Travelling to France? Don’t miss out on these 28 beautiful and iconic French Landmarks!
For centuries people have admired France for its natural beauty, gorgeous chateaus, over the top palaces, and numerous sights and places of interest to visit and explore.
Whether you’re visiting Paris, heading to the Loire Valley, or soaking up some rays on the French Riviera, France will certainly not disappoint by the sheer number of famous landmarks in France that you will most definitely want to add to your French travel itinerary.
In this guide, I’ve collaborated with fellow travel bloggers to list our 28 all-time favourite France landmarks that you’ll no doubt want to discover on your next trip.
Paris, Famous Places & Landmarks
1. Arc de Triomphe
By Bec from Wyld Family Travel
There are so many epic tourist spots in Paris but none match being on top of the famous Arc de Triomphe. It is a French landmark that is recognisable by many people over the world and considered one of the most famous monuments in France. You will find tourists who visit Paris wandering the Champs Elysee right up to where it stands to take pictures but many miss going to the top of the Arc de Triomphe and this is a huge mistake.
To get to the Arc there is a tunnel under the massive roundabout to make the journey safer. Some visitors are not aware of this and unfortunately, end up crossing the notorious roundabout. Watching them weave between cars is scary at times and is not recommended at all. You can stand under the massive structure admiring the artwork that depicts the battles from the Napoleonic Wars and the French Revolution and honours those who fought in them. Underneath the Arc is also where the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier lies.
To get to the top you do need to have a security check and if you have a bag a security officer will have a look inside. There are roughly 285 steps to the top for some of the most amazing views over Paris. If you have mobility issues there is an elevator you can use but it is strictly reserved for people who are not able to climb the stairs.
From the top of the Arc, you can see the majority of the top Paris landmarks. The Eiffel Tower, Sacre Couer, La Defence and The Louvre are all easy to see and you will find areas on The Terrasse that will point out other famous Paris landmarks as well. You should also take some time to watch the cars enter and leave the roundabout that surrounds the Arc. While some may not think it is very interesting it is amazing how people manage to avoid some serious accidents as the cars whizz around it.
If you are visiting Paris a visit to the top of the Arc de Triomphe is a must.
2. Eiffel Tower
By Leyla from Offbeat France
It’s impossible to visit Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower, undoubtedly one of the most famous French landmarks. You might not go up it, but you cannot avoid its slender silhouette, visible from pretty much everywhere.
The tower was designed by the French civil engineer, Gustave Eiffel, for the 1889 Paris World’s Fair, and it only took a few years to build.
Once it was up, though, Parisians howled. They disliked it intensely, likening it to a “skinny pyramid” or a “half-built factory pipe”. Newspapers received open letters and the tower became a political football. Yet, as was to happen with the Louvre pyramid a century later, the people of Paris grew to like it, and then love it. During the World’s Fair, two million visitors came, turning it into one of the world’s most visited landmarks.
Intriguingly, the tower was not built to last and was to have been dismantled after 20 years. But Eiffel couldn’t bear to see his masterpiece torn apart so he demonstrated the tower’s contribution to science: he built an antenna at the top, he undertook some wireless experiments, and eventually, the tower was saved.
It is, admittedly, a crowded attraction, so consider getting a ticket ahead of your visit to skip the line. If you really want to avoid the elevator line, you can always… take the stairs!
3. Louvre – France, Famous landmarks
By Nicole from Bucket List Lists
Visiting the Louvre is a top Paris bucket list experience and one of the most famous landmarks in France.
Most notable because it is home to the famous Mona Lisa and the largest art museum in the world, but there is some interesting history behind it. The Mona Lisa gained its fame because it was stolen by three men in 1911. The painting was not even famous until later.
Initially, the Louvre was built and used as a fortress in 1190 and later rebuilt and used as a Royal Palace. In 1682 the Louvre quit being a palace and the king moved to Versailles.
Visiting the Louvre today can come with long lines and equally long wait times. Most visitors are trying to get inside for a photo of the Mona Lisa. If you want to save your time, it would be wise to book a “skip the line” ticket and bypass the wait.
Even if you do not make it inside, the outside is equally impressive. The pyramid at the Louvre is the image most associated with the outside and you can see right through it.
4. Notre Dame
By Dymphe from Dymabroad
One of the best-known landmarks in France is the Notre-Dame in Paris. It is a popular building that many people visit. When you visit the city, even if you are only 24 hours in Paris, going here is definitely worthwhile.
