Here are some of the quirky things we learned about France putting together this month’s issue, from the origins of bouillabaisse to an amazing vintage fairground museum in Paris
1) You can visit the Cirque de Navacelles in Occitanie with the help of a four-legged friend
Donkeys are the ultimate slow tourism companion for a trip to see some of this region’s most dramatic natural sites.
Join Stephen Turnbull and donkey Gavroche on page 18 in the first of our sustainable tourism series, taking the slow road to see some of Occitanie’s sustainability initiatives.
2) There’s a Paris museum where you can ride on vintage fairground equipment
The fabulous Musée des Arts Forains in the 12th arrondissement is the perfect place to embrace your inner child, with retro carousels and merry-go-rounds to enjoy.
Discover more quirky Paris museums in our round-up on page 29.
3) You can follow a ‘cat trail’ around the beautiful town of Dole in Jura to discover its heritage
The Circuit du Chat Perché has 35 stages around the town stopping at must-see buildings, gardens, fountains and more.
Explore Dole’s tangled streets with Lara Dunn on page 32.
4) The Mercantour National Park is a haven for all sorts of magnificent wildlife
The very first sightings of wolves in this Alpine idyll were back in 1992 and you can also catch glimpses of marmots, ibex and more.
Hike through this dramatic landscape with guidebook author Gillian Price on page 36.
5) There’s a church in Indre described as a ‘Big Bang of Colour’
The ceilings and walls of the 19th-century Église Notre-Dame du Menoux are a riot of colour thanks to the talents of Bolivian-born Jorge Carrasco, who lived in Le Menoux for 38 years.
Alison Hughes shares more of France’s quirkiest churches on page 42.
6) The oldest recipe for bouillabaisse dates all the way back to 1768
Bouillabaisse was found in a notebook promoting healthy eating and contained garlic, parsley, a bay leaf, olive oil and lots of onions.
Paola Westbeek explains all there is to know about the iconic French dish on page 73.
7) A pair of goggles helped to inspire Jacques Cousteau to dedicate his life to the sea
While recovering in Toulon from a car crash, Cousteau was lent a pair of Fernez underwater goggles allowing him to explore the seabed. He soon became a regular diver and helped develop the first Scuba equipment.
Find out more about the pioneering oceanographer with Heidi Fuller-love on page 82.
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