1. 10 Best Places to Visit in France
For more than two decades, France has reigned as the world’s most popular tourist destination, receiving 82 million foreign tourists annual. People from all over the world are drawn to France’s sophisticated culture, dazzling landmarks, exquisite cuisine, fine wines, romantic chateaux and picturesque countryside. An overview of the best places to visit in France:
One of Europe’s oldest cities and France’s second largest city, Marseille is a major Mediterranean seaport located off the southeast coast of France. Boasting an idyllic climate, Roman ruins, medieval architecture and distinguished cultural venues, Marseille is also a working city with several universities and industries. At the core of Marseille is its old port. Dominated by two historic forts, this bustling harbor is lined with waterfront cafes, shops and bars. One of Marseille’s best natural attractions, the Calanques are a series of small inlets with astonishing blue water and majestic limestone cliffs.
Situated right on the border of France and Germany, Strasbourg is the capital city of the Alsace region. The city serves as the seat of the European Parliament and numerous other important European institutions such as the European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe. The city’s historic center, Grande Île, is what makes Strasbourg one of the best places to visit in France. Here among a blend of both French and German architecture, visitors can find many museums, shops, cafes and striking attractions such as the stunning Gothic cathedral, which features intricate carvings and a 300-year old working, astrological clock.
Located in east-central France, Lyon is the capital of the Rhone department in the Rhone-Alpes region. Boasting a long history, Lyon today is the third largest city in France, known for its historic architecture, gastronomy and vibrant cultural scene. Lyon is comprised of various districts, each offering their own share of interesting treasures. For example, Presqu’île is the heart of the city with its restaurants and bars, while Croix-Rousse is known for its hundreds of hidden passageways. Fourvière boasts Roman ruins and Gothic churches, and Brotteaux is the wealthy district containing the beautiful Tete d’Or park.
8. Loire Valley
A popular tourist destination, the Loire Valley is a region in the center of France, regarded for its spectacular scenery, splendid chateaux, picturesque vineyards and historic villages. The Loire Valley stretches 280 km (175 miles) along the Loire River, twisting and turning through some of France’s most beautiful villages and charming chateaux. Some of the most famous chateaux include Chambord, Amboise, Rivau, Chinon and Chenonceau. The valley is home to many wineries that offer tours and wine tastings.
Built upon the River Garonne just half an hour inland of the Atlantic Ocean, Bordeaux is a major port city stuffed with fine architecture, historic sites, exceptional shopping and a world-class arts and culture scene. Bordeaux’s city center, features more than 350 historic structures and landmarks that include medieval churches and charming old bridges such as the Ponte de Pierre. The city also features several beautiful plazas of which the Place de la Bourse is the most stunning with its mirror-like effect. A visit to Bordeaux would not be complete without a drive through the surrounding wine country where tourists can admire picturesque villages, vineyards and chateaux.
If you want to mingle with the hoi polloi of French society in the south of France, the Luberon is the place to do it. It’s a haven for French society, as well as American and British visitors who come during the summer months to experience charming villages. This region in central Provence took off as a tourist destination after Peter Mayle published his books about life in Provence. With its lush forests, fields of lavender, farmers markets and colorfully painted houses, you’ll soon see why the Luberon is such a tourist magnet. A great souvenir is pottery from the village of Oppede le Vieux that still maintains its Middle Ages ambiance.
4. Mont Saint-Michel
Rising up from the midst of vast mud flats and some of Europe’s most powerful tidal waves is the rocky island of Mont Saint-Michel, located off France’s northwestern coast in Normandy. The tidal island is one of the most popular places to visit in France for its construction of medieval structures built as if stacked upon one another and crowned with the star attraction, the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel. The awe-inspiring abbey was built by devoted monks in 708 AD after the Bishop of Avranches was allegedly visited by the Archangel Michael.
Unless you have weeks or months to spend in the scenic Dordogne region of southwestern France, you’re going to pick and choose the things you want to see. There is just so much to see and do here, beginning with picture-postcard villages and chateaus, including the well-preserved Chateau de Baynac, a hilltop castle. The scenery is pretty awesome, too, with the Dordogne River running through it. The Dordogne also has some of the best prehistoric cave art in France. The walls of Lascaux feature mainly animals. Unfortunately, they’re closed to the public now, but a replica is a must-see.
