Dive into our 10 refreshing places to cool off in France

As today is set to be the hottest of this latest heatwave to hit France, we take a look at some of the country’s most stunning – and refreshing – landmarks.

From beaches to waterfalls, caves to wine cellars, there are plenty of sights to visit that don’t necessarily mean sweating through two t-shirts.

Check out our map of the different places we’ve selected, and below, see enlarged images of the cool spots.

Let us know at [email protected] of all the places near you that you like to visit on a hot day or tell us about the places you think we should add to our map.

Read more: 19 French departments on orange alert as heat wave nears peak

Arromanches Beach

There are over 620 km of coastline in Normandy, so there are plenty of beaches for swimming. A very beautiful place is the beach of Arromanches-les-Bains in Calvados.

Photo : Siem de Vos / Shutterstock

Parisian parks

There are over 400 parks or green spaces in Paris, many of which make great refuges from the scorching sun.

One of our favorites is the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in the 19th arrondissement. Built on a quarry, it is hilly with a lake, a waterfall, bridges and, above all, many trees providing shade.

Note that the town hall has created a map of 900 places to cool off in Paris, which you can see here.

Photo : Kyiv.Victor / Shutterstock

Gerardmer Lake

There are many lakes in France and the Lac de Gérardmer is a great example. It is a glacial lake in Gérardmer (Vosges) and is located more than 660m above sea level.

Photo : Sergii Zinko/Shutterstock

Wine cellars

You can also escape the heat at one of France’s 140,000 wine cellars dotted across the country, many of which offer tours. The one in the photo is located in Reims, the unofficial capital of the Champagne wine region

Photo : barmalini / Shutterstock

Sea ice

The mountains are a great escape from the heat for those lucky enough to live near them. And what better destination than the “Mère des Glaces”, a valley glacier located on the northern slope of Mont Blanc in the French Alps.

Photo : Svetlana Lokian/Shutterstock

Caves of Choranche

Caves are another place to escape the heat and the Grotte de Choranche, located in the Isère department and open all year round, is a good option.

Photo : xdraw / Shutterstock

Calanque d’En Vau

The Calanques massif is a protected national park with 26 bays, called Calanques, which stretch from Marseille to Cassis. Each bay is different in size and shape, but they provide excellent swimming spots.

There are new restrictions on the number of people who can visit the Calanques each day, so if you are planning a visit you will need to book in advance. The aim is to limit over-tourism and damage to the landscape.

The photo below shows the Calanque d’En Vau, the largest and perhaps the most spectacular of the Calanques.

Photo : Gaspar Janos / Shutterstock

The Gouffre de Padirac

The Gouffre de Padirac is the spectacular opening of a cave system in the Lot (Midi-Pyrénées). The sinkhole is 35 meters in diameter and the large hole drops over 100 meters – so it’s safe to say that the weather isn’t great there.

Below, an underground river connects to a vast network that extends 55 km underground.

Photo : ETLI / Shutterstock

Caves of Sare

Sare in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques is one of the most picturesque towns in France and its prehistoric caves are a sight to behold.

There’s also a museum so you can extend your time out of the sun even further.

Photo : Giuliano Del Gatto/Shutterstock

Le Faouet

Le Faouët is a town in Morbihan, Brittany, surrounded by beautiful forests.

There is plenty to do in the area, including visiting the Sainte-Barbe chapel or taking a walk along one of the rivers, including the Ellé, pictured below.

Photo : Stephane Bidouze / Shutterstock

The map above is part of our ongoing series showcasing different elements of French society and culture through maps.

We have also written about French cheeses, funny town names, local sweets and desserts, local appetizers and many other topics.

If you have any suggestions for maps you’d like us to make or think we should add something to our previous articles, let us know at [email protected].

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