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Gems of Paris by French Moments

March 2020 – as I wrote this post, the world faced an unprecedented health crisis. The pandemic had disastrous consequences on the economy and our social life. Travel had come to a halt. Countries were closing their borders. Airports were deserted. Touristic hotspots such as Italy and Spain were in lockdown. The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre were closed in France, as were restaurants and cafés. Many people (myself included) were forced to cancel planned trips for an indeterminate time… Listening to the news could have easily made us quite depressed. That’s why I came up with the idea to publish an article with some of my best photos of rural France. Just to cheer you up and inspire you.

 

My Photos of Rural France

Photos of rural France: Aimée and her new friend! © French Moments
Photos of rural France: Aimée and her new friend! © French Moments

What is rural France, you may ask?

Well, first thing, let’s say it is not found in Paris!

Except maybe for a few secret areas I’m very fond of discovering, such as this one:

At the Jardin d'Acclimatation (Bois de Boulogne) © French Moments
At the Jardin d’Acclimatation (Bois de Boulogne) © French Moments

Rural France is often synonymous with “la Province”. Not to be confused with “Provence”, a historical region in France’s southeast. In fact, Provence was the first region in today’s France to be occupied by the Romans, who called this area Provincia Nostra. From this Latin name is derived the name Provence.

 

Most of France is rural

No other country of its size in Europe offers such a variety of landscapes.

From the lush green farms of Normandy to the great plains of northern France.

From the lovely landscape of the Loire Valley, aka the “garden of France”, to the cornfields of Burgundy.

The rolling hills of Lorraine and the lavender fields of Provence.

The French countryside also extends to the coast of Brittany and Aquitaine to the West and the French Riviera to the South.

Here is a collection of my favourite photos of rural France, and I hope they’ll inspire you to come and discover this land far, far away… from the crowds!

 

Ile de France

This is the historical region of Paris… you’d think that it’s mainly an urban zone. Well, there are still large spots of the countryside just 20 km from the city centre. Here are fields that border the River Seine between Maisons-Laffitte and Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Photos of rural France: The great terrace of Le Nôtre, Saint-Germain-en-Laye © French Moments
The great terrace of Le Nôtre – the countryside near Le Mesnil-le-Roi © French Moments

The historic town of Provins in the Brie region.

Provins Ville Haute 02 © French Moments
Provins, the ‘Tour César’ © French Moments

The countryside of Montfort-L’Amaury, West of Versailles.

The countryside of Montfort L'Amaury © French Moments
The countryside of Montfort L’Amaury © French Moments

The rural region of Brie, East of Paris, where the Brie cheese is produced!

Photos of rural France: Landscape of the Brie region © French Moments
Photos of rural France: Landscape of the Brie region © French Moments

 

Champagne

Here is Montmirail, West of Reims.

At Montmirail in Champagne © French Moments
At Montmirail in Champagne © French Moments

 

Alsace

The village of Heidwiller in the Sundgau, South of Alsace.

The village of Heidwiller in the Sundgau © French Moments
The village of Heidwiller in the Sundgau © French Moments

The countryside of Pays de Hanau, a rural area north of Strasbourg, Alsace.

Pays de Hanau © French Moments
Pays de Hanau, Alsace © French Moments
The Pays de Hanau in northern Alsace © French Moments
The Pays de Hanau in northern Alsace © French Moments

A field at the Ecomusée d’Alsace.

Field at the Ecomusée d'Alsace © French Moments
Field at the Ecomusée d’Alsace © French Moments

An autumn view from Landskron castle at the border with Switzerland.

Southern Alsace in Autumn © French Moments
The view from the Landskron Castle in Autumn © French Moments

The vineyards of Niedermorschwihr on the Alsace Wine Route.

The vineyards of Niedermorschwihr © French Moments
The vineyards of Niedermorschwihr on the Alsace Wine Route © French Moments

> Read more about Alsace in French on our blog Mon Grand-Est.

 

Lorraine

Rural Lorraine offers many outdoor activities, including hiking and cycling.

Photos of rural France - The countryside of Lorraine near Sion © French Moments
The countryside of Lorraine near Sion © French Moments

In Spring, the Mirabelle trees are in full bloom. I took this photo in the region of Toul.

