From the grandeur of the north to the shores of the French Riviera, France is perfect for a road trip – here’s a route to truly celebrate France’s joie de vivre (Photo: Marriott International)

From soaring medieval spires in the Flemish-influenced north to the shimmering shores of the French Riviera in the south, the sheer variety of landscapes of France make it perfect for a summer European road trip. L'Hexagone is a microcosm of Western Europe in one country, and this journey takes us from winding half-timbered northern lanes into Bordeaux’s dreamy wine country via the irrepressible capital Paris, eventually culminating on the sun-drenched Mediterranean coast. Here’s a route to truly celebrate France’s joie de vivre.

Immerse yourself in Lille's artistic heritage

Moxy Lille City hotel, France

The industrial-chic design of Moxy Lille City is a stylish complement to the city's grand artistic and architectural heritage (Photo: Marriott International)

With its romantic stepped gables and 17th-century Renaissance architecture, Lille’s cinematic Grand Place is a majestic space to begin. However, the city’s flair for the artistic doesn’t stop with the intricate designs lacing these elegant buildings. 

The Palais des Beaux Arts is one of France’s largest art museums and its opulent 19th-century corridors are lined with masterpieces by Rubens, Goya and Raphael. Set out in the suburb of Roubaix, a more off-the-beaten track artistic attraction is La Piscine. A gorgeous art deco swimming pool built in 1932, the former pool is now flanked by marble sculptures with walls showcasing paintings from luminaries including Picasso and Rodin.

Back in central Lille, graffiti-splashed districts like Moulins and Wazemmes bring a heavy dose of modern colour to the city’s streets, and make sure to check out the many events happening during the lille3000 arts festival.

Housed inside Lille’s historic Faculty of Medicine, the spirited Moxy Lille City wouldn’t look out of place in the Grand Place. Its industrial-chic design mixes hues of Flemish colours and patterns with superhero-inspired graffiti and its location means you'll be well placed for exploring nearby attractions, including the Musée d'Histoire Naturelle de Lille.

Feel close to history in charming Amiens

Notre-Dame d'Amiens Cathedral, France

A short stroll from Moxy Amiens lies the stunning Notre-Dame d'Amiens Cathedral, the largest in France (Photo: Getty Images)

Some 100km south of Lille lies Amiens, unmistakable by the magnificent cathedral reaching for the heavens above the city’s sloping silver roofs. With its Gothic central spire rising up to 138ft, the 750-year-old Amiens Cathedral is the largest cathedral in France and its imposing silhouette can be seen from the surrounding countryside. 

Though Amiens was heavily bombed during both world wars, the city was tastefully rebuilt and a short walk from the cathedral is the Medieval Saint-Leu district nicknamed ‘Little Venice of the North’. Pierced by weaving canals flanked by pastel-coloured houses and languid cafe canopies, the neighbourhood is perfect for an early evening stroll. 

Author Jules Verne spent most of his later life in Amiens and the wonderfully preserved Maison de Jules Verne is a fascinating glimpse into his rich imagination through colourful costumes, old film props and handwritten letters.

A stone’s throw from Amiens train station, dropping your bags off at Moxy Amiens couldn’t be easier. The hotel's vibrant and stylish public spaces are ideal for hanging out with old friends or making new one before heading to your cosy, smartly designed room, filled with paintings displaying this evocative city’s unique heritage.

Explore a whirlwind of unique neighbourhoods in Paris

Moxy hotels, France

Moxy Hotels' Paris properties make the perfect base for explorations of the great city's neighbourhoods (Photo: Marriott International)

While iconic sights like the Eiffel Tower will always seduce, the true charm of Paris lies within its elegant neighbourhoods.

Start with the alluring brasseries of Montparnasse, where writers including Ernest Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald crafted masterpieces, inspired by the lively scenes at cafes like Le Dôme and La Rotonde. Towering 689ft above those landscaped streets, the Tour Montparnasse boasts sweeping panoramic views across the French capital. 

With its distant rooftop scenes and quaint hillside bistros, the undulating lanes of Montmartre bring a village feel to this vast metropolis, while its Sacré-Cœur Basilica forms a curious slice of Neo-Byzantine-Romanesque architecture.

