Many people dream of traveling to France. Quite often it’s for the City of Light and to stand under the Eiffel Tower, but there is so much more to the country.
From picturesque seaside towns, to mountain dreams here are the best places to visit in France.
Best Places to Travel in France
Located along the Cote d’Azur, Aix-en-Provence is a beautiful city set against the backdrop of a stunning white limestone hill and sprawling countryside. This elegant city is known for its music scene and its many palaces and fountains. Walk along the famed Cours Mirabeau where you’ll find many of the city’s chic cafes and sample local wine at Château La Coste.
Check out the many attractions around the city including Paroisse Cathédrale Saint Sauveur Aix-en-Provence, Fondation Vasarely, Musée Granet, Hôtel de Caumont Mansion, Pavillon Vendôme Art Museum, and Fontaine de la Rotonde.
When you visit Rochefort-en-Terre in northwestern France, you step back in time. This beautiful town with cobblestone streets, medieval buildings and quaint little shops surrounded by moors and forest is very walkable.
In fact, the trail at Moulin Neuf Lake goes around the town and is a great way to see much of the lovely scenery. The 12th-century Rochefort-en-Terre Castle is one of the more prominent sites in the town. Naia Museum, Parc De Préhistoire De Bretagne and Moulin de la Vallée are some of the other notable attractions.
Located atop a cliff in south-central France, the tiny village of Rocamadour caters to all kinds of visitors including nature lovers, history buffs and architecture enthusiasts. Spend a day outdoors exploring Rocher des Aigles Bird Park, Monkey Forest and the prehistoric cave at Grotte Préhistorique des Merveilles.
Brush up on local history and see stunning historic buildings at Remparts du Château, Basilique Saint Sauveur, La Maison des Abeilles Museum and Sanctuaire Notre-Dame de Rocamadour.
Situated in the Mancelles Alps region of northwestern France, Saint-Ceneri-le-Gerei is surrounded by pristine nature that makes it easy to participate in a range of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing and horseback riding.
The town’s scenery is characterized by hills, forests, cliffs, meadows and river valleys that make up the Normandy-Main Regional Nature Park that surrounds the town.
Hike to the top of Mont de Avaloirs, explore Les Toyères Canyon and visit fascinating attractions such as Les Jardine de la Mansonnière and Chapelle dite du Petit-Saint Céneri.
Located in eastern France, Pesmes is another charming small town that’s known for its beautiful architecture and fascinating history. Nature lovers love coming to this town to enjoy the virtually untouched natural areas and parks where they can escape the crowds and participate in a range of outdoor activities.
The village is very compact and easy to explore and as you do so, you’ll find many attractions including the Museum of Ancient Forges, Castle Rouillaud, the 12th-century Church of Saint Hilaire, Joly Gardens, Château de Pesmes, Ile Art Malans and Parc de Sculptures du Château Sainte-Marie.
Some of the most fascinating sites in Pesmes are tucked away off-the-beaten-path so make sure to venture off the main roads and check out the areas that are often not explored by visitors!
Annecy is a beautiful mountain town in the Rhone-Alps region known for its many fantastic attractions including Château de Annecy, Le Palais de I’Îlem Puente de los Amores, Basilique de la Visitation and Voie Verte du lac d’Annecy where you can escape into a natural landscape.
As you explore the town, you’ll see historic cobblestone streets, scenic canals, brightly-colored homes and medieval buildings.
While Château-Chalon may be most widely known for the Château-Chalon Wine that’s produced in the region, this small town in the Jura Mountains in eastern France is known for many other things including its designation as one of the most beautiful towns in the country.
The famed vineyards that the town overlooks date back to Roman times and you can sample the amazing wine that’s produced here in almost every restaurant in the region. Be sure to check out some of the other attractions around town including Château-Chalon, Château de Frontenay, Borne aux Cassots Cave, Jurafaune Park and Zoo and Château de la Muyre.
Domme is a picturesque village in southwestern France known for its perfectly-preserved medieval architecture and interesting history. Some of the things you’ll see as you explore the village include the town’s fortified arches, a cave system that lies under the main square, graffiti that was carved into prison walls by members of the Knights Templars in the 1500s and many shops, restaurants and cafes.
The Water Gardens of Carsac, Château de Montfort and Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Catholic Church are also popular attractions.
Grasse is widely known for being the Perfume Capital of the World, but there is so much more to this city than that! Situated on the French Riviera, this captivating city features many amazing attractions.
Climb the 300 steps that lead through the old town district and admire the stately architecture and cobblestone streets, then you will truly see why this is one of the best places to visit in France. Learn about local history and culture at The Provence Art and History Museum, Villa Musée Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Grasse Cathedral and the Musée Provençal du Costume et du Bijou.
Go ziplining or test your skills on the rope courses at Riviera Nature and, if you’d really like to learn about the city’s perfume history, check out the International Perfume Museum.
