21 Cool Weekend Breaks in France

Looking to spend a weekend in the beautiful country that France is? Then you’re in the right place!

Whether you love romantic, historic cities, lavender fields or steep ski pistes, you can find any of these in France! Therefore, choosing your destination for a weekend in France is not an easy job.

Luckily, I’ve collected some great suggestions from different travel bloggers who think that their destinations are definitely worth a weekend break. I’m sure that at least one of the suggestions will make you crave an immediate vacation!

Let’s dive into it!

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Weekend getaways in France

Strasbourg

Strasbourg is without doubt one of the coziest and most romantic destinations of France. Discovering its historical town is the perfect weekend activity and you can easily spend more than a weekend exploring this magical city.

Located in the Alsace region, close to the border with Germany, Strasbourg clearly portrays the influences of both cultures. In the old town, you can see romantic houses with their characterizing wooden beams, while Neustadt portrays Germanic architecture in a mix of different architectural styles.

This city can best be visited around Christmas, in December, when one of the largest Christmas markets in Europe covers the entire city. There’s a good reason why they call Strasbourg the Capital of Christmas! You’ll be enchanted by the magical Christmas decorations, mulled wine and local delicacies at every square in the city center.

Besides the Christmas market, the city is also a great place for a weekend break all year round. Definitely take a visit to the Gothic Cathedral, a magnificent piece of architecture that is probably one of the most impressive buildings that you have ever seen! Take a romantic stroll at the Grande Île, visit one of the many museums, stand on top of Barrage Vauban and don’t forget to order crêpes and Flammkuchen.

In short, Strasbourg is a destination that cannot be missed, perfect for a weekend away. An amazing place to stay in this city is Okko Hotels Strasbourg, located at the recently renovated old harbour within walking distance from the center.

Related: top things to do in Strasbourg in December

Lyon

2 days in Lyon itinerary

Lyon is the perfect destination for a sunny city trip within France! Its rich history has enough to offer to spend at least a weekend in the city, if not more.

It will be hard not to enjoy your visit to this city when there is so much to discover. Definitely climb the hill up to Basilique Notre Dame de la Fourvière. Not only is this a beautiful ivory-white Basilique, it also offers you a stunning view of the city below you.

Besides that, you also want to stroll around Vieux Lyon. Try to discover the hidden passages that can be found all over the city. Behind an innocent door can randomly be a secret traboule that takes you away from the busy streets.

In addition, you can also visit some Roman remainings such as the ancient theatre of Lugdunum with its corresponding museum. If you’re not really into all this history, then you should pass by one of the murals that can be found at several spots in the city. These real-looking paintings will stun you for sure!

Visiting Lyon is always a great decision, especially during one of the warmer seasons. A great place to stay in this city is without doubt Okko Hotels Lyon. This unique hotel concept makes you feel part of a select club and by using a shared step, you’re in the heart of the city center within no time!

Related: the perfect 2-day itinerary for Lyon

Luberon

Luberon village

Recommended by Leyla at Offbeat France

A weekend in the heart of central Provence is a weekend to remember and is just long enough to visit the best hilltop villages of the Luberon and the glorious lavender fields you’ll cross as you drive from one village to the next – because yes, distances are not huge but you will need a car, as this is not a region that can boast any reliable public transport. The city of Avignon is 45 minutes away and served by TGV, with several car rental companies right at the train station.

The Luberon is stunning in any season. Winter can be a bit cold and windy, but the lack of crowds makes up for that – but not every place is open. Summer has the most activities, and also the most people. June is when the lavender is at its brightest, the heat isn’t yet too stifling, and the crowds, while already visible, still leave you a little elbow room. Autumn is ideal, but the lavender is fading.

Five of the most popular are Ansouis, with its famous château; Gordes and its easily recognizable hilltop view and natural stone patterns; Lourmarin, with its quirky streets and boutiques; Ménerbes, an artists’ magnet made ultra-famous by Peter Mayle’s book, A Year In Provence; and Roussillon, with its ochre-tinted hills and houses.

Any one of these would be an ideal jumping-off point for the region, with Gordes (and its lovely Tuesday morning market) a perennial favorite and home to hotels in all ranges, from four-star to Airbnbs.

