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Luxury Travel

France in Focus

Join us as we turn the spotlight on our closest neighbour, France, and its many wonders, from shining cities (Bordeaux shown above) to peaceful countryside and striking coastlines.

This is a feature from Issue 20 of Charitable Traveller Magazine.

France is having a moment. A year-long moment, as 2024 is packed with big events and anniversaries. Top of the agenda is Paris hosting the Olympics and the Paralympics this summer, but also vying for attention is the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy and the 150th anniversary of the birth of the impressionist art movement.
Expect a visual feast at every location that inspired this influential group – the port of Le Harve and the gardens of Giverny, both in Normandy, for Monet, the island of Chatou near Paris for Renoir (and others), and Sainte-Victoire mountain in Provence for Cézanne. But what of the rest of the country? France – the second most popular destination for Brits to visit on holiday after Spain – is over twice the size of the UK yet with a similarly sized population, so there’s a lot of space to explore. 
Avoid the millions queuing to climb the Eiffel Tower and instead consider visiting some of the lesser-known corners of the country. Make the most of the €49 summer rail pass launching this year and travel to Nîmes to see Maison Carrée, a Roman temple built in the 1st century AD, or to Toulouse and the newly transformed Halles de la Cartoucherie full of local food suppliers.
Try some slow tourism either cycling some of the country’s 20,000km of cycle routes (the Vélodyssée, Vélomaritime and Loire a Vélo), navigating Europe’s largest river network (no licence is required to rent a barge or houseboat), or following the nature trail on Ile St-Aubin to the north of Angers. Escape to national parks, mountains and forests – the newest addition is the Forêts National Park in Burgundy, home to 50 million trees and 200km of hiking trails. Read on to discover more of France this year.