Top 10 things to do in Positano

The Amalfi Coast’s most famous and legendary hillside village, the picturesque and romantic Positano is an idyllic place to spend a few days.

The sight of the beige, pink, yellow and terra-cotta houses cascading down the side of the coast to crystal blue Mediterranean waters is famous across the world and has been mesmerizing visitors to this captivating section of the Italian coast for centuries.

Like stepping into a dream, Positano is the perfect place to live out your Italian fantasy. With winding characterful streets, incredible restaurants and breath-taking views, there’s so much to do; you’re sure to have a trip of a lifetime.


1. Walk the famous Positano streets

The best way to get to know Positano is by foot and spending an afternoon walking the winding stone streets is a great way to explore this fascinating town. Head straight to the colorful Church of Santa Maria Assunta, Positano’s most famous sight, which features a dome made of majolica tiles.

After admiring the architecture of the impressive building, it’s up to you. Positano is a small village, so wherever you are, you can find your way back to the harbor area and you never know what you might find when you get lost somewhere. Spend time photographing the colorful buildings, or take in the beautiful views overlooking the harbor while enjoying an Italian coffee or wine.

There are hidden treasures to be discovered around every corner and with many fashionable boutiques and ceramic shops, it’s also a great place to spend some of your hard-earned cash.


2. Visit Mt Vesuvius and Pompeii

One of the most impressive archeological sites in the world and with daily trips running from Positano, Pompeii is well worth a visit. Buried in ash from the 79D eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the ruins offer an unrivaled glimpse into what life was really like in everyday ancient Rome. Explore the ruins and visit the forum, the baths and some out-of-town villas and marvel at the everyday items recovered in the excavation.

Not far from Pompeii, is Mount Vesuvius itself, where you can take a drive up its slope and hike to its crater. There are trips running daily from Positano that offer the chance to combine both these sights, usually with a delicious lunch provided.


3. Take a wine tour through the Amalfi countryside

The hills around Positano are blessed with some of the best vineyards in Italy and with sumptuous reds, refreshing whites and aromatic roses on offer; a wine tour is an ideal way to sample the local delights.

What could be better than tasting the aromatic flavors and developing your palette, all in the beautiful surroundings of the Amalfi coast? Guided by a local expert you will be a swirling and smelling professionally in no time. Most tours will take you to a selection of vineyards, so you can really see how wine is produced in this area, and they usually provide lunch.


4. Discover the wonders of Capri

Capri is the legendary island of paradise, found in the southern corner of the Bay of Naples. Long a favorite with the rich and famous, over the centuries everyone from Roman emperors, royalty and Hollywood superstars have fallen in love with its rugged beauty.

You can join that list too by taking a day trip to the spellbinding resort and see for yourself why this small island has captivated so many over the ages. With Roman ruins, fine Italian cuisine and designer boutiques lining the streets, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. Enjoy a glass of wine at the picturesque Marina Piccola or, if you want to leave the glitz behind, beyond the town there is unspoiled countryside to discover.

The main tourist attraction of the island is the Grotta Azzura, the Blue Grotto, which is a special cave discovered in the 19th-century. It’s well worth a visit and as well as the blue pool, there are the remains of an ancient rock, with a narrow cavern to admire.


5. Relax on one of Positano’s famous beaches

With some of the most iconic and glamorous beaches in the world, you cannot visit Positano without spending at least one day relaxing underneath one of its colorful umbrellas. The Spiaggia Grande is Positano’s most famous and picture-perfect beaches and a great place to sip on a cocktail while you top up your tan. With a string of restaurants, cafes, and even the resort’s only nightclub, Music On The Rocks, Spiaggia Grande is definitely the place to go for a lively afternoon and evening.

If you want to avoid the crowds, try Laurito Beach, which can either be accessed by boat that leaves Positano’s Spiaggia Grande every 30 minutes or via a flight of steps coming from the square opposite the Hotel San Pietro. This smaller beach is divided into a free and private beach, which is attached to a small hotel. As it is small, reservations at one of the restaurants or just to use a sun lounger are necessary so book ahead if you want to enjoy a day here. If these don’t take your fancy, why not try Fornillo and Arienzo Beach.

While the beaches around Positano are beautiful, why not venture further afar? There are many incredible beaches only accessible by boat for you to explore around the coast. Boats, kayaks and paddleboards are all available for rent at Spiaggia Grande, where the friendly vendors are happy to give you advice on the best places to go.


6. Hike the Path of the Gods

Whether you’re a fan of hiking or not, the Path of the Gods is a magical way to see the incredible and breathtaking beauty of the spell-binding Amalfi Coast.

The path itself is an impressive trail that has been carved into the landscape over centuries and is still used by farmers, shepherds and anyone else to navigate their way along this, at times, inhospitable coastline. In recent years it has attracted tourists, who come to admire the incredible views of this stunning piece of the world. The most popular portion is between Bomerano and Nocelle, which offers panoramic views from the pass of Colle Serra. Ancient Nocelle, is around 440 meters (1,442 feet) above Positano on the slopes of the Monte Sant’Angelo a tre pizzi and can be accessed via a steep, 1,700-step staircase.

The best way to tackle the path is from east to west, so you will be required to take a bus to Bomerano first and then walk back to Positano. It’s best to get some further information about the path, buses and the best time of day to tackle it after you have arrived in Positano, as this can change from day-to-day and depends on what time of year you visit.


