France, with its rich history, vibrant culture, and natural beauty, remains one of the most sought-after travel destinations globally. From the world-famous Eiffel Tower in Paris to the serene lavender fields in Provence, places to visit in France cater to all types of travelers. This article aims to guide you through the 19 best places to visit in France.
See The List below For the 19 Best Places to Visit in France;
1. The Romantic Capital: Paris
Paris, the City of Love, beckons millions of visitors each year with its enchanting charm. Standing tall amidst the city’s skyline, the Eiffel Tower offers a panoramic view that’s unparalleled. Meanwhile, the Notre-Dame Cathedral is not just an architectural marvel but is steeped in history. A stone’s throw away is the Louvre Museum, home to thousands of works of art, including the Mona Lisa and The Venus de Milo.
- Witness the iconic Eiffel Tower illuminations at night.
- Explore the gothic architecture of Notre-Dame.
- Dive deep into art and history at the Louvre.
Travel Tip: When visiting the Louvre, book your tickets in advance to avoid long queues.
- Champs-Élysées: 2 miles
- Seine River Cruises: 0.5 miles
- Montmartre: 2.5 miles
2. The French Riviera: Côte d’Azur
The Côte d’Azur, often referred to as the French Riviera, is a shimmering jewel in France’s crown. The Cannes Film Festival pulls in celebrities worldwide, but it’s the sandy beaches and luxurious lifestyles that attract most tourists. Saint-Tropez offers a perfect blend of historical architecture and modern yachts, while Nice’s Promenade des Anglais is ideal for those leisurely evening walks.
- Soak in the glitz and glamor of Cannes.
- Wander through Saint-Tropez’s cobbled streets.
- Experience luxury at its finest on Nice’s promenade.
Travel Tip: The French Riviera is bustling during the summer. Visit in the off-season for a more relaxed experience.
- Monaco: 12 miles from Nice
- Antibes: 10 miles from Cannes
- Eze Village: 8 miles from Nice
3. Historic Normandy
Normandy is a testament to time. Mont Saint-Michel, rising from the tidal islets, is an awe-inspiring sight. Further enhancing the region’s significance are the Normandy D-Day landing beaches, offering poignant reminders of World War II.
- Experience the architectural genius of Mont Saint-Michel.
- Reflect on history at the D-Day landing beaches.
Travel Tip: Ensure you check the tidal times before visiting Mont Saint-Michel.
- Rouen: 90 miles
- Caen: 40 miles
- Honfleur: 50 miles
4. Wine Heaven: Bordeaux Region
The Bordeaux Region is synonymous with some of the world’s finest wines. The Bordeaux Wine Museum provides an insightful journey into the art of winemaking. For those keen to experience the process firsthand, vineyard tours are a must. The verdant vineyards, not only produce aromatic wines but are a visual treat in themselves.
- Delve into the history of winemaking at the Bordeaux Wine Museum.
- Savor exquisite wines straight from the vineyards.
- Enjoy scenic vineyard landscapes, especially during the harvest season.
Travel Tip: Schedule your visit during the grape harvest season to see the vineyards in full activity.
- Saint-Émilion: 25 miles
- Arcachon Bay: 50 miles
- Dune of Pilat: 55 miles
5. Loire Valley: The Garden of France
Often dubbed the Garden of France, the Loire Valley is replete with grand châteaux and verdant landscapes. The Châteaux of the Loire Valley are a testament to the region’s rich history and architectural prowess. The city of Tours, with its medieval center, offers a blend of history and modernity.
- Marvel at the grandeur of the Châteaux.
- Experience the medieval charm of Tours.
- Enjoy boat rides on the serene Loire River.
Travel Tip: Rent a bicycle to explore the countryside and châteaux at your own pace.
- Château de Chambord: 30 miles
- Amboise: 15 miles
- Chinon: 30 miles
6. Alsace: A Blend of German and French Cultures
Bordering Germany, Alsace is a region where French elegance meets German efficiency. Strasbourg, with its magnificent Strasbourg Cathedral, is an architectural masterpiece. Colmar, often referred to as ‘Little Venice’, enchants visitors with its waterways and colorful half-timbered houses.
- Experience the splendor of Strasbourg Cathedral.
- Take a boat ride in Colmar’s waterways.
- Relish the unique Franco-German cuisine of the region.
Travel Tip: Visit during Christmas to witness the renowned Strasbourg Christmas Market.
- Baden-Baden, Germany: 30 miles
- Mulhouse: 40 miles
- Obernai: 15 miles
7. Provence: Lavender Fields and Olive Groves
Provence is the essence of picturesque landscapes. Avignon’s Palais des Papes stands as a remnant of the times when Avignon was the seat of Papal power. The Gorges du Verdon, often termed Europe’s Grand Canyon, offers thrilling activities for adventure enthusiasts.
