10 of the most beautiful places to visit in France by Becky

Champagne Ardenne on GlobalGrasshopper.com

One of the most visited countries in the world, France conjures up an image of long hot summer days and probably the desire not to come home again. When we think of France we usually think of fine wine and cuisine, exceptional scenery and a laid back lifestyle which is the envy of the world. The diverse landscape – which has inspired centuries of influential writers, artists and poets – include huge mountain ranges, acres of green countryside and miles of gorgeous coastline. Paris aside, here are ten of the most beautiful places to visit in France (in no particular order):

1. Loire Valley

Loire Valley on GlobalGrasshopper.com

An area of outstanding natural beauty, the Loire Valley is also affectionately known as the garden of France. The valley is filled with culturally and historically important architecture which has earned it a world heritage site status- unsurprisingly it’s one of the most visited places in the country. Renowned for its large collection of fairytale-esque chateaux and mansions, exceptionally beautiful landscapes and one of the most striking rivers in Europe the Loire Valley is a gentle but most definitely bourgeois paradise.

2. Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Second only to the Eiffel Tower as France’s best-loved landmark, Mont St-Michel is rocky, peaked island which is connected by a causeway to northwest France. An imposing sight sitting amid sandbanks and powerful tides, the heritage site is most celebrated for its Gothic-style Benedictine abbey. Directly below the grand monastery is a medieval village complete with winding streets, small houses and souvenir shops. The island is accessible at all times except when the tide is very high.

3. Côte d’Azur

Côte d'Azur on GlobalGrasshopper.com

The Mediterranean coastline of southeast France is otherwise known as the French Riviera. Although expensive and over-developed to some, with its miles of gorgeous coastline and azure waters it’s still one of the most beautiful places in France. The area has attracted and transfixed many visitors over the years including royalty, celebrities, writers and artists such as Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse. The Côte d’Azur is also famed for it’s stylish coastal cities such as Nice, Cannes and St-Tropez, which still remain exclusive holiday resorts even today.

4. Giverny

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Giverny is a riverside rural idyll located on the borders of Normandy which is most famous for being the birthplace of impressionism. The small village was once Claude Monet’s cherished country retreat and now both his pink shutterboard house and highly photogenic country gardens are open to the public. Planted by Monet himself, the walled water garden (which inspired so many of his famous paintings) features white and purple wisterias, water lilies, weeping willows, bamboo and the iconic green Japanese bridge.

5. Versailles

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A wealthy suburb of Paris, Versailles is an important administrative centre and a proud tourist attraction in its own right. It’s most famous for its chateau – the grand and ornate Palace of Versailles which once housed the kings of France, (including the ill-fated Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette). Both the beautifully preserved palace and manicured gardens are extraordinary and they also offer an interesting insight into the lives of 18th century French royalty before the start of the legendary Revolution.

6. Annecy, The Alps

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The French Alps are best known for its prestigious ski resorts, although the region is also home to many pretty towns which are great to visit, summer or winter. One of the most attractive is Annecy which has a medieval picture-postcard quality. The centre is built around a 14th century Chateau and the whole town is interspersed with small canals which is why some locals refer to it as the ‘Venice of Savoie.’ With its canals and backdrop of snowy mountains, Annecy is easily one of the most photogenic towns in France.

7. Champagne-Ardenne

Champagne Ardenne on GlobalGrasshopper.com

The birthplace of champagne is also one of the most beautiful regions in France and of course it’s very popular with wine trail tourists. In addition to the miles of Champagne Routes, the region has exceptionally scenic countryside, medieval chateaux and vineyards as far as the eye can see. Make sure you visit the region’s capital Troyes for impressive art and architecture and Reims for its famous cathedral and acres of underground wine cellars.

8. Strasbourg

Strasbourg on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Located right on the border of Germany and France this heritage city has distinct characteristics of both countries. It’s a picturesque, almost twee town radiating an old world charm which really draws the visitors. Famous for its riverfront half-timbered houses, beautiful gothic cathedral and fondness for flowers, it also makes a great base for those wishing to visit the nearby Black Forest or the River Rhine.

9. Provence

Provence Lavander Fields - most beautiful places to visit in France on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Although this region encompasses other places on this list, Provence deserves a mention of its own. It has a very diverse geography but Provence is best known for its irresistible countryside landscapes filled with endless lavender fields, lush olive groves and ancient hilltop villages. Long lazy days and alfresco lunches await you in this rural chic paradise. Make sure you include a trip to the impossibly picturesque villages of Baux-de-Provence and St. Rémy and also the spectacular walled city of Avignon.

10. The Gorges du Verdon

The Gorges du Verdon on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Europe’s answer to the grand canyon, this deep cliff gorge located in the Provence region is a visitor hot spot. Here you’ll find bright turquoise green waters, outstanding scenery and an abundance of wildlife – it’s not difficult to see why this gorge is so popular. Easily accessible from the French Riviera, the national park is a great spot to climb, hike, kayak or just go for a scenic drive.

Where to stay – Popular, unique and reasonably priced hotels in France

An Audi Bike for Everyone

The Audi Bike series is the result of a study on modern urban bicycle design inspired by the Audi brand design philosophy – the result: a premium class collection of modern, minimal bikes with a sporty, emotional appearance. The family consists of a folding cruiser, hybrid electric/human-powered commuter, and dual sport-tourer. Just like the Audi line of vehicles, there’s one for every taste and purpose. Hit the jump for the full 360º!

