France is a country that receives the biggest number of tourists in Europe every year, whereas even Spain lags behind France. And that does not come as a surprise – France attracts thrill-seekers and alpinists, fanciers of sea, sun and beaches, history connoisseurs and visitors to popular places and attractions. All in all, going on a France travel is always a good idea, and this article will give you an insight about what regions and cities it would be good to visit, as well as what are the most popular tours in France cities.
Going on a France Travel: What French Regions to Consider Visiting
France is, indeed, quite a large country, which can boast beautiful, captivating cities with lots of historical sites and old monuments, museums and galleries, as well as regions with natural wonders like the mountains or oceans. If you are preparing to go on a France travel, it would be wiser to consider the regions you wish to visit in the first place. This section contains the regions in France one may wish to visit, and you will get to know about the French cities in more details below.
Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes. This region attracts visitors all year round, as it borders Switzerland and Italy and can boast eternally beautiful wild nature. In particular, this region is known thanks to the commune Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, or simply Chamonix. This region is a popular place for skiers, snowboarders, trekkers, yet, above all, for alpinists and mountaineers. Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Western Europe, is located exactly in this region, reaching 4,810 meters above the sea level. If you are a thrill-seeker and active sports is something you can’t live without, then going to this region on your France travel will be a wise choice. The Rhone Alpes region is perfect for many types of outdoor activities.
Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes is especially known thanks to Mont Blanc, the highest mountain of the Western Europe
Champagne-Ardenne. The name of this region suggests on its own why this region is famous far beyond France. Champagne province is usually credited as the place where the sparkling wine (of the same name) was produced first time. Yet, there are pretty more things to discover in this region than consuming the famous drink. The region is located on the French border with Belgium and includes a number of cities with fantastic travel opportunities. Marne commune, for example, is a must place to visit for champagne enthusiasts (especially such towns like Epernay and Chalons-en-Campagne). Other worthy towns to visit include Troyes, Chaumont, and Reims.
Ile-de-France. This region is the most populated one in France and includes the French capital. Paris is certainly a city that cannot be overlooked, and even the entire this article wouldn’t be enough to list what you must see during your Paris travel. Though, below (in the section of cities) you can have a look at the most popular and valuable sites in the French capital.
Provence. While being located in the country’s southeastern corner, this region has a lot to offer to the visitors. Then, it shouldn’t be surprising for you that this region is also most visited in this country. Provence is especially admired for its eternally long beaches, sharp mountains of the Alps, and wonderfully preserved medieval villages. And Provence is the region that has something for every type of traveler. If you prefer to enjoy the sea and beaches, then you should think about going to Cassis, Saint-Tropez, Sainte-Maxime, Saint-Raphael, Cannes, Theoule-sur-Mer, Antibes, and Nice. Traditional villages in the commune of Vaucluse are nestled between the gorgeous Alpine mountains, and those places are also highly recommended for a visit. Rocky mountains can be also found in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence commune, where it would be a good choice to visit Gorges du Verdon, Annot, Entrevaux, and Moustiers.
Alsace. Alsace is the eastern province of France on the border with Germany, which, along with Lorraine, has been a subject of conflicts between these two states. Alsace is the country’s smallest region, yet it attracts many tourists. Primarily, this region is known thanks to Strasbourg, the region’s capital, and the overall province’s climate is very favorable for grape growing. Apart from Strasbourg, you may also visit Colmar, Mulhouse, Hunspach, and Mittelbergheim during your France travel.
Lorraine. Lorraine is also not a very large region, yet it borders three countries: Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium. This caused this province to be the main route for hostile armies that wanted to invade France in the past. Nowadays, the region attracts many visitors thanks to the forested mountains, designed natural parks, historical sites, and gorgeous castles and cathedrals. Among the most recommended cities to visit in this province, there are Nancy, Chateau de Luneville, Verdun (a place of many bloody battles in the past), Bar-le-Duc, Bitche, and Rodemack (a fortified village). Naturalists who love to relish in the beautiful sceneries of nature and soothing atmosphere should definitely go to Vosges.
Normandy. Perhaps, this region is best known for the massive military operation in 1944 when the troops of the Allies landed there to fight back the Nazis. But apart from that, Normandy has also many resort-like beaches, some of which include the beaches at Trouville, Honfleur, and Deauville. Other popular touristic cities include Mont-Saint-Michel (the most popular touristic city in France save Paris), Granville, Mortagne-au-Perche, Argentan, Rouen, and La Bouille. Yet, the most visited part of Normandy is the Seine-Maritime department, where tourists get a chance to look at the waterfront with chalky rocks at Fécamp and Etretat.
Aquitaine. Aquitaine is the region that opens the doors from France to Spain, and it is a place where pilgrims from all over the Europe make their passage from one country to another. Aquitaine is quite an interesting place, where you can view and walk along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in the west or overcome rocky paths between the Pyrenees mountains in the region’s southern east. Actually, the region is really unique and impossible to explore fully not just during one travel, but within 5 or even 10 journeys. In regards to the popular touristic cities, they typically include Biscarrosse, Capbreton, Hossegor, Mimizan (all of these 4 are popular resorts with access to the ocean), Biarritz, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Villereal, and Monflanquin.
