Tourist Places in Artois

1. Lille

Lille is that the largest city of French Flanders and features a distinctive Flemish character. Known for its vibrant culture, happening ambiance, and friendly people, Lille may be a surprisingly pleasant urban destination with lovely architecture.

The main town square, Place du Général de Gaulle , is lined with elegant Flemish Baroque monuments like the Vieille Bourse (Old Stock Exchange). The nearby Rang du Beauregard buildings exemplify an ornate Lilloise Neoclassical style. The Flemish influence is additionally seen within the hearty local cuisine, featuring typical Belgian dishes like Moules-Frites (mussels and French fries) and gaufres (Belgian-style waffles).

Art enthusiasts will have plenty to explore in Lille at the Palais Beaux-Arts and a number of other museums outside the city: the Musée Louvre-Lens, which shares its collection with the Louvre in Paris; the Lille Métropole Musée d’Art Moderne in Villeneuve d’Ascq, which displays works by Braque, Modigliani, and Picasso; and a singular collection of fine arts and ornamental arts within the town of Roubaix.

On the primary weekend of September, the Braderie de Lille (Flea Market) brings together many stalls selling vintage items and antiques. Bargain hunting at the Lille marketplace is one among the foremost popular things to try to to within the city.

2. Arras

The historic capital of the Artois province, Arras has the architectural heritage to prove it. Arcaded squares, high-gabled burghers’ houses, and exquisite old churches reveal the authentic character of this Flemish town.

The Cathédrale d’Arras, originally the abbey church of Saint-Vaast, was rebuilt within the 18th century in awe-inspiring Neoclassical style. Another building of the previous Benedictive monastery of Saint-Vaast now houses the Musée des Beaux-Arts. This museum features a diverse collection , from medieval sculptures to Dutch and French paintings. Highlights are the masterpieces by Jean-Baptiste-Camille, Corot, Charles Le Brun, Delacroix, and Rubens.

During war One, the world around Arras was the scene of heavy fighting, which is now commemorated by several military cemeteries and memorials. The Vimy Memorial pays homage to the Canadian Expeditionary Force members (more than 11,000 men) who fought and died in France during the primary war . A grandiose and evocative limestone monument, the Vimy Memorial stands on the Vimy Ridge, where the pivotal Battle of Vimy Ridge took place; this 107-hectare piece of land (12 kilometers north of Arras) was granted by France to Canada for its accomplishment of capturing Vimy Ridge during the April 1917 Allied offensive.

3. Calais

Calais provides a gateway to England as a port on English Channel and therefore the start line for chunnel (or “Chunnel”) train rides to England. The high-speed Eurostar train travels through the chunnel (crossing English Channel’s Strait of Dover during a 50-kilometer undersea tunnel) and takes one hour to arrive in London. English Channel crossing by ferry takes one hour and half-hour from Calais to Dover, England.

In this spectacular seaside location along the Opal Coast, the world around Calais boasts expansive sandy beaches, which are popular for surfing and sailing, also as other outdoor activities like hiking and cycling.

For those spending time in Calais (rather than simply traveling through), must-see attractions are the UNESCO-listed Flemish Renaissance-style Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) and therefore the nearby group of Auguste Rodin’s sculptures, Les Bourgeois de Calais, which commemorate the siege of Calais in 1347 by English , and occupation until 1558.

Next to the leafy Parc Richelieu, the Musée des Beaux-Arts displays paintings and sculptures from the 16th century to the 21st century. Among the masterpieces are works by Rodin Derain , and Picasso . The Cité de la Dentelle et de la Mode (on the Quai du Commerce) features a superb lace and fashion collection.

4. Boulogne-sur-Mer

As France’s largest fishing port, it’s fitting that Boulogne-sur-Mer features a superb aquarium and sea museum. The Nausicaá aquarium is that the largest in Europe, home to 58,000 sea creatures, including 1,600 different species. Nausicaá especially appeals to families with kids, who are bound to enjoy the touch pool and entertaining eared seal performances.

Near the Nausicaá aquarium is access to an exquisite sandy beach, along the Boulevard Sainte-Beuve. The beach features a boat club and a promenade, which is right for taking a seaside stroll. During summertime, beach tents, lounge chairs, and parasols are available for rent; in July and August, lifeguards are on duty. The town host the Fêtes de la Mer (Festivals of the Sea) per annum in July.

The oldest a part of Boulogne-sur-Mer is that the Ville Haute (Upper Town), a medieval walled town. This historic area brims with old-world charm, seen in its atmospheric cobblestone streets and picturesque squares. Highlights of the Ville Haute include the UNESCO-listed belfry, dating to the 12th century; the Notre-Dame Basilica, which includes a Romanesque crypt; and therefore the 13th-century fortifications with four gated entrances.

Tourists will enjoy walking along the “Promenade des Remparts” (ramparts path) to admire panoramas of the town and its gardens. Another interesting spot to explore is that the Rue de Lille, a pedestrian street lined with restaurants, antique shops, and little boutiques.

5. Gerberoy

With its tranquil, bucolic setting; pedestrian alleyways; and charming half-timbered houses, the medieval village of Gerberoy is one among the “Plus Beaux Villages” (“Most Beautiful Villages”) of France. Many buildings throughout the town are adorned with rose vines. Gerberoy is additionally famous for its Fête des Roses (Festival of Roses), which has been held within the village per annum since 1928.

In keeping with the village’s love of flowers, the post-Impressionist painter Henri Le Sidaner (who settled in Gerberoy) created magnificent Italian terraced gardens that he used as an outside art studio. Classified as a “Jardin Remarquable” (Remarkable Garden), the Jardins Le Sidaner are open a day except Mondays from April through September.

Near the garden is another must-see landmark, the Collégiale Saint-Pierre, which is adorned with 17th-century Aubusson tapestries. The church dates to the 11th-century but was renovated in later centuries.

6. Bergues

Surrounded by remnants of medieval walls, the picturesque town of Bergues is traversed by winding canals, which lend a typical Flemish ambiance. Bergues is most famous for its belfry, considered one among the best in France. The UNESCO-listed Beffroi de Bergues features an unusual open design, with 50 bells that chime to mark the hours. because the town’s top tourist attraction, the Beffroi de Bergues also has an exhibition space and music room.

Housed within the old Mont-de-Piété (municipal pawnshop), the Musée du Mont-de-Piété displays paintings and drawings by Flemish and French masters, including George de La Tour , Charles Le Brun, Poussin , Anthony Vandyke , and Maerten van Heemskerck.

7. Musée Louvre-Lens

The Musée Louvre-Lens is an ultramodern museum space during a tranquil park. The Musée Louvre-Lens doesn’t have its own collections, instead, the museum exhibits different rotations of masterpieces from the Louvre in Paris. The museum’s 3,000-square-meter gallery features natural lighting and an innovative presentation of artwork. Many exhibits specialise in specific themes or highlight the common denominators of artwork spanning different time periods and artistic styles.

It’s easy to urge to the museum from Lille ( a 30-minute drive) or Paris (90 minutes by train). The railway station in Lens offers free shuttle rides to the museum.

8. Cambrai

Cambrai may be a quiet historic town with remnants of medieval fortifications and impressive cultural heritage. A relic of the old ramparts, the 14th-century Porte de Paris once provided an entrance into the previously walled town. The Eglise Saint-Géry is noteworthy for its blend of French classical and Dutch Baroque architectural styles, also because the famous Entombment painting by Rubens.

Not-to-be-missed are Chapelle du Grand Séminaire, renowned for its Baroque facade, and therefore the Cathédrale Notre-Dame, which contains exceptional works of art, including Trompe-l’oil paintings by Martin Gheeraerts and marvelous stained-glass windows.

Art lovers will appreciate the Musée des Beaux-Arts, which has a superb assortment of 16th- to 19th-century Dutch and French paintings, and therefore the Musée Matisse, which displays over 80 paintings by Matisse (donated to the museum by the artist).

Many cultural attractions are found just outside of Cambrai, including the Musée des Dentelles et Broderies de Caudry (Museum of Lace and Embroidery), housed during a 19th-century lace factory in Caudry (15 kilometers from Cambrai). This museum presents the local history of lace fabrication and embroidery arts along side craft demonstrations and fashion exhibits.

9. Saint-Omer and therefore the Marais Audomarois

Cobblestone streets and stately old townhouses reveal the normal character of this historic town one among Saint-Omer’s most elegant 18th-century townhouses, the Hôtel Sandelin, is now a museum with a superb collection of European paintings, also as decorative arts. Other must-see landmarks are the 13th-century Eglise Saint-Denis, which features a majestic Gothic tower, and therefore the Cathédrale Notre Dame, a splendid Gothic monument built between the 13th and 16th centuries.

In the surroundings, the Marais Audomarois (marshland) is among the simplest places to go to in northern France for fishing (allowed with an area fishing association card) within the gentle rivers. Taking a ship ride through the marshland’s waterways is differently to get the wetland scenery, with its lush flowers and market gardens. There are several options for tourists: traditional artisan-crafted wooden boats led by an area boatman, rowboats and canoes for rent, and guided boat tours.

For those who’d wish to explore the land aspects of the world , the Audomarois Forest has scenic trails for hiking and cycling.

10. Dunkerque

Just 14 kilometers from the Belgian border, Dunkerque (Dunkirk) is France’s northernmost town, on the North Sea near the Strait of Dover. Dunkerque has a crucial commercial port, also as ferry boat access to Dover, England. During the Second war , Dunkerque was the scene of a dramatic military rescue as boats of Allied troops were delivered to safety.

