Classical and elegant, yet bold and brilliant, the city of Bordeaux has something for everyone. If you love wine, it’s among the best in the world. If you love food, there is foie gras and canelés. If you love history, Bordeaux is a potent mix of the medieval, the Renaissance and the modern. In fact, walk around the city and you’ll find almost half of it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. For those of you like me who adore their history, here are the best things to do and see in Bordeaux.
There are so many beautiful châteaux in the Loire Valley, it’s difficult to choose which to visit. The Royal Château of Blois is not the prettiest, but it has been the home of no less than seven French kings and ten queens, and its imposing architecture represents four distinct architectural periods. “The châteaux of few country towns can boast so many and so important events, so long a list of illustrious inmates, or so large a collection of historical recollections, as that of Blois”.
There are some places you visit as a tourist which fill you with sadness and despair at the atrocities committed by men. Oradour-sur-Glane is one of these places. Once a peaceful village in the countryside, in 1944 it was changed forever after one of the most barbarous acts by German soldiers in France in World War II – a massacre in which 642 men, women and children were shot or burnt to death in the local church.
For over 200 years the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg, or Strasbourg Cathedral, was the tallest structure in the world. When you stand at its doors and glance upwards, the carved Gothic figures tell you a story, they bring to life the medieval world in which they were created. The Strasbourg Cathedral was one of the first in France I visited, and it has left a lasting impression.
Rising majestically from the banks of the river Gardon, the Pont du Gard is the highest Roman aqueduct in the world. It was the most significant section of a 50 kilometre long aqueduct which channeled water from the Eure springs near Uzès to Nîmes, or Nemausus as it was known to the Romans. Built halfway through the first century AD, its three levels reach 49 metres above the river. That it still stands today, almost 2000 years after its construction, is a…
Often called the Sistine Chapel of cave art, the Grotte de Lascaux, or Lascoux Cave, is one of very few places in the world you can come face to face with prehistoric paintings. It is located in the Vézère Valley in the Dordogne department in France and was occupied over thousands of years by paleolithic hunter-gatherers, until the end of the Ice Age.
Come and spend a day, a week, a month on the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Morbihan, and escape to the île d’Arz. ‘Mor bihan’ means ‘little sea’ in the local Breton language, and there are around 40 isles and islets scattered in this magical body of water. L’île d’Arz is only four km long and 3km wide, but is still one of the larger isles in the gulf. Cars are limited, and the only way there is
You’ve more than likely heard of Stonehenge, but have you heard of the megalithic stones of Carnac? In fact, the mysterious stones of Carnac are one of the largest megalithic sites in the world. Where are they? Carnac is in the region of Brittany, in the northwest of France. More specifically, Carnac is in the Gulf of Morbihan, which has one of the most beautiful coastlines in France. It’s only about 500km from Paris, and there is so much to…