20 Historical Places in France for Your Next Historical Trip 2022

Historic Sites in France

Notre-Dame Cathedral, The Louvre Palace and Museum, Latin Quarter, The Pantheon, Père-Lachaise Cemetery, La Sainte-Chapelle, Palais Royal Gardens, Amphitheatre of Nîmes and many more.

France is a rich and diverse country of art and culture and there are a plethora of historic places in France worth visiting. Whether you are a hardcore history buff or just a little curious about historic facts every now and then, France will serve your purpose either way. There are a plethora of historic monuments and sites worth visiting such as the Eiffel tower, Arc de Triomphe, L’Hexagone, that you can explore. 

From brimming relics of castles from the First world war to ancient Roman remains of the Renaissance period, France has it all. It is fully packed with jaw-dropping tourist attractions for all travel lovers. France’s historic sites are derived from battlefields and bloody conquests as well as royalty and fine grandeur. If you are planning a trip anytime soon, then here is a list of our personal favourite historical places to visit in France to be added to your itinerary immediately.


Here is the list of some best historical places in France:

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The Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris is known for its splendid location, towers, flying buttresses, and spire. For centuries, the 70 metres high Notre Dame Cathedral remained as one of the tallest and most precious edifices of Paris. Visitors coming here admire the beauty of the cathedral as a masterpiece carved out from French Gothic architecture.

Till date, it is rightly acknowledged to be one of the most significant Middle Age monuments of Paris.What makes the Notre Dame Cathedral as a unique monument is its unique revolutionary medieval design. The brilliance of the innovative Gothic flying buttresses technology is evident in every nook and corner of this cathedral.

Founded in the year 1163, the construction of this magnificent structure lasted for around 200 odd years with tonnes of architects’, stonecutters’, and carpenters’ contribution. The magnificently stained stunning windows here filter every ounce of the ethereal light that strikes the cathedral. In the evening, the illumination created by the votive candles amplifies the spiritual sense of the ambience here.

The cathedral has twin towers which are opened for visitors. To enter the tower, you need to make your way through the left side of the front doorways and then climb the 387 steps present there. The moment you make it to the top, you will be treated with a splendid view like never before.

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The Louvre Museum, officially known as the Great Louvre, is the national museum of France and is situated on the right side of the 12th-century fortress of Philip Augustus. It is the most-visited museums of the world that preserve a collection from ancient civilization to the mid 19th century.

The magnificent, baroque-styled palace and museum sit on the bank of the Seine river in Paris. It is one of the biggest tourist attractions in France and the entire Europe. The Louvre’s collection includes Egyptian antiques, ancient Greek and Roman sculptures, crown jewels, paintings by old masters and artifacts from French nobles among other such things.

Its collection spans from the sixth century BC to the 19th century AD. More than 35,000 works are on display at any given time at the museum.

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Spread over the 5th and 6th arrondissements of Paris, the Latin Quarter is a culturally and geographically rich area in France's romantic capital. It graces the river Seine on its left bank and roughly encircles the University of Paris or Sorbonne.

The Latin Quarter is known all over the world to be an educational centre. Besides the historic University of Paris, institutions including École Normale Supérieure, the École des Mines de Paris, Panthéon-Assas University are present in the area.

Even the Schola Cantorum, the Jussieu university campus, and the École Polytechnique educational institutions have been established in the area very recently. Due to the presence of such significant centres of education, this area has a vibrant student life, bistros, pubs, restaurants, malls and cafes.

If you are looking to spend your vacation amidst the lively streets of Paris, the Latin Quarter is one area you shouldn't miss exploring.

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The Panthéon is a major monument in Paris which was built before the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. The monument offers a panoramic view of the city and is visited by tourists in large numbers. This historic monument was built between 1764 and 1790 as a church. Later, after a few decades, the building was converted into a mausoleum.

Panthéon has undergone many architectural changes and modifications due to the damage done during the First and the Second World War. Due to the various modifications done to the Pantheon, tourists can witness an amalgamation of various architectural styles in the monument.

The monument is admired for its architecture and designing. Panthéon has the Gothic style of architecture with a blend of Corinthian architectural patterns. With its detailed engravings on the walls and the pillars, Panthéon is one of the most architectural and beautiful monuments.

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Père Lachaise Cemetery is the largest park and cemetery rolled into one and surprisingly one of the popular tourist places in Paris. Visiting a cemetery seems like an odd option but as you take a stroll here, you will come across something or the other new about the French and international cultural heritage.

