Spending a holiday in France provides lots of opportunities for individuals and families to experience the area`s ancient history. There are specific sites throughout the country that are well worth exploring. France has many iconic landmarks, gorgeous beaches and exciting modern cities, but discovering its history brings its own rewards. When time comes to plan the trip, make sure to check out each of the following places and take in all of the history and value they have to offer.
The ancient stones left behind in Carnac by past civilizations are truly a sight to behold. With over 10,000 stones set up in the area, many in perfect lines, there are various ideas and even legends that describe how they were arranged. This is a great location for photographs and the vast array of stones lying across the countryside is truly inspirational.
In addition to the ancient stones, Carnac, located in northwestern France, has a beautiful beach that becomes popular each year around July and August. One step into the water and visitors enjoy its warmth. As they look into the distance, it isn`t unusual to see boats out in the water or windsurfers taking advantage of the local breezes.
Heading south, visitors can stop to visit Chauvet Cave. Inside, it is possible to see some of the oldest cave drawings known to humans. Drawings of animals, including bison, horses and even cave lions and bears are sprinkled throughout the walls. However, there aren`t any complete human figures in any of the drawings. Instead, there are only parts of people, often combined with different animals, symbols, or patterns. It`s one of the most important pre-historic discoveries ever made and different types of remains and fossils that were critical to the study of the time period were also found.
While it is not possible at this time for the general public to enter the cave, it is possible to head over to Vallon Pont d`Arc, a nearby town, to see an exhibition that has been put together showcasing some of the discoveries from it. Visitors can enjoy a film and also browse through some of the displays to get further insight into these fascinating discoveries.
Grand Roman Theater of Lyon
Watching gladiators fight to the death on television is nothing like standing in the Grand Roman Theater of Lyon and imagining it taking place before your eyes. Aside from the theater ruins, credited to Augustus and possibly built as early as 15 B.C., there are other areas to explore as well. The Odeon is nearby as is the Museum of Gallo-Roman Civilization.
La Maison Carree
Located in southern France, the Maison Carree is another magnificent display of ancient construction. Here visitors can take in Roman temples and get a closer look at the way people worshiped and spent their time in the past. The architecture alone makes this stop well worth the visit, with various levels of preservation being done to ensure that the temple is here for everyone to enjoy for many years to come. The hours of operation change, based on the seasons, but those planning a visit in July and August, which is the peak season, can enjoy the temple from 9:30am to 8 pm.
Before visiting any of these ancient destinations in France, it is important to arrange for accommodations well in advance, especially during the busy season. Consider looking through the available sites in Poitou Charentes, for example and determine how much time it will take to get to each location. Make sure to allow plenty of time at each place, so you can appreciate the vast expanse of history and beauty.
By J. Bhagwat
~ Founder of AncientDestinations.com