ambiance and geographical diversity reflects the landscapes and unique
cultures that comprise France. For instance,
Paris, one of the favorite destinations of travelers worldwide,
is fundamentally unique in France, as it is like no other French city.
This same this diversity of site, scene and situation occur across France
and makes touring the regions of this country a perpetual morning, with something new to
learn from each place you visit.
France is one of the world's most fascinating countries to visit.
We believe that our recommendations on the best places to visit in
France will provide you with an incomparable travel
France is a scenic country whose people and culture have been at
the center of world history for over a thousand years. It is
the visitor's good fortune that the French have determinedly
preserved their culture and heritage. Examples of the
country's spectacular attractions, particularly in the form of
famous buildings and architecture, can be found almost everywhere,
but particularly in the country's historically important cities,
cathedrals, abbeys and incredibly lavish châteaux and palaces.
Classic art and sculpture abound in this country and you can
wander the collections of France's great museums surrounded by
world-renowned collections filled with works by the world's master
artists. If you prefer the outdoors, France offers a variety of
outstanding and photogenic natural landscapes including
beautiful coasts and magnificent mountains.
Across the many regions of France, there are innumerable
cities whose wonderful food,
We hope that you find time to explore France and discover the
incredible cities and cultural regions, both historical and current,
created by the French people.
We have grouped our Best Places to
Visit in France into three "geographies". We start our tour of France
with Paris, the Paris region (Ile de France) and the beaches and countryside
of Normandy (below). We follow this with a section describing The
Loire Valley, Provence, Languedoc-Roussillon, the Pyrenees and Côte d'Azur
(the French Riviera)
and another focused on the wonderful areas of
Burgundy, Alsace and the Rhône-Alpes
Be sure to see our new interactive road map
showing the locations of our recommended Best Places to Visit in
France. When you see the map symbol next to a destination, you can click
the symbol to view the location on our highway map of France.
Near the bottom of the page we provide several
itineraries, if you need some suggestion
for travel planning.
Generally cool winters and mild summers, but mild winters and hot summers along
Names in Teal are regions
of the country.
Ile-de-France is a region of France that includes and surrounds Paris, the
country's capital. Ile-de-France is the country's most populated area, but one
with numerous charms and many outstanding attractions.
The City of Light is one of the world's great cities and a trip
to Paris is, for many, the vacation of a lifetime. Paris offers the
tourist numerous attractions that are unique and without match.
The best art, fabulous architecture, visible history, leading museums,
and romantic settings surround you when visiting Paris.
Click for our detailed Guide to
The Best Places to Visit in Paris.
The splendor of Versailles, along with its splendid architecture and
lavish parkland are unequalled in the modern world. The opulence
of Versailles can be appreciated only by visiting this historic,
ostentatious home of the French monarchy. Click on the link above
for our description (and photographs) of Versailles and its many
Click for our Guide to Versailles
Notre Dame of Chartres, a remarkably preserved Gothic-style
cathedral, dates from the late 12th century and was built over a
religious site previously used by Druids. The Chartres Cathedral towers
above the surrounding plain and is a remarkable architectural
achievement. The cathedral's structure is magnificent, while its
interior contains some of Europe's best stained glass windows.
Chartres Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a spectacular
package and well worth a visit.
The cathedral's construction marked a unique point in the evolution
of building construction, as the size and height of the
cathedral proposed for Chartres surpassed what was thought possible
at the time (for, example, its tallest tower is as tall as a 38
During your tour of the interior be sure to see the immense,
beautiful Rose Window and its five lancets dating from the 13th
The Cathedral is well-known for its unusual circular labyrinth
that dates from the late 12th century. Scholars believe that
walking the path of the labyrinth was once considered a
mini-pilgrimage undertaken by the faithful in a plea for the
forgiveness of their sins.
If you visit on the weekend, you might be lucky enough to listen
to one of the cathedral's famous organ concerts.
This site from the San Jose State University has a detailed
photographic tour of the
The town of Chartres is a delightful village that is known as the
"Capital of Light and Perfume". The city's historic district,
consisting of many timber framed houses, is quite interesting. See
official tourism website for more details.
From its beginnings as a royal hunting lodge,
Fontainebleau developed into a stately grand palace with expansive, lush
grounds, exceptional interior design, and elegant furnishings.
