Places to Visit in France

Traveling in France

Living in the South of France as an expat means that every now and then we need to get back to the UK to visit friends and family. There are obviously options on how you can get back to the UK, including flying, a coach trip, going by train or driving.

The practicalities are really about how long you are taking for the trip and whether the mode of travel suits the time frame, plus of course the cost. The only way to establish the cost is to investigate the different options for the dates you want to travel, but a general rule of thumb is that if you are less than four people travelling there is a good chance you will save money by taking a budget airline option rather than driving. Also depending on your personal circumstances there are some great deals for taking a coach or even the train, so don't rule these options out either.

On our most recent trip back we were returning to the UK for 3 weeks and we were attending a wedding in Scotland, travelling south into England to visit friends and family and then returning to France via Germany where we wanted to visit more family.

Given the length of time we were taking for the trip and the different locations we had to get to, it became a bit of a no brainer which option was the best and we decided it would be a really good idea to go by car and have transport readily available. Of course in terms of visiting places in France, this has to be one of the most flexible and easiest ways to plan your trip, because you can literally pick your own route, schedule and manage your costs more easily due to that level of flexibility. For example you can select out of town accommodation, get bed and breakfast at a Chambre d'Hote or even camp if that is what you want to do.

Once our decision was made we concluded that it would also be a good idea to turn the whole thing into an extended sightseeing trip and that we would use our trusty Sat Nav to negotiate the route without using a single peage (toll road). This would obviously add time onto the journey but would allow us to select a route that would take us through a series of locations we had long wanted to visit. One of the main advantages you will get from avoiding the toll roads (called Peage in France) is that you actually get to go through the towns on route and see a little bit more of France than you would by sticking to the toll roads and bypassing all the towns and cities.

So off we went on our little adventure, camera at the ready and the first stop was going to be just north of Paris. You have probably realised that a lot of sightseeing was going to be using a drive by option because to get north of Paris from the South is still a pretty long jaunt and would be probably around 8 hours of driving. Not so bad if you share the driving and can take a break here and there. Which is what we planned to do.

Places of interest on route: -

  • Castelnau-de-Montmiral
  • Bruniquel
  • Montricoux
  • Cahors
  • Limoges
  • Orleons
  • Paris
  • Senlis

We didn't get to photograph all of these but we saw enough to know that we would love to go back and stay a night or two in any of these places.

Oh by the way, understanding that this is a little back to front for anyone looking for great holiday destinations in France I have added some links to information on lots of other cities or places in the South of France if you need a bit more detail on some great days out and/or places you could potentially stay.

Check out the list at the bottom of this hub, these are places close to where we live and we have been able to visit them regularly, some really nice places with lots of photographs to give you an idea of what they are like.


An Interesting and Engaging Route Through France

show route and directions
A markerCastelnau-de-Montmiral -
Castelnau-de-Montmiral, France
[get directions]

B markerBruniquel -
Bruniquel, France
[get directions]

C markerMontricoux -
Montricoux, France
[get directions]

D markerCahors -
Cahors, France
[get directions]

E markerLimoges -
Limoges, France
[get directions]

F markerOrleons -
Orléans, France
[get directions]

G markerParis -
Paris, France
[get directions]

H markerSenlis -
Senlis, France
[get directions]

I markerdunkirk -
Dunkirk, France
[get directions]

J markerCastelnaudary -
11400 Castelnaudary, France
[get directions]

On route to Paris

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Somewhere between Puylaurens and Graulhet, south of GaillacBruniquel VillageLe Moulin de MontricouxMontricoux looking across the bridgeWhat does a chicken need to do to get some privacy around here, think I'll move to Le Moulin15Km's to Paris, it's been a long day
Somewhere between Puylaurens and Graulhet, south of Gaillac
Somewhere between Puylaurens and Graulhet, south of Gaillac
Bruniquel Village
Bruniquel Village
Le Moulin de Montricoux
Le Moulin de Montricoux
Montricoux looking across the bridge
Montricoux looking across the bridge
What does a chicken need to do to get some privacy around here, think I'll move to Le Moulin
What does a chicken need to do to get some privacy around here, think I'll move to Le Moulin
15Km's to Paris, it's been a long day
15Km's to Paris, it's been a long day

Ex-Pat Life in France Can be Highly Amusing

The Happy Hooker: Expat Intrigue - Living with the Enemy in Deepest France
The Happy Hooker: Expat Intrigue - Living with the Enemy in Deepest France

A highly amusing take on the activities of both the local community and ex-pat infiltrators in a small French village.

