Top five countryside retreat locations in northern France

Thursday, 15 September 2011 10:49 AM

Booking holiday villas in France is an excellent chance to get away from it all and experience some of the country's best rural retreats, particularly if you are travelling to the north.

Whether you are looking to stay in Brittany cottages or villas in Normandy, there are plenty of things to see and do, making your holiday an unforgettable trip.

If you decide to stay in Brittany cottages, for example, you will benefit from a number of fantastic activities based in the region, with its natural landscape providing a rich diversity in suitable attractions.

With fantastic beaches, a vast selection of botanical gardens, nature walks and hiking trails, Brittany is an ideal destination to spend quality time with loved ones.

Hoping to brush up on your cultural and historical knowledge while in Brittany? Try visiting Saint-Degan, a collection of thatched cottages acting as a museum for country life over the last three centuries.

There is also the Alignements de Carnac - Maison des Megalithes, which is the largest megalithic site in the world, with more than 2,800 standing stones erected in 4,500 BC.

Villas in Normandy are equally well located, with a range of sightseeing opportunities and local attractions to cater to all tastes.

To catch a glimpse of some of the region's most stunning architecture, try visiting churches and abbeys, with Normandy being a hub for religious structures in France.

Some of the most illustrious include the monastery at Le Bec-Hellouin and the gothic-style Rouen Cathedral, with the latter being the focus of a number of iconic paintings by Impressionist Claude Monet.

History buffs will no doubt be interested in visiting some of the coastline, with Normandy famously being the landing spot for Allied troops on D-Day in World War II.

The Battle of Normandy Historical Area is essentially an open-air museum, so tourists can visit monuments, memorials and sites relating to the war.

However, if you want to explore the region's countryside, a visit to one of Normandy's four natural parks is a must, with extensive wildlife, fabulous views and beautiful scenery to experience.

The north of France also has the Champagne-Ardenne region, which is famous for its sparkling wine and rivers.

If you are a fan of champagne, there are a number of cellars to visit, as well as vineyards and tasting workshops, allowing you to learn the wine's history and test out a number of local brands.

Water sports are popular in the region and you can try your hand at windsurfing, water skiing, sailing and much more.

Alternatively, you can opt for holiday villas in Nord-Pas de Calais, which are not only surrounded by beautiful countryside, but also have excellent access to urban environments.

Here you can shop, try out local cuisine or simply sit back and relax in one of the many spas and health centres situated in the area.

Last but not least is Somme in the Picardy region, which is a perfect romantic getaway location for couples of all ages.

Whether you want to spend some alone time together or explore the district's many attractions, Somme will ensure you remain occupied during your trip.

Here you can visit a number of excellent restaurants, food fairs and markets, or simply sit by the beach at one of many seaside resorts.

The Bay of Somme is a beautiful spot to relax and view some of France's most idyllic waterfront destinations. 

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