France is a gorgeous country that falls on many people’s bucket lists. There are many beautiful best places to visit in France and if it’s not the first place that pops into your head when you think of a dream vacation, you will rethink it by the end of this article.
Who doesn’t know about the city of light- Paris? Right? But there is so much more to France than just Paris. From the rolling hills of the Loire Valley to the French Riviera and the sunny beaches of the Cote d’Azur; France is a beautiful country with fantastic architecture, stunning scenery, and world-class cuisine.
Yes, I said world-class cuisine! The food alone will convince you that France is the best country to go for a vacation. From mouthwatering baguettes and cheese to wine and fine dining – France is filled with delicious delicacies for every kind of eater.
Now you see, there really is something for everyone. Continue your reading to find out about the 20 best places to visit in France.
1. Best Places to Visit in France: Paris
Paris is the most visited city in France and has many things to offer. The capital city of France, Paris, has lots of attractions that get a swarm of tourists every year.
The most famous Eiffel Tower and Louvre are situated in this place. The city’s iconic architecture masterpieces reflect France’s rich heritage.
Such an architectural masterpiece is the Notre Dame Cathedral. To checkout the French Impressionist art’s treasures, visit Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie.
Paris also has one of the best dining and shopping experiences in the world. Besides, you can also stroll the Champs-Elysees or the graceful boulevards.
Getting a hotel room can be pretty expensive. If you want the best deals on accommodation, go to Paris during winter or early spring.
2. Best Places to Visit in France: Versailles
After you visit Paris, go to Versailles to check out France’s magnificent palaces.
Versailles was the capital of France for over a century. Now, this city makes a great day trip for tourists visiting France.
The main attraction of Versailles is the Château de Versailles. It is a 17th-century place that was built for Louis XIV. This palace shows the glory of France’s kings.
Château de Versailles has an impressive Baroque facade, Hall of Mirrors, and gardens with beautifully designed fountains.
A trip to this UNESCO World Heritage Site will indeed make your day serene.
3. Best Places to Visit in France: Provence
Provence is different from Paris and Versailles. Unlike these cities, Provence is a countryside that has a traditional ambiance. It is always sunny and has rolling hills and farms with sunflowers and lavender fields.
While walking in the streets of Provence, you’ll smell the aroma of rosemary, sage, and other herbs that grow in the fields. These fresh herbs are used in making local cuisine.
While you are here, go to the Saint-Paul-de-Vence. It is a walled medieval town that is a short drive from other picturesque spots like Eze and Gordes.
Also, go and dine in one of the many outdoor cafes of Aix-en-Provence.
4. Best Places to Visit in France: Brittany
Brittany is located in Northwestern France and has a theatrical scenery that is unlike other cities of France. The traditions and festivals of Brittany are also unique.
There are many historical sites, including the prehistoric megaliths and medieval towns, well-preserved in this town. You can also explore centuries-old fishing villages on the offshore islands.
By doing so, you can be exposed to the cultures that get their influence from the Celts.
Brittany also offers one of the best beaches where you can surf, sunbathe, dive, and spot dolphins. These beach sides also have fantastic beach resorts where you can stay.
The food of Brittany is also delicious. Since it is a fishing village, the dish will be mainly focused on seafood. Some of the items to try are the buckwheat crepes and a buttery pastry made up of croissant dough and sugar sprinkles named “Kouign Amann.”
5. Best Places to Visit in France: Normandy
Normandy is located in Northern France. It is a charming town famous for its Camembert cheese, apple cider, apple brandy, and cow-peppered landscape. This city offers fantastic food and an even more impressive history.
Despite its war-filled history, Normandy remains a quaint city and invites many visitors to see its military cemeteries, D-Day landing sites, and memorial museums.
There are other notable attractions to see in Normandy, the most popular one being the Mont Saint-Michel, also renowned as “The Heavenly Jerusalem.” While visiting this UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will see many historic castles, churches, and small towns.
Built between the 11th and 13th centuries, Mont Saint-Michel is an important medieval pilgrimage site that is still a place of interest for modern-day pilgrims.
Complete your Normandy trip with a visit to quaint cities and towns like Rouen, Bayeux, and Giverny.