The “Audi Bike” Sports bike: The “Audi Bike” Sports bike represents a premium class bicycle segment. The dynamic body frame made by solid and lightweight material (like carbon fiber or aluminum) is combining the Seat post construction and the chain ring mechanism. The innovative bicycle body design language contains all functional and safety features. The seat post construction can be regulated by the user with a simple and convenient convertible, transformable option. The chain ring mechanism is a simplified by the safe covering system, which makes it convenient and safe. The design language of this new chain ring represents a new technical solution for all modern bicycle chains. In general the “Audi Bike” design language represents the new design ideology, to minimized the old fashioned technical, conservative construction approach and maximizes the functional, safety and aesthetics features.

The “Audi Bike” Folding bike: This folding bike represents an urban transportation segment. The general design language follows to the new “Audi Bike” family design direction, with a rational, sporty, and dynamic body language. The folding bike design face is reworked to be more urban oriented. For the global problem of urban traffic, this foldable option can be used in a efficient and useful way. The folding bike’s body is lightweight and compact, easily fitted in a standard car trunk. The folding bike can be connected with a global city network using a new smart phone or GPS mobile device system, offering to the consumer a live city map, free parking zones and urban traffic map.

The “Audi Bike” Electric bike: This hybrid electric bike represents a mountain (hilly) urban transportation segment. The Electric bike design language follows to the new “Audi Bike” family design direction, with a much more refined surface design definitions. The dynamic body frame and wheels are made by carbon fiber, which makes electric bike lightweight and solid. The upper part of the body frame combines the eclectic lithium battery cargo, with a Battery range for sample regular urban use. The Electric bike contains also the (HP) humane powered mechanism, which can be used as a generator option for charging an electric batteries and also used in a flat urban areas.

Designer: Vladimer Kobakhidze

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmoz6yW4D0g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvIuebUJX7c

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuHqTYf6tfs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZcRIKcsFNY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_h-WxZgMfM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfdZtWB4qfU

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Amazing Bicycle Designs and Concepts 1

15. Bike 2.0 by Nils Sveje, Inoda Sveje design studio & IPU Produktudvikling

Main Features: comfortable ride with energy leveling and the stepless gearbox, option of adding seat-tube battery for speed, two wireless control-units (that work with two wireless rings on the handlebar) help control your ride.

14. Beik by Lukas Jungmann

Main Features: Audi branding, folding mechanism, articulated frame steering and the untypical frame setup.

13. Tribune by Thüring Lukas, Lukas Thüring & Florian Vecsey

Main Features: electric operated tricycle-recumbent bike, powered by a generator and an electric motor, external battery increases drive capacity, lockable little boot to store items above the rear wheel, adjustable headrest and pedals, flexible backrest, front and back lights for safety, ergonomic design.

12. Ridenpush by You Ho Jeon

Main Features: a riding cycle with a wagon can transform into a push cart when heavy, intended for the elderly.

11. Ufold by André Costa

Main Features: a cross between a mountain bike size and a city bike, easy to use folding system, handle in the frame makes it easy to push, when closed, central joint in the two piece frame, safety trigger and an angle two piece frame help in aligning the wheel when opened.

10. Full Circle by Sanghyun jeong & Jun-Tae Park

Main Features: compact sized city bike, large wheel size (508mm, 20inch), no chains but free wheel gear directly connects to its pedal, most of its parts can be folded, including saddle and handle bars.

9. Molecule by Yongjin Lee

Main Features: body is modeled on the river Han of Seoul, unique shape.

8. Helo by Junkyo Lee

Main Features: unique body, integrated lock design to prevent theft.

7. ROOnighT by Yong-Bum Lim & Park Jong-Soon

Main Features: harnesses energy from the cycling to power its lights at night, the polycarbonate frame emits light through O.L.E.D, transforming the bicycle into a night light for the street it’s parked in, intended for a public sharing system for bikers.

6. X Bike by Woogyeong Go, Dong-ha Kim & Kyeongpyo Cho

Main Features: looks like the letter “X”, no chain technology.

5. Carrier Bike by Shin Hyung Sub Shin

Main Features: a convenient carrier, shelf located in the middle of the bicycle, designed to help carry the users luggage.

4. SE:CUrity Lock System by Sang Yong Park & Jae Yong Park

Main Features: the steering features a number lock system, locks by pushing the handles down, locks into the front wheel of the cycle, unique body design.

3. T-bike by Jung Geun Tak & Shinhyun Kang of T.A.K studio

Main Features: iconic design, folding handlebars double up as a lock, embedded GPS, E-INK and EPD technology used in the embedded monitor, adjustable seat via a lever with the seat height index (indicator), seat height can be adjusted while being seated.

2. Sideways Bike by Michael Killian

Main Features: two wheel steering bicycle with independently steerable wheels, travels sideways, unique and distinct motion, best suited for children from age 7.

1. Trileaf by Jihyeong Kim

Main Features: eco electric tricycle, can be used in a public rental system, has a tilting mechanism and a steering in the front, electric motor in the rear, emergency raincoat box built under the seat.

Bonus Entry!

How can we not have a bonus entry! By The Way all the images and credits go to our friends at Designboom, who have co-organized the event for Seoul Design Fair.

Viento – Urban Folding Bicycles by Gil Sheffi