Food can be pricey in Gordes, with plenty of renowned chefs making it their home. Have a drink with a beautiful panorama of the region at the Cercle Républicain, right on the Place du Château, and take yourself off to one of the smaller villages or countryside restaurants instead.

Dijon

Dijon old town

Contributed by Kat from France Voyager

Dijon is easily one of the best weekend breaks in France, especially from Paris. Located only about 1.5 hours southeast of Paris via the TGV, not only is Dijon instantly charming with its Medieval palaces and amazing culinary scene, but it is the capital of Burgundy! 

While France is known for its abundance of wine regions, for lovers of crisp Chardonnay and earthy Pinot Noir, Burgundy is the place to go. Take a day trip from Burgundy to the lovely city of Beaune and embark on an exciting bike tour of Burgundy complete with tastings!

Then, explore the city of Dijon itself by following the bronze owls on the cobblestone streets that’ll lead you around to 22 different sights around the city ranging from Les Halles Market to the Notre Dame. 

Next up, be sure to try the delicacies from Dijon including its famed mustard, beef bourguignon, coq au vin, and be sure to stop by Mulot et Petitjean for delicious pain d’epices, or gingerbread (but actual bread, not the cookie!). 

Also, as Dijon has plenty of Michelin-star and recommended restaurants at far better prices than in Paris, why not book a tasting menu during your stay? Parapluie and L’Essential have tasting menus under €100 per person and are Michelin recommended! 

The best time to visit Dijon is in the fall, particularly for the harvest season! For a lovely place to stay, opt for Hotel Oceania Le Jura Dijon

Dijon is an incredible and often overlooked city in France that is well worth visiting for a weekend getaway!

Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau castle

Contributed by Kenny from Knycx Journeying 

Fontainebleau is a popular destination from Paris for a weekend getaway or a day trip because of its location, festivities, and historic value. The city’s just about 45 minutes away by train from the center of Paris. If you want to have more flexibility, rent a car to explore the beautiful fields and forests in the outskirt area.  

Fontainebleau was developed around the UNESCO World Heritage Château de Fontainebleau. It is considered a hidden gem in France as it houses nothing less but an abundance of magnificent works of art and a beautifully crafted Italian Renaissance garden of Château de Versailles.

The palace was served as a residence for many French monarchs from Louis VII to Napoleon III. It is a must to take a walk in the Gallery of Francis I, the impressive chapels and the Turkish boudoir designed especially for Marie Antoinette. 

The green area in Fontainebleau is also enchanting, surrounded by a natural forest. The best time to go there is during summer when the weather is warm for a scenic walk, or hop on a hot air balloon ride – prepare to gasp gliding through the farmlands; or, simply bring a picnic with a glass of champagne for some fresh air.

The Django Reinhardt Festival also happens annually in July, it is a highly respected jazz music festival with a long history in the city, now expanded to music in a wide range of genres and performances. Soak in the festive vibe at night where you could have some good food and wine in a local joint, dance, and see performances on different stages set up in the city’s streets.  

Loire Valley

Loire Valley castle

Contributed by Eloise from MyFavouriteEscapes.com

The Loire Valley makes a perfect weekend break in France. It’s an easy destination to reach as it’s only one hour south of Paris and it’s also well connected by train. You’ll need a car to visit the best places in the Loire Valley, or you can join a tour if you prefer not to drive.

During your weekend break, you’ll get to walk into fairy tales and history during your visits to the stunning Loire Valley castles. There are more than a thousand castles in the Loire Valley, but not all of them are open to the public.

The most famous castles are Chambord and Chenonceau for the royal castles and Ussé, known as the Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Some castles like Villandry also have beautiful gardens that shouldn’t be missed.

But the Loire Valley is not all about the French court and the castles. It also has reputed wineries, traditional food (like the “foué” in Chinon) and beautiful small villages and towns. 

You can spend the night in one of the historic towns like Amboise, Blois or Tours. If you want to make your weekend break memorable, you can even sleep in a castle (Chateau des Arpentis, Chateau-Monastere de la Corroirie, Chateau d’Artigny, Chateau de Chissay…). 

The Loire Valley can be visited all year round. However, it’s a popular destination in summer (July and August), so you may prefer to avoid the crowd that comes with the peak season. You’ll have the best chances of lovely weather during the shoulder seasons in Spring and Autumn, especially in May, June and September. 

