France might be one of the most indulgent and relaxing countries in the world. 

They’ve got some of the best foods, wines, and desserts in all of Europe. 

Not to mention all the idyllic gardens, rolling fields of lavender, and of course the crystal clear waters of the Cote d’Azur. 

Whether visiting Paris, the French Riviera, or Provence, I’ve always found a way to disconnect and chill out for a few days.

If you’re looking for a place to relax in France, read on to find out some of my favorite go-to spots to take a well-deserved break.

1. Antibes


Antibes is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s a spot on the Cote d’Azur that I would love to eventually retire to. 

It’s a quick and convenient train ride away from Nice and Cannes, making it an easy day trip.

The town itself is magical, with stone fortress walls built along the Mediterranean, a Picasso museum, plenty of chill public beaches, and lots of delicious little restaurants and cafes. 

For an extra special trip, book a room at Hotel du Cap Eden Roc. It’s been well known since the 1870s for its magnificent views, food, and famous guests.

Some famous past guests include Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Picasso, Elizabeth Taylor, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. 

2. St. Remy

St Remy France Monastary Provence

This adorable little town in Provence is perfect for some off the radar relaxation. 

Art lovers will enjoy strolling around town, seeing the many spots that Vincent van Gogh painted while he was living in the village. His most famous work, Starry Night, was painted in St. Remy. 

I love staying at Hotel du Soleil. It’s on the edge of town, offers spa services, and has a pool. Plus, it’s about a two-minute walk from the center of the city, making it a simple choice. 

If you rent a car, I highly suggest you take a drive around the countryside, especially during the sunflower and lavender seasons. Bonus points if you stock up at the food markets, for a picnic in one of the many picturesque fields nearby. 

St. Remy is a small town that you’ll want to continue visiting for its charming and relaxing way of life.

Pro Tip: It’s easy to do a day trip from St. Remy to the famous Pont du Gard. It’s one of the oldest Roman aqueducts in existence. You can swim in the chilly water below them, or rent kayaks if you’re feeling like a little river adventure. 

3. Bordeaux

Bordeaux Vineyards France

Let’s be honest, who isn’t relaxed after a glass or two of wine?

In Bordeaux, the obvious choice to unwind while in town is to explore its many vineyards. 

Book a stay at Château Franc-Mayne’s B&B for the ultimate weekend away. It’s a charming wine producer in the Saint Emilion area of Bordeaux’s Right Bank. 

You can chill at their stunning pool, tour the vineyard, and of course, indulge in their Grand Cru St. Emilion vino. It’s a personal favorite that I love to order anytime it’s on the menu!

If you want to go out exploring, the B&B is only about a mile from the center of town. There you can find guided tours, tastings at other wineries, and even the opportunity to explore quarry caves that were in use as early as the 14th century

Fun Fact: There are just about 6,000 different wine-producing chateaux in the region. They make up to 9,000 different Bordeaux wines every vintage!

4. St. Tropez


St. Tropez boasts more than just its iconic beaches. Here you’ll find a luxurious and tranquil getaway that will have you wishing your trip never has to end. 

You can sit along the promenade of the Old Port, drink in hand, as you watch the boats go out to sea.

Renting a private umbrella on Bouillabaisse Beach is one of my favorite things to do while relaxing in St.Tropez. It’s just west of the city and the perfect place to curl up under the sun with a delightful book

Book a stay at Cheval Blanc for the ultimate luxury experience. You’ll relax in style while enjoying the facility’s spa, yoga, private beach, pool, and its restaurant La Vague d’Or, which boasts three Michelin stars.  

5. Annecy

Annecy France nighttime

If you’re looking for a beautiful medieval town to unwind in, look no further than Annecy. 

You’ll find this stunning town on the shore of one of Europe’s cleanest lakes, Lac d’Annecy. You can easily spend the entire day lounging by the lake, enjoying its crystal clear blue waters.

History buffs will love Annecy for its 21 historical monuments that have earned the town the French label of “Ville d’Art.”

If you’re visiting during the summer, venturing out to Gorges du Fier is a must. It’s just 6 miles from Annecy, and the perfect place to cool off in nature on a hot day. 

You’ll walk along the gorge, hear its history, and hear a legend about a medieval tale about a knight and a page boy that transforms the journey into a magical experience.

6. Mont Saint Michel 

Mont Saint Michel Abbey sunset France

This small island off the coast of Normandy is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to its 11th-century Romanesque-Gothic abbey buildings. 

The most famous spot on the island is the Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey that was built in the early eighth century in honor of the archangel Michael. 

The area gets quite crowded, so this is a spot to spend a chill morning before the tourists arrive.

If you choose to stay on the island, you’ll have the additional benefit of exploring at night, which is truly magical. 

La Vieille Auberge Mont Saint-Michel is a popular hotel to stay at since it’s only a three-minute walk from the famous Abbey. 

Fun Fact: There are only about 50 locals living on the small island, most of whom are monks or nuns. 