7. Explore the Amalfi coast by boat

Positano might be the jewel in the Amalfi coast, but it’s far from the only place to explore. The Amalfi actually stretches 50-km (31 mi) along the Sorrentine Peninsula, in the Campania region and a great way to explore this incredible coastline is via a boat tour. You can appreciate the sheer cliffs, jagged shoreline and landscape dotted with vineyards and olive groves all from your private boat and with untouched coves, beaches, and grottos not accessible by land to visit, it makes for an amazing day.

There are many boat tours available from the harbor in Positano that will give you a guided tour of the hidden beaches and grottos along the coast that you would have otherwise missed. The Amalfi is also regarded as one of the best places to scuba dive in the Mediterranean, so if you have experience or wanted to start, it’s a great place to try.


8. Dance at Positano’s legendary cave club

Positano isn’t known for its party nightlife, but Music on the Rocks is well worth a visit. The only club in the small village, it is one of the best in the region and not just because of the amazing location. Found at the eastern end of the Spiaggia Grande beach, Music On The Rocks is in a cave carved into the rock face and you can actually hear the waves crashing below as you dance and sip cocktails.

Attracting some of the top DJs in the region, a mix of electronic, house, and disco can usually be relied upon to provide a good night and it’s the perfect place to let your hair down in a unique location.


9. Tandem Skydive from 4500m (14763 ft) over the Amalfi Coast near Naples

The Amalfi Coast is a 50-kilometre (31-mile) stretch of coastline in the south of Italy. Time and time again, people are blown away by its luminous blue waters, enchanting multi-coloured houses hugging the side of the cliffs, and its surrounding countryside. Get the best view of the coast from above with this skydiving experience. This is suitable for first-timers as you are strapped to your tandem master from the moment you jump until you safely land to the ground. take a plane ride reaching 4,500 metres (14,000 ft) from where you’ll take the plunge, engage in a 60-minute free fall as you enjoy panoramic views, and bask in the beauty its luscious greenery as you descend to landing site. The price includes all the skydiving equipment and insurance. Complement this once in a lifetime experience with a photo & video package at a minimal cost.


10. Tandem paragliding flight over the Amalfi Coast

Discover the rustic charm of the Amalfi Coast and refresh your weary spirit with sublime views of its naturally beautiful coastline and gorgeous Mediterranean towns. Make the 25 to 40-minute tandem-paragliding flight the highlight of your visit. It is the closest thing to reaching the sky. Gently soar high up and glide into the air while you are mesmerised by the coast’s exquisite beauty. See the gigantic Mount Vesuvius, the only active volcano on mainland Europe known for its disastrous eruption which buried the town of Pompeii. A licensed paraglider pilot will look after the launching, navigating and landing for you. Paragliding equipment, insurance and transfers are all included in the package. Time to defy your limits. Book now and Experience the excitement!


Read also: Top 10 things to do in Cagnes Sur Mer

Top 10 things to do in Cagnes Sur Mer

Situated in southeastern France, west of Nice, Cagnes-sur-Mer is a beautiful town, known for its woods and engaging coastline.

This artistic place was frequented by a number of Impressionists and one of the best, Auguste Renoir, settled here, later in his life. An advantage of Cagnes is its proximity to other great places, and you can rapidly reach other extraordinary areas, like Saint-Paul-de-Vence village and the renowned city of Nice.

Let’s check out the seductive town of Cagnes-Sur-Mer:


1. Renoir Museum

This gallery is situated in Renoir’s previous home and still looks as it did in his day. Large portions of his most renowned canvases are spread all over the world, however, there is still a reasonable selection to be seen, here. Visit his roomy home in Cagnes-sur-Mer and see the photos of Renoir and his family and get a look into his work and his last years.

The home, surrounded by olive trees and extensive gardens, is a standout amongst the most pleasant settings on the Cote d’Azur.


2. Polygone Riviera Mall

Definitely worth a visit – going to Polygone Riviera Mall is pure pleasure and an all-in-one chic new shopping mall. It’s an exceptionally charming and well thought out outdoor shopping center with many of the big names and product lines that impress. There is an extensive variety of the best stores, nice restaurants, and cafes, with outdoor seating, pleasant artwork, a movie theater and a kids area. Very clean and neatly kept.

On top of that the employees everywhere, from the shops to the restaurants and security guards, are very friendly and helpful.


3. Grimaldi Castle Museum

Grimaldi Castle Museum is a medieval château, built for the Grimaldis of Monaco. This little castle is utilized now as an exhibition hall and it contains an extremely fascinating and particularly modern art collection, in addition to some intriguing olive press artifacts. It additionally highlights works of art from Suzy Solidor and has an extremely pleasant painted roof. Lempicka’s picture of Suzy Solidor alone, deserves a visit.

You can climb the tower to get panoramic views of the hills and coast. The view from the tower is staggering – a full 360 degrees from Nice to Antibes and the mountains. At the base of the castle is a large terrace with five open-air restaurants, a small hotel, and a very good view of the hills. The medieval village surrounding the castle is a wonderful area to explore. Each new street brings a new discovery that is truly a delight!


