For a French trip less than 4 hours away from Paris

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For a French trip less than 4 hours away from Paris

Right out of Paris, the change of scenery is already guaranteed! Air France Travel Guide takes you to the nicest regions close to the capital, to discover about French heritage.

For a French trip less than 4 hours away from Paris

Maritime getaway in Normandy

As a favoured weekend destination for many Parisians, Normandy is that rare gem, only a two-hour drive from the capital. Escape to Normand territory for a day or more...

Spiritual retreat at the Mont-Saint-Michel

About 220 miles from Paris on the shores of the Chanel, the Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy rises up to the skies, circled by the sea during high tide. You will have to wait for a low tide to cross the sandy stretches that separate the islet from the land. Favour a guided tour to learn about the history of the place: ever since 708 AD, the Mount has been dedicated to Saint Michael. Walk the streets and enter the various shops and museums before reaching the Benedictine Abbey at the top, which is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For a change of perspective, discover the "Wonder of the Western World" from the air. Go for an ultralight or autogyro flight and admire Mont Saint-Michel as never before, between heaven and earth. Intense emotions guaranteed!

Book your exclusive flight over Mont St-Michel

Where to eat?
There is no way around lunch at La Mère Poulard. A true institution of Mont-Saint-Michel since 1888, the restaurant is located at the town entrance. The chef keeps on using the recipes of yesteryears, making La Mère Poulard the successful establishment it is now. Secrets in the making of dishes like the omelette cooked over wood fire are very well kept!

La Mère Poulard
Grande Rue
50170 Le Mont-Saint-Michel
+33 (0)2 33 89 68 68

Where to sleep?
On the road to the abbey, the Saint-Pierre Inn is nestled in a 15th century wooden house listed as historical monument. The inside is made of period furniture, and the 23 rooms it holds give out incredible charm and warm atmosphere.

Auberge Saint-Pierre
Grande Rue
50170 Le Mont-Saint-Michel
+33 (0)2 33 60 14 03


For a French trip less than 4 hours away from Paris

Romantic lunch in Honfleur

Less than 120 miles separate Paris from Honfleur and a romantic day by the sea. You'll make the best of your stay by walking and losing yourself along its charming alleys according to your mood. In one street, you'll visit the Eugène Boudin Museum that houses lovely impressionist paintings. In some others, you'll find old open-air washing places, enchanting boutiques and art galleries.
There's one thing you'll keep hearing though: do not miss the Vieux Bassin harbour. The Sainte-Catherine Quay is brimming with restaurants, and you'd be well advised to stop there for lunch. What will it be: oysters or mussels and fries?

Where to eat?
Behind its nice blue walls, Au P'tit Mareyeur's dining room looks quite chic. Seafood is king here: oysters, fish stew, fish soup or mackerel fillets are only some of the various local dishes available on the menu. This could be the perfect address for an intimate candlelit dinner.

Au P'tit Mareyeur
4, rue Haute
14600 Honfleur
+33 (0)2 31 98 84 23

Where to sleep?
Two steps away from the city centre on the road to Deauville, discover the M Hôtel for a break far from tourist crowds. This hotel is comprised of 50 rooms and offers simple yet elegant decoration. In the summer, the garden is a haven of rest where to enjoy the sun. And no matter the weather, the spa is always appreciated. So are the covered pool, sauna and hammam, where it is possible to reconnect with yourself and feel the harmony between body and mind.

M Hôtel
62, cours Albert Manuel
14600 Honfleur
+33 (0)2 31 89 41 77


For a French trip less than 4 hours away from Paris

Brittany: the far end of the world really close by

Just like Poseidon's trident, Brittany displays long and steep coastlines and granitic coves. Beyond the blasts of wind gushed by the Greek god, it has built unique heritage and history.

Saint-Malo, citadel of adventurers

At the western tip of Old Europe, the Emerald Coast boldly leans forward into the troubled waters of the Atlantic Ocean. From Cancale's iodic scents to the Cap Fréhel's pink sandstone peninsula, the Côte d'Emeraude unveils the lush vegetation of shores constantly renewed by spectacular tides. On the banks of the Rance River, you'll follow the steps of ancient seafarers finding shelter beyond the Saint-Malo fortress wall.