Every year before Ash Wednesday , the Dunkirk Carnival transforms the town into a wild and crazy scene of unbridled celebration. Thousands of revelers show their festive spirit, wearing colorful costumes; some carry whimsical umbrellas on long handles. The three-day carnival includes gregarious processions, musical entertainment, and joyful balls.

11. Douai

Douai is an old university town, originally founded by the Spaniards. The central features of the town are the UNESCO-listed Belfry, a masterpiece of Gothic that dates to the 14th and 15th centuries, and therefore the Place d’Armes, also called the Grand Place.

Douai also features a renowned museum, the Musée de la Chartreuse, housed during a 17th-century convent. The museum’s fine-arts collection includes masterpieces of Flemish, Dutch, Italian, and French painting. Highlights are the works by Véronèse, Rubens, Courbet, Renoir, Sisley, Corot, and Pisarro, also because the precious Polyptyque d’Anchin by Jean Bellegambe (created between 1509 and 1513).

12. Abbaye de Vaucelles

The Abbaye de Vaucelles may be a remarkable 12th-century abbey founded by Saint Bernard , which was one among the most important Cistercian monasteries within the world. Two of the first buildings remain the Monks’ Quarters (an 80-meter-long wing with a chapter house, oratory, and chapel) and therefore the Palais Abbatial (Abbot’s Palace); both buildings are beautifully restored.

Among the foremost prestigious historical monuments in northern France, the Abbaye de Vaucelles is hospitable the general public from March through October. Art expositions and other events are held here throughout the year. The abbey is found 12 kilometers from Cambrai.

Tourist Places in Limousin(Limoges)

The Limousin region is a neighborhood of unspoiled natural beauty and rich history. This idyllic countryside of green rolling hills and plush forests surprises visitors with its magnificent medieval castles and picturesque villages, many of which are listed as “Plus Beaux Villages de France” (Most Beautiful Villages of France).

The area’s regional nature parks are a paradise for sports enthusiasts. Opportunities abound for hiking on the scenic trails, fishing in freshwater rivers, and boating on pristine lakes. Plan your trip to the present beautiful region with our list of attractions and best places to go to in Limousin.

1. Aubusson

The historic city of Aubusson has been renowned since the 15th century for its intricately patterned tapestries. the town has earned a UNESCO Cultural Heritage designation for its craft of traditional tapestry. This time-consuming and labor-intensive weaving process has produced the gorgeous tapestries that were used during the center Ages to embellish French castles.

Tourists may visit tapestry workshops throughout the town like L’Espace Tapisseries (32 Rue Vaveix) and therefore the Maison du Tapissier (Rue Vieille). Aubusson also features a fabulous tapestry museum, the Cité Internationale de la Tapisserie (Rue des Arts).

2. Limoges

Designated a “Ville d’Art et d’Histoire” (“City of Art and History”), the capital city of Limousin features a rich cultural heritage. The Cathédrale Saint-Etienne is that the most vital monument in Limoges and its only Gothic building. Begun in 1273, the cathedral continued to be renovated throughout the centuries. Behind the cathedral are the Jardins de l’Evêché (Gardens of the Bishop), and to the east is that the eight-arched Pont Saint-Etienne bridge inbuilt the 13th century. Visitors should also stroll through the city’s historic quarters along the Rue de la Boucherie and therefore the Rue du Temple to take in the city’s old-world ambiance.

Impressionist painter Auguste Renoir began his career as a porcelain painter in Limoges, and it’s easy to ascertain the connection between this artisan craft and therefore the fine arts. an exquisite collection of Impressionist paintings is on display at the Musée des Beaux-Arts. to find out more about the history of porcelain, tourists should head to the Pavillon de la Porcelaine – Musée Haviland, which also features a boutique that sells the refined Haviland porcelain items.

The Musée National Adrien Dubouché highlights the sweetness and sort of porcelain, the kind that Limoges is legendary . The museum has an in depth collection of pottery, faïence, glassware, and Limoges porcelain.

3. Uzerche

Uzerche is understood because the “Pearl of Limousin,” due to its beautiful historic buildings and spectacular setting on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Vézère River. This medieval fortified town has many architectural treasures, including impressive old towers, atmospheric vaulted pathways, and stylish “hôtels particuliers” (mansions). to not be missed is that the Abbatiale Saint-Pierre, a wonderful Romanesque church inbuilt the 11th century by Benedictine monks.

The countryside surrounding Uzerche offers ample opportunities for hiking and nature walks. an excellent place to require in views of the countryside is from the Esplanade de la Luna de. During the summer, outdoor markets, festivals, and music concerts draw many visitors.

4. Abbatiale Saint-Pierre Saint-Paul, Solignac

Solignac (15 kilometers faraway from Limoges) is home to at least one of the foremost important sights within the Limousin region, the Abbatiale Saint-Pierre Saint-Paul. This splendid Romanesque abbey, built by Benedictine monks within the 10th and 11th centuries, was a medieval pilgrimage destination on the “Way of Saint James” route to Santiago de Compostela. Typical of Romanesque churches, the outside is decorated with rounded arches and sculpted figures. The spacious domed interior features awe-inspiring 15th-century stained-glass windows and columns adorned with details including griffins, palm leaves, and snakes.

The historic village of Solignac charms visitors with its pastel-shuttered old stone buildings and a pleasing ambiance along the Briance River. Spanning the river is that the 15th-century Pont-Vieux de Solignac (Old Bridge of Solignac), a graceful arched masonry bridge.

5. Château deVal

Surrounded by dreamy pastoral scenery, the Château deVal seems like a picture from the pages of a child’s storybook. The turreted castle stands on a rocky spur within the Lac de Bort Les Orgues, one among the most important lakes in Europe. This medieval fortress, with its grandiose Gothic rooms, is one among the simplest places to go to to get the ambiance of another era. Unlike many French castles, the Château deVal is sumptuously provided with period pieces, creating an honest picture of what it had been wish to live here. The castle’s Saint-Blaise Chapel is listed as a Historical Monument.

The castle grounds include a courtyard by the lake and a tranquil garden planted with many flowers. All round the property are quiet spots that invite visitors to commune with nature under a shady lime tree, by a fountain, or near the old stables. During July and August, the Château deVal hosts outdoor music concerts on Wednesday evenings. The Château deVal also offers bed-and-breakfast accommodations.

6. Musée d’Art Contemporain de la Haute-Vienne

This museum of up to date art is housed within the majestic Château de Rochechouart overlooking the Graine and Vayres valleys. The well-restored medieval-Renaissance castle houses the museum’s collection dedicated to 20th- and 21st-century art. On display are over 300 works created from the 1960s to this day, plus an assortment of two ,000 decorative arts objects, also as unique commissioned pieces.

Equally noteworthy are the artworks found on the walls of the château, especially the 16th-century frescoes within the Salle des Chasses (depicting hunting scenes) and therefore the Galerie d’Hercule (illustrating the labors of Greek mythological figure Hercules).

7. Parc Naturel Régional de Millevaches en Limousin

The Parc Naturel Régional de Millevaches en Limousin may be a paradise of deep green forests, gently rolling hills, sheltered valleys, grassy meadows, and peaceful lakes. The regional park, which encompasses the Plateau de Millevaches, has freshwater rivers and streams that are home to river otters. The Millevaches Regional Park is dotted with charming small hamlets and traversed naturally trails. Hikers will enjoy the various landscape, from heathlands and oak groves to pastures where the famous Limousin cows graze.

Besides hiking and biking, other popular activities are boating, fishing, and cycling. Overnight travelers can occupy campsites or other accommodations within the park.

8. Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat

This quaint medieval town features a well-preserved historic center and a UNESCO-listed Romanesque church (dating to the 11th and 12th centuries) that was a stop on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage trail. Wandering through the town’s cobblestone streets and narrow alleys takes visitors back in time. Much of the town has not changed since the center Ages.

The Quartier de Noblat riverside district is particularly atmospheric with its old mills and 13th-century bridge. Tourists can arrive here by taking the Chemin du Pavé pedestrian path. This charming area may be a delightful place for a stroll. Other things to try to to include fishing and picnicking.

Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat is additionally known for its gastronomy. During July, the Fête de la Saint-Martial, a standard market of regional food products, is held at the place Saint-Martial by the Vienne River. Those with a appetite should try the local specialty called “Massepain de Saint-Léonard,” a touch almond crescent that’s crunchy on the surface and crazy the within . The recipe features a Mediterranean origin and was delivered to the town by pilgrims coming back from Saint-Jacques de Compostela in Spain.

9. Collonges-la-Rouge

Collonges-la-Rouge may be a picture-perfect hamlet listed together of the “Plus Beaux Villages de France” (Most Beautiful Villages of France). Most of the buildings are constructed from red sandstone and go back to the 15th and 16th centuries when many noteworthy citizens of the Viscount of Turenne had residences here. the weird rosy-hued houses and noblemen’s mansions make this town incomparable to the other in France.

Another must-see attraction in Collonges-la-Rouge is that the 11th-century Eglise Saint-Pierre, an exquisite church that was visited by medieval pilgrims on the “Way of Saint James” trail to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

10. Curemonte

Listed together of the “Plus Beaux Villages de France,“ Curemonte sits on top of a rocky mount presiding over two valleys. Three castles dominate the townscape and are visible from far within the distance. Tourists can easily imagine the formidable impression that this village must have made during the center Ages. Curemonte boasts a 12th-century Romanesque church, also as two other historic churches. At the 14th-century Château Saint-Hilaire, the author Colette wrote, Journal à Rebours. The village’s perfectly preserved squares and buildings make it popular as a filming location for movie sets.