4. Haut-de-Cagnes Village

If you are searching for a high village with fascinating views, Haut de Cagnes is the right spot. It is a quiet, medieval hill town with a main square, dazzling views and a lot of narrow alleyways to explore. Getting there from Nice is easy and inexpensive. It also takes a walk of just 15-20 minutes, from the city and is well worth the trip.


5. Saint-Paul-de-Vence village

Saint-Paul-de-Vence is a must see. It is a stunningly picturesque, hilltop village with narrow, cobbled old pathways and stairways and amazing views of the coast, sea, and mountains from its vantage points and ancient walls. It is very popular with tourists and it is easy to find a wide variety of art, jewelry, garment shops, cafes, and restaurants, here, during your visit.

 


6. Tourrettes-sur-Loup village

A beautiful village with natural surroundings, most of Tourrettes-sur-Loup is free of any construction and has an expansive, lush landscape of 22 hectares (54.4 acres), with lakes, an olive grove, and a radiant pine woodland, which highlight the magnificence of the area and gives a natural character to its homes.

The village also has a multifunctional sports complex and the center’s restaurant and its various activities bring together the residents. An Olympic swimming pool, three tennis courts, and a multisport field allows everyone to keep in shape, in a green environment.


7. Racecourse of the Côte d’Azur

Situated on the seafront, this excellent place combines the best class of horse races with an all-encompassing view of the sea. It is also the only racecourse in the French Riviera and the second biggest racecourse in France. It can accommodate 6000 observers and has 2000 parking places. Guests can enjoy panoramic restaurants, a snack bar, cafeteria, bar, and children’s playground.


8. Parc Phœnix

Parc Phœnix is astounding as it contains around 3000 animals and exhibits 2500 types of plants. Here, you can find Mandarin ducks, iguanas and flamingos, wandering aimlessly. There is additionally a bamboo grove, Mediterranean and cactus gardens, and animal enclosures for wallabies, otters, and prairie dogs.

Its pyramid-shaped greenhouse, known as the Green Diamond, is among the largest in the world and measures 22 meters (72.2 feet) in height and has seven hectares (17.3 acres) of fabulously diverse animals and plants


9. Le Cros-de-Cagnes

Previously, a fishermen’s village, Cros-de-Cagnes is a charming little coastline resort. It was established by Italian fishermen in the 19th century, but gradually, fishermen gave way to tourists and Cros-de-Cagnes transformed into a seaside resort.

Blessed with 3.5 km (2.2 miles) of beaches and next to Nice, Cros-de-Cagnes is a guaranteed spot to enjoy a real holiday, far from the crowds, while being slightly less expensive than the rest of the coast. You can still observe fishermen’s boats near the shore but they are mostly of historical value and are no longer used for fishing.


10. Cagnes Beach

This seaside resort has 3.5 km (2.2 miles) of beach along its coastline, much of which is open to the public. On the off chance you are searching for extra extravagance, the six private beaches can provide parasols and sunbeds for hire, restaurants, and even waiter service.


Read also: Top 9 things to do in Marseille at night

Top 9 things to do in Marseille at night

Although it seems to be a well-known tourist destination along the French Riviera, Marseille is still thought of by many people as nothing more than a crowded,

over-hyped merchant city influenced by the colorful daytime antics of fishermen and salesmen. It’s not entirely wrong: Marseille obviously retains an important role as a strategic Mediterranean port. Yet that very spirit, combined with the cultural mix that is so typical of the area, also helps to color the city’s rich and meaningful nightlife. Read on to discover some of the best things to do in Marseille, France at night.


1. Check out the Festival de Marseille

Marseille’s signature festival is a nearly month-long event celebrating the richness of cultural arts to be found all over the city. The project was born out of a desire to create a more tolerant and open artistic community that would serve as a safe space for the exchange of ideas. Each year spectators look forward to a plethora of film screenings, concerts, and special performances.


2. Explore the local art scene

There’s something decidedly nostalgic about the city of Marseille. Blame it on the crowded bazaars, the over-worked harbor, the tasty cuisine, or the deep blue waters of the nearby sea.

No one can say with any certainty just what it is that makes Marseille such an attractive setting, but it has certainly served as a source of inspiration for countless artistic musings. Take part in its enchanting art world by visiting local galleries, like the Galerie of Marseille, La Maison de l’Artisanat et des Metiers d’Art and the Bureau des Compétences et Désirs.


3. Relax into the literary wonders of Marseille

France has been known to churn out some of the most talented literary pioneers in history, a tradition that seems to be very much alive and well within the southern port city of Marseille. Marseille is home to the Centre International de Poésie, a lively cultural space which hosts special poetry readings and meet ups for those looking to be transported through time and space by the spoken word. The center also offers a free library that boasts an extensive collection of anglophone works


4. Enjoy splendid theatrical performances

Yet another thing that complements Marseille’s nightlife is its abundance of live performance venues. These include such wonders as the Théâtre de l’Odéon and La Criée, the national theatre of Marseille. Both showcase a variety of local talent: from tragedies and dramas to orchestral concerts, ballets, and operas. A popular spot for cabaret dancing, Le Théâtre de Tatie also comes highly recommended.


5. Find comedic relief

Escape the everyday worries and stressors of travel with a visit to Marseille’s most popular comedy joint, La Quai du Rire. Part cafe, part comedy club, this chilled out venue spotlights local, up-and-coming standup comedians and hosts unforgettable comedic theatre performances.


