Are you planning to visit France? Wondering what are the best places to visit in France? France is home to numerous places to see, and each region offers its own culture, architecture, history and food. What are the places to go in France? Here’s a list of the best cities to visit in France. Then I’ll share some France travel tips!
Places to visit in France
If you’re a wine lover, you have to go to Bordeaux. Located in southwest France, you’ll find there numerous cafés, restaurants, bars and boutiques. It’s a chic and elegant city. You’ll inevitably pass by the place des Quinconces, a famous square. You also have to see place de la Bourse, and visit la cité du vin, a high-tech wine museum. Don’t miss the Saint-André cathedral.
Very close to the cathedral, you’ll see the Pey Berland Bell tower. Get atop the tower to admire Bordeaux. You can also check out the Pierre bridge. Wanna go wine-tasting? Head to St. Emilion, Margaux, Medoc or St. Estephe. Here are the best things to do in Bordeaux. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Annecy is one of the most beautiful places in France. Located in the Alps, it’s sometimes called “the Venice of the Alps” thanks to its canals crisscrossing through the town. Annecy is a perfect destination for photography lovers, romantics, or foodies alike. Have a walk in the old town and admire the colorful houses and the cobblestone streets.
Marvel in front of the Lake Annecy and have a walk around the lake. You can picnic there or even rent a bike and roam around the area. Visit the château d’Annecy perched at the top of a hill. It’s a medieval castle dating back to the 14th century! You can also visit the Palais de l’ile, a museum in a prison dating back to the 12th century! Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
No need to introduce Paris, one of the most famous places in France. Every traveler spent at least one weekend in Paris in their lifetime. There are numerous top France tourist attractions in the capital: the Eiffel tower, Notre Dame de Paris, the Champs Elysees, Montmartre, the Luxembourg gardens, the Louvre museum, Trocadero, etc. I wrote a complete guide if you plan to visit Paris. Here’s where to stay in Paris. Click here to find the best activities.
Located between the Rhone and the Saone rivers, Lyon is often seen as the food capital of France. Indeed, there are many bouchons lyonnais, traditional Lyon restaurants. We can still feel the influence of the Roman empire, especially when watching the architecture.
Visit the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere, the Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste and have a walk in the old town. Visit the Musée des Beaux-Arts museum. Finally, don’t miss the place Bellecour and the parc de la tête d’Or. Wanna know more? Here are the best things to do in Lyon! Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Nice is located on the French Riviera and offers a mix of French and Italian culture. Many French head there to retire thanks to the climate and the beaches. Have a walk on the iconic Promenade des Anglais, head to the top of the colline du chateau for the view of the beach, and admire the St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral. Don’t forget to relax on the pebble beach. Here are the best things to do in Nice. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Toulouse, the pink city, is in Southwest France. Toulouse offers a mix of French, Spanish and Catalan culture. You can feel it when tasting the local good. Street signs are written in French and Occitan. Admire the Basilica of St. Sernin dating back to the 11th century. Have a walk at the place du Capitole. Admire the Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques for its architecture. Finally, have a walk along the canal du Midi. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Marseille is the second largest city of France. It’s one of the oldest European cities (2600-years-old) and its port is one of the busiest in Europe. Have a walk at the Old Port and have a drink there. Check out the Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde. Don’t miss the Musée d’Histoire de Marseille and the Mucem, a museum about the history of the region.
The National Park of the Calanques is not far if you like hiking, swimming or snorkeling. Here’s an amazing one day in Marseille itinerary. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Located in Alsace not far from the border with Germany, Strasbourg is the seat of the European Parliament. The local food is delicious, the architecture is medieval and you can admire beautiful houses. Strasbourg changed hands from France to Germany and back to France many times, so you can feel the influence of both countries. Regarding the art, architecture, culture and even the food.
Head to Notre-Dame de Strasbourg and get on the top. Visit the neighborhood of La Petite France and admire its cute half-timbered houses and canals. Check out the Maison Kammerzel. And don’t miss the Christmas markets at the end of the year, they’re the oldest in France. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Aix-en-Provence (often called Aix) is in the south of France. A charming town known for its art galleries where numerous students live. It’s the birthplace of painter Paul Cézanne. Stroll along Cours Mirabeau, a gorgeous tree-lined avenue famous for the terrace cafes.
Visit the musée Granet which has an extensive collection of Cezanne’s works. Or the Fondation Vasarely, dedicated to artist Victor Vasarely. Take some time to admire the popular Fontaine de la Rotonde. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Like Strasbourg, Colmar is located in Alsace. It’s one of the top France tourist places. Colmar inspired Belle’s village in Beauty and the Beast. You’ll find a mix of French and German influence with the colorful houses, wooden shutters and cobblestone streets. Check out St. Martin’s church and the Eglise des Dominicains. Enjoy a boat ride in “Petite Venice”, an area with stunning canals.