The Notre-Dame is a very old church, with construction starting in 1163 and completed by 1345. It played an important role throughout history. For example, Napoleon I was coronated here.
Moreover, the church looks incredible and is a beautiful example of the French Gothic architectural style. Besides that, the inside of the church is great to see as well. The Notre-Dame is famous for its large organ and the large church bells. More recently, there was a large fire in 2019 that destroyed the roof of the Notre-Dame. Since then, there have been ongoing renovations to the building and structure.
You can find the Notre-Dame on the Île de la Cité, not too far from some other notable sights in the city, such as the Louvre.
5. Palais Garnier
By Sophie from Roaming Paris
While planning a trip to Paris, you will want to make sure to include a visit to Palais Garnier on your itinerary! Paris’ beloved opera house is one of France’s greatest landmarks, let alone in the world.
Built in 1875, the structure is one of the most extraordinary buildings in Paris with its striking architecture. Stonework, statues, inscriptions, and gilts are sprinkled over its façade, giving it a majestic look.
While the outside view is already mind blowing, you need to go inside the Opéra Garnier to really get to know it. Once inside, the grand marble staircase welcomes you in royal-style, and you will want to photograph everything. But, chances are, there will be tourists—lots of them.
So, if you want to take in the full splendour of this gorgeous French Landmark, the Palais Garnier without all the crowds of tourists, be sure to book an after-hours tour of the Opera House. You won’t regret it.
6. Pompidou Centre
By Gemma from Two Scots Abroad
The Centre Pompidou is far from what Paris is known for. Forget elegant architecture, pretty streets and fine art; the Pompidou is loud, clunky and industrial.
With its messy facade, you literally cannot miss the Centre national d’art et de culture Georges Pompidou (CNAC-GP) located in Beaubourg near the popular Marais neighbourhood.
President Georges Pompidou commissioned the centre, stating: “I passionately want Paris to have a cultural centre […] where the plastic arts go hand in hand with music, film, books, audiovisual research, etc.”
The architectural team responsible for the building that looks like an out-of-place theme park is Richard Rogers, Su Rogers, Renzo Piano, and Gianfranco Franchini. The facility opened on the 31st of January 1977.
Since then, millions have visited the complex where you will find Bibliothèque publique d’information (Public Information Library), Europe’s largest modern art museum, Musée National d’Art Moderne, and IRCAM, the centre for music and acoustic research.
You can wander around the museum’s contemporary art independently or join a guided tour for detailed information about the works.
Exhibitions aren’t the only reason for visiting the Pompidou during your Paris itinerary: the views from Restaurant Georges are worth checking out the roof terrace for.
7. Sacré-Cœur – Religious Landmark in France
By Kenny from KNYCX Journeying
France is filled with sacred heritage sites and there are two places that are the great starting points to kick start your pilgrimage in the country. The first one is the Notre-dame, and the other one is the Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre.
In French, “Mont” refers to a mountain – that means the Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur was built atop a small hill in the city centre. The giant white cathedral is an iconic sight that could be spotted from various points all around Paris.
Among other historic landmarks in Paris, the Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur is actually quite new. It is a Roman Catholic church that inaugurated as a political and cultural monument of the adoration of the Holy Eucharist. The site was officially completed in 1914, 25 years after the completion of the Eiffel Tower.
With only 130 meters in height, Montmartre is fairly accessible to worldwide tourists: Appreciate the grand interior, pipe organ, bells, and more; but don’t miss out on taking a short walk up the staircase or riding the funicular, to reach the open space right in front of the Cathedral.
Its plaza right in front of the cathedral is one of the best viewpoints in Paris; due to the direction of where the church is facing, you will have a panoramic view of the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame and beyond.
Palaces and Chateau’s – Palatial Landmarks, France
8. Château Chenonceau
By Monique from Trip Anthropologist
Once the hunting grounds of the French Kings, the Loire Valley is visited by millions of tourists a year, many doing so on day trips from Paris to see its incredible castles and iconic French landmarks.
Apart from the Palace of Versailles, the Château de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley is the most visited of all French castles. This is in part because of its proximity to Paris (214 km), but also because of its unique location over the River Cher, and its fascinating history.