6. Follow the sound of music

In addition to a host of other advantages, Marseille also boasts a particularly explosive music scene that is best witnessed over at the popular warehouse-turned-concert-hall, Dock des Suds. With an emphasis on both local and international rhythms, musical genres here are no less diverse than the artists and the locals themselves. Meanwhile Marseille’s opera house and Le Cri du Port jazz bar are also popular venues for all those who share a penchant for the music arts.


7. Karaoke

Think you’ve got what it takes to go up against the pros? Then head over to Chez Ida, a favorite local karaoke bar where jolly tourists and locals go to belt out some of the most gleefully obnoxious ballads of the past several decades. Be sure to expect a constant stream of patrons, all ready to sing the night away in drunken revelry.

Idas has set itself apart from other establishments because it serves as both a traditional-style Marseillaise restaurant and karaoke venue with a small dance floor for the rhythmically-inclined. It is, indeed, so popular that weekend table reservations are all but necessary.


8. Wine and dine

Whenever you’re ready to relax and unwind there are few things better than a glass of wine paired with an irresistible platter of fresh, local cheeses. Enjoy all this and more at La Part des Anges wine bar. Also, on the swankier side of things there’s Intercontinental’s highly-acclaimed rooftop bar, Le Capian, where the luckiest travelers in town go for cocktails and appetizers. Both places are excellent precursors to a night on the town.


9. Bars, clubs, and discothèques

One amazing advantage of visiting Marseille is its incredibly active after-hours scene. There is a long list of bars, nightclubs, and other establishments to be appreciated, each one vying for a spot near the very top. Among these are le WhiskyBar and La Dame Noire, which are both celebrated for good food and even better vibes. Better, yet, escape the ordinary over at New Cancan, a widely known LGBT nightclub with special themed nights and animated live music performances.


Read also: Top 10 things to do in Toulouse, France

Top 10 things to do in Brest

For centuries a French naval base, Brest has a colossal natural harbor that couldn’t be better for seafaring had it been designed by man.

Unfortunately, almost nothing in the city remains from before the Second World War, save for a few military fortifications like the city’s Château and Arsenal. Instead, what enthralls you about Brest is the spirit of adventure, conquest, and discovery in one of the leading cities in the world for Ocean research. Brest has always pointed its telescope westwards at the Atlantic, as you’ll realize on the quays of the port, by exploring Océanopolis, a world-class aquarium, or in the galleries of the Naval Museum in the bowels of the castle. Discover the best things to do in Brest.

[toc]


1. Océanopolis

We’ve seen that Brest is a city with a strong relationship with the Atlantic: 60% of European research on the ocean is conducted from this harbor.

So Océanopolis is the attraction Brest deserves: A wondrous ocean-oriented science and cultural center with 50 different aquarium tanks, the largest of which is the shark tank, holding a million liters.

Since the modern upgrade in 2000, the exhibition has been placed in three booths: Polar, Temperate, and Tropical, with 10,000 kinds of plants and more than a thousand animal species, from harbor seals (there’s a clinic for them here) to bull sharks, stingrays, and loggerhead turtles.


2. Port of Brest

Brest is a military port so there’s a limit to how much you can see, but at the commercial harbor, you’ll become aware of just how favourable this location is for maritime activity.

Wander along Quai Malbert’s command to get a glimpse of the shipyards and get a better look at the vast natural harbor of Rade de Brest and the color buoy system to improve navigation.

The powerful French Navy rescue tugboat, Abeille-Flandre is moored at Quai Commandant Malbert and in just 20 minutes is able to leave port to guide a ship into the bay.


3. Conservatoire Botanique du Vallon du Stang-Alar

The role of this conservatory is to cultivate rare and endangered species for reintroduction, and their gardens are heaven for botanists. The ideal time to be here is in July and August when the two awesome greenhouses are open to the public.

They recreate rainforest, tropical mountain, dry tropical and subtropical oceanic climates, and feature plants that you may not be able to find anywhere else. For example, there’s the critically-endangered Madagascan aloe Suzanne, and the nesocodon, a flowering plant found only on the island of Mauritius.

The remaining 22 hectares are a beautifully landscaped little valley, with a stream, waterfall, ponds and lots of places to sit and reflect for a few minutes.


4. Pont de l’Iroise

Completed in 1994, this striking cable-stayed bridge spans the Élorn River between Pointe Sainte Barbe and Le Cap.

Among bridges of this type, it has the fourth-largest main span in France, and when it was built it broke a world record for the 400-meter distance between its two 113-meter-high pylons.

The structure definitely deserves a photo or two, especially with the sun going down, and the place to go for this is the adjacent Plougastel Bridge, which was built during the late-20s and is now restricted to just pedestrian and farm traffic.


5. Musée National de la Marine

Brest’s Naval Museum is in the Château de Brest, the oldest building in the city. There has been a fort here since the Roman camp of Osismis in the 3rd century, and it later became a seat for the Dukes of Brittany repelling sieges by the British in the 14th and 15th centuries.

The Naval Museum really takes advantage of its atmospheric location with sets of wooden figureheads from warships, historic model ships and sculptures and paintings that convey the development of the port in the 17th and 18th centuries.

You can see the command panels of a Second World War destroyer and check out a preserved Seehund midget submarine.


