The châteaux of France serves better than museums if you appreciate history. No museum can evoke the European history as well as the French châteaux can. Do not feel guilty if you find yourself feeling like a feudal lord who is trying to protect his territory from dukes and kings; the magnificent châteaux tend to make you feel that way. The châteaux are located upon beautiful landscape that is a treat in itself. It is these structures that inspired the castles of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ and their magic. If you want to live like royalty for a couple of days, then stay at one of these spectacular châteaux-hotels. Many of them are quite affordable.
Located in the Loire Valley, this extravagant château houses four hundred and forty rooms, and three hundred and sixty five chimneys. The spectacular building is sure to leave you breath-taken. Be sure to climb its magnificent staircase that has been designed by Leonardo Da Vinci.
Château de la Bourdaisière
This elegant and idyllic hotel of neo-Renaissance welcomes you to have a grand stay.
The legendary home of Sleeping Beauty invites you to indulge in its magnificence, and become a part of a fairy tale.
Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte
Versailles was commissioned by Louis XIV when he got jealous of this Xanadu of the 17th century.
Even buses cannot ruin the tranquillity of lovely French villages, which are decorated with roses and half-timber houses. Sache is the prettiest village of the Loire Valley, and its small size makes you feel like you are on your very own property. It is home to cosy cottages, a 17th century inn, a humble château, and a Romanesque church. Honore de Balzac achieved some of his best work while staying in Sache. Auvers sur Oise is a lovely village on the riverside in Ile de France. Some of the excellent landscapes of Van Gogh were inspired by this village. You will find Disney-like hamlets in the region of Dordogne. The hilltop villages, such as Eze, can be found along Côte d’Azur. France has a wealth of villages that are nestled away in its beautiful landscape. So, lose your map and get lost in the French charm.
Haut de Cagnes
Located on the French Riviera, this village is free of shops, and is a completely ancient region. it was the last home of the painter Renoir, who moved here hoping to improve his physical condition of arthritis. This ancient village is known for its pebble beach stretching over a distance of four kilometres.
La Roque Gageac
This village is situated on the riverside which provides the perfect spot for an enjoyable “le pique-nique”. La Roque Gageac is the proud member of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France.
The village is home to buildings, stone gargoyles, and courtyards, such that you feel like it is a page from a store-book. It is a pretty decoration on the Alsation Wine Route. So while you are on your way to immerse in the pleasure of a refreshing drink, stop at this lovely village to enjoy the real French holiday.
Matisse, Manet, and Monet
Most people get to know about the country from the eyes of French artists. People from all over the world visit France in search of Monet’s bridge, the bobbing boats of Gauguin, and Lautrec’s Moulin Rouge; such glories do not lie in a church but are alive and well in three-dimension. You can go up the garret atelier in Paris where Eugene Delacroix painted his amazing canvases, roam around Montmartre’s balmy streets that were haunted by Utrillo, Modigliani, and Renoir, or stand where Vincent Van Gogh used to paint. A trip to the country is not required to enjoy the history and culture of France; you can do that at any museum by looking at the paintings of Poussin, Sisley, Matisse, Millet, and Pisarro. But to actually savour France, you must go beyond and discover hidden treasures.
Set against a backdrop of the Pyrenees Mountains, this is where Matisse fell for the savage hues of Mother Nature; so, pack up your canvas and go painting in this amazing region.
This is the place Claude Monet fell for and moved to. Here are the gardens that are a live depiction of the Impressionist painting skills of Monet. If you are a fan of the artist, then visit Monet’s Gardens in Giverny, and be amazed by their beauty which radiates the most in spring.
Saint Paul de Vence
It is among the oldest medieval towns. Saint Paul de Vence is renowned for its museums of contemporary and modern art. Pose below the Picassos at Colombe d’Or Inn for a memorable picture to take back home.
Cathedrals and Churches
The extraordinary existence, the sublime beauty, and the undeniable relevance of the French cathedrals and churches even in today’s secularism are what make these Gothic structures of the country a guiding light. If you want a sense of the true French culture, then pay a visit to one of these amazing churches and cathedrals. The heavenly mansions of 13th and 14th century provide a basis for the architectural history. Every cathedral of France conveys its own tremendous experience. Even sceptics will get satisfied by the social history of these edifices.
Located on the left bank of River Eure is the hill where Chartres is built. With windows of stained-glass, a beautiful cathedral sits atop the hill.
Mont Saint Michel
You will always remember this awesome sight. With a shadow lying against the horizon, and lush gardens stretching at the rock’s peak, it sure is a treat for the eyes.
Notre Dame de Paris
Our lady of Paris is a historic Catholic cathedral that is considered to be among the most excellent examples of French-Gothic architecture. Pay a visit to Notre Dame to appreciate its architecture, and have a spiritual experience.
This spectacular edifice is crowned with 34 VIPs. It is an ancient setting where the coronation of the country’s kings used to take place.