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  • Romantic, charming, historical, regal – the places to visit in France are some of the most beautiful and memorable ones. The country is packed with things to see and that’s not an understatement. Just the Palace of Versailles alone is home to numerous wonders like the Petit Trianon and La Galerie des Batailles. Imagine, then, what the whole country has to offer!

    France is undoubtedly a dream destination for history buffs. Indeed, many of the tourist places in France include palaces, monuments and cathedrals dating back centuries. A tour of these destinations will open you up to a time when kings and queens ruled when battles were waged and history rewritten. Yet, travellers who crave contemporariness will also find more than their share of tourist places in France. Boulevards hum with life and are peppered with cafes, restaurants and boutiques. The best of French fashion and French cuisine wait to be enjoyed. 

    Those who prefer the freedom of the outdoors and nature won’t be disappointed either as beaches, cliffs and parks are spread across the country. Hiking, climbing and water sports promise to satiate one’s sense of adventure.

    With so much to see and do, it’s easy to get a little confused. How do you fit in everything in a few days? You can’t, of course, but you can make sure to visit the best destinations. 

    Here is the list of places to visit in France:

  • 01Places to Visit in Paris

    Places to Visit in Paris
    1) Eiffel Tower - Start your adventure in France with a visit to the Eiffel Tower. It’s one of the most iconic structures in the world and the view from the top is unmatched.

    2) Louvre Museum - Another French icon, the Louvre Museum showcases some of the best art in the world. This is where you can gaze at the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo and even set your eyes on the Regent Diamond.

    3) Notre-Dame de Paris - Possibly one of the most well-known cathedrals, Notre-Dame de Paris is considered to be the greatest example of French Gothic architecture.
     
    4) Musee d'Orsay - Fourth on our list of places to visit in France is the Musee d'Orsay, which has one of the biggest collections of art by noted names like van Gogh, Manet and Monet.

    5) Sainte-Chapelle - Sainte-Chapelle’s stained glass collection is among the best in the world, depicting over 1,000 Biblical scenes. The chapel is housed within Palais de la Cité.

    6) Basilica du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre (Sacre-Cœur) - The Basilica du Sacre-Coeur de Montmartre crowns the summit of Montmartre. It features a large mosaic in the apse called Christ in Majesty, which is among the biggest in the world.

    7) Arc de Triomphe - This is quite possibly one of the most famous triumphal arches every built. It’s dedicated to the people who fought and lost their lives for France in the Napoleonic Wars and the French Revolution.

    8) Disneyland Paris - See your favourite cartoon and fairytale characters come to life at Disneyland Paris. Stay at one of the many hotels here and feast on culinary delights like Rémy's special ratatouille.

    9) Musee Rodin - August Rodin, the man behind the renowned The Thinker sculpture, has his works displayed at the Musee Rodin. Explore his works and learn about his life.

    10) Luxembourg Palace - Paris is home to the Luxembourg Palace featuring French classical architecture and mesmerizing gardens with statues and ponds. It also has a library that contains over 400,000 volumes.

    13) Place de la Concorde - This large square was once known for its public executions of French royalty but has come a long way from that. It’s dominated by a towering Egyptian obelisk and monumental fountains.

    14) Pont Alexandre III - Pont Alexandre III is a gorgeous bridge that crosses the Seine. In fact, it’s thought to be the most ornately designed in Paris. Cherubs, nymphs and fish are some of the sculptures it features.

    15) Seine cruise - There’s no better way to see the Seine River than on a cruise. There are several to choose from including lunch and dinner cruises – whichever suits your taste.

    16) Musee de l'Orangerie - If you love Impressionist and post-impressionist art, the Musee de l'Orangerie is where you should head to. See Monet’s famous Water Lilies and works by Cezanne, Laurencin and Modigliani.

    17) Pere Lachaise Cemetery - Pere Lachaise Cemetery is one of the most beautiful garden cemeteries with old mausoleums, graves and burial chambers built in different styles. Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison are even buried here!

