Europe

Best Places in France for a Summer Fling

The antics of François Mitterrand and Dominique Strauss-Kahn aside, the French have a notably healthy, open outlook on love. Vive la différence, “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-Émilion - Photo credit

Aix-en-Provence

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

Aix-en-Provence City Guide

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

Antibes-Juan les Pins City Guide

Arles

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

Arles City Guide

Avignon

Sur le pont d’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

Avignon City Guide

Biarritz

Surf’s up in France’s premier beach resort on the Atlantic coast.

Where to stay: Grand Tonic Hotel Biarritz

Biarritz

Belvédère

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

Nice City Guide

Bordeaux

Bordeaux, the UNESCO World Heritage Port of the Moon city, is a cosmopolitan, soigné oasis with elegant restaurants and architecture.

Where to stay: The Regent Grand Hotel Bordeaux

Bordeaux City Guide

Deauville-Trouville

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

Deauville-Trouville City Guide

Grasse

The world capital of perfume is a sweet spot for a love binge.

Where to stay: Chateau Hotel la Vignette Haute Auribeau-sur-Siagne

Grasse City Guide

The Périgord

The mythical Périgord, now Dordogne department, is a foremost hub of foie gras, truffles and lush landscapes.

Where to stay: Chateau Le Mas De Montet Riberac

Périgueux City Guide

Poitiers

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

Poitiers City Guide

Saint-Émilion

Achingly fairy tale-like, Saint-Émilion 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

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

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

Vézelay

Vézelay is a fabulous place to get lost between Lyon, Bourges, Dijon, Orléans and Troyes. The supreme hilltop hamlet is home to less than 500 people. Diminutive but eminently fling-worthy.

Paris

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

Paris City Guide

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