6. Best Places to Visit in France: Loire Valley
Located along the Loire River, Loire Valley is an excellent place for a romantic getaway. It is a UNESCO-listed site that has a lush, forested landscape with many beautiful castles.
Loire Valley also has a rich cultural heritage. Many French kings and French nobles built manors and castles in this area because of its beauty and relaxing feel. Some of the renowned manor houses are Château of Cheverny and the Château d’Azay-le-Rideau.
Go to Château de Chambord to get an insight into the Renaissance-era French Court.
If you are traveling with children, Parc Mini-Châteaux is the place that would be of interest to you. Situated in Amboise’s woodlands, it is an amusement park with kid-sized castles where you and your kids can have fun exploring.
Besides, Loire Valley also has one of the best accommodation choices, farms, and wineries where you can relax.
7. Best Places to Visit in France: Bordeaux
Love wine? Then, visiting the wine capital of France, Bordeaux is a non-miss.
Located on the riverbanks and countrysides, Bordeaux houses more than 100,000 vineyards, meaning lots of choices on sipping some of the best wines of France and even the world. Plus, this is where you can have a gourmet dining experience too.
Besides wine, Bordeaux has amazing Gothic-style Basilique Saint-Michel in its center. Also, stroll on the Pont de Pierre, and explore the magnificent Place de la Bourse.
You can also relax at the Jardin Public or go to the Grand Theatre to watch an opera show.
If you want to shop, there are many small markets where you can find something to everything.
To get the most out of your experience at Bordeaux, stay at a chateau. Chateau De Montastruc is a lovely chateau with great hospitality and views.
8. Best Places to Visit in France: Rocamadour
Rocamadour is a village located in Southwest France that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are lots of attractions to see and visit in Rocamadour, such as the medieval-era sanctuaries. The village has seven sanctuaries, out of which Chapelle Notre-Dame is the most popular one. Here, you can see the Black Virgin, and the figure of the Virgin Mary carved on walnut wood.
You should also visit the Castle of Rocamadour to check out some fantastic views. Also, visit the Basilique Saint-Sauveur, the largest church in the village and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When you are here, you can try some creamy goat cheese and explore more religious sites.
9. Best Places to Visit in France: Saint Emilion
Located 51 kilometers from Bordeaux, Saint Emilion is a tiny country village with a rich heritage that dates back to the 8th century.
This village looks as if it is brought straight out of a fairytale. There are many churches and monasteries that you can visit on your trip to Saint Emilion. One such pilgrimage site to not miss out on is the Monolithic Church.
If you want to taste some delicious wines, go to Chateau La Dominique.
10. Best Places to Visit in France: Corsica
Also known as France’s ‘Isle of Beauty,’ Corsica is a beautiful island with a rugged and dramatic coastal landscape. Corsica features lush forests and snowcapped mountains, as well as has sunny beaches, bays, and stunning fishing ports.
Talking about the beaches, Corsica’s beaches are great for sunbathing and swimming and activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking.
On the other hand, its mountains and pristine forests have great hiking trails.
Lastly, this island also has an excellent gastronomy scene. The local delicacies like Brocciu cheese and Prisuttu are a must-have when you are here.
11. Best Places to Visit in France: The French Alps
The French Alps is a spectacular region to visit for anyone looking forward to adventure and nature. The region has impressive mountain terrain, natural scenery as well as a rich cultural heritage.
The French Alps houses the highest mountain in Europe, Mont Blanc (4,180 meters). Sumitting this mountain will show you sublime views of the landscapes, dramatic waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, valleys, and pine forests. There’s nothing more amazing than breathing the fresh air from the top of a mountain.
The best time to visit the French Alps is during summer. Visiting the alps during summertime lets you enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, mountain climbing, and cycling. It is also when you can unwind in several places after completing your adventure in the Alps.
You can do activities like Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and dog-sledding during the winter.
After you are done with the activities, go on a 15-minute drive from Mont Blanc to Chamonix Village, where you will be presented with an alpine ambiance. If you want to keep on driving further from Chamonix, you will reach Annecy.
Annecy has an old chateau with incredible lakeside scenery and ambiance.
