If you are planning a trip to France, this article will help you to know the best tourist spots in France to visit. The French call their beloved homeland ‘Hexagone (six-sided shape)’ as France has different views on each corner of it.
France is surrounded by the rugged and outdoorsy French Alps, the glamorous and gorgeous Cote D’Azur coastline and idyllic Alsace, sun-drenched and slow-paced Provence, and a pastoral region that is famous for hamlets with vine-covered rolling hills.
Paris and Versailles are the most visited destinations in France. You can also visit fashionable seaside resorts, fairy-tale castles, and glorious Gothic cathedrals.
Moreover, you will get an off-the-beaten-path experience like farmhouses in Burgundy, quaint towns in the forests of the Pyrenees Mountains, and fishing villages in Brittany in the countryside.
Table of Contents
Best Tourist Spots in France
Starting from cultured cities to pristine nature sites, you will get so many best tourist spots in France. In this article, we have covered the 21 best tourist spots in France for you to discover a fascinating and diverse country.
1) Paris & Versailles
Paris is a grand European capital, appreciated for its elegance with its architectural masterpieces like the Eiffel Tower and the Notre Dame Cathedral. One of the top museums in Paris, the Louvre reflects the rich heritage of the city by containing an exceptional fine arts collection. Whereas, the Musee de l’Orangerie and the Musee d’Orsay display treasures of French Impressionist art.
The atmospheric medieval quarters and graceful boulevards of Paris attract tourists to experience strolling the Champs-Elysees, shopping at bookshops in the Latin Quarter, and a sidewalk terrace cafe on the Boulevard Saint-Germain-de-Pres. Even a short train trip is the UNESCO-listed Chateau de Versailles.
And, the 17th-century palace built for Louis XIV, is a testament to the glory and absolute power of the French monarch. Moreover, you can visit the dazzling Hall of Mirrors, the chateau’s splendid Baroque facade, and fountain-adorned formal gardens that look like France’s bygone royal court. Overall, it’s undoubtedly one of the best tourist spots in France.
2) The Charming Countryside of Provence
Under the grey skies of Paris and Northern France, the region of Provence basks looks charming in the bright Mediterranean sunshine. The rural area feels earthy appeal, untouched by the modern world. The rolling hills are covered with olive groves, small farms, sunflower gardens, and lavender fields.
The abundance of fragrant rosemary, sage, thyme, and other wild herbs helps to flare up the local cuisine. The Impressionist painters found inspiration in this dreamy landscape to create vibrant artworks.
Experience the Provence’s hilltops crowned by the village’s perches, a picture-perfect walled town, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, and the top attractive spot in the Luberon, Gordes.
The traditional ambience is found in the outdoor and tree-shaded street cafes of Aix-en-Provence during festivals. Also, don’t miss the legendary beach resort of Saint-Tropez, the Palais de Papes in Avignon, and the amazing sites of the Haut–Vaucluse–Roman theatre in Orange in the list of the best tourist spots in France.
3) The Cote d’Azur
The Cote d’Azur, known as the French Riviera, is a glamorous stretch of Mediterranean coastline which is famous for its deep azure-blue waters. During sunny weather, the skies look mesmerizing cerulean hue in this area of southern France. Stretching from Saint-Tropez to Menton, less than 30 km from the border of Italy, the Cote d’Azur has been a fashionable seaside resort destination since the 19th century.
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Autumn and Spring bring quieter, milder weather and a more relaxing atmosphere to enjoy the good life. You can visit top-notch art museums, and splendid waterfront villas, and walk on the cobblestone streets and palm-fringed boulevards. And, the French Riviera is the most attractive tourist spot in France with its famous Cannes and Monaco.
4) Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy
Mont Saint-Michel is a highlight with woodlands, a pastoral landscape of apple orchards, and cow pastures of the Normandy region. It ranks as the number one tourist spot in France including historic castles and picture-perfect towns in Normandy travel destinations. The Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel was built between the 11th and 13th centuries.
The UNESCO-listed abbey, famous for awe-inspiring sights in France, is perched on the hilltop of an enclave in the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel.
Even it’s considered a marvel of Gothic architecture. Tourists can experience spirit lifting by attending religious services, concerts, and cultural events at Mont Saint-Michel’s sublime historic abbey.
