Do you want to visit some of the most famous French towns? Well, when you think of France, you can’t help but think of Paris and the Eiffel tower. But there is more to France. Here are some of the best French towns for you to visit.
We are here to help you enhance your trip to France by telling you about some of our favorite towns here that you can visit. No matter what your preference is, you will find something that fits you. There are many French towns that go unnoticed.
Here are 17 Famous French Towns to Visit when in France.
Among all the french towns, this is arguably the prettiest town you will see, Colmar is the capital of the Alsace wine region and is also known as Little Venice.
The site you will be met with will be one of the prettiest ever so be ready with your cameras. You can even say that the brightly colored houses and small canals are something straight out of a fairytale.
If a movie-type town’s beauty is what you are looking for then Chevreuse is the best town out of all french towns for you to visit. Starting our list with one of the prettiest towns, Chevreuse is a town so pretty that it would make you feel like it doesn’t exist until you visit it.
This beautiful small town is located in the south of Paris. As you explore the town you will be met with many traditional French gardens and rivers that you can walk along as you take in the beauty. You can also check out the chapel of Port-Royal-des-Champs Abbey.
An hour’s drive will take you to a charming small town called Senlis, not too far from Central Paris.
This French town is filled with a lot of history as the town has three museums (the museum of the hunts, the museum of art and archaeology & the museum of Spahis.) Not only this, but Senlis also has the ruins of a Roman arena and a medieval cellar with a lot of history stored in it, waiting to be explored.
Just an hour from Paris, the french capital, Province is a fully medieval town that has been preserved. Though getting here is a slightly longer journey, it is worth the time.
Provins was the place where the Joan of Arc attended mass. It also has a medieval tower dating all the way back to the 12th century.
Besides the history of the place, this french town also has an amazing Christmas market that is held annually every winter in the ancient city. If you are in the area, we suggest you add this destination to your trip and enjoy wandering.
Famous for its Brie and Mustard, Meaux is a place around 40-50 minutes away from Paris making it easy for anyone to visit.
Meaux is a place every foody must visit but if you are not foody, you must not worry as Meaux offers a lot of historical as well as cultural activities.
You can do a lot of things here, there is everything for everyone. There are outdoor activities for all the outdoor enthusiasts like hiking, water activities, etc for people to enjoy.
It has a variety of food to offer for people who are interested in food and there is also the Musée de la Grande Guerre (Museum of the Great War) which is one of the biggest museums about WWI in all of Europe or even the world.
When talking about Roussillon, a countryside town— located in southern France— is the best way to describe this small town. At first glance, you will see all the famous red cliffs and ochre quarries along with the beautiful consistent structures making this a magical village.
When you come to this town, you will be instantly blown away by its beauty. When visiting, you can do a lot of things here like hiking, checking the art and galleries out, walking along the paths, and checking out restaurants.
Roussillon also has a lot of festivals going around usually in the summer months so be sure to look for those if you are visiting during that time.
Located on the cliff above the Dordogne River, Domme is the picturesque village you might have envisioned. This french town used to be a bastide and is filled with history. The fortified gates, ramparts, and towers still stand to this date.
This village has a very interesting cave system which sits right beneath the main square. It has been told that this place used to be used during the war but now, it can be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike to enjoy the view.
Before leaving this small town, be sure to check out the remarkable viewpoint which overlooks the Dordogne valley.
Chartres is one of France’s most visited french towns, located in the Loire valley. It is also the place where you will find pretty castles right out of your wonderland.
Chartres is known for its impressive cathedral, medieval architecture, and fascinating museums that you cannot help but check out. This has also been a place for many catholic pilgrimages which makes it a place filled with history.
This is one of the many french towns located near Paris. It takes around an hour and a half drive from Paris to reach this small town which makes it a place you should definitely check out.
This picture-perfect beautiful french town is classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France.
Built by the Estaing family, Estaing has a castle that dates back to the 11th century which consists of gothic and renaissance styles along with Romanesque styles. This castle is open for the public to visit in summer.
While visiting, you can check the rivers and hiking trails out. There is also a festival called Nuit Lumière that takes place on 15 August where you can see the village lit with candles. There is also a medieval weekend here in Estaing which you should definitely check out along with the son et lumière show which happens every summer on Wednesdays.
Home to one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Vézelay is a tiny village located in the north-central region of France. Vézelay was constructed back in 1120 to 1150.
Vézelay was named the UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1999 due to its exceptional landscape and historical monuments.