 

Paris to Bury St Edmunds & The UK Stage

Having negotiated the outer peripherique we passed by the Charles de Gaulle airport and then headed for the nearest hotel which is actually the next exit after the airport (might be the 2nd exit) and you can see the hotels from the motorway so they are nice and easy to find.

Incidentally if you are heading north towards Paris from Orleans and want a good route to the other side then the best option is to just follow the signs to Lille, this applies whether you come up the A10 or the N20, you will eventually end up on the A86 via the A6 doing this and then you just slip up the A3 onto the A1 and hey presto, no inner periphique and other than the odd accident it is usually pretty quick so you hear yourself saying 'Paris traffic's not that bad is it', well most of the time anyway.

So after a quick pitstop and a night sleeping off the Macdonald's in luxury accommodation (an F1 Hotel, yes I know), we were off to the ferry and didn't really expect to find much to photograph this side of Paris.

We didn't have too much time but when we hit Senlis, I just had to take a couple of photographs. I was also a bit gutted to find that there is a F1 hotel here as well and it wasn't much further on than where we stayed. We didn't go and look but I would hazard a guess we would probably have got a friendlier welcome and slightly better accommodation, one to put down for future reference I think.

If you are planning to be near Paris anytime soon it is probably worth having a look at this hub as well Theme Parks in France especially if you have some children to entertain.

Wasn't too long before we were on the ferry and heading to the UK, that's when the rain came down, about halfway over the channel.

Well this hub is about France so I won't say too much about the UK and Germany but I did take a few photos on route which are probably worth a look.

Isn't Senlis a nice little town

Senlis going north from Paris
Senlis going north from Paris
I just like lamps
I just like lamps
Oh and a bit of architecture is worth a look as well
Oh and a bit of architecture is worth a look as well

The UK stage

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Des Res near Bury St EdmundsKirk Deighton in Yorkshire was nice.The wedding day, it was a tad rainy, no garden party then.The wedding venue Comlongdon Castle - Dumfries, at least it dried out in the morningBit windy on the A66 -not a lorry in sightRuardean in the Royal Forest of Dean
Des Res near Bury St Edmunds
Des Res near Bury St Edmunds
Kirk Deighton in Yorkshire was nice.
Kirk Deighton in Yorkshire was nice.
The wedding day, it was a tad rainy, no garden party then.
The wedding day, it was a tad rainy, no garden party then.
The wedding venue Comlongdon Castle - Dumfries, at least it dried out in the morning
The wedding venue Comlongdon Castle - Dumfries, at least it dried out in the morning
Bit windy on the A66 -not a lorry in sight
Bit windy on the A66 -not a lorry in sight
Ruardean in the Royal Forest of Dean
Ruardean in the Royal Forest of Dean

Back to France

Its amazing how quickly 3 weeks can pass and before we knew it we were on our way back to France from Germany. The Sat Nav said go via Paris again, that is until we entered an alternative route through Clermont-Ferrand which would take us right down the centre of France, just had to be done.

We decided to do the trip over 2 days but unfortunately the weather was horrendous so no photos for the first stage. We stayed the night in Clermont-Ferrand and the next day we left the hotel and went straight on the A75 motorway heading towards Beziers via the fabulous Millau Viaduct the World's Tallest Bridge

For a motorway the A75 is a great sightseeing road, it gets up to some pretty impressive altitudes giving some fantastic views across the country side and you get to go over or under the Millau Viaduct.

For us on a non-peage route we needed to come off the motorway at Millau and then drive under the bridge, this turned out to be a really good move. We got some nice shots of the bridge itself and found the information centre for the bridge which is located directly underneath it, not to mention driving through the town of Millau which looks a really nice place and is definitely on my list of places to visit when we get a chance to go back.

