Are you planning a trip to France soon? Well, you’re in luck because I’m here to spill the tea on the top 10 must-see sites in this stunning country. Now, I know Paris is the city of love and all that jazz, but let’s not forget that there’s a whole lot more to France than just the Eiffel Tower.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most awe-inspiring places all around the country. And listen, I get it. It’s impossible to see everything in one trip (trust me, I’ve tried), but I promise these 10 sites are so incredible that they should be at the top of your bucket list. So, pack your bags, grab your beret, and let’s explore France like never before!
Someone that Knows the Ropes
While these ten must-see sites in France are a great start, there is so much more to discover. With our travel advisor’s expertise and knowledge, you’ll be able to make the most of your time in France and discover hidden gems that will make your trip truly unforgettable.
1. Mont Saint-Michel – A Floating Island Monastery
Located in the Normandy region, Mont Saint-Michel is a stunning medieval monastery perched on a small island that looks like it’s floating on water during high tide. It’s a unique and unforgettable sight, especially when seen from a distance.
To get to Mont Saint-Michel, you can take a shuttle bus or walk across a causeway that’s only accessible during low tide. As you get closer, you’ll see the abbey rising up above the village, with narrow streets winding up to it. The abbey itself is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, with stunning details and a history dating back to the 8th century.
But Mont Saint-Michel isn’t just a beautiful landmark. It’s also a vibrant community with restaurants, cafes, museums, and shops to explore. You can taste the famous omelets of Mont Saint-Michel, made with eggs from the local salt-marsh lambs, or sample some of the delicious seafood caught in the bay.
2. Gorges du Verdon – The Grand Canyon of Europe
Listen, I’m not trying to exaggerate here, but this place is downright breathtaking. If you’re a nature lover, this river canyon in southeastern France will have you feeling like you’re in a dream. People call it the “Grand Canyon of Europe” for a reason.
As you drive along the winding roads leading up to the canyon, you’ll be awestruck by the dramatic cliffs and crystal-clear turquoise waters of the Verdon River. It’s no wonder that this natural wonder has become a popular destination for hiking, kayaking, paragliding, rock climbing and rafting.
We recommend that you don’t miss the Point Sublime lookout, where you’ll have a panoramic view of the canyon that will take your breath away.
Our advisors can help you create the perfect experience, whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-packed adventure or a stunningly beautiful stroll through nature.
3. Étretat Cliffs – Spectacular White Cliffs on the Coast of Normandy
These limestone cliffs offer stunning views of the English Channel and the surrounding countryside. Make sure to see the two natural arches, the Porte d’Aval and the Porte d’Amont, which are both remarkable examples of the power of nature. You can also visit the Notre-Dame de la Garde chapel, which sits atop the cliffs and offers even more impressive views. In fact, the views are so spectacular that they’ve inspired artists like Monet and Courbet.
To make the most of your visit to Étretat, consider taking a guided hike or joining a photography tour, our advisors work with several amazing guides in the region!
4. The Palace of Versailles
Located just outside of Paris, this stunning royal palace was once the residence of French kings and queens, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Originally built as a hunting lodge in the 17th century, it was later transformed into a grand palace by Louis XIV, known as the Sun King. The palace features stunning architecture, including the famous Hall of Mirrors, as well as beautiful gardens that cover over 800 hectares of land. Highlights of the palace include the famous Hall of Mirrors, where visitors can see their reflections multiplied in the countless mirrors lining the walls, and the Royal Opera House, a stunning example of 18th-century architecture.
But the beauty of Versailles extends beyond the palace walls. The palace is surrounded by extensive gardens, featuring fountains, statues, and perfectly manicured lawns. A stroll through the gardens is a must-do activity, especially during the summer months when the fountains are in operation and musical performances are held on the grounds.
Pro tip: The Palace of Versailles can get very crowded, especially during peak season. Our travel advisors always book a small group, skip-the-line ticket in advance to save time and avoid the crowds!
5. The French Riviera
For a slice of luxury, this stunning coastal region offers picturesque beaches, glamorous resorts, and charming old towns. Take a stroll along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice or enjoy the high life at the famous Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco.
If you’re looking for a more laid-back vibe, head to Antibes and visit the Picasso Museum, which is housed in a beautiful château overlooking the sea. And don’t miss the daily market, where you can sample local produce and pick up some great souvenirs.
I’d also recommend a trip to Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a medieval village famous for its picturesque cobblestone streets, art galleries, and stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Lastly, don’t miss Cannes, the glitzy town famous for its film festival. If you’re a film buff, don’t miss the opportunity to walk up the red carpet at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, the venue for the Cannes Film Festival.
