Best Places to Visit in France - Top Tourist Attractions
Romance seekers searching for ideal holiday destinations should look into places to visit in France. French, or the French Republic, is located near the western end of the great Eurasian landmass.
During its long history and to this day, France has been Europe's most important agriculture centre and one of the world's dominant industrial countries.
Along with long-term history and cultural values, this country provides plenty of must-see destinations for a holiday trip. People refer to France as one of the world's most popular tourist destinations.
This lovely hexagon-shaped country can offer you plenty of scenery, from the gorgeous, outstanding alps in Chamonix; to the scenic, serene blue water of the Loire River to the picturesque seaside towns in Saint-Tropez. If you plan to have a trip to this beautiful land, read further into this article for more information on famous France tourist attractions.
The gorgeous view before dawn, centring the Eiffel tower. Photo by Christ Karidis on Unsplash
An Overview of France - Interesting Facts
Before jumping straight into the list of the best cities to visit in France, let’s learn some fun facts about the country so that we get to know it better.
Any traveller who ever set foot in France must admit that this is one massive land. In fact, France is considered the largest country in the European Union and the third-largest country in Europe, just after Ukraine and Russia.
With a total area of 551,695 square kilometres (213,010 square miles), the wanderlust will undoubtedly love to take some time and experience it.
Searching for incredible European destinations? Check out the top 10 beautiful places in Europe.
It will be a shame to discuss France without mentioning its fantastic cuisine. People worldwide love the excellent combination of cooking traditions and practices in exquisite French dishes. Therefore, it is no surprise that French gastronomy was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage in 2010. The country also produces some of the finest, most expensive cheese and wine.
France is a fantastic place with useful inventions and internationally-renowned dishes, but there is more to expect from it. If one ever comes to this beautiful country, he or she will be enchanted by the charming lavender fields surrounding half-timbered houses or the romantic scene along the bank of the Loire River. Read further into this article, as you will see more of the most beautiful places in France.
Best place to visit in France
Perhaps all of us have at least one wild dream about Paris. It’s depicted as the perfect symbol of love, beauty and luxury. The city of Love has been the inspiration for poets, writers, screenwriters and playwrights for centuries. Some may call it an exaggeration, but travellers who set foot in Paris will say otherwise. Paris is truly a place worth living and visiting.
As one of the best places to visit in France, Paris attracts more than 45 million visitors every year. Plenty of tourists come to the city of Light specifically for its architectural masterpieces. Whether you dwell in Paris or not, you may have heard at least once about the iconic Eiffel Tower, Versailles Palace and Notre Dame Cathedral.
Autumn coming around near the Seine river in Paris. Photo by Anthony Delanoix on Unsplash
If you are a history lover, Versailles will be a lovely choice among Paris places to visit. Come and witness with your own eyes the beauty of time portrayed in the splendid Baroque facade, the dashing Hall of Mirrors and the marvellous sight of the tranquil Gardens.
Paris is also well known for having some of the world's finest museums, notable among which is the Louvre. Art enthusiasts flock to the Louvre for its splendid collection of fine art and Impressionist art in history. Some of the most influential and historical pieces include the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo and the Raft of the Medusa.
Mont Saint-Michel is probably one of the most recognizable and photographed France attractions. This island possesses a unique beauty compared to other Paris tourist places. Emerging from the vast mud flats and standing against powerful tidal waves, the island seems isolated and unapproachable. Luckily, the bridge connecting Mont Saint-Michel and the mainland gives us a way to sneak in for a bit of discovery.
Mont Saint-Michel towering from the pristine water. Photo by Xavier Senete on Unsplash
Since the 8th century, Mont Saint-Michel has been one of the prominent pilgrimage places in the Christian West. To this day, the pilgrims still embark on a long journey to cross the bay of Saint-Michel. If you visit the place at the right time, you will get the chance to observe the holy walks, a delightful and honourable experience.
Many tourists arrive at this highlight of the Normandy region for a unique religious experience. They long to see the stunning mediaeval structures, especially the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel. Who can resist the awe-inspiring abbey, the symbol of Gothic architecture? Tourists can also enjoy different religious services, music concerts and cultural events.
Our next destination is a less well-known city, yet it contains irresistible attractions. Located on the Southeast coast of France, Marseille is one of the oldest cities and the largest second one in the country. Like any crucial seaport, this city was influenced by an array of different cultures, especially North Africa.
