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Nimes

Top French Cities - Nîmes at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit Nîmes Tourism at www.nimes-tourisme.com.

City region: Pyrénées-Méditerranées / Occitanie

Population & what they are called: 154,013 inhabitants (2013 census), called Nîmois

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 6 h 45 min (442 miles) via the A6 and A7 autoroute du Soleil

  • by train: about 3 hours by TGV from the Gare de Lyon

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Alphone Daudet, writer

  • Jean Bousquet, fashion designer

  • Louis Perrier, doctor, founder of original Perrier water spa

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • The famous serge cloth used in jeans was originally from Nîmes – de (from) + Nîmes = denim.

Notable sites:

  • Maison Carrée – one of the best-preserved Roman temples in the world

  • Arène de Nîmes – best-preserved Roman amphitheater in France, now used as a bull fighting and concert arena

  • Tour Magne – ruined Roman tower atop Mont Cavalier

Top annual events:

  • Festival de Nîmes – a music festival with performances in the Roman amphitheater (festivaldenimes.com)

  • Feria de Nîmes – a twice annual bullfighting event that takes over the city

  • Grands Jeux Romains – an experience of life during the Roman era through historic reconstructions and a unique show with 500 participants

Most notable museums:

  • Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nîmes – a growing collection of fine European art from past centuries

  • Carré d'Art Jean Bousquet – a media library and museum of modern art (carreartmusee.com/en/)

  • Musée des Cultures Taurines – devoted to bullfighting traditions

Culinary specialties:

  • brandade de Nîmes – a purée of salt cod with olive oil and a little milk

  • gardiane de taureau – bull's meat marinated in Nîmes red wine

  • petit pâté nîmois – a small pastry case with meat filling

  • Croquant Villaret – long golden biscuits with a special texture and secret flavor

Local wines & spirits:

  • Costières de Nîmes AOC wines – from vineyards that are some of the oldest in Europe

  • Côtes du Rhône (AOC) wines – including Tavel, called ‘the first rosé of France'

  • Perrier mineral water – its source is in Vergèze, just a few kilometers from Nîmes

Shopping:

  • Les Halles – the large, daily, covered food market

  • Marché Jean Jaurès – the excellent Friday farmers market with a simultaneous antique market

  • downtown – the main area for shopping is around Rue Général-Perrier, Rue Marchands, Rue Madeleine and Rue de l’Aspic

Most popular night spots:

  • SMAC Paloma – modern stage for today's music

  • Le SPOT – an alternative exhibition and event space, also with a bar

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • playing pétanque in the many parks and gardens, such as the Arènes Esplanade Feuchères and the Allées Jaurès

  • Jardins de la Fontaine – gardens built around the ruins of the Roman sanctuary

  • Pont du Gard – Roman aqueduct built more than 2,000 years ago and located just outside of town

Local industries:

  • textiles – especially denim, the fabric of blue jeans, which derives its name from the city

In Pop Culture:

  • Rock bands like Dire Straits, Rammstein, Metallica and Depeche Mode have performed or record live video and albums at the Arena of Nîmes

  • A Long Way from Home – the 2013 romantic drama about retiring in the South of France was filmed in Nîmes

  • The Vanishing – parts of the original Dutch film (called Spoorloos) were set in Nîmes

Nice

Top French Cities - Nice at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit the Nice Convention and Visitors Office at www.nicetourisme.com.

City region: Côtes d'Azur / Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Population & what they are called: 343,895 inhabitants (2014 census), called Niçois

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 8 h 30 min (296 miles) via the A6 and A7 autoroute du Soleil

  • by train: about 5 h 30 min by TGV from the Gare de Lyon

  • by plane: 1 direct flight from NYC every day and from Paris 30 times a day

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Francis Lay, musician

  • J. M. G. Le Clézio, writer and Nobel Prize laureate in literature

  • Simone Veil, first president of the European Parliament

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • Nice's ancient past is immersed in its present: Terra Amata is an archeological site with evidence of very early use of fire and right on the edge of town is the Grotte du Lazaret, a cave with vestiges of prehistoric human occupation.

  • France's first city to have been granted a wine-producing AOC [Protected Designation of Origin] label across its municipality.