Clermont-Ferrend to Millau and the Millau Viaduct

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A75 going south from Clermont-FerrandA75 going south from Clermont-FerrandA75 going south from Clermont-FerrandA nice little fountain in MillauFirst glimpse of the Millau Viaduct as we leave Millau itselfJust too big to photograph all in one go when you are underneathSo here is the other halfSorry to leave it behind, but you have to go home sometime.
A75 going south from Clermont-Ferrand
A75 going south from Clermont-Ferrand
A75 going south from Clermont-Ferrand
A75 going south from Clermont-Ferrand
A75 going south from Clermont-Ferrand
A75 going south from Clermont-Ferrand
A nice little fountain in Millau
A nice little fountain in Millau
First glimpse of the Millau Viaduct as we leave Millau itself
First glimpse of the Millau Viaduct as we leave Millau itself | Source
Just too big to photograph all in one go when you are underneath
Just too big to photograph all in one go when you are underneath
So here is the other half
So here is the other half
Sorry to leave it behind, but you have to go home sometime.
Sorry to leave it behind, but you have to go home sometime. | Source

Home James Home

After leaving the Millau Viaduct we just took instructions from the Sat Nav and as a result took some routes we would never of dreamed of taking. Going across country from Millau to Issel in the Lauragais region, just beyond Revel, there is some really gorgeous countryside, French towns and villages. I am sure it took about 2 hours longer than it needed to, but it was worth every minute for the scenary and views we got to enjoy.

See the map for the general location and if you haven't got a Sat Nav, you probably need to make an investment.

We shared the driving on this last stint so we could both get a look at the countryside and before we knew it we were going down the drive to Le Moulin where we have our home and a gite which we let out for holiday rentals. If you are ever looking for a Photography Course in France check out French Holidays Aude to see if it suits your requirements, the link to the website will give you lots of details on the property and the location. You can also use the travel advice pages to help plan your holiday in France and if you need any accessories there is a travel shop with some useful items you can purchase.

Another great place to make your travel arrangements for Europe, whether you are flying, driving, going by bus or on the train is Euro Traveller UK.

Millau to Le Moulin

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Somewhere between Millau and Castre avoiding the Peage - set your Sat Nav and follow the instructionsSomewhere between Millau and Castre avoiding the Peage - set your Sat Nav and follow the instructionsSomewhere between Millau and Castre avoiding the Peage - set your Sat Nav and follow the instructionsSomewhere between Millau and Castre avoiding the Peage - set your Sat Nav and follow the instructions
Somewhere between Millau and Castre avoiding the Peage - set your Sat Nav and follow the instructions
Somewhere between Millau and Castre avoiding the Peage - set your Sat Nav and follow the instructions
Somewhere between Millau and Castre avoiding the Peage - set your Sat Nav and follow the instructions
Somewhere between Millau and Castre avoiding the Peage - set your Sat Nav and follow the instructions
Somewhere between Millau and Castre avoiding the Peage - set your Sat Nav and follow the instructions
Somewhere between Millau and Castre avoiding the Peage - set your Sat Nav and follow the instructions
Somewhere between Millau and Castre avoiding the Peage - set your Sat Nav and follow the instructions
Somewhere between Millau and Castre avoiding the Peage - set your Sat Nav and follow the instructions

Pays de Cathare - Gorge De Galamus

Sat Navs Versus A Map

Which is your preferred way of finding your way around on your travels

  • Sat Nav
  • Atlas
See results without voting

More by this Author


Let me know what you think and don't forget you can rate this hub 31 comments

Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France

Hi, We found the Lille way on our last trip up North to Charles de Gaulle airport, purely by accident (I was the co-pilot) and like you say it is the best way to pass by Paris traffic.


anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York

Thx for sharing this info. I enjoy Princessa's hubs too as she also loves to write about France and Paris. Till now I've only heard how beautiful the place is but may be some day I see it with my own eyes. Thx


sukkran profile image

sukkran 7 years ago from TRICHY, TAMIL NADU, INDIA.

hi, wonderful photos. i know your skills in this art but this is some thing very attractive.

sukkran


BrianS profile image

BrianS 7 years ago from Castelnaudary, France Author

Thanks Sukkran, the photos have a little to do with me but more to do with the camera I use the Nikon D40. I reviewed it on my hub about digital SLR cameras, it really is a great starter camera for anyone beginning with an SLR , just wish I had gone for the extra memory now.


Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

very nice photos I love to visit but need some money


Kind Regards profile image

Kind Regards 7 years ago from Missouri Ozarks - Table Rock Lake

BrianS, Incredible photography. Yes, Senlis is a nice little town. I've wanted to travel in Europe for a long time, but now moreso than before. Kind Regards


scottaye73 profile image

scottaye73 7 years ago from Michigan, USA

Very good hub! Good info, nice pics! Have a great night. ~ Scott


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

Your photos are amazing, in all your hubs, I'm very impressed.


