France, a western European country, is famous for its stylish fashion, exquisite cuisine, and magnificent art. It’s also renowned for its breathtaking scenery and Roman remains. Paris, its capital, is home to iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum. France has a lot more to offer. The culture, language, and local lifestyles vary depending on which region you are visiting. For first-time visitors, places like Eiffel Tower, Musée du Louvre, Château de Versailles, French Riviera, etc are the best to visit. France, known for its je ne sais quoi attitude, is a country that oozes romance and charm. From the rolling vineyards of Bordeaux to the chic cafes of Paris, France has something for everyone. A holiday in France is incomplete without a visit to at least some of its many tourist attractions.
Here are my top picks for places to see in France:
The Champagne region is an essential must-see for any wine connoisseur, and it’s just an hour and a half drive from Paris in the northeast of France. To see the sun go down over the lovely scene of rolling vineyards is worth the trip alone. However, individuals interested in trying the local produce may do so by visiting a famous Champagne producer. The monks who reside in the monastery take great care of the lavender fields and the local honeybees. Guests may have a peaceful spiritual retreat in their homes. The fields are open from 09:30 throughout the summer, and from 13:30 on Sundays, if you’d rather limit your visit to just one day. Keep in mind that due to the area’s unparalleled attractiveness, it will be quite crowded at this time. To avoid missing out, it is recommended that you be there by 10:30 a.m. to participate in the day’s first tour.
The 700-meter-deep Gorges du Verdon in southern France’s Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region are a sight to see. The Verdon River carved the deepest and steepest limestone canyon in all of Europe. Water
sports and other high-octane pursuits are also popular here.
Paris, the City of Light
Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and it’s well worth a visit. You can fly into Charles de Gaulle Airport or Orly Airport, both of which are located within the city. Or, if you’d rather not drive or fly, you can take the train from other parts of France.
Paris, France, has the 3rd most free tourist attractions in the world (680), behind London (1,389) and Rome (943). Paris’ free attractions are rated an average of 4.4/5, higher than London and Rome’s 4.41/5. Paris also has the 3rd most paid tourist attractions in the world (7,415), behind Tokyo (11,463) and Bali (9,338). Paris’ paid attractions are rated an average of 4.44/5, higher than Tokyo’s 4.2/5, but lower than Bali’s 4.6.
The French Riviera
The French Riviera is known for its gorgeous beaches and seaside towns. If you’re looking to relax on a beach while also enjoying some culture and history, this is your spot! It’s easy to get there; just take the train from Paris or Nice (both are about an hour away).
Nice is a beautiful city located on the French Riviera. This sunny resort town is known for its beaches, promenades, and vibrant nightlife. Visitors can stroll along the Promenade des Anglais, relax on the beach, or enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants. Nice is also home to some of France’s best art museums, making it a great destination for culture lovers.
Nice is a great place to visit if you want to see some more of France than just Paris itself—it’s got all sorts of art museums and historic sites that are worth checking out. Plus, it’s close enough that it’s easy to get there from other parts of France via train or car (about two hours away).
France’s oldest and second-largest city has abandoned its sleazy image and is now a vibrant, up-and-coming tourist attraction. Visit the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde and the Cathédrale de la Major in the city that was once named European Capital of Culture. The Calanques, with their rugged cliffs and quiet beaches, is a fantastic destination for swimming, boating, and hiking when the weather is favorable. The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations is a must-see on any vacation to Marseille (Mucem). You may get a great view of the city from its rooftop patio.
Burgundy is a well-known wine-producing area known for its gentle slopes, fine dining, and many vineyards. Burgundy is home to several ancient abbeys, museums, and charming medieval towns that are a must-see for any history buff. There is also the region’s wine, made mostly from pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, and the delectable food.
This bowl-shaped island of Porquerolles is still one of the lesser-known gems of the Cote d’Azur, sparkling like a pearl between the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The only mode of transportation between the different hidden coves & rocky inlets, arches of ivory-white sand, and attractive port towns is bicycle clicking. Cars cannot cross from the mainland, and there aren’t any tarmacked roads to be found. These rumble over rocky terrain and through fields of blooming sunflowers in the island’s center, allowing visitors to see Spanish fir and swaying coastal pine forests, smell eucalyptus and myrtle and enjoy complete seclusion as they travel between the numerous picture-perfect beaches that are plentiful.
