Trip and Wellness

12 Top Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in the France

Simiane la Rotonde village and lavender, Provence, France

When considering travel to France, Paris is often the first destination that comes to mind. The streets are full of stories and offer a romantic atmosphere. France offers more than just the popular tourist attractions of the Eiffel Tower, Musée du Louvre, and the Champs-Élysées. The country boasts a diverse landscape, with the picturesque Normandy coast on one side and the luxurious French Riviera on the other.

Adding day trips to Versailles from Paris is a wonderful way to enhance your travel itinerary in France. To explore the charming towns of Strasbourg, Lyon, Cannes, and St. Tropez, one must utilize the country’s enjoyable and efficient train system.

The French Alps offer breathtaking views and exciting outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, and climbing. In addition to the stunning turquoise Mediterranean and historic old towns, the region is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking adventure and natural beauty.

But among the most important tourist attractions in France are its rich culture, which includes some of the world’s most recognized cuisine and wines.

1. Eiffel Tower

Paris, Eiffel Tower and river Seine at sunrise
Source: istockphoto

The Eiffel Tower is a popular travel destination in modern times. It is hard to imagine that it was once despised among local Parisians. Constructed in 1889, the renowned tower that embodies much of Paris’ romantic charm has undergone significant changes over time.

A visit to the largest city in France is not fully experienced without getting a firsthand look at the 8,000 components of the Eiffel Tower. After marveling at the stunning architecture, take a stroll up the stairs to discover multiple-level restaurants and breathtaking views of the city.

At the tower, you can experience exquisite cuisine at the Michelin-rated Le Jules Verne. Later, travel to the highest level which is almost 280 meters (905ft). Appreciate the beauty of the River Seine, Notre Dame, and the Trocadero from a jaw-dropping height.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Paris: Best Areas & Hotels

2. The Louvre Museum

Glazed pyramid that serves as the main entrance to the Louvre museum, Paris, French
Source: istockphoto

The Louvre Museum is a top European destination for fine arts, located in a stately palace that was once a royal residence. This destination is home to some of the most renowned works of Western Civilization, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Veronese’s Wedding Feast at Cana, and the Venus de Milo sculpture from the first century BC.

The Louvre is a travel destination that boasts a rich collection of art and artifacts, which were contributed by various kings who once resided there. Additional artifacts were acquired through France’s diplomatic agreements with the Vatican and the Republic of Venice, as well as through the treasures seized by Napoléon I.

The Louvre is a great travel destination that highlights approximately 35,000 artworks, featuring numerous masterpieces. Exploring everything in a day or even a week is not feasible. Experience the most rewarding travel by taking a private guided tour or focusing on a shortlist of key attractions.

3. Palace of Versailles

Exterior of the Palace of Versailles before the crowds arrive.
Source: istockphoto

When traveling to France, one can witness a plethora of innovative architectural designs. One of the most prominent travel destinations is the Palace of Versailles. In the 1600s, King Louis XIII built a hunting lodge that was so beautiful that the royal court moved from Paris to Versailles until the French Revolution.

Located less than an hour away from central Paris, the Palace of Versailles is a must-visit destination that continues to captivate travelers from around the globe. It has maintained its popularity as one of the top tourist attractions in the world, even in the 21st century. You can explore five centuries of untouched history and admire stunning works of art splashed across the ornate walls.

The palace, with its 2,300 rooms, is a remarkable work of art. The palace’s main attraction is the Hall of Mirrors, which displays more than 350 mirrors that reflect the beautiful gardens surrounding it.

4. Strasbourg

Traditional half timbered houses of Petite France
Source: istockphoto

Located in the northeast of France, Strasbourg serves as the capital of the Grand Est Region. Located just a few minutes away from the German border, Strasbourg’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is worth exploring. Immerse yourself in the charming ambiance of Petite France, with its half-timbered houses and winding canals that exude a rich historical past.

