It could be challenging to decide which famous site in France to visit first because there are so many! You will learn about some of France’s most well-known monuments in this post and what you may anticipate from each one.
Famous French landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, Sacre Coeur Basilica, and Mont Saint Michel Abbey are just a few that promise a fantastic trip.
You will be in for a shock if you believe those are the only popular tourist destinations in France. This nation has a rich past, both recent and ancient. Everyone may find something here, whether they are interested in history or culture.
1. 22 Famous French Landmarks
It’s never been simpler to plan your next international trip when you have this list of the most famous French landmarks at your fingertips!
1.1. Les souterrains de Provins
You can find the famous underground tunnels known as Les Souterrains de Provins in the French town of Provins.
The tunnels are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a well-liked tourist destination. Guests can explore the tunnels either independently or with a tour guide.
The du Chateau Saint Vincent is an excellent choice if you prefer to stay at an enormous hotel. It has a restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner. There is also a gym on the property.
1.2. Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles is among the most famous landmarks in France.
It was initially built as a hunting lodge for King Louis XIII, but his son, King Louis XIV, eventually expanded it into a palace. The palace is noted for its opulent style and commanding dimensions.
Today, the Palace of Versailles is a popular tourist destination and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can view performances in the palace’s renowned Hall of Mirrors or explore the expansion chambers and grounds.
You can find the Palace of Versailles about 20 kilometres west of Paris. Driving is the quickest way to get to the palace, and you can use a bus, train, or any vehicle to reach this spot. The palace has a sizable parking area and is easily accessible from the Paris expressway.
1.3. Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame de Paris is Another of France’s most well-known landmarks. Initially constructed in the 12th century, the cathedral is renowned for its beautiful architecture and stained-glass windows.
The cathedral was finally finished in the 14th century after more than two hundred years of construction.
Typically, France’s Notre Dame Cathedral draws millions of tourists each year and is the country’s top tourist attraction.
The French government spent significant money restoring Notre Dame de Paris because of its historical and cultural importance. Work is expected to be finished in 2024.
1.4. Mont Saint Michel Abbey
The Mont Saint-Michel Abbey, noted for its stunning Gothic architecture, is located on the Mont-Saint-Michel island. It is about one kilometre (.6 miles) off the nation’s northwest coast near Avranches.
This famous landmark in France is especially well-known for the iconic spanning causeway constructed to make it simple for medieval pilgrims to reach the island.
The imposing abbey, known for its French Gothic style, has been shown on numerous postcards throughout history. Visit Mont Saint Michel on a full-day guided tour to see its splendour.
1.5. Le Panthéon
Le Panthéon is a structure in Paris, France. It was initially constructed as a church and has been used as a mausoleum since 1791.
You can witness some of France’s most well-known residents, including Voltaire, Victor Hugo, and Emile Zola, buried here. The remains of Napoleon Bonaparte are kept inside the structure.
Louis XV originally ordered Le Panthéon in 1744 to be a church for Saint Genevieve. The building’s large dome and neoclassical façade make for a stunning spectacle. It is situated atop the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève hill in Paris’ Latin Quarter.
However, the building’s construction did not start until 1758 or finish until 1790, the year of the French Revolution. The structure was rededicated as a mausoleum after the Revolution, and the bones of several of France’s most illustrious inhabitants were moved from other churches and cemeteries to Le Panthéon.
1.6. Millau Viaduct
Millau Viaduct is a well-known sight in southern France. The stunning cable-supported bridge over the Tarn Valley is located in the village of Millau. Engineers Michel Virlogeux and Norman Foster built this 2.5-kilometer technical marvel in 2004.
The village’s major highway passes through the Mediterranean Sea, so there is always a lot of summertime traffic. We sat in traffic for hours on our previous visit to the town.
However, when we walked across this lovely bridge, time passed too quickly. You can relish some of the most excellent views in all of France from the bridge itself.
You can utilize the A75 motorway to get to the Millau Viaduct swiftly. When you reach the Millau junction, take the exit for the bridge, then adhere to the instructions.
1.7. Stanislas Gate of Nancy
The Stanislas Gate of Nancy is a famous French landmark at Place Stanislaus in the medieval city of Nancy in Meurthe-et-Moselle. It was built in the 18th century and is a truly stunning structure.
The gate is made of wrought iron and is supported by sandstone pillars. It is intriguing due to its gorgeous golden ornamentation. The entrance inside allows visitors to explore and learn more about its history.
