When it comes to Europe travel, many tourists make a point to visit the big cities. This is especially true in France, where Paris, Versailles and Nice are all large draws. While there's certainly nothing wrong with exploring the busy streets of French cities, the countryside has plenty to offer in its own right. There are a number of smaller, more rural destinations for you to check out, and several of them surely cannot be missed.
Located in central France, this small city is home to just about 36,000 people, but that doesn't mean it's without considerable appeal. Among its most famous sights is the Macon Cathedral, which dates back nearly 200 years. Yet while this stunning piece of architecture is a recognizable landmark, the Rock of Solutre is a must-see highlight as well. This distinctive limestone formation is located just to the west of the city and rises hundreds of feet above the tiny commune below.
Not far from Macon, Lyon is a particularly appealing tourist draw thanks to its stunning monuments and unique atmosphere. For instance, the Cathedral of Saint John can trace its origins back to the 13th century, while the Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls are home to ruins dating back to the Roman Empire. However, Lyon is home to more than just a rich sense of history, there are also ample opportunities for relaxation including at Parc de la Tête d'Or - a beautiful urban park that spans 290 acres. The park is the ideal place to spend an afternoon exploring its lush rose gardens, relaxing walkways and its impressive zoo.
?A little bit firther south than Lyon, Avignon is known as one of the hubs of art and culture in the region. Specifically, each year it hosts the Avignon Festial, which dates back to 1947. The annual event showcases local artistic endeavors ranging from live theater, film, music and dance. It also incorporates many of the city's famous monuments, of which there are plenty. It's most impressive landmark is undoubtedly the Palais des Papes, which stands as one of the most imposing Gothic structures in Europe. Built in the 14th century, this breathtaking building was home to popes for hundreds of years. Other architectural highlights in the city include the Avignon Cathedral and its many famous bridges.