5) The Chateaux of the Loire Valley
Loire Valley spread out over 280 km, is surrounded by magnificent castles in dense forests, landscapes, and incredibly rich cultural heritage. Moreover, it’s the UNESCO-listed largest valley from Sully-sur-Loire to Chalonnes-Sur-Loire in Anjou in France.
The kings of France built sumptuous country retreats between the 15th and 16th centuries for entertainment and enjoyment.
French elites and nobles also built stately manor houses like the Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau and the majestic Chateau of Cheverny in an idyllic setting with a water-filled moat. The Mini-Chateaux Park in Amboise is another marvellous destination for families with kids.
Also, the Amusement Park spreads over two hectares of woodlands and features 40+ replicas of Loire chateaux.
6) Reims & its Magnificent Gothic Cathedral
Reims is justifiably placed in Cities of Art and History where you will find France’s three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Among the best tourist spots in France, the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Reims is renowned for the coronation of French kings. The most celebrated event was the coronation of Arc escorted Charles VII as king to the cathedral in July of 1429.
The Notre Dame Cathedral of Reims is a gem of High Gothic architecture. The 13th century’s dazzling exterior features a prodigality of flying buttresses and sculpted angels. On the other hand, the interior has a pompous ambience of spirituality.
Other UNESCO-listed attractions are the Palais du Tau, the 11th-century Basilique Saint-Rémi, and the 17th-century Archbishop’s Palace.
7) Fishing Villages, Historic Ports & Beaches in Brittany
Brittany has a rich coastal region heritage with the medieval capital of Nantes, Saint-Malo surrounded by old ramparts, and the fortified 14th-century Concarneau. Even you can see stylish beach resorts such as fashionable Dinard on the Cote d’Emeraude, Treboul near the riverside town Quimper, and La Baule on the estuary of the Loire River.
Along with secluded sandy beaches and a rocky coastline, it’s a shelter of old-centuries fishing villagers on tiny windswept offshore islands. Moreover, you can trace Breton culture back to the Celts. It is also a land of mythology and legends including strongly Catholic ancient religious customs called ‘pardons’.
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Among the best tourist spots in France, Brittany is famous for its local cuisines like fresh seafood and savoury buckwheat crepes. And, the speciality is its regional buttery pastry, the ‘kouign-amann’ made of croissant dough which is layered with sprinkles of sugar, and a crispy caramelised exterior.
8) Biarritz & Saint-Jean-de-Luz
Biarritz is a seaside resort with fabulous beaches and the restless natural beauty of the Atlantic coast loved by Empress Eugenie. She chose a sandy hillside for her Imperial residence, the Villa Eugenie to overlook the Bay of Biscay. Later it was converted into a five-star Hotel du Palais with luxury accommodations, an oceanfront gastronomic restaurant, and an exquisitely decorated guest room.
The Plage du Miramar is one of the top beaches in Biarritz that offers colourful, striped cabanas and parasols. You can experience the delightful ambience of an old-fashioned seaside resort. Saint-Jean-de-Luz is a historic fishing port along with a popular destination for family-friendly beaches.
Moreover, the traditional Basque village of Espelette has decorated half-timbered, red-shuttered Basque houses with rows of dried red peppers called Piment d’Espelette. Overall, it’s one of the best tourist spots in France to visit.
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9) Joan of Arc Monuments in Chinon, Rouen & Orleans
Based on the voices of the heavenly chosen mission, Joan of Arc, the seventeen-year-old national queen of France led the country to the victory of the Hundred Years’ War. The story began in Chinon, Ville d’Art et d’Histoire to ask for help in forming an army to break the Siege of Orleans.
Apart from the attractions of the Loire Valley, Orleans is another attraction to stop at. The ‘Maid of Orleans’ saved the city by defeating the English army, and Joan of Arc came to the Cathedrale Sainte-Croix of the town to pray.
Tourists can learn more about the life story of Joan of Arc in Rouen’s top sights. Rouen also has a museum that delves into Joan of Arc’s epic story on the Rue Saint-Romain. Vivid multimedia exhibits and videos thrillingly bring life events.
10) The Alsace Region
The historic cities of Colmar and Strasbourg along with the hundreds of Alsatian villages have a completely separate old-world charm from the rest of France. Germany has always been influenced by the architecture and ambience of Alsace with the brightly painted, half-timbered buildings and venerable Gothic churches.
