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Where do the French go on holiday? 7 must-visit destinations

Few appreciate travelling through France more than the French. Add in travel restrictions and becoming more aware of their carbon footprint, les Français are staying close to home. Here's where they go...

Cassis, France (Shutterstock)

1. Évian-les-Bains

Évian-les-Bains (Shutterstock)

Évian-les-Bains (Shutterstock)

A beautiful spa destination, idyllic Évian is located on Lake Geneva. With open spaces and clean air that clears the mind, a trip to this town brings some much-needed freshness to anyone visiting from a big city.

Give your health a boost with thermal spa treatments, before heading out into the great outdoors. For the active, there is no shortage of sporting activities with rowing, sailing and water-skiing all on the agenda. Golfers can live out their dreams by teeing up at the Évian Resort Golf Club, where The Évian Championship is held every year, too.

Where is it? You can get to Évian by train from Paris or by flying into Geneva, then enjoying a quick 30-minute car ride into Évian.

2. Hossegor

Landes Forest, Hossegor (Shutterstock)

Landes Forest, Hossegor (Shutterstock)

Surfers will be treated to sweet waves in what is regarded as Europe’s surf capital, however, Hossegor isn’t just surfer’s paradise. It's a haven for outdoor adventurers, too.

Expect lakes, cycling tracks, Landes Forest and Hossegor Forest – lush with pine, oak, cork and strawberry trees. Free guided tours are held every Friday, throughout July and August. For fishing enthusiasts, Hossegor Lake is an inviting spot with stunning villas creating a wonderful backdrop to admire while waiting for the fish to bite.

Where is it? With Hossegor on the Basque coast and only 20km from Biarritz, the easiest way to get here is to fly into Biarritz Airport before making your way to the surf and sand.

3. Trouville-sur-Mer

Trouville-sur-Mer (Shutterstock)

Trouville-sur-Mer (Shutterstock)

Neighbouring the Normandy seaside resort of Deauville is Trouville-sur-Mer (or Trouville, for short): a delightful fishing village with beaches and seafood restaurants made ideal to spend long summer days.

Collect washed up seashells on the golden beach, or head to the lighthouse before taking a dip in the water. Whatever you do, you must try the lively seafood restaurants encircling the fishing port, serving up the freshest catch of the day.

Where is it? Trouville can be easily reached via train from Paris, with trains leaving from the Saint-Lazare Station three times a day. The journey takes under two hours, 30 minutes.

4. Saint-Emilion

Saint-Emilion (Shutterstock)

Saint-Emilion (Shutterstock)

The medieval village of Saint-Emilion, nestled in the heart of the world-famous Bordeaux wine region, is the ultimate destination for wine lovers. Its vineyards are inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

While wine tours and tastings are naturally de rigueur for connoisseurs, if you have a sweet tooth, this is your chance to taste the famous Saint-Emilion macaron. The recipe is so secret, only one person alive today can access it. Beyond things to eat and drink, historic sites you must visit include the Cordeliers Cloister and the 12th century Monolithic Church.

Where is it? Ideally, fly directly into Bordeaux. If you are heading to the region via Paris, you can take the two-hour, 30-minute TGV train. From Bordeaux, it's a short car ride away.

5. Courchevel

Vanoise National Park, Courchevel (Shutterstock)

Vanoise National Park, Courchevel (Shutterstock)

A playground for the rich and famous during ski season, the French Alps resort of Courchevel has a secret side as an active summer destination for hikers and rock-climbing enthusiasts.

Expect trails and climbs for all abilities, with rewarding, sweeping views of Mont Blanc and the Vanoise National Park. Alternatively, you could just opt to jump on a ski lift to enjoy the views from the mountain top, sport-free.

Where is it? Trains run from Paris to Moûtiers Salins-Brides-les-Bains, only 30 minutes from Courchevel by car. You could also fly into Grenoble Airport before enjoying a two-hour car ride to the resort.

6. Les Baux-de-Provence

Les Baux-de-Provence (Shutterstock)

Les Baux-de-Provence (Shutterstock)

Les Baux-de-Provence commune is arguably one of the most beautiful villages in France. With reportedly less than 500 people residing here, it's also one of the most sought-after escapes for travellers looking to leave behind the hustle and bustle of the city.

In the heart of Les Baux is Château des Baux, a manor house built in the 10th century, perching high above the village. Here, you can learn about the reconstruction of the trebuchet (catapult) that was used to attack fortified sites during sieges.

Where is it? Getting to Les Baux couldn’t be easier with trains available from Paris, Toulouse, Lyon, and Marseille.

7. Cassis

Cassis (Shutterstock)

Cassis (Shutterstock)

Known for its white wine, Cassis in the South of France is the perfect combination of charming old town, Mediterranean resort, and small fishing port.

Wind your way through the quaint alleyways of old Cassis, make your way through the Cassis vineyards on an electric bike tour, hike or rock climb your way up Cap Canaille and take in the turquoise water down below. And if your break is timed well, you can help celebrate the Cassis Wine Festival, held every September.

Where is it? The quickest way to get to Cassis is from Marseille. Whether you arrive by train or plane, the journey will take around an hour.

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