France is always a good idea – 5 French cities to visit outside of Paris

I speak French, I love French culture, language and literature and I lived in France for a while. Wherever you go in France you will have an amazing experience no matter if you like sightseeing, food or just having a great time with friends.

Here is my selection of 5 French cities outside of Paris for your next city escape. I am sure anyone and everyone will enjoy these places no matter the purpose of the trip.

La City en Rose – Toulouse

I lived in Toulouse for one year, and, I have to admit it was one of the greatest times of my life. I was in an amazing place and I met great people there…Toulouse has a lot to offer in terms of tourist attractions like museums, Airbus headquarters and Cité de l’Espace; its closeness to the Pyrenees for hiking lovers and the Mediterranean Sea as well as the Medieval town of Carcassonne. But the highlight for me was watching at the sunset over the rose stones of which the buildings in the city are made. The sunset over Toulouse is worth watching hundreds of thousands of times. You can also enjoy the warm days on the Garonne river as well as the vibrant nightlife. Highly recommend you to visit my love – Toulouse, because la vie est en rose out there!

Rose sunset over Toulouse

Bordeaux – the city of la Bourgeoisie

I also spent some time in Bordeaux as a student, but the experience in Bordeaux was totally different. Bordeaux is the city of wine and bourgeois. If you want to feel and see how the bourgeois live – Bordeaux is the place. The city is very beautiful, you can enjoy good food and good wine there and if you have enough time, you can visit Arcachon – a seaside resort on the Atlantic ocean. Close to Arcachon is located one of the few ”deserts in Europe” – the Dune of Pilat. I couldn’t make it to the Dune as I was not prepared to visit it, but if you have time, go for it!

Bordeaux

Tasting la quiche lorraine in Strasbourg

The only time in my life I enjoyed gastronomic tourism was when I went for business in Strasbourg. Oh, yes! We were having dinner every evening in the best restaurants in town. Not only quiche lorraine but also many other French specialities and deserts and wine of course. Strasbourg is famous for the Christmas market like the one happening there is considered being one of the best in Europe. But, I would recommend you to go there and to eat quiche lorraine over the canals of Little Venice as the locals call the quarter.

Quiche lorraine

Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis (”Welcome to the Sticks”) in Lille

Next stop: Lille. I always wanted to visit Lille because of the movie ”Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis (”Welcome to the Sticks”), because I have a friend who comes from this region and because it was not far away from Utrecht – the city where I lived in The Netherlands. The best of Lille for me was the lunch we had at Bistro Omnia. Bistro Omnia is a former cinema with amazing interior and cuisine. Yes, France is for foodies lovers. The city centre is lovely, a big Christmas market also takes place there in December and you can also practice your French ):

City escape in a French city ):

Bohemian Marseille

The last city I would like to recommend you to put in your radar is Marseille. The city has a very bad reputation and is overrated, but I just loved it! I spent three days there, but I regret not to have spent more. The Calanques in Cassis Natural Park is just gorgeous and you can sunbathe even in October. There are sooo many things to see there – cathedrals, The Château d’If and you can also learn how to make Savon de Marseille. Great city escape, don’t miss it out!

Savon de Marseille

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