20 Best Places in France To Explore

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places in France
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Because of its distinctive six-sided design, the French affectionately refer to their beloved country as “l’Hexagone.”

The sun-drenched, leisurely Provence, the luxurious, stunning Côte d’Azur coastline, and the picturesque Alsace, a pastoral region where storybook hamlets are hidden in the vine-covered rolling hills, each part of France have its own distinct personality.

places in France
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For the first visit to France, Paris and Versailles are a must-see. Other traditional travel routes include visits to opulent beach resorts, fanciful castles, and magnificent Gothic churches.

In the countryside, you can find more off-the-beaten-path experiences, like at farmhouses in Burgundy, fishing communities in Brittany, and little towns in the Pyrenees Mountains’ forests.

France provides several tourist attractions, from elegant towns to pure natural areas.

20 Best Places in France To Explore

Our list of the 20 best places in France will help you explore this beautiful and diverse nation.

1. Mont Saint Michel

One of the most notable features of the Normandy region is Mont Saint-Michel, which is surrounded by apple orchards, forests, and cow pastures. On the extensive list of Normandy travel destinations, which also features top attractions like historic castles and charming villages, this must-see tourist attraction comes in the first place.

France’s most important pilgrimage site is the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel, which was constructed between the 11th and 13th centuries. The Bay of Mont Saint-Michel islet that the UNESCO-listed abbey is perched on top of is considered a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.

Mont Saint Michel
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On the “Way of Saint James” that led to Santiago de Compostela in Spain during the Middle Ages, the abbey church was a significant pilgrimage destination. Even now, pilgrims still travel here, walking across the Bay of Saint-Michel at low tide.

The experience of visiting Mont Saint-Michel is uplifting. At this magnificent ancient monastery, visitors can take in religious services, musical performances, and cultural events. It is one of the best places in France to visit.

2. The Loire Valley

One of France’s most stunning regions, the Loire Valley is a well-liked travel destination. The Loire Valley is home to attractive villages, wineries, and rolling vineyards. Stunning castles like the Chateau de Chambord and the Chateau de Chenonceau are other of its well-known attractions. Take a guided tour to learn more about the valley while you are there.

If you’re in France, you should definitely visit the Loire Valley, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is a lot to see and do in the French region, which is a lovely location.

Loire Valley, places in France
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Visits to wineries, town exploration, and castle tours are some of the top things to do around. There are numerous fantastic eateries in the valley where you can savour the regional fare.

The Loire River Valley is the ideal location for a romantic weekend away. Wine tasting, picnics in the vineyards, and castle tours are just a few of the romantic things you can do together. It is one of the best places in France to visit.

3. The Côte d’Azur or French Riviera

The Côte d’Azur also called the French Riviera, is a posh section of the Mediterranean coastline so named because of its intensely azure waters.

The Côte d’Azur is a fashionable beach resort region that roughly stretches from Saint-Tropez to Menton and is less than 30 kilometers from the Italian border.

There is something for everyone in the Côte d’Azur( French Riviera ). Nice is the place to indulge in the finer things in life, explore art galleries, and amble down palm-lined boulevards and cobblestone narrow streets. It is one of the best places in France to visit.

Monaco, a tiny royal principality that is associated with luxury and decadence, and Cannes, which has a glittering beachfront promenade and an attractive Old Town, are two of the most well-known tourist destinations on the French Riviera. Both Cannes and Monaco have marinas brimming with yachts, five-star hotels, and renowned dining establishments.

4. In the French Alps, Mont-Blanc, and Annecy

Some of the world’s most breathtaking natural vistas can be found in the French Alps. The picturesque Mont Blanc, a famous snow-capped summit that rises to a height of 4,810 meters, is the tallest mountain in Western Europe.

At this elevation, the air is clean and the scenery is breathtaking, featuring glistening lakes, thunderous waterfalls, serene valleys, and revitalizing pine forests.

