The countryside in France

The French countryside is quiet and many people still live sort of the way they have lived for many years already. In the countryside, you can rest and relax and be alone for hours. Sleeping on a campsite or in a hostel, it is quiet and you can sleep late with ease. The countryside has farms and large fields of corn, it has lavender fields, streams, rivers and lakes. With some luck you have a great view from your hostel or campsite. In some villages nowadays there is a growing older population, as the young people tend to move away to the city. The countryside is everywhere outside of the city. It is varied: in the Northern part of France it is plain with fields, rivers and lakes, in the Dordogne region it has hillsides, large rivers, lots of green, and castles. Close to the Cote d'Azur is the Verdon river, with the Gorges du Verdon, large cliffs with the river in between. The Jura has hills and mountains, the Alps and Pyrenees show another side of France with huge mountains over large areas.

Expect the climate to be varied as well: in the Northern part of France, in Normandy and Brittany, it can rain and there are winds in the summer, from Paris down it is usually warm and sunny all summer long. The mountain areas are a feast for people who enjoy hiking, mountain-biking, and rock-climbing. The Tour de France is held every year in France, and to make it a spectacle every year the bikers have to ride through the mountains of France.

Every part of France has its own local dishes which will allow you to enjoy the regional specialties wherever you go. Each part of France even has its own cheeses, and some parts their own wines. You can expect different French stews, pies and deserts in every region as well.

Budget travel is possible in France: the food you buy in the supermarket is at a normal European price. You can stay in gites, campsites, youth hostels, or bed and breakfasts. A stay in a youth hostel would cost you about 15 to 20 Euros per night, a stay at a campsite could even be cheaper in the countryside. Bed and breakfasts, hostels and gites are a little bit more expensive.

What is special about the countryside, is that it is varied, there are many sights to visit, it is quiet and in some parts of France has very clean air. At times in the countryside you can enjoy clouds hanging very low, just above the ground. It is a change from the city, as life is about the environment - nature. Life in the countryside is peaceful and calm, there is no need to look glamorous or to have the latest mascara. The French countryside is a good place to unwind and restore your health. You can organize your stay around various themes: you can travel through the countryside by car, visiting different villages and enjoying the food, you can go on a hiking or biking trip in for example the Dordogne, or you can go hiking in the Gorges du Verdon. You can organize a trip around visiting old castles, or you can decide to follow one of the Grandes Randonnees: paths that run at times for hundreds of kilometres through the countryside, through mountains and hills. One way to enjoy the French countryside hiking could be to follow the pilgrimage route of Santiago de Compostela; for this you would need a vacation of weeks, since it runs through a large part of France. This will allow you to enjoy the mountains, villages, local foods, and old sights to the fullest.

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