7 Unusual Things To Do in France

By Abi King | Unusual Things To Do

Oct 26

Unusual things to do in France

France manages to make almost everything look chic and sexy and awash with romance. From the peeling paint of countryside farmhouses to the sweet sugar of macarons, the bright lights of dazzling Paris to the snow-powdered wooden chalets that speckle around the ski resorts, it seems there are plenty of reasons why more people travel to France than any other country in the world.
LOOKING FOR THE UNUSUAL

But you know the drill here on Inside the Travel Lab. What about the unusual things to do?

Well, I’m glad you asked. Let’s go.

7 Unusual Things to Do in France

Red peppers grow everywhere in Espelette France - from @insidetravellab

1: Head to the village of the scarlet peppers

High in the Pyrenees, the tiny town of Espelette splashes bright brilliant red across its chalk white houses and obsessively clean streets. Piments, or red peppers, are the name of the game here in the Basque country but look out as well for cerise noir (black cherry) wine with a hint of – you guess it – pepper.

Wild poppies in the wind on the Ile d'Aix in France via @insidetravellab

2 Spend the night where Napoleon spent his last

The tiny, no cars Ile d’Aix near La Rochelle falls silent once the day trippers go home. Poppies flutter and bicycle paths criss cross around amid quirky museums full of passion and purpose. Napoleon himself spent his last night on French soil here, before being exiled to St Helena by the British.

Cour des Loges - an unusual place to stay in Lyons, France via @insidetravellab

3 Stay in a hotel that helped defeat the Nazis

The buzzing city of Lyons already has plenty to recommend: great art, Roman ruins and gastronomy that’s high even by stickly French standards. But did you know that you can stay in a hotel that played a key role in the French Resistance? Explore the Old Town and marvel at the strange history Europe has seen over the last millennium or so.

Wonderful words from Marie Curie - via @insidetravellab Life is not easy for any of us. But what

4 Visit the lab of science’s most decorated woman

Marie Curie may not have been French, but she made her home here, setting up her lab in Paris and earning not one but two Nobel prizes (in two separate science subjects, a feat that’s yet to be repeated.) Learn more about her incredible life and contribution, not to mention the fashion trend for radioactive beauty cream, at the remarkable Curie Museum, Paris.

Toulouse Lautrec and the Moulin Rouge via @insidetravellab

5 Visit the Moulin Rouge in the home of of the old Inquisition

Say wh-at?! Let me explain.

Toulouse-Lautrec, artist responsible for most of those iconic Moulin Rouge posters, hailed from the Midi-Pyrenees.

Today, the UNESCO-recognised pink city of Albi holds the world’s largest collection of his work in the former bishop’s palace. The art is worth a visit all by itself and picturesque Albi is easy to fall in love with. Yet the final twist in the interest of this place? The frolicking Can-Can dancers now hang in the same room that oversaw a religious genocide centuries ago.

If that doesn’t make you stop and think, perhaps nothing will.

New French Sweet Treat from @insidetravellab

6 Forget the Macarons and Try These Instead!

Well, OK, you don’t have to forget the macarons completely. But do head to Angers to try the lavender-laced Quernons d’Ardoise.

Abigail King with T Rex at Terra Botanica

7 Head to a flower based theme park

Sail to the South Americas, shiver along an ice wall and wrestle with dinosaurs and a giant Venus flytrap. The Terra Botanica theme park manages to combine floral education with a cracking day out. That was a sentence I never imagined I’d be writing but there we go: it’s true. Hop on a boat and ride til dawn through the tulips at this strangely fascinating place.

What have I missed? What are some of your favourite unusual things to do in France?

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