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France - Paris, Nice, Bordeaux and St. Tropez
From beaches to the alps, France has a little of something for everyone. It is a diverse country with a rich history. It can be easy to overdose on the volume of things to see, but you can't do much worse than just walking out your door and exploring. Remember, those boots were made for walking.

Paris

It is hard to know where to start when discussing Paris. Take a boat down the Seine River and you will pass Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and so many other notable spots it is easy to get overwhelmed. The city is simply that dramatic.

Long considered the most glamorous city in Europe, Paris has a little of everything. For the romantic, one can visit the haunts of famous writers, historical sites of just about every nature and the Moulin Rouge.

On the other hand, art lovers can spend weeks visiting the 100 plus museums in the city with, of course, the Louvre being the crown jewel. Personally, I found the Rodin Museum just as interesting, particularly since there was a much smaller crowd.

Perhaps the best way to experience Paris is just to wander around. Yes, take a few days to visit the notable tourist traps... err, destinations. Once you get tired of standing in crowds, walk out of your hotel and just keep on going. You will find little neighborhoods with eccentric characteristics to make you smile. As you plod along, real cafes and gathering places will become apparent. Make sure you visit them as the locals in these neighborhoods are very friendly and funny.

Bordeaux

Bordeaux is both a city and the center of the wine region in France. As a city, Bordeaux is surprisingly bereft of things to see. One can find unique statutes, fountains and the like, but there isn't really a particular location to mark of on your, "I saw that" list. The city is, however, a good place to relax, drink and eat. For relaxation, you can put around this low key town and take in food at the outdoor cafes in the Place de la Comedie. The specialty food of the region are canellas, which are very good. If you're with the wine and cheese crowd, Bordeaux is going to seem much more exciting. The surrounding region produces wine by the mega cask loads and you can visit locations such as Chateau Mouton-Rothschild to smell and taste the grapes. Moderation is suggested as you want to avoid the grapes of wrath the next morning!

Nice

Nice is a small beach city just to the east of Cannes in the south of France. It is an odd mix of old world charm and beach culture. In and of itself, there is nothing particular about Nice when compared to Cannes with the exception of the prices. They are significantly cheaper and you get pretty much the same thing.

One extremely positive thing about Nice is the launching factor. Nice is close to everything and a natural launching point to go practically anywhere in the general region. You can hop on a train to the east and be in Monaco in 15 minutes. You can take a 20 minute minivan trip inland to learn how to make cheese and soap. Thankfully, this isn't the same location.

St. Tropez

St. Tropez has gone through roughly three stages in its history. Originally, the town was a little fishing village no different than others dotting the coast of France. At some point, however, it became the place to be for artist who had given up on Paris. No less than the painters Matisse, Signac and Seurat lived and worked in the town. Fortunately or unfortunately, those times have passed. While artist still populate the town, St. Tropez is now the hangout of celebrities and the wealthy. While still a beautiful location, the over the top glitz of St. Tropez is a bit much.
About the Author
Rick Chapo is with Nomad Journals - makers of travel journals to preserve your travel experiences.
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