6. Tour Tanguy

On a hillock on the right bank of the Penfeld across the water from the Château de Brest is a medieval watchtower, most likely built in the mid-14th century during the Breton War of Succession.

Go in for the Museum of Old Brest, with a great selection of curiosities like the coats of arms of the city’s various medieval corporations and centuries-old maps of Brest. With each floor, you take a step through time, but the aim, through dioramas and models, is to recapture the look and feel of the city before the destruction of the Second World War.


7. Port de Recouvrance

Next to this tower and spanning the Penfeld River is what used to be the highest vertical lift bridge in the world until it was superseded by the Pont Gustave Flaubert on the Seine in 2008. But this bridge in Brest held the record for more than 50 years from 1954, with its four imperious reinforced concrete pylons at 70 meters and length of 88 meters.

The reason for these dimensions is the amount of naval traffic on the Penfeld; there needed to be a clearance of at least 45 meters. Pont de Recouvrance replaced a revolving bridge that was previously destroyed by the Allied bombing in 1944.


8. Musée des Beaux-Arts

Brest’s main art museum was handed the difficult task of replacing its entire collection after it was lost in the war.

So since 1945, it has assembled about 250 sculptures and paintings from the 17th to the 19th centuries, favoring older pieces instead of modern art to give people an idea of how the collection used to be.

Of these, make sure you see the work by the post-impressionist Pierre Bonnard, while there’s a large array of earlier Italian renaissance and baroque pieces by Carlo Saraceni, Palma il Giovane and Carlo Dolci.


9. Cours Dajot

For an unrivaled view of the harbor and the Château de Brest take this 500-meter esplanade high behind the commercial port. Cours Dajot is named after Louis-Lazare Dajot, the military engineer who designed it.

The avenues, which push on for 500 scenic meters are lined with elm trees, knee-high box hedges, and lawns. The park took shape in 1769 and was built with labor from the port’s penal colony.

If you happen to be in Brest in July 2020, Cours Dajot orders a privileged view of the Fêtes Maritimes de Brest, when hundreds of boats sail into the Rade de Brest.

We say 2020 because this festival takes place only every four years! See the Tour Rose here, built by the Americans to thank Brest for the welcome given when they arrived for the First World War in 1917.


10. Boat Trips

 

It wouldn’t be right to come to Brest and not board a vessel for a voyage, even if it’s just a short one around the Rade de Brest. The natural harbor is 180 square kilometers and the boundary with the Atlantic is the Goulet de Brest, a 1.8-kilometer channel.

You could also catch ferries to the Ponant Islands, namely Molène and Ushant, which still sustain communities.

Ushant is the larger, with more than 900 inhabitants, and its isolation has allowed the rare Oessant breed of sheep to flourish, and it is also one of the last places where the European dark bee thrives, as it has been replaced by the Italian honey bee on the French mainland.


More ideals for you: Top 10 things to do in Toulouse, France

Top 10 things to do in Vierzon

This small town in central France’s Cher department is embedded in a pastoral landscape of vineyards, marshes, and lakes.

Vierzon was a railroad town with an equitable industrial market share in the 19th and 20th centuries, like Société Française de Vierzon, which produced tractors and farming equipment. Vierzon is now quaint and rural and will draw you into traditional ways of life, whether that’s steam trains, old porcelain trade or ochre mining. Outdoor fun is on the menu at the Canal de Berry, a picturesque 19th-century waterway for walks and boat trips, while the marvelous city of Bourges is only half an hour by car. Discover the best things to do in Vierzon.

[toc]


1. Musée de Vierzon

Complimented with the “Musée de France”, the town museum of Vierzon, handle some strings from its past. One of these is Vierzon’s evolution as a railway town after 1847, so there are tools, lamps, posters and models from the old Vierzon depot.

The town also had a booming porcelain industry in the early 20th century and has several display cabinets with elegant ornaments. And then there’s Vierzon’s role in manufacturing farming equipment, so you can inspect a small fleet of tractors, plows, and threshers made by the Société Française de Vierzon.


2. Square Lucien Beaufrère

One of the most special things in Vierzon is that this garden is located on a small island between the Yèvre and Canal de Berry. The plot was bought by the town from the Abbey of Saint-Pierre in the 20s and was landscaped in a methodical Art Deco style by the architect Eugène-Henry Karcher.

He went as far as determining the colors of the plants and trees, and almost every piece of flora is sculpted in some way. The garden centers on a pacifist monument to the First World War dead sculpted from Lavoux stone, with reliefs depicting the town’s different trades.


3. Beffroi de Vierzon

The venerable temperature Vierzon is actually an old port, called Porte Banier, which is the main entrance to the lost Château de Vierzon. It is the last remaining fragment of this castle and was built in the 1200s.

But much later, when Vierzon’s town defenses were all pulled down in the 1800s, they were capped with a clock and bell. They came from Porte aux Boeufs, one of the Vierzon gates, which were leveled to allow the town to grow beyond the old walls. Contact the Vierzon tourism office, for instructions.


4. Église Notre-Dame

Vierzon’s main church first went up in the 1100s before being remodeled a few times since. Come and whip a little bit because there are so many historical traces from many ages left. The bell-tower dates to the 1200s, while there’s a fine organ inside from the 1600s.

Also worth your attention is a Romanesque sculpted holy water as old as the 1000s, various medieval chapels and a painting of St John the Baptist by the 17th-century painter Jean Boucher and a carved pulpit from the 18th century.

