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10 French towns with wow! factor

Posted on 20 September 2013 by Dan Johnson

Many French towns and villages close to our Siblu Holiday Villages have managed to hold back time and maintain a link to their past, while others have embraced 21st century cool.

We’ve listed 10 of our favourites, so why not tell us what you think and add your own suggestions below.

Carcasssone (Languedoc, pictured below) has been described as the finest medieval fortified town in Europe. Carcassone’s castle featured in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, and there are fantastic museums of chivalry and the middle ages (one where kids can be knighted), plus lots of good walks and loads of pavement cafés when it all becomes too much!

Closest siblu holiday village: Les Sables du Midi

Top 10 towns in France: Carcassone

 

Concarneau (Brittany, pictured below) is a medieval town that is one of the most photographed places in Brittany and the third largest fishing port in France. The old part of the town, known as ‘Ville Close’, sits atop an island in the harbour. You can walk the walls and search the narrow streets for boutique presents – keep an eye out for the amazing chocolate shop. Concarneau has a huge fishing market which is worth an early morning visit.

Closest siblu holiday village: Domaine de Kerlann

Top 10 towns in France: Concarneau

 

Saint-Emilion (Aquitaine) is a beautifully preserved Romanesque town perched on a hilltop. Ask for the keys to the bell tower at the tourist information office – you’ll need to pay a small deposit – and climb the spiral stairway for the most amazing views of the Dordogne valley. Then, head to Les Cordeliers, a historic monument featuring 14th-century cloisters.

Closest siblu holiday village: La Réserve

 

Caen (Normandy) is the landing place for many who catch the ferry to France, and well worth a visit in its own right. Much of the town has been rebuilt since the war, so the setting is thoroughly modern with excellent shops and restaurants set among ancient buildings such as the imposing Château de Caen, the Abbaye aux Hommes and the Abbaye aux Dames, all of which were built by William the Conqueror. Caen’s best shops are along the rue Saint Pierre, off which run a maze of tiny side streets.

Closest siblu holiday village: Domaine de Litteau

 

Bordeaux (Aquitaine, pictured below) is best known for its wine, but it offers much more. It is filled with magnificent 18th and 19th century buildings, cathedrals, a stunning river-front, a theatre, a wealth of luxury shops and Europe’s longest pedestrianised shopping street.

Closest siblu holiday village: La Réserve

Top 10 towns in France: Bordeaux

 

St Guilhem-le-Desert (Languedoc) is a World Heritage Site which has been designated a ‘Plus Beau Village’, one of the most beautiful villages in France. There are Bronze Age gorges and caves packed with art and craft shops and hidden houses, yet despite the awards and beauty, St Guilhem has remained refreshingly modest. On the way back stop off at Pont du Diablo, a huge bridge which spans a gorgeous lake. If you don’t mind climbing down the steep path, the chance to swim in the lake is really worth taking.

Closest siblu holiday village: La Carabasse / Lac des Rêves

 

Nantes (the Vendée) is Europe’s green capital of 2013 and a fascinating city to boot. There is a delightful old quarter, a bustling arts scene and a streak of eccentricity that makes it a must visit destination. Keep your eyes peeled for the giant, mechanical Grand Eléphant which carries passengers along the quayside, or the amazing Sea World: Merry Go Round, which is spread across three captivating floors.

Closest siblu holiday village: Le Bois Masson / Le Bois Dormant

 

La Rochelle (Charente Maritime) is one of the most attractive and unspoilt seaside resorts: there are beautiful narrow streets that open out onto striking squares; boutique shops and stylish street cafés; a stunning port and three towers which dominate the skyline – climb to the ramparts at the top for a sky high view of the city. For families, we recommend a visit to the amazing aquarium which features floor-to-ceiling tanks filled with numerous amazing species.

Closest siblu holiday village: Les Charmettes / La Pignade / Bonne Anse Plage

 

Carnac (Brittany) is France’s version of Stonehenge, where more than 3000 standing stones stretch for over two miles in perfect alignment – Roman soldiers turned to rock by the magician Merlin according to folkelore. The town also boasts great beaches such as La Grande Plage, which has a calm sea that is perfect for families.

Closest siblu holiday village: Domaine de Kerlann

 

Montpellier (Languedoc, pictured below) is a cosmopolitan city with a maze of old narrow streets offering everything from antiques to the best in French Haute Couture. The Place du Comedie is the pink-marbled heart of the city and the perfect base for an afternoon spent people watching. Explore the side streets and find boutique shops and authentic cafés and restaurants, serving tasty ‘plat du jours’.

Closest siblu holiday village: Lac des Rêves

Top 10 towns in France: Montpellier

 

Which are your favourite French towns and villages? Add a comment below to tell us.


One Response to “10 French towns with wow! factor”

  1. Great choice of beautiful towns, thanks for putting it together.

    Best wishes, Nick


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