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We returned a few months ago from a week-long dream vacation in France. A vacation that transcended our imagination. France has a lot to offer, forests, beaches, big cities, magical towns, and amazing food. No wonder it is the most visited country in the world!
The beginning of September is a great time to tour France in terms of weather in the region, neither too hot nor too cold 🙂 We decided to rent a car and travel in the northwestern part of the country. Start from the city of Nantes, continue to Brittany and Normandy and spend a few days in Paris. So here is our travel guide to the northwest of France, with recommendations for accommodation and restaurants. If you have any questions we would love to hear from you 🙂
Day 1: Nantes
Landed in Nantes (Unfortunately, we had an unpleasant incident with Booking.com, which at the last minute canceled our hotel and the customer service was really unpleasant. In our opinion, it is better to order from other sites. We will probably never book a hotel from Booking.com because we felt that they could not be trusted).
Day 2: Nantes/Rushport-a-Terra/Auray
Breakfast at the stunning La Cigale restaurant in Nantes. One of the most famous restaurants in town. Come here for the French atmosphere and Art Nouveau design.
After breakfast, we wandered the streets of Nantes towards the famous Botanical Garden and Chateau des ducs de Bretagne.
We picked up our rented car from the city center and drove towards the charming town of Rushport-a-Terra. The whole town is built in the medieval style and it is really nice to walk around (and eat some crepes, the food that was invented in Brittany:))
From Rushport-a-Terra, we drove to the city of Auray, where we walked around the port (Port st Goustan), a beautiful area with lots of restaurants overlooking the river.
Next we drove to our hotel ‘Chateau De Locguenole‘, a mansion located within 290 acres of forests overlooking the river. One of the most beautiful places we ever stayed in! The design is classic French. The hotel offers breakfast and dinner, and there’s a beautiful pool too! The hotel staff was really nice and professional and our stay there was perfect!
(Go to dinner early, after nine everything is closed in this area)
Day 3: Parc Naturel Régional d’Armorique
The next day we got up for a beautiful sunny day. We had breakfast at the hotel and drove to ‘Parc Naturel Régional d’Armorique‘ National Park. The park is quite large and there’s plenty to see.
The places we chose to visit in the park:
Plage du Bois du Kador – A beautiful beach with a view.
Huelgoat Forest – Forest with large rocks (boulders) with hiking trails (short and long)
From there we drove to ‘HOTEL DE L’ABBAYE‘. Lovely hotel in an old (but renovated) building with a beautiful garden and pool. We took a ground floor room with a view of the garden and pool.
For dinner, we went to the french restaurant ‘La Ferme du Boucanier‘, especially recommended for the meat lovers.
Day 4: Dinan/Mont Saint-Michel/Utah Beach
Drove to Dinan. Like all towns in the area, surrounded by medieval buildings. You can grab a map, with all the main points of interest in the area, from the visitor center at the entrance to the town.
From there we drove to the Normandy region to Mont Saint-Michel. This site will take your breath away. Mont-Saint-Michel is a tiny island (an island only when the tides are very high) with a medieval village and a beautiful monastery on top. It was one of the most important pilgrimage destinations during the Middle Ages. Shops and restaurants (packed with tourists) are located along the alleys of the village. To reach the island, use the shuttle service from the nearest parking lot.
The next place we visited was Utah Beach. One of the five beaches where the Allies landed during the invasion of Normandy in World War II. Along the coast, you can see many bunkers used by the Germans, a reminder of what happened here seventy-five years ago.
We arrived at hotel ‘Domaine De Bayeux‘ which is in the heart of the city of Bayeux, the first French city to be released in World War II. We chose to stay in this hotel because of its proximity to World War II sites in Normandy. The hotel is set in an 18th-century house featuring a tree-lined park (very French style :)). Our room was in the newest extension of the hotel. We also enjoyed a delicious buffet breakfast that is served every morning.
For dinner in Bayeux, you should go early and you may want to book a table in advance in one of the restaurants in the city center. A lot of the restaurants are serving traditional Normandy dishes.
Day 5: Omaha Beach and Paris
We started our morning at Omaha Beach, another beach that was invaded by the Allies. An impressive monument is set on the shores, in memory of the brave soldiers who lost their lives in the battle of Normandy. The beach is wide and impressive and it is worth a stroll in the early morning. The American Cemetery and Memorial who honors the American troops who died in Europe during World War II is a short drive away, and worth the visit.
After a three hours drive, we arrived at our last destination on a trip, Paris!
We spent three days in Paris. Even though we’ve been here a few times before, it’s always fun to come back and explore new areas of this stunning city and also to visit Disneyland!
In Paris, we chose to stay at the trendy and stylish ‘Hôtel National Des Arts et Métiers‘ boutique hotel, located in the bohemian Marais district. the hotel is designed in a modern and meticulous way, we loved how everything felt fresh and new. On the rooftop of the hotel, you will find a cool and popular bar with a spectacular view of the Paris rooftops. We recommend going up for a cocktail and watching the sunset! Guests can enjoy a highly-rated breakfast during their stay in the ‘Ristorante National‘ restaurant located in the lobby of the hotel.
Here are recommendations for some of the places we liked in Paris:
Wild And The Moon – A cafe chain featuring vegan organic food. We went to the one on Charlotte Street and really liked the warm design (glass ceiling and lots of flower pots).
Terrasse De L’alcazar – A large and beautiful trendy restaurant with an excellent atmosphere and local and traditional food.
Pink Mama – A stunning Italian restaurant sprawls over three floors and a rooftop in a Parisian building in the Pigalle district. One of the most instagramable restaurants in Paris. The restaurant is part of the Big Mama Group, which owns several Italian restaurants in Paris and London. The place fills up quickly so you should arrive early. We came for lunch and especially loved the truffle and mascarpone pasta!
(Apparently, there is a speakeasy bar in the basement called ‘No Entry‘. We’ll definitely check it out next time we’re in Paris!)
Baranaan Street-Food, Cocktail Bar & Tapas – Hidden cocktail bar. Found behind a secret door in an Indian restaurant. The place resembles a train car in India. Alongside the cocktails, you can find delicious little Indian dishes!
Bambou – A stunning Thai restaurant in the second quarter that we pass on our way to the hotel, it was already after we ate dinner so we will definitely check it out next time we are in Paris.
And here are some more photos from stunning Paris!