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The Best Of France: An Offbeat View

This is where you'll find the best of France: the best of everything, from food to destinations to culture.

But you'll find it differently.

The 'best of France' is such a subjective concept... your best and my best will often be different. My best cheese will be Comté and yours Roquefort; or my best city Lyon and yours Paris... 

How do you compare Chenonceau and Chambord? Or Dior and Chanel? Burgundy and Bordeaux?

You can't. You simply accept the superlatives, dive into them, and look for another side, another story.

So without further ado...

France's Most Attractive Cities with an Urban Buzz 

France is known for its stunning villages, but its cities are equally gorgeous. These 20 urban venues are either physically beautiful or have a brilliant urban buzz. Some of these cities will be familiar to you, but there's a good chance a lot of them will be new.

The Three Most Beautiful Cities in France (that aren't Paris)

France has dozens of beautiful cities, even stunning ones. But even among these, three stand out for their particular character, history, harmoniousness – and the secrets and intrigues that hide behind them.

France's Most Famous Landmarks

There's so much to see in France, sometimes it's impossible to know where to start! Some landmarks, indeed icons, are unmissable. At some point, on some trip, you'll have to visit these (and many more!)

15 Magical Roman Ruins in France

If you're a lover of Antiquity and fascinated by Ancient Rome, these ruins are for you. France, or Gaul as it was known, was conquered by the Roman Empire. As they tended to do, the Romans moved right in, started building, and, eventually, left plenty behind.

12 Unexpected Places You Might Not Know in France

Feel like avoiding the crowds but don't want to miss some glorious sights? Here's where the French go on holiday, places you may not have had a chance to explore yet.

11 Unusual Christmas Markets in France

France is home to dozens of fabulous Christmas markets, but at some point it may become difficult to choose which one to visit. I've singled out 11 of the most unusual for you, fairs that have something special no one else can claim.

France's Most Beautiful Villages

France is known for its beautiful villages, its gorgeous rural scenery and its picturesque cobblestoned streets. But there's a story behind the most beautiful villages: just because a village is drop-dead gorgeous doesn't mean it qualifies as one of the most beautiful French villages.

France's Most Intriguing Abandoned Places

Not all our villages are beautiful. Some are ruins, abandoned for whatever reason in the past. Rather than drive by without even knowing where they are, have a look. It's a bit of a thrill, a slightly haunted feeling that emanates from the history left behind. You can even visit a few!

France's Best Flea Markets

Say 'flea market' and Paris tends to spring to mind because yes, it does have the enormously delightful Puces de St Ouen, which I adore. But there are others across the country that can give it a run for its money. Picture this: a giant flea market on the lawns of Chambord Castle. Perfect, right?

That's right: I'll still provide the lists and highlights, but I'm going to provide offbeat, unusual and sometimes mysterious backstory, details that will pique your curiosity or make you want to revisit a much-loved site. Like these, for example...

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