2. French Riviera
Located on the French coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the French Riviera (Cote d’ Azur) is the playground for the rich, famous and hordes of international tourists. Although the Riviera is famous for the glamour of St. Tropez, Monaco or the Cannes Film Festival, there are many other less well known destinations, such as the perched villages of Eze and Saint-Paul de Vence, and the perfumeries of Grasse to name a few. The region enjoys a wonderfully mild to warm climate all year round, despite being one of the more northerly coasts on the whole Mediterranean.
Attracting more than 45 million visitors annually, Paris is the world’s most popular tourist destination. Dubbed various nicknames like the City of Lights, City of Love and Capital of Fashion, Paris is the capital city of France, known for its romantic ambiance and command in industries like business, entertainment, gastronomy, fashion and art and culture. In addition to iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris is also home to some of the world’s finest museums that include the Louvre Museum and Musee d’Orsay.
All information from website www.touropia.com
2. What to See in France? 10 Best Places You Must Visit
Gastronomy, fashion, landmarks, regions … there are many things you must not miss when you come to France. Between the countryside and the coast, nature and the cities, everyone can find something to his taste he does not want to miss. Since scouring France may be rather long (though certainly not boring!), we propose you a tour of France with ten places you must go to.
1. Paris – Île-de-France
The list has to begin, of course, with France’s capital city, Paris. What would a stay in France be without a tour in Paris? You could stay there for two weeks, a month, or even live here; the city comprises so many secrets and hidden places you cannot get bored. Amongst the must-do’s, let us list the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Sacré-Coeur, and the Louvre. If it is not your first visit, you might want to see less touristic places, such as the Marais, the Place de la Nation, Denfert-Rochereau, and the Jardin du Luxembourg.
Those who are used to Paris may prefer to get out of the usual and most famous ways, including by getting away from the center of the city. The suburbs of Paris are far less known, but deserve a look and are well-connected to the transportation network.
Vincennes includes many green parks with its Bois and its castle. Montreuil almost looks like a small village, just bigger than usual and with more diversity (there are more than 90 different nationalities). Finally, you can go to Neuilly-sur-Seine, a rich town with very nice houses. Neuilly counts many parks, including the famous Jardin d’Acclimatation.
Best season: The whole year
2. Versailles – Île-de-France
The palace, the gardens, the royal atmosphere … children and adults alike dream of the Palace of Versailles.
Its construction began in 1623 to house the King of France and its court. Kings Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI lived there between 1682 and 1723. After the French Revolution, it has served as a Consulate, has been restored, and it is now classified as a Historic Monument and serves as a Museum of French Monarchy.
You can visit the apartments of the King, of the Ladies, the galleries, the royal Opera, the Trianon, the Orangerie, the stables, the park, etc.
But there is not only the Palace in Versailles. The city is rather posh, and you may visit the Place du Marché de Notre-Dame (the Market’s Place), the Notre-Dame de Versailles church, or the City Hall. A full day in Versailles seems to be ideal to visit both the Palace and the city.
Best season: Spring
3. Mont Saint-Michel – Normandie
Mont Saint-Michel definitely stands in Normandie and it makes the inhabitants proud. It is the most visited site of Normandie and one of the ten most visited places of France.
It is located on a rocky island in the Channel. You can access it after a walk or by bus (better not to try swimming).
The abbey’s church is the highest point of the island and it has been listed as a historic monument since 1862. You will also find shops and restaurants to buy souvenirs and tastes the culinary specialties of the area (try the restaurant de la Mère Poulard).
About 40 people only live in the Mont-Saint-Michel, essentially from tourism, and they are always happy to see new visitor (as long as they are respectful). The abbey is a Catholic pilgrimage destination, and some people even take a retreat here with the Jerusalem monks community.
From the local gastronomy and the panorama to the spiritual aspect of the place, there are many reasons to come and see this rocky island.
Best season: Spring and summer
Read More……. www.france-hotel-guide.com
3. The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in France
Being the world’s most visited country makes deciding which pocket of France to visit that little bit trickier. France is a diverse country, with a hazy, lazy Mediterranean climate in the south and a maritime one in its north. You can taste the delights of Spain in its southern cuisine while some corners of Strasbourg feel more German than they do French. Keep reading to discover the most beautiful and iconic spots in France.
You can find Arcachon Bay on France’s west coast, just an hour away from the dazzling city of Bordeaux. Set on the edge of Landes de Gascogne Regional Natural Park, it is known as ‘Le Bassin’ (‘The Basin’) by locals and almost has its own microclimate; the towns and villages here are protected from the harshest Atlantic weather. Arcachon Bay is probably most well-known for its Dune du Pilat – Europe’s tallest sand dune, which measures 110 metres above sea level. Andernos-les-Bains, set on the inner edge of the basin, is a very pretty village and is well worth a visit.