These are, indeed, not all regions of France, but we would highly recommend to you to pay your attention exactly to these ones in the first place (and don’t forget about Corsica, which is also the French territory).
Most Notable Cities for a Visit on a France Travel
When it comes to the touristic potential of French cities, it can be described just in one word: “immense.” As you could actually understand from the previous section, there are plenty of cities and towns in France that are attractive for tourists, drawing thousands and thousands of them. So, it’s natural that even this entire article wouldn’t be enough to describe all of them (there would be rather needed a separate website). Therefore, we describe here just most popular cities in this country for tourists.
Paris. The French capital is – and without any surprise – at the top of this list, as it is the most popular destination not only in France, but also in Europe! Among the things that any tourist must necessarily see on a France travel, there are the grand Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Pantheon and the Latin Quarter, the Islands of the Seine River, the graceful park of Jardin du Luxembourg, Les Catacombes, Basilique du Sacré-Coeur, the Eiffel Tower, Sainte Chapelle, and Place des Vosges. In regards to museums and galleries, Louvre beats all others. Yet, Musée d’Orsay, Musée Rodin, and Musée National du Moyen Age are definitely also worth your attention.
Marseille. Marseille is, perhaps, the oldest city in France, whereas it was founded around 600 B.C. by the Greek people, who named the colony as Massalia. The city had also been of a paramount importance for the French Republic as the main commercial port was located here, making Marseille to be the most important trading center for the country. When it comes to sightseeing, visitors must necessarily see/visit Le Panier, Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde, Vieux Port, La Cité Radieuse, and Cours Julien. Yet, this city located in the French Riviera can boast to be a home to a large number of museums, most prominent among which are Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditeranée, Villa Méditerranée, Centre de la Vieille Charité, and Musée Cantini.
Marseille appears to be one of the oldest French cities
Cannes. Another city of the French Riviera, though it is known worldwide thanks to the movie festival of the same name. But apart from sandy beaches and movie festivals, the city has a lot to offer to the tourists starving for emotions and impressions. Among the places to visit in Cannes on a France travel, there are La Croisette, Iles de Lérins (an island located 20 minutes away by boat), Palais des Festivals et des Congrés, Marché Forville, La Malmaison, Vieux Port, and Hotel de Ville. Don’t expect this city to offer many museums to you, yet you may also think about going to the Festival d’Art Pyrotechnique.
Lille. Lille is the city that often gets overlooked by travelers, as its more famous rivals (such as Paris or Marseille) draw more tourists to themselves. But this northern-French city, which is located right on the border with Belgium, is definitely worth your attention. First of all, you should try the French-style pastries in Meert or have a drink at L’Illustration Café. When it comes to sightseeing, you should visit Vieille Bourse, Wazemmes, Braderie de Lille, Marché de Wazemmes, Citadelle, and Marché Sébastopol (right, markets are popular here). Among museums worth a visit on a France travel, there are Maison Natale de Charles de Gaulle and Musée de l’Hospice Comtesse.
Strasbourg. This gorgeous city located almost on the border with Germany and appears to be a perfect destination for a France travel. During your journey, you should definitely visit such places like Cathédrale Notre-Dame, Palais Rohan, Grande Ile, Petite France, Grande Mosquée de Strasbourg, and Jardin des Deux Rives. Also, dedicate some time to visiting the following museums: Musée Historique, Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, and Musée de l’Oeuvre Notre-Dame. Don’t forget to listen to the live music in La Laiterie and have a look at the city from the Barrage Vauban viewing point.
Lyon. This city is known best for bouchons, special restaurants that can be found only in Lyon and that serve traditional Lyonnaise dishes. Among them, there are such restaurants: Le Musée, Le Poelon d’Or, Daniel et Denise, and Chez Paul. But you should also necessarily visit the places like Opéra de Lyon, Parc de la Tete d’Or, Les Puces du Canal, Place des Terreaux, Lyon Confluence, Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviére, and Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse. There are also outstanding museums you should definitely visit, such as Musée des Beaux-Arts, Musée des Confluences, Musées Gadagne, and Centre d’Histoire de la Résistance et de la Déportation.
Popular Tours in France
It shouldn’t be surprising that in a country like France, there are many tours on offer. Here, we show just a handful of the tours you may undertake for your France travel.
La Belle France is quite a popular cultural tour across France that covers 10 destinations, including Paris. During the tour, you will taste locally produced products, pay a visit to the historical village Mont St. Michele (located on the island), and listen to the stories of the D Day while sitting on those beaches.
A Week in Paris is a tour tailored especially for those who want to explore the essence of Paris
Grand Tour of France, on the contrary, covers 23 destinations within 14 days (which may be a somewhat tight schedule). The names of the following tours, however, are quite self-explanatory: Cote d’Azur Sailing Adventure (4 destinations and 8 days), Loire Royal Valley Cycling Tour (6 destinations and 6 days), and A Week in Paris.
These are, indeed, just the most popular tours, but there are hundreds and hundreds of tours you are available to choose from. As you can see, there is always a perfect tour matching exactly your needs for a France travel.