    18) Palais Garnier Opera House - The Palais Garnier Opera House boasts an elaborateness that will take your breath away. A massive 8-ton crystal and bronze chandelier adorns the auditorium and illuminates it with over 300 lights.

    19) Bustling boulevards & legendary cafés - Take a leisurely stroll through the boulevards of France such as the Avenue Montaigne and enjoy French snacks and coffee at popular cafes like Cafe de la Paix and Le Barbequing.
  • 02Places to Visit in Nice

    Places to Visit in Nice
    20) Promenade des Anglais - The lovely Promenade des Anglais stretches for 4 kms along the Bay of Angels. You can take a walk along it or cycle and bike.

    21) Castle Hill - Castle Hill offers a sweeping view of Nice and the Bay of Angels. 300 steps lead the way up although there’s a lift that takes you more than halfway to the top.

    22) Place Massena - This is where locals meet to catch up and enjoy time together. It’s just a few minutes' walk from the Promenade des Anglais so make sure you visit.

    23) St Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral - St Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral was built for the Russian community. It features architecture in the Old Russian style though it has modern elements as well.
     
    24) Parc Phoenix - Seven hectares of themed gardens, a greenhouse and animals are housed in Parc Phoenix. The botanical garden and zoo have several different zones to explore.

    25) Musee National Marc Chagall - Marc Chagall’s works can be seen at the Musee National Marc Chagall. It has the largest public collection of his works including paintings, pastels and drawings.

    26) Nice Observatory - If you love gazing at the stars and the moon, Nice Observatory is one of the best places to visit in France. Its set atop Mount Gros and since 1988 has been a part of the Côte d'Azur Observatory.

    27) Old Nice (Vieille Ville) - Nice’s old town is as charming as you would imagine. Colourful, vibrant and with a heavy Italian presence, there are welcoming pubs, cafes and markets to check out.

    28) Marche aux Fleurs Cours Saleya (flower market) - Marche aux Fleurs Cours Saleya is a pretty flower market held from Tuesday to Sunday. Aside from flowers, you can also find fruits and vegetables with sellers offering samples.

    29) Place Garibaldi - Take time out for a relaxing stroll to Place Garibaldi. It’s one of the biggest squares in Nice and is bordered by lovely Baroque buildings.

    30) Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art - The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art showcases European and American modern art from the 1960s to the present. The works of Michelangelo Pistoletto, Andy Warhol and Yves Klein
    are parts of the permanent collection.

    31) Cimiez Monastery - Built in the 800s, Cimiez Monastery was constructed by Franciscan monks and today houses the Franciscan Museum. It traces the history and life of the Franciscan community from the 13th to 17th centuries.
  • 03Places to Visit in Lyon

    Places to Visit in Lyon
    32) Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere - Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere overlooks the city of Lyon. The white minor basilica is made up of two sanctuaries – an ornate upper half and a simpler lower half.

    33) Parc de la Tête d'Or - A huge urban park whether strangers and friends gather, Parc de la Tête d'Or spans a massive 117 hectares and contains a lake, gardens, a zoo and a tourist train.

    34) Place Bellecour - Place Bellecour is the perfect spot for people-watching. It’s one of Europe’s largest open squares and you can spend hours here at a cafe, taking a stroll or a ride on the Ferris wheel.

    35) Cathedral Saint Jean Baptiste (Lyon Cathedral) - Cathedral Saint Jean Baptiste boasts a beautiful gothic facade with a surprisingly simple interior. It also houses an old astronomical clock that goes off every day at intervals.

    36) Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon - Explore centuries of history and art at Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon. Its collection includes valuable finds like the Coffin of Isetemkheb, Perugino’s Ascension of Christ and Monet’s Agitated Sea at Etretat.

    37) Miniature Museum and Theater - See the world in miniature at the Miniature Museum and Theater. The creations are incredibly detailed to give a terrific sense of realism.

    38) Zoo De Lyon - Zoo De Lyon is located within Parc de la Tête d'Or. It’s not the largest but you can pay it a visit when you’re in the park.