Where to eat?
What about giving Breton gastronomy a try? In a genuine 17th century house, L'Absinthe's chef prepares langoustine royale in a beetroot sorbet, black seabream grilled in fresh herbs crust and poached fish in lemon balm nage.

1, rue de l'Orme
35400 Saint-Malo
+33 (0)2 99 40 26 15

Where to sleep?
From your New World-style bedroom, you'll gaze at the bright sunbeams setting over fine sandy beaches. And right after, a few breaststrokes in heated pool as well as a thorough massage session performed by one of the establishment's virtuoso beauticians will be the only things on your mind.

Le Nouveau Monde
64, chaussée du Sillon
35400 Saint-Malo
+33 (0)2 99 40 75 14


For a French trip less than 4 hours away from Paris

Dinard, a showcase of archaic elegance

Ever since the Belle Epoque period, elegant Dinard has been filled with sumptuous villas and hotels. As a very coveted seaside resort, the most English of all Breton cities still retains the nostalgic charm of beach huts and invites Picasso's bathers to roam the sand stretches for a shore fishing session.

Where to eat?
La Vallée is the gastronomic restaurant of the eponymous hotel, located close by in Dinard's lively city centre. The scent of squid risotto, crab pie and abalone a la plancha mix with the sea breeze, deliciously cooling off the lovely terrace.

La Vallée
6, avenue George V
35800 Dinard
+33 (0)2 99 46 94 00

Where to sleep?
As an oasis of freshness anchored to the sea, Castelbrac Hotel presents numerous attractive features: with the promise of charming mornings in bed, you'll sleep in elegant rooms lulled by the sound of crashing waves. Around the hotel, a long Clearwater pool seems to dive headfirst into the Prieuré Bay.

17, avenue George V
35800 Dinard
+33 (0)2 99 80 30 00


For a French trip less than 4 hours away from Paris

Excursion in Champagne region, close to golden bubbles

Have you ever walked the roads of the Champagne region, full of religious structures, genuine villages and prestigious wine cellars? If not, it is about time you do so.

Exploration of sparkling vineyards

Every two seconds, a champagne bottle is uncorked in the world. This sparkling wine conquered all countries, which is admittedly only fair. Why don't you explore the vast Champagne plains covered in vineyards, region where the golden drink originated? There, hillsides, houses and cellars have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites in the “cultural landscapes” category.
From the most famous to the anonymous ones, various farms open you their doors: Taittinger invites you to discover its historical land and 60-feet deep wine cellars dug in limestone. The visit ends with refreshing wine tastings. In Epernay, the Maison Charles Mignon also offers a guided tour of the cellars and storehouses for a champagne tasting.

Click here to book your exclusive tour of Champagne cellars

9, rue Saint-Nicaise
51100 Reims
+33 (0)3 26 85 45 35

Charles Mignon
6-7, rue Irène Joliot-Curie
51203 Épernay
+33 (0)3 26 58 33 33


For a French trip less than 4 hours away from Paris

Reims, in search of the “city of kings”

As a major city of the east of France, Reims is a must-go-to during your stay in the Champagne region. Besides various vineyards and cellars – open for visitors, you should not miss the cathedral. Larger than Notre-Dame-de-Paris, it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage monument. It was also the scene of many Carolingian kings' crownings, hence the origin of the “city of kings” nickname. After your visit of the religious buildings, head over to the Palace of Tau, the former house of the Archbishop. Wander the old streets, sit in one of the city's numerous parks and gaze at the Art Deco buildings, rebuilt after World War II.

Where to eat?
In an ancient arched cellar of the city centre of Reims, L'Alambic restaurant's dining room showcases charming limestone walls. There, you'll enjoy local specialities that will not leave you indifferent: on the meat side, guinea fowl stuffed in mustard from Reims and for fish some smoked haddock over champagne sauerkraut.

Click here to book your exclusive tour of Reims

63 bis, rue de Chativesle
51100 Reims
+33 (0)3 26 35 64 93

Where to sleep?
Next to Reims in Tinqueux, L'Assiette Champenoise restaurant-hotel took residence in an old and imposing town house that has been totally renovated. The building retained its appeal as the inside provides a luxurious and very contemporary universe. The 33 bright rooms and suites all open onto the outside. And you'll especially love the covered and heated swimming pool which you can use at night.

