It could be difficult 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, along with what you may anticipate from each one.
You will learn about some of the most well-known French sites and what to anticipate from each one in this guide. 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 an amazing trip.
You’re 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.
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. Les souterrains de Provins
Famous underground tunnels known as Les Souterrains de Provins are found in the French town of Provins.
The initial purpose of these tunnels was to defend the town from invasion in the 12th century. The tunnels are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a well-liked tourist destination. The tunnels can be explored by guests either independently or with a tour guide.
The Hotel du Chateau Saint Vincent is a great choice if you’d prefer to stay at a bigger hotel. This four-star hotel has a restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner in addition to a spa and gym on the property. One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
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 and turned 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 as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. View performances in the palace’s renowned Hall of Mirrors or explore the expansion chambers and grounds. This is one of the most well-known landmarks in France.
About 20 kilometers west of Paris is where you’ll find the Palace of Versailles. You can use a bus, train, or vehicle to get there. Driving is the quickest way to get to the palace. The palace has a sizable parking area and is easily accessible from the Paris expressway.
3. Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame de Paris is among the city’s most well-known landmarks in France. Originally constructed in the 12th century, the cathedral is renowned for its beautiful architecture and stained glass windows.
The cathedral was finally finished in the 13th 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. One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
The French government spent a significant amount of money restoring Notre Dame de Paris because of its historical and cultural importance; work is expected to be finished in 2024.
4. Mont Saint Michel Abbey
The largest city in Finistère, a Brittany area of France, is Saint-Malo. It is a commune in the French region of Normandy’s Manche department.
The Mont Saint-Michel Abbey, noted for its stunning Gothic architecture, is located on the island, which is located 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 that was constructed to make it simple for medieval pilgrims to reach the island. One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
Known for its French Gothic style, the imposing abbey has been shown on numerous postcards throughout history. Visit Mont Saint Michel on a full-day guided tour to see its splendor.
5. Le Panthéon
Originally constructed as a church, Le Panthéon is a structure in Paris, France that has been in use as a mausoleum since 1791.
Some of France’s most well-known residents, including Voltaire, Victor Hugo, and Emile Zola, are buried there. The remains of Napoleon Bonaparte are kept inside the structure. One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
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.
But the building wasn’t started until 1758, and it wasn’t finished until 1790, the year of the French Revolution. The structure was rededicated as a mausoleum after the Revolution, and the bones of a number of France’s most illustrious inhabitants were moved from other churches and cemeteries to Le Panthéon.
6. Millau Viaduct
A well-known sight in southern France is the Millau Viaduct. The stunning cable-supported bridge over the Tarn Valley is located in the village of Millau. This 2.5-kilometer technical marvel was built in 2004 by engineers Michel Virlogeux and Noraman Foster.
Due to the village’s major highway passing through the Mediterranean Sea, there has always been a lot of summertime traffic. We had to sit in traffic for hours on our previous visit as we made our way through the town.
However, as soon as we walked across this lovely bridge, time seemed to pass much too quickly. Some of the nicest views in all of France may be found from the bridge and from the bridge itself. One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
Utilizing the A75 motorway will allow you to get to the Millau Viaduct swiftly. When you reach the Millau junction, take the exit for the bridge, then adhere to the instructions.
7. Stanislas Gate of Nancy
The Stanislas Gate of Nancy is a famous French landmark and is situated at Place Stanislaus in the medieval city of Nancy in Meurthe-et-Moselle. The gate was given the name Stanislaus I in honour of the last Polish ruler. It was built in the 18th century, and it is a truly stunning structure.
The gate is made of wrought iron and is supported by sandstone pillars. The gate is intriguing due to its gorgeous, golden ornamentation. The gate inside is open for visitors to explore and learn more about its history.
One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
8. The Eiffel Tower: One of the Most Famous French Landmarks
One of the most famous France landmarks (and possibly the entire globe) is the Eiffel Tower, which is renowned for its distinctive design and original purpose as a temporary structure. It has four storeys and is over 300 meters high.
Initially, the 1889 World’s Fair was intended to serve as a prelude to the Champ de Mars World Exposition. One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
There have been almost 200 million visitors to the Eiffel Tower since it was finished in 1889. You can reserve a direct access tour here to visit the tower.
In Paris, there are several fantastic lodging options close to the Eiffel Tower. Le Bristol Paris, the Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe, and the Hotel Plaza Athenee are a few of the best.
Sainte-Chapelle used to be a revered and important destination in the world. In an endeavour 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.
The chapel was built far faster than Notre Dame Cathedral, at just seven years. It has become one of France’s most famous monuments, in great part due to its stained glass collection.
15 windows in the chapel display the collection of stained glass, which collectively depict 1,113 scenes from the new and old testaments of the Bible. It is undoubtedly amazing to witness a truly exceptional work of art. This is one of the most well-known landmarks in France.
10. Pont du Gard
The magnificent Roman aqueduct known as the Pont du Gard is still in existence today. Built between 40 and 60 AD, this masterpiece still looks fantastic.
The vistas are truly breathtaking, and the bridge is a wonderful location for photos. Make careful to explore the area and take in the views from all sides.
Near the city of Nimes in the south of France, the Pont du Gard is conveniently reachable by vehicle. Entrance requires a ticket. One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
It is simple to locate and has lots of parking places if you are travelling by car. You must pay the entrance charge to enter the bridge, so make sure you have cash or a credit card on hand.
