Famous Places in France – Top Ten

March 15th, 2012 No Comments   Posted in Art History

There are so many famous places in France, that it would be impossible to see them all in one trip. If this is your first visit to France, the options can seem overwhelming…where do you go? Which are the best places to see?

Here is a snapshot of some of the most famous places in France that you, or your family and friends might like to visit – depending on your interests, whether this is historical sites, museums, areas of natural beauty or food and wine.

If you are spending a couple of weeks here you could easily visit most of the places listed below. It will be a whirlwind trip, but is certainly doable and you will have many wonderful memories.

Some of the most famous places in France are in Paris!

1. La Tour Eiffel

The Eiffel Tower, built in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel for the Universal Exposition, is without a doubt one of the most popular tourist attractions in France.

It’s amazing to think that the Eiffel Tower was, for a time, seen as an eyesore and even ugly; it was almost knocked down in 1909.

2. Musée du Louvre

The Louvre museum, once a royal palace, is now one of the most well known art museums in the world, featuring paintings such as the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, as well as spectacular artworks by Michelangelo, Raphael and, Botticelli.

3. Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris

Next in line is the beautiful Gothic cathedral, Notre Dame, built from the around 1163 to 1345, visited by more than 12 million people a year, and one of the most famous french monuments.

4. Arc du Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe and magnificent Ave des Champs-Elysées, are spectacular to see. The Arc was commissioned by Napoloeon to commemorate the victories of his armies; the tomb of France’s Unknown Soldier lies here, and every evening a memorial flame is lit.

5. Versailles

If you can, try and visit the Palace of Versailles, built during the reign of Louis XIV – known as the Sun King (Roi Soleil) to display his wealth and power of the monarchy at that time. Versailles can be easily reached as a day trip from Paris. It is without question, absolutely spectacular, and one of the most dazzling things you will probably every see.

6. Mont St Michel

Mont St Michel is one of the most recognisable landmarks in France, located just off the coast of Normandy. In fact, it is the next most visited site after Paris!

Its hard not to be awed by the sight of Mont St Michel, with its Gothic-style Benedictine Abbey perched high above a rocky outcrop.

7. Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc (meaning white mountain in French) is the highest mountain in the Alps, lying between Italy and France. Chamonix is here, the site of the first Winter Olympics, and one of the most popular places to visit in France for skiing.

Even if you’re not planning to ski, it’s well worth a visit.

You can take the Aiguille de Midi cable car for spectacular views of the mountains. Definitely one of the highest (and probably one of the most exhilarating – or scary, depending on which way you look at it) – cablecar rides you’ll take!

8. Chateaux de la Loire

The Loire Valley, playground to royalty from the 15th through to the 18th centuries, boasts many beautiful renaissance chateaux.

There are several hundred castles in the Loire; some of the most popular are Château d´Amboise, Chambord, Chenonceau, Blois and Cheverny.

The Loire is also known for its fine wines too, and you can sample Muscadet, Sauvignon and many more.

Heading south, there are even more famous places in France.

9. Carcassonne

Carcassonne, in the Languedoc region, is Europe’s largest walled city and one of the finest examples of medieval architecture.

Carcassonne’s towers and pointed turrets look like they have come straight out of a fairy tale or Walt Disney movie. But there is no make believe here – it’s all for real. Carcassonne is also one of the most most popular french monuments.

10. Lascaux

Some of the finest prehistoric art collections can be found in southwest france.

The ancient cave paintings, drawings and carvings that you can see here are truly awe inspiring, some dating as far back as 35,000 years.

The Lascaux sites (now a replica) are very popular tourist attractions in france, and there are many others too that are worth visiting.

And last but not least: french food and wine. Wherever you go, you will be able to try local specialties, whether this is bouillabaisse in Marseille, camembert in Normandy, or foie gras in the Perigord.

