(Last Updated On: April 15, 2021)

Your ultimate France bucket list is here. When preparing for your French vacation, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to visit as there are so many beautiful destinations within this Western European country. Whether you’re off to see the Dordogne or sunning yourself on the French Riviera, I’ve assembled a list of the best places to visit in France to help you plan your next holiday and say ‘bonjour’ to this wonderful country.

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Alsace

The Alsace region of France has passed back and forth between French and German hands many times over the last 200 years. When you visit Alsace, you’ll see a style of architecture that is quite distinctly German, albeit with a sprinkling of fairy dust all over and it’s these cute, colourful, gingerbread houses that really put Alsace on the tourist map.

Alsace has a number of Plus Beaux Villages de France (literally translated as most beautiful villages in France) that must be seen to be believed. They are so picture perfect that they actually provided Disney with the inspiration for the movie Beauty and the Beast. Our favourites towns were Eguisheim and Riquewihr.

Base yourself in the beautiful Little Venice area of Colmar which is the perfect location to explore the region from. If you’re visiting Colmar at Christmas, be sure to check out one of the best Christmas markets in Europe!

As for the food, expect predominantly German with some French flair. Wash it down with some award-winning wines of the region, most notably Riesling and brush up on your French as it’s the main language, although for a long time it was Alsatian, a German dialect.

With all this on offer, Alsace should truly be on your France bucket list and you’ll feel like you’re getting a great deal because you’re getting to see two countries in one visit!

Contributed by Jac from Flashpacking Family

Megeve

Since I was a small child, the places that get usually covered with snow in winter have fascinated me for as long as I remember. Megeve is one of them.

This quiet French town during the summer months, which still retains livestock as in the past, becomes in winter a hotbed of ski and snowboard fans who climb its slopes and enjoy winter sports. And I can see why. After visiting more than a dozen ski resorts in this beautiful mountain range, believe me if I tell you that Megeve is one of a kind.

More affordable than it seems in the beginning – although definitely in another league compared to most resorts in the French Alps – and with a few hundred km of ski runs, it also offers other interesting options to the visitor besides skiing. Haute cuisine, flying in a plane over the Mont Blanc and Mar de Glace, and simply chilling while watching the sunset from an outdoor spa are among my favorites.

Are you curious about this destination? Then check out my post about my recent Megeve ski resort adventures. 

See you in the Alps!

Contributed by Inmar from A World To Travel

Arles

For my money, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Arles is one of the most charming cities in Provence.

History geeks will love Arles. Once the capital of Gaul, its historic heritage is betrayed by the city’s enormous, well-preserved Roman amphitheatre. Now the home for cultural events – try to catch one if you can – over 2,000 years ago it hosted audiences of 20,000 to marvel at gladiator contests and chariot races.

Arles is also perfect for art enthusiasts. Vincent Van Gogh famously chopped off an ear whilst living in the city in the late 19th Century. A free self-guided walking tour will take you around sites associated with the artist. 

But whatever your interests, you will not fail to be charmed by the beauty of Arles. Its sun-kissed stone, pastel-hewn houses and cobblestone streets, set alongside the east bank of the Rhone river, will win you over.

Arrive on a Saturday for the traditional weekly market. Better still, time your visit on 1st May to coincide with the Festival of the Herdsman, one of Arles’ traditional celebrations. It’s quite the spectacle!

Contributed by Bridget from The Flashpacker

 

Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is one of France‘s most impressive buildings with a wealth of history as well as absolutely stunning interiors and grounds. Because of its primary residence, King Louis XIV, one expects the Palace of Versailles to be exquisite and it does not disappoint! The UNESCO World Heritage site features breathtakingly beautiful rooms like the Hall of Mirrors and the King’s Bedroom, two of more than 700 rooms within the palace building.

Not only are the interiors impressive but the garden and grounds are exceptional too. With fountains, lawns, topiary and flower displays, there is plenty to keep even the most budding botanist busy.