12. Best Places to Visit in France: The Alsace region
Bordering Germany and Switzerland, Alsace is a region located in northeastern France.
It is a region consisting of many historic cities such as Strasbourg, Colmar, Ribeauvillé, and other beautiful Alsatian villages.
When you are in this region, the first and foremost thing to do is to go on a wine trail and taste the white wine. By doing so, you can also stroll around lush vineyards.
If you’re not so much of a wine person, go and drink a beer. Alsace is famous for its beer brands like Korenenbourg and Meteor.
Also try the Alsace Flammekueche. It is the region’s traditional dish that is like pizza but without tomatoes.
Now talking about the heritage, the architecture of this region is highly influenced by Germany as Alsace borders Germany and used to even be under its control sometime in history.
The colorful half-timbered houses and Gothic churches are something unique to check out in this region. Every building looks photogenic.
While you’re touring through the cities and villages of this region, make sure not to miss visiting Strasbourg. Its narrow cobblestone streets and picturesque canals take you to magnificent cathedrals. A sight you definitely want to see.
Lastly, visit the villages that are designated as “Villages Fleuris,” meaning the Flowering Villages. Walking the streets that has vibrant flowers that cover the homes and streets is a beautiful feeling indeed.
13. Best Places to Visit in France: Nimes
Nimes is becoming one of the favorite cities for a good day trip among many tourists. Located in southern France, Nimes is an ancient Roman city well-known for its Roman history and attractions.
Some of France’s best Roman historical sites can be found here, including the Arena of Nimes. Arena of Nimes is an amphitheater built in 70 CE. Pretty ancient, right? The arena still hosts concerts and bullfights.
Besides, you should also visit the Jardins de la Fontaine and Pont du Gard.
Nimes is also a denim producer (de Nimes), so buy yourself a pair when you are here. If you feel hungry, try the Mediterranean Monkfish at Alexandre by Michel Kayser.
14. Best Places to Visit in France: Lille
Lille- the capital of the Hauts-de-France in northern France is an underrated place to visit in France. Located near the border of Belgium, Lille is a city full of culture, history, and universities.
Lille is a great place to spend a weekend, plus it’s cheaper than megacities like Paris and Versailles.
Lille is a famous market town where you can find ANYTHING! I recommend going to Wazemmes market to shop for fruits and vegetables. Plus, you can also find electronic equipment and furniture.
Now talking about the fun parts, learn about animals and other beings at the Natural History Museum, or broaden your creative mind at the Palais des Beaux-Arts Museum. Walk the streets of old Lille, known as Le Vieux-Lille, and try yummy puddings and cakes at the market.
Another best way to explore Lille is by going on a two-hour-long bike tour.
15. Best Places to Visit in France: Saint-Tropez
Saint-Tropez is the center of glamour and hedonism. What once was an unknown fishing village is now a million-dollar yachts’ port that has private beaches. You may be thinking that Saint-Tropez is only for the wealthy moguls, let me correct you, it is more visited by regular tourists too.
Saint-Tropex has the best beaches, delicious food, and vibrant nightlife in France.
This city got its fame from the “And God Created Woman” (1956) movie. Now this, once a fishing village, has lots of attractions on offer.
You can check out some fabulous museums at the Vieux Port. Or if you’re having a sweet tooth, go to La Tarte Tropezienne to taste some sweet dessert.
If you want to explore the famous beaches, there are many to choose from, such as Plage Port Grimaud, Escalet Beach, Plage des Jumeaux, Plage de la Bouillabaisse or Plage des Graniers.
If you want to drink and chill by the beach, go to Plage de Pampellone, they have some of the trendy beach bars in Sain-Tropez.
Saint-Tropez is also a great place to shop for boutique-wardrobe and meet celebrities.
16. Best Places to Visit in France: Marseille
Located on the Mediterranean coast, Marseille is the oldest and second-largest city in France. It is a historic city that is exciting and fun for travelers.
There are several attractions that you visit in this former capital of culture. The first place I suggest you visit is to the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde. Then, make your way to Cathédrale de la Major.
Take a stroll at Vieux-Port and enjoy the street performances and exhibitions.
If you want to do some more outdoor activities, go to Calanques for a swim. You can also hire a boat and go boating. The rocky cliffs of Calanques make it a good spot for hiking too.
