Four Regions, Four Must-See Sites
Western France is made up of the breathtakingly beautiful areas of Brittany, Normandy, Loire Valley and Western Loire. These four regions are located very close to each other, making it easy to visit them all and experience everything they each have to offer, such as the massive castles of Loire Valley or the incredible coasts of Brittany. One of the best ways to explore France’s Western region is on bike. In fact, the area features a fantastic biking loop. If Western France is on your travel itinerary, here are 4 must-see sites to include during your stay.
The Loire Valley is by far one of the most beautiful destinations in all of France. Sometimes referred to as the “Garden of France”, the landscapes here are simply spectacular, with rolling hills, vibrant flowers and vineyards galore. It also happens to be home to a huge number of castles – more than a thousand, in fact. The most famous of these is the Chateau Villandry. Built in the 16th century, and boasting a long, sordid history, the massive castle offers a fascinating example of exquisite Renaissance style architecture. Aside from its imposing structure and design, the Chateau Villandry is also home to some of the most incredible gardens in the world, including ornamental flower gardens, vegetable gardens and even a water garden. It’s one of the most amazing sites to behold and sure to have you talking about it for years to come!
The region of Western Loire is delightfully diverse, with beautiful countryside, sandy beaches, lush vineyards and salt marshes strewn about the landscape. There is more than just lovely scenery here, however. Western Loire is also blessed with an incredibly rich and fascinating history. Cultural discovery abounds at every turn and art lovers are intrigued and inspired by their stunning finds. This region is also home to Nantes, which is the 6th largest city in France. Nantes features a number of historic quarters as well as several museums which boast impressive art collections. There is also a fabulous Gothic Cathedral to visit and a variety of chic boutiques for those who enjoy shopping. In addition to Nantes, Western Loire produces 70% of France’s mushrooms. A visit to this region is sure to delight even the worldliest traveler.
By all accounts, there is never a dull moment in the Normandy region of France. From gourmet festivals to fascinating art exhibitions to the area’s sordid, sometimes tragic past – you’ll certainly never be bored. One of the most noteworthy sites in Normandy is Mont St. Michel, a rocky island located approximately half a mile off the northwest coast. Since ancient times, the island of Mont St. Michel has served as a strategic fortification point and has been the home of the Saint-Michel Monastery since the 8th century AD. Mont St. Michel has a population of less than 50 people, but has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today it is visited by nearly 3,000,000 people each year, making it quite popular for such a tiny, barely inhabited island.
Brittany is among France’s more rugged regions, making it refreshingly un-commercialized. Between the long stretches of spectacular coastline, ancient towns, mysterious islands and dense inland woods, the diversity is evident wherever your travels take you. Brittany is a land rich in culture, tradition and history, with ancient Celtic ties and a long, intriguing past. During your visit, you’ll be delighted to discover a friendly, welcoming people whose language, customs and dress pay a beautiful homage to their past. One of the most breathtaking sites in the Brittany region is its incredible Emerald Coast, which stretches between Cap Frehel and almost as far as Mont St. Michel. This coastline got its name from the mesmerizing color of the sea under certain conditions. A visit here provides the chance to experience some of France’s most awe-inspiring scenery, including small beaches and quaint villages. It makes for a truly memorable journey.