If the view from your window is getting stale, embark on a virtual tour of France. From north to south, here are some views across the different regions.
Claude Monet's home and gardens in Giverny are usually quite popular. Now you can have a visit all to yourself. Similarly, fans of Impressionism can “stroll” the galleries of Le Havre’s MuMa or Rouen’s Museum of Fine Arts.
In the regional capital of Rennes visit the medieval half-timbered houses and the rose gardens of Parc du Thabor. Journey to the walled city of Saint Malo along the coast. The “Maine” of France is known for their oysters so be sure to stop by the oyster farm L'Atelier de l'Huitre to witness the harvesting process. Pause for a moment of reflection in the Gardens of Peace in Quimper.
A picnic in Champs de Mars at the base of the Eiffel Tower may not be physically possible but you can take a virtual tour of the iconic landmark for one of the best views of the city. Perhaps the 15 dazzling stained glass windows of Sainte-Chapelle or the interior of the Palais Garnier-Opera de Paris or Sacre Coeur is on your list? More landmarks have virtual tours that can be accessed through the Paris Tourist Board site.
CENTRE VAL DE LOIRE (Loire Valley)
The majestic Châteaux of the Loire Valley are certainly worth a virtual visit. The Loire Valley has a dedicated page via Google Arts & Culture that allows visitors to virtually explore some of the sites and iconic châteaux of the region: Virtual visitors can explore Château de Chambord, Château du Clos Lucé (da Vinci’s last home), Château du Rivau, Château de Chenonceau and much more. Plus check out the gorgeous gardens of Château de Villandry.
Instagram Live Tour at Chateau du Rivau
The Chateau du Rivau will be doing Instagram live tours of its gardens in English starting tomorrow April 18 and will do this every Saturday for the next few weeks at 7:30 pm France time. More info here. Their Instagram.
Da Vinci Learning Platform from the Clos Lucé:
The Château du Clos Lucé is now launching the first online learning platform dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci. Through a free online course, people of all ages are invited to discover the life, inventions and inspirations of one of the greatest visionary spirits of all time. The course includes eight short and playful lessons that are just 8 minutes each. Starting April 19, the classes will be available on the computer, smartphone and tablet in both French and English. The content covers topics taught from elementary school to high school: the Renaissance, visual arts, mathematics, sciences, technology, the art of flight, etc. The course can be found here
Lyon, the region’s capital city and 3rd largest in France, is home to 2000 years of history in the Vieux Lyon district to the more modern Confluences neighborhood. “Stroll” through both and everywhere in between. Looking for something more pastoral ? Journey to Boucieu-Le-Roi in the Ardeche. This medieval village was created in 1291 and was voted one of France’s “Village of Character”.
A visit to Marseille is not complete without checking out MuCEM. Though the exhibits on Europe and Mediterranean culture are fascinating, the striking architecture also offers unparalleled views onto the Mediterranean Sea.
Craving some beach views and some culture? Head over to Nice for soothing sunset shots while listening to the Opera. For a more hands-on virtual visit, print out copies of local artist Sylvie Tumorticci coloring book of Nicoise locales.
This southwestern department is home to both cities like Montpellier with its historic pedestrian old town and Place de la Comedie as well as the vineyards and mountains of the Tarn region. Check out the cave La Grotte des Demoiselles, Château de Flaugergues or the ancient Roman aqueduct Pont du Gard.
Bordeaux is home to 350 historical buildings or monuments including the Fine Arts Museum. What about a visit to the Dune du Pilat, the tallest sand dune in Europe? No visit to the region is complete without seeing the caves of Lascaux in the Dordogne. There are more than 600 prehistoric cave drawings.
NATIONAL HISTORIC MONUMENTS
France has a rich history with many well-preserved historical monuments and sites thanks to the CMN (the National Monuments Center). For a dose of stunning Art Deco architecture visit La Villa Cavrois outside the northern city of Lille. Looking for more of medieval architecture? Check out the Château de Vincennes that protected Paris or Château d'Angers, home to the stunning medieval Apocalypse tapestry.