End your trip at Marseille by visiting Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (Mucem). Explore this place to see the beautiful views of the city.
17. Best Places to Visit in France: Cannes
We all know the prestigious Cannes Film Festival that takes place annually with a great pump, right? It is when many film stars from around the globe come to one place to celebrate the best films that get selected from screening.
But again, Cannes is much more than that. It is a destination for relaxation.
You can walk the streets of La Croisette or chill at a beach. You can stroll the city and check out the luxurious yachts and high-end boutiques or have an exquisite meal at a five-star hotel.
There are lots of casinos here. You can go to one to test your luck too.
Yes, Cannes is glamorous and expensive so if you plan to visit this place, make up your mind for a bit of splurge because it sure will be worth it.
If you want to buy local products, go to Le Suquet. It is an old part of Cannes which is modest.
Walking through Le Suquet (the old part of town) is a must-do, along with buying local produce at Marche Forville. You can also take a day trip to the beautiful Lerins Islands, which you’ll love.
18. Best Places to Visit in France: Montgenèvre
Montgenèvre, located in the Hautes-Alpes in southern France, is an excellent place for skiing and hiking.
Since Montgenèvre is located near the border of Italy, you can get an Italian twist on the food and ambiance of the mountains.
Besides, there are also lots of hiking trails that are splendid to walk on during the summer season.
If you’re traveling in winter, skiing the Montgenèvre slopes will be the best adrenaline-filled activity for you.
Plus, Montgenèvre is also one of the most budget-friendly skiing destinations in the Alps.
19. Best Places to Visit in France: Lyon
Lyon is France’s third-largest city, but it is calmer and less crowded than other large cities. Lyon has everything from cultural sites, art, and architecture to one of the best party scenes.
Lyon has museums of basically everything. You can visit museums of history, movies, music and more. Also, visit Musée des Beaux-Art that shows its rich artistic treasures.
You should also check out the public art while you stroll the streets of Lyon. Make sure to take a picture in front of the L’oeil murals.
Lyon is a UNESCO-listed city that houses Roman ruins and elegant Renaissance houses. Visiting this town will make you feel like you’re back in medieval times.
Now let’s talk about the most popular reason why travelers love visiting this city.
Lyon is the center of French gastronomy. There are lots of gourmet restaurants and wineries that are simply some of the best. Lyon is truly a foodie’s heaven.
When you are here, try the region’s special quenelles (fish dumplings in a creamy sauce), meat dishes, and salads.
Besides, Lyon also has a great party spirit. Come just in time for the annual electronic music festival (Nuit Sonores). You will indeed have the best of your Lyon trip.
20. Best Places to Visit in France: Nice
If I had to choose a word to describe Nice, it has to be “Gorgeous.” Located in the French Riviera, Nice is a beautiful town with dazzling beaching and delicious food. Not to mention, it also has a booming art scene which is prevalent at Musee Marc Chagall.
Nice has abundant public and private beaches, and hanging out on one of them is a must.
If you have to choose one, go to Castel Plague- a private beach with wind sands and sparkling blue waters. Plus, there’s a restaurant to grab a bite too.
Other noteworthy sites to visit in this city are Castle Hill (Colline du Chateau), Lascaris Palace, Nice Cathedral, parc du Mont Boron, and Place Massena.
If you are traveling with kids, go to Parc Phoenix, where you can check out a large greenhouse with various flora and fauna. Plus, they also have many animals too such as otters, iguanas, and turtles.
A trip to Nice can be a bit costly on your wallet, but it surely is going to be worth it. Visit Nice during mid-March and April or from September to October.
Is France Safe To Travel?
France is the 66th safest country out of 163 nations according to the 2020 Global Peace Index. Even though France ranks poorly in terms of European countries, France is still very safe to travel.
Violent crimes are infrequent, and the primary form of petty crime is pickpocketing. It is best to stay aware of petty thieves on popular attractions. Make sure to keep your belongings with you at all times and not trust anyone easily.
So here are the 20 best places to visit in France. How many destinations have you picked to add to your bucket list?
Speaking of a bucket list, check out the top things to add to your travel bucket list here.