It is also a sought-after burial place for a lot of famous personalities like Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, the French writer Marcel Proust, more than 40 singers, 45 composers, as well as 75 painters.   

Location: 8 Boulevard de Ménilmontant, 75020 Paris, France

Timing: 8 am to 5.30 pm (Monday to Friday), 8.30 am to 5.30 pm (Saturday), 9 am to 5.30 pm (Sunday)
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Built by Louis IX in the 13th century, the Sainte-Chapelle is an architectural wonder and the finest royal chapel built in France. Designed with a Rayonnant Gothic style architecture, this chapel attracts millions of tourists each year. The chapel was commissioned by Louis IX of France in order to display his huge collection of Passion relics. It also houses the relics from the medieval Christendom, Christ's Crown of Thorns. 

It was once a revolutionary tribunal and also a spot where Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned. The distinct collection of fifteen glass panels along with a rose window forms a legit wall of light proving the architectural excellence of this chapel.

The chapel suffered tragic destruction in the late eighteenth century, during which the baldachin and the steeple were removed. Some of the relics were dispersed and also various reliquaries like the Grande Châsse, were melted down. The chapel as it appears today is due to the restoration done in the nineteenth and twenty-first century.

Despite its tragic history, the Sainte-Chapelle houses the extensive collection of stained glass from the 13th century. All the 15 stained glass windows in this chapel date back to the 13th century. The glass windows illustrate over 1000+ biblical stories starting from the Book of Genesis, leading towards the Book of Esther and the Book of Kings.
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If you want to quickly get the feel of being in Paris at one place, Palais-Royal is the best bet. There is art, history, cafes, shops, and magnificent gardens to enjoy here. The visitors mainly get drawn to the gardens consisting of beautiful fountains, colourful flower beds, and the art galleries running parallel to them.

The Palais-Royal truly is truly one of the best places to visit in Paris where you can just wander and enjoy the beautiful world as it goes by.  

Location: 8 Rue de Montpensier, 75001 Paris, France

Entry Fees: Free

Timing: 8 am to 8.30 pm (1 October to 30th March), 8 am to 10.30 pm (1 April to 30th September)
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08

Amphitheatre of Nîmes

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Amphitheatre of Nimes or the Arena of Nimes is a Roman amphitheatre situated in Nimes. It is also one of the most preserved Roman Amphitheatre and historical places in France. It is spread over 78 meters and a part of 20 largest Roman amphitheatres in the world. This monument could hold over 24,000 spectators at one time, when gladiator fights and animal hunts were organised at this place. It is now used as a performance venue in Nimes.

Entry fee - 8 Euros
Timing - Everyday 9 AM to 5 PM

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09

Mont-Saint-Michel

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Mont-Saint-Michel and its bay is considered to be one of the most magnificent tourist attractions and historical places to visit in France. It is also considered as one of the major pilgrimages in Europe. This holy island was declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

It comprises a mesmerising bay shared between the boundary of Normandy and Brittany. For all the Harry Potter fans, the mountain also served as a beautiful backdrop in the Harry Potter film so visiting this place is as close as you get to Hogwarts in France.

Entry fee - 10 Euros
Timing - Everyday 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM

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10

Musee d'Orsay

Musee d'Orsay is a renowned museum in Paris holding French art dating back from the 19th century. You can explore from a plethora of paintings, sculptures, portraits by a lot of famous artists.

The main attraction of this museum is that it houses the world's largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces by Sisley, Gauguin, and many other art geniuses. If you are an art lover then we highly recommend this historical place of France.

Entry fee - 16 Euros

Timing -
Everyday 9:30 AM to 6 PM

11

Lascaux Caves

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Lascaux Caves is a group of caves located near the village of Montignac spread across the area of 85 hectares. This famous historical place of France comprises over 600 wall and ceiling paintings representing the animal and fauna record of that region.

It represents the Palaeolithic period from the southwestern France. The paintings are almost 20,000 years old and were discovered on 12 September, 1940. Since the discovery, over 200 archaeologists, scientists and anthropologists have gathered to research these priceless treasures.

Entry fee - 14-19 Euros
Timing - Everyday 9 AM to 7 PM

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12

The Catacombs of Paris

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One of the most significant historical places to visit in France is the Catacombs de Paris are underground caves in Paris which houses the remains of more than six million people consolidated in a tunnel network. This ossuary-like structure was created to eliminate the city’s overcrowded cemeteries in 1774.

