Secret European Summer Getaways

Do as the Europeans do and steal away to these hidden destinations that offer a welcome respite from tourist season.

Grignan, Provence, France

No one tries to avoid tourists more than the French, who have an annual six-week grand vacance to help them do so. As the world’s most-visited country, France is forced to sacrifice popular destinations like Normandy and Provence for lesser-known but equally beautiful départements like Morbihan and the Loire-Atlantique. The village of Grignan in Drôme hits all the criteria for a secret French hideaway: It’s historic, of culinary interest and offers Gauls a chance to reconnect with nature. Ditto for Le Claire de la Plume (from $150; 2 Place du Mail; 33-4/75-91-81-30; clairplume.com), a small inn once used as a truffle house by Picasso’s girlfriend and today visited by Bernadette Chirac and chanteuse Arielle Dombasle.