The Château is known as the Château des Dames – the “ladies château” – because of the powerful French Queens and noblewomen who fought over the castle and its formal gardens. Catherine de Medici, Diane de Poitiers, and Louise de Lorraine are the most famous women to have owned the castle, and Mary Queen of Scots was married here.
The Château needs at least three hours to wander through and to see some of its beautiful grounds and gardens. The nearby village of Amboise is a great base for visiting the castles of the Loire, but the regional hub of Tours has tour and transport facilities.
Buses and taxis are not easy to find at the Château and sometimes do not run, so car hire from a regional train station is the best way to see the spectacular Château de Chenonceau.
Alternatively, you can also book this awesome day trip from Ambroise & Tours to visit Chenonceau and Chambord!
9. Château de Chambord
By Tegan + Alex from Why Not Walk Travel Guides
No trip through the Loire Valley and its castles would be complete without visiting the most impressive of them all, the Château de Chambord.
Originally built as a royal hunting lodge in 1519 by King François I, the castle was expanded several times, and has been lovingly maintained through the centuries. Between the castle and its exquisite grounds, a visit will easily take you the better part of a day.
One of the most intriguing parts of the castle is its staircases, shaped in the form of a double helix. Rumour has it that they were designed by Leonardo da Vinci himself, though this remains unproven. Be sure to climb the staircases to the roof access for the best views of the surrounding Loire Valley, as well as for some excellent photos of the beguiling architecture.
The interior of the château is less lavish than that of other castles in the region, like Cheverny or Chenonceau, but its sheer enormity makes the more austere décor feel just as imposing and regal.
Chambord costs 14,50€ to enter, and you have the option of a self-guided tour (utilizing a well-detailed brochure given to you at the entrance) or a guided tour, offered in English or French. Don’t miss the royal gardens while you’re here, with their beautiful landscaping.
10. Château de Fontainebleau
By Theresa from Fueled By Wanderlust
A tour of Chateau de Fontainebleau in Fontainebleau, France takes you through royal residences filled with Renaissance art and opulent furnishings, largely chosen for the unique tastes of various French monarchs. Nestled among dense forests filled with game, the chateau served as a serene hunting retreat for French Royalty over time.
Sprawling Chateau de Fontainebleau consists of 1,500 rooms and dates back to the 12th century. It was largely Francis I in 1528 who made the chateau the Renaissance masterpiece it is today. Under his watch, the chateau was completely rebuilt to better reflect the current power and sophistication of the monarchy.
Prepare to spend at least a couple of hours touring Chateau de Fontainebleau, exploring rooms once reserved for monarchs like Napoleon and Marie Antoinette. Because the chateau changed hands so many times throughout the centuries, every room features various styles and furnishings that were adapted to the preferences of each monarch, the last being Napoleon III and Eugenie.
Chateau de Fontainebleau is open for visitors every day, except Tuesdays, January 1st, May 1st, and December 25th. Entry tickets can be purchased online here, and provide a self-guided tour through the Grands Appartements and Napoleon I Museum. The gardens surrounding the chateau are free to visit without a ticket and are open every day.
Want to explore Chateau Fontainebleau and Vaux-Le-Vicomte as a day trip from Paris, then check out this great day trip tour option.
11. Palais des Papes – Historical Places in France
By Nadine from Le Long Weekend
One of Provence’s most iconic landmarks, the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes in English) rises above the terracotta rooftops of Avignon, marking the centre of the UNESCO designated city.
The Palace’s construction started in the 13th Century when Pope Benedict XII was at the helm, but each successive Pope also left his mark on the ever-changing building. Touring the Medieval palace, with its grand halls and stately rooms is a must-do when staying in Avignon, to appreciate the heritage of this unique part of France.
When you buy your admission ticket, you’ll be given a Histopad to take with you on your tour, which brings the palace to life through a series of interactive illustrations and animations.
Allow at least an hour to see the entire palace, but you’ll want to linger longer on the roof terrace with its stunning views and rooftop cafe. If you want to sample more of Avignon’s treasured historical sites, be sure to buy the combined ticket which will gain you entry to the Pont d’Avignon nearby, for a reduced fee.
12. Versailles – Famous France Landmarks
By Ellie from Ellie’s Travel Tips
As one of the most famous buildings in France, the Palace of Versailles offers a magnificent glimpse into France’s royal past.
