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should we visit Pornic?

Cape Town
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should we visit Pornic?

We are going to Paris for a week and have 4 days (16 - 19th June) that we would like to go to the country side. We've been to Avignon and don't want to visit the same area. We want to experience the French country side, a little bit of the beaten track, somewhere not too 'touristy', although we know its in high-season. A Friend recommended Pornic but we struggle to get information.

We need some advise please.


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Paris, France
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1. Re: should we visit Pornic?

Pornic is a nice sea-side town but if Brittany is on your agenda I can think of more interesting places than Pornic. The far west region in Brittany known as Finistère is known for its rugged coastal beauty and the Côte de Granit Rose in the north is also known for its lovely coastline. You might also like to see some of Brittany's famous parish close's in the northern region.



But really, your defined area of the French countryside outside of the area near Avignon covers a rather large area. A few guidebooks will help you decide which region might best suit your interests. Perhaps you might start with some Michelin Green Guides. The Loire, Burgundy, Normandy, Dordogne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Alsace, Alps region etc. are all beautiful areas with beautiful countryside so your choices are pretty numerous.

Here's some general tips that might help you do some research.

Get your hands on the Michelin maps (scale of 1:200,000) for whatever regions you visit. The Michelin maps have icons for all kinds of historically/touristically interesting things such as châteaux, ruins, churches, abbeys, scenic view points, caves, Roman sites, megaliths, designated scenic roads and many other things. Usually when I'm exploring various regions in France I just look at the map and I am able to plan interesting and scenic drives just reading the map. For instance, I usually look for a designated scenic road, which are highlighted in green, and I especially look for towns with the historic church and/or château icon. I also try to make sure the route goes through as many small villages as possible. Usually putting all these things together I find interesting and scenic drives without even knowing where I am going and with no assistance from a guide book. Often these places are never mentioned in guidebooks and remain completely unknown to many tourists. If you want to get off the beaten path then learn how to read a Michelin map and then go get lost.

You can buy the Michelin maps from their website and here is a link to the page that shows all of the maps of France: http://tinyurl.com/4bt96ev

And speaking of Michelin, you can go to the website viamichelin.com and get info on drive times and distances, toll and fuel costs and suggested routes (i.e. scenic routes). The drive times given do not consider stops (fuel, food, bathrooms) nor do they consider bad weather and traffic.

Here is some other general advice for you. You should google some of the town/tourist office websites for any towns you may want to visit. You will find loads of info on these websites about what to see and do and also info about hotel/accommodation and restaurant info as well as what to see and do in the area. Occasionally the websites have English versions. In doing a google search enter the name of your town followed by the words "site officiel" or "office de tourisme" and this will bring the town to the top of your search. Another thing I like to do to see if a town may be worth visiting is enter the town name in a google search followed by the word "photos". Sometimes I visit a town if I find it looks charming/interesting in photos.

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