12 Incredible Places to See in France

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This list of the best places to see in France will help you discover the most visited tourist destination on the planet, filled with amazing corners beyond Paris and its famous Eiffel Tower. Keep in mind that to explore all the wonders of this vast country, you’ll need to make multiple trips, ranging from a few days to explore some of its main cities to a month-long journey for a more comprehensive experience, where you can also indulge in its fantastic gastronomy featuring a wide variety of exquisite products such as cheeses, cured meats, pastries, wine, and champagne.

The best time to travel to France is during spring and autumn when nature’s colors are at their peak and accommodation prices are more affordable. However, if you want to enjoy the beaches of the French Riviera, we recommend traveling during the summer months. Another fantastic moment is early December when the incredible Christmas markets start to set up, especially in the Alsace region, where you can truly experience a Christmas fairy tale.

Based on our numerous trips to the neighboring country, which you can find in this France travel guide, where we also provide a series of tips for traveling to France, we have compiled this list of what we believe are the 12 must-visit places in France. Let’s get started!

Mont Saint-Michel

One of the most incredible places you can find in France is Mont Saint-Michel, an important pilgrimage center in the Middle Ages, located on a privileged position on a small islet at the mouth of the Couesnon River.
Although it is usually not particularly budget-friendly, we advise you to spend the night at Mont Saint-Michel or in one of the nearby villages (much cheaper) so you can leisurely stroll through its narrow streets, enjoy a fantastic sunset, and above all, witness the incredible phenomenon of the tide rising, which turns this mount into an island for a few hours.

To visit Mont Saint-Michel, we suggest including it in a road trip through Normandy with a rental car, landing at Beauvais Airport. If you’re in Paris, you can also book this guided bus excursion in Spanish, which will allow you to learn about its fascinating history.
If you’re traveling by car and have more time, you can complete the route by visiting essential sites in Normandy such as the D-Day Landing Beaches and the Cliffs of Étretat.

Mont Saint-Michel

Paris

Paris, the capital of France and one of the most romantic cities in the world, is a perfect destination for spending a few days with friends or a loved one, enjoying long romantic walks along the Seine or through the neighborhoods of Montmartre and Le Marais. You’ll also have the opportunity to see some of France’s most famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Sainte Chapelle, and the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral, which we hope will soon shine again.
While Paris is a city to revisit time and again, for a first trip, we recommend investing 3 to 5 days during which you can complete this list of must-see places in Paris and enjoy typical Parisian experiences like sipping coffee with a croissant at a charming terrace, having a picnic with a view of the Eiffel Tower, or shopping in elegant galleries.
Remember that the most convenient and fastest way to get around Paris is by using the extensive metro network, which has stops at all major points of interest in the city, except for Montmartre, which you can reach by funicular or on foot.

Paris

Carcassonne, one of the must-see places in France

In the Languedoc-Roussillon region, surrounded by vineyards, you’ll find Carcassonne, a medieval ensemble declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, which will delight any traveler with a love for history.
To transport yourself to the medieval era as you stroll along its cobbled streets and admire its impressive walls under the moonlight, we recommend, as we mentioned earlier with Mont Saint-Michel, staying overnight in the city and exploring when most organized groups have left.
If you have more time, you can include the stunning Cathar castles in your itinerary, located near Carcassonne and highly recommended as another must-see place in France.

Carcassonne, one of the must-see places in France

Midi-Pyrénées

A road trip to Midi-Pyrénées, a region located in southern France, will take you through beautiful landscapes of valleys and forests, ancient castles, and magical villages perched on cliffs.
Whether you land at Toulouse airport or drive from Spain if you live near the border, you can embark on a 4- or 5-day itinerary, visiting stunning villages such as Albi, Cordes-sur-Ciel, Najac, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, Rocamadour, Conques, and Belcastel. Don’t forget to indulge in local specialties like foie gras and cassoulet.

Conques

Alsace

Alsace, located in the northeastern part of the country, near the border with Germany and Switzerland, is one of the most beautiful regions to visit in France, especially during the Christmas season.
During these days, from late November to early January, the streets are adorned and incredible Christmas markets are set up in its picturesque villages with colorful facades, making you feel like a little child.
We recommend landing at Basel or Baden Baden airport and embarking on a circular route through Alsace, visiting the villages of Colmar, Eguisheim, Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, Turckheim, and ending in Strasbourg, the capital of Christmas.

