I don’t know why, but all of us really like travelling to France. OK, it’s close – you just need to drive through the channel, and here we are in the country of our neighbours. Well, but this is northern France which we aren’t particularly fond of. The same landscapes, similar weather – nothing to marvel at.
But France has much more to offer. First of all, it has four climatic zones. There is something here for everyone.
If one likes more clouds and lower temperatures in the summer season – here you go – you’ll find it in northern regions.
There are also people who like the climate of good old Europe. Continental climate, with normal seasons of the year (well, OK, they’re normal for us) – head towards inland, in the direction of Paris, Nantes, Bordeaux, Massif Central, or go a little further east – towards Reims, Nancy and Dijon.
Alpine climate? Why not – summers full of sun and refreshing air (though not always) can be experienced in the vicinity of Chambéry, Gap and Grenoble. Although nearby, in Lyon, summers tend to be hot and humid, like on the French Riviera.
And finally there’s the south, sunk in the sun. For us, holidays in the south of Europe are the quintessence of true family vacation. Vacation which we knew from advertising brochures we admired when we were kids, which we somehow got behind the Iron Curtain. A photo of a family in a passenger car with a trailer caravan and the sun setting behind the horizon. For us, as eight- or ten-year-olds, that was it. It was a longing for something unattainable, chasing a dream, but somewhere deep inside we knew that dreams come true.
Although the French Riviera (especially its eastern part, from St. Tropez to Menton) has already been mostly covered in concrete, the Spanish seaside resorts with their giant hotels, like in Benidorm, are no match for it. Of course, Italy, Portugal, Greece and Croatia are equally attractive for us, both in terms of visual aspects and affordability, but south-eastern France has a special place in our hearts – good weather is guaranteed, there are mountains nearby, vineyards, plenty of seafood, secluded campsites, Provence all around, and most importantly nice and warm Mediterranean Sea.
If it were not for those traffic jams…