    39) Saint-Nizier Church - Saint-Nizier Church was built on top of a Roman monument before it was destroyed and rebuilt in the 9th century. It’s seen as a place of refuge by many.

    40) Mur des Canuts - This massive fresco is believed to be the largest in Europe. It depicts the city’s silk weaving traditions and history. To this day, Lyon has a booming silk industry.

    41) Colline de la Croix-Rousse - Visit Colline de la Croix-Rousse, a hill and neighbourhood that was once the place of the city’s silk industry. Views of Lyon are spectacular here as there are many vantage points.

    42) Institut Lumière - Enter the world of cinematography at the Institut Lumière. Its museum houses an interesting collection of old colour photos and cameras as well as a cinematography that first projected films back in 1895.
  • 04Places to Visit in Strasbourg

    Places to Visit in Strasbourg
    43) Strasbourg Cathedral - Strasbourg Cathedral is a stunning work of high gothic and Romanesque architecture. The towering structure features an astronomical clock with automated figures that are a treat for the eyes.

    44) Musee De L'oeuvre Notre-dame - Right near Strasbourg Cathedral is the Musee De L'oeuvre Notre-dame, one of the top tourist places in France and in the city. It exhibits plans for the Strasbourg Cathedral and Upper Rhenish fine art.

    45) Ponts Couverts and Barrage Vauban - Spend time admiring Strasbourg’s bridges such as Ponts Couverts and Barrage Vauban. Both were part of a defensive work, the latter now displaying medieval sculptures.
     
    46) La Petite France - One of the best tourist places in France was once home to tanners and butchers. Charming old houses still stand beside the Ill river.

    47) Parc de l'Orangerie - Parc de l'Orangerie is a great family destination with its lake dotted with swans and a children’s playground. It also has a small zoo.

    48) Musee Alsacien - Discover what life was like in Alsace before the industrial revolution at Musee Alsacien. Replicas of rural interiors, costumes and furniture are some of the attractions.

    49) Place du Chateau - Strasbourg’s popular Place du Chateau is a square surrounded by famous buildings such as the Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg. It’s the perfect place to shop, dine and sightsee.

    50) Palais Rohan - Also in Place du Chateau and right near Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg is Palais Rohan where the House of Rohan once resided. It’s now home to the Musée Archéologique, Musée des Arts Décoratifs and Musée des Beaux-Arts.
  • 05Places to Visit in Marseille

    Places to Visit in Marseille
    51) Notre-Dame de la Garde - Marseilles pride is a stunning example of Roman-Byzantine architecture. The bell tower features a large statue of the Virgin Mary in bronze who watches over the city.

    52) Abbey of Saint-Victor de Marseille - This old 5th-century abbey doesn’t contain much but it has a sarcophagus dating back to the 6th century AD. The austere appearance of the building is striking and is part of the allure.

    53) Parc Borély - You could spend hours here and never get bored. Parc Borély’s lovely gardens, tall trees, statues and miniature Notre-Dame de la Garde will keep you busy.

    54) Parc National des Calanques - If you want to do more than just a stroll, Parc National des Calanques is a great hiking location. The terrain is challenging in places but you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous views of inlets and the sea.

    55) Old Port of Marseille - The Old Port of Marseille hums with life, making it one of the most popular places to visit in France. Restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs dot the harbour.

    56) Marseille History Museum - Learn about Marseilles and it is more than 2,000-year-old history at Marseille History Museum. It’s just meters away from the Old Port.

    57) MuCEM (Musée des Civilisations de l'Europe et de la Méditerranée) - MuCEM offers an insightful look at European and Mediterranean cultures through various themes. It contains over a million artworks and artefacts.

    58) Château d'If - Château d'If is an old fortress complex that was the source of inspiration for the prison in the Count of Monte Cristo fiction novel. One of the cells has even been designated as the one that the count used!