But the standout has to be the exquisite stained glass window of the Crucifixion from the 1400s.


5. Musée des Fours Banaux

This cute little museum reveals an aspect of the daily French medieval life that you don’t often see. It contains two 15th-century ovens, unique to the entire area, where townspeople can bake their own bread.

These stone kilns are the center of social life in Vierzon and the place where the town will meet and chat. There’s also a small collection of artifacts, including two statues from the 1400s, and a small set of everyday items unearthed during excavations.

You can also see two former town clocks, one from the 15th century and the other retired in the 1800s.


6. Esplanade la Française

Right next to the Museum is the old factory of Société Française, where the Vierzonùi tractors were manufactured in the early 20th century. It’s an atmospheric site that has recently been regenerated.

The factory is listed as a monument to French history, and you can see why with its Eiffel-style metal and glass façade. You can admire this charming old structure from the Esplanade la Française in the front.

And in the evening, the factory is still an important part of the city when a movie theater and bowling alley are opened in the newer concrete block of the building.


7. Canal de Berry

The Vierzon crossing was built using Spanish POWs in the first decades of the 19th century. It was part of a network of waterways that connected the Canal Latéral à la Loire with the Cher River.

The canal has been disused since the 1950s, but a 12-kilometer section has been made navigable again and there are plans to reopen more in the future. The waterfront comes alive in July and August for the Les Estivales du Canal when there is a water-season concert at Lucien Beaufrère Square.

The poplar-lined towpaths offer a restful walking trail, and you can hire a motorboat or pedal-boat at the Quai du Bassin for a brief voyage through the countryside.


8. Site de la Maison de l’Eau

In Neuvy-Sur-Barangeon a 15th-century watermill and its surrounding parkland have been turned into a kind of discovery center for the Sologne.

In the mill, you can learn about how this old slice of medieval history worked, but there are also displays about the local wetlands and the weird carnivorous plants that have evolved here.

Outside there’s a landscaped park with a bamboo plantation and a large lake where fishing is permitted. You can also check out the Tourbière de la Guette, a peat bog with lots of wildlife you can see from an elevated wooden walkway.


9. Villa de Quincy

Just the ticket if you’d like to uncover the region’s rich wine heritage: The Villa de Quincy is a small exhibition in the nearby village of the same name, using multimedia to recount the history of the Quincy/Reuilly AOC. There’s also a display charting the spread of sauvignon grapes around the world.

The exhibition is light-hearted and interactive, often asking you to use your sense of smell. At the shop, you’ll be able to buy a bottle or two, together with all sorts of oenological accessories.


10. Abbaye Saint-Martin de Massay

This abbey church has its roots in the 8th century, and the legendary Charlemagne is known to have visited in the earliest years. Fast forward to the Hundred Years’ War in the 14th century and a lot of the Romanesque complex was destroyed to be rebuilt in the Gothic style.

The monastery was closed in the 18th century but there is still plenty to see. The church’s 42-meter tower, designed for defense, will catch your eye thanks to its formidable buttresses that culminate with pinnacles at the top.

You can explore the church, with wooden choir stalls dating back to the 16th century and into the arched Hall, where there is a monastic dorm on the first floor. If you want to leave no stone unturned you can arrange an hour-long guided visit in advance.


More ideals for you: Top 10 things to do in Bourg en Bresse

Top 10 things to do in Bourges

An enchanting medieval city, Bourges was the capital of the historic Province of Berry and a center of trade in the 15th and 16th centuries.

The old town is replete with luxurious mansions built for merchants, side-by-side with top-heavy half-timbered houses. The cathedral is an absolute wonder and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, looking like no other church in the world. Bourges is also the place to get to know Jacques Cœur, a merchant who traveled far and wide and worked his way into the court of King Charles VII. And if that isn’t enough you can break out into the pastoral Marais where thousands of little garden plots are navigated by a lattice of water channels. Discover the best things to do in Bourges.

[toc]


1. Bourges Cathedral

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bourges Cathedral is extraordinary on many levels. The first thing that might catch your eye is the lack of a transept, as there’s no break between the nave and choir.

This departure from the norm is only made possible by the rows of flying buttresses that run the length of the nave and choir. On the inside, there’s a unique double aisle that seamlessly becomes a double ambulatory.

At this eastern side of the church, nearly all of the stained glass you’ll see is original, remarkably surviving from the 1215 and conveying bible scenes like Christ’s parables, the Passion, the Apocalypse, and Last Judgement.


2. Cathedral Tower and Crypt

These parts of the church deserve another list because, while you have to pay to see them, you have earned regret for the small fee. If you’re coming in summer it’s best to do this part early because the queues can belong.

Climbing the Tour de Buerre (Butter Tower) doesn’t mean a feat because there are 400 steps, but there’s a panorama of Bourges to reward you at the top. The name comes from the means used to fund this 16th-century tower, as people would pay to be able to break their fast and eat butter during Lent.

In the crypt, you’ll be in the vestiges of the cathedral’s 11th-century predecessor and can find the tomb of the Duke Jean de Berry who was responsible for Bourges’ boom years in the 1300s.


