France is one of the largest countries in Europe. And, famous for its sophistication and style, Paris typically will be on your clients’ bucket list. Certainly, you will want to include on your itineraries France’s capital and international gateway city.
However, there is much to see and do outside the city. Here are a few ideas for exploring the French countryside:
One region to focus on might be the Eastern/Central wine country, which extends from the Champagne-Ardenne region, through the Alsace and Burgundy regions, and into the Rhône Valley.
While it has many imitators, true champagne comes only from Champagne-Ardenne. According to French law, only this region produces what officially can be labeled as champagne. Everything else is sparkling wine.
Managing to be both quaint and cosmopolitan, the Alsace region of eastern France is where a mix of European cultures come together in a delightful blend. Tucked in between the Vosges Mountains and the Rhine River, the region has alternately been part of Germany or France during various periods, most recently during World War II. Visitors will see the Germanic influences in everything from the storybook villages with their storks’ nests and half-timbered houses to the local restaurants, commonly called winstubs (wine rooms), where hearty dishes of sauerkraut and smoked meats are likely to be on the menu.
Like the many fine wines long produced there, Bourgogne has only gotten better with age. From Roman times onward, the region has been an important crossroads between Southern and Northern Europe, a place where important developments in religion, trade, and culture have taken root and burst into full flower. Although the Romans first brought the concept of wine making to Bourgogne, it was the Cistercian monks who laid the foundation of the modern wine trade.
Whether your clients crave outdoor adventure or prefer to satisfy their cravings at the table, they will find much to enjoy in the Rhône-Alpes. The region encompasses the soaring peaks of the French Alps, with their glamorous ski resorts, mountainside villages, and elegant spa towns. At the same time, it also is defined by the fine wines of the Rhône Valley, such as Beaujolais, the gastronomic and cultural pleasures of Lyon, and historical sites dating back to ancient Rome.
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Here are a few ideas for exploring the French countryside: