7 Off-the-Beaten Path Places to Explore in France

France is full of beautiful, unique, and interesting cities and towns to explore. Although more tourists visit Paris than any other place in the world, there are many stunning areas of France that are more off the beaten path that make fantastic holiday and vacation spots. Check out a few French towns that you may not have heard of before in the list below.

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Sète

Sete is a gorgeous seaside town in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France, and is the host city of a major water jousting tournament every year. Water jousting is practiced primarily in France, and is played with boats equipped with small, narrow platforms. A jouster equipped with a lance stands on each platform, and the goal is to push one’s opponent off the platform while maintaining balance. People flock to Sète every year to watch jousters on the canals fight for dominance. The canals of Sète have earned it the nickname “The Venice of Languedoc.”

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Etretat

Located in the Haute-Normandie region of northwestern France, Etretat is famous for its natural white cliffs that form a stunning outlook over the sea. Etretat is only 32 kilometers from the major port town of Le Havre. This tiny maritime village is famous for being the last place where the plane The White Bird was seen in 1927, and because of this has become a famous site in aviation history. The White Bird was piloted by WWI heroes Charles Nungesser and Francois Coli, who were attempting to make a flight between Paris and New York. The monument to The White Bird that sits in Etretat commemorates one of the greatest unexplained mysteries of aviation.

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Dinan

Dinan is one of the only walled towns in France, and is located in an exceptionally beautiful area along the River Rance. The inhabitants of the town are fiercely proud of their Breton heritage, and many children attend schools that teach both French and the Breton language. There are many Medieval buildings that still stand in Dinan, including the Rue du Jerzual, which connects the town to the river below. During the Fête des Remparts, the townspeople dress up in medieval garb, and celebrate their town’s historical heritage.

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