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Tips and Advise for visiting France by Road to Travel Inc.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Exploring Cahors

The time-burnished city of Cahors in south-western France is renowned for its stunning architecture and robust red wine. With 120 building listed as historical monuments, Cahors is a delight to explore. Its long rich history can be traced back to the Gallo-Roman times from which some ruins remain preserved. In the Middle Ages, its strategic position on an important route to Santiago de Compostela and Jerusalem brought many pilgrims and prosperity to the town.

Start you walk through the old town from the Pont Valentré across the River Lot. The local legend says that during its construction in the 1300s, the architect in exchange for his soul asked the devil to help him to finish the bridge. Today, the striking Pont Valentré is one of the most photographed landmarks in France

The 12th-century Cathedral of Saint Etienne dominates the town’s beautiful old centre and resembles a sturdy fortified castle with lovely stained glass windows. A local market sprawls across the square in front of the cathedral every Saturday and Wednesday. Stroll along the stalls laden with colourful fruit, glossy vegetables, fragrant herbs and delicious cheeses from the area. 

Pont Valentré
Follow a marked trail through the old town to see the medieval gardens of Augustinian friars, Moorish gardens and a lovely cloistered garden of Henri IV. During high season, hop on a Petit Train to see the city or hire a horse-drawn carriage. From May to September you can also board a cruise boat to see the splendour of Cahors from a different angle. 

Cathedral of Saint Etienne
Stroll along the tree-lined Boulevard de Gambetta dotted with elegant fountains, excellent restaurants and great shops. Chill out in one of the charming cafes here sampling delicious cakes or sip a glass of Cahors’ famous dark red wine that has been produced here since medieval times. The town has a museum dedicated to local wines or you can also visit a vineyard for a degustation.

Photos via Flickr by: Tom De Mulder, Marcel Musil, Jean-Jacques Boujot.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Exploring the city of Strasbourg

Strasbourg a stunning destination to visit on private tours of France. It has a wealth of architectural gems, museums and archaeological sites that serve as reminders of the city’s long history. 

Once the richest city in the Holy Roman Empire, Strasbourg prospered throughout its history and remains an important cultural hub and home to the European Parliament. History awaits at every corner in Strasburg as you walk its narrow cobblestone streets lined with  charming burghers' houses and elegant palaces. 

The impressive Cathedral of Notre-Dame dominates the city. One of the most important monuments of Western architecture, the Cathedral took several centuries to complete. With the 142-meter spire, the Strasbourg Cathedral is one of the highest churches in the Christian world. Inside you can admire stunning medieval stained-glass windows, an old organ and an old astronomical clock that strikes at 12.30 every day while mechanical figures of Christ and the Apostles parade in front of spectators. 

Climb up the 330 steps to the top of the tower for spectacular views of the city the Black Forest, and the Vosges Mountains.

View from the Strasbourg Cathedral Tower
There are many well-preserved historic corners in the old city with the Quartier des Tanneurs, also known as "La Petite France” being one of the most charming. Take a walk back in time admiring 16-17th centuries half-timbered houses where the city's leather tanners and fishermen used to live. 

Another characteristic neighbourhood with a lively village atmosphere is the Quartier Krutenau where you will find picturesque canals, art galleries and quaint restaurants.

The opulent 18th-century Palais des Rohan houses three museums: the Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Decorative Arts and Archaeological Museum. Here you can see priceless works by such European masters as Botticelli, Delacroix, Van Dyck, Giotto, Goya, El Greco, Rubens, Véronèse, the opulent bishop’s apartment, excellent collections of decorative arts and antiquities.

La Petite France
At the quay by the Palais des Rohan you can hop on one of the boats that sail around the Grande Ile and take you up past many important sites including the beautiful modern European Parliament’s building.

Don’t leave Strasbourg without trying its delicious hearty cuisine. The city boasts several Michelin-starred restaurants and a plethora of excellent eateries serving typical Alsatian dishes accompanied by excellent world-famous local wines.

Photos via Flickr by: Carlos Andrés Reyes, Michael Camilleri, Gerry Balding.

Natural wonders in France

France is not all about museums, art galleries and castles. There are also the great outdoors with many spectacular natural wonders to visit on private tours of France. Stunning mountain ranges, dramatic gorges, caves, cliffs and dunes, - the list of things au naturel is endless. Here are just a few to whet your appetite.
Cliffs of Étretat
Cliffs of Étretat

Arching above the water, the dramatic white cliffs of Étretat in Normandy inspired painters Monet, Boudin and Courbet. One of the picturesque arches resemble an elephant with its trunk in the sea. There are three arches, the Manneporte, Porte d'Aval and Porte d'Amont, and a pointed needle rising from the water. You can go to the beach to see the cliffs close up in their full splendour or admire them from a distance from the lovely town of Étretat.

Dune du Pilat
Dune du Pilat

Europe’s highest, the Dune du Pilat in it is almost three kilometres long and 500 metres wide. The sand dune attracts one million visitors per year. Here you can try paragliding, walking through the deep sand or simply sunbathing and enjoying the sea breeze.

Gorges du Verdon
Gorges du Verdon

Carved by the turquoise waters of the Verdon River over centuries, the canyon is one of the most beautiful in Europe. It runs for 25 kilometres and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Adrenaline junkies come here to climb the gorge’s steep limestone walls, kayak down the river or hike along the rocky outcrops. Less adventurous visitors admire spectacular drives near the canyon and have relaxing picnics while enjoying the views.

Camargue salt flats
The Camargue 

The Camargue delta of the Rhone River in Languedoc covers an area of over 900 square kilometres filled with surreal looking red salt lagoons, marshlands and rice paddies. Flocks of pink flamingos and herds of white Camargue horses make the landscape irresistibly beautiful. 

Photos via Flickr by: Michel Marie, Francois Pouzet, Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho, Jeroen Komen.