Distilling France

France is one of those countries so packed full of amazing places to visit that it’s hard to know where to begin. Well, obviously Paris must feature, but beyond there it took a whole lot of research to get a taste of most of the regions. The amazing thing about France is that I could have chosen completely different destinations and it would still be a truly unforgettable journey.

Because of the shape of the country and location of the highlights, I planned this itinerary in a kind of wobbly ‘C’ shape, to make the most efficient use of time. Fortunately France has an excellent rail network, making getting about easy. As with all my itineraries, there are places you may wish to miss out and others you may wish to spend more time in – what I’ve done here is choose the sort of holiday I would want to do.

There are occasional surprising challenges when creating these itineraries. For this one the surprise was how hard it is to find a way to get from central Paris to Versailles. Eventually I discovered that the Paris Metro site was the best place to plan this. Blissfully more complex journeys were easier to plan, thanks to the excellent SNCF who can combine a few changes and a couple of different forms of transport to make a relatively simple hop from A to B to C to D.

There will inevitably be people’s favourite places that I miss out on this itinerary, but it’s designed as a flexible guide. Plus, with so many places to see and such little time, I’ve had to compromise on what is included. But this country, and this itinerary, has it all, from ancient cities to snowy mountains, from metropolitan Paris to Mediterranean beaches. Bon voyage!

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