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    From the capital to Cannes: driving across France

    With its combination of picturesque landscapes and glamorous cities, France is the ideal destination for a leisurely driving break. If you're looking for an itinerary that gives you the opportunity to explore celebrated cities and famous attractions, as well as enjoy plenty of good driving, consider tackling the route from Paris to Cannes.

    The route

    Driven as a single trip, the route from the French capital to glamorous Cannes takes approximately eight and a half hours, if the most direct route via the A7 and A6 is followed. This route will take you past a host of fantastic destinations, including Dijon and Lyon, which means there are plenty of possibilities for fun-filled stops along the way.Of course, while it is feasible to make the journey in a single day, doing so wouldn't be the most fun driving experience, and wouldn't be the basis for an entire driving holiday. Instead, we suggest you break your journey up into more manageable chunks; this way, you can both enjoy your driving and spend a decent amount of time in each destination. We recommend you pick up your hire car from the airport when you land in Paris; this way, you can hit the road straight away. It's worth bearing in mind that you don't need to return your car to the same airport, so if you don't have the time or inclination to drive all the way back to Paris, you could return it to, say, Nice airport instead. Just remember to agree this at the time of hire. An added benefit of this is that it gives you an opportunity to round off your adventure with a drive to Nice - perhaps head back a day or so early to see what this exciting city has to offer.


    Paris's many attractions really need no introduction - this glorious city is awash with world-famous landmarks, wonderful museums, chic shops and patisseries aplenty. The prospect of driving in Paris can seem a little daunting, and in truth the public transport is so regular and reliable that you can get around the major attractions easily enough without a car, so if you prefer you can simply leave it parked at your accommodation. It's worth bearing in mind, though, that the major road around, into and out of Paris (known as the Peripherique) is not as scary as it looks. It does tend to get congested, though, so use an alternative route where possible.


    Once you hit the road, Dijon will be one of the first major destinations you come to. This stunning city is full of beautiful medieval and Renaissance buildings, and is, of course, famous for the calibre of its cuisine.Taking a walk around its colourful centre is a must. Among the key highlights to visit along the way is the Palais des Ducs et des Etats de Bourgogne, which used to be home to the most powerful dukes in Burgundy. Today, this spectacular building is a captivating tourist attraction - which also houses another site worth visiting. The Musee des Beaux Arts can be found in the eastern wing of the palace and is home to an impressive collection of artwork, including modern and contemporary pieces by the likes of Rodin and Matisse, as well as older work. Also take the time to visit the Tour Philippe le Bon - from the top, it offers the most marvellous views across the city.


    The third largest city in France, Lyon is a real crowd pleaser - this destination has it all, from bags of culture to brilliant nightlife. Among the cultural highlights of a stop here is a visit to the splendid Musee Lumiere, where you can learn all about the history of cinema. Another must-see are the city's distinctive traboules, which are fascinating little passageways specific to Lyon. You'll find them in Vieux Lyon (and can take a guided tour of them if you wish), where they predominantly date back to the 19th century, when they used by silk weavers to transport their wares safely in bad weather. However, some date all the way back to Roman times.


    Reaching the south of France, you can look forward to exploring the scenic city of Avignon, which has 800-year-old stone walls, atmospheric streets and beautiful architecture. Indeed, this is a place it is hard not to fall in love with. Simply strolling around this charming city may be entertainment enough, but there are some individual attractions that you really should not miss. Chief among them is the Palais des Papes - a UNESCO World Heritage Site that cannot fail to impress. This stunning Gothic palace was once the seat of papal power and was luxurious on a truly grand scale - take an audio guide to find out how the rooms would have looked in their heyday.


    Cannes marks the end of your journey, and will provide a wealth of entertainment and ways to relax after your time on the road. A real favourite among the rich and famous, this destination is of course famous for its beautiful sun-drenched beaches, and the film festival that takes place each May. Spend a little time shopping on La Croisette, and learning a little about the local history on the pretty islands just offshore.

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