Post-pandemic travel planning is in full swing! While taking a trip to France may still seem a long ways away, we can still dream. If you are itching to travel abroad, Paris is very likely your #1 destination choice. However, there are so many other lovely locations in France that are worthy of your visit. While I fully support your decision to plan that next trip to the City of Light, allow me to present this list as weekend trips or as their own stand-alone vacations!


Known for wine, the city embraces its favorite beverage but is so much more! Geographically Bordeaux is located in the Southwest of France and is close to the Atlantic Ocean, Pyrénées mountains, and vineyards galore, making it perfect as a central location for a plethora of day trips. In 2017, the TGV trip from Paris to Bordeaux was reduced from three to two hours, making a trip from the capital to France’s fifth largest town even more enticing. Bordeaux boasts a wine museum, several art museums, and even a history museum to learn more about the story of the region of Aquitaine. Don’t forget to order the famous canelé to savor at the end of your meal…..and bring back as food souvenirs for your friends and family!


Just a quick jaunt by train, Chartres is a wonderful town to visit when you are in Paris but want to get out or the city for the day. When you arrive, be sure to pay a visit to the beautiful Gothic cathedral with its quaint gardens. After ooohing and ahhhhing at the stained glass windows and detailed carvings of angels and saints, take a stroll along the small windy streets of the town before making it back to the big city.


If you like charming seaside towns, Collioure should be at the top of your list! Located in Southern France by the Spanish border, Collioure was a hot spot for artists of the 20th century. Picasso, Matisse, and Braque were all enchanted by the shades of blue and the idyllic rocky coastline. After you spend your day at the beach, pick up a snack of anchovies and wash them down with some local wine. What could be better after a long Boston pandemic winter?!


Rennes, located in Bretagne (Brittany), is a great city to visit for student life (30% of its population is students and the town contains over 50 higher education institutions) or to get a taste of Brittany’s history. While the region of Bretagne is often visited in the summer for its beaches, the capital city in this region is worth a visit. If you are looking to relive those college days, visit “rue de la soif” (Rue St. Michel) for a drink or two. You’ll find charming streets wherever you turn with the unique architecture and quaint shops. Don’t forget to visit La Saint Georges, a famous restaurant where the dishes are named for famous Georges throughout history.

La Rochelle

La Rochelle is another must-see waterside town located on the central west coast of France. It boasts an incredible aquarium (you can find other aquariums, zoos, and museums to visit online through our blog before your next physical trip to France) and is a delight to walk around, le Vieux Port being especially picturesque. Throughout history, La Rochelle was a hub for the Knights Templar, as well as the Huguenots, the French Protestants. La Rochelle also hosts a university and La Coursive, a world-class theater. Its proximity to the vacation destination Île de Ré also makes it an exciting choice for a visit.

If you love traveling and sharing travel tips, don’t forget our Travel Club! Join us for our meetings and engage in conversation on our facebook group.

Tell us: what’s your favorite non-Paris city to visit?

Natalie Collet

Former Membership Manager

From the Midwest, Natalie is a Francophile at heart. Her interest in French started when studying ballet and​ the language and culture entranced her through her student years.​ She became involved with the - Alliance - in the suburbs of Chicago after she spent an unforgettable year teaching English in a French high school near Bordeaux. She is happy to join the team in Boston and work with the members to provide them with unique opportunities​, ​quality programming​, and a community through French!

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