- Travel in France
- Where to go
What to see and do
- the connoisseur's guide to France
accessible from most parts of Western Europe, France as a country is an
ideal destination for anyone wanting a short break or a long weekend
away from home.
During the warmer months of the year,
from April through to September, France's many provincial airports are
served by low-cost carriers friom many parts of Europe, and in
particular from the UK. For a full list of who flies where from the UK,
see the France airport
But throughout the year, even in the winter months, in
to Paris, half a dozen French cities are served by direct flights from
many main airports in the UK and other parts of Europe. Lyon, Nice,
Toulouse, Bordeaux and (Basel)-Mulhouse have year-round flights from
many European capitals, and from a few other major airports too. Lille
with its museums and art galleries, can even be reached in just 1h22 by
Eurostar from London St.Pancras, or in just 56 minutes from Ashford.
While Paris is the easiest choice, and the city with the
offer, there are other French provincial cities that have more than
to keep even the most demanding of weekend-trippers happy, even in
Below is the About-France.com selection
: ten of the best weekend ideas - seven cities and three
areas, all easily reachable from the UK and many accessible from other
parts of northern Europe too.
Seven of the best city break weekend destinations in France ...
advantage of taking a weekend break or a short break in Paris is
that the city can be easily reached not just by plane, but by train
too. Paris is directly connect by high speed train services to
Frankfurt, Brussels, Amsterdam, Geneva, Zurich and other European
cities. From the UK, the centre of Paris
is less than three hours from
the centre of London by Eurostar; and Paris airports have daily
services to most of the main airports in the UK.
Once there, Paris offers oodles of opportunities for all
tourism. With its museums, its sights, its restaurants, its bars and
its cafés,Paris offers far more than enough to keep any
traveller happily occupied for a long weekend – and much
than that. For weekend visitors, it's worth knowing that big national
museums in France are free on the first Sunday of each month. ► More about Paris
The capital of the French Riviera has a very well connected airport,
and beaches that are are right alongside the city centre. It
is also a
city with lots of hotel accommodation, and prices drop substantially
outside the main tourist months.
Nice attracts swimmers and bathers
for about seven months of the year.
Nice benefits for a warm climate, and many visitors will find
sea ideal for swimming in from early May through to mid October. For
the rest of the year, the sea willl tempt only the hardy, but the
beaches remain attractive. In addition to its seashore, Nice also has
four good museums, notably the Chagall and the Matisse museums, a
delightful old city with narrow streets, famous markets, and of course
plenty of good restaurants and bars. ► More
Lyon can be easily reached by air, and by train from London with a
connection at Lille-Europe station. Lyon is particularly
recommended for foodies; the city is famed as the gourmet capital of
France, and the city centre is thronged with top quality restaurants,
often offering top value for money. The 2018 Michelin Guide lists no
less than 18 Michelin-starred restaurants in Lyon, but as well as these
there are dozens more good restaurants in the city.
abound in the Renaissance quarter of old Lyon
Lyon also has plenty to occupy visitors during a short stay,
notably the old city, a Unesco World Heritage site with the largest
concentration of Rennaissance buildings in Europe, the fine Art museum,
the ultra-modern Confluences museum, and several more museums.
More about Lyon
capital of southwest France has plenty of flights to and from European
and UK cities. It is an ideal destination in late Autumn
and Spring, when the southwest of France is a part of Europe
generally feels much sunnier and warmer than places in the UK or
Place cu Capitole,
one of the finest urban plazas in Europe.
The city centre is quite compact, and
as well as just the general atmosphere of southwest France, visitors
can take in a fine art gallery, the Bemberg Foundation, with a
world-class art collection, and a great and recently refurbished
Natural History museum. The old centre of Toulouse also has the largest
Romanesque church in France, the Basilica of Saint Sernin, plus a
medieval cathedral and a handful of other themed museums, as well as
one of the finest city plazas in Europe, the Place du Capitole, with
its restaurants and cafés.
► More about Toulouse
The capital of Alsace is especially recommended as a
destination in the weeks before Christmas. The city is home to Europe's
oldest and largest Christmas market.
houses in the centre of old Strasbourg
Strasbourg is also a very
attractive city, with its old half-timbered houses, its magnificent
medieval cathedral, and its rivers and canals. Not to mention its
famous wine bars and beer cellars
The problem with Strasbourg
for UK visitors is getting there. Strasbourg airport has few international flights, and sometimes not to the UK. However
the better-connected airport of Baden-Baden-Karlsruhe, in
is close by, and there are shuttle services from the airport to
Strasbourg.... but only five a day. An alternative is to go by train,
changing at Paris (Eurostar then TGV). Journey time a bit over 5
More about Strasbourg
. The historic port city on the Atlantic coast, in the
area, is now a major centre for yachting. It can be reached by air
during the summer season from a number of UK airports, and from March
to September or October from London Stansted, and from Southampton.
old port of La Rochelle.