10. Mont Saint-Michel
Easily one of the most beautiful places to travel in France. Renowned the world over for its beautiful Gothic architecture, rich history and scenic location on a tidal island near Normandy, The Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel is a 240-acre commune considered to be one of the most captivating heritage sites in all of Europe.
It has been a pilgrimage destination for hundreds of years and today, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many other appealing attractions are situated close to the abbey including Archéoscope Museum, Alligator Bay Reptile Park, Maison de l’Artichaut, Tombelaine Bird Reserve and Musée Historique.
11. La Teste-de-Buch
La Teste-de-Buch may be a fairly large city, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of opportunities to escape the crowds in its seaside location on Arcachon Bay in southwestern France.
Escape the urban landscape with an excursion to Bird Island where you’ll find more than 150 species of birds, hang out at Thiers Beach, go sailing in the scenic bay or check out the Dune du Pilat which is the highest sand dune in Europe.
Other nature-related attractions in the city include Zoo Arcachon Basin and Étang de Cazaux et de Sanguinet. La Teste-de-Buch is an ancient city too, so history buffs enjoy the many historic buildings.
Known for culture, history and beauty, Montresor is a perfect escape along the Indrois River in the Loire Valley region. Walk along medieval streets and admire ancient architecture. Explore the 11th-century Château of Montresor Fortress that looms over the town and learn about more than 1000 years of fascinating history while admiring an incredible art collection.
Check out other popular attractions in the area including Prieuré Notre-Dame et Saint-Étienne de Villiers, Étang du Pas aux Ânes and Forêt Domaniale de Loches.
If you’re seeking a luxury escape in France but prefer something much smaller than Paris, Saint-Tropez is the place to be! This seaside town on the French Riviera has long been a popular destination for artists and people seeking a sanctuary away from the crowds and near beaches and lively nightclubs.
As you explore this colorful town, you’ll see large yachts, olive groves, fine restaurants and a cobblestoned historic old town area that’ll take you back to the days when this opulent place was once a fishing village.
Enjoy a coastal hike, kick back in a relaxing cafe or spend an afternoon on one of the best beaches in Europe, such as Bouillabaisse Beach, Canoubiers Beach and Saint-Tropez Beach. Immerse in the region’s long history at Annonciade Museum, Citadel of Saint-Tropez, Museum of Maritime History, Gendarmerie Nationale and Nuestra Señora de la Asunción Church.
Historic Auvergne is a predominantly rural area of Central France that’s mostly known for its mountain scenery, summer hiking and winter downhill skiing. The landscape is made up of forests, inactive volcanoes and natural hot springs so you’ll witness a diverse natural area.
Puy de Sancy and Puy de Dôme are top natural attractions in the region. Culture and history are also high on the list of attractions in the region and are highlighted at Rocher Saint-Michel d’Aiguilhe and the 13th-century Castle of Val. Vulcania Amusement Park and Le Pal Theme Park and Zoo are also popular attractions. Did I mention the local cuisine is amazing?
With more than two millennia of history, an abundance of stunning Medieval and Renaissance structures and some of the most delicious food in France, Lyon is an amazing place to visit.
This large city in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with many amazing attractions including The Animal Place, Tete d’Or Park, Chocolate Museum Gelencser, Puy du Fou Theme Park, Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste and Place Bellecour.
It’s both a town and a well-known wine region and Bordeaux, which is a scenic port town on the Garonne River in southwestern France, is a fantastic place to take a little break. Known for its historic 18th and 19th-century buildings, beautiful community gardens and UNESCO World Heritage designation, Bordeaux is also home to many museums and attractions.
Place de la Bourse, Bordeaux Cathedral, Gran Teatro de Burdeos, Musée d’Aquitaine, Bordeaux Museum of Fine Arts, Place des Quinconces, Pont de Pierre and Grosse Cloche are some of those attractions.
Marseilles is the second biggest city in France and is in a perfect location from which to explore the beautiful French Riviera. But before you wander too far from this historic port city, make sure to explore its amazing treasures including the Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean, Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde, Château d’If and La Vieille Charité.
Make time to take a relaxing stroll on the Old Port of Marseille, where you’ll find many of the top seafood restaurants and the picturesque Fort Saint-Jean and spend a day immersed in nature at Massif des Calanques National Park.
Situated in the Grand Est region of northeastern France, Strasbourg is known for its unique culture and architecture that’s a wonderful mix of German and French traditions. Popular activities for visitors include walking along the pretty old streets of the downtown area where you’ll find many restaurants and shops and taking a relaxing boat ride through the scenic canal.
Some of the top attractions in Strasbourg include Palais Rohan, Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Alsatian Museum, The Covered Bridges, Barrage Vauban and Grande-Île de Strasbourg.
