I’m a Francophile at heart. I’ve been in France for the summer holidays at least twice a year for the past decade. I came to France on a packaged tour more than 20 years ago and loved it.
For some reason, I felt very much at home in Nice. I could easily live there. We spend most of our summer holidays in the south of France. I also shot the region and Alsace on several photography campaigns last year.
This year for me has been characterised by many adventures in France for the summer holidays. I hopped on a flight to Bordeaux on a whim after a job. After all, I was already at the airport. I stayed a couple of nights in the beautiful St Emilion as well.
I was also back in Provence this summer to visit a friend. We went on road trips to Gordes, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Simiane and Aix-en-Provence. After numerous trips to Côte d’Azur and Provence, I tend to book an apartment with a view via Airbnb. I now take it easy. I love having a coffee leisurely on the balcony and then heading out to a nearby boulangerie and market.
Every region in France is so different in terms of dialect, cuisine and history. Take the Nice or Alsace region for example where both have been fought over by different countries and changed hands on many occasions.
I’ve been very lucky to have made friends, either through work or through friends of friends, who’d settled in the south of France. Technology has certainly made it easier to keep in touch more than ever before.
Best Places to Spend the Summer Holidays in France
Côte d’Azur and Provence have a special place in my heart. I love Nice and Antibes too. My favourite thing to do is hop on the Number #100 bus and soak up the view. The bus ride along the coastal road between Nice and Monaco is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular panoramic rides in the world and it costs a mere €1.50.
It’s difficult to take a bad photo because the towns are so picturesque and charming. The area has a laid back vibe yet it’s also cosmopolitan. Nice airport is minutes from the town centre and less than two hours from London. I can get off the plane, grab an Uber and be at my rented apartment within 30 minutes if there’s no traffic.
I have countless wonderful memories in France having spent many summer holidays there. I once wandered into the Louis Vuitton boutique in Saint Germain des Pres many years ago. The sales associate (a history buff) regaled fascinating stories about the building and boutique which was once part of an ancient abbey.
World-Class Art, Architecture & Cuisine
I did what most tourists do on my first two trips to France. I ran around like a lunatic trying to visit every well known tourist attraction listed in a guidebook.
Rather than monuments, my favourite things to do in France are having a picnic by Canal St Martin, wandering aimlessly in St Germain des Pres, visiting Garden Exotique d’Eze and wiling hours away inside Musée Rodin.
When it comes to cuisine, I struggle with the cold sandwiches and quick lunches in the U.K. I really appreciate how the French take lunch very seriously. It’s a proper sit down affair where there’s generally an entree, then a main dish followed by dessert or cheese and coffee. You chat, catch up and savour your food. I love that.
One of the most mind-blowing gastronomic experiences I’ve ever had would probably have to be at Le Prieuré in Viilleneuve les Avignon – a five-star hotel and fine dining restaurant with a 1 Michelin Star.
Tips to Enjoy your Summer Holidays in France
France is easy to get around. Trains are clean, punctual and well connected between major cities. The smaller towns and villages are less accessible via public transportation so do allow more time if you’d rather not rent a car.
The French culture is more formal and they place a huge importance on social etiquette. It’s vital to learn a few simple greetings in French. So remember to say bonjour/bonsoir when you walk into a shop and merci and au revoir when you leave.
Thanks for reading my article on dreamy summer holidays in France. I hope it has inspired you to visit one day! Please feel free to get in touch with me for any further information. I’m always happy to help 🙂
About Me: Marlene Lee
I’m an ex telecoms engineer turned photographer. I was born in Borneo and then shipped off to New Zealand to further my studies. Most Kiwis and Aussies do an O.E (Overseas Experience) in their 20’s and I was no different. Europe felt like a world away and I was fascinated by the continent.
I was lucky that the company I was working for at the time allowed me to take a four month sabbatical. So I spent eight months preparing for my big O.E by studying Greek (I backpacked around Greece for two months) and learning all about the countries I was traveling to — their history, art, culture, etc. I borrowed piles of books and devoured them all.
I also didn’t want to waste the opportunity to document my once in a lifetime trip. My dad took pity on me and loaned me his beat up Pentax compact camera. Photography made me slow down and observe details.
Interestingly enough, the camera became a tool which opened the door to meeting locals. I photographed everyone that I met. The more I traveled and photographed in that four months, the more curious I became about the different cultures around the world.