    59) Vieille Charité - The erstwhile almshouse of Vieille Charité is today the home of the Museum of African, Oceanic, Native American Arts and the Mediterranean Archeology Museum. It also has a research library and museum shops.

    60) Cathédrale de la Major - This national monument is one of the best places to visit in France. It’s one of the largest cathedrals in the country with a seating capacity of 3,000.
  • 06Places to Visit in Versailles

    Places to Visit in Versailles
    Image Credit : Kimberly Vardeman
    61) Palace of Versailles - Once a seat of power, the Palace of Versailles is a magnificent example of French architecture. It boasts over 200 acres of landscaped gardens, the Chapel of Versailles and the Grand Trianon among other attractions.

    62) Petit Trianon - Also on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles is the Petit Trianon, a small chateau that was frequented by Marie Antoinette. It was her place of refuge and privacy from the pressures of court life.

    63) The Hall of Mirrors - The Palace of Versailles's central gallery is a breathtakingly beautiful room adorned with mirror-clad arches that reflect the windows. It’s the palace’s most famous attraction.

    64) Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye - Once the residence of King Louis VI, Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye was restored several times before being designated a museum in 1867. Today, it houses the National Archeological Museum.

    65) Galerie des Carrosses - Get a glimpse of how royalty moved around with a visit to the Galerie des Carrosses. Hearses, sedans and sledges are some of the things to see.

    66) Fountains of Versailles - The Palace of Versailles’s fountains is a sight to behold. They’re dedicated to the four seasons through beautiful sculptures.

    67) Gardens of Versailles - The sprawling Gardens of Versailles extend for around 8 sq kms. Manicured lawns and sculptures are just a few of the highlights; if you visit from spring to autumn, you can see the fountains in all their glory.

    68) Chapels of Versailles - The Palace of Versailles has had five chapels so far. The present chapel features beautiful gothic architecture and a vaulted ceiling dedicated to the Holy Trinity.

    69) Versailles Orangerie - Also on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles is the Versailles Orangerie. It features orange trees from different parts of Europe, some of which are over 200 years old.

    70) La Galerie des Batailles - Don’t miss a visit to La Galerie des Batailles, a gallery in the Palace of Versailles showcasing nearly 1,500 years of French military successes. The gallery is massive, measuring 120 meters in length.

    71) Royal Opera of Versailles - The Royal Opera of Versailles ranks among the top places to visit in France. It’s a major opera house and is built almost entirely of wood.

    72) Versailles Cathedral - A national monument built in the 18th century, Versailles Cathedral has a mix of classical and baroque architecture, paintings of Biblical scenes indoors and stained glass windows.

    73) France Miniature - See France laid out in miniature at France Miniature. The park is filled with interesting attractions including activities for kids.

    74) Temple de l'Amour - The gardens of the Petit Trianon are home to Temple de l'Amour, a wonderful structure believed to be built to celebrate the love between Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI.
  • 07Places to Visit in Bordeaux

    Places to Visit in Bordeaux
    75) Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux - One of the grandest concert halls you’ll ever see, Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux is also among the oldest theatres in Europe. The auditorium’s circular cupola features a magnificent fresco by Claude Robin.

    76) Place de la Bourse - A complex that speaks to the architectural skills of old, Place de la Bourse is a chain of identical buildings that create a stunning work of art. The Three Graces fountain stands proudly in the centre.

    77) Pont de Pierre - Enjoy terrific views of Bordeaux from the Pont de Pierre, which at time one was one of the biggest bridges ever built. Take a walk across to appreciate it in its entirety.

    78) Basilica of St. Michael - The Basilica of St. Michael is one of the top tourist draws and you certainly shouldn’t miss it. Head up to the bell tower to see the central square and the town.

    79) Church of the Holy Cross - The Romanesque facade of the Church of the Holy Cross is instantly striking. Although once an abbey, it’s now a parish and houses the École des beaux-arts de Bordeaux.

    80) Cathédrale Saint-André - Also known as the Bordeaux Cathedral, this old structure houses the Marcadé collection that includes religious works like liturgical ornaments, paintings and sculptures.

