7 World-Famous Natural Wonders to Visit in France
Even though the number of French hotel reservations made by foreign tourists fell by 10% in the first half of 2016, France is still the number one travel destination in the world. So now seems like a good time to take a look at some of the most beautiful unspoilt spots which make it such a special place
The Cassis "Calanques"
If you're vacationing on the Côte d'Azur, the steep rocky coasts known as the "Calanques" are well worth a visit. The wildness of this natural spot set against turquoise waters can be discovered via a 24 km road trip from Marseilles to Cassis. It's also possible to take a boat trip out to get a closer look.
This clifftop town never fails to amaze visitors with the steep precipices that made it famous. The vestiges of the past give it an added attraction. Perched at the very southern end of Corsica, this citadel is stormed by visitors every summer.
The "orgues" at Ille-sur-Têt
If you want to see a masterpiece of nature, head to Illes-sur-Têt, in the Pyrénées-Orientales region of France, where stunning rock formations known as "fairy chimneys" can be seen. Water has slowly carved the rock into dramatic peaks pointing towards the sky. This unique landscape has been created over five million years.
Rustrel, a French Colorado
In the Vaucluse region of France, they call it the "Colorado of Provence". The village of Rustrel does warrant comparison with the typical ochre tones of the western US. Tourists can take a walk from the 16th-century castle to the arid landscape carved out by sandstone, and discover a breath-taking panorama sweeping across 30 kilometers.
The Dune of Pilat
This is the largest dune in Europe, measuring 2.9 km long, 616 meters wide, and 110 meters high, and consisting of 60 million cubic meters of sand. Located at Teste de la Buch in the Arcachon bay area, the Dune of Pilat moves each year by one to five meters, pushed along by the wind and the tides. The gentle slope on the ocean side is easier to climb; the other side plunges steeply towards a forest.
This UNESCO World Heritage site and this marvel of the western world attracts some 2.5 million visitors every year. It is the only site on our list that is not 100% natural, but nature makes it a must-see destination as when the tide comes in, it temporarily makes Mont-Saint-Michel an island.
The cliffs at Etretat
On the Côte d'Albâtre (literally Alabaster Coast) in Normandy, chalky cliffs provide a stunning backdrop to a 140 km-long road. The area has been immortalized in an Arsène Lupin novel by Maurice Leblanc.