Explore Locally this summer with these Top 5 routes around France

By Giulia Saccone, Marketing Manager France

Summer is here and we have been looking forward to this moment when we can begin traveling again.

Travel this summer is going to be closer to home, with local vacations and reconnecting with loved ones. To inspire your local travels, my team and I have put together some of the most beautiful routes from around France.

1: Historic Normandy

The key features of a RoadTrip adventure - striking natural beauty and historical sites - await you on this intensive exploration of Normandy! On top of five amiable medieval Norman towns this route encompasses both breathtaking panoramic vistas and poignant WWII sites.

After exploring the charming cobblestoned Rouen - Normandy’s capital - head for the coast and a stop at the jaw-dropping chalk cliffs of Étretat. Make sure you hike up to get a spectacular view of the dramatic arches in the sea. On your way to Caen visit Honfleur, an enchanting picturesque port city. Caen marks the start of the World War II-themed stretch of this trip. The Caen Memorial Museum is considered the best WWII museum in France and serves as an excellent introduction to the D-Day Normandy landings. Before driving to D-Day beaches, consider a stop in Granville, where the 70-meter, eleventh-century Bayeux Tapestry is on display. The trip ends at the fairytale-like Mont Saint-Michel where the famous and mysterious tidal island will undoubtedly blow your mind.

See the full route.

2: Routes des Caps

The little known Cotentin peninsula features magnificent panoramas of the ocean and remote Norman villages. This route, from Cap de la Hague to Cap Carteret, offers many opportunities to stop off and explore the scenic surroundings on foot.

Start your journey in Cherbourg and head for Cap de la Hague before visiting Goury’s glorious lighthouse. The highest chalk cliff (128 m) in France is located in Nez Jobourg and offers the intrepid views of the Channel Islands. Should you want to stretch your legs a little more, many beach hikes depart from here. If you are up for a swim, you will pass plenty of welcoming beaches before arriving to Cap Carteret, your journey’s final destination.

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3: Verdon Gorge

This route is not for the faint of heart! The circuit zigzags up and down the spectacular gorge of Verdon, which is deservedly referred to as the “Grand Canyon of Europe”. While traversing the most picturesque French villages, expect tons of thrilling hairpin turns, steep drops, and narrow roads clinging to limestone cliffs. Accenting the natural beauty this RoadTrip is the striking turquoise of the meandering Verdon River.

Start your journey in Castellane and head for Point Sublime, a celebrated vantage point overlooking the river canyon. Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, often described as being among France’s most beautiful towns, is a wonderful place to stop for coffee. This RoadTrip would not be complete without a dip in the water at Les Salles sur-Verdon. Enjoy one before heading back to Castellane, just on the other side of this incredible canyon

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4: Mont Ventoux

Known for its challenging Tour de France climbs and moonscape terrains, the road to the “Giant of Provence” should not be missed.

This 21.5 km route goes up the north face of Mont Ventoux, starting from Malaucène. Classed by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve for its diverse flora and fauna, this area at the foot of the mountain is sure to delight you. The winding road takes you through magical lavender fields and dense forests before the dramatic bare limestone mountain comes into view. Pull over at the observation deck for some amazing 360-degree panoramas before descending down to Sault.

Please note: Mont Ventoux is often battered by wind and rainstorms so do take care to plan your travel around favorable weather.

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5: Route Thermale

This RoadTrip through Auvergne is the perfect combination of astonishing nature, wellness, and cultural heritage. Your journey winds its way through lush rolling hills and connects seven gorgeous wellness resorts, among Napoleon’s favorites. Travel through Europe's largest regional parks, comprised of 80 volcanic domes and craters and countless natural springs. If spas and spa treatments are not your thing, the inspired architecture of the region will surely delight you. The trip ends in Vichy, the queen of all spa towns.

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For exclusive tips on how to plan the perfect summer staycation, click or tap here.