France has been drawing in an average of 82 million international visitors every year for well over two decades. France’s refined culture, superb cuisine, fine wines, romantic chateaux, and stunning scenery lure visitors from all over the world.
Top 10 Places to Visit in France
Many people’s first mental image of France is of Paris. However there is much more to see in the country than just the capital, which is a lovely city full of neoclassical architecture and some of the country’s most iconic monuments (such as the Eiffel Tower).
Test out the Germanic culture of the Alsace region or the Normandy invasion beaches. Castles and wineries await you in the Loire Valley, while the rustic Celtic traditions of Brittany await you in the west.
The Bordeaux region is well-known all over the world for producing, well, you get the idea. The French Alps, home to Europe’s tallest mountain, Mont Blanc, are worth checking out. The French Riviera, which includes the popular resort town of Saint-Tropez, may be found in the south. There’s a lot to see, so we’ve narrowed it down to the top spots in France.
Lyon is the largest city in the Rhone department and the Rhone-Alpes region in eastern France. Lyon has a rich history and is now the third largest city in France, renowned for its historic architecture, delicious cuisine, and lively cultural scene.
The city of Lyon consists of numerous neighbourhoods spread across its nine arrondissements. There are exciting things to see and do in every single area. Presqu’île, for instance, is where all the action happens with its restaurants, pubs, and clubs, while Croix-Rousse is famous for its maze of traboules.
Roman ruins and Gothic churches can be found in Fourvière, while the wealthy neighbourhood of Brotteaux is home to the stunning Tete d’Or park.
The historic district of Vieux Lyon is known for its winding, cobblestone streets and Renaissance buildings and landmarks like the astronomical clock atop St. Jean Cathedral. This region is filled with great places to eat and buy a memento of your trip.
Strasbourg is the spot where French and German culture blend seamlessly into one another. Strasbourg, the capital of the Alsace region, straddles the French and German borders. Strasbourg is home to the European Parliament as well as the European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe, among many others.
Grande Ile, the city’s historic core, is not to be missed. The centre has numerous museums and eye-catching sights, such as the spectacular Gothic cathedral with pink sandstone, complex carvings, and a 300-year-old operating, astrological clock, set among a blend of French and German architecture with signage in both languages.
Another of Strasbourg’s many draws is the lovely La Petite France district. This waterfront neighbourhood is known for its quaint cafes, half-timbered townhouses, and colourful flower boxes around the windows.
Strasbourg has a thriving arts and culture scene with world-famous venues like the Thtre national de Strasbourg and the Musee des Beaux-Arts and the Musee Alsacien.
French and German influences can be tasted in the excellent beer, wine, and delicious food. Tours and complimentary drinks can be had at any one of the area’s several wino bars and breweries. Alsatian cuisine is known for its unique takes on Germanic staples like sauerkraut and sausage, the German noodle dish spaetzle, and the meat and vegetable stew known as baeckeoffe.
3. Loire Valley
The Loire Valley in central France is a popular tourist destination due to its stunning natural beauty, magnificent chateaux, picturesque vineyards, and old villages.
There are several picturesque towns in the Loire Valley, which extends for 175 miles along the Loire River and includes the town of Amboise, where Leonardo da Vinci spent his final years. Tours, Chinon, Anglers, Saumur, and Orleans are some of the other historic communities in the area. The Château at Blois, France, is historically notable since it was a frequent gathering place for French monarchs and nobles.
Most visitors come to the valley to see the many chateaux that dot the landscape. These chateaux, commissioned by the French aristocracy, range from stately country estates to imposing fortresses and opulent mansions. There are many well-known chateaux in France, but Chambord, Amboise, Rivau, Chinon, and Chenonceau stand out.
As a result of the Cher, Loiret, Eure, and Loire rivers’ rich deposits, the Loire Valley is known as the “Garden of France” for its profusion of flower gardens, fruit orchards, and vineyards. There are numerous vineyards in the valley that welcome visitors for tours and tastings.
Bordeaux, the seat of the Gironde department in the Aquitaine area of southern France, is well recognised as one of the world’s major wine-producing regions, with an annual output of more than 800 million bottles of premium wine.
Bordeaux, a large port city in southwestern France, is located on the River Garonne about half an hour inland from the Atlantic Ocean and is known for its excellent architecture, historic landmarks, and world-class arts and cultural scene.
