15 Must-See Attractions and Things To Do in France - 2023
France is a country that never fails to captivate travelers with its charming cities, picturesque countryside, rich history, and world-class cuisine. It's no wonder that France is one of the most visited countries in the world, attracting millions of tourists each year. From the romantic streets of Paris to the sun-kissed beaches of the French Riviera, France offers many experiences that cater to all interests.
In this comprehensive guide, we've curated the top 15 must-see attractions and activities for anyone visiting France in 2023. Whether you're interested in exploring the country's cultural heritage, indulging in its gastronomic delights, or simply basking in the beauty of its natural landscapes, we've got you covered. Our guide is designed to help you plan a memorable trip to France and make the most of your time here. So, pack your bags, grab your passport, and get ready to discover France's best!
Visit France's Famous Attractions
1. Eiffel Tower - Paris
No trip to France is complete without a visit to the iconic Eiffel Tower. This towering metal structure has become a symbol of Paris and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. Take a tour of the tower, climb to the top, and enjoy panoramic views of the city.
2. Louvre Museum - Paris
The Louvre Museum is a must-visit for art lovers. Home to over 35,000 artworks, including the world-famous Mona Lisa, the Louvre is one of the world's largest and most impressive museums. Spend a day exploring the galleries and admiring the masterpieces on display.
3. Palace of Versailles - Versailles
Located just outside Paris, the Palace of Versailles is a stunning example of French Baroque architecture and a famous tourist attraction in France. Once the residence of Louis XIV, this palace is now a museum and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the opulent rooms, the Hall of Mirrors, and the beautiful gardens.
4. Mont Saint-Michel - Normandy
Mont Saint-Michel is a unique and enchanting destination that should not be missed. This medieval fortress is built on a rocky island off the coast of Normandy and is only accessible by a causeway. Explore the winding streets and staircases of the village and climb to the top for stunning views.
5. Cte d'Azur - French Riviera
The French Riviera is a playground for the rich and famous, but it's also a beautiful destination for anyone seeking sun, sea, and sand. The Cte d'Azur is home to stunning beaches, glamorous resorts, and charming towns. Visit Nice, Cannes, and Saint-Tropez to taste the Riviera lifestyle.
6. Sainte-Chapelle - Paris
The Sainte-Chapelle is a hidden gem in the heart of Paris. This Gothic chapel is famous for its stunning stained-glass windows covering the entire upper level. Visit during the day to see the sunlight streaming through the colorful glass.
7. Chteau de Chambord - Loire Valley
The Loire Valley is famous for its beautiful chteaux, and the Chteau de Chambord is among the most impressive. This Renaissance castle was built for King Francis I and is a masterpiece of French architecture. Explore the grand rooms, the gardens, and the surrounding parkland.
8. Notre-Dame Cathedral - Paris
Although a fire severely damaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in 2019, it remains one of the most iconic landmarks in Paris. This Gothic masterpiece took over 200 years to build and is a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of medieval builders. Visit the cathedral to see the stunning rose windows and the beautiful interior.
9. Chteau de Chenonceau - Loire Valley
The Chteau de Chenonceau is another stunning example of Renaissance architecture in the Loire Valley. This castle spans the River Cher and is Gorges du Verdon - Provence.
10. The Gorges du Verdon
It is a natural wonder located in the Provence region of France. Known as the "Grand Canyon of Europe," this spectacular canyon offers stunning views, hiking trails, and water sports. Take a kayak or canoe down the Verdon River for a unique perspective.
11. Muse d'Orsay - Paris
The Muse d'Orsay is another must-visit museum in Paris. Housed in a former train station, this museum is home to an impressive Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art collection. See works by Monet, Van Gogh, and Renoir, among others.
12. Palace of the Popes - Avignon
The Palace of the Popes is a medieval fortress in the charming city of Avignon. Once the seat of the Catholic Church, this palace is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and a fascinating attraction. Explore the grand halls, the chapels, and the beautiful gardens.
13. Les Calanques - Marseille
Les Calanques is a series of rocky inlets and cliffs located along the Mediterranean coast near Marseille. This beautiful natural area offers hiking trails, rock climbing, and stunning sea views. Take a boat tour to see the inlets up close.
14. Dune du Pilat - Arcachon
The Dune du Pilat is the tallest dune in Europe and a popular attraction in the Arcachon Bay area. Climb to the top for panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding forest. This unique landscape is a must-visit for nature lovers.
15. Cathdrale Notre-Dame de Chartres - Chartres
The Cathdrale Notre-Dame de Chartres is a stunning example of Gothic architecture located in the city of Chartres. Known for its beautiful stained-glass windows and its impressive faade, this cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a popular pilgrimage destination.
10 Fun Things To Do In France 2023
1. Wine Tasting
France is known for its excellent wines; many vineyards and wineries offer tastings and tours. From the Champagne region in the north to the Bordeaux region in the south, there are countless options for wine enthusiasts to explore. Visitors can tour the vineyards, learn about wine-making, and sample various wines. Some famous vineyards and wineries include Chteau Margaux, Chteau Haut-Brion, and Mot & Chandon.