Given that the Palace of Versailles lies just an hour away from central Paris, visiting is a no brainer and as it is great for all the family there really is no reason not to go. Visitors can easily take a train from Paris to Versailles-Chantiers, or drive directly to the village where this spectacular building is located.

Contributed by Chrysoula from Historic European Castles

Reims

One of the towns that should not be missing on anyones France bucket list is Reims. The town in the east of Paris has a beautiful cathedral that is known to be the traditional coronation location of the French Kinds and great for a day trip from Paris. You can also admire some roman ruins, the Mars Gate for example.

However, despite its historical importance, Reims is mainly famous for being the capital of Champagne. Even if many sparkling wines are commonly called Champagne, only the ones made of grapes from and produced in the Champagne region can legally be called Champagne! Hence, the most exclusive Champagne houses have their headquarter in Reims: Pommery, G.H. Mumm, Ruinart.. you name it!

It goes without saying that touring the wine cellars and participating to a champagne tasting are the most popular activities for visitors, and the reason why many visit the city in the first place. And if Reims is not enough for your bubbly loving heart, just take take a trip to the neighbour town: Éparnay – the 2nd most important champagne city! Along the way you’ll pass through the beautiful and iconic countryside – and through endless vineyards! 

Contributed by Lena from Salut from Paris

Cherbourg

Cherbourg is a lovely town on the shore of the English Channel, with a harbour in which the ferries from England and Ireland arrive daily.

Cherbourg is one of the ports in which the Titanic stopped on its doomed voyage towards America, and the city has a permanent exhibition about it in the Cite de la Mer. Here, you can hop on board a real sized submarine, the largest in the world open to the public.

The harbour area is very pretty as well, with plenty of sailing boats going in an out at any time of the day. Cherbourg has a lovely beach where you can sunbathe in summer. For a rural atmosphere I recommend visiting the nearby village of Barfleur.

The old town of Cherbourg is full of character, with stone houses and narrow alleys. There are plenty of restaurants in Cherbourg at which you can enjoy specific Normand dishes such as galettes and drink locally made apple cider.

If you are into cheese and wine, Cherbourg is a perfect stop on your way back to the UK to stock up with bottles of Cote du Rhone or French Malbec, but also boxes of Roquefort, Camembert or Brie, for a much cheaper price. 

Contributed by Joanna from The World In My Pocket

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Caen

At the mention of the word “Europe,” many people automatically think about Paris, Amsterdam, and even Brussels. But tucked away in northern France is the often overlooked port city of Caen (not to be confused with Cannes).

Aside from its lush vineyards and major Chateau de Caen attraction, the Garden of Birds Park (Parc de la Colline aux Oiseaux) embodies the values of this region in an intricate blend of modernism, beauty, nature, and a desire to preserve its heritage.

There’s so much to see in this beautiful park that you might run out of time attempting to visit the rose garden, the Normandy farm, the labyrinth, the garden of May, and the Positive House. You’ll get lost in your thoughts as you stop to smell the roses in awe of nature’s magnificence. 

It’s no wonder that more than 380,000 visitors make the Garden of Birds a priority each year. Parc de la Colline aux Oiseaux is a quiet getaway and one of Caen’s best-kept secrets!

Contributed by Louisa from La Passion Voutee

Giverny

Giverny is home to one of France‘s many underrated tourist attractions: Monet’s Gardens.  This small village is only a 45-minute train ride from Paris, which makes it the perfect day trip from Paris

For just €8 you wander through the gardens that inspired some of Claude Monet’s greatest paintings as well as tour his home.  There is one garden directly outside of Monet’s house as well as a larger garden nestled further back that has a man-made lake in the middle.  The second garden is the more beautiful of the two.

After you’re done exploring the gardens, be sure to wander through the village and have lunch at one of the local restaurants.  The food is outstanding, and the atmosphere is idyllic. 