Back down at the riverside, the Latin Quarter’s cobbled streets wind through Paris’s oldest district and its charming Musée de Cluny uncovers the Paris of the Middle Ages.

Across the Seine, the Moxy Bastille Paris serves up sweet Got Moxy cocktails to sip after visits to nearby attractions like the fascinating Picasso Museum. If you're heading out to Disneyland Paris, the stylish Moxy Paris Val d’Europe is one stop away, and its sublime Bistrot 51 restaurant blends modern techniques with traditional French flavours. 

Sample France’s finest wines in breezy Bordeaux 

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Kick back on your private terrace and enjoy stunning, expansive views of beautiful Bordeaux (Photo: Marriott International)

Driving south to France’s windswept Atlantic coast, Bordeaux is world-famous as an epicentre of French wine

Packed with innovative displays inside its swirling corkscrew architecture, the Cité du Vin is Bordeaux’s own wine museum and there’s no better preparation for a dive into the city’s well-stocked bars and brasseries. 

Located within airy white walls next to the sublime National Opera building, Le Bar a Vin is a Bordeaux institution offering a revolving collection of 30 delightful regional wines of every style conceivable. 

Hop across the shimmering Miroir d’eau reflecting pool on the way to Tchin Tchin Wine Bar, where unique organic and biodynamic wines lead the way. Make the short walk then to the narrow stone-paved rue St James and its dizzying amount of bistros and restaurants.

Moxy Bordeaux’s convenient spot next to the Cité du Vin kicks off the trip in style. Check in at the bar at and head out to soak up the atmosphere on the terrace – ideally enjoyed with a cocktail in hand.

Unwind on the glittering shores of Antibes

Bouches-du-Rhone, Mediterranean coast, near La Ciotat and Cassis

As you reach the Provence region, making for Antibes, you'll enjoy the same golden light that drew Vincent Van Gogh here (Photo: Getty Images)

The golden light that drew Vincent Van Gogh to Provence blankets this landscape on the way down to Antibes, a charming coastal town in between the bright Côte d’Azur lights of Nice and Cannes

Overlooked by stone medieval walls, the horseshoe-shaped Plage de la Gavette is a uniquely urban stretch of sand and its proximity to the cobblestoned paths of the Old Town means easy access to a plethora of old-world boutiques and bistros. It’s also home to Musée Picasso, the historic studio and home of another legendary artist inspired by Antibes’ secluded coves and rocky outcrops.

The gentle arc of the Plage de Salis and its lapping turquoise waters is perhaps the finest corner of this Riviera town, so find a blue and white umbrella and bask under the ceaseless Mediterranean rays. 

Located near the A8 autoroute, the laid-back Moxy Sophia Antipolis is an ideal base for exploring the Côte d’Azur. And with its wooden deck offering undisturbed vibes, easy days by the pool are just as alluring.

Soak in widescreen vistas from quaint La Ciotat 

Moxy La Ciotat, France

Soak up the blue skies of southern France's beautiful seaside then book into Moxy La Ciotat and enjoy some downtime by the pool (Photo: Marriott International)

Further west beyond the Riviera, Provence rises into a dramatic, mountainous landscape. It's here that you'll find the quaint fishing village of La Ciotat sitting beneath a sweep of picturesque cliffs. 

While its serene waterfront is a fine setting for a coffee and croissant, the real pleasure here is the great outdoors. Start by driving up to the wind-whipped headland of Cap Capaille – France’s highest coastal cliff – to soak in some glorious Mediterranean views. 

Continuing west, the spectacular Calanques National Park is an ancient haven of tranquil coves, miniature fjords and biodiverse wildlife, that forms a stunning canvas for hiking or kayaking. And if you’ve come this far, then don’t miss the chance to spend some time in nearby Marseille. France’s oldest city is an exciting mix of bold street art, medieval forts and flavoursome North African food. 

The first Moxy to open in the south of France, design-led Moxy La Ciotat blends cool bedroom tones with a colour-splashed roof terrace and a host of handy amenities including a cinema and fitness centre.


Published: July 04, 2023

Article Tags:  France

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