The Normandy Beaches
The turbulent wars of 1944 are now associated with the Normandy beaches. Today, visitors who come to this northern region’s string of chalk cliff-backed sands, as well as undulating dunes, can choose to tour the famous battlefields that served as the main meeting place on D-Day, hopping between ominous monuments to the dead on Omaha Beach and the remains of the infamous Atlantic Wall’s gun batteries & cement bunkers. Normandy’s terrible past hasn’t completely devoured the region, though. No sir, Mont Saint-imposing Michel’s ancient cathedrals tower above the English Channel, the countryside is dotted with charming Cistercian abbeys, and the south of the Seine offers a walker’s paradise.
France’s Normandy is home to the rocky tidal island of Mont-Saint-Michel. After the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Paris, it receives the most visitors in France. Since the eighth century, the island has served as a defensive fortress, and since the eleventh century, it has housed a Benedictine monastery. The Archangel Michael established the monastery. Since 1879, a bridge has linked the island to the mainland. The Abbey of St. Michel, which welcomes more than three million tourists a year, is the island’s most famous landmark. Both a significant place of pilgrimage and a well-liked tourist attraction, the abbey. Only at low tide is it possible to access the monastery, which is positioned atop a rocky outcrop. It is a superb example of Norman architecture and was constructed in the Romanesque style in the 11th century.
Mont Saint-Michel is a stunning medieval abbey located on an island just off the coast of Normandy. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most popular tourist attractions in France and receives over three million visitors each year. Visitors can explore the abbey, enjoy panoramic views from the top of the church or take a walk around the island’s ramparts.
Mont-Saint-Michel is one of the top tourist places to visit in France. A unique UNESCO World Heritage site, it welcomes *around 2.5 million people per year.
The best way to reach this travel destination is by car. There is a huge parking lot to leave the car before hopping on a free shuttle bus for a quick ride to the island. The next best option is to go by train to Pontorson before switching to the 15-minute shuttle.
Mont-Saint-Michel can be visited year-round, but trips in July and August offer travelers the chance to discover the Abbey and island in a new light – literally! That’s because visitors can explore Mont-St-Michel by night during a sensory experience that changes every summer.
Pont Du Gard Bridge
One of the most exciting places to visit in France is the Pont du Gard bridge, Nimes. It is part of ancient Roman history, a bridge located in the heart of Rome. You can find the Garden River right across it. The bridge is 50 kilometers long, built in the 1st century AD. Interestingly, it was used by the Romans to transport water from the city of Oz to Nimes. For travel enthusiasts, it’s a dream come true in terms of aesthetics. I enjoyed visiting and exploring the bridge last year, ultimately finding it pleasing to the eyes and soul.
Paris Arc de Triomphe
Another one of my favorite tourist spots in France is the Paris Arc de Triomphe. It is considered a holy grail and Paris’s most famous Arc de Triomphe. The French Emperor Napoleon built the legendary monument in 1806 to pay tribute to soldiers who fought with him in multiple wars. It opened in 1836 and stopped building several times after Emperor Napoleon abdicated. The Paris Arc de Triomphe was built in the ancient star style. On the white wall of this architectural masterpiece are names of all wars in the First French Republic. Being a history lover, I particularly enjoyed my visit to this monument. The basement contains the tomb of an unknown soldier in World War I.
Chateau De Chambord
This massive unfinished castle is located in the Loire Valley in central France. It’s the best example of French Renaissance architecture. The entire construct is surrounded by the largest woodland park in the country. Built for King Francois I as his hunting lodge, it is now one of France’s famous tourist attractions and world heritage sites. I had to visit this haunting yet gorgeous site, a must-see for foreigners who appreciate great architecture.
Gorges du Verdon
The Verdon Gorge’s daring limestone cliffs soar 700 meters above the ground, which is impressive enough. And then you see the water, a brilliant turquoise-green color that is unmatched anywhere on earth. Hikers, swimmers, and kayakers who are tired of the hustle and bustle of the adjacent French Riviera flock to this enormous river canyon, which is thought to be the second tallest in the world. The only way to get to the Verdon Gorges is by car. The nearest large TGV high-speed train stations from Paris are in Nice, Marseille, Avignon, and Aix-en-Provence. There are also international airports around those cities, with flights from all over year Europe and abroad.
The rounded hilltops known as the puys of Auvergne were created by hardened magma from a string of inactive volcanoes. The Chaîne des Puys, the Monts Dore, the Cézallier, and the Monts du Cantal, the main attraction in the 395,000-hectare Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Nature Park, provide a bizarre yet exceptional environment for walks, bicycle tours, and hot-air balloon rides. The eerie Pavin crater lake is a must-see. The main town in the area is Clermont-Ferrand. By train, it is 03h30 South of Paris and 2h West of Lyon. There is a small airport but very few flights. The best is to have a car, to access easily the sites you want to reach.