Coming to Marseille, tourists have the chance to enjoy a wide range of activities. Those who love to take it easy may come to Vieux Port. This bustling area has plenty of beautiful waterfront cafes and bars overlooking the scenic sea view.
Bustling harbour on a fine morning at Marseille. Photo by Elisa Schmidt on Unsplash
If you would like to observe daily life scenes, walk further to the end of this harbour. In normal conditions, hundreds of yachts and ferryboats will be ready for daily catches. The freshest ones will be brought straight to the market.
As one of the most famous places in France, Calanques is excellent for those who love beaches and outdoor amusement. Pack your stuff and take a bus or metro to this remarkable destination to be enchanted by the magnificent view.
Once arrived, it’s your chance to put all concerns behind you and immerse in the beauty of nature. It will be just you, crystal clear blue water and breathtaking limestone cliffs. And why not enjoy the most exquisite dishes and exotic local meals along the beach? It will be a pleasant experience.
Strasbourg is a grand city lying in the heart of the Alsace region, on the border of France and Germany. It's Alsace's capital and a crucial area that is the seat of many international organisations. Along with the European Parliament, this place is also home to other important European institutions, such as the European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe.
Lovely rows of ancient houses in Strasbourg. Photo by chan lee on Unsplash
This city is not only an important political point but also among the most famous places in France. Find your way to the Grande Ile, and you will be overwhelmed by the significant architectural structures. The buildings blend French and German architecture, ranging from aesthetic museums to striking churches. Most tourists find it enjoyable to walk on narrow cobblestone streets and gaze through the lovely night view of the city.
Tourists visiting Strasbourg during the day can spend time at some of the most notable attractions. For movie lovers, you should visit the renowned theatres of Opéra national du Rhin or the national de Strasbourg.
Have a great passion for magnificent arts? Strasbourg Museum of Fine Arts or the Alsatian Museum will be a lovely choice for you. After a long trip, don't forget to enjoy distinctive dishes and superb specialities in local restaurants.
Tourists familiar with famous places of France must know Côte d'Azur, also known as the wonderful French Riviera. No one can resist the charm of a coastline city. What is more enjoyable than lying on the white beach sand, looking up at the mesmerising clear sky next to the deep blue waters?
Admire the marvellous seaside view in a luxurious resort. Photo by Valentin B. Kremer on Unsplash
This city is truly a place for everyone. You are offered a great variety of choices for amusement. A trip to fantastic museums and impressive boulevards will ease up your exhaustion.
For those who want something more elevated, try the luxurious sandy beaches in Antibes. The services and facilities won't let you down. Saint-Tropez welcomes hundreds of celebrities and influencers every year with exclusive private beaches, upscale beach clubs and high-end restaurants.
Saint-Tropez is the right choice if you would love a private holiday without all the crowds. This place has been the playground for the upper class, who are not afraid of spending a fortune in exchange for a quiet, lovely holiday vacation.
If you’re a skiing enthusiast, you will love to give Chamonix, one of the best places to visit in France, a chance. Far in the Western area of Europe, this picturesque mountain hides its beauty in the French Alps. Tourists here won’t be able to resist the magnificent view of striking mountain peaks and scenic white valleys.
Chamonix is not only a famous sightseeing spot but also a renowned winter sports centre. Passionate sports fans must have heard about Chamonix as the mountain town that hosted the world’s first Winter Olympics in 1924. “The roof of Europe” has countless ski resorts with ideal steep slopes and excellent weather conditions.
The striking beauty of the French Alps reflected in the water. Photo by Marc Kargel on Unsplash
The town also has much to offer for non-sports fans, especially in the summertime. Bring a camera because Chamonix's summer scenery will steal your heart. Imagine yourself taking a stroll in the middle of beautiful meadows, surrounded by green pine forests and snow-capped peaks. How poetic is that!
Tourists visiting Chamonix shouldn't miss the majestic Mont Blanc, which only takes a 15-minute drive from the village. This mountain is often referred to as one of Europe's top 10 highest mountains. At 4,810 metres (approximately 15,780 feet), this place offers a perfect relaxing destination for its fresh air, sublime landscape and crystal clear lakes.
Our next destination is an underestimated but undoubtedly amazing city in Northern France. Travelling a few kilometres to the East, near the border with Belgium, you will reach Lille, a bustling and lively place full of French and Flemish influences.
Lille has a lot to offer, from excellent cuisine to cheerful markets. If you manage a trip in early September, make sure not to miss the yearly festival of Grande Braderie.
