North by North West
The Belle France guide to places to see in North France
For some, Northern France is merely the pathway to travel straight on through to the south. For history enthusiasts, it’s a fascinating place to visit because of its many battle sites and links to the Great War.
Whilst, of course, the historical importance of the area can never be underestimated, Northern France is a pretty area, with lots to offer in terms of seaside resorts, sumptuous food and beautiful architecture.
So we’re flying the flag for the north in this blog, even if you are on your way to the south, we urge you to stop off for a while and sample some of the delights that Normandy, Pas De Calais, Alsace and Picardy have to offer.
So where should you go? How about…
A peak in the Vosges mountains in the Alsace region, a truly beautiful and peaceful area. It’s well-known for its beauty, and also for its monastery and convent at the top of the mountain, surrounded by a stone wall known as the ‘Pagan Wall’.
It’s a fantastic area to walk or hike through, visiting ancient monuments, trekking through the forests and staying in quaint hotels. Our Venture into the Vosges itinerary takes you through this area.
This one is slightly off the beaten track in South Normandy, but because of that, you will feel like you are miles from anywhere. Now, when you go to Mayenne, you could be visiting the town, the river or even the department, as they all have the same name!
The area is known for its countryside, and interestingly, its cider too. A visit to this region will really make you feel as though you are experiencing authentic France. We have a whole itinerary dedicated to the region – our Mellow Mayenne cycling holiday.
A stunning area of Brittany coastline which stretches from Cap Frehel to Mont-Saint-Michel. It’s perfect for cyclists who can take a gentle trip along the flat coastal path and stop off a various bustling seaside towns such as Saint Malo or Dinard.
We love this region, but don’t just take our word for it, it’s been voted by the Daily Telegraph as one of the best 10 cycling holidays for 2016! So if rugged coastlines and quaint seaside towns are your thing, then try our Côte d’Emeraude Prestige en Vélo tour.
A stunning UNESCO World Heritage site on the Picardy coast – it’s just a 90-minute drive from Calais. Where the Somme meets the Channel you can find salt marshes teeming with wildlife, particularly migrating birds.
A must is a visit to medieval towns such as St Valéry-sur-Somme and Noyelles-sur-Mer. It really is a beautiful area to visit – a hidden secret just waiting to be discovered. You can tour the area by bicycle on our Baie de Somme tour.
So before you think about travelling all the way down to the south of France, consider staying up north, you won’t be disappointed. If you would like some more suggestions on where you can go and what you can expect from this part of France, then do get in touch with us to have a chat. We love this area, and can’t wait for more people to fall in love with it as we have done! Call us on +44 (0)1580 849 339, or send us an email.
4 Related Holidays
Venture into the Vosges
Pagan walls and castles of Mont Sainte-Odile in Lorraine
This is a picturesque hike, passing the ancient monastery at Mont Sainte-Odile. You will encounter many old castles and ancient Neolithic walls as you follow tracks across an ever-changing terrain of woodland and vines. Belle France are not...
Rolling hills and silent streams
This little known area of south Normandy offers pleasant cycling along country lanes with a patchwork quilt of countryside unrolling in front of you leading you to some of our favourite hotels offering delicious food, a charming room and a friendly...
Prestige Emerald Coast Cycling
Quiet coves, elegant seaside towns and Belle Epoque hotels
Featured in the Telegraph's 10 best cycling holidays for 2016, this easy cycle takes in the beautiful Brittany coastline and verdant countryside, following and criss-crossing the River Rance. Visit Belle Epoque towns and bustling fishing...
Baie de Somme
Sea air, wildlife and sandy beaches
Discover the beautiful Baie de Somme, a UNESCO World Heritage site on the Picardy coast. Open water, marshes, dunes and saltwater meadows make up a landscape where water and dry land seem to merge. It is one of France’s major sites for...