This site got undiscovered until it became a novelty-place for people in the 19th century for private events and concerts. It was open for public sightseeing in 1874. It is also known as an “Empire of Death waiting” holding the remains of victims of Guillotine beheaded in 1794.

Entry fee - 29 Euros
Timing - Everyday 9:45 AM to 8:30 PM

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13

Strasbourg Cathedral

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The Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg or the Strasbourg Cathedral is a Catholic cathedral located in Alsace, France. It is one of the most stunning historical places to visit in France with Roman architecture. It was the world’s tallest building from 1647 to 1874 and now is the sixth-tallest church in the world.

The Cathedral is a 142 meters tall masterpiece of Gothic art which should not be missed at all if you are a fan of history. The entry to this cathedral is free for all visitors but you need to pay a small fee to explore the exterior viewing platform.

Timing - Everyday 8:30 AM to 5:45 PM

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14

Carnac Megalithic Standing Stones

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The Carnac megalithic stones are a unique collection of megalithic standing stones built around 3000 BC. They were built by the pre-Celtic people from Brittany and are the largest collection of such stones in the world. The stonehenge is the most renowned historical place in France and is also known as the Carnac Alignments as it is scattered all across the coast of Brittany.

There are over 3,000 standing stones spread across four kilometers of surface area. The mysterious fact about the place is how the people of the Neolithic period moved these stones to a distance of almost 50 kilometers without any assistance from machinery.
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15

Château de Villandry

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Located in Villandry, the Chateau de Villandry is a huge and stunning country house famous for its beautiful gardens. The gardens represent French gardening at its finest. It comprises a large number of knot and square gardens filled with a variety of plants and vegetables in symmetry.

It was built in the early 1500s and is considered as the last of Loire chateaux from the Renaissance period. The garden is spread across 9 hectares of land and includes six different gardens such as vegetable garden, ornamental garden, water garden and many more.

Entry fee - 7.5 Euros
Timing - Everyday 9 AM - 5:30 PM

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A shrine to the military history of the French Capital, Les Invalides is a building complex located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. Serving as both a care facility for war veterans and a revered place of worship, the compound was designed in the 17th century in Paris. The hospital complex is situated towards the left bank of the River Seine and faces a long esplanade attached to the great river.

Les Invalides is identified by its grand golden dome and intricately decorated features. Its grandiose architecture is the signature of the Baroque style. Constructed by king Louis XIV as a care facility for French war veterans, the complex still holds to its original purpose.

Les Invalides is home to several tourist attractions including three famous museums and the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte. These sites hold your hand and make you travel through time to the era of the French revolution.

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One of the world’s grandiose and most beautiful avenues is the Champs Elysées avenue in Paris. Abounding with genius architecture, history and cultural memoirs the avenue is surrounded by many other famous and historical sites.

After Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, Champs Elysées remains one of the most visited tourist sites in the city of  Paris and receives around 300,000 visitors every day.Spanned for 1.9 kilometres in length and 70 metres in width, Champ Elysées is an avenue that is famous for its high-end luxury shops, theatres, cafés, annual military parade, and undoubtedly the impressive natural beauty of the avenue in general.

Located in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, on the bank of river Seine, the avenue of Champs Elysées runs through Place de la Concorde and Place Charles de Gaulle.Described as the most beautiful avenue in the world Champs Elysées is the French translation for Elysian Fields. Elysian Fields is a paradise for the Greek mythology heroes who are dead.

Living up to its name it is nothing less than a paradise, with stunning green trees running along the avenue, on either side of it. For shoppers, it is heaven as well, with tons of luxury, high-end shops lined along the avenue. From luxurious brands like Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Mauboussin to brands that are affordable like  Zara, Gap, Sephora, Nike the Champs Elysées avenue has it all.

If you are not into shopping, a stroll through the avenue on the massive sidewalks during the early evening, when the sun is peeking through the symmetrically planted trees is worth spending time in Champs Elysées too. 
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Arc de Triomphe which means “Triumphal Arch of the Star", is counted as the most popular monument in Paris, France that needs no introduction. It was erected in 1806, way before the Eiffel Tower by the designer Jean Chalgrinis.

