Brilliant off the beaten track city breaks in France

Written by on October 10, 2017 in Holidays & Things to do, Places to Go

France is a land of diverse landscapes and varied cities. There’s the cultural capital Paris, the gastronomic capital Bordeaux and wine capital Lyon – but there’s far more to France that the well-known. Discover some of the most beautiful, undiscovered cities for a special break you’ll love.

Brittany – Dinan

Dinan is a beautifully preserved medieval town that looks like a film set. The Thursday morning market is vibrant and colourful, stalls piled high with shiny vegetables and sweet-smelling fruit, piquant cheeses, charcuterie and bread. There’s plenty going on here, especially in the summer. Every two years in July, the town stages its famous Fête des Remparts, one of the biggest medieval festivals in Europe.

The old centre is small enough to explore on foot if a little hilly. Half-timbered houses, a beautiful little port lined with great restaurants, cobbled streets of quirky shops and art galleries make this a fabulous city break destination.

Where to stay: You will love this 2-bedroom town house in Dinan, in the perfect position, right in the centre of the port area. Stylishly decorated, with parking and just steps from the local boulangerie and great cafés and restaurants.

Tarn et Garonne – St Antonin Noble Var

This medieval city lies in the heart of the Gorges of Aveyron. A place of winding alleys, ancient buildings, cosy cafés and restaurants and a sensational Sunday morning market. It’s a lively town with lots of events and festivals, home to artisans and artists with plenty of little shops to tempt you.

It’s not all history and culture though and sports and outdoors lovers will enjoy the hiking footpaths, horse riding, cycle routes, caves and water sports. There’s even a beach and of course, the gorges.

Where to stay: The 2 bedroom Place de Tilleuls is charming, located in a quiet part of the town but just minutes away from the restaurants and shops. The pretty garden is relaxing and for nights when you want to stay in a BBQ area is oh so tempting.

Step back in time when you stay at Le Cluzel in the historic quarter of the town. This beautifully restored 15th/16th century town house has many of its original features including a grand Renaissance fire place. It’s snuggled away in a cobbled street off the main square, beware, it’s hard to leave at the end of your stay.

Loire Atlantique – Batz-sur-Mer

Between the salt marshes – a haven for bird life – and the Atlantic Ocean, Batz-sur-Mer is a little piece of paradise. A place of find sandy beaches, La Baule, the longest been in Europe is close by and there’s a dramatic coastline which you can walk via a restored coastal path.

The town makes for a great base to visit the area and there’s lots to see and do. Le Croisic, a fishing port, is at the end of the peninsula and easily reached by bike or on foot. Le Pouliguen is on the river that separates Batz from sophisticated La Baule nestled among pine trees. Guérande is a medieval must-see and Brière is a huge freshwater marshland, a beautiful conservation area.

Where to stay: The 4-bedroom Coastal House is at the centre of village life, but with its ancient thick walls, it’s a place to relax and chill out. Comfy, cosy and great for families, close to shops and restaurants, and just 4 minutes’ walk from the beach.

Drome – Nyons

Nyons is some way off the beaten track to the east of Valence in the north and Avignon to the south. Tucked into the foot of hill, the town dates back to before the 5th century and you’re welcomed by a large open square surrounded by covered arcades, plane and palm trees and pavement cafés and bars. It feels Mediterranean and in the evening the trees are lit up, and there’s a holiday feel with helmetless moped riders buzzing about and old French cars.

Quintessentially French, mellow and famous for its olives, this is town to linger in and fall in love with the real south of France.

Where to stayLe Jas du Pontias is a 2-bedroom town house on a quiet street in the heart of Nyons. Elegant but cosy it was a little farm on the edge of the medieval town but now it’s a fabulous place to enjoy the pleasures of this pretty city. Walking distance to the restaurants, shops and close to the hiking trails natural swimming areas, picturesque villages and the famous Provencal markets.

All properties are on the French Connections website, the rental holiday company with thousands of holiday homes – making holiday dreams come true…

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