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France – Leonardo Da Vinci’s Home by the Loire

January 14th, 2012 No Comments   Posted in Art History

In France during the reign of Louis XI (1107-1115), the Chateau du Clos-Luce was built on Gallo-Roman foundations. After completion, the king gave the residence of pink brick to his favorite, Etienne le Loup, a cook’s assistant he had ennobled. At that time, the estate was called the Manoir du Cloux and was surrounded by fortifications, the sole remnants of which are the remains of the watchtower. Etienne Le Loup also had a large dovecote which could house 500 pigeons; it is still intact at the bottom of the park.

When Charles VIII of France bought the chateau in July 1490, he made it a royal residence and it was to remain so for two centuries. While the Royal family and their Court continued to reside at the Château d’Amboise in the Loire Valley, their secondary residence was the Manoir du Cloux. Charles VIII had the chapel built here for the Queen, Anne de Bretagne, in mourning for her children who died young.

In later years, the young Duke of Angouleme, the future Francis I, organized war games in the gardens of the Clos-Lucé. The sister of Francis I, Marguerite de Navarre, wrote the first erotic stories of “L’Heptaméron” there. It was under Francis I that Le Clos-Lucé became the house symbolising the Renaissance movement in France. Francis I had painters, architects and poets, such as Clément Marot, brought here on the advice of his sister, all of whom were seeking royal protection. But Leonardo da Vinci was undoubtedly the greatest of those to cross the threshold of Le Clos Lucé.

Le Clos Lucé is one of the jewels of the Renaissance. It is the only chateau to have been built of both brick and tufa stone (with the exception of Le Plessis-les-Tours), extracted from the region’s quarries. It is also one of the best furnished residences in the Val de Loire. Apart from the hovel where he was born in Vinci, Le Clos Lucé was the only home of Leonardo da Vinci. In fact, Leonardo da Vinci spent his life between Florence, Milan and Rome, offering his services as engineer, architect and artist to the rulers of the day, who acted as his protectors. He lived at Le Clos Luce for 3 years and ended his days there.

It was in 1516 Francis I brought Leonardo da Vinci to the Château de Cloux and installed him there, again on the advice of his sister, Marguerite de Navarre. Leonardo da Vinci traveled across the Alps, carrying with him on muleback three of his most remarkable paintings. These were the Mona Lisa, St. Anne and St. John the Baptist, which he completed at Le Clos Lucé. A pension of 700 golden Ecus a year was granted him by the king and Leonardo was “free to think, dream and work”. Leonardo da Vinci was treated with real affection by Francis I who called him “my father”, his sister Marguerite and the whole Court. He found a very special inspiration there, which he passed on to his disciples, while teaching them his techniques. He did his utmost to pass on his knowledge to them until the end of his life.

A multidisciplinary genius, Leonardo da Vinci made some extraordinary scientific discoveries and invented machines that were four centuries in advance. Leonardo’s first interest was in the military domain, studying arms and machines of war. It seems he was the first to have had the idea of a submachine gun, at the time of the siege of Florence by the pontifical troops in 1470.

His studies extended to numerous domains, such as hydraulics, mechanics and aeronautics. After having observed birds for a long time and studied their flight, Leonardo constructed a sort of glider with articulated wings inspired by the wings of a bat. He imagined also the principle of the parachute and vertical elevation by an inclined fan blade, anticipating the helicopter.

In the model gallery at Clos Lucé, the 40 machines of Leonardo da Vinci are exhibited, reconstructed by IBM after the drawings of the genius, amongst which figure the first car, the metric counter, the paddle steamer and the double-hulled vessel.

Leonardo da Vinci carried out various commissions for the king as designer of Court festivals, architect, civil engineer (studies for the Canal de Romorantin, locks on the Loire), military engineer, town planner, advisor.

After writing “No being disappears into the void” and asking for holy sacrament, Leonardo da Vinci died at Le Clos Lucé on 2nd May 1519 at the age of 67. In a will drawn up by Maître Guillaume Boreau, Notary of the Royal Court, he left all his books, painting instruments and drawings to Francesco Melzi and a fine coat to Mathurine, his serving-woman.

