Week 2, place 2 :) The photo above is of the Gordes du Verdon in Southern France. France is high on my list because of the beautiful scenery (mountains, oceans, forests) and because of the food. I have visited France many times (maybe 10 or so) and I honestly feel like there is still so much to see and do (and eat!).
Those of you that know me well, know that there has been a time (or two...) that I've gone to France just to eat the food. While I don't speak French well, I have learned to read a menu (to at least decipher if something is vegetarian or not). Food is a universal language!
France, like most of the rest of Europe, puts a focus on local food and eating in the season. This means eating fresh melons from Provence only when they are at their peak. I'm not a big fan of melon, but I still remember how amazing the Cavaillon ones were that I bought at the local market. I thought...oh, a smaller cantaloupe, but boy was I wrong :) France has taught me to live in the moment and buy what looks good at the markets....even if I'm not quite sure what I'm getting. A small purchase of 2 or 3€ could open your eyes to something you may not be able to get anywhere else....and if you don't like it.....you aren't out a fortune. The French (also like many Europeans) value quality over quantity....supersize me isn't a thing. The French also savor their food and (generally) make the time to enjoy meals...tasting every bite. When you are there visiting, there is no reason not to sit and people watch with a drink (alcohol or not) and taste the difference.
France is not only a destination for foodies (or wine lovers)...although there is obviously enough to keep you occupied for weeks...but also a place of beauty and history. The French chateau is one of the iconic images of France and there are hundreds to see in various stages of renovation....from ruins to fully resorted. On our way back from Normandy (a great place to see history) we wanted a half way point to stop for the night. The more I travel, the less interested I am in chain hotels and lodging that could be anywhere in the world. After creative use of Google translate, I found a room in a chateau (that was also dog friendly....Henry our dog was with us) available for our dates. Driving up the chateau make us feel like royalty---and the inside was beautiful. This was just an average, every day chateau....not noteworthy enough to be a museum or owned by a royal. France has given me opportunities to experience these off the beaten path journeys more than most other countries. I often drove myself from one place to the next and went far off the tourist path and was greatly rewarded for it.
Like most places I've traveled, I could go on forever and talk about my experiences. I will leave this post simply saying that France is high on my list and no matter your interest in travel, there is something for everyone in France. I would love to help you plan your trip to France to make it a memorable journey.