Colmar

Loire Valley Castles

Another famous route in France will take you to the impressive Loire Valley Castles, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and located near the banks of the green Loire Valley. Known as the “Garden of France,” this area enchants with its green vineyard landscapes and over 50 Renaissance-style castles, including Chenonceau Castle, Sully-sur-Loire Castle, Chambord Castle, and Chaumont Castle, among many others.
We recommend allocating at least a week to fully enjoy this beautiful valley, located just over an hour’s drive from Paris. If you don’t have that much time, you can book this day trip with a Spanish-speaking guide from Paris that includes visits to the two most famous castles in the Loire Valley, Chenonceau Castle and Chambord Castle, or this more comprehensive 2-day tour that also includes Mont Saint-Michel.

Chambord

Provence

When we talk about the French Provence, colorful lavender fields come to mind, with an intense lilac hue that looks like it’s straight out of a painter’s canvas.
Depending on the area, the blooming dates vary, but generally occur from mid-June to mid-August, a perfect time to explore the landscapes of this southern region of France that captivated artists from around the world, such as the brilliant painters Van Gogh and Picasso.
A great route to explore the must-see places in Provence usually starts in its capital, Marseille, and then takes you through landscapes like the Luberon Valley and the Verdon Gorge, cities like Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, and Arles, and villages that seem frozen in time like Baux-de-Provence. However, if you want to focus on the lavender fields, we recommend visiting the slopes of Mont Ventoux in Sault and the vast carpeted fields of Valensole.

Provence

French Riviera

Who hasn’t heard of Monaco, Nice, Cannes, or St. Tropez? The French Riviera, also known as the Côte d’Azur, is one of the most iconic coastlines not only in France but in the world, attracting some of the most famous celebrities each year.
Located in the southeastern region of France, it’s a perfect destination to relax and enjoy the turquoise waters of its beaches. Although prices can be steep, good deals can be found in larger cities and less touristy towns.
A 5-day itinerary along the French Riviera starting in the beautiful city of Nice, which has its own airport, will take you through cities like Cannes, St. Tropez, Antibes, and charming villages like Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Mougins, and Grasse, ending in the luxurious Principality of Monaco, which can be included in a trip to France.

French Riviera

Palace of Versailles

In addition to visiting the fun amusement park Disneyland Paris, one of the best day trips from Paris is the Palace of Versailles and its gardens, one of the most beautiful ensembles in the world and another incredible place to see in France.
To get from Paris to Versailles, we recommend taking the RER C train from the Saint-Michel Notre-Dame station, which will drop you off a 10-minute walk from the palace entrance. Once inside, you can explore the royal chambers where Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette lived, as well as fantastic halls like the Hall of Mirrors, the Gallery of the History of the Palace, and the Gallery of Battles. To end the visit, there’s nothing better than getting lost in its vast gardens filled with marble statues, ponds, and fountains.

Palace of Versailles

French Alps

It’s worth noting that France has a spectacular geography, with two of Europe’s most important mountain ranges standing out: the Pyrenees and the Alps, making it a paradise for skiers, climbers, mountaineers, and hiking enthusiasts.
If we focus on the Alps, we suggest visiting the picturesque village of Chamonix, located at the foot of Mont Blanc, where you can take the Aiguille du Midi cable car to a viewpoint with an incredible panoramic view of the French, Swiss, and Italian Alps, at an altitude of nearly 4,000 meters.
Other great experiences in this area include skiing on the slopes of Méribel, Courchevel, and Les Ménuires, hiking to Lac du Vallon and Lake Annecy, riding the Montenvers red train to the Mer de Glace glacier, or witnessing the power of nature at the Cascade du Rouge.

French Alps

Corsica, one of the places to visit in France

Another incredible destination to explore in France and perfect for a summer vacation is the beautiful island of Corsica, a true natural paradise.
Located in the middle of the Mediterranean, 170 kilometers from Nice and 80 from the Italian coast, this miniature France is a mosaic of natural landscapes featuring crystal-clear beaches, mountains over 2,000 meters high, imposing cliffs, and 25 rivers that flow through pine forests and vineyards, earning it UNESCO World Heritage recognition.
A week-long journey through its wonders, such as Cap Corse and the Scandola Nature Reserve, will be rewarding. If you’re up for the spectacular GR20 trek, one of the toughest in Europe that crosses the entire island, plan for a minimum of 15 days.

Corsica

Bordeaux

Among the most beautiful cities in France, Bordeaux stands out, largely due to its incredible historic center, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
We recommend spending a day strolling along the banks of the Garonne River and, most importantly, exploring the cobbled streets of the old town until you reach the Cathedral and the Saint Pierre district, two of the must-see places in Bordeaux.
In addition to Bordeaux, other cities in France that we love include Lyon, Biarritz, Montpellier, and Nantes.

Bordeaux

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