The Most Beautiful Places In France To Visit – Part Two
Welcome to Part Two of our Most Beautiful Places In France To Visit series. Read along to discover some of the most remarkable places to visit in France, as recommended by avid travellers from around the world. Embark on a virtual tour of some of the best cities to visit France and use these recommendations to plan your next holiday in France.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see our full disclosure for further information.
Beautiful Places In France To Visit
Strasbourg is located so close to the German border that it is often misunderstood to belong in Germany, however, France have been fortunate enough to claim this magnificent little city. Strasbourg is one of the most beautiful places in France to visit.
Strasbourg oozes character and great charm, it is almost impossible to not fall in love with it at first sight. The traditional buildings, beautiful canals, market squares and great atmosphere around town, make Strasbourg a hugely popular place in France to visit all year round. There are a great range of things to do in Strasbourg and it is an easy town to explore by foot or on a bike if you wish to go slightly further afield.
If you are a food lover, Strasbourg will not disappoint. Or perhaps a wine lover? Do yourself a favour and join an Alsace Wine Region tour. Strasbourg, or the Capitale de Noel, is known for its Christmas markets and people travel from all over the world to celebrate the festive season is this glorious town.
Strasbourg is easily accessed from Paris or Frankfurt and it is recommended you spend at least 2-3 days, although the longer the better – it is a hard place to leave. You must stay in central Strasbourgwithin the pedestrian roads to fully immersive yourself and have the full Strasbourg experience.
Recommended by Australian Mountains To Sea
Cherbourg is a beautiful town on the coast of Normandy, often overlooked by tourists because of its harbour. Many people pass by Cherbourg when they cross the English Channel by ferry, either from the UK to France or the other way around.
However, Cherbourg is worth visiting and staying in for at least one day. The town because famous through the 19603 musical “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”. It was this film that actually inspired a young local man to create a brand of umbrellas that is now one of the most luxurious in the world. But Cherbourg is not only about high-quality umbrellas.
Cherbourg the first city in which the Titanic stopped after leaving Southampton, before continuing its doomed voyage on the Atlantic. The Cité de la Mer maritime museum hosts a fantastic exhibition about the commemorating 100 years since the sinking of the famous ship. The museum also hosts the deepest aquarium in Europe and a real submarine that can be visited inside. If you are coming to Cherbourg with Brittany Ferries, you can buy reduced tickets for Cité de la Mer on the ferry.
If you are wondering where to eat in Cherbourg, the city has some fantastic restaurants that specialise in Normandy cuisine such as galettes, salt lamb, camembert cheese or apple pies. Whilst in other parts of France wine is the typical drink, in Cherbourg it is apple cider and calvados, a local apple brandy.
Recommended by The World In My Pocket
Nantes, the capital of the French region of Pays de la Loire, is one of the best cities in western France. It is located 380km southwest of Paris, and from Nantes, it’s only 50km west to the Atlantic coast.
Nantes is bisected by the Loire River, the longest river in France, and has pretty neighborhoods to explore. The city has a rich past and beautiful heritage, so the list of things to do in Nantes is long. Also, Nantes is a lively city with many festivals, cultural events, and busy terrace-cafes, so it’s impossible to get bored in Nantes.
The Castle of the Dukes of Brittany is Nantes’ most important site. Nantes was the capital of the Duchy of Brittany and a wealthy city during their rule.
Other top sites to visit in Nantes for a weekend of sightseeing are the Machines of the Isle of Nantes, a quirky project of ‘living machines’ located on the isle in the middle of the Loire River, the gothic Saint-Pierre Saint-Paul Cathedral, a couple of elegant covered walkways, the Graslin neighborhood – with the Royal Square, the Theater and beautiful buildings – and the Jules Verne Museum. The famous French author was born and raised in Nantes, and this museum is an excellent introduction to his life and work.
For your stay in Nantes, the Logis Hôtel Duquesne is a good option. This mid-range hotel is located 100m from the Tour Bretagne, in the city center of Nantes.
Recommended by Travel France Bucket List
Versailles is one of the best cities to visit in France. It is located 17 km south-west Paris, and it is very easy to reach by public transportation from the French capital.
The Domain of Versailles is the city’s main highlight, home to three French kings and their courts from King Louis XIV until the French Revolution. The Domain of Versailles is vast, and it consists of the Palace of Versailles, the Queen’s Hamlet and the Trianons, the French-style gardens, and a park. Therefore, if you want to visit Versailles on a day trip from Paris, good planning is key to get the most out of your visit.
