As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the globe and much of the world is on lockdown at their homes, we reached out to our France Today contributors to share their travel dreams. Where do you want to travel in France once the quarantine is lifted? Share in the comments section below.
The Gorges du Verdon
“I’d been planning to hike the Gorges du Verdon, in Provence, in October this year. It’s a region I know very well from my 20s. You can lose yourself as you descend deep into the rocky canyons. If the weather’s right I may even swim in the Lac de Sainte-Croix. Even well into autumn, Provence often keeps its summer heat.”
— Dominic Bliss is a frequent contributor to France Today.
My Local Café
“As someone who has been house- and garden-bound for the past three weeks with a two-year-old son, my dream escape would not necessarily be somewhere exotic or glamorous, distant or photogenic, quaint or atmospheric. A little wander up to the local café to nurse a pression of Pelforth or perhaps a sniff around a few shops – both seem like an other-worldly, old-school treats right now.
Having said that, if pushed my imagination can easily leap beyond the perfunctory: a sun-kissed stroll around the wave-lapped footpath looping around the St-Jean Cap Ferrat headland – this would be just the ticket, fresh-air wise; a long, slow lunch of duck confit, red wine and chocolate mousse, in the shadow of Albi’s Sainte-Cecile Cathedral – hard to beat whether you’ve gone stir-crazy or not; and how about lazily watching the catch come in port-side at L’Herbaudière on Noirmoutier?
Ah well, the lockdown won’t last forever… so let’s all just dream on!”
— Justin Postlethwaite is Partnerships Project Manager at France Media Group.
From lockdown to Lacanau
“During the lockdown here in Paris, where we have been confined for almost three weeks, I’ve been dreaming of our much-loved Lacanau on the south-west coast. Pounded by the powerful waves of the Atlantic, there’s a wild and rugged beauty to this part of the world – and it feels like the exact antithesis of where we are now. I can’t wait to smell the scent of the pine forests, feel the softness of the sand dunes underfoot and splash around on my surfboard again.”
— Caroline Harrap is a freelance writer and editor who’s been based between Paris and the UK for several years, and now lives near Montmartre.
The Pink Granite Coast
“I have my fingers firmly crossed for a welcome return to the Breton coast this summer/ I’m due to research a feature for France Today on some of Brittany’s many islands, and then join my family for a three-generation week at Perros-Guirec on the glorious Pink Granite Coast. Watch this space!”
— Gillian Thornton is a frequent contributor to France Today.
The Coast of Finistère
“It’s a footbridge called La Passerelle des Capucins, passing over the sea a short walk out of the market town of Audierne about 5km from where I live. At the weekend (even when it’s not sunny), I love to take our little dog, park up in Audierne, walk along the seafront and watch the boats bobbing up and down in the marina, the gulls overhead and the occasional fishing boat that’s heading off for the day. We follow the path out of town over this footbridge and keep going until the estuary opens right out into the sea at the main beach.
It’s a place with seemingly endless sky, a wide, flat horizon, and a landscape of blue, gold, white and grey that is constantly changing. I’m surprised at how much I miss the simple pleasure of heading to the sea and feeling all that space, breathing it all in.”
—Annaliza Davis is a freelance writer specialising in tourism and marketing.
A Favourite Place in Provence
“If I could snap my fingers I’d go to Uzès, my favorite destination in Provence. I’d stay at the fabulous, L’Albiousse B&B and venture forth each day to the vineyards of Chateauneuf du Pape, and Gigondas and I’d have lunch at Le Verger de Pape overlooking the valley.”
— Sue Aran is a freelance writer and owner of French Country Adventures.
“Dreaming of the golden triangle of medieval Albi, Gaillac and ancient Cordes-sur-Mer in the sunny Tarn. Rolling hills, lush fields and fabulous food. Heaven!”
— Nicola Venning is a freelance writer specialising in residential property.
Tour du Mont Blanc
“My husband Dave and I were set to hike the 160-km Tour du Mont Blanc in early July. It is one of the iconic grand randonnée walking routes, starting in Les Houches and circling the foot of the massif into France, Italy and Switzerland. The idea was born as a way to visit a spectacular place and also as motivation to get in shape ahead of the rather demanding 10-day trek. We had been researching the #TMB itinerary and ultra-light gear for weeks (we prefer to bivouac when we can, rather than stay in mountain refuges) and, just as we started training, the coronavirus epidemic unleashed its fury. As did everyone else, we’ve had to reshuffle work and personal commitments due to the lockdown, so even if travel restrictions were lifted in time, it is unlikely that we’d be able to pick up our plans this year. Never fear. As I choose to see it, this gives us even more time to get trail-fit and prepared. Mont Blanc will still be there next summer, as magnificent as ever, and we’ll probably savour the opportunity even more once we are free from these trammels, like the first ray of sunshine after a raging storm.”
— Sylvia Davis is France Today’s arts and culture correspondent.
Mercantour National Park
“These days, in my (hyperactive) mind’s eye, I’m dreaming of getting high on altitude and returning to the wilds of the Riviera backcountry, only an hour and a half from the coast, where you can hike in the Vallée des Merveilles of the Mercantour Park. A three-hour climb will take you past patches of wild raspberries, purple wildflowers, waterfalls and prancing chamois to the Refuge de Nice perched at 2232 meters above sea level. Not only do you feel like you’re on top of the world, but the homemade blueberry pie on the mountain shelter terrace is pure heaven.”
— Lanie Goodman is a freelance writer based in the south of France.