Versailles was once home to numerous kings and queens of France as perhaps the most extravagant palace in Europe. At Versailles, you are permitted to stroll the corridors and gardens where famed Queen Marie Antoinette once enjoyed her incredible life before her inevitable and untimely death.
Originally constructed as a small summer palace, the Chateau de Versailles quickly rose to fame when King Louis XIV decided the invest in the site. For over a century, Versailles was the centre for historic diplomatic activity in Europe, welcoming emperors, kings, and queens at elegant banquets and events.
Now, the Palace of Versailles welcomes guests to explore the gardens, Trianon Palaces, and Versailles itself. Make sure to book tickets in advance, as there will more than likely be a line when you arrive (over an hour during peak times).
Exploring the interiors of the palace will take approximately an hour and a half, but you could easily spend another couple of hours discovering the gardens and summer palaces. As a remarkable historic site and one of the most popular excursions on European cruises, the Palace of Versailles is truly one of the most famous landmarks of France.
Natural Landmarks in France
13. Cirque du Gavarnie
By Kat from Wandering Bird
If you’re looking for somewhere incredible to visit in France, make sure you include the Cirque de Gavarnie in your France travel plans, one of the most idyllic natural French landmarks to behold.
This amazing location is high in the French Pyrenees. It’s a natural amphitheatre, with mountains on three sides. There’s a waterfall (the highest in mainland France), a river, a beautiful open valley and the most incredible views- especially if you visit on a sunny day.
Entry is free to walk up towards the waterfall, although parking usually requires payment. Get there as early as you can- in high season it can get very very crowded and you’ll find it impossible to take photos without people in. If you have a dog, you can’t walk all the way to the waterfall, but far enough to get good photos.
Also, if you enjoy motorhome wild camping in France, be careful- this is a national park, but adequate alternatives are provided. There are plenty of hotels and B&B’s in the area too if you’d like to stay longer.
14. Gorge du Verdon
By Izzy & Phil from The Gap Decaders
Deep in the rolling lavender covered hills of Provence is the Gorge du Verdon. This natural wonder is the deepest river canyon in France and a favourite with kayakers and paddle boarders, who enjoy the sparkling turquoise waters, as well as French road trippers who follow the corniche around the gorge.
There is no road to the magnificent limestone gorge, only around it. To access the canyon, you must paddle from the Lac de Sainte Croix, the reservoir into which the Verdon flows. Created between 1971 and 1974, when the valley was flooded and a concrete dam was built, the lake tells it’s own story in a tiny museum in Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, a village on the edge of the lake where you can also hire kayaks and SUP’s.
To follow the spectacular corniche road, start in Moustiers Sainte Marie, a village so pretty it gets rammed in summer. Make your way to Sainte-Croix-du-Verdon, the hillside village of Aiguines, before heading back to Moustiers. The trip will take a day if you stop for pictures and lunch in one of the Provencal villages en route. The best views are from the D71 and D23, so make sure to have your camera ready!
15. Lac St Cassien
By Larch from The Silver Nomad
Off the A8 motorway, about an hour inland from Nice is the beautiful turquoise Lake Saint-Cassien (Lac St Cassien). You catch glimpses of it through the trees as the road winds around it then it opens up in front of you.
The lake was created in 1966 when the dam at Biançon was built to supply the Var and Alpes Maritime with water as well as to produce electrical energy.
The lake is one of the most visited sites in the area and is crossed by a bridge on the route into the Pays de Fayence.
Over 420 hectares of water with a diverse range of activities to enjoy. You can take to the waters for fishing, rowing, pedal boats or keep to the shores and go by horseback, bike or foot.
There is a natural lake beach for those who prefer to sunbathe, or for children to play on inflatables. Around the edges of the lake are a variety of places to eat
With over 180 varieties of birds in the Fondurane Biological Reserve on the eastern side of the lake, Lake Saint-Cassien is a haven for birds, animals and fish. There is an observatory at Fondurane for keen birdwatchers.
The Discovery Space has a 3D relief model of the terrain and information about the geology and the history of the area too.
16. Lascaux Caves
By Kylie from Our Overseas Adventures
The caves at Lascaux are a must-see when visiting the Dordogne region of France. It’s a UNESCO heritage site located in the village of Montignac and features over 600 cave paintings on the walls and ceilings dating back 17,000 years.
