By LAUREN BECK
From the United Kingdom, France is such an easy destination to reach. Many get a plane or a cheap ferry over the English Channel when they start off their backpacking adventures across Europe. Once you arrive in France you have plenty of things to choose from, which way will your route take you? If you plan to visit France and then move onto other countries, why not discover the more traditional sides to France, which are often missed by tourists.
Of course, many of us will visit Paris first with good reason. Paris is an excellent cultural destination with food, art, history and fashion that will please everyony; however, there are still many overlooked places in Paris you can visit. For the art lovers, after visiting the Louvre there is more art to see at Musée Marmottan-Monet. Some of Monet’s most important art is housed in this museum tucked away behind a park in West Paris clear of the hustle and bustle of the city. The painting Impression, Sunrise, one of Monet’s most famous pieces which was stolen in 1985 and found by police in 1990, can be admired at the museum.
Normandy is often visited by tourists thanks to its historical significance, but beyond this there is a traditional, rural Normandy with hidden depths and a beautiful countryside. The quiet beaches cover 370 miles of coast line and are much quieter than the tourist beaches, perfect if you wish to relax or get artistic yourself with some photography. Normandy is responsible for producing some of France’s most famous cheeses such as Pont L’Eveque, Boursin and Camembert, and once you have tasted the finest authentic cheese minutes from where it has been made there will be no going back to cheap supermarket blocks.
When it comes to drinks France is more often than not associated with fine wines and vineyards, less so with cider and other apple-based drinks such as apple brandy. The orchards of Normandy are a major producer of French cider. Along with the cheese, you can see where and how cider and other apple-based treats are made by following the ‘Cider Route’. Follow the sign posts starting from Cambremer, which will take approximately two days depending on how often and how long you wish to stop on the way.
For a true sense of France’s culture, spend a few days in the more rural areas, take in the architecture and quiet beaches, and try some authentic fresh, French food from the many village and farmers markets.
Lauren Beck loves all things French and blogs at http://www.ferryfrance.org.uk/