Paris, we love you. Your romance is unending, with your twinkling lights and classic architecture. We could spend days lounging by the Siene or sitting outside one of your quaint cafes. But sometimes, we need a break to see France's less appreciated beauties and landmarks. With a gorgeous handful of them just a day's trip away, here are our favorite places that possess a certain je ne sais quois.
1. Mont Saint Michel, Normandy
We love Mont Saint Michel too much not to place it at number one. Less than 200 miles from Paris, lies what looks like a fairytale. Before the construction of the monastery that sits high up on the hill, the island was called "monte tombe." Legend has it that Saint Michael the Archangel appeared to Saint Aubert in 708 and instructed him to build a church on the rocky island. And so it was done. Mont Saint Michel was born and with it, a magical French village soon followed. This islet goes from island to peninsula with the ebbing tides and is famous for being surrounded in quick sand.
2. Epernay, Champagne
Just under two hours from Paris, lies Epernay, home to famed champagne makers Moet and Chandon. This beautiful countryside town draws visitors from across the globe every year to taste champagne in it's hometown. Enjoy 16th century architecture and exploring the different variations of bubbles this place has to offer.
3. Etretat, Normandy
If you're looking for dramatic natural cliffs that are sure to steal the show, look no further than the coastal town of Etretat. French impressionist painters flocked to this town for obvious reasons; the sharp white cliff faces topped with rolling green hills that plunge into waters in all shades of blue... it's hard to find a place more breathtaking than this. Escape the city life of Paris and opt for a beach getaway to Etretat.
4. The Queen's Hamlet, Palace of Versaille, Île-de-France
Versailles, the home of notorious Queen of France Marie Antoinette is a day trip not to be missed. Spend the day strolling the halls of her opulent home, meandering through her gardens, and experience something most travelers miss: the Queen's Hamlet- a village on palace grounds that was made for the queen to experience country life on her terms, complete with a working dairy farm, mill, and artificial lake. The whole experience will have you saying, "let them eat cake."
5. Giverny, Normandy
This village in Normandy earned it's fame from French impressionist painter Claude Monet who lived and worked here until his death in 1926. It was here that he painted his famed water lily series, which you can now visit as a museum. Spend your time strolling through Monet's gardens, and visiting the Museum of Impressionisms Colors Garden.