FIVE SECRET SPOTS FOR LIVENING UP YOUR WEEKEND WITHOUT ABSTAINING 

24 hours before voting in the French elections or right after having slipped your envelope into the ballot box, we’ve got a few perfect ideas for a little getaway! And these gems are all located less than two hours from the major cities. So, lovers of secret spots, here’s our top 5 places you’ll need for this very long yet much too short weekend.

2 hours from Paris, for those who like it juicy and tender

Get in line for the Burger Fermier des Enfants Rouges, a burger joint popular with the people of Le Troquet and weekend visitors. We rush over for ground Limousin beef sandwiched between two brioche buns, with Tomme au cidre cheese and freshly made fries. No one knows if Brigitte and Emmanuel have eaten here… For somewhere to sleep nearby? The lovely bedroom at La Cour de Rémi: €160 a night.

2 hours from Bordeaux and 45 minutes from La Rochelle, for those who like it plump

Roll up your shirtsleeves and wolf down the oysters from Les Huîtres de Trousse-Chemise at father Franck’s shack. It fills up at apéro-hour, partly because the view of the Fier d’Ars bay and partly because of the plump shellfish opened on the spot (n°3, €15 for a dozen). And to get some shut-eye nearby, head over to Le Sénéchal, a labyrinth-like Charentias riad with ocean views and a heated pool. Rooms and suites: €69-349 a night.

2 hours from Lyon, for those who like it small but sophisticated

Hit the road and head towards Kamouraska (Le Guide Fooding’s best bistro-didact of 2013) where wines bottles get popped open and freshly made dishes dance out of the kitchen: a comfort food burger made with fish from the lake; flavorful cured ham and an Abondance cheese mousse; fennel sprigs over faisselle cheese drizzled with honey (plates €5-13). And since you’re already here, stop off at the Boutik Hotel. Located right in the heart of Annecy’s old town, you’ll sleep piously at this former annex of the Saint-Joseph convent with a view of the lagoon. Double rooms starting at €110 a night.

2 hours from Montpellier, for those who like it to wriggle

Head to La Nautique (Le Guide Fooding’s Best Portside Bistro of 2017) for an apéro avé lé copaings. On the menu: homemade sangria, fried anchovies, mullet tartare from the Agde fish market and roasted potatoes (set menu options €12-15). And on your way back home, take a little staycation with a night at Le Mas de la Feuillade, in the middle of a private park in downtown Montpellier! Double rooms starting at €150 a night.

1.5 hours from Clermont-Ferrand, for those who like contrast

The mountains are so beautiful! Tucked up high at 1,000 meters’ elevation amongst the dormant volcanoes, L’Épicerie de Dienne (Le Guide Fooding’s Best Village Bistro of 2017) is worth the trip: homemade terrine and cornichons; cod filet and mashed potatoes; cheese; and a freshly made millefeuille for dessert (menu-carte €18). And for a nap nearby, the house recommends shacking up at L’Alta Terra, an eco-trip spot with a view of the crater, where you’ll feel like the only people alive.