1.8. The Eiffel Tower
One of the most famous French landmarks (and possibly the entire globe) is the Eiffel Tower, renowned for its distinctive design and original purpose as a temporary structure. It has three storeys and is over 300 meters high.
Almost 300 million visitors have visited the Eiffel Tower since it was finished in 1889. You can reserve a direct access tour here to see the tower. Also, in 1889, the World’s Fair was held at the Champ de Mars to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution.
In Paris, several fantastic lodging options are close to the Eiffel Tower. A few of the best examples include Le Bristol Paris, the Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe, and the Hotel Plaza Athenee.
Sainte-Chapelle used to be a revered and essential destination in the world. To make the church a religious icon in Paris, Louis IX granted directions for its construction in the Gothic architectural style in the second part of the 13th century.
In just seven years, the chapel was built far faster than Notre Dame Cathedral. It has become one of France’s most famous monuments, in significant part due to its stained glass collection.
Fifteen windows in the chapel display the collection of stained glass, which collectively depicts 1,113 scenes from the New and Old Testaments of the Bible. It is undoubtedly amazing to witness a truly exceptional work of art.
1.10. Pont du Gard
The Pont du Gard, known as the magnificent Roman aqueduct, still exists today. Built between 40 and 60 AD, this masterpiece still looks fantastic.
The vistas are breathtaking, and the bridge is a beautiful photo location. Ensure you explore the area and take in the views from all sides.
You can conveniently reach the Pont du Gard, which is near the city of Nimes in the south of France, by vehicle. You also need an entry ticket.
It is simple to locate and has many parking places if you travel by car. You must pay the entrance charge to enter the bridge, so make sure you have cash or a credit card on hand.
1.11. Louvre Museum
The Louvre Museum is the world’s largest and most well-known art museum. In the 16th century, the Musée du Louvre was transformed into a royal palace. It was then opened as a museum in 1793 in the capital city of France, Paris.
It records over 10 million visitors annually, and the average daily traffic is close to 25,000 people.
The museum’s collection is now split into eight primary categories, including Islamic art, Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan, Roman antiquities, paintings, sculptures, and antiquities from those regions.
The Mona Lisa, possibly the most well-known portrait in the world by Leonardo da Vinci, is one of the most prominent items in the Louvre Museum collection.
1.12. Arc de Triomphe
Paris, France, is home to the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile, a well-known landmark. It has 12 radial avenues and is situated in the centre of the Champs-Élysées.
Jean Chalgrin built the Arc de Triomphe in 1806 as the centrepiece of the Axe Historique.
The Arc de Triomphe, a triumphal arch in Paris, was built to honour France’s military triumphs during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.
Before the 1938 construction of Mexico City’s Monumento a la Revolución, which stands 67 m (220 ft) tall, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris was the tallest triumphal arch. This is a well-known Parisian landmark in the French capital and serves as the Champs-Élysées’ iconic backdrop.
1.13. Cité de Carcassonne
The French town of Carcassonne is situated in the Aude province, Occitanie region, and is home to the Cité de Carcassonne, a medieval citadel. It is located on a hill with strategic value on the southeast side of the city’s right bank.
In 1997, UNESCO included this well-known French landmark on its list of World Heritage Sites.
This iconic building in France is a well-known global cinema star since it has served as a filming set for several notable movies. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is the most famous movie filmed here.
1.14. Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc is one of the most well-known natural landmarks in Europe. It is the tallest mountain in Western Europe and a resounding symbol of the Alps. This spectacular “white mountain” rises 4808 meters high and has a recognizable peak and long-drawn risk-taking climbers.
The core of the European climbing scene is the Mont Blanc massif, which stretches through France, Italy, and Switzerland.
Mont Blanc scaling shouldn’t be done lightly, even though it is doable without many mountaineering skills. Each year, the mountain claims life, and climbing it is a significant test of fortitude.
The good news is that the summit can be seen from more accessible hiking trails around the Mont Blanc massif. Without scarcely breaking a sweat, take the cable car from Chamonix to the Aiguille du Midi to see a breathtaking view of this majestic mountain range!
1.15. Château de Chenonceau
You can find more than 300 castles in the Loire Valley, with Château de Chenonceau—one of the most beautiful—sitting precariously on the Cher River. It was initially built in the fifteenth century and was reconstructed in the sixteenth century.
Chenonceau is renowned for its beautifully maintained gardens and canals, in addition to its magnificent castle. You can discover the 42 castles throughout the Loire Valley by taking a full-day trip. They are also listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The building was built between 1514 and 1522, even though the land was first documented in the eleventh century.