11. Louvre Museum
The largest and most well-known art museum in the world is the Louvre Museum. The Musée du Louvre was initially founded as a palace in 1793 in the capital city of France, Paris.
The most well-known museum of its kind in France is The Louvre Museum, which opened in 1989. (and arguably the world). It records over 10 million visitors annually and the average daily traffic is close to 15,000 people.
The museum’s collection is now split into eight primary categories, including Chinese art, Islamic art, Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan, and 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 well-known items in the collection of the Louvre Museum. One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
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 center of the Champs-Élysées.
As the centerpiece of the Axe Historique, the Arc de Triomphe was built by Jean Chalgrin in 1806. An arc that spans the entirety of the Place de la Concorde connects the 16th, 17th, and 8th Arrondissements.
In order to honor France’s military triumphs during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, the Arc de Triomphe, a triumphal arch located in Paris, was built. One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
Prior to the 1938 construction of Mexico City’s Monumento a la Revolución, which stands 67 m (220 ft) tall, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris held the record for the tallest triumphal arch. This is a well-known Parisian landmark in the French capital and serves as the Champs-Élysées’ iconic backdrop.
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 situated 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. One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
This iconic building in France is a well-known global cinema star since it has served as a filming set for a number of well-known movies, with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves being the most well-known.
14. Mont Blanc
The tallest mountain in Western Europe and a resounding symbol of the Alps, Mont Blanc, is one of the most well-known natural landmarks in all of Europe. This spectacular “white mountain,” which rises 4808 meters high and has a recognizable peak, has long drawn risk-taking climbers.
The core of the European climbing scene is the Mont Blanc massif, which stretches through France, Italy, and Switzerland. One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
Even if scaling Mont Blanc is doable without a lot of mountaineering skills, it shouldn’t be done lightly. 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 all 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!
15. Château de Chenonceau
More than 300 castles may be found in the Loire Valley, with Château de Chenonceau—one of the most beautiful—sitting precariously on the Cher River. In the fifteenth century, it was initially built, and in the sixteenth, it was reconstructed.
Chenonceau is renowned for its beautifully maintained gardens and canals in addition to its magnificent castle. Discover the 42 castles that are presently scattered throughout the Loire Valley and are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites by taking a full-day trip.
In the French Loire Valley, on the Cher River, is where you’ll find the Chateau de Chenonceau. The current 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. The renovation of it began in 1951. One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
16. La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière
La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière by Pierre Bossan should not be missed whilst 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 million people visit it each year. One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
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, which are located beneath the Basilica, are one of the famous attractions of the landmark. The prayer space was shielded from the city’s bustle by the manner the gardens were created.
17. Centre Pompidou
On the outskirts of the well-known Marais neighborhood in the heart of Paris, there is a distinctive structure and museum called the Centre Pompidou. The streets of the otherwise medieval city are strikingly contrasted with the architecture of the modern art museum.
The Centre Pompidou, which was constructed in 1977 by the architects Rogers, Piano, and Franchini after they won a design contest sponsored by President Georges Pompidou, is renowned for being constructed from the inside out.
The mechanical systems, including electrical and plumbing, were constructed on the outside of the building in vibrant colors in order 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. One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
18. Château de Fontainebleau
A UNESCO property is being ravished by Chateau Fontainebleau. The sprawling chateau has enjoyed 800 years of royal support.
It is a remarkable royal home that was spared the French Revolution’s wrath during the war. More than 1,500 of the rooms include antique furnishings. The breathtaking golden ceilings might hurt your neck.
Fontainebleau is most often linked with the hard-working builder Francois I. He greatly increased it, adding a beautiful Renaissance chateau in place of a hunting lodge. One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
The Royal Apartments, Marie Antoinette’s boudoirs, the Papal Apartment, and the opulent Francoise I Gallery are among Fontainbleau’s highlights.
19. Parc de La Villette
Parc de La Villette, the third-largest park in Paris, has a 35-hectare area and promotes biodiversity. You are understating the situation if you call the well-known location a park 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 26 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 which has a huge screen set up by management throughout the summer. One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
20. Chateau de Chambord
The chateaux of the Loire, that 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 426 rooms, 83 stairs, and 282 fireplaces, the majority of which are necessary. King Francis I, who spent just around six weeks there during his lifetime, had it built as a “modest” hunting lodge.
But without a question, Chambord’s double helix staircase—a pair of stairs that intersect but are concealed from one another—is what attracts visitors the most. It was possible for two people to ascend and descend the same stairwell without ever bumping into each other.
One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
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 great Gothic architectural masterpiece is the Strasbourg Cathedral. The first Romanesque cathedral was built in 1015, but it wasn’t until more than 400 years later that the last component of the current Gothic style was finished.
The facade of the church, which is embellished with embellishments, is one of its most amazing aspects. A further marvel of architectural achievement is its 142 m spire. The cathedral was even the highest structure in the entire Christian world up until the 19th century. One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
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 somber reminder of this catastrophic event and draw tourists from around the globe who want to pay their respects to the dead warriors.
Omaha Beach is the ideal starting point for your vacation among all of the Normandy beaches. This area served as the center of the American advance and is now the location of a top-notch memorial museum.
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. One of the most popular French landmarks is this one.
In conclusion, there are many famous French landmarks that are worth exploring.
These landmarks include the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Palace of Versailles, and many more which are listed above. Each of these landmarks is unique and offers its own history and beauty.