In the 1960s a major restoration was started at Clos Lucé to restore its Renaissance atmosphere. The aim was to leave it, both architecturally and in terms of interior décor, as Leonardo da Vinci would have known it. Thanks to the skilled craftsmen working on wood, stone and glass, the home of Leonardo once again looks as it did centuries ago. Leonardo’s kitchen (the old guardroom) then the great Council Chamber, the underground rooms where the 40 machines can be seen and Leonardo da Vinci’s bedchamber and, last but not least, the chapel and its frescoes, have, one by one, been restored to the way they used to look.

Amboise is situated on the Loire about twenty kilometers due east of Tours on N152. The Château and the Hall are open daily all year round (except 25 December and 1 January). The landscaped itinerary is open daily from 1 March to 15 November inclusive.

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France Travel – Best Places To Visit In France

September 13th, 2011 No Comments   Posted in Claude Monet

Claude Monet

France is one of the most favourite, most visited and most admired countries and for sure among the must-to see places for travelers. It owns various attractions which would satisfy all kind of travelers. As a travel destination, there are good beaches, monuments, châteauxes, cathedrals, historical places, inspiring churches, mountain scenery, nature, museums, plenty of shopping places, cafés, restaurants and bars. The one who likes to explore history, culture and art all together whiling traveling must see France. It provides some of the best tourist attractions in the world.

As the capital of France, Paris, also called the city of lights, is one of the most romantic cities in bothe world. The main offices of important organizations such as UNESCO, the ICC, NATO, the OECD are located here. The fashion of Paris is the unique one. This romantic city has tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Arc de Triomphe, Sacré-Coeur, Centre Pompidou, Musee d’Orsay and the Louvre Museum. Although there are many museums and monuments in the City of Light, these must be especially visited.

There are so many museums to visit in Strasbourg, too such as La Vaisseau (especially for families), Musee Alsacien, Musee des Beaux-Arts, Musee de l’Oeuvre Notre-Dame, History Museum etc. Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasurg, Petite France, Ponts Couverts and Quartier Allemand are among tourist attractions of the city.

Bordeaux, a city of endless cafes and bars, several historic attractions, lively nights and wide avenues, is also among the best places to see in France. The city is also known as France’s capital of wine. There are the most well known wine producing regions around Bordeaux. Apart from its sightseeings, the city is for the ones who are looking for excellent food and drink.

Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France. Basilique de Notre Dame de Fourvière, Cathédrale St-Jean, Place de la Comédie, Roman Ruins, Museum of Gallo-Roman Civilization are among major tourist attractions in Lyon.’A French island basking in the Italian sun’ is the description of Balzac for Corsica. It is an island and region of France. Corsica has excellent beaches that offers activites for travellers. Snorkeling and scuba diving are available.

Avignon, Marseille, Nice, Antibes, Montpellier, Alsace, North Calais, Lorraine, Picardy, Brittany, Normandy, Provence-Alps and Cote d’Azur; Rhone Alpes, Aquitaine and Dordogne, Languedoc Roussillon, Midi Pyrenees are among popular places to see.

Château de Versailles, Fontainebleau, Giverny, Musée Claude Monet, Pont d’Avignon, Chenonceau Castle, Mount Saint Michael, Arc de Triomphe, Maison Victor Hugo, Champs Elysiées, Disneyland Paris are also tourist attractions to be visited.

Richness of France heritage results in a list of so many sightseeings, attractions and places to see. It’s better to make a plan and be aware of the time that you will spend there. Also, watching the videos of Travelovideo will help to get an idea about France before visiting.

- Copyright © 2008 Travelovideo.com: Online Travel Videos -

Not: Feel free to use this article on your website or ezine with the information about author/website info & links is included.

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Go Ahead and Spoil Yourself – Rent a Chateau In The Beautiful Loire Valley In France

May 7th, 2011 No Comments   Posted in Art History

What child reading about fairytale castles in Europe doesn’t dream of being a handsome prince or beautiful princess, living a life of romantic luxury, and being waited on hand and foot. Now you are an adult, you can realise this childhood fantasy by renting a luxury Loire Valley chateau for your next holiday. Here you can totally unwind and relaz and feel like royalty.