The world is vast and full of diverse cultures and landscapes waiting to be explored through travel. Strasbourg is a city that has witnessed the rule of various kingdoms and nations, yet it exudes a youthful vibe. Its historic center is a testament to its rich past. As you travel through the narrow passageways, they form a maze, leading you to past pastel homes partially covered in wood and medieval churches. Eventually, you will arrive at lively town squares where locals gather in large numbers on the cafe patios.

Explore the Old Town and discover its distinct neighborhoods, including La Petite France and Quartier Krutenau, each with its own fascinating history.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Strasbourg: Best Areas & Hotels

5. Annecy

Thiou river with Palais de l'Ile on background in Annecy, France
Source: istockphoto

Annecy, located in southeastern France, offers stunning views of towering snow-capped mountains. However, there is little time spent marveling at the mountains since Lake Annecy steals the show. Annecy is a picturesque destination often referred to as the Venice of the Alps. Visitors can enjoy strolling through the charming narrow alleys, admiring the pastel-colored homes, and exploring the many historic churches. Located either on the waterfront or along the town’s network of narrow canals.

Amidst the stunning natural landscapes lies a charming town that cherishes its untouched beauty. The locale boasts of around 30,000 trees and is a historic town that has maintained its original design. Exploring the area on foot is highly recommended as it allows for a closer look at the stunning architecture, as well as the beautiful gardens and the picturesque alpine lake that mirrors the nearby mountains. Pedestrians reign supreme in this location.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Annecy: Best Areas & Hotels

6. Mont Saint-Michel

A view of Mont Saint-Michel at dusk, Normandy, France
Source: istockphoto

Experience the UNESCO-listed Mont Saint-Michel, situated along France’s unforgettable Normandy coast, surrounded by the chilly waters of the English Channel. The Pyramid of the Seas is a magnificent castle that emerges from the surrounding terrain, offering one of the most breathtaking views in the world.

Travel back in time to the 11th century and explore the awe-inspiring architecture of the castle. Visit the Abbey Church (Abbaye du Mont Saint-Michel) and witness the pilgrimage of many travelers who have been drawn to its beauty for over 1000 years. Since ancient times, travelers have been crossing the bay on foot, and this tradition continues today.

Observing the castle from afar will only ignite your desire to approach it. The main attraction of this place is a church with high-vaulted choirs, ancient naves, and striking Gothic spires that inspire awe.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Normandy: Best Areas & Hotels

7. St Tropez

Saint-Tropez old town and yacht marina view from fortress on the hill
Source: istockphoto

Step back in time and discover the intriguing history of St Tropez. Originally a small fishing village, St Tropez transformed into a bustling town in the 19th century when it gained popularity among artists and intellectuals. After the release of the film And God Created Woman, the coastal town underwent a transformation that lasted forever.

Today, it is a stunning travel destination along the renowned French Riviera. From afar, the majestic Alps can be seen towering over southeastern France, but tourists are captivated by the stunning architecture and the sparkling sea.

As you wander through the town, your eyes scan the surroundings in hopes of catching a glimpse of a famous face. This destination has become a hallmark of glitz and glamour.  In another place, travelers can feel the gentle sea breeze caressing the shore while windsurfing and sailing enthusiasts enjoy the water just a few steps away from luxurious yachts worth millions.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in St Tropez: Best Areas & Hotels

8. Carcassonne

Historic city of Carcassonne in the South of France
Source: istockphoto

As soon as you arrive in Carcassonne, you’ll immediately see why it served as the inspiration for the strategic board game of the same name. As you walk along the cobblestone streets of the ancient town, you will feel as though you’ve been transported back in time. The town has been beautifully preserved over the centuries.

Amidst the verdant foliage lies a fortified structure, with towering walls that glisten in the warm rays of the French sun. La Cite, also known as the medieval city, is a captivating travel destination that takes you back to the Middle Ages. The streets lead you to various historic sites, including the Chateau Comtal, built in the 1100s, and the Basilique Saint-Nazaire et Sainte-Celse, which boasts fifty-two towers.

