France is the most visited country not just in Europe, but in the entire world! It welcomes around 90,000,000 visitors through its borders each year!
It’s not hard to see why. Considering The Eiffel Tower and The Louver Museum draw tourists to Paris in the north. While golden beaches and the Mediterranean Sea drag tourists to Nice and the surrounding cities south of the nation.
Although there may be herds of tourists visiting here each year, that doesn’t mean that there are areas that aren’t undiscovered to most foreign tourists. These are the locations you should dig for hidden gems in France.
Visit Rennes, France
Where Is Rennes?
Rennes is located in the Brittany region, in northwest France.
How to Get to Rennes
The closest airport to Rennes is Airport Rennes Bretagne. It is near the city of Rennes, just 6 km away. However, it’s a small airport and only offers a handful of routes throughout Europe.
The most popular way is to fly into Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport and take a 3-hour bus journey to Gare La Poterie. Purchased tickets at the airport or booking in advance online will save some of your hard-earned cash.
Why Visit Rennes?
This is the capital city of Brittany, and it’s known for its medieval half-timbered houses and grand Rennes Cathedral. Although parts of the town have a Germanic visual aspect, the majority is brimming with culture and architecture you would associate with a typical French city.
Parts of this city seem like a mini Paris, but Rennes can offer much more than its counterpart.
Streets and museums aren’t packed with tourists. Cafés, restaurants that don’t require a new mortgage for an evening meal, and the feel of a city that has not lost its culture and historical values from being overrun by over-tourism.
Top Things to Do in Rennes
(1) Visit the Museum of Fine Arts.
(2) A picnic surrounded by nature in Parc du Thabor.
(3) Snap up some photos at Sant Georges Palace.
(4) Turn off Google Maps and get lost in The Old Town.
(5) Explore Marché des Lices and taste the amazing French cuisine.
More information: https://www.tourisme-rennes.com/en/
Visit Lille, France
Where Is Lille?
The city is located in the Hauts-de-France region in northern France, near the border with Belgium.
How to Get to Lille
Lille Airport is located around 7km south of the city of Lille. It is a small airport that only handles a few routes throughout France, Europe, and North Africa.
There are quite a few popular airports located near the city of Lille. Brussels South Charleroi Airport is located just 119km away and is popular with Ryanair. Brussels Airport is 129km away. And Beauvais Airport, located in Paris, is around 195 km away.
Why Visit Lille?
Lille offers a slightly different vibe compared to a typical French city. Since it is near the border with Belgium, the city was influenced by a mix of French and Flemish architecture.
The old city center of Lille is famous for its Flemish squares and belfries, while the surrounding streets are like a picture taken from the historical lanes of Paris.
During the day, the city acts as a bustling cultural hub with major attractions. The Natural History Museum and the Palais des Beaux-Arts rival the world-renowned Louvre Museum in Paris.
During the evening, the streets come alive from the 67,000 students living here looking for an exhilarating atmosphere.
Top Things to Do in Lille
(1) Admire art and architecture at Palais de Beaux Art.
(2) Sip on a coffee (or a glass of wine) and admire Place Charles de Gaulle Square.
(3) Take a trip back in time to the Citadel of Lille.
(4) Experience the best of French cuisine at Marché de Wazemmes.
(5) Take in the city from above at the top of Belfry.
More information: https://en.lilletourism.com/visit-lille.html
Visit Bordeaux, France
Where Is Bordeaux?
The city is located on the banks of the Gironde estuary in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwest France.
How to Get to Bordeaux
Bordeaux Merignac Airport is located 12 km West of Bordeaux. Ryanair operates numerous routes throughout Europe from here. The airport also has a direct trans-Atlantic flight to Monetal in Canada.
Flying directly to Bordeaux is the most convenient way of getting there. But if your local airport doesn’t fly to Bordeaux, you can also check out Biarritz and Toulouse airports.
All are at a reasonable distance from the city.
Why Visit Bordeaux?
The city is littered with fairytale towers and spires throughout the city. The streets are crisp, pristine, and lined with trendy cafés, bistros, and bakeries providing the pathways with the smell of roasted coffee beans and freshly baked bread. Not to mention, this is the wine capital of Europe.
This is a pleasant and relaxing city. But that doesn’t make it dull and quiet. It has an upbeat atmosphere, helped by friendly locals and interesting and exciting attractions. To top it off, its compact size allows you to experience several bars throughout the night.
Top Things to Do in Bordeaux
(1) Run through the reflective pool at Place de la Bourse.
(2) Pay a visit to the iconic Big Bell of Bordeaux.
(3) Step inside the breathtaking Bordeaux Cathedral.
(4) Explore the colossal Cité du Vin museum.
(5) Share a bottle of local wine along the waterfront at Angelic Park.
More information: https://www.bordeaux-tourism.co.uk/
Visit Perpignan, France
Where is Perpignan?
Perpignan is located in the Pyrenees-Orientales region of southern France, near the border with Spain.
How to Get to Perpignan
Perpignan–Rivesaltes Airport is a small airport with a limited amount of national and international flights.
Those without a local airport without a direct flight to Perpignan have a few more options. Carcassonne and Girona airports are both just over an hour’s drive away. These airports have frequent flights from budget airline Ryanair, especially in Summer.
Why Visit Perpignan?
Perpignan is the last word when it comes to city charm. For such a small and compact city, it produces an abundance of top-class restaurants, which are all small and appealing.
After you’re satisfied with a delicious meal from its delicious food scene, you are spoilt for choice with what you can do for the day.
You can take a sunny trip through history in restored palaces, medieval cathedrals, or a historical fortress.
If that isn’t your cup of tea, you can seek out the nearby Mediterranean Sea and test your skills in windsurfing or just lay down and relax on the sun-kissed golden beach.
Top Things to Do in Perpignan
(1) Learn about the local history at Le Castillet.
(2) Explore the 13th-century Palace of Kings Museum.
(3) Head to the Mediterranean Sea and beaches.
(4) Dine al fresco at one of the wonderful restaurants here.
(5) Admire some modern and Baroque art at Hyacinthe Rigaud Museum.
More information: https://www.tourism-mediterraneanpyrenees.com/perpignan
Go Digging For Hidden Gems in France
Parts of France such as Paris and Nice are suffering drastically from over-tourism. So if you want to travel sustainably and discover hidden gems, check out these four fascinating cities in France!
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