Situated at the core of Place Charles de Gaulle and on the westernmost point of the famous Champs-Élysées avenue, this historically relevant monument was made in honour of all those brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives for France during the Napoleonic Wars and French Revolution.

This architecturally rich yet phenomenal arc houses the names of all French generals and French victories along with the inspiring patriotic quotes and messages on its inner and outer sides, whereas underneath it lies The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from the First World War.

The design and structure of the triumphal arch is influenced by the Arch of Titus in Rome, Italy. Arc de Triomphe, Paris stands tall at the height of 50 meters, depth of 22 meters and width of 45 meters, making it an enormously prominent structure to be admired.

Arc de Triomphe, Paris was the tallest arch in the world until the construction of Monumento a la Revolución in 1938 in Mexico. Additionally, influenced by it, La Grande Arche measuring 110 meters high near Paris and Arch of Triumph, Pyongyang were erected based on the model and perspective of the Arc de Triomphe, Paris which qualifies in the list of world’s tallest arches.
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Originally built as a magnificent royal palace, Conciergerie dates back to the fourteenth century. Considered among the most impressive structures of the Middle Ages, the building has served a number of purposes over time, starting from being used as a parliament to being a museum. 

Constructed on the Isla de la Cite, the Conciergerie was formerly called Palais de la Cite. The building got its new name when the French King Charles V planned to shift his dwelling place to Louvre. The Conciergerie then started being used as the kingdom’s new parliament.

In spite of its preserved medieval appearance, the building of Conciergerie experienced some major renovation in the nineteenth century. The structure has also received a number of additional constructions in the course of various kings. The patchwork clearly shows the architectural marvels and intricate design works of the times gone by.

In 1914, Conciergerie was decommissioned and was open to the public as a national historical monument. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions featuring a wide range of artefacts of the times gone by. Only a small section of the total building is used as the museum and the rest are still in use as Paris Law Courts.

You would come across four massive minarets that cast amazing views to allure your senses, some parts of the royal treasure, marvellous public clock, gothic vaulted interiors, and many relics of the past.
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Musée de l'Armée is an army museum where you could find some priceless collections dating back to the Middle Ages to Modern Days. Situated in the heart of Paris, the museum is known to organize a fully modernized tour to acquaint you with the historical settings of France’s military. Some of the exciting collections at the Musée de l'Armée are inclusive of swords, armor, and coats of arms, emblems, historical figurines, artillery, photography, paintings, and uniforms. 

Due to its diversity of all in-house collections and the period they belong to, the Musée de l'Armée crowns itself as one of the most significant military and art museums in the world. The Hôtel National des Invalides, The Dome (tomb of Napoleon), Main Courtyard,  From Saint Louis to Louis XIV, From Louis XIV to Napoleon III, The Two World Wars,  The Historial Charles de Gaulle,  Extraordinary cabinets, The St. Louis Cathedral,  Museum of the order of the Liberation, and Relief maps are important map spaces here. 

Besides, the museum schedules regular exhibitions and guided tours for their visitors to relieve all the significant moments of France’s military history. There are recreational activities regularly scheduled for the young adult population. 

Once the museum closes for the public visit, you can accompany their curators and Museum restorers to extend your discussion or suggestions with a glass of champagne. Take this opportunity and share what better suggestions you have in your mind for the exhibits displayed here. Not many museums will allow you to do so!