L'Assiette Champenoise
40, avenue Paul-Vaillant-Couturier
51430 Tinqueux
+33 (0)3 26 84 64 64


For a French trip less than 4 hours away from Paris

In the light of ancient wonders

As you criss-cross the Loire region through the brooms and jasmine flowers of “France's garden”, you will discover the Renaissance architecture of the Blois, Chenonceau and Chambord castles.

Be the king in Val de Loire

Less than 150 miles separate Paris from the first Châteaux of the Loire valley. Brimming with castles, the region conjures up the prosperous times of the Kingdom of France. Dozens of monuments are scattered along the riverbanks and other waterways. Some are more famous than others, but they're all well worth a visit.
Let's start with the Royal Château de Blois, where you will learn about the region's history, which is the perfect way to start the visit. Carry on with Ambroise, where Leonardo Da Vinci is buried, alongside François I, who had him summoned from Italy. Next stop could be Chenonceau, elegantly hanging over the Cher River. End the trip with Chambord, the beauty and dimension of which are beyond any other. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Château de Chambord stands proud in front of French gardens. Climb up the beautiful spiral staircase and unravel its mysteries. You may find yourself back to the Renaissance period and, through one corridor or another, feel like rubbing shoulders with kings and queens.

Click here to book your hot-air ballon flight over the castles

Where to eat?

With a kitchen that opens onto the dining room, you'll enjoy watching chef Christophe Hay passionately prepare local specialities. Comfortably seated in a contemporary setting, it will be hard to choose between pike perch comfit and blackcurrant duckling, as both happen to be delicious.

La Maison d'à Côté
17, rue de Chambord
41350 Montlivault
+33 (0)2 54 20 62 30

Where to sleep?
To live like royalty, book a suite at the Château du Breuil, not far from Cheverny. This 4-star hotel offers 16 rooms and 2 suites, all ideal when you want nothing else but daydream for a couple of days. You can't resist its charm, filled with a sense of history, as every room is decorated with period furniture. The castle stands amid a 45-hectare park, giving you the opportunity to freely roam the premises.

Château du Breuil
23, route de Fougères
41700 Cheverny
+33 (0)2 54 44 20 20


For a French trip less than 4 hours away from Paris

From l'Isle to Lille, at the start of a winding story

Besieged many times during the past centuries, Lille retained traces of battles fought. They forged its character and made it one of the most beautiful cities in France today.

Discovering Lille and its mysteries

120 miles north of Paris, Lille, capital of Flanders still unsung, has many hidden treasures to share with you: the Grand-Place is a must go-to, and so is the nearby Place du Théâtre, showcasing the beautiful façade of the opera house. Give in to the locals' friendliness who'll always welcome you with a large smile. Stroll around the paved streets of the old town, step in many independently run boutiques and sit at a terrace for a locally-brewed beer. Religiously enter the Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille Cathedral, bearing so contemporary a look that one could forget about its nature. Further away, you'll stumble on the Passage des Trois Anguilles, the narrowest street of the city: will you dare go in?
Two steps away, the citadel offers a large natural setting to all runners and families looking for an outdoor activity. This is the perfect spot to breathe in nature's fresh air as the city seems to be so far away...

Where to eat?
For an unusual kind of lunch or dinner, head for the Bloempot, a small address hidden in the old town. In this ancient millwork adorned with brick walls, Florent Ladeyn cooks a simple cuisine, inspired by nature. Menus change according to available products, and you will be able to taste some leeks en croûte, stir-fried scallops and escargot tartlets for instance.

22, rue des Bouchers
59800 Lille

Where to sleep?
In the heart of Old Lille, the Clarance Hotel welcomes you in a private mansion built in the 18th century and is a member of Relais & Châteaux. The antique architecture of the buildings perfectly mixes with modern decoration. Each of the 19 bedrooms and suites displays distinct features and original artwork. It is even possible to visit temporary exhibitions by contemporary artists amid the hotel.

Clarance Hotel
32, rue de la Barre
59000 Lille
+33 (0)3 59 36 35 59