France is known throughout the world for its impressive natural beauty. From the Alps to Normandy’s never ending beaches, there is always something to discover and experience in this beautiful country. Paris is of course an undisputed tourist hub attracting millions of visitors a year, but if you’re ever in need of a break from the boulevards and busy cobbled streets then try these mini-break ideas that are only a short trip away.
Home to some of the best natural reserves in all of France, Picardy has retained much of its charm and character through its lovely traditional villages and huge natural expanses. Situated north of Paris, this area is a must for Parisians during the summer, with many visiting the Chateau’s and country houses with families. Historically Picardy is immensely important, as it was the sight of many WW1 battles such as the Somme and Agincourt, making any visit a memorable and humbling experience.
No city break guide can commence without mentioning the Loire Valley. Famous for its traditional wine making and other culinary delights, the valley has incredible history in its many villages and small towns. Towns such as Blois, Saumur and Tours are all a fascinating glimpse into much simpler times.
A 30-minute journey from the center of Paris is all it takes to see what is perhaps the most sophisticated and historically important palace in the world. French royalty has been beautifully preserved here in the perfectly manicured lawns and breathtaking palace rooms that will leave you feeling rather small. The tours on offer are fantastic for all the family, with engaging activities for the kids and informative guides for adults.
Chateau de Fontainebleau
This impressive Chateau is situated in the heart of a seventeen thousand acre forest that is equally as impressive as the building itself. Our favorite part of the Chateau was the entrance, with steps leading up to a foyer that resembled something directly out of a Three Musketeers novel. Its exhibition rooms are a wonderful insight into French upper classes, with everything preserved exactly as it was. The grounds are fantastic for picnic and walks, so be sure to grab some wine and cheese on the way!
Whatever you decide to do on your weekend break from Paris, it is without question that you will be thoroughly impressed by the natural beauty and history that can be found just a short trip from the bustling streets of the city.
Irina Raileanu is the owner and Director at Avenue Story.