While I was living in Munich, I made it my business to see as much of Europe as I could. Now that I am living in France, I am making it my business to see as much of France as I can. The reasons for this are several: for one thing, now that I live in Paris (which may be many things but not cheap!) the purse strings have been tightened; but for another thing, France has always been one of the countries that appeals to me the most in terms of tourism.
I mean, what’s not to love? There’s really something here for everyone: cities steeped in history and culture; castles; vineyards; mountains; beaches.. And apparently I’m not the only one to think so. Despite the attacks last year, France was still the country visited by the most international people (the number even rose by 3%).
Next Friday I will take a week of summer vacation, and it was really tough to decide my first destination outside of Paris. In the end I chose… (drumroll).. Normandy! Having already been to Nice and the Côte d’Azur at the end of last year, I knew I wanted to see the Northern beaches this time. For quite some time I thought I would chose Brittany, but then at the last moment I was drawn to Normandy instead.
Although this will be my last real holiday until I go back to Australia over Christmas (In France you only have the right to eight days leave in your first year, and then basically eight weeks every year after that :/) I already have a bit of a bucket list going.
As a huge fan of Impressionist art, I have been totally hanging out to visit this village where Claude Monet lived, in particular his house and the adjoining garden where he painted his famous water lily series. Just over an hour away from Paris, I have been meaning to do this day trip for ages, but it hasn’t quite happened yet.
Another stop-off on the Impressionist-groupie trail, this coastal town of Northern France has been the subject of many artworks from around that time. Luckily I won’t have to wait very long to see it, as I will make a day trip there during my Normandy holiday.
By contrast, this is one part of Normandy that I think I will have to hold out to see. And the reason is simply that I didn’t stumble across this picture on Pinterest until I had already booked my train tickets :(. It reminds me a bit of the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, right?
#4: Mt St Michel
Take one look at this majestic island commune (also in Northern France) and it will hardly surprise you that is one of France’s most heavily visited sites. But it is also one of it’s smallest sites, and it is for this reason that I will wait until a little bit later in the year to check it out.
#5: St Malo
Once I finally get to Brittany, this cute little coastal city is definitely one of the first places I will head to.
One of my favourite methods for researching future travel destinations is to chuck a couple of keywords into Pinterest. When I first searched for “Brittany” in Pinterest I came across this picture, and knew it had to be added to the bucket list.
#7: Chateau de Chambord
I have always dreamed of visiting one of the French castles is the Loire, the only question that remained was which? I’ve heard a lot about Chateau de Chenonceau (and for sure one day I would like to visit it too) but I don’t know - there’s just something about Chateau de Chambord that calls to me more.
I’ve always been a bit perplexed about a French city that looks like a German one. I mean, if that’s what you feel like, why not just go to Germany? But that’s before I realised that the only thing better than a German city, is a German city with FRENCH FOOD!!! (Also, one of the nicest people I have met in Paris so far is originally from there, and she has very kindly invited me to go and stay with her family next time she goes there).
For most of my life all I knew about Corsica was that Napoleon was born there (and to be very honest I was always a little bit confused as to whether it was indeed a part of France). Put quite simply, this island in the Mediterranean (which IS a part of France) looks just divine. Next time I have a week off (maybe next summer) you will find me sunning myself here!
To be fair, I have already been to Bordeaux. In fact I turned 16 there while I was on a three months high school exchange program. I recently got back in touch with my host sister Charlotte and am in discussions to visit her and her lovely mother when I next get the chance.
So what do you think of the bucket list? What would you put on yours?