The Loire Valley is one of France’s best kept secrets, located some 200km south of Paris. The Loire River is over 1000 kilometres long and it is the longest last wild river of Europe.

The Val de Loire is actually France’s third most popular tourist destination after Paris and the French Riviera. But the Loire Valley is so vast, that families return year after year and never tire of its many attractions. It has something to offer every tourist.

Firstly it is famous for its renaissance chateaux: town chateaux like Chateau Blois and Chateau Amboise, Chateau Chambord the largest hunting lodge in the world, Chateau Chenonceau spanning across the River Cher mirroring her beauty, Chateau Usse the original inspiration for Sleeping Beauty, Chateau Cheverney with the best collection of furniture in the Loire Valley and Herge’s inspiration for mythical Moulinsart from the Tintin cartoon

Francois I was not content with just Chateau Blois and Chateau Amboise as his residences, he commissioned Chateau du Chambord the largest chateau in the Loire Valley as a mere hunting lodge. It took 20 years to build and then he spent only seven weeks there hunting.

Then there are also Chateau Villandry with its famous gardens and Chateau Chaumont with its incredible summer long international contemporary garden festival. If you need inspiration for a vegetable garden you must visit Chateau Villandry.

Gardening in the Loire Valley takes on a mystical quality, and even Mick Jagger, gyrating thick lipped lead singer of the Rolling Stones who has his preferred second residence, a 16th chateau he purchased 26 years ago called La Fourchette at Pose-sur-Cisse near Amboise, is a keen gardener. Artistic historian John Richardson says of Mick Jagger and his new walled garden “he became completely part of the garden, knew every single thing about all the plants, the flowers, the way the fruit trees were espaliered”.

Fans of Da Vinci can visit Chateau Clos Luce and admire his salons, study, kitchen and the chapel and see frescoes painted by his pupils. His drawings and paintings are set out in the park of the castle with giant models of the most incredible machines he invented with voice-overs of Leonardo da Vinci and his disciple Melzi.

The Loire Valley is also a popular destination for followers of the Holy Grail and the Knights Templar because of its close association with Leonardo Da Vinci and because it is so seeped in history.

There is so much more to the Loire Valley than topiaries, towers, turrets and tapestries. The Touraine region also has the reputation for being the region where the best French is spoken in the world.

The combination of vineyards and chateaux make the Touraine region of the Loire Valley an incredible destination for any wine lover and his or her family. The Loire Valley really is the most beautiful wine region in the world.

The Loire is France’s last great unrecognized wine region. The Loire Valley wine area is located south west of Paris typically a little over 2 hours drive from the Paris peripherique and extending out as far as Nantes. It is an area blessed with a gentle climate and rich soil, allowing for the production of diverse appellations with vast degrees of character.

Some of France’s best winemaking happens in the Loire though few Americans are aware of it. Even many French are unaware of some of the gems now being produced in the Loire Valley. No other wine region in France welcomes visitors with such warmth or simplicity. Sommeliers, wine-bar and wine-shop owners, the wine press from Brussels, London, Paris and Tokyo in the know spend their vacations holidaying the Loire Valley.

White wines of the Loire Valley typically improve with being aged from 5 to 15 years depending upon the AOC and the vintage. A new bottle of French Loire Valley white wine may be good, but a properly aged bottle is even better.

Then there is the food. French cuisine is famous and flourishing in the Loire Valley. Goat’s cheese is a speciality. Little village bistros whip up amazing dishes at incredibly cheap prices. The local produce is divine. And the glorious local food is best accompanied with a glass or two of Loire Valley wine.

This fine relaxed living is one of the reasons why Mick Jagger holidays at his chateau every summer. With his wealth and his connections he could holiday anywhere.

The Loire et Velo track is heaven for cyclists. The Loire Valley is especially well-appointed for two wheels because of the gentle gradients and intricate network of back roads that are refreshingly free of motorised traffic.

