5 Vacations for a Francophile Other Than France
If you're a francophile, someone attracted to all things French, it's obvious that France comes to mind when thinking of a vacation destination. France is a country with much to offer a visitor; the history of Normandy, the high mountains of the Alps, the Mediterranean beaches, and the world famous city of Paris to name a few.
Although France could keep any gallophile endlessly entertained, you still might want to visit other places. Maybe you want to stay closer to home, maybe you've been to France and want to experience something new, or maybe you're looking for something France can't offer like a winter island getaway. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of destination choices to interest the francophile. Here are a few ideas:
Where - The Republic of Seychelles is a nation made up of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean. It's located about 900 miles east of mainland Africa and to the north of Madagascar.
Why Go - White sandy beaches, clear turquoise water, and tropical weather abound in this postcard-like setting. Relax on the beach, see giant tortoises, exploer the jungle, or take advantage of one of the many great spots to dive.
For the Francophile - Seychelles had no indigenous population and was settled by France in the late 1700's. During the Napoleonic Wars the islands were taken by the British. As a result, French and English are both widely spoken and are official languages. Seychelles Creole is also an official language and is similar to French. Much about the culture remains French. Many of the place and streets are French and about seventy percent of the population has French names.
Where - The province of Québec is located in eastern Canada, north of the U.S. states of New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. It's almost three times larger than France.
Why Go - Québec offers a wide variety of things to do whether you're an outdoor enthusiast or you feel more at home in a big city. Outdoor activities include whale watching in the St. Lawrence, hiking or camping in one of the province's 27 national parks, or skiing during the winter. Montréal is a lively city of 4 million, known for its festivals, nightlife, and gastronomy. The city of Québec is the only walled city in Canada or the U.S. and has a famous old town district, full of history.
For the Francophile - the province of Québec is mostly French speaking with the city of Montreal being the second largest French speaking city in the world. French is the official language. The area around Québec City was settled by the French in 1608 by a party headed by Samuel de Champlain. The British took Québec in 1759, but its French heritage remains very evident.
Where - Tahiti is an island in French Polynesia. It's located in the southern Pacific Ocean between South America and Australia about 2,700 miles south off Hawaii.
Why Go - Reef-fringed island, white sandy beaches, and palm trees. Although expensive, Tahiti is the epitome of an island paradise. Visit a museum dedicated to pearls or take a hike to the Fautaua Waterfalls which cascade almost 1000 ft. over volcanic rock into a pool below.
For the Francophile - Tahiti was made a colony of France in 1880. Tehitians are citizens of France and French is the official language.
Where - Pondicherry, officially Puducherry and sometimes shortened to Pondy, is a district of India located on the Bay of Bengal on the southern east coast.
Why Go - Pondy is sometimes called the "French Riviera of the East". Visit the beach promenade full of shops, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Auroville, the Puducherry Museum, or the French Quarter. Pondicherry is much cheaper than Europe or the Pacific Islands.
For the Francophile - Puducherry was controlled by France until 1954. The district is split into the French Quarter and the Indian Quarter. French influence still exists and French villas and street names are a common sight. French is an official language of Pondy, but it's not widely spoken. English is used more.
5. St. Martin, St. Barthélemy, Guadeloupe, and Martinique
Where - The four tropical islands are located in the Caribbean Sea, in an archipelago, to the east of Puerto Rico.
Why Go - Scuba dive, surf, fish, hike, sail, or just relax with a drink on a pristine beach under a palm tree. The best way to visit multiple Caribbean islands is to take a cruise.
For the Francophile - All four island destinations are Overseas Collectives of France. French is the official language and the Euro is the currency used.
Have you visited any of these destinations with a French history? Did I fail to mention your favorite Francophile vacation spot? Let me know in the comments.