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From Paris to Corsica: Discover enchanting French countryside towns
by Clare Evans
7 min read

From Paris to Corsica: Discover enchanting French countryside towns

From Paris to Corsica: Discover enchanting French countryside towns
Explore enchanting French countryside towns from Paris to Corsica, blending urban charm with rustic tranquility - perfect for the Paris Olympics 2024.
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France, renowned for its rich history, tantalising food, and breathtaking landscapes, effortlessly blends urban sophistication and rustic charm. As the excitement for the Paris Olympics 2024 continues to build, there's no better time to explore the picturesque countryside towns that surround the vibrant capital and beyond.

In this article we recommend some beautiful French towns to visit and enhance your trip to Paris. For an extended stay, we suggest taking in the scenic countryside en route to Corsica, a rugged and secluded island off the coast of southern France, that provides the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle where we have a beautiful collection of luxury villas, perfect for a Mediterranean holiday.


Picturesque towns to visit near Paris

There are many towns near Paris that allow you to be immersed in quintessential French village life. From bustling market squares filled with local produce to ancient cobblestone streets lined with artisan shops, a stay in these towns will allow you to unwind and connect with the local way of life.


Just a short drive or train ride away from Paris, Fontainebleau is renowned for its magnificent Château de Fontainebleau, a UNESCO World Heritage site that has been home to French monarchs from Louis VII to Napoleon III. Another highlight of the town is the surrounding Fontainebleau Forest, a favourite for outdoor enthusiasts, with numerous hiking trails, rock climbing spots, and scenic landscapes.


This enchanting medieval town lies on the edge of the Fontainebleau forest and is beautifully situated on the banks of the Loing river. With its well-preserved historic architecture, ancient bridge, and picturesque waterways, Moret-sur-Loing can be easily walked around and provides a peaceful stop off from Paris.


A UNESCO World Heritage site, Provins is another town that is quite accessible from Paris and can be explored as a day trip. The lesser-known town of Provins once thrived as a trade centre for champagne fairs and is encircled by well-preserved medieval walls. Walking around, you may find the impressive Tour César (Caesar Tower), which offers lovely views of the surrounding area, and intriguing underground mediaeval tunnels.


Travelling from Paris to Corsica

Combining a trip to Paris with a visit to Corsica offers the best of both worlds: the cultural richness and lively atmosphere of one of the world's most iconic cities, followed by a serene escape to an island of natural wonders and tranquillity. Here are a few reasons why Corsica is a must-visit if you're heading to Paris:

  • Diverse landscapes: From its glittering bays and sandy beaches to its rugged mountains and dense forests, Corsica showcases a stark contrast to Paris's urban environment.

  • Switch to relaxation: After the excitement of the Paris Olympics 2024 and summer city life, Corsica offers a peaceful retreat. The island's laid-back atmosphere, and scenic areas makes it the perfect place to relax and recharge.

  • Gastronomic delights: Corsica's cuisine is a delightful fusion of French and Italian influences, with a focus on fresh, local ingredients. From charcuterie and cheeses to sumptuous seafood and local wines, the island's culinary offerings are a treat for food enthusiasts.

  • Adventure and exploration: Corsica's varied terrain and unspoiled natural beauty make it an adventurer's paradise. The island is home to the GR20 walking route, which is a challenging 112-mile trail that’s ideal for avid hikers who wish to see beautiful areas of Corsica across the north and south. Whether you're interested in mountain trekking, or other activities such as water sports or exploring ancient villages, Corsica offers an array of experiences that complement the urban adventures of Paris.


The best French countryside towns to visit en route to Corsica

To travel from Paris to Corsica you'd typically head south, making your way through some of the country's most picturesque regions. The journey would take you through diverse landscapes including the rolling hills of the countryside and the rugged coasts of the Mediterranean.

These towns are bursting with character, from Gothic churches to vibrant vineyards and serene riversides. Discover the French towns worth visiting between Paris and Corsica:


Nestled by Lake Annecy from which it takes its name, and framed by the majestic Alps, Annecy is often referred to as the "Venice of France". Its charming canals wind through the old town, with pedestrianised streets, pastel-coloured houses, and flower-adorned bridges. The serene lake setting of the town makes it a must-visit for anyone travelling through France, even if that means a slight detour on your way to Corsica.


Known for its characterful architecture and the Palais des Papes (Popes’ Palace), one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe, Avignon is steeped in history and culture. The town is also known for its vibrant markets and annual performing arts festival - one of the oldest in the world.


Aix-en-Provence, with its Cours Mirabeau, a lively street lined with trees, cafés, and bookshops, epitomises the charm of southern France. The town’s thermal springs and art galleries (including those dedicated to native son, painter Paul Cézanne), make it a delightful stopover on your travels through France.


Often overlooked in favour of its neighbours, Nice and Monaco, Menton is a serene coastal town where you will find lemon gardens, brightly coloured houses, and beautiful beaches. Close to the Italian border, Menton is a great stop for delicious food and soaking up the fresh sea air.


Perched high above the Mediterranean, halfway between Nice and Menton, Èze is a medieval village known for its breathtaking sea views, exotic gardens, and artisan shops. Its narrow, cobblestoned streets and the remnants of a 12th-century castle add to its charm. Being 1,400 feet (425 meters) above sea level, the town provides many spots to take in the views of the Côte d’Azur and turquoise sea below.


Where to stay in Corsica

After a scenic journey through the French countryside, and a crossing either by ferry from Marseille, Toulon, or Nice to Ajaccio, L’Ile Rousse, Propriano, Porto Vecchio or Bastia (between 6 and 12 hours) or by plane, arriving in Corsica offers a refreshing change of pace. This scenic island, set with dramatic landscapes, white sandy beaches, and rich cultural heritage, has a variety of locations to suit every traveller’s needs.

Explore our luxury villas in Corsica


For those interested in history and culture, staying in or around Ajaccio, the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, is ideal. Tree-lined streets meet at wide-open squares that offer vistas out to sea. Restaurants, bistros, cafés and bars spill out onto the pavements in the typical French style, and a daily market in Place Foch (Foch square) fills the morning air with fragrant temptations.

Bonifacio and Porto-Vecchio

If you're seeking exquisite beaches and vibrant nightlife, consider the southern towns of Bonifacio and Porto-Vecchio. The harbour town of Porto Vecchio features some of Corsica’s most idyllic beaches, and Bonifacio is set on a limestone promontory that provides panoramic views of Corsica’s coastline and neighbouring Sardinia. Most of our luxury villas are located nearby, offering you a chance to enjoy the pristine waters, idyliic beaches, fragrant maquis and ultimate relaxation only a villa holiday can offer, whilst giving you a chance to discover the local twonlife.


The picturesque town of Calvi offers numerous opportunities to stop for a coffee, an ice cream or an al fresco lunch. We’d recommend going out on a boat to see the town and its bay from the water. Only then will you be able to fully appreciate the beauty of Calvi and its setting: the magnificent citadel towering above the red-tiled roofs below, the arc of forested mountains rising in the background, the picturesque marina bobbing with fishing boats and pleasure craft, and its sandy beach running all the way around the bay.

If you’d like to start planning an unforgettable trip to France and discover more about Corsica, feel free to contact our experienced Villa Specialists, who can help you create your ideal villa holiday.