The famous street fair has more than 10,000 vendors hawking their wares at multiple stalls across the city. Many items are for sale, including antique silverware, artisan crafts and old records.
Colourful buildings on a street in Lille. Photo by Diane Picchiotino on Unsplash
If you’re not one for shopping, the magnificent architectural structures in Lille may pique your interest. The Grand Place, or the Général de Gaulle Square, is one of the most aesthetic places of France. You will see a mix of modern and historical buildings in this lively square.
Meanwhile, in the central part of the square, there are numerous outdoor restaurants and bars for tourists. Many people love to settle down for a cup of coffee and enjoy the gorgeous view of the Column of the Goddess, the famous memorial.
Not a passionate fan of crowded places? Then you should take a stroll around the town to find some of the most unique museums in France. Palais des Beaux-Arts houses an impressive collection of fine arts pieces, from paintings to sculptures. Meanwhile, the Lille Museum of Natural History shows stunning displays of prehistoric insects and skeletons of extinct species.
If you have a chance to visit Provence, France, don't forget to spend some time in Avignon. This lovely city is located on the left bank of the Rhone river and is also the capital of the Côtes du Rhône.
As small as it is, the city has everything to be on the list of France tourist attractions, from the perfectly moderate weather to beautiful mediaeval streets and aesthetic rows of houses.
Provided the chance to visit Avignon, architecture enthusiasts should not miss the Palais des Papes. Located in Southern France, this incredible structure is one of Europe's most significant and classic mediaeval Gothic buildings.
In the palace, tourists will have a chance to visit the gorgeous Chambre du Cerf, a private study with paintings depicting hunting scenes on its walls and vaults.
The remaining part of Avignon Bridge on a gloomy day. Photo by Frédéric Barriol on Unsplash
Not interested in architecture? Perhaps you will love to stroll on the 12th-century Avignon Bridge, also known as Pont d’Avignon. It will be a shame not to snap some photos and enjoy the gentle breeze on this lovely bridge. The renowned landmark offers a scenic view of the city and the famous Doms Garden.
Take a five-minute walk up a small hill, and you will reach Doms Garden, the English garden that attracts millions of tourists every year. It welcomes you with a magnificent view of the surrounding countryside, which is ideal for a hot summer day.
Take your beloved ones and enjoy your time beside the pond with beautiful swans and carp. May as well prepare for a picnic trip if you want to stay longer.
Loire Valley is among the best options if you love to leave the bustling cities and enjoy the countryside. Stretching 281 kilometres (175 miles) along the Loire River, the valley enchants any wanderer with its stunning flower gardens, fruit orchards and vineyards.
And that’s not even the best part. Gently walk down the valley, and you will find some of the best castles in France with absolutely panoramic views. This place indeed deserves to be one of the most beautiful places in France.
The front view of a dreamlike castle in Loire Valley. Photo by Inha Bae on Unsplash
Loire Valley is an ideal destination for those who seek some artistic inspiration. This place has some of the most beautiful villages in France. The finest example is Amboise, where Leonardo da Vinci spent the last few years of his life. Tours, Chinon and Orleans towns are other historical delights you also should pay a visit to.
Architecture lovers should also keep an eye out for Loire Valley, as this place is a vivid example of Renaissance life. From the fascinating Château de Chenonceau to the romantic Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau, the fascinating view of the ancient castles along the bank of the Loire River will definitely capture anyone’s heart.
There are plenty of things to do in Loire Valley. The fine weather all year round makes it a perfect place for taking a stroll or riding a bike, especially with the extensive network of bike routes. While you are on the way, make sure to stop by some wineries to appreciate the beauty of nature and some wine tastings.
Rouen brings out a pretty much different atmosphere that is unlike any other France's tourist attraction. The city lay on the Seine in Northern France. It was once the largest and most prosperous city in mediaeval Europe. Nowadays, it's the centre of history and culture and the one-way ticket to the glorious past.
Jeanne d’Arc’s statue in nighttime view of Rouen. Photo by Andre Chipurenko on Unsplash
Rouen is a famous destination thanks to the attachment to France heroine Jeanne d'Arc. Anyone with some interest in history will know this is the place she went to trial and was martyred later.
Her statues were placed across the city, and the famous museum "the Historial Jeanne d'Arc" was built to bring her events to life. Do not miss the museum to retrace the steps of this heroine.