Mont-Saint Michel is probably one of the most iconic images of France and it is also one of its most beautiful sites. Fairytale-like in its positioning just a little out to sea and with its medieval monastery perched on top, this island commune is visited by more than three million people each year. The approach is one of the best viewpoints of the town, so make sure to take your time and plan your visit when the tides are in your favour for the longest visiting window.
Pink Granite Coast
The Côte de Granit Rose, or Pink Granite Coast, lies in northern Brittany and stretches for over 30 kilometres. Head to the village of Ploumanac’h, which is not only very pretty, but the best starting point from which to explore this rose-tinted coastline. The mild coastal climate mixed with the vibrant colours of the pink rocks; the clearest sea you’ll ever see; wildflowers and golden sands combine to make this corner of France one of the most unexpected and enchanting you’ll come across. There is even a dedicated Granit Rose Tour site if you’d like a more planned exploration of this beautiful stretch of coast.
Palace of Versailles
The UNESCO World Heritage Sites of both the Château de Versailles and the gardens of Versailles are an absolute must-visit in France. Louis XIV’s gilded 18th-century palace won’t disappoint in person, in fact, its scale can only really be appreciated when within its walls. Make sure to also visit the Petit Trianon – Marie Antoinette’s private residence – and the smaller scale palace of Grand Trianon.
The lavender fields of Provence
From June to August in Provence, rows and rows of lavender plants cover the undulating hills, stretching out as far as the eye can see. The sweet fragrance will tell you they’re there before you see them and when you do, it’s really quite special. You’re most likely to spot this magical site around the Luberon Natural Park and Mont Ventoux so if you’re choosing Provence as your destination, then make sure you’re based between these two points. Visit a lavender distillery or time your visit to coincide with one of the lavender festivals that take place during this season.
Gorges du Verdon
Gorges du Verdon is a magnificent river canyon in the south of France, and the largest in Europe, which looks just as impressive whether you explore it by water from the canyon below or by one of the many hiking trails that hug its edge. For water and extreme sports enthusiasts, Gorges du Verdon offers up all the delights that you’d expect from a natural feature of this scale, from kayaking and cycling to bouldering.
Read More………. theculturetrip.com
4. 25 Best Things to Do in France
France has long drawn lovers, dreamers, artists, and intellectuals from across the globe to experience all the spectacular history and beauty it has to offer. The entire country is bathed in natural beauty and dotted with stunning historic architecture like Chateau de Chenonceau and the Palace of Versailles. Here are the best things to do in France.
Ancient Theatre of Fourviere
In 15 BC, the Romans constructed Fourvière with the expectation of seating 10,000 people. However, by the 3rd century AD, the site was abandoned. By the dawn of the 20th century, the theater had weathered into a ruin, and enterprising citizens restored the structure to its original imposing glory, at which point it was inducted into the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Within the walls lies stone seating where visitors can let their imaginations bring ancient performances to life. Another option visitors have is to plan a visit around the annual live summer performances, where revelers celebrate the Nuits de Fourvière festival inside the ancient walls. Open every day of the week except for Monday, visitors can pass through the stone barriers for free.
Aquarium de Lyon
The Lyon Aquarium will take visitors on a trip through an aquamarine world where fish drift behind glass walls as guests move down hallways from one aquatic region to the next. Visitors will want to grab an audio guide that fully narrates the journey, or download one straight to a mobile device. From the moment of arrival, visitors will absorb the beauty of the marine life that surrounds them. From the bright colors of tropical fish to the more demure marine life of temperate waters, the Lyon Aquarium offers a prismatic view of what lies below the waves. There are also plenty of educational presentations and exhibits that allow visitors to dive deeper into the complexities of marine life.
Arc de Triomphe
Those who visit the monument that has adorned many a postcard will have a surreal moment as they stand in the middle of swirling traffic and anchor their gaze on one of France’s most iconic pieces of architecture. Commissioned by Napoleon in 1806, the construction of the Arc de Triomphe was completed in 1836, and ceremoniously inaugurated by King Louis-Philippe. Visitors descend into the tunnels below and visit the marker where the Unknown Soldier is interred. Hope is rekindled each day at 6:30pm, when the flame of remembrance is lit, softly illuminating the panoramic views of Paris from the arch.
