France serves to delight the romantically inclined with fairy-tale castles, picture-perfect villages, soaring cathedrals, and still, the country manages to impress realists together with its progressive and yet contemporary styling.
Whilst perusing the streets of Paris, be sure to take in the delights of the Eiffel Tower, which represents the modernized emblem of France. Then, venture to the Louvre Museum and witness famous masterpieces aplenty. Enjoy a day at the most elegant Palace of Versailles. Be sure to save some time for traditional French gastronomic delights and leisurely gourmet meals.
Nevertheless, it’s not merely about Paris. Each individual region in France comes with its own distinctive culture and cuisines. From the quaintest of fishing villages in Brittany that specialize in seafood and crêpes, to the cozy chalets dotted around within the French Alps, where hearty cheese-based fondues and charcuterie is the indulgence of every day. Savor it all, and take gratification from the irresistible charms that France has to offer. Let’s have a look at the best things to do in France!
1. Paris: Musee de Louvre
Even the main entrance way to the Musee de Louvre is an artistic dream, as is befitting to the world’s most visited museum. But there’s not much time to linger gazing up at the glassy pyramid. For inside awaits the fantasy of the most ethereal collection of art the world has seen, with everything from the Code of Hammurabi, to Egyptian mummies, to Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, and the Venus de Milo.
The museum has endured the centuries-old political and social transformations of France, while still maintaining the vastness and beauty of the human mind under a single roof, and thereby becoming a potent symbolization of French finesse and sensitivity.
2. Paris: Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
As a way to commemorate the French Revolution’s centennial celebration, the Eiffel Tower, which is the world’s most visited paid monument, was constructed in 1889 by a company owned by Gustave Eiffel the acclaimed bridge builder.
If you’re out on the Champs de Mars during the evening, you’ll see the tower twinkle with its millions of multicolored lights, at which point you’ll realize exactly why it’s such a popular spot for marriage proposals. Irrespective of the time of day, however, it represents a very strong symbol to the French peoples, serving to not only commemorate but to unite and stir strong emotions. Also check out these tips on Paris.
3. Versailles: Versailles Palace (Chateau de Versailles)
Not to mention the meticulously manicured lawns and quintessential landscaping which is keenly suited to a world of fairy-tales. It all comes together as a symbol of unconditional monarchy, while simultaneously functioning as one of the foremost tourist attractions in France.
4. Chartres: Cathedrale de Chartres
The beautiful soaring spires, the porches which are elaborately adorned with detailed sculpture works, and the stained-glass windows from the 12th and 13th centuries, conjure up the realization that the Cathedrale de Chatres symbolizes the front runner of the echelon in French Gothic art.
Although in 1134 much of the town of Chartres was destroyed by fire, the cathedral miraculously survived and became a major pilgrimage destination as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. It truly is a masterpiece of French architecture.
5. Mont Saint-Michelle: Abbaye du Mont Saint-Michel
7. The Loire Valley (Le Val de Loire)
The River Loire twists and turns as it makes its way throughout the rolling hills of the valley, offering a naturally soothing spectacle, and setting the stage for something akin to heaven on Earth. This beautiful area of blooming flowers and grandiose vineyards is dotted on both sides with over 1,000 charmingly elaborate chateaus.
Follow the 174 mile (280 km) river from Sully-sur-Loire in Loiret to Chalonnes-sure-Loire in Anjou, and you’ll certainly agree that the valley truly deserves its UNESCO recognition.
8. Paris: Musee d’Orsay
Though the Louvre is considered to be the most impressive museum in France, the Musee d’Orsay, also located in Paris, is a very close second. Situated on the left bank of the Seine, and housed in a bygone railway station, the museum plays host to paintings and sculptures that belong to a host of French artists.
Nevertheless, the museum is famed for its considerable assortment of masterpieces from impressionists and post-impressionists. There is no place on Earth that you can witness such an extensive collection of artworks from Monet, Cezanne, Degas, and Renoir. Really, it doesn’t take any level of fine arts expertise to fall in love with the Musee d’Orsay.
9. Nîmes: Arenes de Nîmes
Arguably the best preserved Roman amphitheater there is to be seen, this arena has been a dominant factor in the city of Nîmes for almost 2,000 years.
Due to the degree of perfection of Roman engineering, still today, we can witness and revel in events staged in the amphitheater, including popular musical and theatrical concerts, bullfights, and more, and all in such a venerable setting. The establishment is in close proximity to the Principality of Orange and the Ponte du Gard, making the entire area a haven of antiquity.
10. Reims: Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Reims
Although acting as a runner-up to the Cathedral in Chartres in terms of sculpting and ornamentation, Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Reims still represents a wonderful display or architectural artistry and royal history. Here you will witness the synthesis of Gothic elements in harmony, unity, and remarkable balance.
Although the subtle contrast between formal classicism and realism may not be so noticeable to the layperson, the overall grandness of the cathedral will no doubt make a lasting impression. It comes as no surprise that Reims Cathedral was drawn on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1991.