By Lorianne S Riley
Photos courtesy of Laura Gill
While in France I visited a lot of amazing cities, towns and villages. I am excited to share with you the sites that were in my opinion star attractions and places I will never forget.
During my visit to Reims my friend and I stumbled upon the most fantastic light show. It is called the Spectacle Reve de Coulers. The light show is held only in the months of June through September. The time variers based on the month. Parvis de la Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Reims is the canvas of the spectacle. This show is so amazing that Nurses were wheeling out people in hospital beds and wheel chairs from a nearby hospital to watch the hour long show. I
have never seen anything like it.
When visiting Reims you are most likely going to tour the caves of the Champaigneries. Each Champaigneries is unique and wonderful to see, but if you only have a chance to see one, try to book an appointment with Pommery. They have exquisite Champagne with a colorful history, but what made Pommery so interesting to me is that there is always an art exhibit showcased within the caves. When we were there the art show theme was sound projection.
Saint Paul De Vence
Saint Paul is the cutest little art village I have ever seen. My husband and I agree that this would be the most romantic place ever to visit on a rainy winter day. There is a four star hotel called Le Saint Paul that is beautiful, as well as a number of great restaurants. If you love the art scene you’ll love Saint Paul.
Dijon is in the heart of Burgandy. The town is cute and has a Swedish influence, because it is not far from Switzerland. I highly recommend taking the Authenica Tours if you are interested in learning about Burgandy wines, culture and the landscape of the Burgundy Region. We took the Discovery Package and were able to see the Burgandy Cannel, the vineyards of the Côte de Nuits, Visit the medieval village of Châteauneuf-en-Auxois and tasted Burgandy wines in a tasting room in the under ground cellar of a Domaine.
Saint Emilon is an adorable village in the Bordeaux Region. The village is made up of wine shops, restaurants, bakeries and cute boutiques. It is famous for its underground church, miles of underground caves, fantastic wines and for a hermit monk named “Emillian” that resigned there. He was known for performing miracles, one being helping women become fertile. Humm…
Parfume is the star attraction of Grasse. Tour the Fragonard Parfumery and its museum. Check out the extensive Museum Musee International de la Parfumerie to find out the history of perfume, fashion and personal grooming. At Molinard and Galimard you can even make your own personal scent if you like.
Antibes is part of the French Rivera. It is a cute old laid back town with adorable shops, great food, fun beaches and a casual night life. We liked it because it was also a great hub. It was just a 15 to 30 minutes train ride to almost anywhere worth seeing on the French Rivera, as well as close to a lot of cute villages in the Provance Region. I suggest staying at a hotel near the beach. We stayed at a four star hotel called the Royal Antibes.
Monaco is not in France, but is on the French Rivera and is worth seeing. It is famous for its lavish casino, Grace Kelly, expensive cars and people who are filthy rich. The place screams old money! We went for the day and ate at the brasserie at the Café de Paris Monte-Carlo. This was a great place to people watch. Later we walked down to the pier and
hung out at Stars n Bars, which was a fun low key sports bar and cafe.
Paris is full of eye candy. Everywhere you look there is something beautiful or intriguing. Honestly Paris alone could be a two week long trip. But if you are strapped for time the things I think are important to see is the Eiffle Tower, Cathedrale Notre-Dame, and the Louvre.
The Eiffle Tower is an amazing place to see. I think the best time to visit is right before dusk, because it looks very different from night to day. There are tours of the tower where you can climb to the top by stairs or elevator and there is ice cream and snack carts strategically placed at the base of the tower if you want a snack. There is also a high-end restaurant in the tower that has a three month waiting list to dine. My favorite place was across the canal up some stairs past the viewing area. There stands five restaurants. The restaurant to go to is the Cafè du Trocadéro. It has the perfect views inside and out and the food is great! Dinner is the best because the tower is lit up and every 45 minutes there is a light show.
I would suggest visiting the Cathedrale Notre-Dame in the morning when there is less of a crowd and then I would go to the Louvre. The Louvre is huge. To really see it all, realistically it would take a couple of days. Every famous artist you can think of have original pieces of art exhibited at the Louvre; Picasso, Monet, Leonardo Da Vinci, just to name a few. The Louvre is the home of the Mona Lisa. A must see! If not for just for appreciating the art piece, but to watch the crowds gather as though they are in a mosh pit at a rock concert. It really is that out of control!
Well, if you are planing a trip to France I hope this helped with some of the decision making on where to go and what to see. It’s a beautiful place and I highly recommend France as a top destination vacation.