Best Places in France for a Summer Fling
The antics of FranÃ§ois Mitterrand and Dominique Strauss-Kahn aside, the French have a notably healthy, open outlook on love. Vive la diffÃ©rence, “La Vie en rose” and such. With that, plug in your Serge Gainsbourg and Carla Bruni playlist and check out 15 prime places to have a summer fling in France.
Saint-Ã‰milion -Â Photo credit
Ensconce yourself in a gastro hub par excellence and tote along a dog-eared copy of a A Year in Provence (novelist Peter Mayle lives in expat bliss, 40 minutes away in bucolic Lourmarin).
Where to stay: Grand Hotel Roi Rene Aix En Provence
Antibes-Juan les Pins
Pablo Picasso, he of the boundless libido, took creative succor in Antibes-Juan les Pins and spent his twilight years in nearby Mougins. The epitome of Riviera romance.
Where to stay: Sainte Valerie Hotel Juan Les Pins
Another famous, albeit more churlish, artist also hit upon a wellspring of inspiration in the south of France. Your fling in UNESCO World Heritage Arles will hopefully involve less torment than van Gogh’s, however.
Where to stay: Jules Cesar Hotel Arles
Sur le pont dâ€™Avignon is a fine place to be in July, especially for the world class Festival d’Avignon.
Where to stay: Mercure Cite Des Papes Hotel Avignon
Surf’s up in France’s premier beach resort on the Atlantic coast.
Where to stay: Grand Tonic Hotel Biarritz
This under-the-radar enclave not far from Nice is a gorgeous commune on the doorstep of the Gordolasque valley in the Alpes-Maritimes department.
Where to stay: Hi Hotel Eco Spa & Beach Nice
Bordeaux, the UNESCO World Heritage Port of the Moon city, is a cosmopolitan, soignÃ© oasis with elegant restaurants and architecture.
Where to stay: The Regent Grand Hotel Bordeaux
Posh twin seaside resorts in the Calvados department of Basse-Normandie, Deauville and Trouville-sur-Mer lure royalty, heiress billionaires and nouveau riche hoi polloi.
Where to stay: Royal Barriere Hotel Deauville
The world capital of perfume is a sweet spot for a love binge.
Where to stay: Chateau Hotel la Vignette Haute Auribeau-sur-Siagne
The mythical PÃ©rigord, now Dordogne department, is a foremost hub of foie gras, truffles and lush landscapes.
Where to stay: Chateau Le Mas De Montet Riberac
The Poitou-Charentes region of France gets short shrift but we love the furtive, photogenic city of Poitiers.
Where to stay: Le Saint Georges Hotel Vivonne
Achingly fairy tale-like, Saint-Ã‰milion is a UNESCO World Heritage hamlet in the pristine Gironde department of Aquitaine and a mere 40 km from Bordeaux.
Where to stay: Chateau Grand Barrail Hotel & Spa Saint Emilion
How to resist the incessant pull of the inimitable Alpes-Maritimes department? Futile and impossible we say, which is why you need to include swish Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat on your summer fling list. Nearby Villefranche-sur-Mer and Beaulieu-sur-Mer too.
Where to stay: Royal Riviera Hotel St Jean Cap-Ferrat
VÃ©zelay is a fabulous place to get lost between Lyon, Bourges, Dijon, OrlÃ©ans and Troyes. The supreme hilltop hamlet is home to less than 500 people. Diminutive but eminently fling-worthy.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, Paris. The capital of France is a city in the best sense of the word, with a singular energy and rhythm. A stay at the ultra-plush Crillon is a panacea for the lovelorn.
Where to stay: De Crillon Hotel Paris