There’s a ton to see and do in the French Riviera so make sure to explain the vibe you’re going for and the type of experience you’d enjoy most so your travel advisor will pick the right highlights to show you!
6. The Lavender Fields of Provence
When it comes to natural beauty, nothing can compare to the mesmerizing landscape of purple fields in the Provence region of southeastern France. The lavender fields bloom in late June and early July and the best way to experience the lavender fields is to take a leisurely drive through the countryside, stopping to explore charming villages and sample local delicacies along the way.
One of the best places to visit is the village of Sault, which is where you can wander through the fields, pick your own lavender, and even learn how to distill essential oil from the flowers. Another must-see destination is the Abbey of Senanque, a beautiful 12th-century monastery that sits amidst lavender fields.
For the ultimate lavender experience, have your travel advisor book a stay at a local farm or guesthouse, where you can immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility of the lavender fields!
7. The Calanques
The Calanques are a series of fjord-like rocky inlets along the Mediterranean coast, with crystal-clear turquoise waters and dramatic cliffs.
Located between Marseille and Cassis, the Calanques offer a range of activities to suit every taste. You can take a boat tour to explore the stunning coastline, rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the inlets up close, or enjoy a leisurely hike through the rugged terrain.
8. The Pyrenees Mountains
These majestic peaks form a natural border between France and Spain and offer some of the most stunning views in Europe. The Pyrenees offer excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities during the winter months and amazing hiking in the summer.
One of the most popular hiking routes is the GR10, which stretches over 870 km from the Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean Sea. Along the way, you’ll experience breathtaking sites of the surrounding valleys, lakes, and mountain peaks.
But hiking is not the only activity you can enjoy in the Pyrenees. Mountain biking, paragliding, rafting, and rock climbing are just a few of the many other adventures that await you in this stunning mountain range.
After a day of outdoor activities, you can relax in one of the many quaint villages that dot the Pyrenean countryside. These villages offer a glimpse into rural life in France, with charming stone houses, narrow streets, and local markets selling delicious cheeses, cured meats, and wines.
Don’t forget to check out the famous pilgrimage site of Lourdes or the fortified city of Carcassonne. Every year, millions of visitors come to Lourdes to pay their respects and seek healing in the miraculous waters of the Grotto of Massabielle. And Carcassonne is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the Middle Ages!
9.The Castles of the Loire Valley
Known as the “Garden of France”, the Loire Valley is home to around 300 châteaux and castles, some of which date back to the 10th century.
The most famous among them are the Château de Chambord, the Château de Chenonceau, and the Château d’Amboise. The Château de Chambord, the largest of them all, was built in the 16th century and features a distinctive French Renaissance architecture with a double helix staircase at its center.
The Château de Chenonceau, also known as the “Ladies’ Castle,” was built in the 16th century over the Cher River and features a unique mix of Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles. The Château d’Amboise, on the other hand, was a former royal residence and the burial place of Leonardo da Vinci.
Aside from the castles, the Loire Valley is also known for its charming towns and villages, vineyards, and stunning countryside. It’s a great destination for cycling or walking tours to explore the picturesque landscapes and learn about the region’s histo
10. The Palace of Fontainebleau
Just an hour away from Paris lies the stunning Palace of Fontainebleau. This palace is a true gem and is often overlooked by tourists who are too busy admiring the grandeur of the Palace of Versailles. But don’t be fooled, the Palace of Fontainebleau has plenty to offer in terms of opulent decor and gorgeous gardens.
Built in the 12th century, this royal château has been the residence of French kings and emperors for centuries, including Napoleon Bonaparte. The palace’s Renaissance architecture and intricate interior decoration make it a masterpiece of French art.
If you’re a history buff, make sure to explore the palace’s museum, which houses a vast collection of art, furniture, and decorative objects. One of the most remarkable rooms is the Ballroom, where grand events were held during the reign of Napoleon III.
Before you leave, make sure to take a stroll around the town of Fontainebleau. This charming town has plenty of restaurants, cafes, and shops for you to explore.
Whether you’re planning your first trip to France or your fifth, these must-see sites will surely leave you in awe. From the stunning medieval Mont Saint-Michel to the opulent Palace of Versailles, and the picturesque lavender fields of Provence, France has something to offer every kind of traveler.
Remember, planning a trip can be overwhelming, but that’s where our travel advisors come in! They’re here to help you create a personalized itinerary that suits your preferences all within your budget.
Au revoir for now, and happy travels!