    81) Quais de Bordeaux - Take a walk along the Quais de Bordeaux, which are quays along the Garonne river. The 18th-century facades give you a look into the past while shopping centres and parks keep you busy.

    82) La Cité du Vin - La Cité du Vin is a dramatic architectural concept that immediately stands out. Within, you can explore the theme of wine through exhibitions and seminars.

    83) Rue Sainte-Catherine - When in France, you need to shop! Bordeaux’s Rue Sainte-Catherine is filled with brand name stores, malls and boutiques for your ultimate shopping high.

    84) Porte Cailhau - In the heart of Bordeaux lies Porte Cailhau, a medieval city gate that stands 35 meters tall. See the tools used to build it at the nearby exhibition.

    85) Marche des Quais - The lively Marche des Quais is a great place to spend some time. You’ll find fresh produce, artisanal wine and beer and local specialities
  • 08Other Places to Visit in France

    Other Places to Visit in France
    86) Mont Saint-Michel - Mont Saint-Michel is a sight that will take your breath away. The island in Normandy is topped by a medieval monastery that was once a centre of learning.

    87) Plage Palombaggia, Porto-Vecchio - Beach lovers, rejoice, for Plage Palombaggia in Porto-Vecchio is one of the most stunning beaches in France. Clear waters, pine trees and long stretches of sand create an idyllic setting for romance and relaxation.

    88) French Riviera - This is the stuff of television and film and no visit to France is complete without a trip to the French Riviera! Glamorous houses and famous destinations like Saint-Tropez and Cannes are here.

    89) Dordogne - Few places are as charming as Dordogne with its picturesque villages and chateaus, gardens, castles and caves. Spend a few days to immerse yourself in its heady beauty.

    90) Adrenalin kick, Chamonix - Eager for adventure? Chamonix will give it to you in spades! The valley offers plenty to do such as trail running, mountain biking, rafting and climbing.

    91) Dune du Pilat - A massive sand dune situated between a peninsula and a forest - Dune du Pilat is like a large playground for kids and adults. It’s Europe’s tallest sand dune and is often times described as a sand monster!

    92) D-Day Beaches - See where Allied troops landed during Operation Overlord in the Second World War. The D-Day Beaches include Juno Beach, Sword Beach, Gold Beach, Omaha Beach and Utah Beach.

    93) Gorge du Verdon - Discover one of France’s best natural wonders at the Gorge du Verdon, which is the deepest in the country. Explore the rim and kayak below.

    94) Chateau de Chambord - Although incomplete, Chateau de Chambord is one of the famous buildings in France. French Renaissance architecture dominates along with a huge French formal garden.
     
    95) Etretat Cliffs - The white cliffs of Etretat, dramatic arches and beach make it one of the best places to visit in France. You can hike the trails connecting the three points in a few hours.

    96) Montpellier - Montpellier is an elegant city graced with stately houses and charming streets. Sit down for a snack at an outdoor cafe, check out the street art or go on a guided tour.

    97) Val-d'Isere - Explore the majesty of the French Alps at Val-d'Isere. The ski resort draws a steady flow of alpine sports aficionados every year.

    98) La Cote des Basques, Biarritz - The gorgeous Basque Coast is every beach lover’s paradise. La Cote des Basques, in particular, stands out for its cliffs, surfing opportunities and beachfront bars.

    99) Le Cappiello, Paris - Dine at Le Cappiello in Paris, a brightly lit, intimate and inviting establishment that serves fresh items and seasonal dishes. Try the filet mignon, ravioli and chicken tenders.

    100) Burgundy - Like Bordeaux, Burgundy is known for its wines and you can’t leave without going on a wine tasting tour. Dijon, Auxerre and Macon are a few top places to visit.

    101) Colmar Town - Colmar Town is another wine-producing region but its medieval buildings and annual wine fair, Foire aux vins d'Alsace, help it stand out.

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