Catacombs of Paris
The history of the Catacombs of Paris is an infectious one that will resurrect visitors’ curiosity about the city. Although they seem ancient, they only date to 1785, when complaints about the Cemetery of the Innocents and the instability of the inner-city highways spurred the Council of State to devise a solution to both problems simultaneously with an underground tomb. Naturally, it didn’t take long for this man-made hall of bones to arouse curiosity. The first man brave enough to descend the 130 steps was the future Charles X, in 1787. Since his inaugural descent, the flow of curious visitors has never been stemmed. Occasionally, the Catacombs host special exhibitions.
Read More…………….. vacationidea.com
5. 10 TIPS ON WHAT TO DO AND NOT DO AS A TOURIST IN FRANCE
Every year, France continues to be among the most visited countries in the world. France has a lot to offer including many of the world’s most popular landmarks and tourist spots as well as the legendary French cuisine.
Before planning your trip and packing your bags, however, you should know that France has a very rich and unique culture. To fully enjoy it at its finest, you need cultural insights and the right dose of tourist tact.
Below are 10 do’s and don’ts to help you become an ideal tourist in beautiful France.
1. Do learn some basic French words and phrases
Whether you’re off to France for the weekend, for a week or for a month-long rendez-vous, you should never forget to pack with you some basic French words and phrases. Remember that you’re in a foreign land and while many French people speak English, you’ll never know when the phrases will come in handy.
You won’t need to buy an English-French dictionary or enroll in a French language course to enjoy
France (though it would surely help!) But for starters, you can get by with just a few phrases like these:
- Bonjour – Hello
- Merci – Thank you!
- Oui– Yes
- Pardon – Excuse Me
- S’il vous plait – Please
- Au Revoir – Goodbye
- Je ne parle pas francais– I don’tspeak French.
- En anglais, s’il vous plait – In English, please?
2. Do know when to greet with a kiss or with a handshake
When in France, you should know about how the French people say hello. In Paris, it’s expected for friends to greet each other with a kiss while strangers shake hands. They also kiss when saying goodbye and it’s not just any kiss either. It’s usually a double kiss on both cheeks.
When visiting small villages, expect to see complete strangers greet each other “Bonjour!” on the streets but never in Paris or in big cities. In fact, if you try to greet French people on the streets of Paris or Lyon, you’ll rarely, if not never, get any response in return. No matter how friendly you come off, the French are not the type to get comfortable with strangers.
3. Do take time to dress up
Because you’re going to France where Paris is the fashion capital of the world, you need to turn up your fashion sense a notch higher. Never wear sweatpants or short shorts when strolling through the streets of Paris. More importantly, never wear aforementioned clothes when dining in restaurants.
Rarely will you see people in France in their gym clothes or jeans, shirts and flip flops. French people don’t go overboard but they do love stylish and sensible clothes and shoes. They love the colors black, navy and grey, and they don’t go big with accessories or make-up.
4. Do explore the iconic Eiffel Tower
You’ve never really gone to France until you’ve paid the iconic and world famous Eiffel Tower a visit. For tourists, it is some sort of ritual, an unspoken rule that you should do as proof that you’ve indeed stepped foot in Paris. Don’t just settle with looking at this gorgeous structure from afar or from your hotel room. Nothing compares to the sensation of reaching the pinnacle of this tower.
Explore it by going up to the top by taking the lifts or stairs. All in all there are three lifts, and they are located in the North, East and West pillars which will take you up 15 m high. If you really want to go to the very top at 275 m, you need to change lifts at the second floor. In case you’re up for some serious exploring, take the stairs. This way, you’ll experience the tower in every angle and view.
And in the spirit of today’s selfie generation, you should take advantage of the opportunity TO take a photo. When you get home, just show your family and friends the photo. Words are no longer needed because the photo will speak for itself.
5. Do ride the metro at night and take the bus occasionally
Another must-do in France is to take a ride on the metro ideally at night when the views are majestic and the city is sparkling with its lights. It is also one of the best ways to feel like a local. Just remember that the metro does not run 24/7. So if you’re planning some late night travelling which necessitates riding the train in the wee hours, better check the schedule first.
Aside from minding the schedule, you should also remember to hold on to your ticket until the exit station. Losing your train ticket will prompt the Metro Police to fine you €35 on the spot. Not good!
When you’re not riding the metro, you should try the bus, too. It’s less crowded than the metro and it provides just as endearing scenic views while on the road. Bus stops are pretty much all around the city so you might as well try it to feel and look more local.
