Discovering the most precious hidden spots in France

Last summer was recognized as the season when the recovery of tourism has become a tangible reality. In particular in Europe, probably the continent that suffered the most the consequences of Covid-19 restrictions in terms of travels and movements between different countries.

 The current situation is still quite far from normal, at least considering the tourist flow in the most renowned European countries (France, Italy, Spain, Greece); but it’s yet a significant improvement, compared to the 2020 numbers. And above all, it’s a sort of new beginning, able to open endless possibilities, even for what concerns the long-time missing link of the whole business: the low season (or even off-season) tourism.

This is due in particular to the recent discover – or rediscover – of many time-forgotten locations or macro-areas inside the European territory. Regions like Galicia or the Canary Islands in Spain, Sicily in Italy or the island of Crete in Greece are recovering the same charm that they used to have before the European mass tourism were diverted to other destinations (first of all the “magic trio” Baleares-Sardinia-Mykonos). In this particular field, France has proved to be the most prepared country to explore this new opportunity. How? Organizing guided tours, through agritourism facilities or resorts, to the discovery of some of its most beautiful and yet neglected regions. A chance for many visitors to plunge into the charming and thriving French rural culture.

Among the regions that benefited conspicuously from this process of rediscover, there is a macro-area, in the south-east of France, that appears to be particularly appreciated by the visitors, especially the foreign ones. It is known as “la Vallée de la gastronomie”, but it’s not just a single valley: it is a large flat area, just at the foot of the Western Alps, that goes from Bourgogne (one of the richest regions of France) to the Mediterranean shores, crossing cities like Dijon, Lyon and many others. Why has it been renamed as “The Gastronomy Valley”? Because this area gives regularly birth to some of the most appreciated agri-food products of the French and Mediterranean traditions. From the Dijon mustard to Bourgogne’s wines, from the “charcuterie Lyonnase” to the sea products coming directly from Marseille’s port. The insight of the most proactive and resourceful French tour operator has been exactly this one: suggesting and offering itineraries along the ridge of this area, discovering, stage after stage, all the richness and the variety of French gastronomy, cuisine and wine culture.

The result is a real sensory journey, that allows the visitor to discover not only the most appetizing products of the French culinary tradition, but also the cultural, ancestral background where they come from. The sole act of putting the tourist directly in touch with farm owners, peasants, stockbreeders and fishermen allows them to appreciate the care with which they work on their products, jealously preserving their long-standing traditions from the pitfalls of modernity. And it makes feel the stranger closer and closer to that culture, to the point of reaching the impression of being part of it. Which is exactly what every real tourism experience should aim to.

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