Apart from the Domain of Versailles, the city has beautiful baroque architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries, large green avenues, a colorful local market. You may also want to check the Royal Opera of Versailles and Notre Dame de Versailles Church in the city center.
If you have the budget, head to the Trianon Palace Versailles for a luxury stay. Apart from its spacious rooms with fireplace and balcony, guests can enjoy the award-winning Guerlain Spa, with a fabulous heated indoor swimming pool and an extensive list of treatments available.
Recommended by World In Paris
One of the best places to visit in France is Reims, the unofficial capital of the Champagne region, and a perfect day trip or weekend getaway from Paris.
The trip from Paris to Reims takes around 2 hours regardless of whether you go on a train or on the bus and it is around 7 Euros one-way. Once you arrive in Reims, you will find yourself in a historic French city with a rich story and some of the most delicious food and drinks in the world!
The city is obviously known for its Champagne. You can take a Champagne tour from Reims to one of the well-known Champagne houses in the region, or you can opt to stay in the city and visit the only vineyard there at Lanson. For an affordable price of around 40 Euros, you can do a tasting and tour of their facility and experience one of the most famous drinks in the world all in a short walk from the city center.
Other popular sites in the city worth visiting are the Palace of Tau and the Reims Cathedral. Both are UNESCO sites and very important places in the city. The church dates back to the 13th-century and even though it was destroyed during WW2, it still stands today after modifications and reconstructions.
Reims is a very underrated place to visit in France but hopefully, you will add it to your itinerary on your next visit and see what a fantastic city it really is!
Recommended by Megan Starr
Saint-Émilion is a tiny town in the south-west of France located 45 minutes away from the city of Bordeaux. Only around 1800 people live in Saint-Émilion permanently but it is a popular tourist destination and one of the most famous wine areas in France and the world.
Bordeaux is of course known for its world-class wines but some of the best ones are produced in Saint-Émilion. The town is surrounded by beautiful vineyards with historic chateaux which you can visit to learn everything you need to know about wine production. A great way to spend an afternoon is to take a little train around the vineyards which will show you the best spots around town for wine tastings and sightseeing.
Make sure to visit Saint-Émilion’s famous monolithic church and many of the other historic buildings some of which date back as far as the 8th century.
Saint-Émilion is perfect for a day-trip from Bordeaux but you could also stay here for a few days in a hotel like Les Logis du Roy which is a popular choice for those coming to town to buy wine. With over 800 wineries to choose from in the area, you’ll have an incredible selection of Grand Cru Classés wines to take home to friends and family. Luckily, not all of them have to break the bank and you’ll actually find a decent amount of affordable options too.
A trip to Saint-Émilion should be high on your bucket list when you visit the south-west of France. Combining incredible landscapes with lots of things to do this is the perfect place to spend a few days. Read all you need to know about Saint-Émilion here.
Recommended by Guide Your Travel
One of the best towns to visit in France is Menton. This is a beautiful place, located along the French Riviera in the south of France. There are plenty of things to do in the town.
The beach is one of the highlights of Menton. It is very relaxing to stay here and enjoy the Mediterranean Sea. Besides that, the colorful houses of the town are magnificent and very beautiful to see. Another great thing to do in Menton is visiting one of its gardens. Menton is known for its botanical gardens. One of the best of these is the Jardin Botanique Exotique de Menton, where you can find many exotic plants. Also, it is very fun to walk through the little streets of Menton and discover local life in the town.
A major city in France that is nearby is the city of Nice. From there it takes only about 40 minutes by train to get to Menton. Another major city that is close to Menton is the city-state of Monaco. Going from there to Menton by train only takes 10 minutes. A great place to stay in Menton is Hôtel Vacances Bleues Royal Westminster, which is a hotel with a lovely sea-view.
Recommended by Dymabroad
One of the most beautiful cities to visit in France is Metz, only a day trip from Paris by train, yet so underrated. Metz has a lot of things to see so make sure you put on some good walking shoes and have enough battery on your camera. Beginning with the astounding Metz Cathedral, which is the most prominent landmark in the city with its colorful stained glass windows and Gothic Renaissance style, being one of the tallest cathedrals in Europe.
