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.
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.
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.
Once the home of master artist, Vincent van Gogh, Arles is a Provencal city of remote tranquility and arresting beauty. One of the city’s biggest attractions is the surviving remnants of Roman architecture, which include the Roman Amphitheater. This large arena serves today as a venue for bullfights, festivals and other special events.
Just a few miles from Spain in the heart of the French Basque country, Biarritz is a tranquil yet elegant seaside resort.. Located on the Bay of Biscay, Biarritz is prized for its lovely beaches that offer excellent swimming, world-class surfing.
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 175 miles along the Loire River, twisting and turning through some of France’s most beautiful villages and charming chateaux.
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. 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.
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.
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 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.
See also: 10 Things to Do in the French Riviera
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.
More great destinations can be found in the Explore France page.