Both sides of the fighters attacked the German-occupied Chenonceau Castle during World War II. Its renovation began in 1951.
1.16. La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière
It would be best not to miss La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière by Pierre Bossan in Lyon.
The Basilica’s prominent location on a hill above the city has led to its being a symbol of Lyon. An estimated 2.5 million people visit it each year.
The Basilica, like the Sacré Coeur de Montmartre in Paris, was constructed between 1872 and 1884 as a monument to thank God for their victory over the socialists. This stands for purging modern France of its sins.
The Rosary Gardens, located beneath the Basilica, are one of the famous attractions of the landmark. The gardens shielded the prayer space from the city’s bustle.
1.17. Centre Pompidou
A distinctive structure and museum called the Centre Pompidou is on the outskirts of the well-known Marais neighbourhood in the heart of Paris. The streets of the otherwise medieval city are strikingly contrasted with the architecture of the modern art museum.
The architects Rogers, Piano, and Franchini constructed the Centre Pompidou in 1977 after winning a design contest sponsored by President Georges Pompidou. It is renowned for being built from the inside out.
The mechanical systems, including electrical and plumbing, were constructed outside the building in vibrant colours to optimize the internal space.
People frequently refer to the museum as the European MOMA because it houses some of the most significant modern art pieces in Europe today.
1.18. Château de Fontainebleau
Chateau Fontainebleau is ravishing a UNESCO property. The sprawling chateau has enjoyed 800 years of royal support.
It is a remarkable royal home that spared the French Revolution’s wrath during the war. The breathtaking golden ceilings might hurt your neck.
Fontainebleau is most often linked with the hard-working builder Francois I. He significantly increased it, adding a beautiful Renaissance chateau instead of a hunting lodge.
The Fontainebleau’s highlights are the Royal Apartments, the Papal Apartment, and the opulent Francoise I Gallery.
1.19. Parc de La Villette
Parc de La Villette is the third-largest park in Paris. It has a 55.5 hectares area and promotes biodiversity. If you call the well-known location a park, you are understating the situation since it is more comparable to a cultural complex.
Each year, millions of people visit the park because of its amenities for the arts and culture. The park’s 35 red “follies,” designed by architect Bernard Tschumi, are one of its features.
Another attraction in the park is the nearby Science & Industry Museum. The largest of its kind in Europe, the scientific museum features fascinating exhibits relating to science.
I suggest going to this park at night in the summer if you enjoy watching movies. Visitors are welcome to watch outdoor movies on the park’s grass, with a giant screen set up by management throughout the summer.
1.20. Chateau de Chambord
The chateaux of the Loire, a collection of breathtaking castles along the Loire River, draw tourists from all over the world. The largest of these is Chambord, and like the remainder of this stretch of river, it is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
First and foremost, Chambord is fascinating because of its vastness. Given the scale of the building, there are 440 rooms, 84 stairs, and 282 fireplaces, the majority of which are necessary. King Francis I, who spent just around 72 days there during his lifetime, built this as a lavish hunting lodge.
But without question, what attracts visitors the most is the Chambord’s double helix staircase—a pair of stairs that intersect but are concealed from one another. Two people could ascend and descend the same stairwell without bumping into each other.
1.21. Strasbourg Cathedral
The Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg, located in the capital of the Alsace region, is another of France’s most well-known sites.
A tremendous Gothic architectural masterpiece is the Strasbourg Cathedral. The first Romanesque cathedral was built in 1015, and the last component of the current Gothic style was finished more than 400 years later.
One of the most impressive aspects is the church’s embellished facade. A further marvel of architectural achievement is its 142 m spire. The cathedral was even the highest structure in the Christian world until the 19th century.
1.22. Omaha Beach
The terrible and courageous D-Day invasion, which cost thousands of lives and signalled the start of the Second World War’s end, is forever imprinted in European memory.
The vast, sandy beaches of the Normandy coast still serve as a sad reminder of this catastrophic event and draw tourists from around the globe who want to pay their respects to the dead warriors.
The Normandy American Cemetery, a sea of white crosses that serve as a touching memorial to the Americans who lost their lives during the campaign, may be reached by strolling along the shore.
2. Final Remark
Undoubtedly, the famous French landmarks are worth visiting. Each is unique in its way. Some notable landmarks include the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Palace of Versailles. There are also other landmarks which are listed above. Do visit these landmarks with your family and friends without fail and create unforgettable memories.