Famous Places in France

Famous Places in France That Everyone Will Want to Visit

When visiting a new destination, it is always a good idea to know about the places on the must-see list. France is one of those countries that everyone would like to visit. Here is a list of some of the most famous places in France that one should not miss going to.
Did You Know?
France is the most-visited country in the world as of June 2012, according to UNWTO. It has approximately 594 Michelin-starred restaurants, and is the most-visited European destination by Americans.

Index Why France?
  • For the cheese and wine! France produces over 400 types of cheese!
  • To experience the romance in the French air. Eiffel Tower is considered to be one of the most romantic spots in the world.
  • For the museums! France has over 1200 museums, Musee du Louvre being the most famous one.
  • For the Heritage sites. France has 38 World Heritage Sites as recognized by UNESCO.
  • For Disneyland! 'The Happiest Place on Earth' is the most-visited attraction in Paris (Even more than Eiffel Tower!).
  • For the scenic beauty. With its breathtaking scenery, royal palaces, and beautiful gardens, France is popular among travelers, explorers, and adventurers.
Considering the fact that France is at pace with the modern times and at the same time has maintained its cultural heritage, the country has a lot to offer. Not everybody has the same pick when it comes to travel, but France is one of the very few countries that has something for everyone. In this article, we have categorized places and attractions (the famous and the not-so-famous) in France on the basis of interests. Go ahead and choose your pick!

* Click to enlarge images

For Explorers

La Vallée de Chamonix

Situated near Mt.Blanc, the Chamonix Valley is a paradise for nature lovers and explorers. It has beautiful scenery all year round. The place is also famous for winter sports, being one of the oldest ski resorts. Lifts transport the visitors to the heart of the massif, which offers breathtaking view of the valley. Perfect for adventurous explorers.
Théâtre Antique d'Orange

Not so popular among tourists, the small town of Orange offers visitors a feel of the Roman Empire. It is home to one of the best-preserved Roman theaters in the world. The theater is grand and has a mystical feel to it. During summers, it becomes a venue for the annual opera festival, the Chorégies d'Orange.
Ardèche River (Vallon-Pont-d'Arc)

The river is famous for its limestone cliffs that reach up to 300m high. Ardèche is 125 km long and is situated in south-central France. Kayaking and camping trips can be done during summers. The most famous feature is a natural 60m stone arch spanning the river known as the Pont d'Arc (arch bridge).
Lavender Fields (Provence)

Provence is a region in south-eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. The stunningly beautiful and vast lavender fields gives a heaven-like feeling to the place. The fields stretch as far as the eyes can see, perfect for long walks and exploring. Mid-June to August is the best time to visit.


For Art Lovers

Musée du Louvre (Paris)

Louvre museum is the most-visited museum in the world. Even before entering, one will be amazed to see the new-age work of art. The glassy pyramid is just the start, inside awaits the world's exquisite artistic and historic legacy. The museum showcases the Egyptian mummies, Code of Hammurabi, Venus de Milo, Leonardo's Mona Lisa, the list goes on. It is truly a symbol of the French aesthetic art and finesse.
Arenes de Nimes

Arena of Nîmes is an ancient Roman amphitheater found in the city of Nimes. The Amphitheater is well-preserved and is still used for public events like Bullfighting, etc. The architecture of the amphitheater is breathtaking and fascinating. The arena is nearly 2,000 years old and still standing, bearing a testament to the genius of Roman engineers.
Lascaux II (Montignac)

Lascaux II is a replica of the set of caves that were discovered in 1940. These caves were estimated to be more than 17,000 years old. The caves have some 1,500 paintings of wild animals. It is believed to have been a sanctuary for the performance of sacred rites. Lascaux II is open for art lovers who wish to see the early cave paintings and learn more about the history of European art.
Musee d'Orsay (Paris)

The second most splendid museum in France, Musee d'Orsay is no less. The museum showcases sculptures and paintings, mainly by french artists. Art enthusiasts will love this place as the museum displays extensive assortment of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces. This collection is said to be the second-largest globally. It has roughly 3 million annual visitors.