Along with the Historial Jeanne d'Arc, there are other museums for tourists to enjoy marvellous artworks. The most famous of them all is The Musée des Beaux-Arts.
What makes this place notable are the variety of artistic movements and a wide range of pieces from the 15th century to the 21st century. Come and observe the 17th-century masterpieces by Anton van Dyck or the 19th-century works of Théodore Géricault.
If you're longing for a sightseeing trip, Rouen has more than 50 religious buildings, some of which significantly represent Gothic architecture. Consider taking a gentle 15-minute stroll around the city and enjoy the breezing mediaeval lanes and nostalgic half-timbered houses. It's the best way for you to immerse yourself in the history and culture of this magnificent place.
One of the best cities to visit in France is the city of Reims. It earned the title of “Villes d'Art et d'Histoire” (Cities of Art and History) thanks to its inspiring architecture and long history. Setting foot in the city, tourists will be overwhelmed by the beauty of aesthetic public squares and stylish restaurants.
Royal families’ fans should recognise Reims as “The City of Kings” since most of France’s coronations happened here. To serve this grand purpose, the city contains marvellous royal French architecture. The architecture ranges from renowned museums concerning royal dynasties to striking Gothic-style buildings.
Reims boasts three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Palais du Tau, Basilique Saint-Remi and Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims. The latest building, known as Reims Cathedral, attracts flocks of tourists from all over the world.
It is not only the destination where the kings were crowned but also the defining model of Gothic art. Definitely a splendid example of perfect proportions and unique patterns!
The calm scene of Reims before the city wakes up. Photo by Adlan on Unsplash
Reims is worth visiting for a wide variety of outdoor activities. Sports fans should head straight to the Reims-Gueux circuit. Come at the right time, and you can watch the famous French Grand Prix with your own eyes.
If sport is not your passion, you may as well spend some time wandering around the town. You will find classic public squares along impressive historical monuments, especially the bronze statue of Jeanne d’Arc.
If Paris is an artificial flower of France, then Provence will be the most vibrant painting of nature. Everything in Provence seems to be brighter than in other places, from the sunshine, the vineyard, and the sunflowers to lavender fields. On the contrary, these adorable little things make Provence an excellent tourist destination.
Have you ever encountered a town that resembles one in a painting? Provence is that kind of place. The bright sunshine all year round brightens up this rural area, and a strange, earthy appeal keeps calling the wanderers.
Try running up the rolling hills and look at small farms, olive groves and lavender fields stretching along the land. Such scenery has become the inspiration for influential artists such as Matisse and Picasso.
Charming lavender fields stretching to the horizon. Photo by Antony BEC on Unsplash
What can be more extraordinary than enjoying excellent cuisine in a breathtaking landscape? Provence provides tourists with outstanding Mediterranean cuisine in which local spices are the star.
Tourists are recommended to try out the specialities and flavorful dishes based on olive oil, vegetables and aromatic herbs. Some of the most outstanding ones include bouillabaisse, a tasty fish stew and fougasse, a soft braided bread.
After appreciating some good food, travellers are welcome to spend time at tree-lined streets and outdoor cafes in Aix-en-Provence. It’s also a pleasant experience to stroll among lovely stone cottages and snap some photos of the vineyards and olive groves. This place is indeed one of the most gorgeous places of France.
The upscale seaside resort of Biarritz is popular among tourists for its Parisian-style elegance and upper-class style. This place has everything you need, from sandy beaches and beautiful waterfront villas to excellent restaurants. It also has an exciting backstory concerning the royal past.
A fine afternoon at the seashore in Biarritz. Photo by Dat Vo on Unsplash
The city was once the favourite summer destination of Empress Eugénie, known as the wife of Napoleon III. She fell in love instantly with this small fishing village for its brilliant setting on the Bay of Biscay. In fact, she liked this place so much that she turned it from an unknown fishing village to a dashing beach town.
Millions of tourists continue to find their way to this land for a pleasant beach trip. How can people resist the delightful ambience of this old seaside resort? Imagine yourself lying on the white sand, listening to the gentle waves and surrounded by colourful, striped parasols. What a lovely summer day it is!
Biarritz may be an old-fashioned style resort, but it has enough to stand among France tourist attractions. If you want a luxurious trip and full-course meals, we suggest the five-star Hôtel du Palais.
The extravagant lifestyle in exquisitely decorated rooms and stylish seaside restaurants indeed sounds satisfying. You may also spend your free time walking in Plage du Miramar, a small intimate beach, to lavish the place’s spectacular scenery.