Giverny is the perfect choice for anybody looking to get out of Paris for a day and enjoy some time in nature away from the city.  Strolling through Monet’s gardens and the surrounding village makes for a relaxing yet beautiful day.  The gardens are open from mid-March to November, so you’ll be able to experience their beauty nearly all year around. 

Contributed by Erica from Travels with Erica

Mont-Saint-Michel

The Norman Benedictine Abbey of St Michel is spectacularly located at the top of a small rocky island just off the coast of Normandy. A medieval town grew up around the abbey, taking up the rest of the limited space on the island. The site as a whole is usually referred to as Mont St Michel and has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.

In medieval times, the route leading to the Abbey was one of the most important pilgrimage routes in all of Europe, second only to the Camino de Santiago in Spain. The Abbey serves as both a place of worship and a fortress. During the Hundred Years’ War, English forces attempted multiple times to conquer this impenetrable fortress, but they never succeeded.

In more recent years, the waters surrounding Mont St Michel had begun silting up, due in part to the causeway built for tourists to access the site.  Major steps are being taken now to ensure that Mont St Michel remains an island, as this is a huge part of what makes it such an unforgettable sight.

Contributed by Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan

Montmartre

I think one of the best places to visit in France is Montmartre in Paris!

Situated on a large hill in the 18e Arrondissement, Montmartre is the original historic district of Paris that was famous during what became known as the Belle Epoque.  Artists, writers and artistic types of all sorts flocked to Montmartre to live and work, giving rise to the reputation is still carries today as a welcoming place for artists of all kinds.

We visited Montmartre on our first visit to Paris and it satisfied all of my dreams and preconceptions of what visiting Paris would be like.  We sat at a beautiful sidewalk café on a windy street on a beautiful warm morning and drank coffee and watched the passersby stroll by with their baguettes and croissant. 

Montmartre is home to the gorgeous white-domed Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur, at the very top of the district.  Visible from miles around, this beautiful church is the jewel on the crown of Montmartre.  It’s the second most visited monument in Paris and is the highest point in the city.  I was surprised to learn that it is a relatively new church by Parisian standards, having been finished in 1914.

Contributed by Lesley from Freedom 56 Travel

Lyon

There are many reasons a traveler would want to stop in Lyon. It’s the third-largest city in France. Lyon is home to many wonderful cultural attractions like the Musee des Beaux Arts de Lyon. You can spend a charming afternoon in the city wandering around the Old Town’s courtyard and secret alleyways, known as traboules.

There are river cruises that will take you down both the Rhone and the Saone on the same ride. You can even go on day trips outside of the city to visit the wine country of Beaujolais and the Rhône Valley.

But the number one reason to visit Lyon is the food. Many French people say that Lyon has the best food in the entire country. And being the best foodie city in France is nothing to sneeze at. Lyon has both gourmet fine dining and cheap eats.

Travelers on a budget can feast on three course meals for around 20 Euros at the local bistros, aka bouchons. If you’re more into Michelin-starred restaurants, try Le Gourmet de Seze or Au 14 Février. Neither is cheap, but both are much less expensive than comparable restaurants in Paris.

That’s the magic of Lyon!

Contributed by Stella from Around The World in 24 Hours

Chamonix

If you’re into winter sports, I’m sure Chamonix is already on you bucket list. This alpine city became a world class destination when it hosted the Winter Olympics back in 1924. Since then, it attracts skiers and snowboarders looking for snow, and climbers in summertime. But even if these sports are not your thing, Chamonix should still make it to your list.

You’ll have the opportunity to see the stunning Mont Blanc from “the top of Europe” –a viewpoint up in Aiguille du Midi. A cable car gets you to 3842 meters, where you’ll have a 360° view of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. You can ‘step into the void’, a glass cage over a 1000 m precipice. And you have the option to ride on a gondola lift over the Glacier du Géant to the Pointe Helbronner in Italy, for views on a different perspective of Monte Bianco.