BrianS profile image

BrianS 7 years ago from Castelnaudary, France Author

Thanks Amanda, try my best on the photographic front as I really enjoy it and like to make the photos a significant part of my hubbing. I do get lucky sometimes and get some really good shots, its great living in a place that presents those sort of opportunities.


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

You make the most of hte opportunities. What sort of camera do you use?

By the way, I love your writing style too, I didn't mean to sound as if it's only the photos that are good (-:


BrianS profile image

BrianS 7 years ago from Castelnaudary, France Author

I use a Nikon D40, its a great starter SLR, I wish I had gone for the extra memory now, but its still a very good camera with the memory it has. I reviewed it on my hub http://hubpages.com/technology/digital_slr_camera

No worries on the writing front, although I think I have a way to go to catch up with you, always impressed with what you publish.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

Very nice Hub filled with beautiful photographs. I enjoyed it. Thumbs up and a new fan!


lyla profile image

lyla 7 years ago from India

WOW..great pics!:) makes me want to visit France right away!:)


Wanderlust profile image

Wanderlust 7 years ago from New York City

Your pictures are amazing! I am shopping for a new camera now, will take your camera hub under consideration.


BrianS profile image

BrianS 7 years ago from Castelnaudary, France Author

Thanks for the comments, I love taking photographs and the Nikon definitely helps with getting some great shots. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking, but as I said in an earlier comment, go for the extra memory,.


Kim Garcia 7 years ago

What a great Hub, with gorgeous photos!! OK....when do we go, my bags are packed?? Seriously you did a really nice job mapping out the highlights of France. I've always wanted to visit Castelnau- de Montmiral. And the photos of

the Millau area look like a painting. Peace ~ K


BrianS profile image

BrianS 7 years ago from Castelnaudary, France Author

Hi Kim, just realised I didn't answer on your comment, so sorry for the delay. Just like to say thanks and that Castelnau- de Montmiral is a stunning place as is Millau but for different reasons, either place is well worth a visit for anyone in the region.


kiwi91 profile image

kiwi91 7 years ago from USA

Beautiful photos. This looks like an amazing place to live. Someday I'll get there.

I used a Garmin navigator on our last vacation that worked pretty well, but some people swear by Tom Tom. Any navigator will make your trip more enjoyable - even the most experienced drivers get lost once in a while. Nice work!


Ladymermaid profile image

Ladymermaid 7 years ago from Canada

Lol.......we seem to travel in the same circles.

Have a great day!

Ladymermaid


festersporling1 profile image

festersporling1 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

I concur with you Brian. Stunning places. Well put together.


cathinfrance 6 years ago

Really well-constructed article. And anything on S France in fine with me!


James Mark profile image

James Mark 6 years ago from York, England

A rather belated visit to this entry - ditto for the photos. Will look up your article on the camera tomorrow as I am thinking of upgrading. I've been meaning to scan in my Senlis photos for a while - it is a lovely little town that we know well.


missmaudie profile image

missmaudie 6 years ago from Brittany, France

Very interesting hub BrianS, a great idea! We live in Brittany but would love to visit the south one day,not in August though! as everyone else has said, the photos are great and a good reminder of how diverse the countryside of France is.


irasutanto 6 years ago

You have such an interested hub. I really want to go to Paris again. Thanks for nice information.


Kamran100 profile image

Kamran100 6 years ago

very very nice hub,,


Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 6 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

Hi,liked your lively Hub. I live in Limousin so pleased to see Limoges on your list of places to vist. We have a b&b and gite if you're passing through again. France is a beautiful country isn't it?


BrianS profile image

BrianS 6 years ago from Castelnaudary, France Author

Hi Les Trois Chenes, France is amazingly beautiful and we love living here. We do pass by Limoges now and then so you never know, we may be able to call in one day.


serrechevalierski profile image

serrechevalierski 5 years ago from Serre Chevalier, France

I've been meaning to go across the Millau Viaduct ever since I saw it on Top Gear! I'll put that on my list of things to do this year.


BrianS profile image

BrianS 5 years ago from Castelnaudary, France Author

The Millau Viaduct is pretty impressive, anyone down that way should check it out. There is a visitor centre right underneath it if you want to find out all about it.


luke 4 years ago

boring


BrianS profile image

BrianS 4 years ago from Castelnaudary, France Author

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, even people from Leeds!!

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