Notable sites:

  • Vieux Nice – a lively commercial area of narrow streets little changed since the 1700s

  • Cathédrale Orthodoxe Russe St-Nicolas – one of the biggest Russian Orthodox churches outside Russia

  • Observatoire de Nice – when it became operational in 1888, it was the world's largest telescope, still in use today

Top annual events:

  • Carnaval de Nice – Carnival, light and flower parades held around Mardi Gras (nicecarnaval.com/en)

  • Nice Jazz Festival – concerts by prestigious jazz musicians (nicejazzfestival.fr)

  • Festival Crossover – electronic and alternative music festival (festival-crossover.com)

Most notable museums:

  • Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (MAMAC) – avant-garde art from the 1950s to the present, including works from the Nice School, New Realism and Pop Art (mamac-nice.org/english/)

  • Musée Matisse – the only museum dedicated to – and created in cooperation with – the artist (musee-matisse-nice.org)

  • Musée Masséna – dedicated to the history of the Riviera, set in a belle-époque building

Culinary specialties:

  • pissaladière – onion tart with olives and anchovies

  • ratatouille – a concoction with tomatoes as a foundation for sautéed vegetables and herbs

  • salade niçoise – traditionally made with tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, olives and tuna and/or anchovies with an olive oil dressing

Local wines & spirits:

  • AOC Bellet wine – one of the oldest vineyards in France yields remarkable white, red and rosé wines

Shopping:

  • Cours Saleya – daily food and flower markets, except on Mondays when it's all about antiques

  • Caprice Vintage – Nice’s number one vintage shop, focusing on 1920-1950 (capricevintageshop.com)

  • Antique District – over 100 antique stores in the Port

Most popular night spots:

  • Vieux Nice – plenty of good animated bars and pubs

  • Shapko Bar – live music bar with jazz, soul, rock and more

  • Ma Nolan's – a rowdy Irish pub with live music

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Promenade des Anglais – the famous seaside boulevard along which locals hike, run and bike

  • beaches – four miles of strand, both public and private, right in the city

  • Parc du château – the historic Castle Hill park with amazing city and ocean views, especially at sunset

Local industries:

  • Sophia Antipolis – a nearby technology park houses companies in the fields of computing, electronics, pharmacology and biotechnology

  • Eco-Valley – one of France's largest areas (25,000 acres) dedicated to sustainable development

  • medical research – University Hospital of Nice is very active in cutting-edge medical research and innovation due in part to its involvement in information and communication technology for the health sector and ambitious projects such as Pasteur 2, the largest hospital construction project in France

In Pop Culture:

  • Riviera – the 2017 British TV drama/mini-series is filmed in and around Nice

  • Ronin – the infamous car chase and street scenes in this 1998 action movie with Robert De Niro and Jean Reno was filmed on location in Nice

  • Magic in the Moonlight – Woody Allen’s 2014 romantic comedy was filmed in part in Nice

Major 2019 development:

  • Nice will be one of the 9 host stadiums to welcome the FIFA Women’s World Cup from June 7 to July 17.

  • Nice, capital of the French Riviera will now be accessible via non-stop flights from New York on Business Class-only La Compagnie from May through September 2019

  • Inauguration of Tramline 2 from the heart of the city to Nice International Airport.

Mulhouse

Top French Cities - Mulhouse at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit the Tourism Office and Convention Bureau of Mulhouse at www.tourisme-mulhouse.com.

City region: Alsace / Grand Est

Population & what they are called: 112,127 inhabitants (2014 census), called Mulhousien

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 5 hours (296 miles) via the A5 autoroute de l'Est

  • by train: about 2 hours 40 by TGV from the Gare de Lyon

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • William Wyler, movie director

  • François Florent, actor, founder of the Cours Florent

  • Vitaa, singer

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • The world’s biggest car collection open to the public is in Mulhouse, hosted in the Cité de l'Automobile, Musée national de l'automobile, Collection Schlumpf.

  • Given its industrial underpinnings, Mulhouse has been nicknamed "the French Manchester" or the "city with a hundred chimneys.”

Notable sites:

  • Parc zoologique et botanique – a “remarkable garden” and zoo specialized in preserving endangered animal species and celebrating its 150 anniversary in 2018 (zoo-mulhouse.com)

  • Temple Saint-Etienne – the only protestant church on a main square in France and the tallest protestant building in France

  • Ancien Hôtel de Ville – the 16th-century town hall which contains a history museum

Top annual events:

  • Scènes de rues – a four-day street theater festival (scenesderue.fr)

  • Etofféeries (Marché de Noël) – every year, the Christmas Market and city center are dressed in a new fabric created by a local designer – this year, blue and gold colors by Acanthus Festis (etoffeeries.fr)

  • Carnaval de Mulhouse – a buzzing atmosphere, carnival groups’ “Guggamusik” and good times guaranteed for thousands of carnival-goers (carnaval-mulhouse.com)