The northern slopes of the Mont Blanc massif are reachable via the Montenvers train, which will get you to the beginning of the trail down to Mer de Glace, France’s largest glacier.

Chamonix also offers fine dinning and shopping, so there’s something for everyone –whether you are outdoorsy or prefer a fancier trip.

Contributed by Coni from Experiencing the Globe

Chantilly

Chantilly is a commune in the French region of Hauts de France, located at only 40 minutes by train from Paris. Chantilly is famous for its horse-racing site – hosting every year important flat horse races like the Prix de Diane – and the Grandes Écuries (Great Stables) which contain the Living Museum of the Horse.

The Great Stables were built in the 18th century by the 7th Prince de Condé, Louis de Bourbon, and they could accommodate 240 horses and 500 dogs for the rides to hunt. Today the Grandes Écuries is an important dressage center for the most expensive horses in the world.

Most of all, Chantilly is known for its picturesque château and gardens. Château de Chantilly is one of the best castles near Paris and a great alternative to Versailles Palace, especially if you want to avoid the crowds. The château has a beautiful setting, located at the center of a small pond and surrounded by beautiful gardens.

The gardens were originally designed by André Le Notre, the same man who later designed the Versailles Gardens for King Louis XIV. Take your time to wander around the gardens, perhaps with a short break for a coffee or a cup of chocolate topped with the famous Chantilly crème, invented by the château’s cooks!

Contributed by Elisa from World in Paris

Gordes

Perched on a hilltop surrounded by the stunning landscapes of the Luberon Valley, the charming village of Gordes is truly a spectacular sight. Gordes makes a great day tripping option from Aix-en-Provence but an even better idea would be to spend a night or two to truly experience this magic of this town.

Picturesque houses and cute cafés line the narrow alleys and breathtaking views of the valley below can be seen from a number of viewpoints around the town. Don’t be afraid to get lost as you explore the steep cobbled streets, this often leads you to the best viewpoints and the prettiest corners of the village.

Colourful market stalls brighten up the beige streets every Tuesday morning for the Gordes weekly market. You can expect to find fresh produce, soaps, lavender, clothing, jewellery, delicious cheeses, wines and much more! Another highlight of visiting Gordes is the 11th century castle located in the town centre at the highest point of the town. Inside, you can learn about the history of Gordes as well as admire the beautiful exhibitions of artwork by local artists that are displayed throughout the castle.

Contributed by Ann from The Road Is Life

Avignon

Known as the cultural heart of Provence, Avignon is unsurprisingly brimming with beautiful sights and impressive historical attractions to explore. The Palais des Papes dominates the skyline and serves as a reminder of the city’s regal past. These days, its open to the public and touring its grand halls is one of the best things to do in Avignon. Predating the palace, but no less famous is the Pont d’Avignon.

Partially spanning the Rhône River, it once paved the way from the former Papal state, across island of Barthelasse, to the Kingdom of France. It’s commonly known more for the iconic children’s song “sur le Pont d’Avignon”, and taking a stroll along the remaining four arches is a fantastic way to get another perspective of the medieval town.

Speaking of perspectives, climbing up to the Rocher des Doms gardens shouldn’t be missed, and you can reward your efforts by enjoying a glass of wine in the stunning surroundings after taking in the views. 

Staying in central Avignon will allow you to sample the best the city has to offer – from the famed Les Halles indoor markets, to the art galleries and quirky boutiques. There’s something in this Provençal city for everyone. Not to mention it’s a fantastic base for exploring the wider region!

Contributed by Nadine from Le Long Weekend

Toulouse

Lying by the river of Garonne, Toulouse is one of the most charming destinations in Southern France. It is defined as The Pink City thanks to its remarkable architecture which boasts the brick colors in most of the buildings. 

Many people flocks into Toulouse, especially family vacationers to explore its famous Aerospace museum or Manatour – Let`s visit Air Bus. However, Toulouse has more than that to offer.