11. Mortemart

Another one among the “Plus Beaux Villages de France,” Mortemart may be a charming village with lovely architecture. Several historic religious buildings dazzle visitors, including a 14th-century Carmelite convent and therefore the Eglise Saint-Hilaire, a humble little chapel in an Augustinian convent. Equally noteworthy may be a 10th-century castle, the Château des Ducs, which was home to the Dukes of Mortemart. Stately noblemen’s mansions reflect the town’s wealthy heritage.

In the center of the town is an old covered hall that’s still a hub for weekly markets, where farmers sell fresh fruits, vegetables, and other local products to villagers.

12. Ségur-le-Château

Ségur-le-Château is yet one more one among the region’s “Plus Beaux Villages de France.” The village is nestled during a spot that was favored by the Viscounts of Limoges due to its safety from invasions. History is felt at every corner of the village. Visitors will enjoy wandering the traditional narrow lanes to admire handsome half-timbered houses and turreted noblemen’s mansions. On a sunny day, it’s pleasant to travel for a scenic stroll along the riverside. Tourists should even be bound to visit the town’s medieval château, which needs a climb up Capitol Hill but offers the reward of a shocking view of the landscape.

Tourist Places in Berry (Bourges)

An enchanting medieval city, Bourges was the capital of the historic Province of Berry and a middle of trade the 15th and 16th centuries.

The old town is replete with luxurious mansions built for merchants, side-by-side with top-heavy half-timbered houses.

The cathedral is an absolute wonder and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, looking like no other church within the world.

Bourges is additionally the place to urge to understand Jacques Cœur, a merchant who traveled far and wide and worked his way into the court of King Charles VII . And if that isn’t enough you’ll escape into the pastoral Marais where thousands of little garden plots are navigated by a lattice of water channels.

Let’s explore the simplest things to try to to in Bourges:

1. Bourges Cathedral

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bourges Cathedral is extraordinary on many levels.

The first thing which may catch your eye is that the lack of a transept, as there’s no break between the nave and choir.

This departure from the norm is merely made possible by the rows of flying buttresses that run the length of the nave and choir.

On the within , there’s a singular double aisle that seamlessly becomes a double ambulatory.

At this eastern side of the church, nearly all of the glass you’ll see is original, remarkably surviving from the 1215 and conveying bible scenes like Christ’s parables, the eagerness , the Apocalypse, and Judgment Day .

2. Cathedral Tower and Crypt

These parts of the cathedral merit another listing because, while you’ve got to pay to ascertain them you won’t regret the tiny charge.

If you’re coming in summer it’s best to try to to this part early because the queues can belong.

Climbing the Tour de Buerre (Butter Tower) is not any mean feat as there are 400 steps, but there’s a panorama of Bourges to reward you at the highest .

The name comes from the means wont to fund this 16th-century tower, as people would pay to be ready to break their fast and eat butter during Lent.

In the crypt, you’ll be within the vestiges of the cathedral’s 11th-century predecessor and may find the tomb of the Duke Jean de Berry who was liable for Bourges’ boom years within the 1300s.

3. Old Town

In 1487 there was an excellent fire in Bourges that destroyed a 3rd of the town and stunted its development because it lost its annual fairs to Troyes and Lyon.

But it also gives us a really unified old town, with diamond-pattern timber houses, packed approximate on streets like Rue Bourbonnoux, and a number of stone-built Renaissance mansions.

All you would like are your own two feet and a way of wonder and you’ll find exciting landmarks just like the house where the famous merchant Jacques Cœur was born in 1395. There also are some fantastic merchants’ houses from earlier within the 1400s that survived the hearth and are either attractions on their own terms or host the city’s museums.

4. Palais Jacques-Cœur

In the middle of the 15th-century the rich merchant and treasurer to King Charles VII , Jacques Cœur commissioned this breathtaking Gothic residence.

The Palais Jacques-Cœur came sometime before the Loire Valley’s exuberant Renaissance châteaux, but its carvings lack none of their elegance and richness.

Like its first owner, who opened trade between France and therefore the Levant, the palace has many stories to tell: As you progress from the galleried courtyard to the spiral staircases, steam rooms, private apartments, servants’ areas, and treasure room, video presentations with fill you in about the architecture, decoration and therefore the people that lived here.

5. Jardin de l’Archevêché

Next to the cathedral, these gardens were laid within the 1730s for the Archbishop of Bourges, eventually becoming the park for the government building .

In a familiar French style, there are boxwood topiaries trimmed to sharp points, lime trees within the shape of globes also as formal lawns and flowerbeds hemmed by paths.

You’ll also always have a privileged view of the cathedral’s awesome flying buttresses as you’re taking your turn in these gardens.

There’s a restaurant within the park, kids can hit the playground and you’ll stop at the romantic Belle Époque bandstand for a better look.

6. Marais de Bourges

Just a couple of minutes from the Old Town is an enclave of reclaimed marshland encompassing 135 hectares.

In past this boggy countryside slowed Julius Caesar’s advance in his conquest of Gaul in 52BC. But from round the 8th century, the marshes were brought under human control, and are available the 17th-century they were drained and crisscrossed by an internet of water channels.

Now the Marais is an outside escape for walkers and cyclists, to not mention urban gardening because the Marais is split into almost 1,500 allotments that wont to keep the entire city stocked fruits and vegetables.

The channels abound with fish and waterfowl, and there isn’t a prettier place to get on warm June day when the gardens are in flower.

7. Musée du Berry

Hôtel Cujas is yet one more of Bourges’ fine old houses with a museum inside.

This Flamboyant Gothic mansion was conceived for a Florentine merchant in 1515 and is known as for Jacques Cujas, a 16th-century jurist who was a tenant for the previous couple of years of his life.

The Musée du Berry inside wont to be at the Palais Jacques-Cœur, but moved here in 1891. within the course of just about 200 years, it’s amassed a riveting assortment of mosaics, ceramics, and statues.

Some excavated within the city, just like the 220 Gallo-Roman Steles from Ancient Bourges, while there also are finds from Ancient Egypt, including a mummy from the 4th century BC.

8. Musée Estève

This museum for the 20th-century artist, Maurice Estève could hardly have a nobler home.

The building is that the Hôtel des Échevins (House of the Aldermen), a Gothic mansion with ornate stonework on its tower.

Over three floors connected by the tower’s spiral staircase, the museum has the most important single collection of art by Estève, whose career lasted eight decades and took him from surrealism to abstraction via a figurative period.

In the softly lit Galerie Lejuge, you’ll see his sensational collages, watercolors, and drawings, which are rotated every few months to stay them conserved.

9. Les Nuits Lumière

In the evening from June to September, the town’s most beautiful Gothic and Renaissance landmarks are lit with magnificent projections.

At the Cathedral, Jardin de l’Archevêché and Hôtel des Échevins Palais these ethereal images are combined with music, and a part of a walk that literally sheds new light on Bourges and its past.

The climax though is that the Palais Jacques-Cœur, where you’ll enter the courtyard to urge to understand more about this merchant, his voyage to the center East and time within the service of the King.

10. Hôtel Lallemant

In Bourges, you won’t tire of seeing the city’s old mansions because each is as beautiful because the last.

Hôtel Lallemant is one you’ll lose hours gazing at due to its external decorative sculptures, which are as sharp as ever and include quirky characters, pilasters, capitals, scrolls, columns and every one sorts more.

The home is a masterpiece of the French Renaissance and was built at the turn of the 16th century for a family of merchants that had originated in Germany.

Hôtel Lallemant is additionally built on the Gallo-Roman wall, which causes a divide between the upper and lower courtyards.

Call certain alittle museum on decorative arts, which features a few rooms of miniature toys and antique furniture.

11. Promenade des Remparts

In the 4th century Avaricum (Gallo-Roman Bourges) became the capital of the Aquitaine Premièr province, then controlled a huge tract of southwestern France.

At that point the town erected a replacement system of walls, gates, and towers to defend itself in what’s now Bourges’ upper town.

With some help from the tourist office, you’ll walk the elliptical course of those defenses.

The Gallo-Roman parts are still visible throughout Bourges’ streetscape within the lowest sections of medieval dwellings, walls, and towers.

12. Jardin des Prés-Michaux

Just north of the middle , on the Left Bank of the Yèvre just after it leaves the Marais may be a calming artistic movement garden landscaped within the 1920s.

Come here to wander by a tremendous array of plant sculptures: The are linden hedges, arches made up of trimmed yews and every one sorts of strange topiaries dotted here and there.

In between are geometric lawns edged flowerbeds next to long, straight promenades.

Art Deco-style Sculptures, fountains, stone reliefs and wisteria-draped pergolas make this a classy place to idle away an hour approximately .

13. Lac du Val d’Auron

A man-made body of water a mere two kilometers south of the old town, the Lac du Val d’Auron is awash with activity in summer.

There’s carp fishing, sailing, and canoeing on the lake, which has meadow and woodland on its southern shores and more of Bourges’ outskirts the further north you go.

It’s not all about watersports though, as there’s an equestrian center on the western shore while just east of the lake is that the 18-hole municipal golf links , with a nine-hole pitch & putt and a golf range .

14. Printemps de Bourges

Live music fans owe it to themselves to see out this festival that happens over five days in April.

Printemps de Bourges features a format that has been copied in many places, as for these few days 13 stages at different locations round the town host some 200 artists.

It’s every week of fun and youthful energy, when some 200,000 people, mostly students, and 20-somethings, pour into the town .

For the industry, the festival may be a major A&R event, and an opportunity to scout up-and-coming talent, especially at the perimeter Les Découvertes du Printemps de Bourges shows for unsigned acts.

