5 French villages to spend a long weekend in

5 French villages to spend a long weekend in

09/05/2017

  • Great ideas

Do you want to spend a weekend in a French village you haven't been to before? You will be charmed by Metz, Perpignan, Poitiers, Toulon or Valence.

Metz is a three century old city with a rich historic heritage. Well known for its Christmas market, which takes place starting in the month of November, you absolutely must spend a few days discovering the other marvels of this city.

Whether you arrive by train or by car, you have to go to the SNCF train station in Metz, recently voted on the social networks as the most beautiful train station in France.

Metz train station

Full of history, the city is also full of surprises! Do not miss:
  • the Cathédrale Saint-Étienne of Metz, built entirely of Jaumont stone
  • the Metz Opera: the oldest still operating opera house in France
  • Arsenal: a concert hall built within the enclosure of an ancient military building
  • the Centre Pompidou-Metz: a venue dedicated to the contemporary arts
  • the Governor's Palace of Metz: German construction made of Jaumont stone
  • the Porte des Allemands: fortified city port in the eastern section of Metz
  • the Place St Louis with its Venetian houses

Need a peaceful moment in Metz? Visit the marina, or one of the numerous parks and gardens in the city. Metz has over 580 hectares of green spaces, including the Esplanade, the lake, the Botanical Garden, etc.

Or park in the center of Metz. Go to the Coislin car park, located just a few steps from the En Chaplerue shopping street. In just a few minutes, you can reserve your parking space on line and be sure of having a place to park when you arrive.

The next large French town before the border, Perpignan combines the sea (the beach is reachable in just 10 minutes by car) and the mountains (the Pyrenees are located less than one hour away).

Car park in Perpignan

An exceptional setting in which the city claims its identity as the capital of Catalan. In Perpignan, there are also many traces of medieval times (the era that gave birth to the town). Anyone who loves the medieval era will be thrilled to discover Perpignan's medieval heritage. Before you make any of these excursions or visits, be sure to visit the hill of the Puig del Rei to see its military citadel. The Palais des Rois de Majorque dominates the capital of the Roussilon. The hill offers an exceptional panoramic view over the Pyrenees massif and the coastal beaches.

Now it is time to penetrate the secrets of the city and take a discovery walk of the civil and military monuments and the narrow streets. You should be sure to visit the Castillet, the Loge de mer, the Cathédrale St Jean Baptiste and its cloister, the Convent of the Minimes, Saint Jean le Vieux, the oldest church in the city, the museum of North Catalonia, housed in the Castillet as well as the Museum of French Algeria, founded in memory of the Pieds noirs.

In Perpignan, you can easily park in the middle of the city with the Clémenceau, Wilson and République car parks, which you can reserve on line.

The most populated community in Vienne, Poitiers is a city of art and history. Meander the streets of the city and head to the Place Charles De Gaulle, in the city center.

This city offers you an imaginative way to explore it, with three different walks. Leaving from Notre Dame, you can follow the color bands of your choice! Tour the city to see the various buildings and let yourself be guided by the signs to understand it better.

The blue route goes to the heart of the episcopal quarter, towards the Church of Sainte-Radegonde and the main medieval street in the city, the Grand’Rue. The yellow route leads to the Church of Saint-Jean-de-Montierneuf and its picturesque neighborhood. The red route links the Church of Saint-Hilaire-le-Grand and Blossac park.

A few kilometers from Poitiers, if you have children, or if you are a grown up child yourself, an indispensable stop is Futuroscope! An enchanting and fantastical atmosphere, this park is comprised of attractions that have a futuristic theme.

Visit the Futuroscope park in Poitiers

When you are in the center of Poitiers, park at the Les Cordeliers car park, which you can reserve online with just a few clicks.

If you are in search of the sun, head for Toulon! Begin by taking the cable car, located on the Boulevard Amiral Jean Vence, to reach the height of Mont Faron and enjoy the breathtaking panorama over the city.

Then dive into the city and discover:
  • its provencal character, with the famous provencal market, the multitude of city squares, the Cours Lafayette, the beaches of Mourillon, etc.
  • its military history with the Tour Royale, the fortifications, the Porte d’Italie, the national museum of the Marine de Toulon, the memorial of the landings in Provence, etc.

Toulon Port

And don't forget the two “souls” that enliven the city: its beaches and the rugby club. Don’t leave the city without spending an afternoon strolling the 7 hectares of beach, or having seen the famous Toulonnaise Rugby club play at the Mayol Stadium.

Find all the car parks in the city center of Toulon to park your car easily and quickly! And to avoid the crowds during the high season, consider reserving your car park on line!

Valence is located between the Vercors and the Ardeche and is perfect for a weekend of relaxation! In this city, explore the city center and Vieux Valence to discover the historic monuments to view or visit, such as the Maison des Têtes, dating from the XVIth century, the Musée des Beaux-Arts or the Center of Armenian Heritage.

The Parc Jouvet, located in Avenue de la Comète, offers pleasant walks and is overlooked by the Champ de Mars where the Kiosque Peynet, dating from 1860, is located.

Kiosk Peynet in Valence

Our little secret address, well worth the detour: the Druise waterfalls, located about an hour from Valence, in the Vercours: a waterfall of 72 meters that will take your breath away!

Park in one of the many car parks in the city of Valence and if you like, you can reserve your parking place in advance in the Gare and Champ de Mars car parks.

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