Anyone who is interested in architecture will feel at home here in Vézelay. Alongside the structures, this village is almost like out of a movie with its mesmerizing alleyways, sunflower fields, and vineyards one might even call it nature’s paradise.
Among all the other french towns, people also call Vézelay a major site of Christendom and the visitors often climb over the hills to reach the church.
Among many other french towns, Rueil-Malmaison is another town situated only thirty minutes away from Paris making this one of the top places near Paris to visit. Rueil-Malmaison is also the epitome of typical French towns.
A French Château is located here in Rueil-Malmaison which used to be the official residence of Empress Josephine. She was the wife of Napoleon. If we put it simply, you might as well be walking on the very steps where the empress once walked as you wander along the Château.
The rest of this small town is filled with patisseries, bakeries, museums, churches and much more. You can also cycle or walk along the Seine.
The classic medieval village in France, Yvoire is flower heaven in Rhone-Alpes. This small medieval town was built in the early 14th century. The village of Yvoire is nicknamed the “gem of the lake”. It once used to be a fishing village.
When you are on your trip, do not miss out on the Garden of Five Senses. It would be one of the best experiences and would tickle your senses as you get lost amidst hundreds of thousands of flowers.
This beautiful countryside right outside and near Paris is something that cannot be missed. With a pretty castle that could rival Versailles, Fontainebleau is a place that you should check out when on a trip.
After all, to put it simply Fontainebleau provides the most fairytale-like day trips away from the city of love. It is often also called “Versailles without the crowds”. It would be wrong to call it anything other than magical.
The forest present here used to be used as hunting grounds for the royal family back in the days. You can definitely check it out while touring around. Book your trip prior to your arrival to ensure a smooth journey.
A popular tourist destination for its historical architecture, Riqueqihr, is a town in France that is also known for its aromatic wines. The narrow streets are lined up with 16th-century half-timbered houses with flower-decked balconies which adds to the ambiance of the area.
A fun fact about Riqueqihr is that a lot of shops here have signs that are the work of Jean-Jacques “Hansi” Waltz who was an Alsatian illustrator and caricaturist. As you walk down the narrow streets you would be able to see it. There are also museums of his art.
If you are someone that loves history, you should definitely visit Riqueqihr among all the other french towns and check out Musée du Dolder and Thieves Tower museum— this museum has dungeons and torture chambers as well. You can also follow the Grands Crus wine trail on foot or by bike, check out Maison de Vigneron which has the old winemaking equipment to enjoy this town.
Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, simply known as Moustiers once used to be a major pottery center that now serves as a getaway to the European Grand Canyon.
With a population of around 1000 people, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is considered to be one of the most beautiful small towns in France.
This village became famous in the 17th century due to a monk introducing a secret of enameling. Even though the town’s popularity and industry disappeared in the 19th century, there are still museums nearby that have around 400 pieces of art stored and preserved from back then.
There are stone bridges all along the narrow alleys of the historic center. Moustiers is a great and lively place with great markets and good places to eat. Some of the highlights of this place include the 14th-century nave and square Lombard tower, the church which still has its pre-toman vault, and the chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir which is said to have both gothic and Romanesque architecture.
Situated in the narrow valley of Gellone river, on banks of Herault gorg is St-Guilhem-le-Désert. This Medieval village is surrounded by cliffside and oak trees.
If you explore the area, you might even end up finding the amber stone houses that survived all this time. You will also see ancient towers, Abbaye de Gellone; the church is exceptionally beautiful and totally worth the time.
St-Guilhem-le-Désert is also one of the many french towns that are recognized by UNESCO. This town is even called a UNESCO gem which means everywhere you look, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful views.
A french town that once had a beautiful castle sitting on top of it, Lautrec now only has a cross that sits on top of the hill. Though, there are still remains of the time that exists. The historic center with half-timbered houses covers the market which is one of the main attractions of the place. There is a traditional market that is set up every Friday.
When you are here in this french town, do visit the clogmaker’s workshop. Lautrec is the center of pink garlic farming, so there are regular garlic markets. Do not miss out on the La Salette windmill which is one of the must-sees when in town. Checking the botanical trail to take in the panoramic views is also something you must do.
French Cities you can visit while in France
There are a lot of beautiful cities in France that you should visit when in the country. Paris is considered to be one of the most elegant and refined cities in the world for all the right reasons.
But, there are a lot more beautiful cities one can visit. France is filled with extraordinary and exceptional places people are mission out on.
Here are some of the Cities you can visit while in France.