Located in one of the sunniest parts of France, La Rochelle
small city with two major attractions, the Aquarium (the best in
France) and the Maritime Museum, housed in a former meterological
research ship. La Rochelle also boasts a very attractive harbour side
and an old city, with its narrow streets and ancient houses.
other popular attraction is boat trips out to the historic Fort Boyard,
or for a day out on the offshore islands of Ré or Aix
More about La
Ryanair schedule flights to Nimes from London Luton
Mondays and Fridays for a good part of the year; Easyjet have
flights from London Gatwick to nearby Montpellier all year round.
Nimes' Maison Carrée - exceptionally well preserved Roman
Nimes is a great city for a weekend break; it has some of the finest
Roman remains in France, including the amazingly preserved Maison
Carrée and the Roman arena, both of them right in town.
the old city and its maze of narrow streets, is the
Quai de la Fontaine, with its ancient trees overhanging the water,
leading to one of France's finest urban parks, complete with more Roman
remains and a view down over the city. If the seaside beckons, there
are train and bus services to le Grau du Roi for just 1 €
tarif - regional public transport initiative). There are also quick
train services to nearby Arles and Avignon. Check times and book
More about Nimes
... and three more short
break destination ideas
In the summer months, virtually any French city with an airport
international flights (and there are about thirty to choose from) can
be chosen for a short weekend break.
For the smaller airports in Brittany or in the
south of France, visitors will probably want to hire a car (low-cost car hire
is available at most airports) and book a few nights in a
hotel or b&b... and enjoy two or three days in the
countryside, or on the beach, or exploring the local area.
One area that is eminently suitable as a weekend
break or short break destination with a hire car is the Camargue
which is within easy striking distance of four airports
Avignon, Nîmes and Montpellier. With its UNESCO protected
wetlands, its bird sanctuaries, its wild ponies, its rice paddies and
its beaches, the Camargue is definitely a destination to make anyone
feel that they've been somewhere different for a few days.
Visitors can stay in the Camargue, at Les Saintes Maries de
Mer, or just outside it in the historic city of Arles.
the summer months, Brittany
several airports and also its ferry services from Plymouth or
Portsmouth, is easily acessible for a short break. Two towns worth
heading for are Saint Malo on the north coast, with its historic walled
city and its several tourist attractions is one good short break
destination. Another, on the south coast, is the charming small fishing
port of Concarneau, with again an old walled city, and plenty of
beaches. From Concarneau there are also trips out to the
Nord and Pas de Calais area
Finally, it is important not to forget the
opportunities for self-drive short breaks in the North of France,
making the most of the short break fares offered by the main ferry
companies, or even of a train
from London. Within the area, both Calais and LIlle
can be reached by
direct train services from London St Pancras, Calais in less than an
hour, Lille in about 1h20.
Within easy striking distance of Calais is the
d'Opale, with its chalk cliffs, long sandy beaches, and seaside resorts
which are not entirely different from those on the English side of the
Channel... though French, and far less crowded. The small port city of
Boulogne is home to
Nausicaä, the French national sea centre, which is a major
oceanographic centre and aquarium. A bit further inland are the sites
of historic battles that have been key moments in the life of
France and England. Agincourt, Crécy, the Somme and other
from the Great War.
For more ideas, see North of France
Short breaks in France
Gone are the days . when everything was shut in France on
Sundays. Nowadays, most businesses and places that depend on tourism
open on sundays, at least on Sunday morning. Museums and tourist
attractions do good business on Sundays, and shops have their best day
Some restaurants may be closed on Sunday evening,
but in tourist areas and cities, others will be open.
In addition, except in the peak summer seasons, many hotels,
specially the chains that cater a lot for business and professional
travellers, offer better rates over the weekend than during the week.
Click to find a choice of hotels from Booking.com in or near best
weekend-break towns in France.
an affiliate partner of Booking.com and may
receive commission on sales
Horse riding in the Camargue natural park wetlands area
On the coastal footpath between Calais and Boulogne
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