 
During the day time, you can soak up the enchanting city centre which has abundance of museums, pleasant squares, faded cathedrals. There is also a possible to soak up the Unesco heritage of Canal Du Midi by taking a boat trip to navigate through its waters. 

When the night falls, the city becomes busy with chic Salon du the, busy foodie corners and bars. Do not miss the chance to enjoy the free illimination show at Capitol Palace .

Tan Bang from Travel to Work

Nice

Nice is the best of both a city break and a beach holiday.  With an old town area very reminiscent of Paris, you get the charm and je ne c’est quoi that France is known for.  

Restaurants and bars with outdoor seating, markets, and squares buzzing with diners, make Nice’s old town a great base for your time there.  Just blocks away, you will find the sweeping curve of the Promenade des Anglais.  This 7km long walkway gives you access to Nice’s pebble beaches and the many paid beach clubs, so you can enjoy a day at the Mediterranean seaside.  

Don’t miss a visit up to Castle Hill, to see the archaeological remains and to enjoy the breathtaking views.  You can get the tourist train from the Promenade des Anglais or take the elevator up the hill.  Castle Hill affords views both out over the beach and the old port, which is also worth a visit.  Nice is the perfect size for a weekend getaway

Contributed by Hannah from Hannah Henderson Travels

Charante Maritime

Charante Maritime is an undiscovered French pearl nestled deep into the wine fields of the Cognac region. With its rolling hills, endless sunflower fields and sleepy little ports and villages, Charante Maritime is the perfect holiday destination when you wan to experience French hospitality and food but without the masses of tourists and the peak-summer prices.

In the Charante you are never too far from a big city. Whether you want to spend a day shopping in Bordeaux or tasting Cognac in Cognac, the greater region offers something for everyone.

One of my favourite pastimes in Charante Maritime is to visit the little grape farmers who sell their fruits to the Cognac distilleries. They keep a small percentage of their grapes for their own production with which they make Cognac and Pineau de Charantes. Pineau de Charantes is a French Aperitif I can only describe as being a French port. The farmers are happy to let you taste their Pineau and Cognac and won’t hesitate to show you how they produce their alcohol.

When you are looking to wind down you can head to Talmont Sur Gironde. Every Tuesday evening the complete village is lit up with hundreds of candles, there is live music and shops open up until late. As the restaurant and bars in the village maintain very reasonable prices this is a great place for a bite to eat!

Wine lovers are also very welcome in the region: In summers a ferry can bring you and your car to the Haute Medoc where you can go around tasting ridiculously expensive wines – or, when you are on a budget, you can drive down to the Bordeaux and try their beautiful reds. 

Contributed by Lieze from Glitter Rebel

Dune du Pilat

The stunning Dune du Pilat is located just over an hour southwest of Bordeaux, and 20 minutes south of the lovely seaside town of Arcachon. 

Famous for being the largest sand dune in Europe, the Dune du Pilat offers spectacular views out over the Bay of Biscay, taking in the Banc d’Arguin and Cap Ferret (well worth exploring another day!).

Expect to see a lot of people if you visit in summer, so make sure you plan to be there as early as possible so your walk from the car doesn’t tire you out before you even arrive.

But don’t worry: once you make it to the dune, it’s so huge that you’ll easily be able to find a spot to sit and take in the incredible vista. 

What you do from that point is up to you – sit and enjoy with a picnic or run/jump as fast as you can down to the water. Just remember, getting back up is harder than going down!

Contributed by Kylie from Visiting Dordogne

The Somme

The Somme is a region in the Hauts de France in the north of the Country. The major twons in the region are Amiens, Albert, Peronne and many smaller villages. The area is great to just get in your car and explore stop at small cafes for a coffee and food

What draws most poeple to the area of rolling fields and farm lands is its history. The Somme is where the front line of the allied forces was during World War 1. It was at this point that soldiers from Australia, England, New Zealand , Canada and more kept the German army at bay.

