A FRENCH SUMMER TOUR
THE AVIS TOUR OF FRANCEFancy a road trip this summer? Just a short hop from our shores is the country of love, culture and passion - Vive La France! But have you ever really explored the length and breadth of this picturesque realm?
To help you get started on your journey, we’ve picked out some must-sees and must-dos across l’Hexagone.
Saint-DenisStart your adventure in the Royal City of Saint-Denis. It’s full of historic interest, including the relics of the famous martyr Bishop of Paris. Take time to visit the Royal Basilica of Saint-Denis, a monumental masterpiece of Gothic art.
ParisThere are so many things to do and see in France’s capital; explore the Champs Elysées, the Place de la Concorde and its Ferris wheel or the Champs de Mars. Take a tour of the museums - the Louvre, d’Orsay and the Centre Georges Pompidou; and monuments - the Pantheon, Eiffel Tower and Institute du Monde Arabe.
Or simply sit back and admire the beautiful streets and avenues from one of the many bars and cafes that are peppered through this vibrant city.
LilleWhat is there to do in the European Capital of Culture 2004? Firstly you could take a tour of the Museum of Arts and Industry, La Piscine. It is housed in a former swimming pool in the style of Art Deco and dates back to 1932.
Why not go to the market square to admire the Vieille Bourse which dates back to 1650,then lose yourself in the old town with its colourful buildings from the 17th century. Do not leave without visiting the Citadel of Lille built on order of the Sun King, Louis XIV.
MarseilleOnce in Marseille take time to discover the unmissable parts of the city: visit Our Lady of the Guard basilica, nicknamed "The good mother" due to its high position looking over the sailors, fishermen and townspeople.
The basilica dominates the town from its hilltop where you will get the best view of Marseille. Make a detour by the old Port to visit "the basket", the oldest district of France. Then take in the beautiful views of Frioul: four islands offering a multitude of sandy beaches and coves.
NiceTake a walk on the charming palm tree-lined Promenade des Anglais before taking a dip in the sea. Thanks to its wonderful landscapes and unique light, Nice has inspired some of the most famous painters in the world. Two of which have museums dedicated to them; the Musée National Marc Chagall and Matisse Museum.
LyonDiscover the beauty of the City of Lights while visiting the Park la tête d'Or; with its 117 acres, it is the largest urban park in France. For the active among you, hire a bike to tour the city or jump on a pedalo, quad-bike or go-kart.
And don't leave without visiting the Basilica Notre Dame de Fourviere, which offers the visitor a spiritual journey as well as a unique panoramic view that extends to Mont Blanc.
BordeauxThe city of Bordeaux is so beautiful that a significant portion (more than 1,810 hectares) has been classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
After Paris, Bordeaux has the highest concentration of listed buildings and historical monuments in France. You can visit the Column of The Girondins which was erected in the 19th century, the Saint-André Cathedral or the Tour Pey-Berland.
Also take time to meander along and admire the Garonne estuary and its superb buildings which date back to the 18th century.
ToulouseThere are 160 parks and gardens in the centre of Toulouse, offering the visitor an opportunity to enjoy some green space and fresh air. You could then take a cruise on the Canal du Midi, another UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Stroll through Croix-Baragnon, the medieval heart of Toulouse, whose high walls conceal winding alleys and incredible mansions.