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13 December 2019
Ekaksh Kakkar Disneyland Paris Tickets
Excellent
Visiting Disneyland in Paris has always been a dream of mine and I get to thoroughly enjoy it. My idea of pre-booking the tickets was on point. I really didn't want to take any chances. Every moment I spent there was magical and I even got past the queue pretty fast. If you are going to visit Disneyland you better get an advance ticket booked, trust me it really helps.
18 November 2019
Excellent
The best part about the cruise was the breathtaking view that it served. The commentator in the ship was well informed and gave us great insights throughout the cruise. The trip lasted for about 30 minutes and we got to take a couple of very elegant pictures of the city from the cruise.
22 January 2020
Excellent
We enjoyed an evening cruise on the beautiful waters of the Seine river. The experience was refreshing and we enjoyed the entire cruise. The ship was well maintained and smoothly managed by the people present there. I really like to thank Thrillophilia for its seamless service. I would recommend this cruise to everyone visiting Paris.
16 November 2019
Excellent
We got the 1:00 PM tour of the La Vallée Village for some much needed shopping that we wanted to do. We shopped and also enjoyed a good meal at the village. There was some really cool stuff that we bought including souvenirs.
12 January 2020
Excellent
The transport to La Vallée Village was very comfortable. The pickup and drop off was conducted very well. I and my partner engaged in a good shopping escapade where we spent hours buying various things. The village is one of the prominent places to shop and have a good time, overall. I would recommend every person who wants to get into some shopping should definitely visit La Vallee Village. It is worth every penny.
The Picasso National Museum carried a ton of history. From the painting to the sculptures to the actual design of the museum everything is historical. Me, being a history buff I was engrossed in the place.
What an elegant place to discover. I always wanted to visit Picasso National Museum and I found this great discount they were providing on the tickets so I booked them for myself and my parents on our trip to Paris. We just showed our Thrillophilia vouchers on the location and they instantly allowed us in. I really liked it and would definitely recommend Thrillophilia.
The overall experience I would say was very positive. A must-try, I would say.
17 February 2020
Excellent
The Paris Hop On Hop Off is a great way to enjoy and get to see all the important monuments in the place. The trip was amazing and worth a shot. My family along with me got to see a variety of scenic locations around the city. We took a lot of photos and had a great time on the tour. The bus was comfortable and easy to ride on.
06 January 2020
Excellent
I chose the transfer package of the Disneyland Paris tour by Thrillophilia because I had kids with me and I didn't want to wander around in various transport services with them. The pickup and drop service arranged by the team was really comfortable and saved a lot of my time. The trip was hassle-free. My kids had a lot of fun and I was just happy to see them enjoy so much.

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People Also Ask About France

  1. Which are the best historical places to visit in France with Family?

    1. Mont-Saint-Michel - Built in the 8th century, Mont-Saint-Michel is a little town in itself. It is a UNESCO declared, world heritage site and also a hit pilgrimage destination with the tourists. This historical place in France is located in an isolated corner near the shoreline and you can see waves hitting against the steep path leading to it.

    2. Pere Lachaise Cemetery -
    Founded in 1804, Pere Lachaise Cemetery is both the largest cemetery and park in Paris. It is spread across 44 hectares of land, and holds over 70,000 marked burial plots. A lot of celebrities have rested in peace in this cemetery such as Oscar Wilde, Yves Montand, Colette, Jim Morrisson and many more.

    3. Nimes Arena -
    Since the Roman era, Nimes Arena used to be the stadium hosting all the Roman games. Its elliptical shape could house more than 20,00 spectators at once. Now it has become one of the most beautiful and photogenic historical places to visit in France.
  2. Which are the best things to do in France?

    1. Watch the sunset from the Eiffel Tower - Paris is called the “City of Lights”, and you can get the experience of gazing at it from the Eiffel Tower at sunset. The sunsets are surreal and magical from the top of the Eiffel tower. You can also dine in at the Eiffel tower restaurants and enjoy the sunsets with your beau.

    2. Hop on a Seine River cruise -
    You can board a Seine River cruise and get a chance to see all the Paris top sights. It is highly recommended to board on the cruise during night time as the Seine is illuminated and creates a captivating impression of the river.

    3. Explore Bordeaux on bike -
    The Bordeaux region offers some of the best sceneries of France with majestic castles, vineyards and quaint villages. You can stroll on bike and explore the entire region. There are several cycling tours that are arranged on a daily basis that covers all the major tourist attractions and historical places in France.
  3. What is France famous for?

    France is globally renowned for their historical monument, Eiffel Tower. People from all over the world visit Paris to hop on the magnificent Eiffel tower. France is also famous for its art galleries, desserts, museums and fine cuisines. There are many historical places to visit in France such as The Louvre, Notre-Dame de Paris, Palace of Versailles and many more.
  4. What is the best time to visit France?

    The ideal time to visit France is between the months of April to May as the weather is pleasant all across the country. The spring season is perfect for you to explore the cities, mountains and countryside.
  5. How do I get to France?

    There are multiple ways by which you can travel to France depending upon your point of start. Some of the means of transport are -

    By air - There are around 45 airports connecting almost all the cities in France. The flights are also economical and connect all the international cities.

    By Train - France is known to have one of the most effective and well-connected train networks in the world. You can reach anywhere you want within the country via rail.

    By Bus - The bus system is well connected in France. You can reach a lot of destinations within Europe from France at economical fares.

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