The battle of the Somme changed the balance of the first world war in favour of the allies but it came at a high cost. The battle is best remembered for its first day, 1 July 1916, on which the British suffered 57,420 casualties, including 19,240 dead. While near by the Australian army suffered 23,000 casulaties in an 8 week period.

Small towns such as Pozieres, Villers Brentenaux saw the brunt of the war, which changed there lives for ever. Today there is a well known Rememberance Trail showing all the sights from the Commonwealth Memorial at Thipval to the windmill site at Poziers.

A visit to the Somme is all about paying your respects to those that paid the ultimate price for our Freedom.

Contributed by Mark from Wyld Family Travel

Saint Paul De Vence

It’s no secret that I am a massive lover of the south of France and truly believe that a trip to the French Riviera should be on every traveller’s France bucket list. Having spent quite a bit of time exploring the towns of the Riviera, I can definitely recommend a visit ideally in a shoulder season to avoid some of the summer crowding. But the seaside isn’t the only thing the Riviera has going for it. 

Just inland from the Cote d’Azur is the gorgeous walled village of Saint Paul De Vence, an artist’s haven with a fairytale-like feel. This medieval village is full of narrow laneways, cobbled streets and quaint artisan shops to spend the day strolling amongst. 

Famous Riviera painter, Marc Chagall, is married in the small cemetery here and fellow artist Henri Matisse also frequented the village. The ramparts still shroud the village and visitors can take in the panorama by walking atop the walls to see the views from all sides, looking down over the olive trees and vineyards below. 

Contributed by Emma from Emma Jane Explores

Paris

Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world and it’s easy to see why. Beautiful architecture, romantic bridges, good food and great wine. It’s a city that is doable as a quick weekend break or a week-long excursion, but the capital of France is a must-visit.

There are iconic postcard-scenes you have to visit such as the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. But beyond these, there are also tonnes of museums, beautiful bookshops and lots of open spaces.

The best museums in Paris include the Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, the Grand Palais and more. You could lose yourself in the Louvre for four days straight and still not see everything its got to offer! 

The funny thing is, the best thing about Paris is just being there and walking about. You’ll have to experience it to know what I mean. A long walk along the banks of the Seine is enough to make anyone fall in love with this city!

Whether you want a jam-packed culture trip, a gastronomical tour or a relaxed wander, Paris will have something for every traveller.  

Contributed by Laura from What’s Hot?

Dordogne

If you would like to experience a slice of “typical” French rural life, then visiting the Dordogne in South West France should be at the top of your list. So why visit? Well, this stunning inland part of France has everything – beautiful countryside, picturesque villages, fairy tale castles, amazing food and of course the ever-present picture-perfect river.

In the hot dry summer, life is focused around the two main rivers, the Dordogne and the Vézère, along with their corresponding valleys. It’s a fantastic place to canoe, paddle board, picnic or even swim, especially from one of many beaches such as the Plage de Caudon or Limeuil.

When it comes to history, the Dordogne is exceptionally spoilt. It’s known as the land of 1001 chateaux and there is a castle for every occasion. From the fairy-tale Chateau des Milandes (once owned by Josephine Baker) to the imposing fortress of Chateau de Beynac, a stronghold of Richard the Lion Heart. Although, this is modern history compared to the 17,000-year-old cave art of the world famous Grotte de Lascaux and Font de Gaume.

How about indulging in this area’s favourite pastime, eating and drinking! The cuisine here is one of the finest in France, using regional specialties such as duck, walnuts, foie gras, strawberries and black truffles. Oh, and don’t forget to try the wine – better still, visit one of the many vineyards near Bergerac!  

Contributed by Gillian from Bucket List France

Carcassonne

If you’re interested in castles, medieval cities, and a rich history of siege warfare, it doesn’t get much better than Carcassonne. This fortified city is ringed by two incredibly impressive walls totalling 3km long, 53 towers, and it boasts a castle with a drawbridge and a stunning basilica.