3. Old Town

In 1487 there was a great fire in Bourges that destroyed a third of the city and stunted its development as it lost its annual fairs to Troyes and Lyon. But it also gives us a very unified old town, with diamond-shaped wooden houses, packed close together on streets like Rue Bourbonnoux, and a series of Renaissance castles. rock.

All you need are your own two feet and a sense of wonder and you’ll find exciting landmarks like the house where the famous merchant Jacques Cœur was born in 1395. There are also some fantastic merchants’ houses from earlier in the 1400s that survived the fire and are either attractions on their own terms or host the city’s museums.


4. Palais Jacques-Cœur

In the middle of the 15th-century the wealthy merchant and treasurer to King Charles VII, Jacques Cœur commissioned this breathtaking Gothic residence. The Palais Jacques-Cœur came sometime before the Loire Valley’s exuberant Renaissance châteaux, but its carvings lack none of their elegance and richness.

Like its first owner, who opened a transaction between France and the Levant, the palace had many stories to tell: As you move from the galleried courtyard to the spiral staircases, steam rooms, private apartments, servants’ areas, and treasure room, video presentations with fill you in about the architecture, decoration and the people who lived here.


5. Jardin de l’Archevêché

Next to the cathedral, these gardens were laid in the 1730s for the Archbishop of Bourges, eventually becoming the park for the town hall. In a familiar French style, there are boxwood topiaries trimmed to sharp points, lime trees in the shape of globes as well as formal lawns and flowerbeds hemmed by paths.

You’ll also always have a privileged view of the cathedral’s awesome flying buttresses as you take your turn in these gardens. There’s a cafe in the park, kids can hit the playground and you can stop at the romantic Belle Époque bandstand for a closer look.


6. Marais de Bourges

Just a few minutes from the Old Town is an enclave of reclaimed marshland encompassing 135 hectares.

In ancient times this boggy countryside slowed Julius Caesar’s advance in his conquest of Gaul in 52BC. But from around the 8th century, the marshes were brought under human control, and come the 17th-century they were drained and crisscrossed by a web of water channels.

Now the Marais is an outdoor escape for walkers and cyclists, not to mention urban gardening as the Marais is divided into almost 1,500 allotments that used to keep the whole city stocked with fruits and vegetables.

The channels abound with fish and waterfowl, and there isn’t a prettier place to be on warm June day when the gardens are in flower.


7. Musée du Berry

Hôtel Cujas is yet another of Bourges’ fine old houses with a museum inside. This Flamboyant Gothic mansion was conceived for a Florentine merchant in 1515 and is named for Jacques Cujas, a 16th-century legal expert who was a tenant for the last few years of his life.

The inner Musée du Berry was once in the Palais Jacques-Cœur but moved here in 1891. In the course of almost 200 years, it has amassed a riveting assortment of mosaics, ceramics, and statues.

Some excavated in the city, like the 220 Gallo-Roman Steles from Ancient Bourges, while there are also finds from Ancient Egypt, including a mummy from the 4th century BC.


8. Musée Estève

This museum for the 20th-century artist, Maurice Estève could hardly have a nobler home. The building is the Hôtel des Échevins (House of the Aldermen), a Gothic mansion with ornate stonework on its tower.

Over three floors connected by the tower’s spiral staircase, the museum has the largest single collection of art by Estève, whose career lasted eight decades and took him from surrealism to abstraction via a figurative period.

In the softly lit Galerie Lejuge, you can see his sensational collages, watercolors, and drawings, which are rotated every few months to keep them conserved.


9. Les Nuits Lumière

In the evenings from June to September, the town, the most beautiful Gothic and Renaissance architecture sites, is lit up with magnificent projects.

At the Cathedral, Jardin de l’Archevêché and Hôtel des Échevins Palais these ethereal images are combined with music, and part of a walk that literally sheds new light on Bourges and its past.

The climax though is the Palais Jacques-Cœur, where you can go into the courtyard to get to know more about this merchant, his voyage to the Middle East and time in the service of the King.


10. Hôtel Lallemant

In Bourges, you won’t tire of seeing the city’s old mansions because each is as beautiful as the last.

Hôtel Lallemant is one you can lose hours gazing at because of its external decorative sculptures, which are as sharp as ever and include quirky characters, pilasters, capitals, scrolls, columns and all sorts more.

The house is a masterpiece of the French Renaissance and was built at the turn of the 16th century for a family of merchants that had originated in Germany. Hôtel Lallemant is also built on the Gallo-Roman wall, which causes a divide between the upper and lower courtyards.

Call in for a small museum on decorative arts, which has a few rooms of miniature toys and antique furniture.


More ideals for you: Top 10 things to do in Benevento

Top 10 things to do in Bourg en Bresse

This medieval city in Eastern France was one of the capitals of the Europe-spanning Duchy of Savoy.

And in this capacity, it got its marquee monument: The Royal Monastery is from the early 1500s founded as a place to bury and pay respect to the Dukes and their families. Margaret of Austria was the woman behind it, and you’ll be moved by her story. The old center of Bourg-en-Bresse is sprinkled with half-timbered houses that instead of being museum pieces are used for shops and amenities, which somehow makes them more alive. And simply have to journey out into the wider Bresse countryside, which has an identity all of its own. Let’s explore the best things to do in Bourg-en-Bresse.

[toc]


1. Royal Monastery

A French national monument, this stunning monument was ordered by one of Renaissance Europe’s most powerful women as a dynastic burial place. Margaret of Austria was the Duchess of Savoy and governed the Habsburg Netherlands twice in the first decades of the 16th century.

