HI Hostels Blog

On your radar for France

From coastal paradises to city slicking, if you’re heading to Marseille, Biarritz, Rennes or Paris this summer, here are a few highlights and some top events to add to your France calendar.  

Brightening up the A to B with our pick of urban street art

Credit: Elias Gayles

France has had its fair share of urban regeneration projects, and across the country you can find beautified buildings, walls with a statement and thoughtfully embellished canals – if you know where to look.  Visit our pick of the prettiest decorated cityscapes:

  • Pixel art mosaics in Paris: discover little low-res aliens created by 1990s French street artist Invader, the highest concentration of which you’ll find in the Latin Quarter
  • Mingle with the bohémiens in Marseille: Cours Julien, once a grocery wholesale market, is now a must-see for street art lovers, with creatives leaving their colourful marks on the trendy cafés, restaurants and shops
  • Stumble across the unexpected in Rennes: whether you come across giant monochrome characters by Berlin-based street artist MTO or elaborate scenes by Zilda, every corner and cranny holds an arty surprise in Rennes.

Basque in free culture with Biarritz’s events and free festivals

  • Le Village des Bodegas: from 13th – 14th July and 14th – 15th August, the Plateau du Phare (lighthouse square) holds unmissable entertainment and celebrations of Basque country traditions with food, dancing and DJs
  • La Fête du Port: in the same spirit, stick around until the 25th July for more Basque frivolities at the fishing port, from 6.30 pm and into the small hours
  • Les Halles de Biarritz: start your day by sampling all kinds of delicious local delicacies at Biarritz’s colourful indoor market, open every morning.
Credit: Karen Eliot

Take your pick of budget friendly treasures in beautiful Marseille

  • Absorb the culture of the Mediterranean at MuCEM: the first museum dedicated to the Med and its multi-faceted traditions and history, the permanent and temporary exhibitions are free on the first Sunday of each month
  • Learn about Marseille art soap craft with a free tour of Savonnerie Marseillaise: this tour of the soap factory workshop takes you through the secrets of manufacturing the city’s special product
  • Discover the city by walking around with a local: if you’re feeling like a fish out of water in Marseille, why not hire a greeter, a local volunteer who will unveil their favourite places and regale you with fun stories.
Credit: C D _Fr
Credit: Henrik Moltke

Don’t be shellfish: care for the coast and become a sea ambassador

With 5500 Km of coastline and 4 oceans, France’s relationship with the sea is vast, and its shores beautiful. HI Marseille and HI Biarritz work with a number of ocean preserving initiatives. Check out the grand tour of French beaches among other initiatives organised by the Maud Fontenoy Foundation to see how you can help.

We’ve removed booking fees on stays in ALL of our hostels – start your France adventure here. 

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