Corsica

waterside view of Corsica

Contributed by Mary from Be Right Back

Corsica, also known as the island of beauty, is a French Island located in the Mediterranean sea. It is easily accessible from Europe, including from London and Paris. If you need a weekend break from the city and are looking for a dreamy trip without having to hop on a 12-hour flight, Corsica is your pick!

Peak season in Corsica is summer which roughly lasts from June to September. This is the best time to visit as temperatures are in the high 20s. However, this is also the most expensive time to visit the island.

If you are looking for a cheaper weekend trip, visiting Corsica outside of peak season is better. Corsica is still amazing in the colder weather and you definitely won’t run out of things to do then!

One of the best things to do in Corsica is going to the beach like Santa Gjhulia beach. Between the turquoise clear waters, the thin golden sand and the amazing views, Corsican beaches are the perfect place to snorkel, tan or simply take a well-deserved nap!

If you are visiting Corsica outside of peak season, temperatures might not be sufficiently warm to spend the day at the beach. Instead, take advantage of the cooler weather to explore Corsica’s countryside and mountains.

One of the most popular hikes in Corsica is the GR 20 which goes across the island from the North to the South. Most people only hike sections of it though as it can get tough. Hiking the Melo lake or visiting the Agriates Desert are also great activities to add to your Corsica weekend trip!

When visiting Corsica, you can stay in a rental traditional house in authentic villages such as Monticello or stay in a hotel in bigger towns such as Porto-Vecchio. 

Metz

Metz river view

Contributed by Martina from PlacesofJuma

One of the most beautiful places for a weekend break is definitely Metz. This beautiful, enchanting city is located in the northeast of France, near the border with Germany and Luxembourg. Especially the historic old town is worth seeing here and captivates on top with a lot of charm and flair!

On a trip to Metz, you can look forward to countless beautiful sights: impressive is absolutely the historic old town with its rich floral splendor and the unmistakable atmosphere on the picturesque banks of the Moselle River! And of course, not to forget the many good restaurants, but especially the pâtisseries and the fabulous ice cream parlors, where you can find the most delicious desserts.

Another highlight in Metz is above all the wonderful location on the Moselle, where you can take the most beautiful walks. Especially in summer, there is a lot going on here! Both tourists and locals meet here for a picnic, go on a pedal boat or just stroll up and down the promenade. The view of the Temple Neuf, an imposing church located on the mini-island “île du Petit Saulcy”, is also beautiful from here.

Not far away is the main attraction of Metz: Saint-Étienne Cathedral – one of the most beautiful and largest Gothic church buildings in France. A real highlight from the outside, a visit to the interior should not be missed. Breathtaking are the huge windows decorated with stained glass, which conjure up an impressive play of light.

As an accommodation tip, we can recommend the Hotel de Fouquet – Chambres d’hôtes in a prime location and with great ambience.

Annecy

Annecy view

Contributed by Jan from JanAdventures

Annecy is a great place for a weekend trip! Situated in southeastern France, Annecy is a small touristic town surrounded by the French Alp mountains and a 45-minute drive from Geneva International Airport.

The best time to visit is spring or summer when the many flowers are in bloom. You can walk through the old town and admire all the bright colors against the pastel-colored buildings.

There are many outdoor activities to enjoy in Annecy. In summer, you can enjoy water sports or a refreshing swim in Lake Annecy. If you like biking, you can do a bike tour around the lake in a few hours. There are also numerous hikes in the nearby hills to enjoy.

If you prefer more tranquil activities, you can take a leisurely stroll along the lake or a scenic boat cruise. There are many boutique and souvenir shops in the old town. It’s a delight to walk along the cobblestone pedestrian streets and canal footbridges. The highlight of the old town is the 12th-century Palais de l’Île, which sits on a tiny island in the Canal du Thiou.

If you have a car, a wonderful place to stay is the Christine Chalet, a charming cottage with a panoramic view over Lake Annecy. The 5-room chalet is located in the small town of Talloires, a 20-minute drive from central Annecy.

When in this part of Savoy, France, the traditional foods are fondue, raclette (melted cheese on potatoes), or tartiflette (potato, bacon, and cheese casserole). One of the best restaurants for this type of food is Chez Mamie Lise in the old town.