Most notable museums:

  • Cité du Train / Cité de l'Automobile – respectively the largest railway and automobile museums in Europe (for trains) and the world (for automobiles) (citedutrain.com / citedelautomobile.com)

  • Musée de l'impression sur étoffes – a museum of printed textiles that bears witness to the textile heritage (musee-impression.com)

  • Ecomusée d'Alsace – lively open-air museum of over 70 traditional houses and seasonal programming (ecomusee-alsace.fr)

Culinary specialties:

  • sauerkraut – emblematic meal of pickled cabbage, sausages, smoked bacon and potatoes, best eaten in a winstub (local restaurant)

  • fleischschnakas – a salted log cake (pastry and meat) shaped like a snail (“schnaka” in the local language)

  • bredala – without these biscuits Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas in Alsace

Local wines & spirits:

  • Alsace wines – the famous Alsace Wine Route is 25km from Mulhouse and leads through medieval villages where wines are tasted directly at the growers (route-des-vins-alsace.com)

  • schnapps – Alsatian brandy made with local wine, flowers, herbs and fruits such as the plum-like damson

  • beer – lots of local craft beers mades by micro-breweries

Shopping:

  • La Vitrine – a temple to local and Alsatian creativity (danslavitrine.com)

  • La Maison Alsacienne de Biscuiterie – special artisanal confections (maison-alsacienne-biscuiterie.com)

Most popular night spots:

  • Le Gambrinus – a beer bar and restaurant with evening programming that usually involves music

  • Noumatrouff – the local alternative scene for the music of today

  • La Quille – a highly esteemed wine bar

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Quai des Pêcheurs – to enjoy the latest street-artists’ performances along the edge of the river Ill

  • Historic Mulhouse – the medieval lower town, the Rebberg district and around the Place de la Bourse in the Nouveau Quartier

  • Parc Wallach – a “remarkable garden” for a walk in the rose garden or run in the nearby Waldeck Forest

Local industries:

  • automobile – PSA Mulhouse, the Peugeot factory in Mulhouse, is the largest employer in Alsace (museepeugeot.com/en/aventure-peugeot-museum/car-factory-visit.html)

  • textiles – Dollfus-Mieg et Compagnie (DMC), is the world leader in embroidery and crochet yarn with 40,000 retail outlets all over the world

In Pop Culture:

  • Parc du Petit Prince – more than 30 experiences in Little Prince Parc make it the first “aerial park” in the world (parcdupetitprince.com)
Metz

Top French Cities - Metz at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit the Metz Tourism Office at www.inspire-metz.com.

City region: Lorraine / Grand Est

Population & what they are called: 119,775 inhabitants (2014 census), called Messins

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 3 hours (206 miles) via the A4 autoroute de l'Est

  • by train: about 1 h 25 min by TGV from the Gare de l'Est

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Carole Gaessler, journalist

  • Robert Schuman, politician and a founding father of the European Union

  • Paul Verlaine, poet

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • The largest surface area of stained glass windows in France is found in Metz cathedral (70,000 ft² from the 13th to 20th centuries).

  • Laurent Wiltz, director of Mr Hublot, Academy Award winner for Best Short Film (Animated) in 2014, studied fine art in Metz.

Notable sites:

  • Quartier Impérial – a magnificent and intact example of German town planning

  • Cathédrale St-Etienne – one of the most impressive Gothic churches in Europe

  • Porte des Allemands and ramparts – a fortified gateway attached to vestiges of the medieval ramparts that were once 7km long

Top annual events:

  • Festival Mirabelle – a series of mirabelle plum-based activities that take place in late summer (metz.fr/pages/culture/evenements_culturels/fetes_mirabelle.php)

  • Marché de Noël – France’s second most visited Christmas Market (noelmetz.com)

  • Constellations – a summer festival of art and culture focused on the digital arts (constellations-metz.fr)

Most notable museums:

  • Centre Pompidou-Metz – this sister institution of the Pompidou Center in Paris is a cultural center with innovative multi-disciplinary programs in contemporary art (centrepompidou-metz.fr/en/)

  • Musée de la Cour d’Or – a maze of galleries visiting 2,000 years of Metz city history, from Gallo-Roman times to the 19th century (musee.metzmetropole.fr)

  • FRAC Lorraine – a contemporary art collection at the Regional Contemporary Art Fund of Lorraine (fraclorraine.org/en/)

Culinary specialties:

  • Metz mirabelle – a small golden plum that makes excellent jam and brandy

  • Paris-Metz – cake made of macaroons, filled with mousse and topped with raspberries

  • macarons de Boulay – an almond-flavored macaroon (macaronsdeboulay.com)

Local wines & spirits:

  • Moselle AOC wines – a rich and varied range of wines can be discovered on the 25km wine trail of the Metz region

  • Mirabelle liqueur – a brandy distilled from the mirabelle, the small plum of the Lorraine region

Shopping:

  • Marché Couvert – this covered market (once a bishop's palace) has a wide choice of local produce and specialties

  • flea market – second largest in France (after St-Ouen near Paris), located in the Metz Expo

  • the heart of the city – major shopping streets include Rue des Clercs, Rue Serpenoise and Rue Taison

Most popular night spots:

  • Place St Jacques – bars and terraces are open until 2am

  • Arsenal – one of the grandest concert halls in Europe

  • Café Jehanne d’Arc – a watering hole dating back to the 13th century

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Plan d'eau – a favorite local park, at a bend in the Moselle River, for strolling and paddling

  • Jouy Canal – especially popular with joggers and walkers, emerges into a lake opposite Mont Saint‐Quentin

  • Jardin botanique – a botanical garden with ponds, winding paths and a toy train railway

Local industries:

  • energy – electric stations powered by gas, nuclear, water, wind and solar; one of France’s largest biomass power stations is in Metz, delivering 60% of the city’s heat from renewable resources

  • automobile – car and car-part factories such as PSA Tremery, a leader in building motors and gear boxes

In Pop Culture:

  • An American Werewolf in Paris – a 1997 comedy horror movie that was partly filmed in Metz

  • The Hunters – parts of this 2011 French thriller were filmed at Metz's Fort de Queuleu

  • the written works of François Rabelais, Paul Verlaine, Bernard-Marie Koltès and Adrienne Thomas

Major 2019 development:

  • Opening of "Maison Heler", the first signature hotel by Philippe Starck opening in Metz in 2019.
Dijon

Top French Cities - Dijon at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit the Dijon Tourism Office at www.destinationdijon.com.

City region: Burgundy / Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

Population & what they are called: 153,668 municipality inhabitants (2014 census), called Dijonnais

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 3 hours (196 miles) via the A6 Autoroute du Soleil

  • by train: about 1h 35 min by TGV from the Paris Gare de Lyon

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Gustave Eiffel, engineer and architect

  • Jean-Pierre Marielle, actor

  • Yan Pei-Ming, artist

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • The owl is the symbol of Dijon. The small carving of one in the north facade of Notre-Dame is said to bring good luck if you touch it with your left hand and make a wish.

  • Dijon is at the heart of the Burgundy vineyards.

Notable sites:

  • Palais des Ducs et des États de Bourgogne – incredible architectural ensemble that was the residence and seat of government of the Dukes of Burgundy

  • Tour Philippe le Bon – there are 316 steps to its terrace and a 360° view of the city

  • Eglise Notre Dame – a 13th-century church with three tiers of creepy gargoyles

Top annual events:

  • Le Brunch des Halles de Dijon – a delicious a la carte meal at the covered market, available on Sundays from May to September, prepared by talented chefs in a laid-back and festive ambiance (bhd.otdijon.com/le_brunch_des_halles_de_dijon_en.html)

  • Fêtes de la Vigne – biennial international festival of folk music and dance (fetesdelavigne.org)

  • Foire Internationale et Gastronomique de Dijon – pays homage to fine local food products (foirededijon.com)

Most notable museums:

  • Musée des Beaux-Arts – an extensive overview of the region's art and history (beaux-arts.dijon.fr)

  • Musée de la Vie Bourguignonne – models and reconstructions of everyday Burgundian life at the end of the 19th century

  • Musée Archéologique – displays of surprising archeological artifacts from the region (archeologie.dijon.fr)

Culinary specialties:

  • mustard – since its creation in Dijon in the 18th century, it has been famous around the world

  • pain d'épices – a spiced bread that has been made in the traditional way – with wheat flour, honey and spices – for over 220 years at Mulot & Petitjean, which has a full museum space at its production site (mulotpetitjean.fr)

  • oeufs en meurette – poached eggs served on toasted garlic bread with a red wine reduction sauce, lardons, onions and shallots

Local wines & spirits:

  • Burgundy wines – the nearby Côte de Nuits includes 16 grand crus (highest quality) vineyards

  • crème de Cassis – a liqueur made from blackcurrants harvested in the Hautes-Côtes-de-Nuits area; when combined with aligoté white wine, it becomes a Kir