Take a walk through Porte des Allemands, cross the bridge, enter the medieval fortified gates taking you to the old towers of the structure. Temple Neuf is probably one of the most impressive churches as it is situated on the tiny island, Île du Petit-Saulcy, in the middle of the Moselle River. You should also see the Basilica of Saint-Pierre-Aux-Nonnains, one of the oldest churches in Europe, which originally was built as part of a Roman school when it first was built in the 4th century. But make sure you make time to wander around the charming streets in the old town, eat ice cream, and take a stroll along the river and in one of the many green gardens in this wonderful, green city.
Stay at Hotel de la Cathedrale Metz to stay central in the historical center.
Recommended by Andalucia Hiking
Paris is easily THE best city to visit in France! The reasons to visit the French capital are countless! First of all, you will love the history and the architecture. Paris features many impressive monuments and beautiful buildings. But Paris is also very enjoyable thanks to the presence of the Seine River flowing through the city. Called the City of Love, Paris is very romantic, and you will take pleasure walking in the streets. Last but not least there is no better place than Paris to enjoy French cuisine!
Here are some of the highlights of Paris. Firstly, you have to see the Eiffel Tower! You can visit it or just gaze at it from different perspectives. From Trocadero you will get some of the best views of the Iron Lady. If you fancy some shopping, head to the Champs Élysées: one of the most iconic avenues of the world! Take a look at the stunning Arc de Triomphe on your way.
Another famous Parisian landmark to admire during your trip to Paris is Notre Dame. Despite the fire that caused a lot of damages in April 2019, the Cathedral is still standing and deserves to be seen!
If you want to enjoy the traditional side of Paris, you can go to Montmartre. This neighborhood seems like a charming village. The Sacré-Coeur Basilica, located at the top of the hill in Montmartre, is actually the second most visited monument of the capital after Notre-Dame.
A good place to stay as you are in Paris is the B Montmartre Hotel. Located in the 17th arrondissement (not too far from Montmartre), the 4-Star boutique hotel has lovely rooms and offers a great service.
Recommended by Limitless Secrets
Glamorous Nice is the largest city in the French Riviera and has long been a popular haunt with the rich and famous and also artists, who love its scenery and unique light. The Promenade des Anglais stretches seven kilometers along the seafront and is a ‘must-do’. Explore the Vieille Ville (the old town) with its narrow alleys, little shops, Italian architecture, and character. The Cours Saleya is the market in the old town, which sells different fresh foods including cheeses and beautiful fresh flowers.
Climbing to the Parc de la Colline du Château is worth the effort for the spectacular panoramic views. There is Nice Cathedral to visit and art galleries, dedicated to Chagall and Matisse. In February there is a huge carnival to enjoy. The spring and autumn are ideal times to visit the city.
If you enjoy good food there are several local dishes to try – Salade Niçoise, Ratatouille (vegetable stew), fougaille bread, onion tart, and Daube Niçoise and the area’s rosé wine is becoming increasingly popular on the world scene. To explore the city will take several days, but many visitors use it as a base for exploring Cannes St Tropez, and Monaco.
The most famous hotel to stay in is the 100-year-old dome-topped Negresco which was once a favorite with the ‘jet-set’. It is like stepping into yesterday with its opulent grandeur.
Recommended by Travel Passionate
La Tania is the perfect place to visit in France, located just 2 hours, 18 minutes drive from the city of Lyon. There’s plenty to do in La Tania depending on when you choose to visit.
During the winter, La Tania is one of the most popular skiing resorts in France, located in the Les 3 Vallées– the biggest ski area in the world, there’s plenty of slopes to suit all abilities and lots of good ski schools to choose from. There’s a small street with a range of souvenir shops, supermarkets, takeaways and restaurants – make sure you try the melted cheese dish – Raclette.
During the summer, where the bottom of the ski slope is, there’s a large open-air pool. Visitors can take chair lifts and gondolas up into the hills and go hiking and cycling on the woodland trails.
Make sure you go on a trip to the nearby town of Courchevel where there’s a huge range of up-market shops and a small shopping centre. Visitors can either catch the bus from La Tania or walk/ski down the hills.
The best place to stay in La Taniais the Hotel Le Montana, owned by the travel company ‘Alpine Elements’. The hotel is right in the heart of La Tania with the possibility to ski right to the door. Facilities include a hot tub, sauna, pool and steam room as well as breakfast and an à la carte 3-course dinner.
Recommended by Travels with Eden