Mirabelle trees in full bloom in Lorraine © French Moments
Mirabelle trees in full bloom in Lorraine © French Moments

The region of Toul, West of Nancy, is where part of my French-side family lives. It is a very bucolic place as you can see…

Near Toul, Lorraine © French Moments
Village of Sanzey near Toul, Lorraine © French Moments
Near Toul, Lorraine © French Moments
Near Toul, Lorraine © French Moments
Near Toul, Lorraine © French Moments
Near Toul, Lorraine © French Moments
The village of Boucq near Toul (Lorraine) © French Moments
The village of Boucq near Toul (Lorraine) © French Moments

> Read more about Lorraine in French on our blog Mon Grand-Est.

 

Burgundy

The village of La Rochepot, between Beaune and Autun.

La Rochepot © French Moments
A bucolic view of the village of La Rochepot © French Moments

Châteauneuf-en-Auxois is one of France’s most beautiful villages, West of Dijon.

Châteauneuf-en-Auxois © French Moments
The hilltop village of Châteauneuf © French Moments
Châteauneuf-en-Auxois © French Moments
Approaching Châteauneuf, Burgundy © French Moments

An incredible field of red poppies somewhere near Beaune in Burgundy!

Red poppy field in Burgundy © French Moments
Red poppy field in Burgundy © French Moments

The windmill of Santenay.

Santenay © French Moments
The windmill of Santenay © French Moments

The vineyards of Santenay.

Santenay © French Moments
Santenay surrounded by the vineyards © French Moments

A road crisscrossing the vineyards of Meursault.

Travel to France - Meursault in Burgundy © French Moments
The road across the vineyards of Meursault in Burgundy © French Moments

The patchwork of Burgundian countryside.

Mont de Sène © French Moments
Late afternoon light onto rural Burgundy. Mont de Sène © French Moments

In nearby Franche-Comté, the village of Pennesières.

The village of Pennesières in the Haute-Saône © French Moments
The village of Pennesières in the Haute-Saône © French Moments

 

Périgord

Fields in the vicinity of La Roque-Gageac in the Dordogne Valley.

La Roque-Gageac © French Moments
The fields around La Roque-Gageac © French Moments

The view of the Dordogne River from Beynac Castle.

Dordogne River at Beynac © French Moments
The view of the Dordogne Valley from the castle’s terrace © French Moments

September in the Gardens of Marqueyssac.

Marqueyssac Gardens in Autumn © French Moments
Marqueyssac Gardens in Autumn © French Moments

In the village of Domme.

Domme Périgord © French Moments
Rural pic in Domme © French Moments

The mighty fortress of Beynac.

Beynac Castle © French Moments
Castle of Beynac, Périgord © French Moments

Not precisely in Périgord but in neighbouring Quercy, here’s the fantastic village of Rocamadour.

Rocamadour viewed from L'Hospitalet © French Moments
Rocamadour viewed from L’Hospitalet © French Moments

 

Savoie

Here are a couple of photos of Aime-la-Plagne where we once resided.

Aime-la-Plagne © French Moments
Aime-la-Plagne © French Moments
Cows in the Tarentaise © French Moments
Cows grazing near Aime © French Moments

The village of Chaumont, West of Annecy.

Chaumont (Haute-Savoie) © French Moments
The village of Chaumont (Haute-Savoie) © French Moments

Just above Lake Bourget, this is the village of Clarafond (Aix-les-Bains).

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A walk in the countryside of Groisy near Annecy.

Groisy Haute-Savoie
Walking in the countryside of Groisy © French Moments

 

Provence

This is Lourmarin, one of France’s most beautiful villages in the Luberon area.

romantic destinations in France: Lourmarin, Provence © French Moments
Lourmarin, one of the most beautiful villages of the Luberon © French Moments

The vicinity of Cucuron at the foot of the Luberon mountain.

Photos of Rural France: The countryside of Cucuron, Provence © French Moments
The countryside of Cucuron, Provence © French Moments

The Pays de Sault in the Vaucluse département is a great place to admire lavender fields.