Shopping:

  • mustard – the Maille mustard store sells dozens of different mustards from pumps in earthenware pots (us.maille.com), and the Fallot boutique-workshop revisits traditional recipes with unusual twists (fallot.com/en/)

  • La Rose de Vergy – 15th-century boutique for spice bread (a must try: spice bread baguette garnished with chutney or tapenade), fine cookies, jams and both traditional and unique candies

  • Toison d'Or – 10 minutes by tram from the city center, this shopping includes more than 160 boutiques, including a huge Apple Store

Most popular night spots:

  • Péniche Cancale – a wide variety of concerts and DJ sets, plus a restaurant, all set on a barge

  • Le Smart – bar with live music and a downstairs disco

  • Bistrot de la Scène – introduces new artistic creations to an audience spanning generations and social classes

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Lake Kir – jog, bike or walk around this beautiful lake, perhaps going further along the Canal de Bourgogne

  • Les Halles de Dijon – wander the market and learn about the city's incredible gastronomy

  • Greater Dijon trails – follow the signposts into the surrounding region, especially those that head into the vineyards

Local industries:

  • appliances – Groupe SEB (Société d'Emboutissage de Bourgogne) is a large French consortium that produces small appliances

  • technology – adhesive technology company Adhex and navigation systems leader Safran Electronics & Defense both use Dijon as a base of global operations

  • pharmaceuticals – Groupe Urgo is a specialist in the care of wounds, public health and new health technologies

In Pop Culture:

  • Cyrano de Bergerac – the 1990 movie adaptation, with Gérard Depardieu, of the famous novel, filmed in Dijon

  • Love on a Pillow (Le repos du guerrier) – a 1962 French film shot partly in Dijon, starring Brigitte Bardot and directed by Roger Vadim

  • Long Ago In France: The Years In Dijon (Une Jeune mariée à Dijon) by M.F.K. Fisher — candid memoir of the author’s stay in Dijon from 1929-1931 absorbing the essence of French character and

Major 2019 development:

  • Inauguration of the City of Gastronomy and Wine in a new and centrally located neighborhood of Dijon.
Bordeaux

Top French Cities - Bordeaux at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit Bordeaux Tourism at www.bordeaux-tourism.co.uk.

City region: Aquitaine / Nouvelle-Aquitaine

Population & what they are called: 250,776 municipality inhabitants (2016 census), called Bordelais

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 5 h 40 min (363 miles) via the A10 autoroute called L'Aquitaine

  • by train: about 2 hours by TGV from the Gare Montparnasse

  • by plane: about 1 h 15 min from Paris

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • François Mauriac, writer and Nobel laureate

  • Michel de Montaigne, philosopher and essayist

  • Jean-Jacques Sempé, cartoonist

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • Bordeaux is the most extensive urban environment in the world to be honored as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

  • 22 bottles of wine from Bordeaux are sold every second all over the world.

Notable sites:

  • Vieille ville – Old Bordeaux, its historic sites (the big bell tower, Place Pey-Berland, Opera House), elegant architecture and numerous wine bars

  • Cité du Vin – a unique immersive journey into the discovery of wine cultures (laciteduvin.com/en)

  • Miroir d'eau – world's largest water mirror, located on the Place de la Bourse

Top annual events:

  • Bordeaux Fête le Vin – a large biennial four-day wine festival that celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2018 (June 14 to 18) with the arrival of the Tall Ships Regatta (bordeaux-wine-festival.com)

  • Bordeaux S.O Good – a three-day festival of epicurean and gourmet food, 7,000 gourmet dishes cooked by a collective of chefs (bordeauxsogood.fr)

  • International Festival of Arts of Bordeaux Métropole – nicknamed the FAB, it's three weeks of “artistic effervescence” (fab.festivalbordeaux.com/en/)

Most notable museums:

  • Musée des Beaux Arts – one of France's best painting galleries with artwork by masters from many eras – Rubens to Delacroix to Picasso (musba-bordeaux.fr/en)

  • Musée d'Aquitaine – archeological and history museum (musee-aquitaine-bordeaux.fr/en)

  • Bernard Magrez Institut Culturel – cultural institute with temporary exhibitions of modern art (institut-bernard-magrez.com)

Culinary specialties:

  • oysters – straight from the sea at Arcachon

  • canelé – a rum- and vanilla-flavored pastry with a thick caramelized crust and soft custard center

  • entrecôte bordelaise – a quality cut of beef grilled over a wood fire

Local wines & spirits:

  • Bordeaux wine – famous reds and dry, sweet and even sparkling whites, well worth visiting at the wineries and learning about through a tasting class

  • Lillet – made near Bordeaux with wine and fruit liqueur as a great prelude to any meal

Shopping:

  • Rue Sainte-Catherine – the main shopping street in town, often acclaimed as the longest pedestrian street in Europe (0.75 miles long)

  • Marché des Capucins – Bordeaux’s principal market hall, one of the best and biggest cupboards in the southwest of France

  • wine marmalade – all the delicious taste without the alcohol

Most popular night spots:

  • La Plage – the largest open-air dance floor in a city in France

  • I.BOAT – a concert hall, club and restaurant on a boat moored in a tidal basin

  • Mama Shelter – a rooftop bar with amazing city views

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Quays of the Garonne River – run, bike or stroll from the Jacques Chaban-Delmas Bridge to the Pont de pierre (Stone Bridge)

  • Marché des Chartrons – an outdoor Sunday market and perfect place for a glass of wine with oysters, or a canelé

  • Darwin Ecosystem – a green hub and alternative place dedicated to sustainable economic development and featuring an organic restaurant, urban farm, skate parks etc. (darwin.camp)

Local industries:

  • wine – with the largest AOC vineyards of France, Bordeaux is one of the world's most important wine producers and exporters

  • laser and plasma technologies – the Bordeaux area has the most important concentration of optical and laser expertise in Europe

In Pop Culture:

  • The Mummy – a 2016 movie with Tom Cruise with a scene made in Mérignac, near Bordeaux

  • The Flower of Evil (La fleur du mal) – a 2003 movie by Claude Chabrol about a seemingly perfect bourgeois family in Bordeaux

  • Les Misérables – a Robert Hossein adaptation of the famous novel, released in 1982

Major 2019 developments:

  • Musée de la Mer et de la Marine (Maritime and Sea Museum) – set to open in the Spring of 2019.
Avignon

Top French Cities - Avignon at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit Avignon Tourisme at www.avignon-tourisme.com.

City region: Provence / Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Population & what they are called: 94,087 inhabitants (2016 census), called Avignonnais

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 6 h 45 min (435 miles) via A6 and A7 autoroute du Soleil

  • by train: about 2 h 40 min by TGV from the Gare de Lyon; 30 min by train from Marseilles Provence Airport

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Pierre Boulle, writer

  • Bernard Kouchner, politician

  • Mireille Mathieu, singer

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • The bridge of Avignon is the one referred to in the famous children's song.

Notable sites:

  • Palais des Papes – the largest Gothic palace in Europe, former papal residence during the 14th century, now a World Heritage site (palais-des-papes.com)

  • Pont d’Avignon – the surviving four arches (of the original 22) of the 13th-century Saint-Bénézet bridge (avignon-pont.com)

  • Carré du Palais – a palace for Côtes-du-Rhône wines and all things related to wine tourism related (carredupalaisavignon.com)

Top annual events:

  • Festival d'Avignon – major arts festival during three weeks in July (festival-avignon.com/en/)

  • Festival Off d'Avignon – in parallel with the main Festival, one of the largest festivals for independent theater companies in the world (avignonleoff.com/en/)

  • Festival Résonance – bands and DJs performing in heritage monuments (festival-resonance.fr)

Most notable museums:

  • Musée du Petit Palais – Italian paintings from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance (petit-palais.org)

  • Musée Calvet – a fine arts collections from the 15th to the 20th centuries, set in a magnificent 18th-century mansion (musee-calvet-avignon.com)

  • Musée Angladon – located in a private mansion, a museum notable for works of art by 20th-century masters (angladon.com)

Culinary specialties:

  • papaline d'Avignon – fine chocolate with sugar and oregano liqueur

  • asparagus – it's a seasonal vegetable, but in that season it is revered in soups, roasted, grilled and lightly sautéed

  • daube avignonaise – the traditional lamb stew from the city, where the meat is marinated in white wine

Local wines & spirits:

  • Côtes-du-Rhône wines – Avignon is the capital of the appellation, which includes famous vintages like Châteauneuf du Pape

  • Distillerie Manguin – fruit-based eau-de-vies and liqueurs distilled on Ile de la Barthelasse

Shopping:

  • city center – Rue Joseph Vernet and Rue St Agricol feature trendy creators and chic boutiques, antiques shops and other designers in the pedestrian area

  • markets – Les Halles d'Avignon (Place Pie) is the most famous of the city

Most popular night spots:

  • 83 Vernet – a restaurant and bar set in former school buildings

  • La Cave des Pas Sages – small wine bar situated in a typical cobbled street (Rue des Teinturiers)

  • L’Opéra Café – one of the standout cafes on the Place de l’Horloge

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Rocher des Doms – the cradle of civilization in Avignon and now a lush hilltop garden with amazing views

  • Ile de la Barthelasse – the biggest river island in France and a great places for a stroll, jog, cycle or skate

  • Ramparts – enjoy leisurely time walking along one of the finest examples of medieval fortification in existence, one of the few to have been preserved in France

Local industries:

  • French Tech – the Avignon-Arles economic basin includes 600 companies working in digital technology

  • Technopôle Pégase Avignon – brings together more than 300 actors in the aerospace industry

In Pop Culture:

  • The Avignon Quintet, by Lawrence Durrell – a five-volume series of celebrated metafictional novels, set partly in Avignon
Angers

Top French Cities - Angers at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit the Angers Loire Valley Tourist Office at www.angersloiretourisme.com.

City region:Loire Valley / Pays de la Loire

Population & what they are called: 155,734 inhabitants (2016 census), called Angevins

Access from Paris:

  • by road: about 3 hours (185 miles) via A11 autoroute (L'Océane)

  • by train: about 1 h 30 min by TGV from the Gare Montparnasse, and about 2 h 20 min by direct TGV from Paris CDG airport

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Herzé Bazin, writer

  • Edouard Cointreau, creator of Cointreau

  • Nicolas Mahut, tennis player

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • The Apocalypse Tapestry on display in the Château d’Angers is the oldest French medieval tapestry to have survived to the present day and the biggest medieval tapestry ensemble in the world.

  • Angers is the largest horticultural center in Europe.

Notable sites:

  • Cité – the historic center of Angers is like a journey back in time

  • Château of Angers – the Loire Valley's largest fortress, which houses the spectacular medieval Apocalypse Tapestry

  • Terra Botanica – the world’s first “edutainment” park to be themed on plants and gardens (terrabotanica.fr/en/)

Top annual events:

  • Balade du roi René – a nocturnal tour in summertime that showcases highlights of the historic center through lights and entertainment (labaladeduroirene.fr)

  • Levitation France – psychedelic rock music festival, formerly the Austin Psych Fest, in reference to its twin city of Austin, Texas (levitation-france.com)

  • Festival Premiers Plans – a film festival for first and second feature films, first short films and student films (premiersplans.org/festival/en/)

Most notable museums:

  • Musée des Beaux-Arts – a fine arts museum also covering the history of Angers (musees.angers.fr/langues-etrangeres/english/musee-des-beaux-arts/the-site/index.html)

  • Jean Lurçat and Contemporary Tapestry Museum – works of textile art from the 1950s to the present displayed in a 12th-century hospital (musees.angers.fr/langues-etrangeres/english/musee-jean-lurcat-et-de-la-tapisserie-contemporaine/the- site/index.html)

  • David d'Angers Gallery – a restored abbey-church showcasing the works of David d’Angers, a 19th-century sculptor (musees.angers.fr/langues-etrangeres/english/galerie-david-d-angers/the-site/index.html)

Culinary specialties:

  • fricassée de poulet à l’angevine – made with chicken, onions, mushrooms, cream and Anjou wine

  • Crémet d'Anjou – a dessert made with a base of whipped fromage blanc or crême fraiche and usually topped with seasonal berries

  • Quernons d'Ardoise – a small square of nougatine (caramelized hazelnuts and almonds) wrapped in blue chocolate

Local wines & spirits:

  • Cointreau – the orange-flavored liqueur produced exclusively in Angers (carre-cointreau.fr)

  • Anjou wines – a diverse and heady choice of dry and sweet whites, rosés and fruity reds are sourced from surrounding vineyards in the third largest wine region in France

  • Menthe-Pastille – a white mint liqueur

Shopping:

  • Slate items – saucers, plates and more made of the local stone

  • Small tapestries – mini versions of the city's famous medieval and contemporary tapestries

Most popular night spots:

  • guinguettes – local, open-air, riverside restaurants like Le Héron Carré

  • Le Cercle Rouge – wine bar with over 300 wines

  • Disco Le Boléro – a great place to go dancing in the busy St-Laud pedestrian zone

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • La Doutre – a quiet residential district where locals go to eat and drink on the Place de la Laiterie

