As the host of the European Championship, this summer all eyes are on France for something else than strikes. Whether you are there to watch the games or planning on going there for some time (if not, you should), here is a list of things to do - and I’m not talking about sightseeing.
1. Grab a bite at “La Petite Rose des Sables” in Paris
If you’re coming to France, I assume you’ll want to take a stroll in Paris, which is understandable. But instead of going to the Eiffel Tower - ok, maybe after the Tower - you should head towards the 10th arrondissement, and stop at “La Petite Rose des Sables” to taste the best beef bourguignon you could ever imagine. The eccentric owners, Madame Zouzou and Monsieur Christian, will make sure that before you leave, your appetite is satisfied and refresh you with homemade drinks.
2. Try the specialities of the North in Lille
I won’t lie - Lille really is rainy. But if you’re lucky and you happen to be there when the skies are blue, you have to try the “Savor Lille Food Tour”. In slightly more than 3 hours, the tour lets you enjoy no less than 7 food tastings around the city in addition to a cultural tour. What could be better than discovering the charm of the city while enjoying its exquisite cuisine?
3. Quench your thirst at the “Rue de la Soif” in Rennes
Should you feel the need have a drink during your trip, I suggest you visit the lovely city of Rennes in Brittany and spend the evening in the famous Rue Saint Michel, more commonly known by locals as Rue de la Soif (“Thirst Street”). There you’ll find plenty of bars to quench your thirst - be careful though, people there can hold their liquor!
4. Meet the giant pandas in Beauval
This zoo ranked among the top 10 best zoos in the world and is the only one in France that lets you see giant pandas in real life. Be careful not to fall in love with any of the 8000 animals that live there - you can’t take any of them home with you. And since 2016, you can even observe the hippos underwater. Isn’t that awesome?
5. Ride a gigantic mechanical elephant in Nantes
Ok, the Chateaux de la Loire are great - but if you want to try something you won’t find anywhere else, head towards the Ile de Nantes. Somewhere near the carrousel, you might find yourself face-to-face with the biggest elephant in the world. Ok, it’s not alive, but you won’t find a more original way to visit the city than on its back.
6. Learn how to taste wine in Bordeaux
Start by admiring your reflection in the Water Mirror in front of the beautiful Place de la Bourse, then head towards the dock of La Cité du Vin to embark on a wine tasting cruise on the Garonne animated by a sommelier. A unique opportunity to discover the history of the city and learn about the wine business while enjoying a good glass of wine.
7. Boost your surfing skills in Biarritz
Whether you have the abs that are supposed to go with it or you simply consider Bodhi from the movie Point Break as a demigod, initiate yourself to the thrills of surfing in Côte des Basques, Biarritz. This spot is adapted to all levels and ideal for beginners. This historic beach is home to several surfing schools that are eager to transmit their passion. For the most hardcore adrenaline junkies among you, I’d suggest you stop by the beach of La Gravière in Hossegor. At your peril.
8. Give yourself some chills in the Verdon Gorges
The Gorges simply convey a unique atmosphere of peacefulness and excitement at the same time. Depending on the kind of thrills you’re looking for, you may try all sorts of water-related activities, from pedal boat to rafting and canyoneering, through cliff-diving. If you want to have fun with your friends or simply reconnect with nature for a couple of days, this is the place.
9. Discover the meaning of beauty in Corsica
The “Beauty Island” is in itself a jewel - but if you want to escape the touristy spots, make your way to the Saleccia Beach in the North of the island. The colour of the water will allow you to scuba-dive or try snorkelling. Either way, this might be a life changing experience for you once you’ve put your head in the water.
10. Experience the French Southern accent in Marseille
Your French road trip would not be complete should you leave without having heard the remarkable accent from Marseille. And while you’re at it, go to Chez Michel and ask for the bouillabaisse - a signature dish. They have been expertly serving this fish since 1946, and they truly are the best at it, take my word for it.
Obviously, there is a ton of other cool stuff to do in France - feel free to tell us send us your best experiences and recommendations! In the meantime, subscribe to stay up to date with other cool things to come on the blog!