The Loire Valley offers everything the travelling golfer requires. If you are a golfer and you bring your clubs you will not be handsomely rewarded.

In France there are 280,000 registered golfers for 340 courses. This translates into lots of available tee times and no crowds on a course. Many golf courses are designed around magnificent chateaux. The finest course in the region, is Les Bordes near Chateau Chambord, consistently ranked in the top five of France’s best courses.

Don’t just visit a french castle – rent a castle in France and truly experience the grandeur of living in a castle in France. You will be absolutely amazed.

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A Guide To The Best Areas Of France To Take A Holiday & Vacation

November 14th, 2010 No Comments   Posted in Claude Monet

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It certainly is the fantastic land of France, where you can get everything that you often dream to see on your holidays. France is the country known for its superb cities, lovely nature, beautiful beaches, majestic mountains, magnificent monuments, captivating châteaux, art & architectural wealth, glamour & glitz, good foods, great wines & champagnes, and nice people.

Surely, having one of the most pleasing capitals, like Paris and nice cities like Nice, France is one of the most visited destinations in the world. It’s always listed on top in the list of the European vacation destinations. You can find numerous wonderful places in France, but here are the best areas for French holidays & vacations.

The region immediately surrounding the French capital is often considered one of the fine regions for the French vacations. The area is known as Île de France. It is known for its natural expressions of beauty – parks, forests and river lands. The area is home to some of the world famous vacation destinations, such as Paris and Fontainebleau. You can also visit the Palace of Versailles. Disneyland Paris also lies in the region, Île de France.

Haute-Normandie, the region of the northern France including the cities, such as Rouen, Dieppe, and Le Havre, is pretty area to enjoy French vacations. Rouen, located about 135 km north-west of Paris, is known for Rouen Cathedral, the center of la vieille ville where Joan of Arc was burnt and the Big Clock. Dieppe offers the nearest beach to Paris. Giverny is best known for Claude Monet‘s garden and home. Les Andelys gives you chance to visit Château-Gaillard, a ruined medieval castle. You can visit the city center of Le Havre, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The sub-region of Aquitaine, in south-western France, Les Landes or Landes is famous for its beaches, sand dunes and pine forests. The area is favorite place for biking, sun-bathing, swimming, and camping. For biking, the region has many fine kilometers of flat trails through the pine forests. It has many fine beaches for swimming and sunbathing. It is a very famous camping destination with over 100 1-stars to 4-star campsites. Léon, Mimizan, Dax, Capbreton, and Saint-Paul-lès-Dax are some of the notable cities of the region.

The large inland region of south-west France, Midi-Pyrenees is home to many fine cities, tourist sites, and castles. Toulouse is the capital and the main tourist destination of the region. Dordogne, the place known for its castles and other tourist attractions is part of the region. There are over one thousand castles in Dordogne. The caves of Lascaux are major tourist traps. Périgueux is known for its Roman ruins. Lourdes is the other most visited places in the region.

Rhône-Alpes is one of the most attractive regions for tourists and skiers. Home to some of the finest ski destinations, such as Portes du Soleil, Le Grande Massif, Chamonix, Les Contamine Mont Joie, St. Gervais, Megeve, Les Trois Vallees, and Val D’Isere, the area is a virtual paradise for skiers. You can easily access Mt Blanc, the highest peak in the Europe, from the mountain town of Chamonix. Here, you can also enjoy riding the cable cars. Lyon is a gastronomic city with a vibrant cultural scene in this area. Annecy is the Venice of Savoie; the city is known for small canals and streams with clean, fresh and lazuline waters.

One of the most popular holiday regions of France is Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur. It covers a large area from the charming Provence up to the Alps. Nice is the most coveted vacation destination in the region. Sisteron is the sunshine city of the area. Surrounded by beautiful countryside, the city experiences “300″ days of sunshine. If you want to enjoy well-preserved Roman theater and music festival, you can visit Orange. It’s not all; the area has lots more for its guests.

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