France is a big country – the largest in Western Europe and certainly one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with over 83 million tourists per year. As everywhere in the world, tourists flock to the relatively small number of destinations such as Paris, the Alps, Provence and Riviera, Languedoc, Loire Valley, Brittany and few others. However, despite these highly visited areas, there are many hidden places, away from the crowd, where you can enjoy peace, relaxation, nature walks or simply French countryside.
If you take slight turn from the main cities and major highways and ignore the recommendations of various travel agencies, you will find a beautiful rural area. The pace of life in these settlements is significantly different from the ones in the large tourist centers. Here you will find slow and peaceful atmosphere, beautiful nature, great French cuisine and attractions for which often you have not heard at all.
The deepest part of French countryside extends along the edges of the Paris region, more precisely in the south. For de Fontainebleau is a large forest area with numerous hiking trails for walking or cycling, with rocky outcrops in the lower area. At the heart of this region lies the village of Barbizon, which used to be the Mecca of landscape painters. The western and eastern parts of the region are full of small villages and farming communities.
Almost all regions in France have a lot to offer to tourists – from the beautiful scenery, cultural heritage and historical monuments, to an attractive and comfortable accommodation and excellent food. Three parts, however, deserve special attention: Franche Comte in the east, Auvergne in the center and Midi Pyrenees in the southwest.
Franche Comte is located in the north of the border with Switzerland, and is part of the French Jura Mountains. This is a nice rural area, known for its cheeses and production of watches.
The regional center is Bezanson, and the whole area has a lot to offer. Auvergne is another mountain region.
As Franche-Comte, this region also offers a very rich natural and cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes and a large number of historical monuments. It lies on the main, traditional route to the south of France, but it has not yet developed its huge potential when it comes to tourism and untouched nature.
Midi Pyrenees, which extend from Auvergne to the Spanish border, is the largest and one of the most rural areas of the France. Bigger than Belgium, the region offers a variety of beautiful landscapes, full of historical monuments, all of which allow you to enjoy nature, far enough away from the hustle and bustle.
Small towns and most rural settlements in France mainly have accommodation in small hotels. These are mainly private hotels that are often owned by the same family for generations. In French countryside the most common accommodation includes lodging with breakfast. For those who want to be closer to nature, multitude of camps across France can be found.