Visitors swarm to the Alps in the summer to go hiking, biking, and mountain climbing. The French Alps are a popular winter destination for those who enjoy cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and Alpine skiing. The region is home to many of France’s best ski resorts.

Mont-Blanc
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In addition to the breathtaking mountain scenery, the area has a rich cultural history connected to both the historical Dauphiné region and the ancestors of the Italian royal House of Savoy.

While Annecy has an old château, lakeside views, and a fairytale atmosphere, the charming mountain resort of Chamonix offers a traditional alpine ambiance. It is one of the best places in France to visit.

5. Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

When visiting France, you really must visit the Notre Dame Cathedral. On the Île de la Cité, in the center of Paris, is where you’ll find the Notre Dame Cathedral.

One of the oldest areas of Paris is this island on the River Seine, and the cathedral has been there since the 12th century.

One of the most well-known landmarks in the French city is Notre Dame de Paris. The cathedral is well-known for its beautiful stained glass windows and gorgeous architecture. The construction process took more than 200 years, and it was finally finished in the 13th century.

Notre Dame Cathedral
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The Notre Dame Cathedral typically draws millions of tourists each year and is the most well-liked tourist attraction in France. It is one of the best places in France to visit.

The French government spent a significant amount of money restoring Notre Dame because of its historical and cultural importance; work is expected to be finished in 2024.

6. Bordeaux

On the western coast of France, close to the Spanish border, sits the city of Bordeaux. Due to its exquisite architecture and historical buildings, the city is frequently called the “Paris of the West.”

The area is home to a large number of castles, forts, and other historical structures, including 350 national heritage sites in or close to the city.

Bordeaux
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The “old” parts of the historic city will make you feel as though you’ve been transported to another era or a sizable open-air museum. The Place de la Bourse, Les Allees de Touny, and the Grand Theatre de Bordeaux are a few of the city’s most beautiful historic structures.

The wine industry is by far the most significant industry in the Bordeaux region. The city is frequently referred to as the “capital of wine” because of the abundance of enormous vineyards that surround it. It is one of the best places in France to visit.

7. Eiffel Tower, Paris

One of the most popular tourist destinations in the world is the Eiffel Tower, a famous landmark in Paris. French engineer Gustave Eiffel created the Eiffel Tower. He was born in 1832 and pursued his education at Paris’ esteemed École Polytechnique.

He worked for a number of organizations after receiving his degree, including the railroad corporation Compagnie du chemin de fer de Paris à Orléans.

Eiffel Tower
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Although the tower was initially intended to be a temporary structure for the 1889 World’s Fair, it was maintained because of its popularity and is now a well-known landmark in Paris. Visitors can use the elevator to get to the tower’s summit for breathtaking city views.

It is a prominent landmark that is recognized all over the world. It is one of the best places in France to visit.

8. Pont du Gard

The town of Nîmes in the South of France is home to the historic Roman aqueduct known as the Pont du Gard. It is a must-see location for anybody traveling through the region and is one of the best-preserved Roman monuments on the entire globe.

The huge, fully limestone-built structure has a height of over 50 meters. The aqueduct, a wonderful sight to behold, provided water to the city of Nîmes.

Pont du Gard, places in France
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There are a few additional locations nearby that are worthwhile exploring. The Garden of the Three Graces, a stunning park with magnificent gardens and fountains, is a short stroll from this structure.

If you’re curious about the history of the area, you should visit the archaeological museum that is located there. It is one of the best places in France to visit.

9. Cirque de Gavarnie in Pyrenees Mountains

In the Pyrenees Mountains, there is a spectacular site called the Cirque de Gavarnie. It is a sizable limestone amphitheater with many waterfalls that is protected as a World Heritage Site.

The park is a stunning area that spans France and Spain and is full of valleys and lush forests. It is a well-liked destination for both nature lovers and pilgrims due to the abundance of walking pathways available.

Near the Cirque de Gavarnie, there is a tonne of fantastic activities to enjoy. Hiking is one of the most well-liked pastimes, and you can go on a hiking tour. There are several lovely trails that ascend into the mountains while winding through the forest.