- Immerse in the aroma of blooming lavender fields.
- Discover the historic corridors of Palais des Papes.
- Engage in water sports at the Gorges du Verdon.
Travel Tip: Schedule your visit between June and August to see the lavender fields in full bloom.
- Marseille: 60 miles
- Aix-en-Provence: 50 miles
- Cassis: 65 miles
8. The Snow-Capped Alps
The majestic Alps aren’t just about winter sports. The region promises exhilarating experiences all year round. Chamonix, the host of the first Winter Olympics, offers breathtaking panoramic views, while Grenoble, known as the ‘Capital of the Alps’, is rich in culture and history.
- Ski or snowboard down world-class slopes in Chamonix.
- Ride the cable car to Aiguille du Midi for unparalleled alpine views.
- Explore the vibrant arts scene in Grenoble.
Travel Tip: If visiting during winter, ensure you have snow chains or winter tires for safe driving in the Alps.
- Annecy: 60 miles from Grenoble
- Megeve: 15 miles from Chamonix
- Ecrins National Park: 45 miles from Grenoble
9. Brittany’s Stunning Coastline
Brittany, a rugged coastal region, offers a mix of ancient history and natural beauty. Saint-Malo, a port city, is characterized by its tall granite walls and rich maritime past. Not far away are the mysterious Carnac Stones, a collection of prehistoric standing stones that intrigue historians and tourists alike.
- Traverse the historic walls of Saint-Malo.
- Ponder the mysteries of the Carnac Stones.
- Enjoy fresh seafood at the local harbors.
Travel Tip: For a tranquil beach experience, visit the lesser-known beaches of the Finistère coast.
- Rennes: 40 miles from Saint-Malo
- Brest: 150 miles from Carnac
- Quimper: 100 miles from Saint-Malo
10. Corsica: The Island of Beauty
Corsica is a mosaic of terrains – from shimmering bays to dense forests. Ajaccio, birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, boasts citadels and mesmerizing coastlines. Calvi, with its crescent-shaped beach and towering citadel, offers a slice of Corsican history.
- Dive into Ajaccio’s vibrant history and sun-kissed beaches.
- Marvel at Calvi’s historical architecture and coastal beauty.
- Explore Corsica’s diverse hiking trails.
Travel Tip: The best way to explore Corsica is by car; consider renting one for maximum flexibility.
- Bonifacio: 80 miles from Ajaccio
- Porto Vecchio: 85 miles from Ajaccio
- Sartène: 50 miles from Ajaccio
11. The Midi-Pyrenees and Languedoc
A blend of mountainous regions and winelands, the Midi-Pyrenees and Languedoc offer distinct places to visit in France. Carcassonne stands out with its medieval fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site. On the other hand, Toulouse’s Cité de l’Espace offers a futuristic journey through space and aviation.
- Walk the ramparts of Carcassonne’s medieval fortress.
- Experience the wonders of space at Cité de l’Espace.
- Relish the renowned wines of Languedoc.
Travel Tip: Visit the region during the annual wine harvest festival to get a firsthand experience of the winemaking process.
- Montpellier: 60 miles from Carcassonne
- Albi: 50 miles from Toulouse
- Narbonne: 40 miles from Carcassonne
12. Burgundy: Wine and Historic Sites
Burgundy, or Bourgogne in French, is another of France’s iconic wine regions. Dijon, known for its mustard, also boasts the grand Ducal Palace. Beaune’s Hospices is a striking example of Burgundian architecture and a journey into the region’s rich history.
- Taste the world-famous Dijon mustard.
- Admire the intricate architecture of Beaune’s Hospices.
- Wander through sprawling vineyards and ancient cellars.
Travel Tip: Take a guided wine tour to learn about Burgundy’s wine production nuances.
- Auxerre: 80 miles from Dijon
- Mâcon: 70 miles from Beaune
- Chablis: 90 miles from Dijon
13. Champagne Region: Sparkling Delights
Champagne, the name itself resonates with celebration. The region is home to the world-renowned sparkling wine. Reims, with its Gothic Reims Cathedral, is a hub of history and culture. The underground Champagne cellars promise an experience that’s both informative and delightful.
- Discover the art of Champagne making.
- Reflect upon history at the Reims Cathedral.
- Engage in wine tasting sessions at traditional Champagne houses.
Travel Tip: Always make a reservation before visiting a Champagne house.