The caves were discovered by some young children back in 1940, but are now closed to the public to preserve them. You can however visit the fantastic new visitor centre that contains stunning full replicas of the paintings. A guided tour takes you through the history of the site, interpretations of the drawings of humans, animals and abstract signs. There are also many displays with different theories of the meanings of the cave paintings, information about ongoing conservation efforts and other caves in the area, which has the highest concentration of cave paintings anywhere in Europe.
Although it may seem strange going to visit the caves and only seeing replicas of them, it’s still a wonderful experience and is extremely well done – you really do feel like you are witnessing ancient history and definitely gives food for thought about early humans. You will need to pre-book tickets as visitor numbers are limited, and get there with plenty of time to find a parking spot so you don’t miss your slot!
17. Lavender Fields of Provence
By Antione and Marielle from Offbeat Escapades
When one thinks of the warmer seasons in Provence, lavenders come straight to mind. These fields of purple flowers are some of the most well-known sites in France, especially during the Spring but mostly, Summer months.
From the vibrant colours and distinct aromas of these lavenders, there’s nothing quite like seeing an endless horizon of gorgeous purple lavender fields. Your senses will surely be overwhelmed by their sight and aromatic smell.
They are truly a symbolic representation of the South of France as the winter cold drifts away and the warmth of the Summer and Spring hits the air.
There are many places to see lavender fields in France, but the most famous ones in Provence can be found in Valensole and Luberon. As these areas are literally teeming with wild lavenders all over, the best way to get there would be to drive. If driving is not possible, then you can also opt to take a tour from various cities in the South of France such as Nice, Marseille, or Avignon.
Want to see these gorgeous lavender fields in person? Check out this great full day tour from Nice that combines a trip to the Gorges of Verdon and a trip to some beautiful Lavender fields.
Other French Landmarks & Places of Interest
18. Cité de Carcassonne
By Elisa from France Bucket List
The Cité de Carcassonne, in Southern France, is undoubtedly one of the most visited landmarks in France. The Cité is famous for being one of the last Cathar strongholds against the crusaders. Catharism was a religion that flourished in the Languedoc region in the 12th and 13th centuries considered a heresy by the Catholics.
A stroll around this magnificent medieval citadel is like a trip back in time. The surrounding walls are 3 kilometres long, interspersed by 52 towers, and it is separated from the city by a moat.
Carcassonne owes its current aspect with pointed towers to Viollet-le-Duc, the architect who restored it as if it was a citadel in northern France. Inside, there’s a castle built in the 12th century by the viscount of Carcassonne, a church- basilica, and many dwellings used today as private homes, restaurants, souvenir shops, and hotels.
The Cité de Carcassonne’s access is free for everybody, but there’s an entrance fee to visit the castle and the ramparts.
The city is easy to reach by train from the major cities in France. It also has an international airport with many flights to different European cities.
19. D-Day Landing Site – Beaches in Normandy
By Elisa from World in Paris
The D-day landing beaches are one of the most important historic sites in France. These beaches are located in Normandy, Northern France, and represent one of the most momentous chapters in modern history that led to Western Europe’s liberation from the Nazis.
It is possible to visit the Landing Beaches of Normandy on a day trip from Paris. Actually, this is one of the most popular day trips from Paris, proposed by many tour operators. However, the best way to visit these WW2 sites is on a road trip.
The D-day landing beaches are Utah beach, Omaha Beach, Gold Beach, Sword Beach, and Juno beach. The US troops stormed Utah and Omaha; Gold and Sword were stormed by the British troops, and Juno by the Canadians.
In addition to the beaches, there are other interesting WW2 sites related to the landing and the battles that followed, like memorials, cemeteries, or museums. I recommend visiting the Caen Memorial Museum, the Pointe du Hoc, and the Normandy American War Cemetery and Memorial.
20. Eze Village
By Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple
Sandwiched between the famous Mediterranean cities of Nice and Monaco, lies Eze, a tiny medieval village perched on a hilltop. Due to its proximity to two of these major cities, Eze is also a popular day trip destinations in the French Riviera.
One of the popular things to do in Eze is to walk up to Jardin Botanique d’Eze. This three-tier hilltop garden is home to exotic plants and succulents, but what is even more attractive are the views of the Mediterranean coast and the shimmering turquoise waters. Explore the medieval village and narrow lanes, or head to Eze-sur-mer beach.