15. Route Jacques Cœur

You’ve seen his birthplace and therefore the resplendent mansion that he built, but there’s even more heritage within the Bourges area concerning the city’s famous son.

Jacques Cœur was a reasonably interesting character and you’ll find other places relevant to him on a delegated route that was found out as way back as 1954. There are 16 sites on the itinerary, taking in towns within the region like Sancerre, also beloved for its wine, and Mehun Sur Yèvre, which has the awe-inspiring ruins of a castle where Charles VII died in 1461.

Tourist Places in Orleans

The Loire Valley invites visitors to step into the scene of a fairy tale, complete with stunning castles and enchanting countryside. Known as the “Garden of France,” the entire area of the Loire Valley is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Because of its beauty, the Loire Valley was frequently visited by the French kings. The region has been strategically important since the Middle Ages and the Hundred Years’ War, but the Loire really came to life during the Renaissance.

During the 15th and 16th centuries, the French Kings dreamed up a vision of luxury and opulence and built extravagant country retreats amid the Loire’s woodlands and rivers. These lavish royal castles became legendary, and rich nobles followed suit by creating their own grand homes in the area. The sumptuous Renaissance châteaux were designed purely for enjoyment and entertaining, an extension of court life outside Paris. The grandiose Chambord is the most magnificent château, while Chenonceau is the most elegant. Find the best things to see and do in the region with our list of the top tourist attractions in the Loire Valley.

1 Château de Chambord

In a majestic location on the left bank of the Loire River, the Château of Chambord is the most emblematic Renaissance monument in France. A breathtaking sight to behold, this enormous castle provided inspiration for the building of the Château de Versailles. The estate was created in the early 16th century (at the height of the French Renaissance) for King Francis I, who spared no expense. The building was constructed on a scale of immense proportions, measuring 117 meters by 156 meters. With turrreted towers, impressive vaulted ceilings, 440 rooms, and a gigantic double-helix staircase at the entry hall, the Château de Chambord is definitely fit for royalty. Louis XIV (the “Sun King”) frequently resided here, hosting extravagant gala balls, hunting parties, and amusing soirées. The celebrated playwright Molière presented his comedy Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme while he was staying at the château as a guest of Louis XIV.

The extensive property of Chambord is encircled by a 32-kilometer wall (the longest in France), with six gates that allow access to the grounds. Of the property’s 5,500 hectares of parkland, four-fifths is pristine forests. Visitors are dazzled by the French Formal Gardens that are landscaped in geometric patterns with perfectly manicured shrubs and tidy flowerbeds. The garden’s Italianate terrace was a central feature of court life when the king was in residence. Today Chambord is a must-see destination in the Loire Valley, about a two-hour drive from Paris. Tourists can take an 80-minute train ride from Paris Austerlitz station to the Blois Chambord station, which is a 25-minute shuttle or taxi ride away from the château.

2 Château de Chenonceau

An elegant château with a distinctive feminine touch, Chenonceau was strongly influenced by the famous women who have lived here. Thomas Bohier acquired the Château de Chenonceau in 1512, and his wife, Catherine Briçonnet renovated the medieval castle by rebuilding it in Renaissance style with a spacious central entrance hall and Italianate staircase. After being acquired by the Crown Estate in 1535, the château became the property of King Henry II, who presented the château to his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, in 1547. Henry’s widow Catherine de Médicis, who took over the royal residence in 1533, was responsible for creating the most unique feature of the château, the Corps de Logis. This two-story gallery stands upon a graceful arched bridge that crosses the Cher River, giving the impression that the château is floating on water. To further impress visitors, the Corps de Logis gallery displays fine paintings and antique tapestries. With an air of both delicacy and grandeur, the château’s stately halls once provided the ideal setting for refined social gatherings.

Equalling the beauty of the interior, the château’s Renaissance French Gardens is landscaped with decorative pools and flower beds. The garden’s spacious “floating parterre” (raised terraces covered with lawn) was the creative vision of Diane de Poitiers. In the Garden of Catherine de Médicis, roses flourish on trellises of a walking path, which overlooks the castle moat, a sublime scene sure to inspire leisurely strolls. On summer weekend evenings, the gardens take on a magical glow, illuminated by hundreds of lanterns for Nocturnal Promenades (Night Walks).

Another reason to linger at the château is the property’s fine-dining restaurant, L’Orangerie, which serves gourmet cuisine in an exquisite dining room. The château also has a tea room with an outdoor patio in the Green Garden, a casual self-service restaurant, and a crêperie, as well as shaded picnic areas. Château de Chenonceau is accessible by the rapid-speed TGV train (a one-hour ride) from the Paris Montparnasse station to the Tours station. By car, it takes about two hours to reach Chenonceau from Paris.

3 Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres

The charming old town of Chartres is crowned by the UNESCO-listed Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres, an important pilgrimage destination during the Middle Ages. This awe-inspiring French Gothic church stands in an elevated position, with its soaring spires visible from a distance. Built-in the 12th and 13th centuries, Chartres Cathedral is one of the finest and best-preserved medieval churches in France as well as an important landmark of Christian art and architecture. The influence of Chartres Cathedral is seen in many other Gothic cathedrals in Europe, including Amiens and Reims in France, Westminster Abbey in England, Cologne Cathedral in Germany, and the Catedral de León in Spain. The stained-glass windows of Chartres also inspired similar workmanship at the cathedrals in Bourges, Le Mans, Poitiers, Rouen, and Tours in France, and Canterbury in England.

Chartres Cathedral features a highly ornamental facade centered around the Royal Portail (doorway) adorned with monumental Old Testament figures, an early form of Gothic sculpture. The cathedral is most renowned for its abundance of intricately detailed medieval stained-glass windows (nearly 3,000 square meters) that are perfectly conserved; most of the windows date from 1210 to 1260, an exceptional rarity in existence. Particularly breathtaking are the three immense rose windows. Other notable features in the cathedral are the Late Gothic choir screens with scenes from the life of the Virgin and the Gospels, and the terrace with a panoramic view of the lower town. During summertime (on Sunday afternoons in July and August), the cathedral presents sacred music performances (free of charge) as part of the International Organ Festival. Chartres is an easy day trip from Paris, approximately a 90-minute car ride from the city center or train ride from Saint-Lazare station.

4 Bourges

Bourges Cathedral, a Roman Catholic church located in Bourges, France, dedicated to Saint Stephen

Boasting many old palaces and burghers’ houses, the old ducal city of Bourges enjoys a picturesque setting on the Yèvre and Aveyron Rivers in the historic province of Berry. The town’s top attraction, the UNESCO-listed Cathédrale Saint-Etienne ranks among the most splendid of French cathedrals built in the 12th-13th centuries. The ornate west front, flanked by massive towers, has five doorways with rich sculptural decoration and an exquisite 14th-century rose window. The cathedral is entered through the Romanesque south doorway, over which is a figure of Christ in Majesty, surrounded by the symbols of the four Evangelists. The interior stuns visitors with its gorgeous sanctuary illuminated by 13th-century stained-glass windows. In a chapel near the choir are interesting 15th-century kneeling figures of the Duc Jean de Berry and his wife. Tourists can also climb to the top of the north tower to take in spectacular views. Another noteworthy building is the Palais Jacques Côur, a palace built in 1443-1453 by the royal treasurer Jacques Côur, exemplifying secular Gothic architecture. About a 30 minutes’ drive southwest of Bourges is the 12th-century Cistercian Abbey of Noirlac, a fantastic example of Cistercian architecture with an arcaded cloister dating from the 13th and 14th centuries.

5 Château de Cheverny

A private estate in a tranquil countryside setting near a vast forest, the Château of Cheverny dazzles visitors with its enchanting gardens and magnificent interior. Cheverny Castle claims to be the most fully furnished and decorated of the Loire châteaux. Built-in the early 1600s in harmonious Classical style, this exceptional manor house has been home to the same family for more than six centuries and opened its doors to the public in 1922. The grand halls and remarkably well-maintained apartments of the château are graced with the original furniture and decor, such as a 17th-century Gobelin tapestry and a Louis XIV chest, which provide an insight into noble life centuries ago. The entryway features an elaborately designed stairway, while the main rooms are embellished with Louis XIII boiseries (intricately carved paneling). For those more interested in French popular culture, the château has an exposition of Tintin comic strips.

One of the highlights of the Château of Cheverny is the English-style park, a bucolic expanse of tidily manicured green lawns shaded by giant redwoods and cedar trees. The more adventurous can rent an electric car to take a spin through the property’s forest path. Another enjoyable way to take in the scenery is by gliding around the lake on an electric boat. When visitors are in need of refreshments, the Café de l’Orangerie delights with its fancy pastries, homemade ice cream, snacks, and beverages, served in the 18th-century orangery building or outside on the terrace. On sunny days, the château’s open-air picnic area is another favorite spot. The Château of Cheverny is an easy (approximately two-hour) car ride or train ride from Paris. The best option by train is from the Paris Austerlitz station to the Blois-Chambord station and then a short (16-kilometer) taxi ride to the château.

6 Azay-le-Rideau

Azay-le-Rideau is renowned for its magnificent Renaissance château, a dreamy fairy-tale-like building that is surrounded by a moat and lovely gardens. The Château d’Azay-le-Rideau was built in the 16th century by a wealthy financier. The design of this stately château was greatly influenced by Italian architecture. The most notable features on the ground floor are the rib-vaulted kitchen and the dining room with a richly decorated chimney and numerous tapestries. Sumptuous Renaissance furniture and paintings decorate the reception rooms. In the town of Azay-le-Rideau, there is an interesting church, the Eglise Saint-Symphorien, that blends Romanesque and Gothic styles. The facade of the south aisle reveals remains of Carolingian reliefs. In the nearby Château of Saché, the famous author Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) wrote some of his novels. The room where Balzac worked has been preserved as it was.

