WESTERN LOIRE (PAYS DE LA LOIRE). Home to some 500 winemakers and renowned for its magnificent châteaux, this coastal French tourism region produces some of the world's most distinguished wines and liqueurs.
At Château de Brissac, one of many hotels offering honeymoon specials, a couple can enjoy two nights in a suite, two four-course dinners, a guided tour of the château, a bottle of Champagne, and a hot-air balloon ride. Regional attractions include the 76-panel "Apocalypse" tapestry, woven 1375-1380 and displayed in the château at Angers, and Nantes' Musée des Beaux Arts, which exhibits masterpieces by Ingres, Tintoretto, de la Tour, and others great painters.
ILE-DE-FRANCE. With Paris as its center, this 100-mile wide island encircles the heart of France. Here is where visitors find Versailles, Chartres Cathedral, Givernyand even Disneyland Paris.
SOUTHERN FRANCE: FROM THE MOUNTAINS TO THE SEA
What's your pleasure: Mountains beaches medieval villages meandering valleys perfumed by ripening grapes? From coast to coast, this large, historic French tourism region has it all.
AQUITAINE. Stretching from the Atlantic down to Spain, the Aquitaine's beaches include fashionable Biarritz, a chic resort getaway since the 19th century. Bordeaux, the capital and center of wine-making, boasts broad, stately avenues perfect for romantic strolls. La Maison, outside the city, has an interactive museum that illuminates the history of fine wine and culminates with a tasting.
MIDI-PYRÉNÉES. Sweeping north from the towering Pyrénées down to rolling farmland, this relatively undiscovered province introduces visitors to yet another side of France. Its ancient city of Toulouse (birthplace of Toulouse-Lautrec) is a charming mix of French and Spanish influences.
Important landmarks date as far back as the 11th-century St-Sernin Basilica, Europe's largest Romanesque church. And its rosy-hued Renaissance quarter is truly enchanting. Yet the city's far from antiquated: A large student population continually energizes Toulouse.
Unforgettable Memories in Southern France
- Admiring works by Titian, Rubens, and Delacroix in Bordeaux's Musée of Beaux Arts
- Skiing Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, site of the first Winter Olympic Games
- Marveling at Dordogne's painted caves that date back 20,000 years
- Skinny-dipping in a naturist village
- Gathering lunch from cheeses and other delicacies in Lyons' central market
- Touring a factory that blends chocolate into bars as complex as wine
- Exploring the Perigord from a horse-drawn carriage
LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON. Skirting the Mediterranean between Provence and Spain, this sunny southern region boasts 125 miles of coastline. Here you can experience modern seaside resorts and marinas as well as ancient forts and castles. Couples who have always wanted to swim au naturel will find secure spots to do so. For something completely different, consider renting your own houseboat.
RHÔNE-ALPS. For some reason, food always tastes better in the mountains. And this region is home to Western Europe's highest peak, Mont Blanc. If you love to ski, the French Alps' 17 major areas-including world-famous Chamonix, Val d'Isère, and Grenoble-provide world-class calorie-burning challenges.
In warmer seasons, scenic hikes and nature photography also help work up an appetite for the region's bounty. (Lyon, France's second city, is a culinary capital in its own right.) Feast on locally made preserves, honey, mouth-watering bacon, France's widest selection of cheeses, and lively beaujolais and Rhône wines.
Luxury Lodgings & Tours for Lovers in Southern France
French Tourism Regions
All About France