Additionally, there are a number of villages nearby that provide an opportunity to experience traditional French culture. Naturally, the adjacent spa towns provide an opportunity for rest and renewal. It is one of the best places in France to visit.

10. Chantilly Palace

In the Hauts-de-France area of northern France, the commune of Chantilly is located in the Oise department. 25 kilometers to the north of Paris is where it is.

The Château de Chantilly, a palace and grounds that are currently open to the public, is what makes Chantilly most well-known.

Chantilly Palace
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The Château was constructed in 1528 by Pierre Bontemps, François I’s secretary, and in 1602 it passed to Louis II de Bourbon, Prince of Condé.

In 1766, the estate went to the Duke of Orleans, and in 1775, it went to the Duke of Chartres. The property was sold by the Duke of Orleans to Henri d’Orléans, duc d’Aumale, in 1837. It is one of the best places in France to visit.

11. Lyon: One of the Best Places in France

It makes sense why Lyon is frequently referred to be France’s culinary capital. In addition to a wide variety of traditional bouchons, this fantastic tourist destination is home to a number of Michelin-starred restaurants.

When viewed from a high structure or hill, the festival’s illumination of the entire city with shimmering lights creates one of the most breathtaking visual displays on the entire globe. Your tour will be easier if you have your own Lyon City Pass.

Lyon is a fantastic city for those who love history. Renaissance architecture can be seen in abundance in the city’s Old Town (Vieux Lyon), which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There is no doubt that Lyon’s Roman ruins, which are among the best preserved in all of Europe, are worth visiting. It is one of the best places in France to visit.

12. The Alsace Region

Along with the numerous Alsace region towns, the historic cities of Strasbourg and Colmar possess a unique old-world beauty that is unmatched by the rest of France.

Alsace’s architecture and atmosphere have been inspired by nearby Germany over the years, as evidenced by the vibrantly painted half-timbered buildings and historic Gothic churches.

The Alsace Villages tour is a charming way to travel through the area. Due to the bright potted flowers that cover the homes and streets, many settlements are recognized as the Plus Beaux Villages de France (Most Beautiful Villages of France), and some are referred to as Villages Fleuris (Flowering Villages).

It is one of the best places in France to visit.

13. Nice: One of the Best Places in France

The Promenade des Anglais, Old Town, Place Masséna, and Castle Hill are a few of the prominent attractions of Nice, a city on the Mediterranean coast of southeastern France.

Additionally, Nice offers a variety of activities, including shopping, dining out, swimming, and sunbathing.

Nice has a rich history that goes all the way back to the Roman Empire. In the year 15 BC, the emperor Augustus constructed the city, which was then known as Nikaia. Nice had fast growth and developed into a significant trading hub.

Additionally, it was a well-liked vacation destination that drew lots of tourists, including Napoleon Bonaparte and Queen Victoria. It is a well-liked vacation spot recognized for its beaches, nightlife, and historic architecture.

There are many things to do and see in Nice, a wonderful city to visit in France. Nice Nice is undoubtedly worth taking into consideration if you’re looking for a fun-filled city break or a calm beach vacation. It is one of the best places in France to visit.

14. Strasbourg

In the center of the Alsace region, Strasbourg is a historic city with a rich cultural legacy. Its location on the border of France and Germany makes it a city that offers the “best of both worlds.”

Strasbourg offers a variety of activities, including touring the city’s historic district, perusing its museums, and taking a riverboat trip. This city is a special location that provides a view into the history and culture of both France and Germany. Travelers should visit it.

With its narrow cobblestone streets and canals, Strasbourg’s old city has the appearance of a Disney Princess film location. It is simpler to move around the city on a Segway tour.

You simply cannot miss the Strasbourg Cathedral when you are in the city because it is regarded as one of the finest specimens of Gothic architecture in the entire world. It is one of the best places in France to visit.