Touring Fontainebleau is an afternoon well spent. The buildings are
cavernous and the grounds are expansive, so bring your most comfortable
Monet's home in Giverny has put this lazy, quaint town on the map.
The house and the gardens have been revitalized to match the look
of the property when Monet lived and painted in this evocative parcel
nested in a small country village. Although quite popular and crowded,
visiting Giverny is a visual and emotional treat.
The water garden, comprised of lazily leafed willows, ponds,
water lilies, and the famous Japanese Bridge, is the most popular of
Giverny's many areas. The Clos Normand, a formal French-style Garden
close to the house, is another delightful area to wander.
The gift store has an enormous collection of posters, books,
calendars and other trinkets, all memorializing Monet, aspects of his
life and his amazing paintings.
Click for our
Guide to Giverny)
- Provins, a location famous in medieval times for its annual trade fares (including the
Champagne Fairs), is a fortified city protected by a defensive wall and towers
constructed before the 12th century. The town is known to have been in
existence by the 9th century and later gave rise to the Counts of Champagne,
as well as playing a key role in French history.
- Located about 60 miles (91 km) southeast of Paris, the Old Town area
that hosted the medieval trade fares has been well preserved. Most visitors,
however, come to see Provins' amazing
fortifications, including the walls, and a castle-keep known as Caesar's
Tower. The experience of visiting a city with authentic medieval roots
makes Provins a popular attraction.
Provins official tourism website for more details on the attractions and
Vacation Destinations in
Normandy is a delightful place to visit. It is an area with a
unique culture and tradition and your travels here will be unlike
anywhere else in France. Its modestly sized cities contain many unique
treasures, its coasts are delightful and its regional cuisine can be
For numerous visitors, touring Normandy is based on their interest in
the historic D-Day Invasion that led to the end of World War II.
Be prepared for an unexpected, emotional reaction when you visit the
D-Day Invasion beaches and memorial cemeteries.
If you are interested in Normandy, you can explore our Guide to
Normandy , or select the links below to explore the destinations in
Normandy of interest.
Our Normandy Invasion Guide covers Longues-sur-Mer, the American
Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, Point du Hoc, the D-Day invasion
beaches, and Caen (Le Memorial)]. We think these sites in
Normandy provide a poignant, but concise overview of the history of
D-Day. Click the link above to read our Guide to the World War II
sites in Normandy.
Bayeux, the first town liberated during the invasion of Normandy, is
a good place to base a tour of the Invasion Beaches.
In addition, Bayeux is a historically important town with many unique
attractions. During your visit be sure to see the thousand year old
"Bayeux" Tapestry. The Tapestry is over two hundred feet long and
was created to commemorate William the Conqueror's victory at the
Battle of Hastings, England in 1066, one of the tipping points in
Click for our PhotoGuide to Bayeux.
Rouen, the capital of Upper Normandy, is historically significant,
offers architectural delights, pleasant shopping, and delightful cafes.
Its Notre Dame Cathedral is an edifice well known in the art world
thanks to Monet, who painted it many times in an attempt to perfect his
technique. Finally, Rouen is the city where Joan of Arc was martyred.
Click for our PhotoGuide to Rouen.
The Abbey at Mont-Saint-Michel is one of the most spectacular sights
in the world. Sitting majestically atop a prominent rock knob,
often surrounded by rising tidal flows, the Abbey lures its visitors
with dramatic architecture, a spectacular coastal setting, mystery, and
its unique charms. Although it is out of the way at the southern end of
Normandy, be sure to see Le Mont-Saint-Michel, a UNESCO World Heritage
Site, as it is one of the attractions of a lifetime.
Click for our PhotoGuide to Le Mont
Click the menu to the right to continue exploring France
Click for the official tourism website for
France. The website provides additional details on our
recommended best places to visit, as well as information on locations that did
not make our list.
For facts on France, as well as details on driving rules, medical care,
personal safety and other information useful for planning a trip to France, see
France page from the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular
Affairs. We think you will find this information useful, regardless of
your home country.
If you need information about another travel destination, try our
Destination Guide Index
or Googling ThereArePlaces.
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2-day Mont Saint Michel and Chateaux Country Tour from Paris
From Viator Tours
Normandy Invasion Beaches Daytrip From Paris
From Viator Tours