When we were kids, we didn’t have to venture far to feel as if we were in another world; completely disconnected. We were content just going down to the lake or the sea and making it up as we went along. We were living fully in the present moment, and we felt as if we were at the end of the earth.
So, it begs to question: why does this have to change when we become adults? The magic of another culture, another time, another horizon is just begging to be discovered. And luckily, it doesn’t require a long-haul plane ride. Here are our top 5 out-of-the-ordinary trips all less than 3 hours from Paris and London.
1. Stepping foot on Mars in Corsica
The time: 1 hour and 35 minutes by plane from Paris
2 hours and 10 minutes by plane from London
The Trip: Start at L’Ile-Rousse (less tourist-y), then make your way down to Ajaccio via a spontaneous road-trip in a vintage car.
The Adventure: Halfway along the way, hike the Scandola Reserve (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) with a guide to see some of the largest rock formations and most secretive coves in all of Corsica. Church ruins falling off cliff sides and enormous red rocks that appear straight from Mars will have us feeling as if we are walking on another planet.
The house: Villa Mizar
2. Going back a century in Normandy
The time: 2 hours and 17 minutes by train from Paris
1 hour and 5 minutes by plane from London
The Trip: Arrive into Caen and rent a car to travel pretty roads that lead to Deauville.
The Adventure: Explore the sister cities as they were during their golden ages in the early 19th century, long before Coco Chanel made this seaside town her favorite holiday spot. Admire the watercolor and picturesque facades of Deauville and Trouville before trying the bi-centenary sport, the sulky. Pulled along by a horse-drawn buggy, fly across the immense beaches. Then, leave to taste the regional Calvados whiskey at their legendary distillery.
The house: Manoir Angèle
3. Hopping from island to island in Mallorca
The time: 1 hour and 55 minutes by plane from Paris
2 hours and 25 minutes by plane from London
The Trip: Arrive into Palma, the main city, and go to the more peaceful Cala d’Or area on the southern shore (FYI: the color of the water in the coves of Cala d’Or is just striking.)
The Adventure: Hop on a private boat to experience the smaller, more peaceful island of Minorca. Then, drop anchor for snorkeling on an isolated beach where its only you, the sun and the sea. With its other-worldly turquoise waters, as soon as you’re submerged, the under water life flourishes with colorful fish. It’s a real cast-away experience, without getting stranded, of course.
The house: Villa Breeze
4. Exploring the story of Romeo and Juliet in Tuscany
The time: 1 hour and 40 minutes by plane from Paris
2 hours and 10 minutes by plant from London
The Adventure: Take a train to Verona and lose yourself in the medieval, winding streets of the famous Romeo and Juliet. You can even write your own letter to Juliet asking for love advice if you so desire. Then, re-create the star-crossed romance by having a candle-lit Italian dinner at the cathedral-like Darì Ristorante just next to the arenas. Under the glow of the candles on the terracotta walls, you’ll never want to leave this feeling of being lost in time.
The house: Villa Muri Antichi
5. Soaring in a war-era plane above Cap Ferret
The time: 1 hour 10 minutes by plane from Paris
1 hour 40 minutes by plane from London
The Trip: Land in Bordeaux and jump on a train to reach the beautiful seaside resort of Arcachon.
The Adventure: Soar in a B-plane above the incredible dunes of Pilat. Watch as the wind off the ocean pushes the sand into cool, fluid shapes below. As the wind rushes through our hair and the birds-eye views spike our adrenaline, we feel as if we are back in an era when flying was the new frontier. Afterward, enjoy a gourmet appetizer of local, fresh-caught seafood on the tarmac.
The house: Villa Biancasa