A trip to France is incomplete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower. Tourists can even enjoy a fancy dinner from Le Jules Verne. It is a Michelin-star restaurant on the tower’s second floor. Rightfully named the Iron Lady, the Eiffel Tower gives you breathtaking views of the city almost 300m below.
The Eiffel Tower is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world and a must-see on any trip to France. Located in the heart of Paris, this wrought iron structure was built by Gustave Eiffel in 1889 and stood 324 meters tall. Visitors can take a lift to the top of the tower for stunning views of the city or enjoy a meal at one of its two restaurants.
Château de Versailles
Château de Versailles stands as proof of the French monarchy’s grandeur under the reign of Louis XIV. I was in complete awe when I visited it a few years ago. Its luxurious Baroque interiors are a sight to behold. The palace is also well known for its Hall of Mirrors. With its gilded designs, glittering chandeliers, and formal French gardens, Château de Versailles is a must-visit. The icing on the cake is that it is a UNESCO-listed monument.
Bordeaux is a beautiful city located in southwest France. This historic city is known for its 18th-century architecture, world-famous wines, and thriving food scene. Visitors can explore the city’s many museums and galleries, stroll through the picturesque old town or take a wine tour of the surrounding vineyards.
I like to prioritize places that cater to my passion for good coffee, interesting culture, and quality cuisine. Bordeaux ticks all these boxes. It’s the European Capital of Smart Tourism, encouraging tourism that is economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable.
Cyclists have access to 1400 km of bike-friendly routes, including 330km in Bordeaux proper. The city works hard to accommodate cyclists, with cycling tours available throughout the city as well as the beautiful vineyards and surrounding countryside. For the more adventurous, the city can be toured by skateboard, or on a billboard provided by the Bike Board Compagnie.
The ability to explore in a way that is eco-friendly and enjoyable certainly adds to the experience. Bordeaux also endeavors to deliver an accessible approach to tourism and to make the city as accommodating as possible for disabled visitors.
My favorite thing about the city is the abundance of amazing coffee shops, including L’Alchimiste Torréfacteur on Rue de la Vieille Tour, and Café Piha on Rue des Ayres. There are so many quirky, creative, and interesting places to see in Bordeaux, from cafes to cultural attractions such as the Bassins de Lumières. This incredible Arts Centre has 12,450sqm of the projection surface and is the largest fixed multimedia installation in the world.
Ménerbes is at the foothills of the Alps, 400Km from France, and is the most beautiful and tranquil Provence with breathtaking, scenery. The cheapest way to travel to Ménerbes, Provence is by bus. It will cost you around $30 -$50 but it will take approximately 14 hours to reach there. Yet, the fastest route is via train which will only take some 7 hours and cost you $70 to $90.
The Camargue, a large wetland area in Southern France, and the Vosges mountain range in eastern France are ideal competing places for travelers to find a variety of bird-watching opportunities.
To get to Camargue – take the train from Paris to Avignon, then a bus or a rental car to the Camargue regional park where you will then be able to see feathered friends such as flamingos, eagles, herons, and other wetland species between April and October. To reach the Vosges, hop on a train from Paris to Strasbourg, then take a bus or a rental car to reach the Vosges mountain area to find vultures, black woodpeckers, and other raptors. I would advise a visit between May and September. Remember when visiting either region to always dress in layers with comfortable shoes as the weather can change swiftly. Binoculars and a good identification guidebook will help if you are not traveling with a professional bird spotter. Bird watching is a lovely way to make a day trip to these gorgeous areas whilst on holiday – so pack a picnic lunch, bring lots of water (and or bubbly), bug spray and make sure you’re phone is charged.
The Champs-Elysees is one of the most famous streets in the world and a must-see on any trip to Paris. This tree-lined avenue is home to high-end shops, restaurants, and cafes, as well as the Arc de Triomphe. Visitors can also enjoy a scenic walk or ride down the avenue, which runs from the Place de la Concorde to the Place Charles de Gaulle.
Loire Valley, France
The Loire Valley is a beautiful region of France known for its rolling hills, vineyards, and medieval castles. Visitors can explore the many chateaux dotting the landscape, taste the region’s wines or enjoy a leisurely bike ride through the countryside. The Loire Valley is also home to some of France’s finest cuisine, making it a foodie paradise.
The Loire Valley in France is a spectacular region for tourists to visit to explore the raw natural beauty and unrivaled landscapes that the country is so well known for. Its countryside location is the perfect place for tourists to relax and take a step back from the day-to-day stresses of everyday life and reconnect with nature. The valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where guests can explore the many historic towns and villages, magnificent châteaux, and forts, make the most of the area’s famed vineyards, and sample its prestigious wines on offer.