The French capital, Paris is a magical place that is for sure on almost everyone’s list of places they want to visit. This magical place is filled with history and love.
Besides all the famous museums and historic churches, Paris is filled with hidden gems all around. When in the city, allow yourself to explore and discover the French “joie de vivre.” When walking along the city, check out places like Montmartre and the Latin Quarter, the tourists can even chat along with the locals, have fun and make friends with people.
Paris also has elegant places like fine dining restaurants, opera, designer boutiques and so much more. But, Paris is best enjoyed by taking strolls through the city.
Bordeaux has been named a world heritage site by UNESCO itself due to its rich culture and architectural treasures.
Bordeaux was a port town and reached its zenith during the Age of Enlightenment of the 18th century. The city’s role as a center of commerce can be seen through Place de la Bourse, whereas you can note the influence of humanism at Le Grand-Théâtre.
A charming city located in northern France called Lille is the historic capital of Flanders and is one of the most important urban French Flanders regions. Lille also shares cultures with Belgium.
One of the most known places here is the Grand Place which is said to be the gathering place for the locals along with being a place that showcases Flemish Baroque architecture that attracts tourists.
When in town, you should definitely hop on a 40-minute train ride from Lille, to the Musée du Louvre-Lens which is worthy of an excursion. This exhibition showcases artworks that are on loan from the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Rouen is a captivating medieval city situated in Normandy. You can say Rouen is distinguished due to its half-timbered houses along with the gothic churches.
It is centered around the magnificent Cathédrale Notre Dame de, which is known as one of the city’s most popular destinations. Rouen’s fame is also associated with Joan of Arc who was put on trial as well as martyred here.
This place may feel like a small town but it has a big influence on France. Dijon is another UNESCO-listed historic center, which has an abundance of architectural treasures which reveals the city’s aristocratic heritage. It has remained down since the middle ages.
The gastronomy of Dijon is known by people who appreciate and enjoy traditional French cuisine. Dijon is known for its distinct style of mustard which has been produced here for centuries now.
The tourists also enjoy visiting Dijon’s mustard boutiques as they visit Les Halles, a culinary market. Dijon is one of the other french towns that one must visit.
Situated in southern France, Aix-en-Provence is known for its colorful open markets and joyful side cafés. When you are visiting Aix-en-Provence you will be able to experience the bubbly and bright attitude of Provence.
If you are visiting french towns or are in the area, do check this city out. The city’s most known avenue is the broad tree-lined Cours Mirabeau. Here you can take a leisurely stroll and then also relax at one of the avenue’s restaurants or outdoor cafés. Art lovers can check out the museums and art collections found in the area. This can be done at Musée Granet and the Musée des Tapisseries.
There is also an option of a self-guided walking tour of the places that Cézanne frequented. The trail is called “In the Steps of Cézanne,” which offers guided tours of the Cézanne Trail.
Strasbourg is known for its historic Alsatian towns the lovely half-timbered houses along with the pedestrian streets. Besides being Alsace’s capital, Strasbourg is also known as the European capital as well as a cosmopolitan metropolis with top-tier tourist attractions.
The Grande-Île district, which takes up the entire center of Strasbourg, is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When here, you must check out the Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg which is a spectacular Gothic monument which dates back to the 11th century even though most of the building is said to be constructed between the 12th and 14th centuries.
Travel Information for France
Best time to visit France?
The best months are often considered April to May, early August, September, and the month of November. June is one of the rainiest months and you should avoid December since a lot of rain can be recorded during that time too. July is the hottest month.
The season runs from May until October amidst which July and August are the busiest months, filled with tourists.
How to communicate?
The main language spoken here is France. Even though you might end up getting away with English at some popular places, you should definitely know some of the local languages to easily communicate.
Is pre-booking necessary?
Always book ahead of your trip. France is one of the most popular destinations which is why pre-booking is a good idea. You wouldn’t want to come unprepared.
What currency is used and money talks
France uses Euro as their currency. It is always good to order Euros and pick them up in advance before coming to avoid any casualties. Credit cards are used in all the cities but be sure to pre-check with your banks and make sure it’s 0% commission. It is said to be that ATMs are generally a better rate than a currency exchange.
France is no doubt one of the prettiest places to be with many beautiful french towns, cities, villages, and much more. From historic monuments to museums, to renaissance buildings. France is filled with beautiful french towns and its surrounding countryside.
France is one of the most visited places in the world and for all the right reasons. Only when you come and visit will you understand its beauty.
Check out some of the Famous French Films you can watch.