9. Biarritz

Biarritz Grande Plage (beach) in summer, France
Source: istockphoto

Experience the fashion and beauty of Biarritz, a stunning beach town located on the Bay of Biscay in France’s Basque region. The elegant and aristocratic seaside resort was a favorite destination of Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III, and is celebrated for its beauty.

The Hôtel du Palais Biarritz is a luxurious travel destination that offers stunning views of the Grande Plage beach. It was once the grandiose Second Empire-style palace of the imperial couple and now features a gastronomic restaurant for guests to enjoy. Since the Belle Epoque, high-society vacationers have been drawn to this expansive sandy beach and its wide seafront promenade.

When traveling to Biarritz, make sure to visit the ocean-related attractions such as the Biarritz Aquarium, Lighthouse, and Rocher de la Vierge (Virgin of the Rock) figure. This figure stands on a large rock along the coastline, which is constantly hit by the wild waves of the Atlantic.

10. Chamonix

Chamonix, France with Mont Blanc mountain range
Source: istockphoto

Chamonix is a renowned alpine village in Europe. This is a destination that can be visited all year round. Chamonix, located in the foothills of Mont Blanc, France’s tallest mountain, offers a beautiful blend of natural beauty and human culture.

The charming village offers a gateway to an animated local scene where tourists and locals intermingle amidst historic structures ranging from mountain churches to quaint inns. Just a few steps away from the charming cobblestone streets lie the wonders of the French Alps, offering top-notch skiing and hiking opportunities as well as towering rock walls that are perfect for adventurous climbers.

By exploring the human and natural aspects of Chamonix, one can have an unforgettable travel experience. Every evening, you can indulge in mouthwatering traditional cuisine during your travels.

11. Rocamadour

Magnificent view of Rocamadour
Source: istockphoto

Rocamadour is a remarkable travel destination, situated on a sheer limestone cliff that is suspended between heaven and earth. It is a sacred site that is sure to leave an impression on visitors. During the 11th century, this travel destination was considered the third most significant pilgrimage site in Christendom, following Rome and Jerusalem. Rocamadour is a destination on the medieval Way of Saint James pilgrimage route to Santiago de la Compostela in Spain.

Rocamadour is a popular travel destination for pilgrims who come to visit the Chapelle Notre Dame, home to the revered Black Virgin. The village boasts seven historic sanctuaries, adding to its allure. This miraculous Virgin Mary statue, made from aged walnut wood, is believed to have supernatural powers and is a must-see for travelers.

When traveling to Rocamadour, make sure to visit the Basilique Saint-Sauveur, which is a UNESCO-listed site. This is the biggest church in Rocamadour and was constructed in a combination of Romanesque and Gothic styles during the 11th to 13th centuries. Travelers seeking a spiritual adventure can climb the steep set of stairs, which features 12 Stations of the Cross, to reach the château located at the highest point of the village.

Located in the scenic Dordogne region, Rocamadour is situated approximately 145 kilometers away from Limoges in the Limousine. The town is encircled by the Parc Naturel Régional des Causses du Quercy, offering visitors a chance to explore the natural beauty of the area.

12. Gorge du Verdon

Tourists enjoying a warm summer day in the Gorges du Verdon, France
Source: istockphoto

Explore Gorge du Verdon, one of Europe’s largest canyons, and witness the stunning combination of ancient rock formations and the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. Located north of the French Riviera, between Marseilles and Nice, Gorge du Verdon offers stunning views of cliffs as tall as seven hundred meters that overlook the milky blue water illuminated by glacial till. The gorge was carved by glaciers, making it a must-see destination for nature lovers.

Experience the tranquility of a river that flows through the breathtaking landscape, just like the Grand Canyon. As you travel through the Verdon River canyon, you will notice the lush vegetation clinging to the steep canyon walls. The river flows beneath you as you make your way through the towering canyons.

Embark on a kayaking adventure starting at the Pont du Galetas bridge in Provence, where you can marvel at the grandeur of the canyon with every paddle stroke.