Only ten kilometers away from Azay-le-Rideau is another spectacular château: Château de Langeais, one of the fastest-built châteaux in the Loire Valley. The château was constructed by King Louis XI in only four years from 1465 to 1469. This striking landmark has remained unchanged for centuries; the medieval rooms with their original decorations and wall-hangings are particularly worth seeing. King Charles VIII was married here to Anne de Bretagne in 1491.

Travelers visiting this area can spend the night in regal style at the nearby Château de Rochecotte, about 20 kilometers away from the Château d’Azay-le-Rideau. This 4-star hotel was formerly the residence of the Prince de Talleyrand and the Duchesse de Dino. Ensuring a luxurious experience, the spacious, bright guest rooms feature plush decor and sensational views of the gardens, while the château’s upscale dining room serves a delicious lunch menu and afternoon tea, with desserts prepared by the restaurant’s pastry chef. The property’s 20 hectares of wooded parkland includes formal gardens, an Italianate terrace, and a heated swimming pool.

7 Château de Valençay

The Château de Valençay was built in stages from the medieval era through the Renaissance period, and for this reason, the building blends a variety of architectural styles. The main wing reveals design elements inspired by the Italian Renaissance, while the two-story side wing is Baroque. The side wing also shows the influence of Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (Prince Talleyrand), Napoleon’s foreign minister, who acquired the château in 1803 and resided here in rooms outfitted with Empire furniture. One of the highlights of the château is the Family Portraits Gallery, adorned with paintings that depict Talleyrand’s ancestors. As a tribute to Prince Talleyrand, the château’s Salle des Trésors (Hall of Treasures) displays a collection of personal items that belonged to the savvy Lord of Valençay, who was known for his business acumen, diplomatic talents, and art of living.

Similar to many royal estates, the Château de Valençay encompasses vast grounds. Set in a 53-hectare park including lush forests, the property features immaculately manicured Formal Gardens with a profusion of flowerbeds, sculptures, decorative pools, and fountains. Ideal for relaxing, some of the grassy spaces of the gardens are designated as picnic areas. The woodland portion of the grounds features a four-kilometer path that traverses the forest for taking invigorating nature walks (alternatively electric golf carts are available).

Another exceptional estate nearby is the Domaine de Poulaines in the town of Berry (only seven kilometers away from the Château de Valençay). Nestled in a 20-hectare woodland, the Domaine de Poulaines offers 4.5 hectares of marvelous themed gardens, awarded the “Jardin Remarquable” (“Remarkable Garden”) label in 2014. A refreshing outdoor space with shady 100-year-old trees; an English landscape garden planted with roses, dahlias, and peonies; an aromatic herb garden; koi pond; and an Arboretum with 400 different varieties of trees make this property a special place.

8 Orléans

The largest town in the Loire Valley after Tours, Orléans is a good base to begin exploring the region. Inseparably bound with the history of Joan of Arc, the city owes its survival to the 17-year-old “Maid of Orléans,” who helped lead the French to victory against the English when Orléans was besieged in 1429. A small museum in a restored 15th-century house, the Maison de Jeanne-d’Arc is devoted to Joan of Arc, who is now recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church.

Another landmark associated with Joan of Arc, where she spent time in silent prayer, is the 13th-century Cathédrale Sainte-Croix. The cathedral’s monumental exterior features twin towers (81 meters high), five doorways, and elaborate Baroque decoration. The sheer size of the interior leaves a lasting impression, while colorful stained-glass windows allow visitors to marvel at the history of Joan of Arc. For a further immersion into the city’s culture, tourists can peruse the art collection at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, which displays around 700 artworks (paintings, sculptures and decorative objects) from the 15th to the 20th century, such as pieces by Correggio, Tintoretto, Delacroix, Gauguin, and Picasso.

About 27 kilometers away from Orléans is the Château de Meung-Sur-Loire, one of the oldest castles in the Loire Valley. Set in expansive parklands, the château reveals the evolution of French architecture with its variety of architectural details, from 12th-century towers to the 18th-century facade. The castle also played a strategic role for Joan of Arc in 1429 at a crucial moment during the Hundred Years’ War.

9 Amboise

The medieval town of Amboise was built up along the left bank of the Loire River (about 25 kilometers east of Tours) with dense forest in the background. The city’s most fascinating attraction is the Château Royal d’Amboise, where French kings resided for five centuries. Standing proudly on a rocky cliff at nearly 40 meters high, the château offers a fantastic vantage point of the Loire Valley landscape. Mostly built during the reign of Charles VIII in the 15th century, the castle exemplifies late Gothic architecture with its richly articulated facade and imposing round towers. For more royal history, tourists can visit the Chapelle Saint-Hubert, built around 1491 for King Charles VIII and his wife Anne de Bretagne who was the Duchess of Brittany. The chapel is a fine example of Gothic architecture, with intricate sculptures and gargoyles on the facade and a jewel-box interior illuminated by brilliant stained-glass windows.

Another top attraction in Amboise is the Château du Clos Lucé, where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last three years of his life. At this splendid property, visitors can learn all about the great Renaissance man. Throughout the year, the Château du Clos Lucé presents permanent exhibitions about Leonardo da Vinci’s life story and accomplishments. From April through December, temporary “Cultural Season” exhibitions focus on Leonardo da Vinci’s projects and original ideas (such as his studies of birds and his vision for creating a flying vehicle). Visitors should leave time to wander around Leonardo’s Garden, which abounds with burgeoning plant species that inspired Leonardo da Vinci’s interest in botany.

10 Blois

Perched on two hills above the Loire River, the historic city of Blois is full of old-world ambiance. The typical characteristics of a medieval town are all found here: narrow medieval streets, half-timbered buildings, a monumental château, and a soaring cathedral. Boasting a regal pedigree, Blois was a royal residence for seven French kings. During King Louis XII and King Francis I reigns, the town played a similar role to that of the Château de Versailles for Louis XIV. Originally a fortified citadel, the Château Royal de Blois reflects changing architectural styles of the eras it was built (13th through 17th centuries). For instance, the Francis I wing is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture with a grandiose octagonal staircase. A short walk from the château is a former Benedictine church, the 12th- to 13th-century Eglise Saint-Nicolas, renowned for its stained-glass windows that brighten the harmonious sanctuary.

Standing on high ground in the old town, the Cathédrale Saint-Louis surprises visitors with its simple, unadorned vaulted interior and contemporary stained-glass windows. After taking a look at the cathedral, tourists should take time to admire the handsome old burghers’ houses nearby. History buffs will also appreciate the town’s Musée de la Résistance (at Place de la Grève), which chronicles the French resistance efforts, the Occupation period, and the Liberation at the end of the Second World War.

11 Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire

About 18 kilometers away from Blois, the Château de Chaumont appears as if it’s straight from the page of a fairy tale. This multi-towered and turreted fortress-like château was founded in the year 1000, rebuilt by King Louis XI around 1465 and acquired by Catherine de Médicis in 1550. The château’s apartments, including the Catherine de Médicis room, are beautifully appointed with historic tapestries and works of art. Many of the rooms have been recently embellished with renovated furnishings and decor, allowing visitors to appreciate the château in all its original glory. Both the château and its English-style gardens are open to the public. Adding to its tourist appeal, the Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire presents contemporary “Art Season” exhibits, changing annually to showcase the work of emerging artists, with artworks, sculptures, and creative installations displayed throughout the château and gardens. The château also hosts the “Festival International des Jardins,” a garden design festival that draws inspiration from concepts in literature and poetry.

12 Tours

This historic city is a pleasure to discover by taking a leisurely stroll. A walk through the cobblestone streets between Place Plumereau and the Place du Grand-Marché will give an impression of the character of Vieux Tours (the old town). With its tree-lined courtyard space, bustling outdoor cafés, and handsome half-timbered houses, the Place Plumereau is a particularly inviting place to stop. Tourists should plan to spend some time at the Cathédrale Saint-Gatien to admire the Flamboyant Gothic facade, as well as the glorious vaulted sanctuary, illuminated by the 13th-century stained-glass windows. To the south of the cathedral is the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours, which showcases masterpieces of fine art from the 14th to the 20th century, including paintings by Rubens, Rembrandt, Delacroix, Degas, and Monet. To the north of the cathedral, the medieval Château de Tours presents photography exhibitions created in partnership with the Musée Parisien de la Photographie. For another dose of culture, tourists can continue walking (about 15 minutes west of the Château de Tours) to the Hôtel Goüin, a Renaissance mansion that now welcomes visitors for art and photography expositions, as well as music performances.

13 Angers

Once the capital of Anjou county, Angers is dominated by the Château d’Angers, perched majestically on a 32-meter-high crag above the Maine River. Built-in the 13th century as a fortress, this vast citadel is enclosed by stout defensive walls, with 17 round towers. In the 14th and 15th centuries, court life flourished here under the Dukes of Anjou, patrons of the arts. The château is known for its tapestry collection, most notably the Tapestry of the Apocalypse, an important work of medieval art. One of the fun things to do while visiting the castle is to take a walk along the ramparts, which afford panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

In the old town of Anger, the Cathédrale Saint-Maurice d’Angers surprises visitors with its unusual architectural details. The spacious interior features three large domes (constructed in the 12th century) known as “Angevin Gothic” or “Plantagenêt” vaulting. Another dazzling impression comes from the cathedral’s medieval stained-glass windows, in particular the “Glorification de la Vierge” window. A short walk south of the cathedral, the Musée des Beaux-Arts has a superb collection of fine art housed in a stately 15th-century hôtel particulier. Also not to be missed is the Collégiale Saint-Martin, a Romanesque church with elements dating to the Merovingian (5th and 6th centuries) and Carolingian (10th-century) eras, as well as the Gothic period. Other cultural attractions include the Galerie David d’Angers, which displays the sculptures of Pierre-Jean David in a renovated 13th-century abbey church; the Musée Jean Lurçat et de la Tapisserie Contemporaine, which showcases contemporary tapestries; and the Musée Pincé, devoted to Greek, Egyptian, Roman (and other) antiquities.