How To Reach Loire Valley
For those traveling from the UK, the Loire can be easily reached via Eurostar. Catch the Eurostar to Paris before boarding a train onwards to the Loire. This is an environmentally friendly way to travel out to the Loire, and one many of our clients opt for. If you prefer to fly, there are local airports serving the region.
Whilst traveling in the Loire Valley, I would highly recommend opting to do this by bike. This guarantees a more up close and personal experience of the Loire Valley where you can travel at your own pace.
Strasbourg is a beautiful city located in the Alsace region of France. This picturesque city is known for its half-timbered houses, canals, and Gothic cathedral. Visitors can explore the historic old town, stroll along the banks of the Ill River or take a ride on one of the city’s many trams. Strasbourg is also home to several European institutions, making it a great destination for political buffs.
French Alps, Southeast France
The French Alps are a stunning mountain range located in southeast France. This popular tourist destination is known for its skiing, hiking, and mountaineering. Visitors can explore the many towns and villages dotting the landscape, enjoy panoramic views from the top of Mont Blanc or take a cable car ride to one of the many glaciers.
Toulouse is the 7th most visited city in France (based on the number of hotel stays, 2016 and makes a wonderful alternative to the more well-known Paris. Known as *La Ville Rose* (the pink city), due to the pastel glow the city’s terracotta buildings give off at dusk, it’s a place you can’t help but be charmed by. It’s perfect for romantic strolls through historic lanes and people-watching by the river at the Pont Neuf.
Cultural highlights include Les Abattoirs, a modern art gallery housed in an old slaughterhouse (carefully cleaned up now), and the peaceful cloister of the Couvent des Jacobins. If you’re after something a little more unusual, take a trip out to Toulouse’s Cite de Espace, an aerospace-themed amusement park/museum which includes the opportunity to sit inside a real space capsule.
How to Reach Toulouse
With its international airport, Toulouse is easy to reach. There are regular direct flights from the UK, other European hubs, and Canada. You can also reach Toulouse by high-speed train from Paris in just over four hours.
Connections from the airport to the city are fast and convenient. The airport shuttle bus will get you to the center in 20 minutes, for €8.50, or take the T2 tram for less than €2 (journey time is 35 minutes).
Mont Blanc Magic
When visiting France, Chamonix Mont Blanc in the French Alps must be on your list. Being just an hour’s transfer from Geneva International Airport, Chamonix is conveniently positioned to sate that desire to escape and explore for a weekend fix of adventure or a week of activity and leisure. Many of our guests love to take a helicopter transfer from the airport for unforgettable views of the Alps and the legendary Mont Blanc. It’s an unmissable experience.
Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps and is one of the most renowned tourist hot spots in France. The white-capped peak is a striking feature in the landscape of the famous mountain resort of Chamonix. Attracting visitors from around the world, all year round, Chamonix sits at the foot of Mont Blanc and offers a paradise for lovers of adventure and the outdoors. For activities such as hiking, biking, and climbing, Chamonix is almost as popular in the summer as it is in the winter where it offers a paradise for world-class downhill and off-piste skiing. However and whenever you explore, you will be sure not to lose sight of Mont Blanc, making Chamonix a very special place to visit.
Lyon is one of the top tourist destinations in France and the country’s gastronomical capital, so a must-visit place for all foodies.
Besides Paris, Lyon has the most Michelin-starred restaurants in France and more than 4,000 restaurants to choose from. It also hosts several UNESCO World Heritage sites and is home to several national parks, offering a wide range of outdoor activities, such as hiking, canoeing, rafting, and more.
How To Reach:
From Paris, you can take the TGV and get there in 2 hours. If you want to arrive by plane, there are two main airports in Lyon: Saint-Exupéry International Airport and the Business Airport of Lyon.
France, the largest country in Western Europe, is a renowned tourist destination for its picturesque villages, stunning mountain scenery, and beautiful coastline. From the capital city of Paris to the charming Provence region, there are countless places to explore in France.
The traditional way of getting around France by car is slowly decreasing. The network of TGVs (high-speed electric trains) is fantastic and offers a cheaper and faster means of transport. Importantly, this is a greener option too. Carbon-conscious travel has also led to an increase in the popularity of cycling tours, as more and more visitors are enjoying the pleasures of ‘slow travel’. Areas such as the Loire Valley, the Luberon in Provence, and Burgundy are especially well adapted for cycling.