Vacationing in France is a great experience. It’s a beautiful country, with many beautiful cities. Paris is a world city with a rich legacy of culture, art, food and architecture. Cannes a luxurious resort town famous for its international film festival.
The nature of vacationing is really up for the individual. One of the fastest growing trends in travel is vacationing in France. Let’s look at some reasons why this might just be your next stop for relaxation and zen-like feelings.
One of the great things about France is its countryside with rolling hills and fertile valleys. Some of the most attractive cities in France are Lyon, Lille, Bordeaux and Marseille.
Many people want to study abroad or visit France, but often don’t due to lack of money, time, or because their options are limited by language. However, thanks to the Internet and its wealth of information, it is now easier than ever to find information on cheap travel to France and how you can easily book a trip that fits into everyone’s life. Because of this, many sites offer discounted travel packages valid for groups and families as well as individuals. These are usually easy and affordable alternatives when compared with booking flights and hotels through major companies.
Vacation In France
The French are well-known for their joie de vivre (joy of living), indulging in beautiful gardens, fresh food and sweet food, amazing wines. To visit France is to also encounter incredible architecture and breathtaking views. During your vacation in France, you will have a unique culinary experience and you can learn about a new culture.
The French affectionately call their beloved homeland “l’Hexagone” because of its distinct six-sided shape. Each corner of France has its own unique character: the rugged and outdoorsy French Alps; sun-drenched and slow-paced Provence; the glamorous and gorgeous Côte d’Azur coastline; and idyllic Alsace, a pastoral region where storybook hamlets are tucked away in the vine-covered rolling hills.
Paris and Versailles are must-see destinations for a first trip to France. Other classic travel itineraries include stops at fashionable seaside resorts, fairy-tale castles, and glorious Gothic cathedrals.
More off-the-beaten-path experiences are found in the countryside, such as at farmhouses in Burgundy, fishing villages in Brittany, and quaint towns in the forests of the Pyrenees Mountains.
From cultured cities to pristine nature sites, France offers endless tourist attractions. Discover this fascinating and diverse country with our list of the best places to visit in France.
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1. Paris & Versailles
Appreciated for its elegance and joie de vivre, Paris is a grand European capital filled with architectural masterpieces like the Eiffel Tower and the Notre-Dame Cathedral.
Reflecting the city’s rich heritage, the Louvre (one of the top museums in Paris) contains an exceptional fine arts collection, while the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie display treasures of French Impressionist art.
Other charms of Paris are its atmospheric medieval quarters and graceful boulevards. Quintessential tourist experiences include shopping at bookshops in the Latin Quarter, strolling the Champs-Elysées, and people-watching from a sidewalk café terrace on the Boulevard Saint-Germain-de-Prés.
A short train ride from Paris is the UNESCO-listed Château de Versailles. Built for Louis XIV (the “Sun King”), this opulent 17th-century palace is a testament to the glory and absolute power of the French monarch. The château’s splendid Baroque facade, dazzling Hall of Mirrors, and fountain-adorned formal gardens allow visitors to imagine a scene of France’s bygone royal court.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Paris: Best Areas & Hotels
2. The Charming Countryside of Provence
In contrast to the grey skies of Paris and northern France, the charming region of Provence basks in bright Mediterranean sunshine most of the year. This rural area feels untouched by the modern world and has a rugged, earthy appeal.
The rolling hills are covered with a patchwork of small farms, olive groves, sunflowers, and lavender fields. Fragrant rosemary, sage, and thyme and other wild herbs grow here in abundance and enliven the local cuisine. In this dreamy landscape, Impressionist painters found inspiration to create vibrant works of art.
Visitors are enchanted by the villages perchés, which crown Provence’s hilltops. Two favorite destinations are Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a picture-perfect walled medieval town (near many Côte d’Azur tourist spots, such as Eze) and Gordes, which is among the top attractions in the Luberon.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Provence
3. The Côte d’Azur
Also known as the French Riviera, the Côte d’Azur is a glamorous stretch of Mediterranean coastline named for its deep azure-blue waters. The skies are often a mesmerizing cerulean hue as well, thanks to the sunny weather most of the year in this area of southern France.
Stretching roughly from Saint-Tropez (overlapping with the Provence region) to Menton, less than 30 kilometers from the border with Italy, the Côte d’Azur has been a fashionable seaside resort destination since the early 19th century.
Spring and autumn bring milder weather and a quieter, more relaxing atmosphere.
The Côte d’Azur has something for everyone. Nice is the place to enjoy the good life, visit art museums, and stroll along cobblestone streets and palm-fringed boulevards. Within a short drive from Nice are places to visit as day trips, such as splendid waterfront villas and top-notch art museums.
Among the most famous French Riviera tourist attractions are Cannes, which has a dazzling beachfront promenade and an alluring Old Town; and Monaco, a tiny royal principality that is synonymous with luxury and decadence. Both Cannes and Monaco feature five-star hotels, acclaimed restaurants, and yacht-filled marinas.
Sun worshippers flock to Saint-Tropez, a happening summer vacation spot with exclusive private beaches, as well as public beaches that appeal to regular tourists. Vacationers appreciate Antibes for its expansive sandy beaches, atmospheric medieval quarter, and fabulous Picasso Museum housed in a castle overlooking the sea.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Côte d’Azur
4. Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy
Mont Saint-Michel is a highlight of the Normandy region, a pastoral landscape of apple orchards, woodlands, and cow pastures. This unmissable tourist attraction ranks number one on the long list of Normandy travel destinations, which includes stellar sights such as historic castles and picture-perfect towns.
Built between the 11th and 13th centuries, the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel is one of the most awe-inspiring sights in France. The UNESCO-listed abbey is perched on the hilltop of an islet in the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel and is considered a marvel of Gothic architecture.
The abbey church was an important medieval pilgrimage site on the “Way of Saint James” route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Modern-day pilgrims still make the journey here, crossing the Bay of Saint-Michel by foot at low tide.
Visiting Mont Saint-Michel is a spirit-lifting experience. Tourists may attend religious services, concerts and cultural events at this sublime historic abbey.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Normandy
5. The Châteaux of the Loire Valley
Like the scene of a fairy tale, magnificent castles are scattered throughout the densely forested landscape of the Loire Valley. Stretching for 280 kilometers, from Sully-sur-Loire to Chalonnes-sur-Loire in Anjou, the Loire Valley is the largest UNESCO-listed site in France.
The region boasts an incredibly rich cultural heritage. During the 15th and 16th centuries, France’s kings built sumptuous country retreats here purely for entertainment and enjoyment.
Extravagant châteaux, such as the grandiose Château de Chambord and the emblematic Château de Chenonceau, offer insight into the opulence of the Renaissance-era French court.
French nobles and elites also built stately manor houses, such as the majestic Château of Cheverny and the Château d’Azay-le-Rideau in an idyllic setting with a water-filled moat.
For families with kids, the Mini-Châteaux Park in Amboise is a marvelous destination. Set in two hectares of woodlands, the amusement park features more than 40 replicas of Loire châteaux built on a 1/25 scale. Children love exploring the kid-sized castles designed with authentic details.