Bordeaux is a beautiful city near the Garonne river in the Southwestern part of France. With the most exemplary architecture, historic sites and renowned artworks, Bordeaux is definitely one of the best cities to visit in France.
Bordeaux is frequently referred to as the world's largest high-quality wine production region. The country can produce hundreds of millions of leading wine bottles every year. Therefore, remember to not miss the wine tasting when you're here.
The dazzling light of the sun shining upon Bordeaux in the morning. Photo by Vince Gx on Unsplash
Visiting Bordeaux, travellers will be enchanted by the spectacular landscape. In this pastoral scene of France’s countryside, grand castles sit peacefully on the rolling, vine-covered hills and overlook the crystal clear Garonne River. The vibrant, lively area of outside markets, outlet shops and lovely restaurants along the river bank, all add up to the magnificent view of Bordeaux.
If you are among the architecture enthusiasts, don’t forget to add the village of Saint-Emilion to your itinerary. It’s one of the remarkable attractions that earn a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. All it takes is only around a one-hour drive to see the impressive collections of ancient churches and monasteries.
Among famous places in Paris, Lyon must be the most incredible heaven for gourmands. This city is the heart of French gastronomy with delicious specialities such as Breese chicken and Quenelles. If you give Lyon a visit, prepare your belly to gulp down the delish hearty meat-heavy Lyonnaise cuisine to your hearts’ content.
Regarding dining spots, Lyon offers a wide range of selections, from casual dining places like the “Bouchons Lyonnais” to the top destinations like the Le Neuvième Art.
Auberge du Pont de Collonges, or Paul Bocuse, earned two Michelin stars thanks to Paul Bocuse, the great chef. After he passed away, the establishment changed its name to Restaurant Paul Bocuse and continued serving his signature dishes.
The beautiful lakeside view of Lyon on a cloudy day. Photo by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu on Unsplash
This lovely city is also known as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites for its numerous historical attractions. History lovers shouldn't miss out on the mediaeval quarters, the stylish Renaissance houses and the ancient Roman ruins.
If you love Paris's Louvre museum, you should check out the outstanding yon's Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon. It houses an impressive collection of European paintings from the 14th to 20th centuries by influential figures such as Monet, Rubens and Picasso.
Cannes is one of the most famous places in France for hosting the annual Cannes film festival. It's not an exaggeration to say a random celebrity or billionaire will appear on the street any minute. In fact, you may have the chance to encounter an A-lister during the festival.
This beautiful city in Southern France has plenty to see and do. Whether you travel alone or in groups, you should check out the Promenade de la Croisette, the great walkway stretching along Cannes' shoreline. Checking in nearby destinations like high-end hotels, upscale restaurants, and shopping malls doesn't sound like a bad idea either.
The tranquil sky above the beautiful city of Cannes. Photo by Alexis AMZ DA CRUZ on Unsplash
It would be a shame not to enjoy the cuisine while you’re here. Cannes provides its tourists with the most high-quality and exquisite dishes. The delicious and healthy meals arrive in no time, hot and fresh, with the ingredients caught on the same day.
The Alabaster Coast
The Alabaster Coast or the Côte d'Albatre is the 130 kilometres (80 miles) long land addition to the French coast of the English Channel. Among France’s tourist attractions, the place shines thanks to its natural charm. Many have said it's a beautiful yet intimidating experience to observe the white chalk cliffs rising from the raging sea waves.
The beauty of this coast not only draws tourists but also enchants various art lovers and artists. Visit the Etretat Gardens, and you will understand what we mean. The significant contrast of bright stone paths and green gardens creates an exceptional view of the white cliffs. The artists longed for this breathtaking scenery and leaned on it for endless inspiration. Various famous painters like Isabey, Monet and Courbet have come, stayed, and produced numerous masterpieces by taking in the landscape here.
The striking beauty of white chalk cliffs along the Alabaster Coast. Photo by Ilnur Kalimullin on Unsplash
If you're looking for a more lively and bustling place, try the busy port of Fécamp. It's a fantastic seaside resort accompanied by casinos and public baths. After having fun at the beach, you may as well check in at the famous Fishing museum. The place offers a great collection of Impressionist paintings and a brilliant sea view.
This is the end of the list. We hope the article will assist you in finding the ideal destinations. Embark on your own journey, and take care!
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