For the Wanderers

Oradour-sur-Glane

Oradour-sur-Glane is a deserted town in west-central France. On 10 June 1944, in retaliation for the sabotage attacks by the French Resistance, the village was razed to the ground and 642 innocent residents massacred by Waffen-SS soldiers. The town was not reconstructed after that, instead the ruins were preserved to pay tribute to those who died.
Fourvière (Lyon)

Fourvière is a district of Lyon, located on a hill near river Saône. It is famous for the Catholic Basilica of Fourvière. It also has the oldest funicular lines in the world which are still active. A climb on the hill leading to Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière is an experience in itself. Once on top of the hill you can find ruins of a Roman city.
Chateau de Versailles (Paris)
20 km south-west from Paris, the Versailles Palace is famous for its breathtaking views and beautiful gardens. The palace is grand and regal, the gilded royal apartments, the astonishing Hall of Mirrors, the intimate cabinets, and the impressive architecture of the rooms are some of the highlights.
Promenade des Anglais (Nice)

This beautiful walkway is a great place to take a stroll in the evenings. It runs along the beautiful Nice shore. You can listen to your favorite songs on your iPod while enjoying the scenic beauty and the serenity of the beach. Also known as 'La Prom' by the locals, the Promenade des Anglais is lined with beautiful cafes, hotels and shore-side apartments.


For the Young at Heart

Moulin Rouge (Paris)

MarkusMark (Own work) [CC0]/Wikimedia Commons

Moulin Rouge is located near Montmartre in the red-light district of Pigalle in Paris. It is famous for the replica of the original red windmill. But the real attraction of the place is the evening performance of cancan. The slender legs, frilly costumes and the overall atmosphere contribute to a lively and seductive performance.
Eiffel Tower (Paris)

This is the one place that cannot be missed. The Eiffel Tower is the global cultural icon of France and one of the most-recognized structures in the world. The tower is the tallest structure in Paris and is famous for marriage proposals. It is considered one of the most romantic places on Earth.
Route Touristique du Champagne

A picturesque oasis of tranquility, pristine beauty, and fine historical heritage, Champagne has much more to offer than a sparkling glass of wine. The Champagne Route is a route of 5 circuits, all marked and well-navigated that help you explore diverse vineyards, adorable villages and the famous champagne houses. A perfect place to spend quality time with your loved one.
Place Masséna (Nice)

This one is known globally as one of the most beautiful public squares. The atmosphere here, is enhanced by fountains, statues and gardens. It is famous for street performances and concerts, specially the carnival parade in February. Another highlight nearby, is Vieux Nice. But the main attraction is at night, when the atmosphere is magical due to the illuminations.

La Mer à Boire (Paris)

La Mer à Boire is a cafe that overlooks the Parc de Belleville, and also happens to be one of the highest points in Paris. It offers a gorgeous view of the cityscape. It has a large paved terrace and is very popular among the young local crowd. Inside the cafe, the atmosphere is great. Often, cartoonists are seen sketching, while musicians perform on weekends.


For the Beach Lovers

Baie d'Audierne (Brittany)

With 2,000 km of beaches, Brittany has the longest coastline in France. Baie d'Audierne is 30 km long bay that offers a relaxing and peaceful environment. Located in the department of Finistère, it's not very crowded and is perfect for peaceful walks in the evening and for cycling along the coast. It is famous among tourists as it depicts the authentic European environ.
L'île de Riou (Marseille)

Out of the many beaches in Marseille, L'île de Riou is the only beach that offers unseen beauty and tranquility at its best. It is the largest island in the archipelago of the same name. The beach is identifined as uninhabited. It has been carefully preserved and is ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. It is also famous globally for underwater archeology.
Côte d'Argent (Aquitaine)

This stretch of beaches from Gironde to the river Adour, has a lot to offer. Famous among nature lovers, this beach is perfect to unwind. Situated in the Euronat stretch, it has many beach cafes and untouched golden sand to explore. Meaning Silver Coast, it has a lot of resorts you can choose from. Another feature is the series of laid back villages and towns that stretch along these beaches.
Côte d'Azur (French Riviera)

This coastline is one of the most popular getaways for people all over the world. The casino in Monte Carlo, the film festival in Cannes, along with long stretches of beautiful pebble and sand beaches contribute to the popularity. Part of the Mediterranean, the most famous beaches here are Paloma Plage, Villefranche sur Mer and Cap d'Antibes.