Topping the vacation to-do list for families with kids is to spend a day at Terra Botanica, an amusement park with a botanical-themed twist. (The park is a 10-minute drive outside the historic part of Anger on the Route d’Epinard.) Within the extraordinary gardens of Terra Botanica, around 275,000 diverse plant species thrive roses, dahlias, orchids, water lilies, rare vegetables, herbs, spices, tropical palms, cactuses, and thousand-year-old trees. Grown-ups will adore the beautiful Rose Garden and the traditionally landscaped Grandma’s Path, while kids will love the play area, boat rides, Butterfly Greenhouse, and the hanging gardens on Elves’ Island14 Chinon and Château d’Ussé

14 Chinon and Château d’Ussé

With its ruined castle looming from above on a steep ridge of a hill, the town of Chinon has a romantic ambiance. The old town lies between the fortress and the Vienne River. The Forteresse Royale de Chinon dates back to the 10th century and is a masterpiece of medieval architecture. Joan of Arc had an important meeting with the Dauphin Charles here in 1429. The Rue Voltaire, with its 15th- and 16th-century houses, and the 12th-century Church of Saint-Maurice is particularly worth seeing. The most important event in the history of Chinon was the meeting between Charles VII and Joan of Arc on March 9, 1429, which marked the beginning of the reconquest of French territory from the English.

A vision of a fairy-tale fantasy is found 12 kilometers from Chinon at the Château d’Ussé, the castle that provided inspiration to Charles Perrault, who wrote the “Sleeping Beauty” story in the 17th-century. Built-in stages between the 15th and 17th centuries, the Château d’Ussé shows a mingling of Late Gothic and Renaissance architecture. The rooms feature Florentine and Louis XV furniture, 16th- and 17th-century tapestries, and marble marquetry. Visitors are also impressed by the castle’s unique spiral staircase and the grand staircase designed by Mansart, the architect of the Château de Versailles. The grounds rank among the Loire Valley’s prettiest gardens, created by Le Nôtre (known as the “King’s Gardener”), who landscaped Versailles. Tucked away in a peaceful spot of the property is the Collégiale Notre Dame d’Ussé, dedicated to Sainte-Anne d’Ussé. This 16th-century chapel exemplifies pure Renaissance style. The Château d’Ussé is owned by the Duke of Blacas and has been a private home in the family for more than two centuries.

15 Le Mans

Although most famous for its car race, Le Mans is worth discovering for its cultural heritage. Surrounded by remnants of ancient Gallo-Roman walls and brimming with old-world charm, the historic section of Le Mans known as the “Cité Plantagenêt” (named after Geoffrey Plantagenet, the Count of Anjou, and Maine counties), is a delightful escape from the modern world. This historic gem of an old town covers 20 hectares, filled with cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses, and Renaissance mansions. The main thoroughfare of the Cité Plantagenêt is the Grande Rue. Tourists should stop to notice the Renaissance mansion, Maison d’Adam et d’Eve (69 Grand Rue at the crossing of Rue du Bouquet), before ambling along the Rue de la Reine Bérengère until reaching the Cathédrale Saint-Julien. First-time visitors are struck by the cathedral’s incredible facade, especially the abundance of flying buttresses and the fabulously detailed sculpting. The sanctuary is among the finest in France, with medieval stained-glass windows rivaling Chartres Cathedral, especially the Ascension window, and ceiling paintings in the Chapelle de la Vierge, which depict 47 angelic musicians. Another top tourist attraction near the cathedral is the Musée de la Reine-Bérengère, dedicated to regional history and culture. Also within the Cité Plantagenêt are two pleasant green spaces, the Bicentenary Square on the Rue de la Verrerie, which has a rose garden and benches for relaxing, and the Robert Trigger Square, with a view of the cathedral and a small garden of aromatic plants.

Just outside the Cité Plantagenêt is the Musée de Tessé, a fine arts museum that displays paintings, sculptures, and decorative objects from the 12th to 20th centuries, as well as Egyptian antiquities. Also beyond the Cité Plantagenêt is the Eglise Notre-Dame-de-la-Couture, a former Benedictine abbey church with a Virgin and Child statue sculpted by renowned Renaissance artist Germain Pilon. On the right bank of the Sarthe River, the Eglise Notre-Dame-du-Pré offers the chance to experience a serene Romanesque sanctuary. Of course, car-racing enthusiasts will want to visit the Sarthe Automobile Museum (near the Circuit des 24 Heures race track) to learn about the race and see the actual winning vehicles.

16 Saumur

Halfway between Anger and Tours, the medieval town of Saumur is at the heart of the historic Anjou region where the pastoral landscape is dotted with woodlands, vine-covered hills, flower fields, and small farms. Saumur has one of the most impressive of the Loire Valley châteaux, built in the 14th century on a hill high above the Loire River, creating a striking impression from far in the distance. Originally, the Château de Saumur was the property of the Count of Anjou, then the Plantagenêt dynasty and later was converted into a royal residence by King Saint Louis IX in the early 13th century. In the 15th century, the castle became the royal domain of King René, who called his resplendent palace the “castle of love.” Designed around an open courtyard, the château is entered through a large and imposing doorway. Inside, the Château de Saumur contains the Musée de Saumur, which has a collection of decorative works of art, furniture, tapestry, and ceramics from the 14th to 18th centuries along with an assortment of equestrian objects. In addition, the museum presents temporary expositions throughout the year, while the château hosts (French-language) cultural events during summertime, such as open-air film screenings. Tourists can visit the castle’s gardens and the outdoor terrace overlooking the Loire Valley landscape.

Those interested in French gastronomy can discover an important culinary ingredient that’s cultivated in the area around Saumur: “Champignons de Paris” (known as “button mushrooms”). In fact, the region’s mushroom farms (champignonnières) supply three-quarters of all the Champignons de Paris mushrooms produced in France. Derived from a variety of wild mushrooms, the Champignons de Paris is now grown in mass quantities in the region’s underground cellars. The prized culinary ingredient is destined for use in Coq au Vin (chicken in wine sauce), Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy), traditional quiches, and other recipes. The Musée du Champignon gives visitors a peek into the intriguing world of mushrooms. Within the museum’s chilly caves, several different varieties of cultivated mushrooms are on display, including Champignons de Paris, oyster mushrooms, and reishi Mushrooms. Self-guided tours (with information available in French and English) or guided group tours in French or English provide an in-depth educational experience. Adding to the fun, the museum allows visitors the chance to sample various appetizers prepared with mushrooms.

17 Château de Montreuil-Bellay

Originally designed as a citadel, the Château de Montreuil-Bellay has a fascinating history. The château earned its reputation as impregnable because it withstood a siege by the Count of Anjou in the 12th century. In the 13th century, the château was used as a hunting lodge and hosted elaborate feasts. During the Hundred Years’ War, peasants took refuge in the castle moat and neighboring monasteries. Later, when the Wars of Religion broke out, both the Catholics and Protestants turned to this location to refuel weapons and ammunition. By the late 15th century, the château served as a country manor estate instead of a fortress. As the castle’s purpose changed throughout the centuries, the architecture evolved. The original austere fortress, with its 650 meters of ramparts and 13 defense towers, was transformed into a luxurious palace.

Open to the public for guided tours, the Château de Montreuil-Bellay gives tourists access to view two levels of the building: the cellars and the fully furnished rooms of the ground floor, including the Duchess of Longueville’s bedroom; a well-preserved medieval kitchen; a beautifully decorated drawing-room; a dining room with traditional beamed ceiling; and a small music room. The castle grounds include verdant gardens, filled with shady lime trees and fragrant roses. Also on the property is the 15th-century Collégiale Notre-Dame church, decorated with the coats of arms of the château’s Lords.

18 Château de Villandry

F. Charel – CRT Centre-Val de Loire

Built-in the 16th century for Jean Le Breton, Minister of Finance to King François I, the Château de Villandry is renowned for its gorgeous Renaissance gardens. The French-style landscaping was first laid out in the 16th century. From the upper floor of the château, a flight of steps leads down to the gardens, which cover an expansive area of five hectares. To the left is the Ornamental Garden, with four “salons” of meticulously arranged greenery. The first salon, called the “Garden of Love,” is designed in the style of gardens found in Andalusia (with four geometric beds); each bed of flowers represents a different type of love. Beyond the Ornamental Gardens is the Kitchen Garden, planted with vegetables laid out in decorative geometric forms. Reminiscent of medieval monastery gardens, the Herb Garden boasts 30 varieties of culinary and medicinal herbs, planted in circular beds to symbolize eternity. Other highlights include a maze of “charmilles” (hornbeam hedges), the Water Garden, featuring an ornamental pond, and the view of the village of Villandry and its Romanesque church in the distance.

The château’s eagerly awaited “Nights of a Thousand Lights” takes place on several evenings in July and August, when the gardens are illuminated with 2,000 candles. At this special event, visitors can take a romantic stroll through the gardens in their magical state, while enjoying entertainment and fireworks.

