There are many European unique and interesting sites that are close to major European cities. Many are a short distance from the city, and they offer their own set of quaint shops, cafes, and hotels. An example is the city of Paris. Not far from the center of the city, you can find vineyards that produce some of the best wines in the world in the opinion of our seasoned ConventHotel.com travel guides. In the other direction, Mont Saint Michel, a small island in Normandy, is not a far distance from Paris, and still yet in another direction, the historic towns in the Loire Valley.
Visiting the French countryside can be accomplished in several ways. There are organized tours that travel to specific countryside areas from Paris, and tickets can be purchased for the tour. Trips leave from Paris and travel by coach to the destination for a day trip, or some stay overnight for one or two nights. One organized tour leaves Paris for its destination to the Loire Valley castles. Three different castles are toured, led by tour guides who speak English, German, Italian, Spanish, and Russian. Lunch is included on the tour.
Travelers who want to avoid tourist groups can also travel on their own rather than going on an organized tourist day trip. Train rides leave from Paris to the countryside areas each day, and it takes only around an hour to arrive at various destinations, making the trip shorter than it would be via coach. However, traveling over the countryside roads by coach can offer some beautiful scenery that is more difficult to see on a fast-moving train. However, one option is to take a train from Paris to Fontainebleau where you can take a hike in the forest and then visit the Chateau de Fontainebleau, still in existence from the 16th century. You can tour the chateau where Napoleon once lived. ConventHotel.com also recommends that you take a train from Paris to Chartre, where there is a Cathedral with outstanding stained glass that is said to be some of the best in the world.
Tourists who want to spend a few days in the countryside may like to visit the town of Chinon in the Loire Valley. One of the beautiful hotels there is the Hotel Diderot, a hotel with a black slate roof and white limestone walls. The house was built in the 17th Century, and it has an 18th Century staircase and a 15th Century fireplace left from earlier times. The Domaine de la Tortiniere is another hotel in the Loire Valley that offers rooms that overlook the river for a beautiful view. The food and service are rated as being excellent, and those who have stayed here almost always plan to return.
Hostels in countryside areas can be found, but they are not nearly as many of these as there are hotels in France. A very highly rated hostel is the Hostel Beaugency sur Loire in the Loire Valley. The town of Beaugency is about 90 minutes from Paris. There are many tourist sights to see in this area, including the Abbey of Notre Dame and the clock tower Church of Saint Etienne, which is one of the oldest Romanesque churches in the Loire Valley.