The easiest way to reach Eze Village is by taking a bus from Nice. Trains from Nice connect to Eze-sur-mer station which is near to the beach. But if you want to go to the village from here, it’s a bit of a 5km hike uphill.
Explore charming Eze on this day trip tour combining Monaco, Monte Carlo, and Eze!
21. Grand Île in Strasbourg
By Bridget from The Flashpacker
Lovely Strasbourg, one of the prettiest cities in France and home to one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, is not short of landmark sights. Most of these are centred around the Grande Île, an island sitting in the heart of the city’s historic centre. This UNESCO World Heritage site is best explored on a walking tour of Strasbourg.
Start at Place Kléber, the city’s central square before moving on to Strasbourg Cathedral. After Paris’s Notre Dame, this Gothic masterpiece is the most visited cathedral in France.
From here, it’s a short walk to La Petite France at the western end of the Grand Île, which was home to Strasbourg’s tanners, millers, and fishermen. Today, it is famous for its wonky, pastel-coloured, half-timbered buildings, dating from the 16th and 17th Centuries.
Don’t leave Strasbourg before sampling Alsace food and wine at one of the city’s excellent restaurants. A Tarte Flambée, so-called ‘Alsace pizza,’ washed down with a glass of local Pinot Noir is the perfect accompaniment to a day strolling around the Grande Île.
22. Honfleur Harbour
By Carolyn from Holidays to Europe
There can hardly be a prettier harbour in France than the one in the northern town of Honfleur.
Once a major defensive port, thanks to its location where the River Seine meets the English Channel, Honfleur’s harbour and Vieux Bassin (Old Dock) is lined with attractive 6- and 7-storey tall buildings from the 17th century and their reflection in the harbour waters attract visitors from near and far.
Honfleur’s nautical ties remain strong today. The harbour is where local boaties berth their sailboats and yachts and where fishing boats bring in their daily catch.
There’s no better place to sample the local seafood than at one of the many restaurants that line the Old Deck. Here you can try the freshly-caught local mussels, a speciality of the region, and fish soup.
The Old Dock also attracts artists who come to paint the tranquil scene. In fact, Honfleur was a haven for painters during the 19th century and the likes of Renoir and Cezanne often visited the town. It’s easy to see why as the Honfleur harbour has become one of the most recognisable in France, thanks to its idyllic setting.
23. Monet’s Gardens in Giverny
By Catherine from Her Bags Were Packed
Whether you’re a nature, art, or history lover, an afternoon exploring Monet’s Gardens should be on your French bucket list. Here visitors can explore the place that Claude Monet called home for 43 years and wander the gardens that inspired some of his most popular paintings.
Seriously, if you’ve ever marvelled at his water lilies, just imagine what it’s like to see them in person… unreal!
The Monet Foundation is situated on the Southeastern edge of Normandy in the small village of Giverny. Easily accessible by train (just an hour outside Paris), those with limited time can make it a day trip; but anyone with the time to unwind for a day or two here in the French countryside should take the opportunity for a little R&R. Limited lodging is available in Giverny, with more options available in the neighbouring town of Vernon, also worth exploring.
The Monet Fondation usually opens each year in March and remains open until November 1. Visitors are encouraged to purchase timed tickets in advance. If your travel dates are flexible, plan your visit for the spring or fall, as the summer can get quite busy.
If you’re arriving by train to Vernon, electric bikes can be rented at a reasonable rate at the Givernon Rental Station. If biking isn’t your thing, check out Le Petit Train. This little shuttle will get you to the Monet Foundation in 20 minutes while offering a brief tour along the way.
From Paris, you can also book this fantastic half-day tour to Monet’s Garden in Giverny to see this stunning oasis for yourself.
24. Mont Saint-Michel – Famous French Landmarks
By Victoria from Guide Your Travel
Mont Saint-Michel is one of France’s most famous landmarks and the perfect day-trip destination. Constructed in the 8th century this impressive island town has a rich history and is home to many legends.
Tourists can visit the island or even stay in one of the small hotels which is one of the best ways to experience this incredible place. Entrance to Mont Saint-Michel is free and there are even free shuttle buses that take you there.
Walking takes around 45 minutes and is a great way to admire the beautiful scenery of the estuary. Make sure you visit the historic Abbey while you are in Mont Saint-Michel. This large church is the most popular attraction for tourists and although it does cost a small entrance fee to go inside it’s well worth the money.