Read More………….. www.talkinfrench.com
6. HOW TO SPEND 5 DAYS IN PARIS
Paris: the city that takes too many lifetimes to see. I’ve spent weeks and weeks in Paris, and I’ve barely scratched its surface. Planning a trip to Paris is hard. Just when you think you’ve seen everything, you find new attractions, new cafés, or new markets to explore. It’s like where did all this stuff come from! Why didn’t I know it existed! It’s impossible to try to see it all or even begin to think you can.
Paris is a city I love to death. It is a place I contemplate spending my life in. If I could live anywhere, I think it would be Paris. I’ve been going for over a decade and have spent more time there than I can count. I’ve even run tours there!
Many travelers visit Paris for about three days and try to see the highlights of this beautiful city in a quick period of time. I think you need more time than that. I think you should plan on spending at least five days in Paris in order to see the bare minimum of what the City of Lights has to offer. There’s just too much to do.
However, even if you don’t have five days (maybe you have less or more), you come to the eternal qustion when you plan your trip here:
What do you see in Paris? What do you do in Paris during your trip?
Well, you have a lot of options. A LOT!
And, to make planning a trip to Paris, here’s my suggested itinerary for a five-day visit (and some other suggestions in case you decide to spend longer there!)
What to See in Paris: Day 1
Spend your first day walking around Paris. There’s a lot to see, and you can spend a good half day (or whole day) wandering the cobblestone streets, parks, and neighborhoods of the city. If you want to orient yourself with a free walking tour, these are really good:
However, if you want to follow my walking tour, here’s my suggestion for an “orientation walk” around Paris:
Start at the Champs-Élysées and see the Arc de Triomphe. There isn’t usually a line, and you’ll get sweeping views of the city to start your day. Stroll down the Champs-Élysées and through Place de la Concorde, where you will see the Luxor Obelisk, which the French stole from the Egyptians. This square was also where they guillotined people during the French Revolution.
Walk down the Champs-Élysées through the Jardin des Tuileries, a beautiful garden that was once home to a palace that burned down in the 1800s. Stop and admire the Louvre before continuing down Rue Rivoli and crossing into the original section of the city on the Île de la Cité. This is where the Romans built their settlement. Enjoy the Pont Neuf and the statue of Henry IV. This stone bridge, the first in Paris, was built in 1578. Stroll to my favorite church of all time, Saint Chapelle, with its incredible 12th-century stained glass. There’s usually a line, so book tickets in advance.
After that, head to the underground Roman ruins and then visit Notre Dame, the world’s most famous Gothic church. It’s free to enter, but if you want to go up the Bell Tower, get there early to avoid the lines.
Head south toward the Latin Quarter. This area is pretty touristy, but if you get off the main drag, you’ll find yourself in a labyrinth of alleys and café-lined squares that are far away from the local tourist hangouts.
Visit the Pantheon and honor France’s most famous dead citizens before heading west toward the Jardin du Luxembourg, where you can relax and watch life go by. There’s great people-watching here, and it’s one of the best parks in the city.
After that, head north to see Saint Sulpice. If you’re into The Da Vinci Code, you’ll be looking for symbols and hidden meanings throughout this church. If symbols don’t interest you, just marvel at how grandiose this place is.
By this time, it should be late in the afternoon and a perfect time to stop in a café, order some wine, and relax the Parisian way.
With the rest of your time, continue walking around or see some museums.
What to See in Paris: Day 2
Use one day to see Paris’s three most popular museums. They will take hours to visit and it’s a good way to spend a day.
With over a million pieces of art, you could spend a whole month in the Louvre and still not see everything! I don’t particularly enjoy medieval art; it’s too religious for me, and I can only see so many pictures of Mary and Jesus before I get bored. Nevertheless, the museum is worth seeing, and I spent about five hours exploring all the masterpieces and marveling at the old royal palace.
Musée du Louvre, 1st arrondissement, +33 1 40 20 53 17, louvre.fr. Opening hours: M, Th, Sa–Su (9am–6pm), W, F (9am–9:45pm), Tu (closed). Price: €15. Free days: first Sunday of each month (Oct–March), Fridays after 6pm for those under 26.
The Musée d’Orsay, located in close proximity to the Louvre, houses the best impressionist and post-impressionist work in Paris. This is my favorite museum, and I always go when I’m in town. You’ll find masterpieces by all the great artists of the world, including Degas, Monet, Manet, and Van Gogh, to name a few. I could spend hours there.
1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 7th arrondissement, +33 1 40 49 48 14, musee-orsay.fr. Opening hours: Tu–W, F–Su (9:30am–6pm), Th (9:30am–9:45pm), M (closed). Price: €12, €9 after 4:30pm every day but Thursday, free first Sunday of the month.