An eye-opening study recently revealed that 74% of 18-24 year olds had never visited France. We were fairly surprised by this, as discussions of favourite holiday memories amongst the cottages4you team always contain family breaks to France: long hot summers on golden sands, the majesty of the Eiffel Tower, sleepy drives through glorious green pastures, the shimmering electric blue waters off the southern coast or just the fun of deciphering food labels in the supermarche and watching Dad use primitive hand signals to communicate with the locals! If France isn’t paradise then it’s a more cost-effective and accessible alternative.
Perhaps one of the most attractive aspects of France is that it still holds a few welcome surprises for even the most seasoned Francophile. Take our new recommended destination, for example. With such an abundance of natural and man-made wonders it’s no surprise that some incredible corners of France are overlooked in favour of their more famous neighbours. But mass tourism’s loss is your gain, as the Franche-Comte region offers all you could want from a fantastic holiday in France – with the added benefit of being able to show off your fantastic discovery to your friends!
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• It may be less recognisable than the Eiffel Tower but Chapelle Notre-Dame du Haut in Ronchamp is equally iconic. A huge concrete structure designed by one of the godfathers of modern architecture, Le Corbusier, the chapel seems equally pre-occupied with exploring shape, space, light and offering an unforgettable experience to visitors.
• Military engineer, Vauban’s fortifications may have been less elegant, but they’re no less striking, as La Citadelle in Besancon will attest. This huge fort stands on top of Mount Saint-Etienne and offers incredible views of the surrounding landscape, including the Doubs River, the city’s Old Quarter and miles of forest. The fort itself houses a fascinating Museum of the Resistance (the citadel played a key part in World War II), a Museum of Natural History, art galleries and more.
• Since Franche-Comte is well known as a region of woods and water, it’s probably about time we highlighted some of its more natural attractions. The Osselle Caves offer an incredible display of otherworldly geology – including the remarkable ‘organ gallery’. The caves have also played their part in French history, acting as a hiding place for priests during the Revolution.
• If you fancy exploring the Franche-Comte’s open-air attractions we’d recommend a trek to the waterfalls on the River Hérisson. This three mile trail starts at the village of Doucier and takes in some of the region’s finest woodland before arriving at the incredible Cascade de l’Eventail and the Cascade du Grand Saut.
Fancy a holiday cottage in France? Take a look at our featured properties on cottages4you.