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06 May Places to visit when driving through France

Driving through France is one of the best ways to experience what the country has to offer. Marvel at the towering Pyrenees or feel the sea breeze on your face as you travel along the west coast, all while in the comfort of your own car. Here’s a list of the places you have to visit as you go along.

Ile de Noirmoutier

This gorgeous island off the west coast of the country is less than an hour and a half drive from the city of Nantes. Take a step back in time as you walk the cobbled causeways and visit the whitewashed cottages that bring character and flair to this small island. The landscape is a mixture of sand dunes, low lying fields and forests of pine trees and together, make the perfect stop-off during your drive along the west coast. Follow the “Route de Ile” which will lead you around the lanes, through villages and along the important sights and attractions en route.

Source: Megan Lawrie Cole. Used under CC Attribution 2.0

The Vineyards of Burgundy and the Champagne Region

The drive through the Champagne region and down into Burgundy is dotted with green fields and vineyards. Take the time to stop off at small cellars and meet the local people who craft the region’s renowned wines and champagne. Spend a few days in Epernay, 24km south of Reims for perhaps the most enjoyable cellar visits and tasting. Lying in the heart of “champagne country”, Epernay is home to many of the most famous champagne producers, including Moët & Chandon and Perrier-Jouët.

Villefranche-sur-Mer

There’s a good reason why the south of France is a popular driving route for many tourists. The pebbly town of Villefranche-sur-Mer, outside Nice is the ideal spot for families. Kids will enjoy the crepes and ice-cream in the market square and with breath-taking views in every direction, the whole family can explore what this town has to offer. Spend the summer evenings dining out in the fancy but affordable restaurants or pass the evening in the open-air cinema close to the town’s centre.

Source: Wikimedia

Loire Valley

The Loire Valley, nestled in the centre of France, is highly regarded for its spectacular scenery, grand chateaux and the traditional villages dotted around the region. The valley stretches for over 280km along the Loire River through some of France’s most beautiful towns. Stop off at the village of Amboise, where Leonardo da Vinci lived or take a trip to the town of Blois, which is famous for its chateau, once occupied by King Louis XI. The valley is also home to the impressive Troglodyte Caves, which have functioning hotels, museums, restaurants and shops carved into them.

Source: Dulup. Used under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0

Lacanau

This hidden gem is less than an hour away from Bordeaux and is well worth a stop if you’re cruising along the west coast. If you’re looking for a little action during your holiday, then the surfing village of Lacanau is the spot. The surf club there cater for the novice surfer right through to the expert wave-riders. If that isn’t enough, the adrenaline junkies can choose to go kayaking or water-skiing along the coast. If, after all that activity, you’re looking to unwind, take a walk through the Natural Reserve of l’Etang de Cousseau and immerse yourself in the beauty of the wildlife that inhabit it.

Planning a driving holiday through France this year? Check out the best places to visit along your way.

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Sharron Lynskey
Sharron.Lynskey@theaa.com


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