Made a UNESCO heritage site in 1997, Carcassonne is one of the most-visited monuments in all of France.

Walking around in the city feels like you’ve stepped back in time to the 12th century – although the line-up of musicians that play in the amphitheatre below the cathedral (which was once the cloister) are decidedly modern. It is an amazing place to take in a concert!

Tourism is the reigning industry of Carcassonne, and you’ll find no shortage of fun activities, historical monuments, and amazing viewpoints. But just lounging back to have a drink, deep within the fortifications of the citadel, is a surreal experience.

Contributed by Dani from Diapers in Paradise

Obernai

One of the best places to visit in France would be Obernai. From hundreds of cities and villages in France, Obernai is one of my favorites. Obernai is situated in the region of Alsace, just 20 minutes from Strasbourg. Known for its wine and beer production, as well as a touristic destination.

This city is known for its beautiful architectural heritage display, elegant and colorful half-timbered houses, and its picturesque streets covered with ramparts. Obernai was the property of the dukes of Alsace in the 7th century. It is the birthplace of St. Odile, daughter of the Duke, who would become the Patron Saint of Alsace. It is now considered as the Free Imperial City of the Holy Roman Empire.

For the first time I went here, it was at the beginning of summer. I went there with my family, and we had a great time wandering in this unique city. We visited a bunch of tourist spot places and as well as non-tourist ones. The first place that we went to, was the center square where you can see the Belfry, an emblematic monument of the city rises to 59.60 meters to the top of its spire.

I would definitely recommend you to visit the Place du Marché or the center square where the Town Hall, Corn Exchange Hall, and the Belfry are located. You can also visit the Six Bucket Well and get a cup of ice cream at the store in front of it (it was really delicious!)

Next on my list is St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church, and finally, the Etoile Square (Star House). It’s one of the houses that stands out in Obernai because of its elegant glazed tiles that symbolize Alsace. And for the rest, you can visit the Domaine de la Léonardsau, Romanesque house in the Rue des Pélerins, Old Synagogue, and El Biar Castle. 

Contributed by Alexine from LexieAnime Travel

Marseille

Marseille should be definitely on your list of the best cities to visit in France. We visited Marseille in January after finding ridiculously cheap £10 return tickets from London and loved every moment of the trip.

Marseille is a beautiful city with amazing seafood, beautiful cathedrals and stunning calanques just a short drive (or bus ride away). If you’re visiting Marseille just for a day or a weekend, I recommend visiting the Old Port of Marseille early in the morning to see the fish market and then going to try fresh seafood at Toinou Les Fruits de Mer.

Afterwards, you can head to the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde to see the best panorama of the city and of course, don’t forget to visit the Cathedrale La Major and Fort Saint-Jean. We also got a ride on a Ferris wheel next to the Cathedrale La Major and saw the city centre from above.

If you have a bit more time in Marseille, head to the Parc national de Calanques – a stunning national park, where you can go on a hike and find the most beautiful calanques.

Contributed by Liza from Trips Get Travel Blog

 

Annecy

Annecy is one of the most beautiful destinations of the French region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, in eastern France.

This city located on the shores of Annecy Lake (also known as Geneva Lake) and surrounded by the snow-capped French Alps has a picturesque old town of colorful houses and canals. This is the reason why Annecy is nicknamed the Venice of the Alps.

What to see in Annecy? The city’s medieval pedestrian area is home to landmarks such as St. Peter’s Cathedral, museums, and lively markets.

Le Palais de l’Île is another of Annecy’s main sights. This old fortified house of the 12th century, which also served as a prison, is now converted into a museum.

Le Château d’Annency (12th – 14th centuries), located in the south of the city, is classed as a historical monument and hosts the Museum of Alpine Popular Art. Don’t miss the château’s terrace from where you can admire a fabulous view of the lake and the city.

