Intern Hannah gives us a post-year abroad peek into the scintillating sights of Germany and France during her family road-trip to southern France!

Intern Hannah gives us a post-year abroad peek into the scintillating sights of Germany and France during her family road-trip to southern France!


Destinology intern, Hannah, spent her third year of University in the city of Grenoble, nestled within the magnificent French-Alps. Bestowed with a boundless opportunity to visit various destinations on her voyage down, she tells of her favourite places discovered en-route with her family; revealing an ideal itinerary within Germany and France suitable for anyone trying to keep parents entertained!

See the sights in the city of Saarbrucken

‘Before my enthralling ERASMUS expedition within Europe, my parents graciously offered to drive me all the way from Manchester to the sunny southern region of Isère. Therefore, it was only right that we seized the chance to do some road-tripping! Our first destination, Saarbrücken, better known as the capital of the Saarland, is a treasure trove of history, emanating a fairytale-esque vibe with its 18th century baroque style buildings. That’s not to say it hasn’t been touched by modernity, with the expansion of vibrant shopping centres and offices in recent years!’

Also noteworthy is the city’s rustic German cuisine, which Hannah and her parents experienced on a visit to a local favourite of the city, Zum Steifel.


‘A cosy, countrified restaurant and brewery, we enjoyed a hearty meal of succulent meats mit noodle, followed by delicious Apfelstruddel. The German beer was highly recommended too, and I now have Saarbrücken to thank for the fact I’ve acquired a taste for it!’

Gaze at the gorgeous German geography

Not only can you take a city break within the Saarland, but an exploration of its bountiful countryside is something certainly not to be missed.


‘One of the most impressive sights was the glorious view of the Saar Bow - a horseshoe bend in the river Saar also known as the Saarschleife. The vantage point over this scene was incredible, as the ebbing and flowing of the splendid Saar could be seen for miles, colliding into deep blue skies ahead.

Venture through the vertiginous Alps

After exploring Deutschland, the family headed to France towards the memorising region of Isère.

‘The first thing that struck me was the imposing yet empowering beauty of the rugged mountains, which trailed and sprawled languidly on the cusp of lush fields. Yet on the approach towards the heart of the Alps, the dynamism of these mountains became quite stark, as they loomed overhead within valleys of awe-striking splendour.’


Renting a gite from one of the region’s alpine campsites is a great way to capitalise on these spectacular views and is where you’ll find perfect group activities for families, such as swimming, hiking and cycling.

Discover the ‘Venice of the Alps’

The quaint town of Annecy, also known as the ‘Venice of the Alps’, oversees an iridescent, cyan-coloured lake, known to be the purest in Europe due to its mountainous origins. Unsurprisingly, many water activities take place in the area, including sailing, water-skiing and diving, as well as a great number of outdoor pursuits such as cycling, via-ferrata and canyoning!


‘If the parents’ forté isn’t sports, then there’s always the option to visit the traditional French markets that line the streets. Here you’ll sample authentic local delicacies and shop for knick-knacks and antiques, which my magpie-like mum had a great time browsing through!’

Get a taste of authentic French culture in Grenoble

A quintessentially French appearance of tree-lined boulevards, al fresco eateries and ancient architecture combine with mountain ranges and spectacular waterways in the Capital of the Alps, Grenoble. Ironically, it’s also one the flattest cities in Europe despite its precipitous position, which certainly makes cycling a beloved form of transportation for its active citizens.


‘For a city, there is such a wonderfully easy-going and relaxed vibe that it makes you want to submerse yourself in its local attitude, in smiling, shrugging your shoulders and saying ‘pas de soucis!’ (the French equivalent for ‘no worries’). It was astonishing to us that it managed to remain so unblemished by flurries of tourists!’

Head to historical heights

To make the most of Grenoble’s fantastic views, it behoves you to visit its most cherished location – the Bastille. This ancient fortress residing upon a mountainside of Mont Rachais boasts the most stunning of panoramas over the city. Whether you want to venture up by foot and earn your view, or via the famous Grenoblian cable cars or ‘boules’, you certainly won’t be disappointed.


‘Gaze upon the longest road in France, the impressive massif of Chartreuse, the peak of Mont Blanc and the rugged horizon of the Belledone and Vercours mountains, before delving into the history of bastille in its open air museum. And if the parents will allow it, go all-out on the zip-wire or dabble in a bit of abseiling!’

Hit the slopes

If that didn’t get your heart racing, then this certainly might! Fringed with an array of mountain ranges, there is certainly no shortage of ski resorts in Grenoble’s vicinity.

‘The favourite haunt amongst the Grenoblians has to be Les Deux Alpes. People within the region are first to get a taste of the start of the season here, and so were we as we spent an unorthodox, snowy Halloween’s day on the slopes. However, I seemed to have forgotten my parents’ lack of penchant for the sport, until I saw their silhouettes timidly trailing behind me. But there was nothing to fear, since they could seek solace in the shops and go après-skiing, of course!’

Wine and Dine

As they say in France, life is too short to drink bad wine, and there’s no shortage of great wine here.


‘For a fantastic frolic through the fruity booze that Grenoble has to offer, I recommend Le Verre à Soi. This unique restaurant offers distinct wines to taste, from traditional to contemporary and is the perfect place for authentic charcuterie. However, if you’d prefer your meat more refined, saignant (rare) steaks and tartiflette are freshly served at local favourites such as Ferme à Dédé.’

Beyond the city, why not extend your quest for a fine bottle of vin by visiting its birthplace in the sun-dappled vineyards of Bordeaux?

There and back again

‘Now my parents and I are back in good old England, apologising incessantly and forming orderly queues, I pine for the mountains of Grenoble, grateful for that sense of wanderlust found on our first family road trip around Germany and France’s treasures.’


Heading to the south of France? We’d love to help you plan your ideal family itinerary around its little-known wonders.


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