For Families

Disneyland Park (Paris)
Located in Marne-la-Vallée, eastern suburbs of Paris, Disneyland witnesses 15,405,000 combined visitors to the resort's Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. It is Europe's most visited themed attraction. Considered to be heaven for kids and an opportunity for adults to be kids again, Disneyland has something for everyone. It is no surprise it is called 'the happiest place on earth'. It recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.
Arc de Triomphe (Paris)

Arc de Triomphe ('Triumphal Arch' in English) is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. This architectural masterpiece stands at the western end of the popular Champs-Élysées. The arch is a tribute to those who fought and died for France in the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. The top of the arch has a viewing platform, which provides great views of La Defense, the Champs-Elysées and the Sacré-Coeur.
Luxembourg Gardens (Paris)

This place acts as a perfect place to relax after a tiring day of sight seeing. These formal gardens, which were open to only the royalty before the French Revolution, now serve as one of Paris' most popular destinations. Families can spend time here, relaxing and enjoying the beauty of the nature. Before visiting these gardens, you can visit Fontaine de l'Observatoire, which is situated just south of the site.
Flight Experience (Paris)

If you ever wondered what it would be like to fly a plane, this place is for you. Flight experience offers flight simulators that give you a feeling of flying an airplane. The instructors are all qualified to fly the real plane, so you are getting the best of the best. Their level of expertise and enthusiasm towards the layman makes this the perfect experience for the entire family. The image used is for representation purposes only.

Aquarium La Rochelle:

Imagine an ocean packed into two floors. Aquarium La Rochelle houses a stunning array of large tanks, a great display of water life from shrimp to sharks. The entire setup is amazing; the main highlights usually being the sharks. Kids and even adults will be thrilled to witness the aquatic life with beautiful fishes swimming around, giving the feeling of being underwater.


World Heritage Sites in France

France has a total of 38 World Heritage Sites! All of them are unique in their own way. Here is the list of these sites categorized as cultural, natural and mixed.
Cultural Sites

Natural Sites

Mixed
  • Canal du Midi
  • Amiens Cathedral
  • Bourges Cathedral
  • Chartres Cathedral
  • Episcopal City of Albi
  • Pyrénées: Mont Perdu
  • Fortifications of Vauban
  • Vézelay, Church and Hill
  • Strasbourg - Grande Île
  • Paris, Banks of the Seine
  • Lagoons of New Caledonia
  • The Causses and Cévennes
  • Bordeaux, Port of the Moon
  • Jurisdiction of Saint-Émilion
  • Palace and Park of Versailles
  • Cistercian Abbey of Fontenay
  • Mont Saint-Michel and its Bay
  • Belfries of Belgium and France
  • Provins, Town of Medieval Fairs
  • Pont du Gard, Roman Aqueduct
  • Historic Site of Lyons
  • Palace and Park of Fontainebleau
  • Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans
  • Nord-Pas de Calais Mining Basin
  • Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps
  • Arles, Roman and Romanesque Monuments
  • Abbey Church of Saint-Savin sur Gartempe
  • Le Havre, the City rebuilt by Auguste Perret
  • Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France
  • Pitons, cirques and remparts of Reunion Island
  • Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley
  • Cité de Carcassonne - Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne
  • The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes
  • Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace & Avignon Bridge
  • Place Stanislas, Place de la Carrière, and Place d'Alliance in Nancy
  • Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Abbey of Saint-Remi, & Palace of Tau, Reims
  • Roman Theatre and its Surroundings and the 'Triumphal Arch' of Orange
  • Gulf of Porto: Calanche of Piana, Gulf of Girolata, Scandola Reserve, Corsica
France is one of the most beautiful countries of the world, and the French people are known for their manners, intelligence, and aesthetic sense. Be it art, culture, cuisine, fashion, architecture, natural beauty or technology, France has it all. It truly is no surprise that it is one of the most-visited destinations in the world.
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