7. Najac

Najac France

This medieval French village is the definition of charming. It’s gothic church, beautiful stone architecture, stone-thatched houses, and a stunning view of the Aveyron Valley will transport you back in time. 

While in town visit the Forteresse Royale de Najac. You’ll feel you’ve been swept away into a fairytale exploring its secret passageways and dungeons. 

While in the dungeons keep an eye out for symbols that were carved into the wall, possibly by the Knights Templar who imprisoned there. 

Fair warning, there are a lot of steps to reach parts of the castle, so be ready for a bit of a workout. 

8. Loire Valley

Loire Valley France Chateau

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear mention of the Loire Valley is chateaux and vineyards. 

Full disclaimer, this is an area that I have yet to explore in person, though I’ve been daydreaming about visiting for a while now.

This is how I imagine a perfectly relaxing weekend away in the Loire Valley, either alone or with a prince charming. 

Obviously in a valley of castles it would be silly not to book a stay in one. My dream chateau to sleep like a princess at is the 12th century Château des Arpentis

It’s in the tiny village of Saint-Regle and is surrounded by a moat from the 17th century. There’s even a record of King Louis stopping by for dinner in 1619!

When you’re ready to explore the area, go to Château d’Amboise. It’s a UNESCO site that overlooks the whole of the Loire Valley. When you see it, you’ll feel you’re on the way to a grand ball, it’s breathtaking!

The best part is that it’s an exciting place to visit for more than just the architecture, during the 15th and 16th centuries the French court called Amboise home. Famous residents include Leonardo da Vinci, Anne Boleyn, Catherine de Medicis, and Marie Stuart. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to stop by the in-house St. Hubert chapel. Leonardo da Vinci’s tomb is there!

Now that I’ve completely geeked out on history, let’s get to the wine. 

The Loire Valley has no shortage of wineries, in fact it has over 1,000 vineyards open to the public. 

Bouvet Ladubay is one winery that’s been on my tasting wishlist. They’ve been specializing in sparkling wines (it’s only called champagne when produced in that region) since 1851. 

You’ll take a guided wine tour through their cellars, or take the more adventurous tour that involves riding a vintage bike through the many twists and turns of the cellars. 

They also have a “Sunken Cathedral” in the cellars that’s home to 35 different sculptures. It will be a one of a kind experience for everyone, especially after a few drinks. 

9. Biarritz

Biarritz Rock of the Virgin Mary France

Biarritz is a beautiful seaside town on France’s Basque coast that’s drawn royal visits since the 1800s. 

If you want to stay in style, book a room at Hôtel du Palais. It was originally Empress Eugénie’s summer getaway back in the 1800s. She and her husband, Napoleon III, made Biarritz the “it” destination for everyone in high society. 

These days, it’s the only 5-star palace hotel on the Atlantic Coast.

While visiting Biarritz, you must see The Rock of the Virgin Mary

Legend has it that in 1865 some fisherman were caught in a terrible storm and guided back to shore by a divine light. Shortly after, they erected the statue of the Virgin Mary to give thanks. 

Napoleon III cut a hole in the rocks so that the statue could be accessible to the people of the town by foot and by water. But the wooden bridge across the water couldn’t stand up to the waves. It wasn’t totally accessible until 1887 when Gustave Eiffel, (yes, the same guy who built the tower) created a metal bridge. 

Biarritz draws more than just people looking for a relaxing seaside stay, it’s also a major spot for surfers. In fact, it’s been called the birthplace of surfing in Europe. 

If you want to take a walk on the wilder side, I suggest booking surf lessons. There are plenty of surf schools on the island that can teach you the basics, or give you a few pointers on how to improve your skills. 

In the evening, head to the elevated Etxola Bar to enjoy the sunset. I’d plan to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the sunset for the best experience, as it gets quite crowded. 

10. Nice

Ally in Nice at Le Plongier

This is one of my favorite cities to base myself while staying in the French Riviera. 

I highly recommend unwinding with oysters and a bottle of Chablis on the terrasse of Hotel Negresco. It’s always the very first thing I do to unwind after arriving in Nice. 

Another spot that’s big with the glitterati of the Riviera is Ruhl Plage. It’s been Nice’s premier beach club since the 1920s. 

Zelda Fitzgerald even wrote of it, saying, “stars fell in our plates … and we were alone with the deep blue grandeur and the filet de sole Ruhl, and the second bottle of champagne.”

After that endorsement, who wouldn’t want to spend the day and evening relaxing at this private beach club?

11. Champagne

Champagne vineyard France

Honestly, this region is a must for any champagne lovers. How could you not relax sipping champagne all day long?

Pamper yourself at the Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa, which was recently named one of the top resorts in Europe by Condé Nast. 

The resort overlooks the village of Champillon, and the vineyards of Epernay. You’ll be able to  relax at their spa, go horseback riding, boating, fishing, and champagne tasting.