The Pedestrian Zone in the heart of Bordeaux is home to more than three hundred monuments and buildings of historical significance, including cathedrals from the Middle Ages, a Roman amphitheatre, and picturesque old bridges like the Ponte de Pierre. The Place de la Bourse, the city’s most famous square, is the most visually arresting due to its mirror-like quality.
Bordeaux’s well-developed waterfront features multiple quays where visitors may buy at bustling markets and designer outlet stores, dine at exquisite restaurants, or simply relax and take in the breathtaking river views.
The Luberon is the place to go in the south of France to mix with the common people. It’s a popular summer destination for the French upper class, as well as tourists from the United Kingdom and the United States.
Central Provence became a popular tourist location when Peter Mayle wrote popular books set there. You’ll quickly realise why the Luberon is so popular among vacationers once you see its verdant forests, fields of lavender, farmer’s markets, and brightly painted houses.
Oppede le Vieux earthenware, which exudes an air of the Medieval Ages, makes for a wonderful keepsake.
6. Mont Saint-Michel
The rocky island of Mont Saint-Michel, off the coast of Normandy in northwest France, rises over enormous mud flats and some of Europe’s most violent tidal waves.
With its seemingly stacked mediaeval buildings and its crowning attraction, the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel, the tidal island is a popular tourist destination in France. In 708, after the Bishop of Avranches was supposedly visited by the Archangel Michael, devoted monks began construction on the magnificent abbey.
Unless you have weeks or months to spend in the gorgeous Dordogne region of southwestern France, you’re going to pick and select the things you want to see. Start your sightseeing with postcard-perfect villages and chateaux like the well-preserved Chateau de Baynac, a castle perched atop a hill.
The Dordogne River, which winds through the region, also makes for some stunning scenery. The Dordogne also features some of the best prehistoric cave art in France. Animals predominate among the mural subjects at Lascaux. They are no longer open to the public, but a replica should not be missed.
8. French Riviera
Situated on the French coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the French Riviera (Cote d’ Azur) is the playground for the rich, famous and throngs of tourists. Although there is no legally recognised border, most people think it begins at the Italian border and continues west to somewhere like Saint-Tropez, Hyères, Toulon, or Cassis.
While many people know about the glitz of St. Tropez, Monaco, and the Cannes Film Festival, the Riviera is also home to several lesser-known attractions including the perched towns of Eze and Saint-Paul de Vence and the perfumeries of Grasse.
Many famous artists, like Picasso, have found inspiration in the Riviera, and their works are on exhibit in the area’s museums and galleries. The region boasts a pleasantly mild to warm climate all year round, despite being one of the more northerly coasts on the whole Mediterranean.
Paris is the most visited city in the world, with over 45 million tourists passing through each year. Paris, the capital of France, is famous for its romantic atmosphere, delicious cuisine, fashionable boutiques, and cutting-edge art, earning it such nicknames as the City of Lights, the City of Love, and the Capital of Fashion.
Famous Parisian landmarks include the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Versailles Palace, Sacre-Coeur, and Notre Dame Cathedral, but the city is divided into 20 arrondissements, each with its own personality and attractions.
The Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay are just two of the world-class museums that call Paris home. In addition, Paris is home to some of the world’s most beautiful gardens, including the Luxembourg Gardens.
Dubbed the City of Fashion, Paris is home to some of the world’s best designer labels including Yves Saint-Laurent, Lancôme, L’Oréal and Christian Dior. The city’s commercial environment extends from shopping centres to open-air markets, boutiques and flea markets.
The great underground train system, known as the Métro, is the second best and cheapest method to get around Paris, after walking.
Marseille, a major Mediterranean seaport in southeastern France, is one of the oldest towns in Europe. It is also the second-largest city in France. Despite its lovely environment, Roman remains, mediaeval architecture, and illustrious cultural venues, Marseille is a thriving city that is home to a number of colleges and businesses.
Vieux Port, Marseille’s historic port, is the city’s focal point. Its busy harbour is dominated by two mediaeval forts and is surrounded with riverfront cafes, shops, and bars. The Quai des Belges is located at the mouth of the port and is a popular spot to see ships, ferries, and the daily fish auction.
The Calanques are a series of little inlets with magnificent blue water and beautiful limestone cliffs, and they are one of Marseille’s outstanding natural attractions. Marseille is a major regional centre of arts and culture with various museums, art galleries and historic structures including La Vielle Charite and the Basilique Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. There is a plethora of theatres and opera houses in the city, including the renowned Theatre Toursky.