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Summer checklist: Fourteen original travel ideas for France

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Summer checklist: Fourteen original travel ideas for France
Antibes on the south coast of France. Photo: Birger Hoppe/Flickr
16:48 CEST+02:00
Summer is well and truly here in France, and if you're stuck for ideas then we have you covered.
1. Admire the white cliffs of Etretat 
 
One of the pearls of northern France, this seaside getaway was a much-loved subject of the nineteenth-century Impressionists.
 
In fact, Monet was so enchanted by the rugged backdrop that he returned many times to paint the famous cliffs – beaten by the sea into dramatic arched and needle forms – which loom grandly over the English Channel.
 
Photo: Bachellier Christian/Flickr
 
2. Segway trip in Amboise
 
Hire a Segway in central France's Amboise to see this intriguing little town from a different perspective. And thanks to the hills, this is a much more interesting ride than the ones in the big cities. 
 
Be sure to stop in at Leonardo Da Vinci's old home when you're finished. 
 
Photo: Freemove Segway Tours
 
3. Tour the rooftop bars in Paris
 
With the recently opened Le Perchoir de l'Est in northern Paris already proving popular, why not see what all the fuss is about?
 
But don't stop at just this one, take a tour of all of them around the city. 
 
A particular highlight, especially if you enjoy dabbling in hipster-watching, is the original Perchoir in the north east. But get there early, the summer sun attracts big crowds on a daily basis. 
 

The view from Le Perchoir. Photo: The Local
 
4. Walk the castle walls of Saint-Malo 
 
This walled city in Brittany offers a great walk for those who don't mind getting the wind in their hair. Read up on the town's fascinating history of pirates and destruction during the Second World War. 
 
Photo: Paul Stephenson/Flickr
 
5. Take in the Picasso museum in Antibes
 
This is an excellent museum for art lovers, and focuses on the late artist's sketches. And the location is absolutely breathtaking, with views out over the Mediterranean sea and off to the Alps. 

Not a fan of art? Leave your travel buddies inside and take a walk along the city walls, ice cream in hand. 
 
France gets three new 'international tourist zones'
Antibes in southern France. Photo: Dhinal Chheda/Flickr
 
6. Sketch the waterlilies that inspired Claude Monet at his home in Giverny
 
Not too far from Paris is Giverny, which can claim Claude Monet as a previous resident. 
 
Take a day trip out to his old dwelling and admire his gardens. If you're feeling particularly artsy, why not take a sketch pad and try your hand at the waterlillies. 
 
Photo: seleniamorgillo/Flickr
 
7. Challenge yourself on the GR20 hike in Corsica
 
This is no easy task, but apparently well worth the effort. 
 
The path juts directly through the spine of Corsica and has been regularly ranked as one of the best trails in the world. But be warned, it's 180 km long and takes over two weeks to complete, so it's not for the faint-hearted. 
 
Photo: jeromemartin/Flickr
 
8. Take in a perfume factory in Grasse
 
Take a break from the lovely lavenders of the south and take in the splendours of a perfume factory in Grasse. The town is known as the world capital of perfume, and there are all kinds of tours and activities for those with the right kind of nose. 
 
Fun fact: The 1985 novel "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer" is partly set here. 
 
Photo: John Rohan/Flickr
 
9. Take a day trip to Île-de-Bréhat
 
This island is just a quick ferry ride off the Brittany coast and boasts beautiful pink granite rocks, quaint country houses, and a warm micro-climate that makes for a good chance of sunshine. 
 
The island is tiny, no need to hire a bike - just enjoy the entire island on foot like the locals do.
 
Photo: Spiterman/Flickr
 
10. Admire the inside of Chartres Cathedral
 
As far as cathedrals go, you can't get more magnificent than the one in Chartres, south west of Paris. The Unesco heritage site was completed around 1250, and has proved a hit for travellers ever since. 
 
Be sure to head inside, it's just as awe-inspiring as the exterior. 
 
Photo: Connie Ma/Flickr
 
11. Swim by the Pont du Gard 
 
OK, you don't actually have to be swimming in the water beneath the Pont du Gard to appreciate the bridge, but why not get a memorable travel snap?
 
This bridge, one of southern France's Unesco Heritage Sites, was built to allow the Nimes aqueduct to cross the Gard River. The 50-metre high bridge, which spans three levels, was built by the Romans halfway through the 1st century AD.
 
 
Photo: saragoldsmith/Flickr
 
12. Stroll the old town of Eguisheim, Alsace 
 
Eguisheim in north-eastern France is one of the small French villages that you just have to see before you die (here are another ten). 
 
The Alsace spot actually ranked as France's favourite village back in 2013, and we can guarantee that a stroll through the old town is well worth the trip out there. 
 
Photo: Grego1402/Flickr
 
13. Time a sunset drive over Millau Viaduct
 
The Millau Viaduct, which stands 343 metres tall above the valley of the River Tarn in southern France, is actually the tallest bridge in the entire world.
 
Wait for the sun to set and then cross it yourself (you will have to drive, walking across is forbidden). 
 
Just be sure not to leave your wife behind on the other side, as one Frenchman did recently
 
 
14. Cliff jumping from the Calanques in southern France

And lastly, one for the daring among you. Why not jump off a cliff at one of the many Calanques in southern France?
 
Just be safe and always look before you leap!
 
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