Discover the breathtaking natural beauties of France, which you may not have even known exist. Dangerous dunes, romantic gardens and inspiring white cliffs – these are unknown places of French nature
Dune of Pilat
Dune du Pilat (Pyla) is the largest sand dune in Europe (107 m), located 60 km southwest of the port city of Bordeaux. The popular tourist attraction changes the color of the sand from white to golden in a single day and is a protected area, but lately it has threatened the interior – it has already swallowed several roads and buildings. It is used for paragliding.
The white cliffs of Étretat
The French village of Étretat, where the writer Guy de Maupassant spent most of his childhood, lies on the English Channel in the Pays de Caux. It is a popular tourist destination for its white chalk cliffs and three naturally formed rock arches called Porte d’Aval, Porte d’Amont and Manneporte. Many important painters found inspiration in them, including Claude Monet. These are some of the most famous natural monuments in Upper Normandy, suitable for a day trip. They are freely accessible, as is the white pebble beach.
Pink granite coast
The Côte de Granit Rose is one of the most beautiful sections of the Brittany coast, famous for its many unusual rock formations and boulders made of orange or even pink granite. The most interesting rock formations, whose charm underlines the contrast with the sea water, can be found on the coastal road between Perros-Guirec and the port of Ploumanac’h.
Cape Fréhel in Brittany, about 8.5 km from the village of the same name, is one of the most impressive rock massifs in the province. Its slate and sandstone cliffs rise above the sea to a height of 70 m. The waves break on the rocks and give the place its special atmosphere. Here you will find romantic bays with sandy beaches, two lighthouses and the fabulous 14th century Fort La Latte.Booking.com
Grand Canyon of the Verdon
The Grand Canyon du Verdon is one of the deepest canyons in Europe. It was excavated by the Verdon River on the border of the Provence and Maritime Alps. The canyon begins outside the town of Castellane. It stretches between the cliffs to Lac de Sainte-Croix. It is considered to be the most beautiful canyon in Europe, which impresses visitors from all over the world with its magnificence. In 1990, it became a protected natural area.
Gavarnie Valley: natural colosseum
This semicircular valley is the work of a large Pyrenean glacier and reaches a height of 1700 meters. At its eastern edge rise the peaks of three thousand mountains. We find it in the Pyrenees, on the border with Spain. The amazing rock amphitheater is full of waterfalls and water, cracks in the rocks and greenery in the valley. It is no wonder, then, that Victor Hugo called this magnificent natural work a “natural colosseum.”
After extensive restoration work, the Marqueyssac Gardens were opened to the public in March 1997. Currently, these are the most visited gardens in Périgord, which are listed as a national monument and offer more than 6 km of shady paths, bordered by hand-cut centuries-old pine trees. The hiking park overlooks the entire Dordogne Valley with its stone cliffs. Pine trees, planted during the 19th century, undermine the symmetry and regularity of the gardens, whose arrangement with winding paths, roundness and some rolling aspect of wood gives Marqueyssac its unmistakable softness and romanticism.
Monet’s Gardens in Giverny
The Normandy village of Giverny is famous for the stay of Claude Monet, who was also buried here. His beautiful garden is divided into two parts: a flower garden called Clos Normand, located in front of his house, and a Japanese water garden on the other side of the road. The two parts contrast, but also complement each other.
Clos Normand is a garden full of perspectives, symmetry and colors. In it, Monet mixed the simplest flowers (daisies and poppies) with the rarest varieties. Pink trees cover the balustrade along the house. Because Monet did not like organized and limited gardens, he let the flowers grow completely freely.
The water garden, on the other hand, is full of asymmetries and curves. During her work, Monet was inspired by Japanese gardens from various issues. Here you will find the famous Japanese bridge, covered with wisteria, smaller bridges, willows, bamboo wood and the famous nymphae, flowering throughout the summer.Booking.com