Tour de France_ The place to go and what to see on the final word French highway journey

France lures guests with its wealthy tapestry of historical past, elegant tradition, beautiful culinary scene and breathtaking landscapes. From the castles and curiosities of the Loire Valley to the picturesque vineyards of Bordeaux, it’s a rustic that gives a myriad of experiences for the avid adventurer.

A highway journey round France gives the chance to get off the overwhelmed path and discover elements of the nation you’d in all probability by no means know existed in any other case. Begin by hopping on a ferry at any of the Brittany Ferry ports in Portsmouth, Poole or Plymouth and head straight for Caen, Cherbourg, Roscoff or St Malo – right here you may you may start your vacances en route, with a calming journey that boasts gorgeous sea views, house to wander, award-winning service, and great on-board facilities to indulge and luxuriate in. From trendy bars, to gorgeous eating places, cinemas and reside leisure, it’s the right technique to begin your vacation, and arrive, refreshed after an exquisite evening’s sleep, prepared to completely embrace the French artwork de vivre(lifestyle).

Right here we’ve outlined an idyllic journey from the Golfe de St-Malo to Giverny, taking in one of the best of French tradition, delicacies and panorama, for a visit you’ll savour for years to come back.

Days 1-3: St Malo and the Loire Valley

Get pleasure from a walk-in wine tasting at one of many Loire Valley’s thousand vineyards (Brittany Ferries)

Kickstart your journey in St Malo, a reasonably port metropolis in Brittany, house to magnificent structure, tasty delicacies and historical forts. Don’t miss the enduring St Malo cathedral, inbuilt a Romanesque and Gothic model, with foundations relationship again to the twelfth century. Spend a day right here exploring castles, cathedrals and forts and feasting on crêpes and galettes slathered in just-churned butter – meals Brittany is known for – earlier than hitting the highway and heading for the Loire Valley.

Right here, you’ll come head to head with extra historical past; house to 1000’s of castles and landscapes dotted with vineyards, the world is as quintessentially French because it will get, with 280 kilometres of landscapes categorised as UNESCO World Heritage Websites. The Loire River meanders previous castles, together with the citadel of Chambord, constructed within the 14th century; it’s a positive instance of French Renaissance structure. Don’t go away with out visiting at the least one of many world-famous vineyards within the space, scattered alongside the Loire River, the longest wine route in France. There are over a thousand vineyards, many with walk-in wine tastings and huge wine cellars.

Days 4-6: Bordeaux, Saint Emilion and Dordogne

Saint Emilion is dotted with charming eateries, excellent for sampling native fayre (Brittany Ferries)

Set off early and head south to the UNESCO-listed metropolis of Bordeaux, the place you’ll discover among the oldest vineyards on this planet, elegant 18th-century structure and riverside promenades supreme for leisurely walks or bike rides. Spend one of the best a part of a day or two exploring the world-class museums and markets on this southwest metropolis earlier than driving round an hour to Saint-Émilion. You’ll be able to anticipate much more wine on this commune; it’s mentioned that Romans first planted grapes right here again within the 2nd century. Though small, the village is a culinary haven, providing quite a lot of connoisseur eateries finest paired with native wines. There’s additionally a historic centre scattered with historic monuments, together with the most important monolithic church in Europe and an underground church carved out within the twelfth century.

Take a leisurely drive east to Dordogne, famend for its picturesque landscapes, thrilling historical past and The Dordogne River, well-known for river cruises and water actions like kayaking and canoeing. Work up an urge for food cruising down the river, then cease by an area farmers market to top off on recent produce and regional snacks. The realm is extensively recognized for its duck and goose merchandise, walnuts and creamy Rocamadour cheese, made simply down the highway.

Days 7-9: Avignon, Provence and Lyon

France is ideal for laidback wanders, exploring conventional villages, markets and locales (Brittany Ferries )

Subsequent, head southeast to the historic metropolis of Avignon. Dotted with mediaeval structure, peaceable gardens with views of the Rhône River and meadows of purple lavender fields, which result in town of Provence. Right here you may bask in mouth-watering Provençal delicacies made with recent, seasonal elements, wander round vibrant out of doors markets and discover well-preserved Roman ruins. It’s additionally house to Calanques Nationwide Park and extra world-class wine areas, reminiscent of Côtes de Provence and Bandol. Be sure you decide up a bottle or two of rosé en route.

End this leg of the journey in Lyon, usually nicknamed the gastronomic capital of France, scattered with conventional bouchons, Michelin-starred eating places and markets promoting the best regional specialities. Spend time exploring Lyon’s tucked-away traboules – secret passageways as soon as utilized by silk employees that supply a brand new technique to discover town – and wandering across the outdated city.

Days 10-14: Lake Annecy, Reims, Giverny and Le Havre

The following a part of your journey takes you to Lake Annecy, a scenic alpine lake within the Savoie area of France, recognized for its picturesque nature, water sports activities, and quaint outdated city also known as the ‘Venice of the Alps’. Rent a motorbike and cycle across the 42-kilometre-long bike path that circumnavigates the lake, or see all of it from above with a spot of paragliding.

When you’ve had your dose of nature, head for Reims on the coronary heart of the Champagne area, the place you’ll discover world-famous Champagne homes reminiscent of Veuve Clicquot and Taittinger. Get pleasure from a guided tour and a few tastings earlier than spending the afternoon shopping the boutiques of Place Drouet-d’Erlon, a vigorous sq. adorned with native eating places, bars, cafes and outlets.

Spend one among your final days in Giverny, visiting the dusty pink and inexperienced home the place Claude Monet lived and labored. Take within the magnificent gardens which served as an inspiration for his iconic Water Lily Pond portray, and luxuriate in a gradual stroll by means of the rolling countryside earlier than swinging by a market the place you may decide up native produce, antiques, crafts and extra.

End your journey in Le Havre, a port metropolis in Normandy recognized for its maritime historical past, stunning seashores alongside the English Channel and modernist structure that has earned it a UNESCO World Heritage standing. From right here, you’ll hop again onto your Brittany Ferry and head for UK shores, having fun with the onboard leisure, skipping demanding airport insanity and getting an excellent evening’s sleep able to resume again to on a regular basis life.

Get pleasure from a calming, indulgent journey from begin to end with Brittany Ferries (Brittany Ferries)