Where to go in France
It would take many trips to experience the many fantastic destinations France has to offer. The most popular include Paris where you can stroll alongside the Seine River, steal a kiss at the top of the Eiffel Tower, and marvel at the works in The Louvre. Claude Monet’s spectacular Giverny gardens make for a perfect day trip from the city, while the Loire Valley is considered by many to represent quintessential France, with elegant chateaux, historic villages, and picturesque vineyards. For glitz, glamour, and beaches, it’s off to the French Riviera, while snow bunnies may want to head to Les Trois Vallées in Courchevel.
Best places to go in France
Here is a summary of some of the best and most popular areas to visit.
The so-called “City of Lights,” oozes romance, but it’s a destination for every type of traveler, which is why it’s long been the world’s No. 1 tourist destination. Visitors can enjoy the rich culture, fashion, fine fare, magnificent architecture, world-class museums, and more while exploring atmospheric streets. Soak it up at a café while nibbling on cheese paired with French wine, or a pastry with a café au lait. Don’t miss visiting the top of the Eiffel Tower for a panorama of it all from above, or exploring the Louvre, the world’s largest museum, home to da Vinci’s Mona Lisa among many other artistic treasures.
The largest city on the French Riviera and its unofficial capital, Nice is known for its year-round sunshine, beaches, thriving food scene, and plenty of glitz and glamour. While many come to enjoy the pristine white sands edged by the brilliant blue of the Mediterranean Sea, visitors can also enjoy shopping in outdoor markets with produce, including fresh figs (a must-try), spices, flowers, and antiques. Climb the steps of the Colline du Chateau to discover a stunning vista at the top, enjoy strolling the Promenade des Anglais with its gorgeous beach and water views, and discover iconic French fragrancies in perfumeries.
Many consider Lyon to be the world’s gastronomy capital, a must for foodies and anyone with an appetite. It’s filled with top-notch for all budgets, and, as it sits in the heart of the Beaujolais and Cotes du Rhone wine regions, many of its eateries offer menus featuring fantastic wines. Beyond that, you’ll find history to explore with Roman ruins and centuries-old churches, along with highlights like the Musee des Beaux-Arts, Musee Gallo-Romain de Lyon-Fourviere, Musee d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, and Musee des Tissus et des Arts Decoratif.
Set along the Provencal coast, Marseille is a multicultural port city that rises above the sandy beaches of the Côte d’Azur. It offers plenty of excitement and a rich, 2,000-year-old history dating back to classical Greece with Vieux Port (old port) its vibrant heart, filled with pleasure boats and yachts. Just uphill is the oldest section of the city, the Le Panier neighborhood, well-worth exploring. Take in the old-world charm of the opera house, the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, the history museum (Musee d’Histoire de Marseille), and the lively promenade with its 18th-century warehouses converted into cafes and bars.
Bordeaux is one of the most famous wine regions in France and more than half the city itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, bringing lots of opportunities to delve into history and architecture too, including the 1780 Grand Theatre with its Corinthian columns. Wine touring and tasting here is a must, but you’ll find many gourmet eateries with wine lists focusing on the nearby vineyards too. Its popular Capuchin Farmer’s Market is where chefs come for their ingredients, and you’ll find lots of locals doing their shopping here too, with colorful stalls filled with produce, meats, fish, breads, pastries, and cheeses.
Jam-packed with grand architecture and fascinating history, Avignon is an ideal sightseeing destination in the South of France. If you’re here in July, you can experience the famous theater festival. Some of the must-visit places include the gardens at Rocher des Doms and the huge Palais des Papes, or Pope’s Palace. In the 14th century, this was the seat of Catholic popes and it remained under papal rule until 1791 when it became part of France. Surrounded by medieval stone ramparts, it’s the largest Gothic palace in history and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Located near the eastern border of Germany, Strasbourg offers an interesting mix with its medieval past and progressive future. It boasts a dazzling Gothic cathedral and winding alleyways lined with crooked half-timbered homes that look as if they’re part of a Grimm fairytale. Enjoy indulging in delicious meals at canal-side Alsatian taverns in Petite France, its most romantic and picturesque district, and explore the Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Visit at Christmas to enjoy the series of themed Christmas villages that transform the city into a holiday wonderland.
A great base for exploring the South of France, Aix-en-Provence offers a relaxed vibe with historic landmarks like the 14th-century town hall, Romanesque/Gothic Saint-Sauveur Cathedral, and Roman ruins. A university city that was the birthplace of famous painter Paul Cézanne, there are plenty of modern delights too, many of which can be found along the leafy Cours Mirabeau. This picturesque boulevard is ideal for an afternoon stroll or a night out, with countless shops, lively cafes, and great restaurants. The weekly street market hosted here is well worth a visit too.
Set along the southern banks of the Loire River in the Loire Valley, a region renowned for its picturesque vineyards, charming historic villages, glorious chateaus, and breathtaking, scenery, Amboise is crowned by a royal chateau with beautiful gardens and a chapel, which also happens to be Leonardo da Vinci’s final resting place. The Renaissance town that was the childhood home of Charles VIII also offers bustling markets and an enviable selection of fantastic restaurants, making it an outstanding base for exploring the countryside.
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