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Best area in France for outdoor activities and natural beauty in early/mid June?

Best area in France for outdoor activities and natural beauty in early/mid June?

Old Jan 24th, 2023, 08:39 AM
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Best area in France for outdoor activities and natural beauty in early/mid June?

My husband and I are planning a trip to Europe for early June. We're trying to decide a region of France to focus on. We'll be coming from Belgium, and will be ending in Paris. Mainly we're looking for somewhere that has a combination of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and historic buildings. Looking for a base area that will have laid back, photogenic towns with good food, doesn't matter if they're not exciting or have no nightlife. We will have 4 full days in this area, as well as partial days on either end for travel. Since we're flying out of Paris ideally we'd like to stay somewhere near-ish to a city with a high speed train connection, but will rent a car to get around during the stay.

The regions we were thinking of are Savoie/alps, Provence/Verdon, or around the Colmar/Strasbourg area and maybe also going to the black forest region in Germany. We're coming from the western US so we do spend a lot of time in a drier mountain area, and when we travel it's nice to go places that are greener with lots of lakes/waterfalls, or by the ocean, for a little change. My husband likes the idea of the alps area but I'm concerned that it will be too early and that roads/trails will still be closed for snow.

Are there any other areas we should consider looking at?
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Old Jan 24th, 2023, 09:02 AM
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The part of the Savoie we toured in 2018 (Aix-les-Bains, Seyssel, Chanaz and on into Ain and Isère along the Rhone) ticked most of your boxes except, honestly, for the cuisine.

Closer to Paris than the Gorges du Verdon (which are not close to TGV service as far as I recall) would be Puy de Dome and Haute Loire departements of Auvergne.


you may have to use Google translate on that site, but there are plenty of pictures to let you judge if it floats your canoe.

Dordogne is another obvious candidate for all your requirements, just possibly also a bit far.

Basing yourself around L’isle sur la Sorgue or Pernes les Fontaines in Provence would also allow exploration of the Luberon or Alpilles as well as some lovely medieval towns with the occasional Roman ruin.
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Old Jan 24th, 2023, 10:05 AM
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The parks and landscaping of Metz are outstanding.
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Old Jan 25th, 2023, 12:57 PM
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Burgundy, by all means. Check on the marvelous Parc de Morvan. Burgundy also offers ancient abbeys, fine churches, some castles.
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Old Jan 25th, 2023, 11:38 PM
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Dijon fits the bill, as would Auxerre, both in Burgundy. But a car is recommended to visit the surrounding area.

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Old Jan 26th, 2023, 04:28 AM
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I think you would really like the Dordogne. Or Provence close to the Luberon, as someone else suggested. And you can also visit the Camarque from the Luberon, where you will get a taste of the Mediterranean. And see pink flamingoes, white horses and black bulls! You can take the TGV from Avignon back to Paris.
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