Great Weekend Getaways: France

June 1, 2017

A weekend break is the perfect antidote to a busy week. You can head off on Friday and spend a couple of days exploring somewhere new and exciting or opt for a more relaxing option for some peace and quiet.

France is a fantastic option for a weekend getaway from the UK, with lots of great places to visit just a stone’s throw across the Channel.

Travelling by ferry to France means you can take your own car and not worry about baggage restrictions, leaving plenty of room for shopping and souvenirs. This can also make it a more affordable way to get to France, as you don’t have to hire transport when you get there.

Check out our guide below for some inspiration for a weekend getaway in France.

City breaks

Crossing the Channel by ferry puts you within easy reach of some great city destinations, from the historic medieval towns of Normandy, to the 18th century elegance of Lille and Paris.

Boulogne-sur-Mer

For some seaside charm just half an hour’s drive from Calais, Boulogne offers a great weekend destination. The town itself is very pretty, with the picturesque streets mostly found in the historic Ville Fortifiée district. There’s also plenty of shopping to be found along the Grande Rue that runs towards the river. Down on the docks you’ll find the Nausicaá Centre, one of the town’s top attractions, a marine exhibition centre and aquarium featuring everything from sea lions to sharks.

Amiens

The main attraction of Amiens is probably its stunning gothic cathedral, the tallest and largest of its kind in France, and a designated World Heritage Site. The city is also famous for once being the home of Jules Verne, whose house you can visit on the corner of Rue Charles-Dubois and Boulevard Longueville. There are other museums and historic stately homes too, such as the Musée de Picardie, and the Musée de l’Hotel de Berney. There’s also the popular Amiens Metropolitan Zoo, home to around 75 different species of animal, including elephants, sea lions, and red pandas.

Lille

The largest city in northern France, Lille is home to many historical treasures and attractions, and straddles the borders of French and Flemish culture. The picturesque old town shows off this Flemish heritage with its beautiful architecture, evoking the feel of the Belgian city squares just over the border. For more cultural delights, you can visit the Palais de Beaux Arts. It’s home to the second largest collection of fine art outside the Louvre in France, with works by Rembrandt, Donatello, and Rodin. Lille also has a zoo, set in the parkland around the old citadel, and is one of the most popular in the country, with rhinos, zebras, monkeys, and much more.

Outdoor Adventures

If you prefer a weekend break exploring the outdoors, there are plenty of great areas to visit for their natural beauty.

Normandy

The Channel coast of Normandy provides plenty of beautiful sights for a cycling holiday. There are the famous cliffs at Étretat, rolling sand dunes, and the historic landing beaches of WW2. There’s even a dedicated cycle route running all the way from Mont Saint-Michel to Paris, following old railway embankments through the Normandy stretch. This makes it much safer and easier for children, and there is plenty of beautiful countryside to enjoy along the way.

Seine Valley

Following this famous river north of Paris takes you through some beautiful countryside. As the river meanders towards the sea, it passes through the Parc Naturel Regional des Boucles de la Seine, a regional park full of natural and historical delights. You can explore the landscape by bike, hiking, or even on horseback. Alternatively, hop on one of the river cruise boats to relax and take in the passing scenes.

 

Image credit: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra 

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