15. Saint Tropez

Another popular French Riviera location is Saint-Tropez. Since the 1950s, this posh town has served as a playground for the affluent and famous and continues to be one of the most exclusive holiday spots in the world. Saint-Tropez has a wide variety of beaches to choose from.

If you’re searching for a quiet place to unwind, beaches like plage des Granier’s and plage de la Bouillabaisse are both excellent options.

Check out plage de Pampelonne for a busier beach scene. There are several beach clubs on this well-known beach, including Club 55.

Saint-Tropez is a fantastic option if you’re seeking an opulent vacation destination with lots of celebrity sightings. It is one of the best places in France to visit.

16. Château de Versailles

Another popular tourist destination in France is the Palace of Versailles. For more than a century, French Kings and Queens resided at this historic royal home.

The palace is now accessible to the general public, who can explore the opulent interiors, meticulously maintained gardens, and magnificent architecture. On-site exhibits and historical relics from the palace are also on display in a museum.

Château de Versailles
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Just outside of Paris is where you’ll find the Palace of Versailles. From the heart of Paris, travelers can travel there on the RER C line.

Visitors are met at the palace gates after an approximately 30-minute train ride. It is one of the best places in France to visit.

17. The Louvre Museum, Paris

The largest and possibly most well-known museum in the world is The Louvre. Some of the most well-known works of art in the world, including the Mona Lisa, are housed in this museum, which is situated in Paris, France.

The Louvre Museum was originally a palace that King Philip II constructed on the site in the late 12th century. This palace was expanded over the years, and in 1793, the Louvre was converted into a public museum.

The Louvre Museum
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More than 380,000 works of art, including the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace, are presently housed in the museum.

The Louvre Museum tickets should be purchased in advance because the place might get very busy. It is one of the best places in France to visit.

18. Marseille

On the Mediterranean Sea’s coast, in Southern France, sits the city of Marseille. The city is distinct from other French cities due to its distinctive blend of North African and French culture.

If you’re looking for a spot to get lost, Marseilles is the perfect place to do it. A few of the most magnificent cultural sites in the entire globe are formed by the numerous ancient streets in Marseilles.

From little cafés with breathtaking vistas to photo ops and a variety of events, Marseilles has it all. It is one of the best places in France to visit.

The majority of visitors come to Marseilles for its exquisite white beaches, which are among the best in all of Europe.

19. Reims

Given its historical significance as the location of the majority of France’s coronations, Reims is occasionally referred to as “The City of Kings” and is home to some of the most exquisite examples of royal French architecture in the nation.

The best celebratory beverage in the world is produced in the Champagne region of France, which includes Reims.

According to Wayne’s World, only champagne originates from the Champagne area of France; the rest is just sparkling white wine. It is not shocking that tourists from all over the world swarm to this city to sample some of that authentic bubbly.

In addition, Reims is a great place for families to travel because it is home to many of France’s most renowned museums, many of which are focused on the nation’s past royal dynasties. It is one of the best places in France to visit.

20. Avignon

The former papal palace of Avignon is another remarkable French city. Avignon served as the papacy’s residence for two centuries, resembling a smaller version of Vatican City within France.

One of the few French cities to have preserved its city walls is Avignon, which is in the south of France and close to Marseille and Cannes.

Due to the city walls of Avignon being preserved, the ancient town is teeming with amazing architecture that is unique to France. In total, 44 towers, 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) of ramparts, and 7 gates from Avignon’s medieval past have survived.

There are options for wine tastings and walking tours in Avignon, which will maximize the value of your trip. It is one of the best places in France to visit.

One of the most notable structures in Avignon is the Palais des Papes, which is the largest Gothic palace in all of Europe. Nine popes resided at the palace, which was constructed in the fourteenth century.

Final Remark

There are many wonderful places to explore in France. From the picturesque streets of Paris to the stunning coastal towns of the Cote d’Azur, there is much to see and do.

To help you plan your trip, we’ve compiled a list of the best places in France to explore. So whether you’re looking for culture, history, or just a beautiful place to relax, be sure to add these spots to your wishlist.

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