  • Cycling – Angers is located at the crossroad of the three cycle routes, and boasts a scenic Angers loop of the Loire à Vélo route (cycling-loire.com)

  • Wine Routes – follow the scenic wine routes along the Loire river and through small villages

Local industries:

  • Cité for the Internet of Things – with 900 businesses and 7000 workers in the digital and electronics sectors

  • fruit – headquarters of the European Community Plant Variety Office, which encourages innovation in plant varieties; and Pomanjou, an international fruit grower specialized in apple production

In Pop Culture:

  • Viper in the Fist (Vipère au Poing) by Hervé Bazin – a classic novel in France, given to high school students to read
Aix-en-Provence

Top French Cities - Aix-en-Provence at a glance

Press release

For more information, visit the Aix-en-Provence Tourist Office at www.aixenprovencetourism.com.

City region: Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Population & what they are called: 145,160 inhabitants (2014 census); Aixois (or, rarely, Aquisextains)

Access from Paris:

  • by road: between 6 h 40 min and 8 h 50 min (470 miles) via A6 and A7 autoroute du Soleil

  • by train: about 3 hours by TGV from the Gare de Lyon

  • by plane: 1h15, landing in Marseille-Provence Airport, then 20 minutes by shuttle

Famous native daughters & sons:

  • Paul Cézanne, painter

  • Hélène Grimaud, concert pianist

  • Thylane Blondeau, top model and actress

Most distinctive and/or unique fact or trait (or little known fact):

  • Aix is known as the city of a thousand fountains.

  • The Fondation Vasarely was established in 1966 by Victor Vasarely himself, leader of the op art movement, who chose Aix-en-Provence given the city’s rich history, artistic and architectural activities, world-renowned festival, exceptional network of motorways and, finally, Vasarely's admiration for Cézanne.

Notable sites:

  • Vieil Aix – the historic old town

  • Cours Mirabeau – the city's most famous grand boulevard, lined by fountains and lofty plane trees, and bordered by fabulous Renaissance mansions

  • Montagne Sainte-Victoire – the nearby mountain that inspired Cézanne and was, in turn, made famous by him

Top annual events:

  • Festival d’Aix-en-Provence – a month-long festival of classical music, opera and dance, celebrating its 70th year in 2018 (festival-aix.com)

  • Festival de Pâques (Easter Festival) – a classical music festival (festivalpaques.com)

  • Les Rencontres du 9e Art – a festival of comics and other innovative graphic and popular arts (bd-aix.com)

Most notable museums:

  • Musée Granet – a showcase of iconic artists associated with Provence, including Picasso and Cézanne (www.museegranet-aixenprovence.fr)

  • Caumont Art Center – rotating exhibitions about the region’s artistic and cultural heritage set in a stunning 18th-century mansion (caumont-centredart.com)

  • Atelier de Cézanne – the former studio of Paul Cézanne

Culinary specialties:

  • Calissons d’Aix – diamond-shaped delights with almonds, sugar, candied melon and orange peel

  • Olive oil – there are 2,000 olive growers in the Aix region

Local wines & spirits:

  • Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence AOC – the second largest Provençal wine appellation whose rosés are considered especially unique

Shopping: * antiques – the best markets are in the Mazarin District and around the Cours Mirabeau

  • artisanal crafts – such as soap, santon (clay figurines), ceramics, mosaics, metal art

Most popular night spots:

  • Les Woods Cardeurs – a student bar with music a large terrace

  • Le Mistral – for anyone in the mood to dance

  • Au Verre Levé – a café with a great selection of organic wines from small producers

Local population’s favorite activities (or hangouts):

  • Montagne Sainte-Victoire – a popular place for outdoor sports (hiking, biking, paragliding, climbing and more)

  • Cours Mirabeau – the most famous of many superb shopping boulevards; also location of Brasserie Les Deux Garçons, the city's most famous café

  • Parc Jourdan – one of the largest parks in the city and a great place to play pétanque

Local industries:

  • cosmetics – several leading firms, such as Esthederm and Daniel Jouvance, lead the charge in scientific research into nutrition, anti-aging, dermatology etc.

  • energy research – Cadarache, a research center of the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, is one of the most important centers for energy research and development in Europe.

In Pop Culture:

  • Cézanne and I (Cézanne et moi) – a 2016 French movie about the friendship between Emile Zola and Paul Cézanne

  • The Horseman on the Roof (Le hussard sur le toit) – an award-winning 1995 movies about an Italian nobleman in France during a time of cholera

  • A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle – the famous book about life in Provence Major 2018 development:

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