Visit the Toy Museum, the Bartholdi museum dedicated to the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty, or the Unterlinden museum to see medieval paintings. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Lille is located in the north of France and is not far from the border with Belgium. A city full of history and culture which offers great food. Many students live there. Visit the palais des beaux arts, the second largest art museum in France after the Louvre. Have a walk in the Vieux Lille. Check out the Vieille Bourse and relax at the parc de la Citadelle. I wrote a detailed article about my visit to Lille. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Dijon is located in Burgundy, and its known for its mustard. Dijon is one of the top France tourist spots, and is popular among foodies. The city center offers a mix of late medieval and renaissance architecture. Check out the Palace of the Dukes. Head atop the tour Philippe de Bon to admire the city. Visit the musée des Beaux-Arts. And go on a wine-tasting tour. FYI, Dijon is the birthplace of Gustave Eiffel and writer Voltaire. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
Montpellier, in the south of France, is known for its charming city center, its museums and universities. You’ll inevitably pass by the place de la Comédie, where you can indulge in some people-watching. Check out the Saint-Pierre cathedral dating back to the 13th century, and also the chateau de Flaugergues. Spend some time at the promenade du Peyrou. For those into art, visit the Fabre museum. Here are the best things do to in Montpellier. Click here to find your accommodation. Click here to find the best activities.
These were the most beautiful cities in France! You should also check out this guide listing what is France famous for. Here are some France travel tips now!
France travel budget
- Accommodation in France is as expensive as our Western standards. One night in a hostel dorm costs around 15-40 euros ($17-46). One night in a budget hotel costs around 60-100 euros ($68-115). One night in a mid-range hotel costs about 100-200 euros ($115-230). Finally, if you want to stay in a luxury hotel, prices start at 200 euros ($230) per night. Generally speaking, prices are higher in Paris, Bordeaux and the French Riviera. Click here to find your accommodation.
- Food is also as expensive as our Western standards. A meal in a mid-range restaurant costs between 20 and 40 euros ($23-46). A meal at a take-out place costs about 10-15 euros ($11.50-17). A fast food costs around 10 euros ($11.50). A beer costs 6-7 euros ($7-8). Prices start at 70 euros ($80) for a meal in a high-end restaurant.
- Regarding transportation, in cities public transportation costs about 1-3 euros ($1-3.50) for a one-way ticket. To get around in the country, a bus ride costs around 10-40 euros ($11.50-46). A train ride costs between 20 and 200 euros ($23-230) depending on the distance and when you book. A domestic flight costs between 15 and 100 euros ($17-115). You can also rent a car. Prices start at 30 euros ($34) per day.
- Regarding activities, most museum entrance fees cost between 10 and 20 euros ($11.50-23).
Basically, if you’re traveling on a budget, you can get by with $80 per day. Otherwise you’ll spend about $180+ per day.
How to get around in France
In cities there’s public transportation (bus, metro, streetcar…). To get around in the country, you have buses, trains, domestic flights or you can rent a car.
Best time to visit France
April, May, September and October are the best months to visit France. The weather is nice, there are not many tourists and the prices are lower. In the summer, France is crowded and everything is more expensive (hotels, activities…). From November to March it’s cold. Attractions and restaurants may be open fewer days and shorter hours. And some hotels and restaurants are closed in rural regions.
Visa policy in France
If you’re an European citizen or coming from a Western country, you don’t need a visa to get to Italy. You can find all the details here.
Safety in France
France is a safe country. Even for solo female travelers. It’s one of the best places to solo travel. However there are numerous scams targeting tourists, especially in Paris and around tourist attractions. Always keep an eye on your valuables, and don’t sign a petition in the street because someone asks you to do so. Then they’ll pester you for a donation. Before traveling, don’t forget to get travel insurance. It will protect you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations. Click here to get one.
Packing list for France
I’m not gonna list all the things to pack for France. I don’t know how long you’re gonna stay there, where you’re going in France, what you’re going to do and when you’ll visit. Take all the necessary clothes, toiletries, and also:
- hand sanitizer
- combination locks
- a money belt
- a security cable lock
- a travel plug adapter
- a stainless steel water bottle
- a lifestraw (a water bottle with a purifier)
- a menstrual cup (for the ladies)
Here’s a full list of travel accessories, which can be useful!
What to eat in France
France is known for its amazing food. There are so many dishes to try. Beyond the baguette, the local cheese and the wine, you have to taste a few things. Here’s a complete French food culture guide. Head to the bakery and get a croissant, a simple yet delicious pastry.
Get a croque monsieur, it’s baked bread with fresh ham and cheese. Try a boeuf bourguignon. It’s beef stewed in red wine with mushrooms, onions and lardons. If you’re adventurous, you can try escargots (snails). Otherwise have a steak frites (steak and French fries).
That’s it! You can now visit France and enjoy your time there thanks to this France travel guide!
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- Always use a VPN when traveling. I use ExpressVPN and I love it. Here’s why use a VPN when traveling.