It’s two restaurants have menus by Michelin award-winning chef, Jean-Denis Rieubland, who’s made sure the selection complements the region’s famous drink. 

This is one relaxing weekend in France that I’m dying to experience first hand!

12. Perouges

Perouges France

Just outside of Lyon, perched on a small hill, you’ll find the walled medieval city of Perouges. 

This is a city you’ll want to walk around all day, taking in its stunning and historical architecture. You may even find that you recognize the city from the famous film, “The Three Musketeers.” 

While you’re visiting, you must check out The House of Princes, a former home of the Dukes of Savoy. It is a French Historical Monument with architecture dating back to the XIV- XVth century.  

Art lovers should note that the museum invites the most famous contemporary artists in the world to exhibit there each year. 

Past exhibits have included Chagall, Slimane, and Lagage. 

13. Paris


The City of Lights is one of my favorite cities to indulge in a few days of pampering. 

As a bit of a dessert obsessed person, my first stop always involves Pierre Hermé macarons. I stock up on at least a half dozen to get me through my visit and end up taking home another dozen. 

If you haven’t had them yet, all you need to know is it’s like putting a little piece of heaven in your mouth every time you eat one. Seriously, they’re the absolute best!

Paris also offers plenty of Michelin starred restaurants, long walks along the Seine, picturesque parks and plenty of museums to spend all day getting lost in.

What’s not to love?

14. Cassis

Cassis France

This Mediterranean fishing port is one of the most beautiful seaside towns that I’ve spent time in. It’s truly a spot I’m eager to return so I can explore for more than just a day. 

The Port de Cassis is a must-visit spot that is perfect for relaxing in the sun with an excellent book, while you watch the boats sail off into the horizon.  

If you need to cool off, the beach is a stone’s throw away. Just know, it’s actually a stone beach, so you’ll want a fluffy towel to lay out on. 

You’ll also want to either visit or book a stay at Chateau de Cassis. It’s a stunning castle that sits on top of a cliff, overlooking the Mediterranean. 

Sections of the chateau date back to the 5th century, and it’s had many historical guests, including Napoleon Bonaparte.  

15. Gordes

Gordes France

Gordes may be one of the most beautiful hilltop villages in Provence. It’s a place that’s so well known for its beauty that it’s attracted many artists over the years, including Marc Chagall and Victor Vasarely. 

While in town, you must visit the Sénanque Abbey, especially if it’s during lavender season. You can roam around the gardens of this 9th century monastery, purchase lavender gifts in the boutique, and tour the inside of this architectural gem. 

No visit to Gordes would be complete without a trip to their famous marketplace. It’s open 8am to 1pm every Tuesday during the year. 

Arrive on the early side to avoid the crowds of people coming from all over to enjoy the scene. And don’t forget to pick up some Herbs de Provence! 

I believe in never missing an opportunity to see a castle, so don’t forget to make time to visit Le Château de Gordes. They rebuilt it in 1525, with sections dating back to 1031, making it an architecture lover’s dream! 

The castle’s giant fireplace was named a historic monument in 1902, with the rest of the Château gaining the distinction in 1931. 

Book a stay at Le Phebus & Spa for the ultimate luxurious country getaway. It’s just outside of Gordes, in the small town of Luberon, and was built on a site belonging to medieval knights, and has plenty of rustic charm. 

For the best experience, book a room with a private pool, and don’t forget to book early for any spa treatments.

16. Cannes


There’s a solid chance that you’ve heard of Cannes, even if you’ve never been to France, all thanks to its famous film festival

Unless you can score tickets to the festival, I suggest you avoid visiting during that time frame (typically the end of May). The city gets pretty hectic and isn’t ideal for a relaxing time away from reality. 

Instead, visit during the warmer summer months to fully enjoy all the amazing things to do in Cannes

You can spend your days strolling the famous La Croisette promenade along the waterfront. There you’ll take in the stunning blues of the Mediterranean, browse luxury shops, and dine at some of the best restaurants and cafes in Cannes. 

For the best views of the city, head to The Musée de la Castre. You’ll find this medieval castle on a hill high above the city, giving it truly the best landscape view of Cannes’s beaches and harbors. 

The museum houses an eclectic collection of arts and artifacts, including unusual paintings, medieval artifacts, and Asian instruments.    

Book a stay at Villa Garbo to feel like a pampered movie star. It’s a quick walk to the beach, has a stunning terrasse to enjoy drinks on, plus has a spa!

Final Thoughts on Relaxing in France


After writing this, I’m already yearning for my next holiday in France. I think it’s very safe to say I’ll be booking a ticket to stay in most of these stunning locations very soon!

Thanks to its beauty, charm, and of course decadent foods and wines, France has always had a special part of my heart.

I hope this has inspired you to take a break in one of these gorgeous locations soon. I can almost guarantee you won’t regret it. 

Let me know in the comments below which place you’d book when deciding on a place to relax in France!


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