Where do Parisians go on vacation? From Arles to Chablis, here's the inner road

Reduce your travel carbon footprint by visiting nine summer holiday destinations in France. All can be accessed by train.


Forget about Google and guidebooks. The best hidden gems are the ones recommended by people who actually vacation there.

With train access to destinations across France, staff at Rail Europe's Paris office share their favorite destinations.

Taste the saltiness at Noirmoutier en l'Ile

“Noirmoutier en l'Ile. There's nothing like it,” says Caroline of Rail Europe about this charming coastal gem not far from Nantes. The island is famous for its ancient salt marshes, built by Benedictine monks in the 5th century, and salt harvesting tours are held from June to September.

Try 'white gold' with local delicacies such as mussels, oysters and new potatoes, whose flavor is said to be determined by the seaweed-rich soil.go there from there Paris, train tickets to Nantes start from 10 euros one way, and from there take a bus or taxi to the island. Once you arrive, ditch your car and rent a bike instead. The flat landscape of Noirmoutiers is perfect for cycling.

For the health of Chablis

David's choice? “Chablis, for sure!” Viticulture and history are intertwined in this picture-postcard wine village in the northernmost tip of Burgundy.

Accessible from Paris by RER commuter train. From the capital, you can also take a one-way trip to Auxerre-Saint-Gervais station for 13.50 euros, then take a taxi for the rest of the journey.

This small town is located in the heart of France's smallest and oldest town. wine regionAt , you can pair your drink with signature dishes such as gougères (cheese pastries made with Gruyère), white wine endive, or the iconic Boeuf Bourguignon.

Dive into Lake Annecy

Ata's recommended outdoor activity is the crystal clear blue waters of Lake Annecy in the French Alps. Considered one of the cleanest lakes in Europe, this lake offers kayaking, boating, paddleboarding, snorkeling and more. The hiking route around the lake takes about a day.

There are two nature reserves nearby (you might find it there) beaver), 3-hour cycling route, Old Town. There are cathedrals, canals and castles.

It can be accessed from all over France. There are multiple trains a day, and if you have time, routes other than direct flights are often cheaper. The journey from Paris takes approximately 4 hours (10 euros each way).

Be like Matisse in Nice

Rail Europe staff member Alexis recommends Nice as “the perfect balance between Italy and France.'' The city's atmosphere and turquoise waters on the French Riviera have long inspired artists. If you like galleries and museums, you're in luck. Choose from the Marc Chagall Museum, the Matisse Museum, or the Musée des Beaux-Arts.

If you want to spend your vacation on the beach, keep in mind that this is a stony coast. At least you can avoid getting sand in your pienier sandwich. But in reality, it's all about the local pizzaladiere. This is a variation of the pizza topped with caramelized onions, black olives, and local anchovies.

Getting there is an adventure in itself (10 euros one way from Paris). Take a seat by the window and enjoy the sun-drenched ocean views.

Bust your budget in Cannes

For those who can afford it, Kiitan recommends “elegant” Cannes, which hosts an annual international film festival. Stop by this Mediterranean city at the end of May to stargaze or indulge in stargazing along the prestigious promenade of Arles des Etoiles.

Summer in Cannes is almost guaranteed to bring sunshine, so you can soak up the sun on the sand, enjoy a stroll and shop along the famous Boulevard du Croisette, then cool off with a refreshing swim or try your luck at one of the many casinos. You can try it out. The journey from Paris takes about 5 hours, there are 50 trains a day, and tickets start at 10 euros each way.

Follow the Route des Grands Crus

Margaux's chosen summer destination in France is the Route des Grands Crus, also known as the “Great Wine Route.” This 60km stretch of his starts in Dijon and winds south through Burgundy. The trail is well signposted and the terrain is mostly flat, so ideal bike trip.

Along the way, stop in one of 33 towns for a cellar tour or wine tasting. Especially in the walled city of Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy. You can start the Beaune route by taking the train from Paris (27 euros one way), but the Paris-Dijon route is a bit faster and cheaper (10 euros one way).

Watches in Besancon, the “capital of watchmaking”

Michael chose the eastern city of Besançon, the home of French watchmaking, home to more than 2,000 watches in its watch museum, and the birthplace of author Victor Hugo. See how much of his Les Misérables you can read on his two-hour journey from Paris (from 20 euros each way).


History buffs will enjoy strolling through the Old Town, whose Roman fortifications are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire the views from the Citadel and marvel at Porte Noire's ancient architecture. And of course, there are other wines here. Michael recommends local varieties of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Gamay.

Enjoy cocktail hour at La Loire

For Aurélie, summer means cycling and river canoeing in the Loire Valley, known as the “Garden of France” for its greenery and wildlife. In the summer, La Guinguette, a local open-air tavern where you can enjoy drinks al fresco along the Loire River, also appears, but Aurélie considers Place Plumereau in Tours to be the best place on earth for an apéro (cocktail hour). I recommend it.

La Loire literally means hundreds of castles, nearly 50 of which are open to the public around Tours alone. At the Mini Chateau Park near Amboise, you can see all of France's castles at once, albeit in miniature. A one-way flight from Paris to Tours takes just over an hour from €19.50. If you come early, you might be able to make it in time for Apero.

Pay homage to Van Gogh in Arles

Judith describes the city of Arles in Provence as “a walk through the heart of ancient Rome and Van Gogh.” Located in the Rhône River Delta, the Roman ruins of Arles include an amphitheater, church, cemetery, and baths. Start your train journey from Avignon, Marseille, or Paris. Prices start at 10 euros for a 4-hour journey.

As you soak up the ancient history, you might experience a bit of art déjà vu, with familiar sights visible around every corner. That's because Van Gogh produced more than 300 of his works, often depicting city scenes, during his one-year stay here. Visit Place Forum to see the inspiration for Van Gogh's painting 'Terrasse du Café le Soir'.


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