At the end of the year I started to share with you my favourite places to visit in France (read part 1) and it’s quite difficult because I must say that there are so many places that I like and others that I wish to visit.
However, here are other places in France that have moved me by their beauty, by a fragrance, an atmosphere, a charm, an escape from time, an architectural delight …
Annecy quickly charmed me with its lake and its canals that made me think of a little Venice in the heart of the Alps. This city of Haute-Savoie has kept its authenticity with its hidden passages and its houses entangled that invite to project oneself into history. We will remember the natural lake, one of the largest in France that has seen its appearance following the melting of glaciers 18,000 years ago.
Annecy seems to be a city close to everything: from large cities and mountains with a dream location.
>>> Did you know? Annecy became a French city in 1860.
>>> Visit: www.tourisme-annecy.net
Le Mont Blanc
Not far from Annecy you can not help but go to Chamonix and admire Mont Blanc, the « roof of Europe ». Believe me or not, the first time I saw this mountain I cried. And I cried all the more when I returned in 2011, noticing that the glacier melted at a very disturbing pace. As a child, my uncle and my aunt regularly offered me to go skiing in Chamonix, I simply had an apprehension of the snow (child from the South if you know what I mean) and it is only later that I have discovered this mountain. If only I had known … I remember going with friends to the Montenvers refuge where they had spent their childhood with family in this hotel, a magical place, with a chalet decoration and a breathtaking view of Mont Blanc. The ballads are spectacular and you are right at the door of the Aiguille du Midi. These grandiose landscapes often bring us back to the essential and in the face of this greatness we can only question and ask ourselves, breathe this fresh and pure air and feel alive.
>>> Did you know? In the eighteenth century Mont Blanc was called « the cursed mountain » besides we always find this name in Mount Maudit.
>>> Montenvers Refuge: montenvers.terminal-neige.com
La Dune du Pilat
I was 17-18 when I went by car, a Citroen AX, with my boyfriend at that time to tour France. It was then that I understood that France, with only a surface of 643 810 km2 had its 1000 and one landscapes just as exotic and amazing. The Dune du Pilat located in the Gironde is one of them, known as the largest sand dune in Europe. This incredible landscape takes us into an Ottoman tale alongside Lawrence of Arabia.
>>> Did you know? The dune moves from 1 to 5 meters per year and is composed of 60 million m3 of sand.
>>> Visit the dune of Pilat: www.dunedupilat.com
One of my best memories: spend a few days in Old Menton after the summer season. The tourists have all returned home, the beaches are almost empty, the small streets of Menton finally seem to belong to me.
Considered the hottest city on the French Riviera with 316 days of sunshine a year, Menton seduced the British and the Russian princes during the Belle Epoque, which left architectural traces as at the top of the hill, the cemetery of Vieux-Château which offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean, Menton, Italy and the mountains.
In short, you will understand … Menton is also a charming city with its weather, its architecture, its history but also its festivities such as the festival of lemon (www.fete-du-citron.com) which takes its source in 1895 when hoteliers suggest organising a parade in winter to liven up the city. It was not until 1929 that lemon entered the scene, in the face of its success the lemon festival became official in 1934.
>>> Did you know? A legend claims that Eve stole a lemon that she hid in her blonde hair and that after being chased out of the Terrestrial Paradise, Adam and Eve met one day in Menton.
>>> Visit: www.tourisme-menton.fr
Direction Normandy. In Honfleur it’s all another magic that takes place. Honfleur takes its name from the Scandinavians following the invasion of these ones in the ninth century. When I think of its port, I project myself into an impressionist painting. Honfleur is a city where it is good to walk, breathe the sea air and discover art galleries that allow us to understand the exceptional artistic influence that has changed this city.
>>> Did you know? One of the greatest navigators in history, Samuel de Champlain, embarked at Honfleur when he founded Quebec in 1608.
>>> Visit: www.ot-honfleur.fr
Here are the 10 places that have a special part in my heart but I have to tell you that from now on each visit in France makes me discover a new treasure city and appreciate even more the richness of this country.