You will fall in love with the quaint town of Annecy, France!

Toulouse

Toulouse view

Contributed by Pauline from France Pocket Guide

If you’d like to enjoy a sunny urban weekend, Toulouse will be the ideal destination.

Located in South West France, Toulouse is affectionately nicknamed ‘La Ville Rose’ which means the Pink City. This is due to the fact that most of the houses were built with red bricks. From the walls to the tiles of the roof, everything about Toulouse is pink and it’s such a unique thing to see in France.

Toulouse is a much smaller city than Paris or Marseille and therefore, offers a much more authentic experience to its visitors.

The city centre is quite small and compact which is very practical since you can explore it on foot.

There are many things you should add to your Toulouse itinerary including visiting the Capitole (city hall), strolling along the beautiful banks of the river Garonne at La Daurade, visiting the museums, the Jacobins Convent but also enjoying the greenery of the parks.

Toulouse is also known for its nightlife. In the evening, make sure to head to Esquirol. You will find loads of bars and places where you can go dancing. If you are into clubbing, then Jean Jaurès will be the ideal spot for you.

In terms of food, you will be in for a treat. South West France is a paradise for foodies! Toulouse is particularly famous for its Cassoulet but also violet sweets. If you go to the Rue du Taur, you will find many restaurants that serve both local and international food.

While Toulouse is a great city to visit all year round, it’s particularly nice in May, June and September. Summers can get very hot in this part of the country so it’s much more pleasant to come a bit before or after.

Finally, in terms of accommodation, aim for a hotel or Airbnb in the centre. Public transport is excellent in Toulouse but since everything can be reached on foot in the city centre, it will be more convenient.

The best neighbourhoods to stay are Capitole, St Georges, Esquirol, Carmes and Jeanne D’arc.

Saint-Valery-sur-Somme

Saint-Valery-sur-Somme lake

Contributed by Katja from globetotting.com

Saint-Valery-sur-Somme is undoubtedly one of the prettiest towns along the Picardy coastline in the Hauts-de-France region. But there’s more to this pocket-sized town than simply good looks, it boasts a fascinating history too.

This is where William the Conqueror stopped to bolster his troops on the way to England in 1066 and where Joan of Arc was held captive before being taken to Rouen to be tried and executed (the archway she was led through on her way out of town remains today).

There are lots of things to do in Saint-Valery-sur-Somme for a weekend break. The Fishermen’s Quarter is a charming neighbourhood filled with narrow streets and whitewashed cottages – don’t miss the Calvaire des Marins while here, this tiny chapel is dedicated to those sailors lost at sea. The Medieval Quarter is also well worth exploring, parts of this neighbourhood date back to the 12th century.

Out in the Somme estuary, you can spot seals (the bay is home to the largest seal colony in France) and when the tide is out you can take a walk across the bay with a qualified guide. During summer months a Belle Epoque steam train travels the coast stopping at a handful of seaside towns along the way.

Don’t miss dining at Le Mathurin, an excellent boat-to-table family restaurant. Les Corderies is one of the best hotels in town.

Normandy

Normandy tank

Contributed by Kirsty from Lost In Landmarks

The D-Day beaches of Normandy are great for a weekend break in France, especially if you love to learn about the history of an area when you travel. Situated on the north coast of France it’s a stunning area with pretty villages that continue to tell their story of what happened there in World War 2.

The best time to visit is in late spring or early summer so you have the best chance of good weather. Normandy can suffer from a lot of rain which can make visiting the beaches unpleasant.  June 4th is also D-Day and many events take place then which can make the area really busy with veterans so it’s best to avoid the days surrounding.

All of the beaches have museums nearby where you can learn all about what went on in that particular area. Tanks, guns and memorials can be seen everywhere and you can never forget what happened here.

One of the beaches at Arromanches-les-Bains still has the remnants of a temporary harbour that the Allies built after landing. It’s a particularly poignant place to see the large metal structures still strewn on the beach after nearly 80 years.

The town of Bayeaux, made famous by the tapestry, makes a great place to base yourself in the area as it’s not too far a drive to almost all the beaches. It has a beautiful cathedral, quaint streets to walk along and an abundance of boulangeries and patisseries to enjoy.