19 Loches

Listed as one of the “Plus Beaux Détours de France” (Most Beautiful Detours of France), the historic town of Loches offers old-world charm, alluring gardens, and picture-perfect scenery alongside the Indre River, a left-bank tributary of the Loire. On the hill above the modern section of Loches is the Cité Médiévale, the medieval city, fortified by a circuit of ramparts stretching two kilometers long. Tourists enter the Cité Médiévale through the 14th- to 15th-century Porte Royale, a gate once approached by a drawbridge. Within this walled city is a captivating medieval world of winding cobblestone streets, quiet pedestrian lanes, and ancient Tuffeau stone buildings. Built on a rocky spur (inside the Cité Médiévale) is the Collégiale Saint-Ours, a Romanesque church originally founded in 962 but mostly dating to the 12th century, and the Château de Loches, dating from the 15th to 16th centuries. Once the residence of King Charles VII, the château is where Joan of Arc met with Charles VII and encouraged him to travel to Reims for his coronation. The Salle Jeanne d’Arc contains a small collection of weapons and an assortment of antique tapestries.

A worthwhile detour from Loches is 18 kilometers away to Montrésor, a quaint little town on the banks of the Indre River listed as one of France’s “Most Beautiful Villages” (“Plus Beaux Villages“). Presiding over the town and the surrounding bucolic landscape is a medieval château built in the 11th century by Foulques Nerra, the Count of Anjou. The town also has a noteworthy 16th-century church, the Collégiale Saint Jean-Baptiste, which is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. A visit to Montrésor could easily be combined on a driving itinerary that includes the Château de Chenonceau (30 kilometers north).

20 Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud

The largest monastery in Europe, the Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud is nestled in a verdant valley near the Loire River and encompasses 13 hectares of parkland. The Benedictine abbey was founded in 1099 by an eclectic and iconoclastic preacher named Robert d’Arbrissel, considered a radical because he created a community for people of diverse social backgrounds. Another unusual fact is that the abbey was always run by an abbess, who governed both male monks and female nuns. A succession of 36 abbesses ran the abbey over the course of seven centuries. Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of King Henry II of England, had strong ties to the abbey, which was her favorite place of worship. During the last years of her life, Queen Eleanor lived at the abbey, and she commissioned the effigies of herself, as well as her husband, that is in the abbey church.

furniture Fontevraud Abbey is now open to the public; visitors can tour the main priory; the Romanesque abbey church (built between 1105 and 1165); an interesting Byzantine kitchen, complete with the original fish smokehouse used to make smoked salmon; and a lush garden planted with vegetables, herbs, and fruit trees. Another highlight of visiting the abbey is its gourmet restaurant. For those who would like to spend the night at a spiritually inspiring retreat, the four-star hotel on the property pampers guests with luxurious, contemporary-style rooms in the former Saint-Lazare priory. Ron the heart of the Loire Valley, just 10 kilometers from Blois and 20 kilometers from Chambord, the Château de Beauregard is the old hunting lodge of King Francis I, who reigned during the first half of the 16th century. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the castle served as a residence for the French king’s ministers. This stately building reflects the grandeur of its rich heritage. Three centuries of France’s history are represented in the château’s portrait gallery, with 327 portraits of kings and important political figures. An expansive parkland surrounds the castle, including gardens planted with ancient cedars, cherry blossom trees, and flowering plants. Depending on the season, vibrant azaleas, camellias, rhododendrons, and a hundred variety of fragrant heirloom roses enliven the grounds. Those who spend more time wandering will come across the ruins of a 14th-century chapel, a landmark on the medieval pilgrimage trail to Santiago de la Compostela. Also on the property are vacation cottages that are available to rent for overnight accommodations. you Abbey of Fontevraud could be a good addition to a tour itinerary with Saumur (14 kilometers away) and Chinon (16 kilometers away).

21 Château de Beauregard

n the heart of the Loire Valley, just 10 kilometers from Blois and 20 kilometers from Chambord, the Château de Beauregard is the old hunting lodge of King Francis I, who reigned during the first half of the 16th century. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the castle served as a residence for the French king’s ministers. This stately building reflects the grandeur of its rich heritage. Three centuries of France’s history are represented in the château’s portrait gallery, with 327 portraits of kings and important political figures. An expansive parkland surrounds the castle, including gardens planted with ancient cedars, cherry blossom trees, and flowering plants. Depending on the season, vibrant azaleas, camellias, rhododendrons, and a hundred variety of fragrant heirloom roses enliven the grounds. Those who spend more time wandering will come across the ruins of a 14th-century chapel, a landmark on the medieval pilgrimage trail to Santiago de la Compostela. Also on the property are vacation cottages that are available to rent for overnight accommodations.

22 Vendôme

On the banks of the Loire River, this elegant historic town was an important medieval pilgrimage destination. The Abbaye de la Trinité was first built here in the 11th century. In the 13th century, the Romanesque abbey was rebuilt in grand Gothic style with an opulent facade, an impressive vaulted nave, and Flamboyant Gothic windows. The abbey gained a reputation as a stopover, close to Saint Martin’s tomb in Tours, along the pilgrims’ road to Santiago de Compostela. At the center of Vendôme is the Place Saint-Martin, and nearby is the Tour Saint-Martin, all that remains of a Renaissance church. Other noteworthy churches in Vendôme include the Chapelle Saint-Jacques, a Gothic chapel now used for cultural expositions, and the 15th-century Eglise Sainte-Marie-Madeleine, with lovely stained-glass windows.

One of France’s Most Beautiful Villages (Plus Beaux Villages), Lavardin is 18 kilometers away from Vendôme amid the rolling hills and cliffs of the Loire Valley. To arrive at the village, visitors must traverse a Gothic bridge that spans the Loire River. The ruins of an old château give this picturesque village a romantic charm. The fortified castle withstood an attack by Richard the Lionheart but was overtaken by King Henry IV’s troops. The village features a mix of architectural styles and periods, from Gothic to Renaissance, and even some cave dwellings.

23 Châteaudun

Châteaudun is perched high on a rocky outcrop, the perfect defensive location during the Middle Ages. In the 12th century, the Count of Blois chose this lofty, difficult-to-access spot to build a fortress featuring a massive 31-meter tower, and that feudal castle is considered the first château of the Loire Valley. In the mid-15th century, the Château de Châteaudun became the property of comrade-in-arms and close friend of Joan of Arc Jean de Dunois, who tore down the old wing of the castle to construct the Sainte-Chapelle (a Holy Chapel designed to hold a relic, the Cross of Christ). After the Hundred Years’ War, the château was enhanced in Renaissance style to suit a more leisurely and luxurious way of life. The room decor became more refined, and large kitchens were added to prepare princely meals. On the castle’s attractive grounds, the unique hanging garden reflects a taste for the lavish. From the château’s outdoor terrace are stunning views of the Loire landscape.

Near the château is the old town of Châteaudun, a jumble of cobblestone streets and pedestrian streets enclosed within ancient ramparts. While strolling atmospheric lanes, visitors are delighted to discover many quaint half-timbered houses (mainly on Rue Saint-Lubin and Rue des Tuileries) and several historic churches, including the Eglise de la the Madeleine with a Romanesque facade. Tourists will also enjoy the town’s pleasant parks and the wide selection of shops and restaurants. Outside the medieval town, in the more modern area of Châteaudun (at 3 Rue Toufaire), is another interesting tourist attraction, the Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’Histoire Naturelle (Museum of Fine Arts and Natural History), which displays a diverse collection of archaeological objects, paintings, fine porcelain, and interior decor.

24 Abbaye de Fleury

Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire is famed for its great Benedictine abbey, the Abbaye de Fleury, which was founded in the 7th century. The abbey’s bright and beautifully proportioned basilica, built between 1067 and 1218, is one of the finest Romanesque churches in France. The most outstanding feature of the church is the porch tower, with its ornately carved capitals. Inside the 12th-century crypt are the relics of Saint Benedict, brought here from the Abbey of Monte Cassino (near Naples in Italy) in the late 7th century.

The monastic community of the Abbaye de Fleury was dissolved at the time of the French Revolution but was re-established in 1944 by a group of Benedictine monks. Today this working monastery has a community of 32 monks and nuns. Besides the spiritual aspect of the monastery, the Abbaye de Fleury has two artisanal workshops: the Atelier de Porcelaine, where monks handcraft porcelain plates, mugs, and bowls, and the Atelier de Confiserie, where specialty confections such as fruit candies, caramels, and honey bonbons are created. Although much of the abbey is reserved for use by the monastic community, the basilica is open to the public; visitors may spend time in prayer, take a guided tour, or attend a concert (classical music performances are occasionally held on Sunday afternoons).

25 Château de Villesavin

This 16th-century manor house is in the small village of Tour-en-Sologne, 10 kilometers away from the Château de Chambord. Built for Jean le Breton, the finance secretary of King Francis I, and later the residence of noble families, the Château de Villesavin was created by French and Italian master craftsmen and builders who had constructed grand royal palaces such as Chambord. Unlike many castles of the Loire Valley, the Château de Villesavin has been well maintained in its original state for four centuries and today is still a private home, owned by the Sparre family, who have kept the castle in the family for three generations.

The château’s 27-hectare property includes tranquil green space and pristine forests filled with many animals. Visitors can often see deer, rabbits, and squirrels. Families with kids will have fun at the castle’s Ferme des Petits, a miniature farm where chickens, cows, donkeys, goats, rabbits, and sheep are raised. Children are given a small bag of bread to feed the gentle farm animals. Other tourist attractions on the property include the Musée du Mariage, with a collection of vintage wedding dresses, and trousseau à la Chambre nuptials (bridal trousseau) items, and the Musée de Voitures Hippomobiles et d’Enfants (Museum of Hippomobiles and Children’s Cars), which displays a unique assortment of 19th-century horse-drawn vehicles and children’s cars that were pulled by dogs, goats, or sheep.