Visitors can experience narrow cobblestone streets, scenic canals, an ornate cathedral in Strasbourg, an old town experience, interesting old churches, and traditional houses with flower-bedecked balconies in Colmar. Apart from that, there is a landscape of vine-covered foothills, nestled in the valleys including the Rhine River.
11) Mont-Blanc & Annecy in the French Alps
To experience the most awe-inspiring natural scenery in the world, visit the French Alps, which have the highest mountain Mont Blanc with an iconic snow-capped peak. At this height, the air is fresh and the landscape is sublime, with dramatic rushing waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, peaceful valleys, and pine forests.
In the summer, visitors can go hiking, cycling in the Alps, and mountain climbing. At the same time, they can do Alpine skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing in the winter. During the snowy season, visitors can enjoy ice skating, dog sledging rides, and old-fashioned horse-drawn sleigh rides. Moreover, you will get the top-rated ski resorts in France.
Besides that, the region also has the ancestral territory of the Italian Royal House of Savoy, the Dauphine region, the village of Chamonix, a traditional alpine ambience, an ancient chateau, and lakeside scenery.
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Even the region’s Belle Epoque spa towns like Evian-Les-Bain and Aix-les-Bains offer you to experience thermal spas and an ultimate relaxing vacation in upscale hotels.
12) Prehistoric Caves in the Dordogne & the Pyrenees
The Dordogne region is one of the best tourist spots in France for viewing cave paintings from the UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. Containing the masterpieces of Paleolithic art in the Lascaux Cave created by Cro-Magnon man. Visitors can see the artwork copies of the Cave in Montignac.
The Centre International de I’Art Parietal reveals the work of archaeologists and represents prehistoric animal paintings. Moreover, the Lascaux IV in Montignac is a replica of the prehistoric Lascaux Cave. You can see paintings of horses, cows, bison, deer, goats, and mammoths in the Vezere Valley of the Grotte de Rouffignac.
One of the best tourist spots in France is the Grotte du Mas d’Azil in the Pyrenees region decorated with drawings from the Magdalenian and Azilian periods. The Pyrenees Mountains attract the tourists most.
Near the town of Tarascon-sur-Ariège, the Grotte de Lombrives reveals fascinating ancient history with its rare Magdalenian-era prehistoric art.
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13) Rocamadour: A Medieval Pilgrimage Destination
Rocamadour, aspiring towards heaven and clinging to a sheer cliff, is France’s third most important Christian pilgrimage destination. The village has seven medieval-era sanctuaries including the most famous Chapelle Notre-Dame associated with the miracles of the precious 12th-century Black Virgin.
Basilique Saint-Sauveur, the largest church of the Rocamadour is a UNESCO-listed historic monument that displays the 13th Century’s architectural transition from Romanesque to Gothic.
Outside the village, you can also visit the Causses du Quercy Regional Nature Park. The Rocamadour village hosts the Cheese Festival where grazing goats are used to produce milk that makes AOC-labeled Cabecou de Rocamadour cheese.
14) Bordeaux & Saint-Emilion
The Bordeaux region, a beautiful bucolic corner, is also one of the best tourist spots in France. There are grandiose castles preside over rolling, and vine-covered hills, countryside tree-shaded paths following the Garonne River, and its placid canals. The leisurely cycling itinerary is most famous among travellers exploring this area.
The elegant city of Bordeaux with 350+ historical buildings and the little village of Saint-Emilion are two exceptional UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You should visit the famous churches and monasteries of Saint-Emilion.
15) The Burgundy Region: Quintessential France
As an idyllic landscape of lush woodlands and rolling hills, the Burgundy region has impressive monuments, ancient towns, Romanesque chapels, and inspiring old abbeys yet rich cultural heritage to watch. Famous for gastronomy, Burgundy offers traditional cuisines like escargot, Boeuf Bourguignon, and Coq au Vin.
The historic city of Dijon with its aristocratic palaces, excellent museums, and ornate Gothic churches is one of the best tourist spots in France. Even the charming medieval town of Beaune has the 16th Century’s largest church and the monumental Abbey of Cluny.
16) Cirque de Gavarnie in the Pyrenees Mountains
The soul-inspiring mountainous Pyrenees region offers natural splendour with spiritual wonders including sacred pilgrimage sites and rejuvenating spa towns. The Cirque de Gavarnie is the UNESCO-listed natural version of a cathedral.
