Places to visit in France: exploring the Vallee de la Gastronomie
France is one of the most beautiful and fascinating countries in the world and is famed for its food and culture. There is no shortage of things to do in France, but if you would like to travel differently, why not embark on a recently launched culinary tour of the 'Vallee de la Gastronomie'? Three charming cities, Dijon, Lyon and Marseille, represent some of the most fabulous France tours you could take on.
Staying in and around Dijon
Among the best places to visit in France, there is Dijon. Dijon, the historic capital of the Dukes of Burgundy, is a charming destination for a trip to France. A tempting destination for a gastronomic journey, magnetic for history buffs, as cute as you want with its half-timbered houses, the city has everything to please. No wonder, it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Gastronomic tours are offered to discover the producers of local delicacies: Dijon’s crème de Cassis, a sweet blackcurrant liqueur, the Dijon mustard or gingerbread.
Travel the road of the world-famous Côte de Nuits Grands Crus: Chambertin, Echézeaux, Romanée-Conti, etc. The châteaux and wine estates welcome you for tastings during which you will learn about wine-making methods and, why not, make your own blend for a personalised wine. Other workshops are organised around wine and cheese: discover how best to match them to bring out all the flavours.
Are you the sporty type? Discover the hiking and mountain biking trails running through the heart of the vineyards for an original and invigorating discovery of the region.
Lyon and its region, a , city of gastronomy and culture
If you are looking for a peaceful trip to France, Lyon is certainly one of the best destinations. Renowned for its gastronomy, the city of Lyon is also one of the most popular tourist destinations. Its geographical location, heritage and haute cuisine contribute to the international aura of the former French silk capital. You can't visit Lyon without tasting local specialities in one of Lyon's small restaurants: les bouchons.
The city boasts superb Michelin-starred restaurants for an unforgettable gastronomic experience. You will enjoy tasty pâtés en croûte, the famous brioche sausages and quenelles, the Cervelle de Canut, a herb-flecked cheese spread.
Crossed by two rivers, Lyon is ideal for strolling along the riverbanks of the Rhône or the Saône. This city steeped in history is best discovered by wandering through its charming cobbled streets and courtyard passageways, or "traboules” as the locals call them.
Named after the great Michelin-starred chef, the food market Halles Paul Bocuse is a mythical institution dedicated to gastronomy. Visiting it is a change of scenery in itself: you can do your shopping there, discover local seasonal products and have lunch after the visit.
Located in the heart of a region with vineyards renowned well beyond the borders of France, don't miss the discovery of the finest during a wine workshop: Beaujolais, Brouilly, Chénas, Chiroubles, Morgon, Côte de Brouilly, Fleurie, Juliénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Régnié, Saint-Amour, Côtes-du-Rhône, etc.
Marseille, a pretty and cosmopolitan city
Of all France tours, Marseille is the most eclectic destination. It is full of places and monuments that deserve to be discovered, such as the old port, and the Notre Dame de la Garde basilica, which can be reached by climbing. In Marseille you never get bored! Stunning walks are available for you to discover the city's most beautiful sites, such as the Palais Longchamp, the current Museum of Fine Arts of the city or at the Cité Radieuse du Corbusier, the art museums. And on the coast, the area of coves and cliffs, the creeks are really unmissable! The food served at the beach restaurants is some of the best in town, with exquisite French seafood specialities a must. The city and the entire region are some of the prettiest places to visit in France.
Among the most emblematic specialities is the bouillabaisse: this dish is a broth prepared with at least 4 different varieties of fish, and sometimes shellfish. It is served with croutons and rouille or aioli, sauces made from garlic, spices, and olive oil. Your experience would not be complete without tasting the wines of Provence: red, white or rosé and coming from various grape varieties (grenache, syrah, clairette, semillon, etc.) they are a perfect match for the Provencal cuisine.
And why not a theme trip?
La Vallée de la Gastronomie – France ® helps you find the best places to visit in France and the activities in the surroundings. In addition to having the best tips of every region through its privileged partnerships with local players, you can set up your trip to France around a particular theme.
Gastronomy in the spotlight
The reputation of French cuisine is well established! This theme is very popular when it comes to finding things to do in France.
The choice of activities is endless from strolls through local markets to meeting passionate local producers, taking cooking classes or visiting regional products workshops. And of course, eating in the best restaurants! From casual to gourmet, your taste buds are in for a treat! Indulge in a tour of Michelin-starred restaurants, a truly extraordinary culinary experience that will remain etched in your memory forever.
Discover the vineyards
Among the places to visit in France, wine estates and chateaux are a must for lovers of fine wines. For a complete immersion stay on site, in the heart of the vineyards.
Take a trip along one of the most famous wine routes in the world: Burgundy, Beaujolais, Provence, Côtes de Nuits, Côtes de Beaune, Nuits-Saint-Georges, Beaune, Hospices de Beaune, Meursault, Côte-Rôtie, Saint-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage.
Agritourism – reconnecting with the land
To quench your thirst for authenticity, agritourism is certainly the best choice. Focusing on the discovery of agricultural activities, this type of tourism is becoming increasingly popular and takes many forms: visits to farms or wine estates, stays in guest houses or camping on a farm in the fields, direct purchase of farm products, etc.
France is the perfect playground for this! Wine tasting, discovery of olive oil mills, farm animals, buying cheese or fresh produce directly from the producer, cooking classes... there is plethora of offers!
Tips for planning your trip to France
When is the best time to go to France?
Any time is the best time for a trip to France! Each season has its own charms and rewards:
- summer is hot and you will enjoy swimming in the Mediterranean,
- in spring the green and lush landscapes are an idyllic setting for hiking and visiting architectural sites,
- in the autumn, the festivities around wine are many, so go visit cellars and chateaux or take part in the grape harvest,
- in winter, the landscapes put on their snow coat and become magical.
How long should my France tour last?
There are so many and varied places to visit in France that it is one of the most popular destinations in the world.
Whether you plan for a weekend or several days, La Vallée de la Gastronomie - France ® has a wide choice of activities, visits, culinary offers, and accommodation to organise your stay.
Organise a road trip
Do you like active holidays? A road trip allows you to explore several areas of the Vallée de la Gastronomie - France ® for a guaranteed change of scenery.
Whether it's a big, bustling city like Marseille or Lyon, a medium-sized town with a rich cultural heritage like Nîmes or Dijon, picturesque landscapes, hills covered in vineyards, fields of lavender and olive trees or beaches, you're spoilt for choice!
“Farniente” stay: get away from it all and relax
Do you want to relax and unwind from your everyday life? Pick a stay in a Relais & Chateaux listed on our website.
Ideally located in the heart of beautiful green countryside or vineyards, you can relax by the pool or enjoy the activities offered such as wine tasting.
How can I find activities during my stay?
We’ve given you a taste of the wonders these regions have to offer. To complete your itinerary and discover even more activities and places to visit in France, visit the La Vallée de la Gastronomie - France ® website. You will find a variety of creative and imaginative thematic activities suited for all tastes and ages to share with family and friends