ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Four amazing places to visit in France you didn't know existed.

Updated on February 10, 2015
Katiadejuan profile image

Katia is a translator turned UX/UI designer. She is a digital nomad who loves surfing and is passionate about linguistics and sociology.

When you think about France, the first places that come into mind are Paris, Toulouse, Chamonix, Nantes, Le Mont Saint Michel... but France has a lot much to offer, this country is full of wonderful spots for all tastes.

If you are planning to spend your vacations in France but don't want to visit the typical places, here are a few alternatives I'm sure you'll love.


The Dune du Pilat

Source

Located near Arcachon, on the Atlantic coast, this sand mountain of 115m (377.2ft) tall and 2.7 km (1.6mi) long, what makes it the tallest dune in Europe.

You can go up to the top of the dune by using the steps next to the camp site, or if you don't want to feel as one more tourist, you can climb directly on the sand to the topmost point of the dune, and then go down by rolling on the sand. By doing so you might look like a child, but, hey! you're on vacations, you deserve some fun!

The view from the top is just stunning, specially in the evening, with the warm sunset and the sea to one side and the huge forest created by the dune, on the inland. And if you feel daring, you can always take a para-gliding class and enjoy the sense of freedom, watching the dune and the surroundings from above.


Palais Idéal

Source

Le Palais Idéal, located in Hauterives, is a palace built in 1912 by Ferdinand Cheval, which took 33 years for him to build with his own hands, using all kinds of stuff he found along his route to work, such as shells or stones. Cheval was a postman who wanted to demonstrate by himself that anyone who works hard enough and put all his heart into something can achieve whatever he wants.

The palace is inspired in many cultures and ideologies, such as Greek mythology, the Bible, or Hinduism, among others. It has been an inspiration for artists like Picasso, André Breton, and Tinguely, and it is considered as an historical monument since 1969.

It is one of the most amazing monuments I have ever seen, specially bearing in mind that it was completely built by just one man. Here, every single detail has a meaning, everything has been put accurately on a certain place for a reason. When walking through its narrow corridors and admiring all his work from its terraced roof, you'll feel like in a fantasy tale.

Béziers

Source

If you love visiting monuments and historical buildings, then you'll love Béziers. It is one of the oldest cities of France and is located in Langedoc, near the southern Mediterranean coast.

This city is full of history everywhere with plenty of monuments and museums, such as the Saint-Nazaire Cathedral, in the highest part of the hill, or the Fine Arts Museum, with collections of worldwide famous artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Henri Goetz, or Hans Holbein.

You can also visit the Écluses de Fonserannes, a staircase lock on the Canal du midi on the outskirts of Béziers. The Canal du Midi was build as a means to join the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, and the Fonserannes Lock is the most important work in this complex construction, representing the great achievement it meant for the country in the 17th century.

The Gorges de l'Ardeche

Source

If you're into nature and sports, then this is definitely the place for you. This nature reservation is one of the most beautiful spots in the country.

Here you can do any activity you can imagine. Starting from Vallon Pont d'Arc, you will find the Chauvet Cave, which contains some of the earliest cave paintings known in France, dating around 30,000 years ago.

You can also go for a hike through its many routes, or practice adventure sports such as trekking, climbing, canyoning or kayaking, which is one of the most popular activities in the area. You can join to a group in Vallon Pond D'Arc to do some kayaking, or if you are an adventurer and prefer not to follow everyone, you can rent the kayak, take your tent and some supplies, and cross the entire river during a few days enjoying nature and freedom.

A
Vallon Pont d'Arc:
Vallon-Pont-d'Arc, Francia

get directions

B
Saint Martim d'Ardèche:
Saint-Martin-d'Ardèche, Francia

get directions

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Anne Harrison profile image

      Anne Harrison 

      4 years ago from Australia

      A fascinating article - I've been to France a few times but never to these places which you have mentioned. thank you for sharing them!

    • Katiadejuan profile imageAUTHOR

      Katia De Juan 

      4 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks so much for your nice comment and vote. I'm also in love with France, love every corner of this country, it has really beautiful places, and its people is very friendly and cozy. :)

    • Bk42author profile image

      Brenda Thornlow 

      4 years ago from New York

      My husband and I visited Paris for the first time last summer and I absolutely fell in love with it. My goal is to someday soon take some time and visit all of France. Interesting hub. Voted up!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)