Worldwide vacationers might prioritize visits to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre once they go to France.
However French residents produce other concepts.
Border restrictions throughout the pandemic largely gave locals the prospect to discover their nation with out international vacationers, which in 2019 numbered some 90 million.
The French didn’t squander the chance. Greater than two-thirds of French residents traveled in 2021, with 84% of France’s metropolitan residents selecting to remain inside the nation, based on the French tourism advertising and marketing analysis agency Raffour Interactif.
As the will for nature and out of doors actions grew throughout the pandemic, a number of areas emerged as high locations amongst native vacationers, mentioned Maud Bailly, the CEO of southern Europe for the multinational hospitality firm Accor, which has greater than 1,600 accommodations in France.
Home vacationers have been drawn to the coasts of Brittany — or Bretagne in French — due to the “the ocean [and] the wideness of the panorama,” she mentioned. The northwest province is dwelling to charming seaside cities, akin to Cancale and the walled port metropolis of Saint-Malo, well-known for its gastronomy and historical past.
The place the French journey in France
|Brittany||Saint-Malo, Cancale, Quiberon||gastronomy, large open areas|
|Nouvelle Aquitaine||Biarritz||seaside resorts, Basque tradition|
|Cote d’Azur (French Riviera)||Cannes, Good||nature, out of doors experiences, energetic holidays|
|Burgundy||Dijon, Beaune, Macon||gastronomy, wine|
On the southern aspect of the nation, the famed French Riviera — notably the stylish coastal areas close to Cannes and Good — attracted native guests for a similar causes, she mentioned.
Whereas Covid pummeled tourism in French Polynesia, some islands nearer to the mainland drew many native vacationers, mentioned Bailly. Ile de Re, off France’s west coast, fared properly due to its proximity to Paris — it is lower than 5 hours away by automobile, she mentioned — whereas guests additionally went to the “tremendous well-known, unbelievable” island of Belle Ile within the north, in addition to Corsica within the south.
“When persons are going to Corsica … they’re texting me [saying] ‘it is no use going to Maldives as a result of the water seems the identical,” she mentioned. She spoke to CNBC from the Resort Molitor Paris-MGallery the place, she mentioned, many Parisians have been having fun with staycations.
The Sofitel Golfe d’Ajaccio Thalassa Sea and Spa lodge, positioned in southern Corsica.
From skiing in the Pyrenees to diving within the Mediterranean, it is the variety of landscapes and experiences in France — which is about twice the scale of Colorado — that make it so common, mentioned Bailly.
“I consider that the richness of this small nation, with so many various potentialities of leisure and vacation in just one place — is a bit distinctive,” she mentioned.
Secrets and techniques and ‘little gems’
Most locations beloved by the French ultimately turn into common with international vacationers too, mentioned Bailly.
However one exception, at the very least for now, is the Alsace wine route.
“You may simply go to Strasbourg after which begin by automobile, leaping from a village to a different one and simply tasting and discovering the wine, the castles … the landscapes,” she mentioned. “It is fairly secret.”
The small village of Dambach-la-ville, alongside the Alsace wine route.
Alexander Sorokopud | Second | Getty Pictures
The key is out on locations akin to Beaune and Macon within the world-renowned wine area of Burgundy. Each have been common with home vacationers final yr, she mentioned.
Earlier than the pandemic, practically 60% of France’s wine vacationers have been home vacationers, mentioned Martin Lhuillier, head of wine tourism at Atout France, the nation’s tourism improvement company.
One in all his high “insider suggestions” is to go to Jura, one of many smallest wine areas in France, to go to the village of Chateau-Chalon, he mentioned. There, guests can strive the world’s “coronary heart and soul” — its vin jaune, or yellow wine.
Bailly and Lhuillier each suggest the French division of Dordogne. Positioned between the Loire Valley and the Pyrenees, it has “unspoilt pure jewels” like Bergerac and Duras, mentioned Lhuillier.
Although it is much less stylish than different elements of France, Dordogne is a spot “the place you possibly can actually take pleasure in French artwork de vivre, gastronomy and nature,” mentioned Bailly.
France’s “artwork de vivre” — actually “the artwork of dwelling” — is a part of the explanation that France has for many years been among the many hottest locations for worldwide vacationers. The emphasis on having fun with life is omnipresent — alongside boulevards of Paris, inside the rooms of the Palace of Versailles and contained in the nation’s eating places, which collectively have extra Michelin stars than every other nation on this planet.
However Bailly mentioned it is within the “extra secret, discreet locations” that vacationers can actually “relaxation and reconnect to the French way of life.”
The ‘most lovely’ villages
One other place in Dordogne, Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, is without doubt one of the latest villages on the listing of the “most beautiful villages in France.”
The listing, which began 40 years in the past, names 168 villages of remarkable heritage and sweetness. Every is evaluated on 30 standards, together with heritage websites and structure in addition to smaller particulars akin to hidden electrical wires. There’s lower than a 1-in-5 probability of constructing the listing, based on the listing’s web site.
Southern France has the very best focus of those villages, with greater than 75% positioned in provinces like Nouvelle Aquitaine, Occitanie and Provence-Alpes-Cote-d’Azur.
The tv present “Le Village Prefere des Francais” — or “The Favourite Village of the French” — additionally attracts guests to lesser-known spots within the nation. Fourteen villages are shortlisted annually — one in every area in France — with the winner topped by public vote.
Last year’s winner drew more tourists: the tiny hilltop city of Sancerre, which is without doubt one of the most recognizable appellations for French Sauvignon Blanc.
The identical will doubtless occur for Bergheim, a village alongside the Alsace Wine Route, which was topped this yr’s winner on Wednesday.
Home tourism to Sancerre elevated in 2021, after it was voted probably the most lovely village in France.
Julian Elliott Images | Stone | Getty Pictures
Bailly mentioned vacationers can construct a complete journey round these villages.
“It is a extra non-public, home, cultural manner of France,” she mentioned. “It is not Saint-Tropez, it is not Mont Saint-Michel or Eiffel Tower, nevertheless it’s additionally France with the richness of its historical past.”