From rolling open countryside, ancient forests and sleepy rural villages to the charming seaside towns and vibrant, bustling cities with their designer shops and numerous bars and restaurants, Central France has much to discover and delight.
Explore at your leisure the gentle landscapes, magnificent river valleys and abundant vineyards, and sample the wonderful gastronomy and fine wines for which this beautiful wine-growing region is renowned.
France is a country with a world-wide reputation for its exceptional cuisine and fine wines, and the food on offer here certainly lives up to that reputation.
Renowned as France’s gastronomic centre, Burgundy is a sheer pleasure, so enjoy the many delights the region has to offer including the regional speciality boeuf bourguignon, a hearty beef stew flavoured with the region’s red wine. Other favourites include snails and the famous Dijon mustard. The Loire Valley is home to many regional specialties, with the local pâtés and terrines of pheasant and other game being especially popular. Freshwater fish such as trout and eels are frequently on the menu at many restaurants.
As one would expect from a major wine producing region, the variety of wines available here is spectacular. Bordeaux alone is home to the three vineyards ranked in the top three in the world and produces more than 700 million bottles of wine a year. From deep full-bodied reds to fruity white wines, there’s something to suit every palette, not to mention every pocket!
This area is a shopper’s delight with a huge array of choices for your retail therapy. Designer shops such as Louis Vuitton and Hermes can be found in many of the larger towns, whilst the local markets usually held on Saturdays in the little towns offer everything from local produce to little gems or gifts to remind you of your stay. Galleries and boutiques, antique shops and confectioners can all be found in abundance, with Burgundy especially being famous for its edible souvenirs including chocolates, gingerbread and cheeses. Champagnes and the region’s local wines are also available to purchase from the many distilleries.
For those who enjoy street markets, head to rue Mouffetard close to the Latin Quarter for cheese, fruit, vegetables and meat, whilst the large weekend flea market at Clignancourt meight tempt those looking to track down a vintage piece.
Dordogne (Northern Aquitaine) - A land of green hills, sunflower fields, gentle, winding rivers and honey-coloured châteaux, dotted with medieval villages in between, the Dordogne offers a peaceful and relaxing break in stunning surroundings. Try a spot of canoeing, a stroll along the river or a leisurely game of golf, or visit the famous 18th Century city of Bordeaux, renowned for its wine and prestigious vineyards. Bergerac, one of the most famous towns of the Dordogne region due to the numerous wines which carry its name - is famous for its sweet whites produced around Monbazillac. Another charming town is Sarlat situated at the heart of the valley, one of the most picturesque and popular towns in the area.
Poitou Charentes - Second only to Provence in the ‘sunshine stakes’ this region is blessed with a fabulous climate, glorious sandy beaches, sunflower-filled fields and quiet, traditional villages. The Poitou Charentes area is an excellent choice for a leisurely break, and popular with connoisseurs of food and wine as well as those who enjoy outdoor pursuits. There’s a plethora of sporting activities available to enjoy including horse riding,