There’s a lot to get through on a guided tour of the monastery, which amazingly has three two-story cloisters.

Linger to admire the glazed tiling on the roof of the church then go in to be blown away by Conrad Meit’s extraordinary marble tomb effigies of Margaret, her husband Philibert and his mother, Margaret of Bourbon.


2. Musée de Brou

In the second of the monastery’s three cloisters is Bourg-en-Bresse’s municipal museum. A lot of what you’ll find in these galleries were the property of one man: Thomas Riboud helped to save the monastery from destruction in the 19th century and had it protected as a “Monument-National”, and later donated his art collection to the city.

Much of the space is dedicated to painting from the 15th to the 19th century by French and Flemish artists. See the portraits of the monastery’s founder, Margaret of Austria and her nephew Emperor Charles V by Bernard van Orley who was Charles’ favorite painter. There’s also earthenware, furniture and religious sculpture up to the 17th century.


3. Old Town

Allow some time to discover the best of Bourg-en-Bresse’s historic center. Occasionally, you will be surprised by an interesting building, such as Maison Gorrevod, a large 15th-century wooden framed house that loses sight of the streets of Rue du Palais.

At 5 Teynière Street, there’s a splendid Ancien Régime at the magnificent Hôtel Marron de Meillonnas, a villa with an interior named by Baron in 1772. On your jaunt around the town, you’ll be sidetracked by the fabulous little specialty shops selling wine, poultry, chocolate, corn-flour biscuits and bleu cheese from the surrounding region.


4. Demeure Hugon

Also known as the Maison de Bois (Wooden House), the Demeure Hugon is a gorgeous colombage house at 16 Rue Gambetta.

Dating to 1496, the house is on a shopping street, with a ground floor take up by a high-street chain, but there’s a small plaque by the entrance indicating the age of the building and its status as an official historic monument.

The lower level still has the same openings as it did 500 years ago, and above it are three stories of timber framing, each floor sticking out over the level below and anchored by corbels.


5. Apothicairerie de l’Hôtel-Dieu

The old Bourg-en-Bresse Hospital, located a few streets southeast of the center. It dates back to 1782 and one of the remarkable things is that the internal pharmacy has hardly changed for more than 200 years.

It was run by nuns before closing in 1963 and is now reopened as a museum providing a rare photograph of medicine from the time of death. There are two rooms lined with shelves and a working lab.

The magnificent wooden cabinets with antique books and vases and small packages are an intersection of Louis XV and Louis XVI styles. Many of these containers still contain their generic medicines, although you may be horrified by some ingredients!


6. Église Notre-Dame

This church was built with a brilliant white stone in the 1500s, just as the Flamboyant Gothic style was being replaced by the new Renaissance architecture. So there’s a fusion of both designs, as the apse and nave are both Gothic, while the western facade and domed tower, completed later, are clearly from the Renaissance.

Of the many things to see within are the wooden choir stalls, carved in the 1530s, a 13th-century Black Madonna statue, the sculpted pulpit from 1760, the great organ from 1682 and stained glass windows going back to 1526.


7. Porte des Jacobins

On the corner of Jul Jules Migonney and Rue de la République is a historical site with an interesting story to tell. The Porte des Jacobins is a portal from a 15th-century convent, and the delicate pointed arch is all that is left of the building after it was burned down during the Revolution.

Pause here for a moment before heading to Rue Jules Migonney, where there’s a lovely row of timber-framed houses that were where the medieval city’s drapers and weavers had their workshops.


8. Bresse Countryside

Bourge-en-Bresse is a unique agricultural area with many special features including food, dialect, architecture, and traditions. A typical Bresse farmhouse, for instance, will be half-timbered, with ears of corn hanging from its porch.

Capping the roof will be a “Saracen” or Moorish-style chimney, which looks a little like a minaret.

It’s easy to realize when you’re driving through Bresse, as the farmland is irrigated by many tributaries of the Saône River, and is covered with poultry farms, raising more than 1,200,000 chickens every year.

It’s also a region that is easy to embrace as there are show farms and museums showing off Bresse’s heritage.


9. Pérouges

This walled hill-top village is one of those places that makes you wonder if you’ve entered a time-warp. Pérouges is only a small community but has more than 80 buildings registered as historic monuments on its twisting cobbled streets.

Most are either rustic stone cottages or half-timbered houses, with wisteria creeping up the walls. On the central square, there’s a 200-year-old lime tree and you can go up the village’s watchtower, which used to belong to a medieval castle.

It will come as no surprise that Pérouges has been a shooting location for many historically-themed movies. Four different versions of the Three Musketeers have been filmed on these streets since 1921.


10. Grottes du Cerdon

A simple excursion from Bourge-en-Bresse, these caves have a few qualities that lift them above a normal trip underground. Yes, you can see the usual the stalactites and stalagmites, and watch the calcium-rich water dripping from one concretion to the next.

But it’s also exciting to know that you’re in the home of Upper Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers, who used the caves up to 17,000 years ago, leaving behind bones, weapons, and tools.

Another cool feature is the spectacular belvedere, a prehistoric shelter that opens out over the vineyards of the Cerdon Valley.


More ideals for you: Top 10 things to do in Andria