Having a car really helps to explore the WW2 beaches in Normandy because the sites can be really far from each other and public transport can be unreliable.  

There are also so many museums and sites that you’d never see everything in a weekend. If you have a specific interest it’s good to research beforehand what’s around so you can focus on that area. 

Rouen

Rouen cathedral

Contributed by Richard from RJ On Tour

The Normandy city of Rouen in the north of France is a fantastic destination for a weekend away. Rouen is a beautiful city with lots of interesting things to see. The centrepiece cathedral is a splendid sight and each summer evening they have a fascinating light show on its fascia. Thus, making the summer months the best time to visit Rouen.

The city also has lots of pretty timber-framed buildings throughout for visitors to peruse. They also have many other churches and museums to visit, some of which focus on the local hero, the legendary Joan of Arc. Another must-see attraction is the astronomical clock and associated tower. This is beautiful and interesting.

There are many options for places to dine out in Rouen, many of which are in Place du Vieux-Marché. Normandy is a fantastic area for food. The local dishes use local cider as a base for sauces. They also have some fantastic cheeses to enjoy while eating out, including Neufchatel, a crumbly cheese that comes in the shape of a heart.

A lovely budget hotel for a stay near the centre of Rouen is Comfort Hotel Alba. They are near to all the main sights with easy access to the River Seine. Overall, there are lots of things to see in Rouen, especially if you visit in August and September to see the splendid festival of light.

Castellane

View of Castellane

Contributed by Cosette from KarsTravels

Castellane is a perfect weekend break since it’s close to the beautiful Gorges du Verdon. Castellane itself and the area around it have enough on offer to be active and enjoy beautiful nature.

Spring is the best time to visit. The area is beautiful all year long, but in spring the weather will be the most perfect. Not too cold, but also not as hot as the summer can be. So perfect to enjoy hiking and water activities.

There are numerous things to do in the Gorges du Verdon. Hiking opportunities abound, such as the path towards the Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Roc. There’s a 184-meters high rock next to the town of Castellane. On top of it is a chapel. There’s a walkway starting at the town leading to the chapel. Along the way, you’ll already have mesmerizing views.

Another perfect place for hiking is through the tunnels du Fayet. Bring your flashlight for these tunnels. The hike starts at Point Sublime, the tunnels are dug out on the right side of the Gorges du Verdon. In the tunnels are lookouts from which you look down and up in the gorge.

The Gorges du Verdon is one of the largest canyons in Europe, with 700 meter high walls. You can kayak or swim in the river Verdon, which runs through it. On the Lac de Sainte-Croix, a reservoir, that’s the gateway to the Gorges du Verdon, you can rent water bikes and go out on the water.

La Taverna is a great place for lunch or dinner. It has a large, sunny terrace on the square and delicious food. RCN Les Collines de Castellane is a great campground to stay at, they have cabins.

Alsatian villages

Village of Riquewihr

Contributed by Laura Meyers from Laure Wanders

The French Alsace region, bordering Germany, is known for its numerous fairytale-like villages with cobblestone streets and colourful half-timbered houses. Some of the most enchanting villages in this region are Riquewihr and Ribeauvillé. The town in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast was actually
inspired by these two villages!

But there are many more charming villages in the Alsace Region! Kaysersberg and Eguisheim are some great examples. If you are looking for a village where you won’t bump into many tourists, though, the small village of Hunawihr is a good option.

A great thing about visiting these villages is that they are surrounded by Alsatian vineyards, so when you are making your way from one village to another, you will be rewarded with stunning views.

The villages in this part of France can be visited all year round, but they are particularly charming around Christmas. At this time of the year, you will find many Christmas markets. On top of that, the streets and houses will be decorated with beautiful ornaments.

If cycling the Alsace Wine Route, which is situated around the Alsatian villages, is something you’re interested in, then you might want to consider visiting the region during summer. This is the most beautiful time of the year to see the vineyards.

All in all, Alsatian villages are well worth visiting on a trip to France, and it is nice to know that Riquewihr has often been described as France’s most beautiful village!

Bordeaux

Bordeaux city view

Contributed by Jakub Juszyński from tymrazem.pl

Can Bordeaux, apart from being the world capital of wine, also be an ideal destination for a weekend trip? Definitely yes!

