades of autumn on display.
Welcome to Champagne-Ardenne, the land that gave its name to the famous beverage known around the world! Who says Champagne, says vines! Now, in Autumn the vineyard landscapes are really beautiful, the green leaves are tinged with a golden, brown or red colour.
We suggest you walk the Champagne tourist route to visit the cellars, taste the Champagne, but also to learn the secrets of winegrowers and discover the cellars of Champagne houses! The National Park of the Reims mountain is particularly interesting. In addition to the vineyards, you will also find the largest concentration of dwarf oak trees in the world.
For the more urban traveller, or those interested in culture, you can also visit the cities of Epernay for its famous Avenue of Champagne and its many manor houses of Champagne. And Reims, the city of the coronation of the kings of France with its sumptuous cathedral. The city of Langres medieval fortress, surrounded by 5 lakes also offers an impressive panorama during Autumn.
For nature lovers, you can extend your stay at Lake Der-Chantecoq, it is the largest artificial lake in Europe. Or, go to meet the wolves in the woods of the Argonne. Finally, the city of Charleville-Mézières organizes the world festival of puppets every year in mid-September, a fascinating show for children and adults alike! Recommended hotels: Holiday Inn Reims, Maison Rouge Strasbourg Hotel & Spa, Adonis Hotel Strasbourg.
Normandy is a land of history. Mont Saint-Michel is a good example, it is erected on a rocky island and is located in the heart of a beautiful bay at the crossroads of Brittany and Normandy. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mont-Saint-Michel is a wonderful place to admire the largest tides in continental Europe! At high tide, the Mount becomes an island for a few hours, a sight to take your breath away!
The town of Etretat is famous for its extraordinary chalk cliffs and pebble beaches, painters such as Claude Monet and Gustave Courbet or writers like Maupassant and Gustave Flaubert were inspired by this place. A walk along the cliffs will arouse your senses. Let yourself be amazed by the beauty of nature! At low tide, you can access some special places, including beaches and oyster beds!
A Franco-British place of history, Château-Gaillard, also known as Richard the Lion Heart castle, is located in the village of Les Andelys. The strategic position of this castle, built by the King of England and Duke of Normandy, was crucial. A true masterpiece of architecture, some parts still bear the stigma of long-past clashes between the kingdoms of England and France.
Finally, you should also visit two other jewels of Normandy. The first is the small town of Honfleur, a popular place for any visitor to Normandy. You will discover why it is called the city of painters while strolling through its picturesque streets!
The second is the city of Rouen. The city where Joan of Arc was threatened with torture in 1431. Its architecture with its half-timbered houses and its Gothic churches will not leave you disappointed! The city is also famous for its gastronomy. Your taste buds will be invigorated by the tastes of Rouen. Recommended hotels: Holiday Inn Express Le Havre, Holiday in Express Rouen.
Hard not to mention Paris for this article, especially since we have suggested the Champagne-Ardenne and Normandy since, in one single trip, you can enjoy a visit to at least two of these three destinations. Between two and three hours of travel separate these three destinations.
Let yourself be transported and imagine Paris in Autumn. The trees adorn themselves with leaves of red or golden reflections. Some streets and boulevards emit the sweet smell of warm chestnuts, and you will hear the sounds of leaves crunching under your feet in the parks of the French capital.
Cultural events are numerous! Mid-September (think about next year) are European Heritage Days. This will allow you to visit places that are for some, normally not open to the public, such as the backstage Crazy Horse, the Palace of the Élysée, the Grand Rex or the National Museum of Natural History, it is a unique opportunity! Recommended hotels: Hotel Paris Villette, Hotel Alfred Sommier.
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