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Narrowing France down to a single place is unfair to the country as a whole.

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While most first associate the country with the cafes, bars, and beautiful restaurants in Paris, outside the City of Lights you can find everything from golden beaches to adrenaline-pumping skiing to pastoral countryside. And none of it takes more than a few hours to reach.

Start by checking out our Paris city guide and making the most of your time there. Then consider taking the Walkers’ Haute Route in the Alps near Chamonix, or get your blood pumping at the Trois Vallees Ski Area. You want beaches? All the beautiful people flock to St. Tropez and the Cote d’Azur, but for the longest stretch of sand in Europe, head a little bit west to Hossegor. Did we mention there were nude beaches in France too? Plenty of ‘em. So no matter what your flavor, France is going to have something for you.

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