According to statistics recently published, France is the world’s most visited country. It’s blend of culture and romance with fine foods and wines, as well as the variation of stunning coast lines, mountains and cities brimming with stunning sights and views, are part of the reason why France is such a popular country to visit. In this article, we recommend exactly where to go in France, to experience the best of this European jewel.
From the Eiffel Tower and Louvre to cobbled streets and corner cafés, Paris is full of delightful possibilities! Whether it’s your first visit to Paris or thirty-first, the City of Light’s iconic monuments and landmarks have a timeless beauty. Discover a bird’s-eye view of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower, watch crazy traffic around the Arc de Triomphe, stroll along the romantic banks of the Seine or visit the moving religious sites Notre-Dame, Sacré-Cœur and many more. Home to some of the world’s most famous museums, Paris is a delight for art lovers. Find the best museums to explore during your vacation, from the incomparable collections of the Louvre, Impressionist masterpieces at the Musée d’Orsay, the beautiful Rodin Museum, modern and contemporary art at the Pompidou Centre or escape the crowds at Paris’ lovely small museums. If you are tired from all the sightseeing, try relaxing in one of Paris’ green spaces. Pack a picnic from a local market or kick back and savor the simple joys of the Parisian lifestyle. Plan your days to include the Champ de Mars gardens near the Eiffel Tower, the Luxembourg Gardens, the regal Tuileries near the Louvre or one of the charming squares of Paris. Of course, who could forget to mention the incredible shopping possibilities of the City of love- stroll along the Champs Elysées, which is known as the finest and most popular shopping street, or head into St Germain if you want to discover vintage and contemporary boutiques.
Nice and The French Riviera
Nice, France is the capital of the French Riviera, the 5th largest city in France, and home to the third largest airport in France. Most of Nice’s particular charm and character comes from the Italian feel of the city, which only joined France in 1860 after a long spell as part of various Italian kingdoms. In fact, the Italian freedom fighter, Giuseppe Garibaldi, was born in Nice in 1807 and there is still a statue of him in one of the central squares. Greece and especially Ancient Rome also had a strong influence in its history. This beautiful city, like many others in Europe is divided into the Old Town and other quarters, aside from it’s quaint charm, this city is packed full of things to do. Visit the Promenade de Anglais, for a beachside walk, stopping off at one of the several bars and restaurants along the way, whilst taking in the stunning mediterranean views. The Place Garibaldi is home to a gorgeous flea market, where you can stroll along at your leisure, admiring all of the trinkets on sale. Nice also has a huge gastronomical culture, with several mouth watering dishes available, including lavender Ice cream, which is an absolute must try when visiting this part of France.
The Loire Valley
France’s lavish royal past is everywhere in the gentle landscapes of the Loire Valley. Hundreds of majestic châteaux and palaces follow the course of the country’s longest river as it makes its largely untamed way to the Atlantic. Such is the beauty of the ancient towns, limestone hills and historic castles of the area. The Loire valley is best experienced by river boat, however if you prefer to sleep with your feet on dry land, then there are plenty of gorgeous hotels in the area. Known as the “garden of France”, the Loire Valley produces succulent fruit and vegetables as well as some excellent wines. Chinon, Saumur and Sancerre are atmospheric bases for exploring the surrounding vineyards. There are more than 100 Chateux open to the public in the region and for those wishing to experience cultural and architectural delights of France, then no visit would be complete without a trip to the Loire Valley.
Marseille is located in southeastern France and is one of France’s largest cities – the second behind Paris. It is a metropolitan city that also has a rich history. Marseille is filled with nightlife, great restaurants, theaters, museums, and even an international soccer stadium. Many say that Marseille is not the kind of city you will fall in love with as it is too industrial, but, while the city is a bit gritty, it’s worth a visit for its beautiful waterfront.
Strasbourg is a place where you can enjoy the simple pleasures of small village life- browsing shops along cobbled streets, indulging in a treat from the many pâtisseries, and watching swans elegantly float by as you walk along the banks of the river. Away from the historical centre of town, you’ll find a city that is young and lively, as it’s home to one of France’s top-rated universities. Sleek and modern, glass buildings house the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, and the part-time home base of the European Parliament. Strasbourg is a city that showcases both our modern world and simpler times long since past, all in one delightful little package! The Strasbourg Cathedral is well worth a visit and was the tallest construction in the world for over 200 years. Aside from the impressive steeple, the church is worth a visit inside. The main attraction is the astronomical clock, a complicated 16th century creation which tells the time, calculates ecclesiastical occasions, and gives astronomical indications.
There are also several other places to visit in France, however we feel the above are the best places to really spend some time exploring in order to get a feel for this beautiful country. One thing is for sure, with the amount of delicious wines and cheeses combined with fresh bread piping hot from the oven, a diet whilst visiting France is totally out of the question.