It has over 1,000 years of history, and it’s a lovely coastal town in the Normandy region of northern France. I’m talking about Honfleur, and there are many other reasons to visit this historic town.
How about ancient architecture, beautiful sandy beaches and the famed Old Port that was used for trading as far back as the Middle Ages. Eugene Boudin Museum Honfleur, Sainte Catherine Church, Naturospace Honfleur, Le Jardin des Personnalités, Maisons Satie, Pont de Normandie and Vieux Bassin are some of the popular attractions in the town.
Situated on the Baie des Anges on the Cote d’Azur, Nice is another large city that attracts visitors from all over the world who are interested in a destination that combines art, scenery, nature, history and culture. Enjoy beautiful sandy beaches, stunning coastal views, world-class restaurants, historic architecture and fascinating attractions.
Stroll along the renowned Promenade des Anglais, browse the Cours Saleya Market and learn about local history and culture at Marc Chagall National Museum, Musée Matisse, Modern and Contemporary Art Museum, Fondation Maeght and Musée du Palais Lascaris. Admire the incredible architecture of the Castle of Nice and Cathédrale Saint-Nicolas de Nice.
The main draw in the seaside village of Ploumanac’h is the eight miles of coastline that features three beautiful sandy beaches. The second main thing that the village is known for is the large pink granite rocks that can be seen around the region.
Top attractions in the town include Musée de l’Histoire et des Traditions de Bretagne and the Maison du Littoral Science Museum.
Riquewihr is a small village situated along the Alsace Wine Route in northeastern France. It’s widely known for its beautiful old architecture and world-class wines and it’s said to be one of the most beautiful medieval villages in the country. In fact, it doesn’t look much different than it did back in the 1700s.
As you walk along the cobblestone streets, you’ll find wineries, tasting rooms and historic buildings surrounded by mountains and vineyards. Some of the attractions you should check out in Riquewihr include The Winemaker’s House, Dolder Tower, Tower Museum of Thieves, Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg and the Butterfly Gardens.
If you want to learn more about the history of the town, you can join a guided historic walk which is offered through the tourist office.
Located in the Loire Valley, Chartres is a fairly large city with many museums, parks and cultural attractions. It’s only 60 miles away from Paris so it makes for an excellent day trip from the larger city.
The most notable attraction in Chartres is its 13th-century Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Chartres which is said to be among the best preserved Gothic structures of its kind. The Fine Arts Museum, Maison Picassiette, Chartres International Stained Glass Centre, Parc des Bords de L’Eure, and Conservatoire de l’Agriculture – Le Compa are worth checking out during a visit to the city.
Situated in the center of a picturesque valley, St-Guilhem-le-Désert is a place of legends steeped in medieval history and vibrant culture. It has been said that it’s one of the most beautiful villages in the country.
Its remote location bordered by vast countryside makes for an amazing getaway from the more touristy areas of France. Camping, cave exploring, kayaking and hiking are popular activities in the region and Abadía de Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert and the 11th-century Puente del Diablo de Saint-Jean-de-Fos are popular attractions.
Chamonix is a beautiful mountain town in the French Alps. Not too far from Switzerland, and right on the border with Italy, it’s easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Europe.
In the summer it’s a fantastic hiking, mountaineering, and paragliding destination. It’s well known for being at the base of Mont Blanc, the highest summit in the Alps. It’s been referred to as the birthplace of alpinism ever since Jacques Balmat and Michel Paccard made the first ascent of Western Europe’s highest peak in 1786.
Come winter, the town turns into something out of a fairytale as skiers and snowboarders flock here to ski epically steep lines. In the summer, Chamonix becomes a trail running capital full of outdoor enthusiasts. There are so many things to do in Chamonix, it will be hard to ever get bored. We spent an entire month here and still can’t wait to return again.
26. Saint Malo
We didn’t know what to expect when we pulled into the charming and historic town of Saint-Malo. This French port town is located in Brittany on the English Channel coast and is easily one of the best places to visit in France. The walled city has a very long and rich history filled with piracy, war, and tourism, with a ferry serving the English Channel islands.
Saint-Malo is a great place for a day trip, but to really get the most out of your time, I recommend a few days of proper exploration. There is a lot of beauty waiting for you in Saint-Malo and plenty of things to do such as seeing the Saint-Malo Cathedral or relaxing on the picturesque Sillon Beach.
Of course, Paris has to be mentioned on a list of best places to visit in France, and what is there not to love about one of the most beautiful cities on earth? The restaurants are fabulous, the shops are top-notch, the culture is glitzy and colorful and the history is intriguing.
As you walk the old streets and stroll along the River Seine, you’ll find many beautiful parks, quirky cafes and stunning architecture. You’ll also find many top attractions including the Champs-Elysees, The Louvre, The Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Sacre-Coeur Basilica and Musee d’Orsay.