This city in the south of France is known in the world mainly for the wine produced in its vicinity. Bordeaux, however, has much more to offer! The entire old town is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. After visiting there, you will surely know why. In the center, it is also worth visiting the beautiful cathedral and taking a stroll along the boulevard over the Garona River.

One of the most interesting places in Bordeaux, however, is related to the aforementioned wine. Cite du Vin is a place where you will discover your love for wine or preserve the feeling that already lasts in you. It is an extraordinary place that is an interactive museum or educational center that covers all aspects related to wine. There you will learn all about its history, production, strains and the senses with which you taste it. At the end, a tasting with a beautiful view of the city awaits you.

When you spend a weekend in Bordeaux, you can also go outside the city. One of the proposals will be Arcachon – one of the most famous resorts in France. The oysters considered to be the best in the country also come from this region.

The second suggestion does not indicate a specific place, but it is worth visiting some vineyards located outside the city. There are a lot of them, and many of them offer sightseeing combined with tasting.

While strolling around Bordeaux, you will surely admire the city both during the day and at night. If you fancy something local while walking, be sure to reach for Canelle – delicious sweets from Bordeaux, known not only in France, but also around the world!

Nice

port of Nice

Contributed by Elena Pappalardo from The Carry-On Chronicles

The lively city of Nice is a wonderful choice for a weekend break in France. As the glamorous capital of the sparkling French Riviera, Nice is beloved by celebrities, artists, and those who appreciate the finer things in life.

While Nice is frequented by travelers year-round, it’s ideally best to visit in the shoulder season, when crowds are more minimal and room rates tend to drop. For a spring visit, March and April offer pleasant temperatures in the sixties, whereas September and October are ideal for a fall visit, with temperatures also around the sixties.

As a seafront city, there are a host of aquatic activities and things to do in Nice. From beautiful beaches like Ruhl Plage to the lovely Old Port of Nice, it’s the perfect city to soak up the sun, take a dip, or even enjoy a taste of the yacht life on a beautiful sunset cruise.

Beyond seaside excursions, Nice offers unique city spots to explore, such as Place Masséna, the quirky main square. In addition, you can get lost in the labyrinth of colorful streets that make up Vieux Nice, the city’s vibrant old town.

When it’s time to grab a bite, you’ll have plenty of tasty options to choose from along Cours de Saleya. Alternatively, to take things up a notch, reserve a highly-coveted table at Le Plongeir, Nice’s exclusive restaurant that sits above the sea!

As for accommodations, you really can’t go wrong with an oceanfront hotel in Nice, such as Hôtel la Pérouse. Alternatively, if you’re looking to splurge, you may consider a stay at the famous Le Negresco, a celebrity favorite.

Marseille

Marseille

Contributed by Nadine from Le Long Weekend

France’s second city is an excellent place for a weekend break in France, as it combines a little of everything in a compact package. Marseille is located in the South of France, with direct flights into Marseille airport from most major cities within Europe. The city is dynamic and engaging, having recently undergone a regeneration, yet it hasn’t lost its multicultural appeal.

You could easily spend a weekend wandering around the maze of intricate streets, shopping in the charming Le Panier district, or visiting the city’s museums. But when the sun is out, and it often is thanks to its Mediterranean climate, you can’t beat a stroll along the waterfront promenade. Several beaches dot this coastline, and you’ll find the locals swimming here year-round.

If city breaks aren’t your thing, nature is never far away either. With the Calanques National Park rubbing shoulders with the city, and stunning, sparsely inhabited islands waiting to be explored just a short ferry ride away.

There’s no real best time to visit, as Marseille is a bustling city at any time of the year. But if you’re not keen on crowds, it’s probably best to avoid the peak summer months of July and August. At other times of the year, you can enjoy the atmosphere of normal city life.

Be sure to visit the iconic fish market, and if it stirs up a craving for fresh seafood, head nearby to Le Vallon des Auffes to sample the best bouillabaisse (a local delicacy) in town, at Chez Fonfon. Stay central to take advantage of all of Marseille’s top attractions such as the MuCEM museum, and Fort Saint-Jean. There are plenty of good hotels peppered around the Vieux Port.

