It may be not possible to write about France without Paris because France is famous around the world From the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Musee d’Orsay to Notre Dame Cathedral, Ile de la Cité, and Moulin Rouge, all of these are situated in Paris, the French capital houses some of the most visited tourist attractions in Europe. Originally a tiny island on the Seine River, today Paris has evolved into a traveler’s delight. While it’s a good idea to opt for a Paris tour package that covers all the highlights of Paris tourism,
2. Pont du Gard
The Pont du Gard, South of France, is probably one of the most famous Roman monuments outside of Rome. This extraordinary Roman aqueduct is located just north of Nimes. The Pont du Gard is one of 4 UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the South of France. Complete with an excellent visitors center and Mediterranean garden, the Pont du Gard, is a special place to visit in France. One of my favorite days out with the kids is head off to the beautiful town of Uzes, 15kms to the west of the Pont du Gard. We like to potter around in the town and grab some lunch in one of the pavement restaurants in the main square.
3. The Gorges du Verdon
Europe’s answer to the grand canyon, this deep cliff gorge located in the Provence region is a visitor hot spot. Here you’ll find bright turquoise green waters, outstanding scenery and an abundance of wildlife – it’s not difficult to see why this gorge is so popular. Easily accessible from the French Riviera, the national park is a great spot to climb, hike, kayak or just go for a scenic drive.
To witness gorgeous stretches of lavender flowers and lush olive groves, head to Provence, one of the most famous regions in France. If time is not a constraint, it’s recommended that you spend a couple of serene hours at the Sénanque Abbey, a 12th-century church near Gordes. And then, there are tourist trips to picturesque villages of Baux-de-Provence, St. Rémy, and Avignon. You’ll see imposing mountains, magnificent ancient architecture, and, yes, many, many vineyards!
5. Monte Carlo
I know it is not strictly French, but you have to include Monte Carlo, Monaco in any list of places to visit in France. This tiny but wealthy Principality, covering just one square mile, is the World’s smallest Sovereign state after the Vatican. When the state was faced with bankruptcy in 1848, the then Prince of Monaco (Charles III), decided to open a casino. The profits of the famous casino soon proved to be so large that all taxes were abolished and the grateful citizens renamed the hill by the casino ‘Monte Carlo’ (Mount Charles). Today it is a glitzy place, home of not just the rich and famous but also a legendary Grand Prix. If you get beyond all the enormous yachts and showy jewelers shops, I have always found Monte Carlo quite pleasant to walk around and not too expensive. The view from the top of the Monte Carlo hill up near the castle is absolutely amazing.
Giverny is a riverside rural idyll located on the borders of Normandy which is most famous for being the birthplace of impressionism. The small village was once Claude Monet’s cherished country retreat and now both his pink shutter board house and highly photogenic country gardens are open to the public. Planted by Monet himself, the walled water garden (which inspired so many of his famous paintings) features white and purple wisterias, water lilies, weeping willows, bamboo and the iconic green Japanese bridge.
Which is the most photogenic place in France? It’s a tough call, but many would vouch for Annecy, popularly known as the ‘Venice of Savoie’. Peppered with small canals and a 14th-century Chateau (Palais de l’Isle) right at the center, Annecy is the kind of place that has managed to stay untouched by time. As you walk down the narrow cobbled streets in the old town, surrounded by a huge lake and snowy mountains, you’ll understand why Annecy is so special.
Located right on the border of Germany and France this heritage city has distinct characteristics of both countries. It’s a picturesque, almost twee town radiating an old world charm which really draws the visitors. Famous for its riverfront half-timbered houses, beautiful gothic cathedral and fondness for flowers, it also makes a great base for those wishing to visit the nearby Black Forest or the River Rhine.
9. Nice Cannes
If you think of the South of France, then Nice and Cannes spring automatically to mind. Along the 120km coast of the Cote d’Azur, there are many places to stop off and enjoy, such as St Tropez (see below), Frejus, Sainte-Maxime, Cap Ferrat and Cassis; but Cannes with its international film festival and Nice with its exotic buildings and promenade have the wow factor. With its broad avenues, wide sweeping bay and golden beach it is not difficult to see why some 3 million people flock to Nice every year. The long sweep of the Baie des Anges is a magnificent beach, bordered by the Promenade des Anglais – named after the first tourists who came here in the late 18th century and began to transform this once sleepy fishing port into the Mediterranean’s premier resort. Only Paris rivals it as a tourist attraction. Equally so, Cannes with its 3 local beaches, narrow streets and celebrity visitors is an excellent base for exploring the South of France.
10. Mont Saint-Michel
Second only to the Eiffel Tower as France’s best-loved landmark, Mont St-Michel is rocky, peaked island which is connected by a causeway to northwest France. An imposing sight sitting amid sandbanks and powerful tides, the heritage site is most celebrated for its Gothic-style Benedictine abbey. Directly below the grand monastery is a medieval village complete with winding streets, small houses and souvenir shops. The island is accessible at all times except when the tide is very high.