Scenic France through your train windows

What conjures up in our heads when we think of France (External link) is usually its wine and champagne, delectable cuisine and chic fashion. However, for too many travellers, their French itineraries are limited to only the major iconic cities and popular activities (External link) .
You should know that for a country twice the surface size of Great Britain, opportunities to explore its natural wonders abound. With a France Pass (External link) , you can and should take advantage of the flexibility to explore beyond the city borders at every given opportunity.

Côte de Granit Rose

For an unusual coastline, head north to Côte de Granit Rose in northern Brittany to take in the scenery formed by pink sands and rock formations. The most impressive stretch of the coast lies north of and to get there is a 4h 30m train ride from Paris followed by a short bus connection.

Dune du Pilat

From salty sea breezes and the pink sands, some more fun involving sand-time can be had at Grande Dune du Pilat in the Arcachon Bay region of Bordeaux (External link) . Just 4h from Paris or an hour from Bordeaux, this stretch of sand dunes has been named the tallest in Europe at 110m above sea level. Attracting more than 1mil visitors a year, you’ll also see paragliders taking in the landscape from above.

Provence

If fragrant flowers make you smile, then the lavender fields in the Provence (External link) region in the south of France will guarantee to keep you grinning from ear to ear. Lavenders are harvested in the Luberon ranges (where five of its villages rank the most beautiful in the country), Sault and Valreas. Spectacular scenery aside, visitors will also be able to learn about the products these flowers are used to make and which are enjoyed widely around the world. A scenic way to get to the lavender region from Paris is via Montélimar, which is under 3h by train.

Camargue Salt Flats

Then there is the Camargue (External link) Salt Flats, the largest river delta in Western Europe. Its milky pinkish hues, thanks to the type of algae in the lagoons have made it an iconic spot in France. When you visit, you’ll also see wild horses and flamingos about. Nearby, the fortified city of Aigues-Mortes should not be missed as well.

For more inspiration and bookings, visit www.raileurope.com.au (External link) .

South of France