- Troyes: 50 miles from Reims
- Épernay: 15 miles from Reims
- Verdun: 70 miles from Reims
14. The Hidden Gem: Dordogne
Nestled in the southwest of France, the Dordogne region is a tapestry of medieval castles, dense forests, and prehistoric caves. Sarlat-la-Canéda, with its well-preserved medieval streets, offers a journey back in time. The Lascaux Caves, on the other hand, captivate visitors with their prehistoric paintings.
- Wander through the historical alleys of Sarlat-la-Canéda.
- Delve deep into the mysteries of the Lascaux Caves.
- Enjoy the region’s renowned duck delicacies and truffles.
Travel Tip: The best way to explore Dordogne’s rolling countryside is by canoeing down the Dordogne River.
- Bergerac: 45 miles from Sarlat-la-Canéda
- Périgueux: 50 miles from Lascaux
- Rocamadour: 40 miles from Sarlat-la-Canéda
15. The Fairy Tale Alsace
Alsace is an enchanting blend of German and French traditions. Mulhouse’s Cité de l’Automobile boasts the world’s largest automobile collection, while the Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle perched on the mountains provides panoramic views of the surrounding region.
- Admire vintage automobiles at Cité de l’Automobile.
- Step into the past at the grand Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle.
- Revel in the festive spirit at Alsace’s renowned Christmas markets.
Travel Tip: Try the traditional Alsatian dish ‘Tarte Flambée’ when in the region.
- Strasbourg: 70 miles from Mulhouse
- Colmar: 25 miles from Mulhouse
- Riquewihr: 50 miles from Mulhouse
16. The Picturesque French Basque Country
The French Basque Country is a blend of vibrant culture, surf beaches, and mouth-watering cuisine. Biarritz, a surfing mecca, is the epitome of coastal elegance. Saint-Jean-de-Luz, a fishing port, boasts beautiful beaches and historical houses.
- Ride the waves in the surfing capital, Biarritz.
- Experience Basque traditions in Saint-Jean-de-Luz.
- Savor the region’s famous Basque cake.
Travel Tip: Visit during the Basque festivals to witness traditional dances and music.
- Bayonne: 5 miles from Biarritz
- San Sebastián, Spain: 30 miles from Saint-Jean-de-Luz
- Espelette: 20 miles from Biarritz
17. The Cultural Hub: Lyon
Lyon, often overshadowed by Paris, is a culinary and historical treasure. The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière offers sweeping views of the city. The city’s traditional bouchons invite you to savor Lyonnaise delicacies.
- Marvel at the architectural beauty of Notre-Dame de Fourvière.
- Relish authentic Lyonnaise dishes at local bouchons.
- Explore Vieux Lyon, the city’s renaissance district.
Travel Tip: The annual Festival of Lights in December transforms Lyon into a visual spectacle.
- Vienne: 20 miles from Lyon
- Grenoble: 60 miles from Lyon
- Beaujolais Wine Region: 30 miles from Lyon
18. Marseille: Gateway to the Mediterranean
Marseille, France’s oldest city, is a melting pot of cultures, histories, and flavors. The city’s Old Port has been a trading center for over 2,600 years and remains a lively hotspot. Not too far away is the breathtaking Calanques National Park, known for its turquoise waters and dramatic cliffs.
- Stroll around the bustling Old Port and savor fresh seafood.
- Dive into history at the MuCEM (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations).
- Embark on a hiking or boat trip to explore the Calanques’ serene beauty.
Travel Tip: For a unique experience, visit the local markets of Marseille to taste the regional specialties.
- Aix-en-Provence: 20 miles from Marseille
- Cassis: 15 miles from Marseille
- Camargue Natural Park: 50 miles from Marseille
19. Verdun: The Historic Battlefield
Verdun stands as a poignant reminder of the ravages of World War I. The Verdun Memorial houses artifacts and chronicles the harrowing tales of the Battle of Verdun. Douaumont Ossuary is a somber monument holding the remains of soldiers who perished.
- Reflect on history’s somber moments at the Verdun Memorial.
- Pay respects at the Douaumont Ossuary, a symbol of the war’s devastation.
- Walk through the preserved trenches to get a firsthand perspective.
Travel Tip: Dress appropriately and maintain decorum, as many of these sites are places of remembrance.
- Metz: 60 miles from Verdun
- Reims: 80 miles from Verdun
- Nancy: 70 miles from Verdun
As we journey through these mesmerizing places to visit in France, it’s evident that the nation’s tapestry is woven with diverse threads of culture, history, nature, and gastronomy. Each destination, whether world-renowned or tucked away, promises unique experiences. From savoring a glass of champagne in its birthplace to reflecting upon history in Verdun, France is an ever-evolving story waiting to be explored. With such a plethora of places to visit in France, one’s heart and soul can’t help but yearn for the next French escapade.