Every traveller has two countries, his own and France. Be itculture, art, lifestyle, attractions, aesthetics, gastronomy or geography; this Western European nation has a staggering repertoire in all departments, and then some more! The smell of freshly baked croissants from chiffon-curtained boulangeries travels through the bustling streets and fills the air around the markets, bistros and galleries with an inviting aroma. Moving away from the cityscapes, France shifts gears into cliffs, sand dunes, glittering lakes and the blueness of the French Riviera, each exceedingly gorgeous. When in France, the simplistic and intimate rhythm of the country gets gloriously punctuated by its lavish landmarks and contagious glitz with a subtle infusion of history, culture and romance. Whether in Paris or Nice, everything in France is purposeful and prestigious.
Lyon is one of the most underrated and overlooked destinations in France. The city is set between the rivers, the Rhône and the Saône, the ‘confluence’ offers loads of exciting things to do including museums, rock climbing, and a rooftop bar! It is ideally located and the Alps are just a walk away. Make time and explore this undiscovered gems cultural treasures, ancient ruins, exceptional museums, drinking scenes, vibrant clubbing, dernier cri fashion, while the daring food bon vivantcan spoil themselves senseless with turbulent gastronomic fancies. Give into the city and taste the Lyonnais cuisine in a bouchon, then let it work its magic and take your taste buds on a ride.
Bordeaux continues to bethe hub of winemakingand château-owning clan. The historic part of Bordeaux puts it on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Shedding its languid, today, a trip to Bordeaux will, apart from discovering the rich tradition of winemaking, will flaunt a variety of its astounding architectural sites and museums, world famous fine art galleries, pebbled roads for a stroll, vibrant promenades laced with cafes and chic boutiques, excellent restaurants and great shopping. The way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach and Bordeaux does just that. Think coffee shop, café, new-gen food trucks, fine-dining and copious amounts of wine – it’s all synonymous with Bordeaux! Look carefully and the once sleeping beauty will revealits treasures.
Are you one of those people who support the underdog? You will love Marseille, a completely underrated city in the South of France. Marseille, being France’s oldest discovered city, boasts of rich history. In addition to this, it is also blessed with sandy beaches, a thriving port, wonderful coastal roads, and considering its multi-cultural population, it offers some interesting French-Mediterranean cuisine. Since its stint as the European Capital of Culture in 2013, Marseille has had an image makeover with hip new creative spaces, modern architecture, public art and creative tourism attracting the traveller wanting to do everything.
This winter, head to the predominantly eminent capital Côte d’Azur, Nice (France), and spend your time under the mild Mediterranean sun breathing the fresh coastal air. A boiling point of cultures, this place is more than just alive with enough amounts of folk music and dance that are exhibitedin certain places that are not hard to find. Fresh meat and seafood contribute to tasty cuisines that are a not to miss and must-try. It’s almost exasperating how much Nice has going for it – a sunseekers magnet, a luring old town, fantastic markets, phenomenal architecture and a profuse number of piquant restaurants. But ultimately, there’s no other place better than Nice to experience the Rivera vibe.
You may have heard all about Paris already, but we shall try again, all the same. From the very first moment you step out of the airport, with your excited legs dragging you eagerly, you will notice that Paris retains its past and its culture so close to itself and it almost appears uptight, for all the right reasons, but before you allow yourself to make similar judgements, you will gingerly be blended into the intimacy and the sense of community that you will come to love soon enough. And if you’re trying, then fall in love you will; and hopelessly.