Photos of Rural France: The Pays de Sault, Provence © French Moments
The Pays de Sault, Provence © French Moments

The mountain in the distance is Mont Ventoux.

The Pays de Sault, Provence © French Moments
The Pays de Sault, Provence © French Moments

Sénanque Abbey is a must-see (hence a very touristy!) spot near Gordes.

Sénanque Abbey near Gordes © French Moments
Sénanque Abbey near Gordes © French Moments
Vineyards near Bédoin, Provence © French Moments
Vineyards near Bédoin, Provence © French Moments

The view from the castle of Les Baux-de-Provence.

Les Baux-de-Provence © French Moments
View from the castle of Les Baux-de-Provence © French Moments

And finally, to end our photos of Rural France on a high, let’s put forward the lovely (and delicious) produce you get at the local market!

Market of Bédoin, Provence © French Moments
At the market of Bédoin, Provence © French Moments
Market of Bédoin, Provence © French Moments
Local cherries at the market of Bédoin, Provence © French Moments
Market of Bédoin, Provence © French Moments
Melons and carrots at the market of Bédoin, Provence © French Moments
Strawberries at the local market of Bédoin © French Moments
Strawberries at the local market of Bédoin © French Moments
Market Day in Chagny! © French Moments
Market Day in Chagny, Burgundy © French Moments
Market of Chagny, Burgundy © French Moments
At the market of Chagny, Burgundy © French Moments
Market of Chagny, Burgundy © French Moments
Cherries and apricots at the market of Chagny, Burgundy © French Moments

I hope these photos of rural France will inspire you to come to visit the French countryside. If this is the case, let me know by commenting below!

Gems of Paris by French Moments
About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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  1. These pictures remind me of the beauty in our world and the promise of spring. Thank you for posting!

  2. Dear Pierre, I think these are wonderful! I would love to be able to jump in a car now and roam around France as I have done many times but until this is over these pictures are the next best thing. Keep them coming!! Cecelia

  3. Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos. I can never get enough of France, cities or countryside. I’m hoping my Paris trip in late May won’t have to be cancelled (even though it will be my 10th visit there). I love your emails and website, and always look forward to it.

  4. Pierre, This is perfect. Your photographs bring me a feeling of calm and beauty. Please do more photo compilations. We can’t travel in person right now, but we can travel with your photos. Thank you and stay healthy.

  5. Pierre,
    Thanks for these pictures. Yes please send more. Assuming this pandemic ends, we are planning a 4-5 week trip to France where we want to drive rural France and experience much of what your pictures show. Thanks again.

  6. Pierre- thank you for sharing a bit of the countryside, and brightening our day. ….. these photos sure make me want to take a road trip in rural France.
    I so enjoy your postings and photos…. keep them coming!

  7. Thank you! The pictures remind me of the many road trips we have made over the years. Unfortunately, we had to cancel our visit to Paris in April. Our cruise ship has been cancelled due to the pandemic. However, we are already making plans to visit in September!

  8. Pierre,

    These are great, I love the french countryside…if you get a chance over the next few weeks, I would like to see more of these

  9. The photos make me very happy because I grew up in a very rural area too. We had a cattle ranch so scenes of the countryside are precious. Such lovely photos you have shared.

    I hope to some day revisit France since my only time there was rather short and just around Strasbourg. I loved it all!

  10. Hi Pierre, Thank you for sharing these lovely pictures. I guess with the pandemic at present. We can only go on roadtrips. You certain provided food for thought. Feeling spring is coming and better days are just round the corner for us to travel and see wonderful places again.

    Doris

  11. Merci énormément! These photos are beautiful, and for a moment, I was in the countryside of beloved France….no virus, no panic, no fear. Just beauty and peace.
    I am a French teacher in Mississippi, and I begin teaching completely online tomorrow. I will definitely share this article with my students, and I will encourage them to follow you. I share your newsletters and moments with them often, and I am grateful for such and authentic resource to help me teach and inspire young people to love France.
    Merci, encore..

    1. Merci beaucoup Mélanie pour votre gentil message ! All the best for this new season of adaptation. And thank you for sharing our content to your students so they can experience a bit of France too 🙂

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