France has many scenic cycling routes, including the famous Tour de France route, which passes through the French Alps. The country is known for its beautiful countryside and diverse terrain, making it an ideal destination for cyclists of all levels. Some popular cycling routes include the Loire Valley, Provence, and the French Riviera. Many organized bike and motorcycle tours in France are available, providing everything from bike rentals to accommodations.
3. Food Tours
French cuisine is renowned worldwide, and many food tours and cooking classes are available to help you discover the country's culinary delights. From traditional French dishes like coq au vin and bouillabaisse to pastries like croissants and macarons, there is no shortage of delicious food. Visitors can take guided tours of local markets, visit artisanal cheese shops and bakeries, and even participate in cooking classes to learn how to make their own French dishes.
France is home to many high-end fashion brands and luxury boutiques, making it a great destination for shoppers. From the designer shops of Paris to the chic boutiques of Cannes, there are many options for those looking to indulge in some retail therapy. Visitors can also explore the many markets throughout the country, which offer a wide range of goods, from local cheeses and wines to handmade crafts and antiques. Some popular shopping destinations include the Galeries Lafayette and Le Bon March in Paris and the Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes.
5. Take a Seine River Cruise
A Seine River Cruise is one of the most popular things to do in Paris, as it offers a unique perspective of the city's famous landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Louvre Museum. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely ride on a bateau mouche, a glass-topped boat, while taking in the city's beauty from the river.
6. Stroll through the Charming Old Quarters of Paris
Paris is famous for its charming old neighborhoods, such as Le Marais, Saint-Germain-des-Prs, and Montmartre. Each of these neighborhoods has its own unique character, with winding cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and quaint cafes. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through these neighborhoods, stopping to admire the architecture, browse the shops, and enjoy a coffee or pastry.
7. Make a Pilgrimage to Mont Saint-Michel
Mont Saint-Michel is a stunning island commune located in Normandy, France. It is home to a medieval monastery and church, perched on top of a rocky island, surrounded by the sea. Visitors can take a guided tour of the abbey and explore the narrow streets of the town, which are lined with shops and restaurants.
8. Learn to Cook Classic French Cuisine in Burgundy
Burgundy is a region in eastern France known for its excellent food and wine. Visitors can take cooking classes and learn to prepare classic French dishes, such as coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon. The classes are taught by professional chefs and often take place in historic chateaus or traditional French homes.
9. Experience a Candlelit Evening at Chteau Vaux-le-Vicomte
Chteau Vaux-le-Vicomte is a stunning 17th-century castle in France's Seine-et-Marne region. Visitors can attend a candlelit evening at the castle, where thousands of candles illuminate the gardens and castle. The event includes live music, a fireworks show, and a guided tour of the castle.
10. Attend the Chartres Cathedral Organ Festival
The Chartres Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Chartres, France. The cathedral is famous for its stunning stained glass windows and its beautiful pipe organ. Every summer, the cathedral hosts an organ festival, which attracts musicians from all over the world. Visitors can attend concerts and recitals and enjoy the beautiful music in this stunning setting.
In conclusion, France is a country that truly has something to offer everyone. Whether you're a history buff, an art enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking to experience the French way of life, France has it all.
From the iconic Eiffel Tower to the charming villages of Provence, from the picturesque beaches of the French Riviera to the breathtaking landscapes of the French Alps, the country boasts a wealth of attractions, landmarks, and experiences that will leave you in awe. Our guide to the 15 famous attractions and best things to do in France in 2023 has provided you with a comprehensive list of the country's must-see destinations and experiences. We encourage you to plan your trip carefully and make the most of your visit to this beautiful country.
What is the best time of year to visit France?
The best time to visit France depends on your interests and priorities. The summer months (June to August) are the most popular for tourists due to the warm weather, but they can also be crowded and expensive. Spring (April to May) and fall (September to November) are less busy and offer milder weather, making them ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities.
How much time should I plan to spend in France?
The amount of time you should spend in France depends on what you want to see and do. Three to five days should be enough if you're visiting Paris and its main attractions. However, if you want to explore other parts of the country, such as the French Riviera or the Loire Valley, you should plan to spend at least a week or more.
Is it easy to get around France as a tourist?
Yes, France has a well-developed transportation system, including trains, buses, and flights, making it easy for tourists to get around. Renting a car and driving is also possible, but remember that some areas may have narrow or winding roads.
Do I need to speak French to visit France?
While it's helpful to know some French when visiting France, it's not necessary. Many people in tourist areas speak English, and signs and menus are often translated. However, learning basic French phrases can enhance your experience and help you interact with locals.
What are some lesser-known attractions in France?
While France has many well-known attractions, there are also many lesser-known gems to discover. Some examples include the village of Rocamadour, the Lascaux caves, the Pont du Gard aqueduct, and Annecy.
What are the fun things tourists do when visiting France?
Exploring the country's charming villages and towns, such as the medieval town of Carcassonne or the picturesque village of Eze.
Visiting historical landmarks and monuments like the Arc de Triomphe or the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Enjoying outdoor activities, such as hiking in the French Alps or kayaking in the Ardche Gorges.
Sampling the local cuisine, including classic French dishes such as croissants, escargot, and coq au vin.
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