There’s a geyser in France?

While it might not have the magnificence of Yellowstone’s Old Faithful, those same kinds of underground boiling waters that put on a regular spectacle several times daily in Wyoming do so here as well. In the town of Vals-les-Bains, south of Lyon, La Source Intermittente erupts every 6 hours and might qualify for a must-see list, according to a survey commissioned by airline company Icelandair. They had the survey company OnePoll compile a Top 20 list of places that people wanted to visit on a vacation once it was safe to travel after Covid. While the 2000 participants had a wide range of destinations, there was definitely some agreement. Most felt that they were ready for adventure after spending more than a year doing nothing and were only now realizing the importance of getting away. They wanted to take spectacular photos, visit another country, and number 14 on the list, see a geyser. That made me curious about how many of the other 19 desires could be met in France.

On my first glance down the choices, number 2 jumped out immediately; Visit castles and other historic buildings. With an estimated 45,000 castles and another 11,000 listed properties it’s pretty easy to check off that item. Countryside walks, beaches, museums, and climbing a mountain can all be quickly arranged. Whale watching? Absolutely, off the coasts adjoining both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. You can see a volcano, “sleeping” as they say in French, in the same area where that geyser is erupting. Here’s the whole list:

  • 1. Walking in the countryside
  • 2. Visit castles and other historic buildings
  • 3. Beach lounging
  • 4. See the Northern Lights
  • 5. Swimming pool lounging
  • 6. Boat trip
  • 7. Visit museums
  • 8. Whale watching
  • 9. Visit a rainforest
  • 10. Visit a theme park
  • 11. Safari /exotic animal spotting
  • 12. See a volcano
  • 13. Climb a mountain
  • 14. Watch a geyser erupt
  • 15. Cycling
  • 16. Zip wire
  • 17. Rafting / Kayaking
  • 18. Visit a desert
  • 19. Cave exploration
  • 20. Off-road driving

Near us there are caves to explore, cycling routes to ride, and a zip line across the lake over the heads of the kayakers below. On mainland France, the closest thing to a desert that I could find was La Dune du Pilat near Bordeaux with its sand dunes that are 100 meters (328 feet) tall. Surprisingly, you can even see the Northern Lights here from several locations around the country. I’ll include a link below for a blog that highlights those spots. Sorry, for a rainforest you’d have to visit Disneyland Paris for a re-creation or fly to the French island of Guadeloupe. I wonder if Icelandair goes there?

The Northern Lights:

Northern Lights article in pdf in case the link doesn’t work

Photo credits appear with each photo in the gallery. The featured photo at the top is La Source (Ardèche Tourisme).

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