Montpellier

Montpellier view of the city

Contributed by Rai from A Rai Of Light

Montpellier, found in the Occitanie région of southern France, is renowned for its near-perfect weather, good wine, and its fine blend of history and culture. The fastest-growing city in France is also famous for its finely preserved coastline of marinas and beaches and makes for a great choice for a weekend trip.

It has an abundance of natural World Heritage sites, traditional markets, a vibrant nightlife, and a multitude of places to visit. You cannot miss out on seeing Place de la Comédie, the focal point of the city and a walk along the Promenade du Peyrou. Other attractions include Place Royale du Peyrou, Jardin des plantes de Montpellier, Musée Fabre, and Cathedrale Saint-Pierre.

Montpellier has the largest pedestrian area in all of Europe, making it a city that is great to explore on foot along its quaint old streets and surrounded by its neoclassical architecture. Located near the south coast on the Mediterranean Sea, it experiences hot and dry summers and mild damp winters, with the best time to visit being between these seasons from December to May.

This lively city in the south is well connected to other major cities and is easy enough to get to. Even though Montpellier is often overshadowed by Paris and the Eiffel Tower, the city is certainly worth a visit and makes for a great weekend getaway.

The Valley of 5 Châteaux – The Dordogne

valley of the 5 castles

Contributed by Hannah at Nouvelle Aquitaine Travel | Voyage

The Dordogne combines accessibility with a feeling of being in a faraway fairytale land. Castles dot the skyline, impossible villages are built into cliff sides, and the Dordogne River winds gently through it. The Dordogne is often called the ‘Valley of the 5 Chateaux’ because of the large imposing castles visible along the valley. It is a perfectly compact area to visit on a weekend break in France.

Centered around the town of Vézac, the five castles include the mountaintop Château de Castelnaud; a 13th-century behemoth that was held by the English during the Hundred Years War. On the opposing hilltop across the valley, Château de Beynac is a century older, and was a stronghold of the French. These days, the two castles are popular tourist attractions and the view of the river below from either castle is quite spectacular.

In the same area, the Châteaux of Milandes, Malartrie, and Fayrac sit within a few kilometres of each other. The Dordogne Valley is accessed via train or car from Bordeaux or Bergerac airports. The summer and shoulder seasons are the best time to visit the Dordogne; being a valley it can get some rain, so May through September afford the most reliable weather. 

Base yourself in Vézac, Beynac, or in the troglodyte village of La Roque Gageac. You will find quaint restaurants, wine bars and plenty of tourist amenities in these towns. Once you’ve seen a few of the castles, why not go kayaking or take a boat tour on the tranquil Dordogne River. Two or three days is a great length of time to visit the Dordogne and explore the magic of the Valley of Five Châteaux.  

Paris

Sacre Coeur in Paris

Contributed by Linn Haglund of Brainy Backpackers

Paris makes one of the best weekend breaks in France. It is the perfect time to explore the most important sites like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and the Sacre Coeur if you are visiting for the first time.

Yet it is the perfect time to wander the backstreets, spend time in your favorite museums, try different restaurants, and have a picnic with fresh baguettes in a park if you have been there before.

The good thing about revisiting this wonderful city is that you do not have to pack your Paris itinerary to the rim. You can take it slow and really soak in what Paris is. There is something magical about the air in Paris that you will notice the moment you set foot there and it is truly hard to compare with.

Take a stroll up Champs Elysseé towards the Arc de Triomphe and a lovely sunset cruise on the Seine River. Have a coffee at a small café in a hidden back street and watch life go by while you gather energy for more walking (don’t forget comfortable walking shoes!)

Paris is a wonderful city to visit all year round, but especially spring and autumn are wonderful as the temperature is mild and perfect for a city break.

A fabulous place to stay is Hotel Muguet. It is centrally situated and some rooms have a view of the Eiffel Tower.

Top tip! Do not try to see everything on a weekend. You will have such a better time if you take the time to enjoy the few things you are doing.

Conclusion

I hope that all these wonderful destinations sparked your enthusiasm to plan a weekend in France! It for sure gave you enough inspiration and I’m positive that at least one of these weekend trips in France will be the perfect fit for you!

Have you visited one of these destinations already or do you have another suggestion to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

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