There’s a semicircle structure and limestone rock walls at a height of 1,700 m along with dramatic waterfalls that fall into rushing rivers and peaceful streams. However, the entire Hautes-Pyrenees region is part of a national park that borders Spain.
In summer, you can enjoy hiking trails through lush forests and verdant valleys. Whereas the French Pyrenees is popular for downhill skiing in winter. You will find top resorts like Cauterets, Font-Romeu, and the Grand Tourmalet ski area.
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17) Lourdes: France’s Biggest Catholic Pilgrimage Site
Lourdes, in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains, is the most important Catholic pilgrimage site in France. Millions of visitors come here for spiritual inspiration like bathing in the waters in hopes of miracle cures, and the 70 faithful miracles occurred every year.
The Basilique Notre-Dame du Rosaire and the Grotto (Saint Bernadette received her divine visions here) are the main pilgrimage sites where you will find serene woodland alongside a tranquil babbling brook. Marian Procession of hundreds of pilgrims takes place every evening at 9 pm from April to hold candles in a breath-taking sight.
18) Gourmet Restaurants & Cultural Attractions in Lyon
Lyon, the heart of French gastronomy, ensnares gourmands to visit for its delicious, and renowned Lyonnais cuisine along with regional specialities like steak, quenelles (fish dumplings with a creamy sauce), Bresse chicken with morels, salads, and sausages.
You will get an incredible option of restaurants that allows you to have authentic local cuisine, the ‘Bouchons Lyonnais’ for enjoying an inviting, and cosy ambience. Besides the gourmet delights of Lyon, the city with rich cultural heritage is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are also many historic attractions like ancient Roman ruins and elegant Renaissance houses. Moreover, the Louvre Museum, Musee des Beaux-Arts with its wealth of artistic treasures contains European paintings by Veronese, Rubens, Renoir, Monet, Delacroix, and Picasso from the 14th to 20th centuries.
19) Gascony Region & Toulouse in the South of France
The city of Toulouse and the rural area of Gascony brings the charm of southern tourist spots in France. Gascony has a sunny and slow-paced traditional rural character, untouched by modernity. The rolling hills are covered with small farms and dotted with ancient castles and villages.
Toulouse, steeping back in the 13th century, is renowned as ‘The Pink City’ for its distinctive red-brick architecture that reflects the sunlight in a rosy-toned hue. The UNESCO-listed Canal du Midi flows through Toulouse to the Mediterranean port of Sete shaded by trees near Marseille attracting tourists for strolls and cycling.
20) The Camargue
The Parc Regional de Camargue is a place 16 km away from Arles in Provence where tourists can breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the beautiful natural scenery. The landscape is covered with meadows, salt flats, marshlands, and pastures. The native Camargue Bulls are used in bullfighting which is another famous fauna.
There are 1,00,000 hectares of protected wetlands for the UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserve where you can see wild white horses roam free, and pink flamingos thrive. Moreover, you can see 300+ bird species in the nature reserve, making it a paradise and one of the best tourist spots in France.
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21) the Island of Corsica
The island of Corsica has a raw and rugged beauty with its pristine forests, dramatic coastal landscapes, and snow-capped mountains. There are beautiful beaches, attractive fishing ports, quiet bays, lively seaside cities, and hillsides with ancient villages.
Sun-worshipping beach lovers, sporty types like hard-core hikers, and outdoorsy are drawn to the incomparable nature sites of the island. The 1000 km shoreline offers crystal-clear waters for scuba diving and snorkelling.
These all are the best tourist spots in France you should visit. I hope you will be helpful with this article while planning a trip to France. Paris is a very popular tourist spot in France and every year many people visit here. If you have already visited any of these listed places, share your experience in the comments below. Please share this article with others to help them in acquiring knowledge. Also, you can ask your queries in the comment section.
Frequently Asked Questions
Paris, having the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Avenue des Champs-Elysees, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, Sainte-Chapelle, Moulin Rouge, and the Catacombs are the most visited tourist spots in France.
France is undoubtedly one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. About 90 million visitors are visiting every year in France.
Late spring is the best time, having good weather and lighter crowds. Even you can enjoy festivals, animated villages, and long opening hours at sights during summer.
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