Leisurely strolls through towns and cities
Walking is still the best way to explore towns and cities, enabling visitors to plunge back in time and wander at their leisure.
Cycling is also an interesting and increasingly popular way of getting around towns, given the growing number of safe cycle paths and the increase in bicycle rental outlets available.
And for those with a sense of romance, nothing beats a carriage ride, which, although only available in a few towns and cities, is a magical way of exploring new surroundings.
Parks, squares and gardens
With the onset of warm, sunny days, France's towns and cities are embellished with flowers and greenery, with parks and gardens providing a touch of colour and bringing nature into the heart of the country's urban areas. These abundant green spaces also contribute to improving the quality of city life and protecting the environment. Regardless if they are private or public, restored or somewhat neglected, the green spaces in our towns and cities are a wonderful part of the country's heritage both in terms of their design and the variety of species they contain.
Indoor and outdoor markets
At the many markets around France, you have the opportunity to buy fresh fruit and vegetables, local charcuterie and traditionally baked bread - perfect for making your own delicious sandwiches.
Street markets are set up very early in the morning with colourful stalls selling fruit and vegetables. The ideal place for a relaxing stroll, they add atmosphere to village squares, and bring life and their own personality to the part of town in which they are held. Markets come in a variety of colourful guises and themes, specialising in flowers, fruit and vegetables or sometimes even animals, antiques or fairground items. Whatever their particular focus, they are the perfect places to meet and chat with friends and acquaintances. At certain times of year, you will also come across markets focusing on local traditions, such as Christmas markets, truffle markets and more.
Cafés and restaurants
Sitting on the terrace of a café, chatting and watching the world go by, is one of the pleasures of visiting our towns and cities, while listening to the sounds of French conversation all around you adds to the excitement of being abroad. Or, sit down at a table in a charming small restaurant or brasserie to enjoy a delicious meal.
Enjoying the peace and quiet of our rivers and canals
Many of our towns and cities are crossed or bordered by canals, streams or even a large river, providing the perfect place for a rest, or to watch the boats come and go. By the water, you can experience a fascinating and different side of urban life within the town, while being a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. These are ideal spots for a relaxed picnic or a restorative rest in the shade of trees, some of which are often over a hundred years old.