Be sure to bring along plenty of water and sunscreen if you’re visiting during the summer as it can get hot. Many visitors like to venture out onto the mudflat during low tide. Only attempt this if you’re sticking to the designated areas and don’t go too far. The tide comes in quickly and tourists have to be rescued regularly.
25. Perfumeries in Grasse
By Veronika from Travel Geekery
Grasse in the French Riviera is known as the perfume capital of the world. Perfume-making started here in the 18th century already.
If you’ve watched the movie Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, it’s set in Grasse and touches on the fascinating development of perfumes. Most of the movie’s scenes were filmed elsewhere, though.
There are currently three bigger perfumeries in Grasse – Fragonard, Molinard and Galimard. Fragonard is the most famous and the oldest one. It’s located in a large building and includes a museum of perfumes. It offers a fascinating excursion into the world of perfume-making, from mixing the right scents to designing the perfect flacon.
You can spend a full day in Grasse and have plenty to do. The picturesque town has a lovely historical heart with small streets lined with cute shops and art galleries.
The perfume capital is located in the French Riviera, just not on the coast. You’ll find it just north of Cannes. Grasse is also considered one of the best day trips from Nice.
26. Promenade des Anglais, Nice
By Emma from Emma Jane Explores
Strolling the long stretch of walkway spanning the coast of the sparkling Mediterranean seaside that makes up the Promenade des Anglais is a quintessential Nice experience and should be on everyone’s bucket list. The Promenade, one of the most famous landmarks in France, is not only one of the best things to do in Nice, but it is also great for the budget as it is completely free to enjoy.
The Promenade runs for a length of around seven kilometres between the Chateau du Colline and the Nice International Airport. At any time of day, the wide concrete path is bustling with walkers, runners, rollerbladers and street performers – all out enjoying the almost always perfect French Riviera weather.
There are also plenty of Nice’s iconic blue chairs located along the length of the Promenade des Anglais, too, in case you need to take a rest mid-amble. These chairs are the perfect spot to watch the sunrise or set over the water as you enjoy the gentle sound of the ocean lapping at the grey pebbles of the Nice beaches.
The Promenade is also very well-lit in the evenings and at night and is perfect for a relaxing after-dinner stroll.
27. Rocamadour – Famous Landmark in France
By Theodore from Camper Front
Close to the eastern border of the Dordogne department, Rocamadour is in the Lot division of the Midi-Pyrenees. The village has a population of 600 and is situated in the Causses du Quercy Regional Natural Park. It receives over one million visitors – pilgrims and tourists – every year.
Although the villages’ history dates back to primordial times, Rocamadour is best known as a medieval pilgrimage destination, with the first church here being built in the mid 12th century.
While Rocamadour has 7 ancient sanctuaries, pilgrims flock to the Chapelle Miraculeuse (Chapelle Notre-Dame), which is where the venerated Black Virgin (Notre-Dame de Rocamadour) is situated.
This beautiful and very precious Virgin Mary figure is associated with miracles and was sculpted from walnut wood that naturally grew darker over the centuries. Although a small village, Rocamadour is an astonishing place to visit, not only for its location but its monuments as well.
The village is built on a cliff edge, with the river Alzou below underneath the gorge and the monuments and houses are all beautifully renovated and preserved.
28. UNESCO District of Lyon
By Noel Morata of Travel Photo Discovery
The unique and historic city of Lyon and its historic centre is just a few hours train ride from Paris and such a wonderful city to visit with impressive French monuments, public squares and historic venues to explore.
A city that is divided by to major rivers, the lifestyle here is slower-paced, focused on foods, arts and enjoying the local culture here. The highlight of visiting Lyon is the medieval city centre, all part of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage site status and so fun to explore the cobbled streets, medieval architecture, elaborate churches and cafes that suddenly spill out into all the small narrow streets in the latter part of the day to celebrate more good food, entertainment and end of day relaxation outdoors on the streets of the old town.
If you have time to do so, climb to the top or take the funicular to the observation areas high above the city for some fabulous views of the city below. Also, check out the impressive Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The interior of the basilica is so ornate and colourful to explore all the small chapels and main altar in the front. For more inspiration, check out my post of the first impression of Lyon here for more images and highlight touring the town and hopefully planning your own trip to this lovely historic city.
For a truly unique experience, why not tour Lyon on this 1-hour Segway tour and see all the city’s highlights for yourself.