26 Château de Sully-sur-Loire

A remarkable piece of living French history, the Château de Brissac has been in the same family for more than twenty generations. It is currently owned by the 13th Duke of Brissac, descendants of Lord René de Cossé, who purchased the castle in 1502. The Marquis Charles-André and the Marquise Larissa de Brissac reside in the château along with their four children. Besides its prestigious heritage, the Château de Brissac has the distinction of being the tallest château in the Loire Valley, thanks to its seven stories and 204 rooms. The majestic castle is set in a landscaped park with Romantic-style gardens, many benches, and walking paths. The palatial interior features rooms with gilded ceilings, exquisite furniture, and Venetian chandeliers. One of the most delightful rooms in the castle’s 200-seat Belle Epoque opera house.

For those who’d like to feel like landed gentry for a few nights, the castle offers bed and breakfast accommodations. Guest rooms are decorated with authentic antique-style furnishings and have views of the park’s woodlands and meadows. The Château de Brissac also hosts many summertime events, as well as an Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday and a Christmas market and holiday festivities in December.

Like the castles of fairy-tale imagination, the Château de Sully-sur-Loire has soaring towers and is encircled by wide moats that are filled with water. The imposing appearance reflects the original military purpose of the medieval château. When Maximilien de Béthune (the Duke of Sully) bought the property in the early 17th century, he added an artillery tower and defensive walls reinforced by canons to ensure an impenetrable fortress. The interior has been updated throughout the centuries and features a wonderful collection of paintings and tapestries. Especially interesting are the apartments of the Duke of Sully and his wife, and the Hall of Honour family portrait gallery. The château also has a large park, offering a peaceful retreat in nature.

27 Château de Brissac

A remarkable piece of living French history, the Château de Brissac has been in the same family for more than twenty generations. It is currently owned by the 13th Duke of Brissac, descendants of Lord René de Cossé, who purchased the castle in 1502. The Marquis Charles-André and the Marquise Larissa de Brissac reside in the château along with their four children. Besides its prestigious heritage, the Château de Brissac has the distinction of being the tallest château in the Loire Valley, thanks to its seven stories and 204 rooms. The majestic castle is set in a landscaped park with Romantic-style gardens, many benches, and walking paths. The palatial interior features rooms with gilded ceilings, exquisite furniture, and Venetian chandeliers. One of the most delightful rooms is the castle’s 200-seat Belle Epoque opera house.

For those who’d like to feel like landed gentry for a few nights, the castle offers bed and breakfast accommodations. Guest rooms are decorated with authentic antique-style furnishings and have views of the park’s woodlands and meadows. The Château de Brissac also hosts many summertime events, as well as an Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday and a Christmas market and holiday festivities in December.

Tourist Places in Aunis

Often seen as simply a beach destination, Tunisia features a bucketful of unusual tourist attractions and things to try to to for people who venture off the sandy shores. this is often North Africa bound up into one bite-sized package, with vast Sahara dunes, mammoth ancient ruins, and exotic cities that are home to a sprawling tangle of souks. Tunisia was Rome’s breadbasket, and therefore the cultural riches the Romans left behind are quite enough reason to go to . But the history of Arab Empires has also bestowed the country with a number of the region’s most beautiful samples of Islamic architecture.

When you’ve craned your neck at Kairouan’s minarets and played gladiator at El Djem, it’s time to go into the Sahara to sample the raw, empty great thing about the desert. The sun-soaked beaches of the Mediterranean coastline, fringed by palms and lapped by gentle waves, will still be expecting you once you revisit .

1 El Djem Amphitheater

The walls of the mighty Roman amphitheater of El Djem dwarf the encompassing modern town. This incredibly well preserved Roman relic is Tunisia’s big sightseeing highlight and one among the simplest samples of amphitheater architecture left standing within the world, reminding of Rome’s once-grand grip across North Africa you’ll still walk the corridors under stage a bit like the gladiators did. Or, climb up to the highest seating tiers and sit staring across stage , imagining the battles that happened below.

2 Djerba

If you’re trying to find the picture-perfect beach escape, then the island of Djerba checks all the proper boxes. The island town of Houmt Souk is that the main point of interest off the beach, with an old town district that’s a muddle of whitewashed houses. Houmt Souk’s shopping is an attraction in itself, with many handicraft vendors for browsing and haggling opportunities off the beach. But it’s those sandy strips of shoreline out of town that’s the island’s hottest highlight. Pristine and trimmed by date palms, the beaches are relaxing, get-away-from-it-all settings where summer daydreams are made.

3 Carthage

Once Rome’s major rival, Carthage was the town of the seafaring Phoenicians forever memorialized within the Punic Wars. The atmospheric ruins of this ancient town now sit beside the ocean amid the suburbs of Tunis, a warning that even the best cities are often reduced to rubble. The ruins are extensive but opened up , and if you’ve been lucky enough to go to ancient city sites like Ephesus in Turkey or Volubilis in Morocco, which are well-preserved, Carthage can seem quite underwhelming initially . But these UNESCO World-Heritage-listed remnants are hugely important historically, and any tourist curious about North Africa’s ancient past shouldn’t miss a visit here.

4 The National Bardo Museum

Even non-museum fans can’t fail to be impressed at the huge haul of lovely mosaics exhibited inside the Bardo. this is often one among North Africa’s top museums, and it houses one among the world’s most vital mosaic collections, all curated beautifully. It’s a showcase of the dazzling, intricate artistry of the Roman and Byzantine eras, with pieces cherry-picked from every major archaeological site in Tunisia. If you simply have at some point in Tunisia’s capital, Tunis, this museum should be high on your to-do list

5 Sidi Bou Said

impossibly cute, and amazingly photogenic, Sidi Bou Said may be a clifftop village of petite dimensions that appear to possess fallen off an artist’s canvas. Unsurprisingly, artists have feted this tiny hamlet for many years . The whitewashed alleyways, wrought-iron window frames, and colorful blue doors are Tunisian village architecture at their finest, while the Mediterranean backdrop is that the cherry on top. this is often an area to get through a lazy afternoon, simply absorbing the laid-back atmosphere and perhaps indulging during a spot of shopping at one among the various local artisans and handicraft stalls.

6 Grand Erg Oriental

Tunisia’s vast Sahara covers much of the country’s interior, and therefore the most beautiful corner of the desert is that the field of sand dunes referred to as the Grand Erg Oriental. These poetically beautiful dunes are a surreal and lovely landscape of giant waves, shaped by the ever-shifting desert sands. for several visitors, this is often an adventure playground for riding dune buggies and camel treks, but nothing tops the straightforward pleasure of sitting atop one among these mammoth sand mountains and watching the sunset over the Sahara.

7 Bulla Regia

Tunisia has no shortage of Roman ruins, but Bulla Regia near Tabarka is that the country’s most interesting and intriguing site. Here, the Roman inhabitants coped with the tough summer climate by ingeniously building their villas underground, which has left the town houses incredibly well preserved today. For history lovers, this is often a singular opportunity to steer through actual Roman houses, with their walls still intact. It’s a glimpse of the residential lifetime of the traditional world that you simply often don’t see.

8 Kairouan

With mosques, madrassas, and tombs aplenty, Kairouan has quite its justifiable share of monuments because the fourth most vital city for those of the Muslim faith. The Arabic architecture here is actually inspiring, and therefore the skyline is filled with skinny minarets and hulking domes. But it’s probably the rear alleys of the city’s medina that steal the show. With narrow, maze-like lanes lined with crumbling colorful houses, Kairouan’s old town has a fascinating , lost-in-time atmosphere that’s a real highlight of a visit here.

9 Sousse Medina

Overlooked by the mighty fortifications of the Ribat and Kasbah, the medina in Sousse just begs to be explored. This lovely old town district may be a warren of looping lanes, rimmed by whitewashed houses, and a shopping paradise with a tempting selection of ceramics, leatherwork, and metalwork on display. faraway from the stalls along the bustling souk streets, the quiet and rambling back alleys, dusted in white and blue, are an enthralling place to dive in and sample local life.

10 Chott el Djerid

The moonscape surroundings of the Chott el Djerid are a storybook panorama delivered to life; crammed with shimmering mirages on the horizon and puzzle pieces of blindingly white cracked land underfoot. This sprawling salt pan (most easily reached on each day trip from the desert town of Tozeur) may be a desolate and otherworldly scene that wows all who visit with its stark and brutal beauty. A sightseeing trip here proves that nature produces much weirder landscapes than you’ll ever imagine.

11 Hammamet

Hammamet is all about the beach. this is often Tunisia’s top sun-and-sea resort; a dreamy place dotted with pristine white buildings set beside a azure sea. The relaxing charms of this town woo all who come to sunbathe on the soft, white sand, with off-the-beach pursuits usually being nothing more strenuous than gentle strolls and a spot of shopping within the restored old town souks. It’s a no-stress quite place that sums up the pleasures of Tunisia in one pretty package.

12 Monastir Ribat

One of Tunisia’s most photographed buildings and a movie star else , the Ribat in Monastir may be a bulky walled and exceptionally well-preserved fort. Looming over the harbor, the Ribat was originally a part of a string of forts that protected the coastline, but today is one among the few still standing. Its defensive purposes may have long ago faded, but this golden-stoned relic is now during a ll|one amongst|one in every of”> one among Tunisia’s most recognizable landmarks (thanks thereto featuring in a few famous movies), and today, tourists scramble up into its bastion tower, instead of soldiers.