If you have an extra day or two, there are many interesting day trips from Annecy. Hike the beautiful mountains surrounding the lake or visit the fabulous Gorges du Fier – a canyon dug in the rock and crossed by the River Fier.

Contributed by Norbert from France Bucket List 

Loire Valley

The Loire Valley region has a lot to offer. Located only 200km south of Paris, it’s a perfect destination for a day trip or short getaway. With historic castles, stunning towns and villages, and reputed wineries, the Loire Valley is on the UNESCO list and attracts many visitors. 

There are hundreds of castles in the Loire Valley. The most famous Loire Valley castles are Chenonceau and Chambord, but there are hundreds of others you can pick on the list. Some will make you relive the French court stories, while others are more focused on arts, gardens or even fairy tales. 

The most famous wines are Muscadet and Sancerre, but you may have also heard of Pouilly Fumé, Vouvraix or Chinon. 

There are a few historical towns that are worth stopping at, such as Amboise, Chinon and Tours, just to name a few. When you walk in their town centres, it feels like you stepped back in time. The Loire Valley also offers remarkable accommodations as you may choose to stay in a troglodyte hotel or in an old castle.

Whether you have one day or one week, you’ll love the Loire Valley region!

Contributed by Eloise from My Favourite Escapes

Chambery

Chambery is one of the prettiest and most charming cities in France, yet also one of its many hidden gems. With an almost 360-degree view of the Alps, Chambery is a dream to hang out in. The city has a rich history, having belonged to both Italy and France, and was a very significant place between the 1300s and the 1500s as the capital of Savoy.

Start at the most famous landmark in Chambery, the Elephant Fountain (Fontaine des Elephants). The 17-meter high fountain was built in the 1800s and is made up of four elephant heads standing back-to-back. It’s affectionately nicknamed “Quatre sans-cul” (“the four ass-less”) and stands proudly in the heart of the city.

Take the main road from the fountain and make your way towards the pedestrian-only medieval old town. The old town square, Place St. Leger, is beautiful, colourful, and full of life. Explore the hidden alleys and the cobblestone streets that are well-preserved, you’ll feel like you’re walking around in the 1400s. The streets are lined with historic town houses that date back to the same period, and lead to a variety of local shops, bars, restaurants and all sorts of hidden jewels.

Behind the old town you’ll find the Chateau des Ducs de Savoie which was built in the 11th century. You can stroll the gardens and the courtyard for free, though you’re able to take a tour of the Ste. Chapelle and the Treasury Tower.

If you have some time, head to Le-Bourget-du-Lac, at the foot of the largest natural lake in France, Lac du Bourget. It’s a quick 15-minute ride on the local bus, which you can catch from the main bus station near the Elephant fountain.

Contributed by Ioana from The World Is My Playground

Well, there you have it. There are just so many places that need to be on your France Bucket List that I imagine you’ll need to visit and visit again in order to see them all.

Thanks to all the bloggers who took the time out to share their favourite French destinations. I can’t wait to add a few of these to my next visit to France!

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The Ultimate France Bucket List - Emma Jane Explores
The Ultimate France Bucket List - Emma Jane Explores

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2 Comments

  1. Rachel day

    Hi

    I notice you don’t have anything on the Languedoc region. There are some great places. Including caves over 10000 years old, collure, UNESCO forts and many many beautiful villages. While I appreciate your not doing a comprehensive list. I’d love to do a piece on this area for the list. I’ve not started my blog yet but I hope to before Christmas. I’m currently full time travelling so finding the time is hard!! I have an insta (obviously) @childrenofwanderlust take a look 🙂

    Reply
    • Emma Jane Explores

      Hey Rachel,
      Would definitely love to have you add a contribution on the Languedoc Region!
      Please get in touch over email at [email protected] and lets talk further 🙂
      Cheers
      Emma

      Reply

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