The quiet seas of the South and those restless north, the castles of the West and the countryside of the east: The Great France in one week of vacation… or in one month.
One week in France, just one, to visit one of the largest countries of the European continent… what to do? Well, in the first place you have to turn away delusions of grandeur in which, if in seven days you cannot create the world, at least you might see it. No, it is not so: risk to spend your holiday in the car with the certainty of not seeing practically nothing. It is therefore necessary to make a choice and to take a route. I mean, you have to ask the fateful question “What do I look for from my holiday?” Having clarified this point, you will understand whether you should focus on the southern coast, inland or the northern shore. If the time at your disposal is more than 7 days, you can also think of merging the itineraries that we summarize in the summary below.
Transport. Here you will find the sun and the beaches. In short, if what you are looking for is a holiday by the sea, then the Mediterranean coast is for you. The whole of the south of France is served by a wide highway that takes you from Italy to Spain in a sufficiently sliding way (although the stretch up to Marseilles is not only the busiest, but also the most tortuous one). Your intermediate journeys, therefore, should not create too many headaches.
Cost. But what might create a problem for you is your portfolio. This is the most touristic area of France (save the capital) and it is therefore obvious that prices here reach particularly high levels. But do not be put off: it is simply not to choose one of those VIP destinations that we find in glossy magazines and television broadcasts. For these will be enough a visit in the evening or in the afternoon.
What to see. The cities to see are really many, while the time is little. It is inevitable: if you want a sea holiday in the morning, you have to devote the afternoon to the cities… and you can not leave on the path some places. To begin with (and especially if we are in summer time), we avoid the chaos of the metropolis like Marseille. The first stop that we recommend is in the surroundings of Cannes (eg Grasse), where to spend 3 days, also to amortize the fatigue of the outward journey. From here you can easily reach nice, Monaco and Saint Tropez.
The second stage is Arles. Stop for 2-3 days and try to see Avignon, Nimes and Montpellier. The third and final stage (also here 2-3 days) is Narbonne, which is a pleasant location from which to easily reach Beziers, Carcassonne and Perpignan.
Transport. You will usually have two choices: either the highways, comfortable and fast, or the state, less comfortable but immersed in nature. Among other things, remember that in France the sign colors of highways and suburban roads are reversed compared to the green and blue background used in Italy. In any case, if you solcherete the state, you will appreciate the magnificent landscapes of the departments of Aquitaine, Poitou-Charentes and the Loire. Allungandovi a little you could also stop to rest an hour at the immense garden or the picturesque pond of one of the many chateaux of the Loire.
Cost. Here the costs of food and lodging are much lower both than the north and the south of the country.
What to see. In this case we suggest you to give your holiday a more itinerant footprint up to a maximum of four stages in 7 days. The first stop is Toulouse, where you can spend 2 days, giving a day to visit the nearby Carcassonne. The second stage is Bordeaux, in which to stop for another two days. At 73 km you will find the singular dune of Pyla, the largest desert expanse of Europe. Heading towards the Loire you could stay just one night in the pleasant village of La Rochelle, after which you could stop for three days in Angers, a great base to reach Tours, Rennes and Nantes.
Transport. Straight and comfortable highways reach the main cities, while to delve into some regions of Brittany you will have to rely on state often busy in the month of August. Among other things the climate here is definitely unreliable with frequent rainfall even in the summer time. Looking at the stormy sea from the road, while the sky is darkening and fouling, is a very suggestive spectacle.
Cost. The tourism that goes for the major, in this part of France, is the English one. Enough to raise the costs of housing, especially in some places Breton and Norman.
What to see. To see Brittany, a country of goblins and witches, at least two bases are needed: one on the western shore, the other on the eastern side. Two days in Quimper are enough to see one day Brest and the other the monolithic site of Carnac. Another two days we can spend in Saint-Malo. On this occasion we can also see the charming Mont Saint Michel. You could spend the last three days in Rouen. In addition to appreciating the cathedral of this city and its old town, you can give yourself two interesting trips to Caen and Amiens.
Transport. In your path you will meet Paris. Although we do not suggest you to stop in the capital for a course of only 7 days, it is still probable that you will cross the dense motorway network that innervates you. Despite the wealth of roads, near Paris you could stumble into some traffic.
Cost. Maybe this side of France costs just more than the western one. On average, however, rents keep quite low, while everyday spending is not particularly expensive. Of course, not even particularly economic.
What to see. On a one week trip, stopping in the capital could be totally unnecessary (unless you plan to spend the whole week here). Visiting Paris, in all likelihood, would take you away at least 3 full days – 4 If we also include the trip. To the most romantic city in the world dedicate a holiday apart. From south to north, we suggest that you stop two to three days in Lyon, from where you can easily reach Saint-Etienne and Grenoble. You could stop for a day (or just two to three hours on the way) to Dijon (Dijon) and then stay 2 days in Nancy, a great base for visiting Strasbourg. Spend two days in Reims, from where you can travel to see Amiens (1:40 hours) or Troyes (1:20).