Around 82 million foreign tourists visit France annually to experience its romantic, picturesque, fine wines, exquisite cuisines, and sophisticated culture.

The first picture that comes to most people’s minds when they think of France is Paris. The French capital is an ever-busy city filled with beautiful architectural structures. While Paris is home to France’s most recognizable tourist attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower, France has many more places to visit.

For example, visit the Alsace region and enjoy the Germanic culture. You could also head to the D-Day beaches in Normandy and enjoy riding on speed boats. Wine lovers can head to the renowned Bordeaux region, the country’s hub for wine production. While the list is endless, here are the top France cities worth visiting during a tour to the European nation.

1. Paris

The French capital attracts around 45 million foreign tourists yearly. It ranks as the world’s most visited city. Also known as the Capital of Fashion and the City of Lights, Paris is famous for its unique art, fashion, and romantic ambiance.

The French capital comprises 20 districts, with each featuring distinct tourist attractions and characters. Paris is also known for its iconic landmarks, including Notre Dame Cathedral and the iconic Eiffel Tower.

Paris is also home to renowned museums such as Musee d’Orsay and the Louvre Museum. The best and most reliable way to get around Paris is through the underground train system and foot.

drive in france

2. Dordogne

There is a lot to see and do in the Dordogne region, including visiting a hilltop castle and touring picture-postcard chateaux and villages. So, it might take weeks or months to explore everything here.

The Dordogne River cut across the city, creating pretty awesome scenery. Some of France’s best prehistoric cave arts are also found in Dordogne. Dordogne city is also home to the famous Lascaux walls.

BEST PLACES to visit in France

Dordogne – © Can Stock Photo / Ostill

3. French Riviera

The French Riviera stretches along the French Mediterranean Sea coast. It is a popular destination for the world’s rich and famous tourists, extending from Cassis in the west to the Italian border in the east. The French Riviera is known for the Cannes Film Festival and the St. Tropez glamour.

However, there are many other top tourist destinations in the region, including the Grasse, Saint-Paul de Vence, and the Eze village. Well-known artists visit the Riviera every year for inspiration. Many of Riviera’s artworks are available in local art galleries and museums. Although Riviera is one of the regions located far north on the Mediterranean, it enjoys a warm to mild climate throughout the year.

BEST PLACES to visit in France french rivera

French Rivera – © Can Stock Photo / monticello

4. Mont Saint-Michel

The rocky Mont Saint-Michel Island is one of the best places in France to visit during a vacation. The island stretches several miles along the northwest coast in Normandy. Its top attractions include medieval structures crowned with a star-like attraction, historic buildings, and diverse culture.

Buildings in Mont Saint-Michel look like they are stuck upon each other. Devoted monks built the iconic abbey in 708 AD following Archangel Michael’s visit to the Bishop of Avranches.

BEST PLACES to visit in France

Mont Saint-Michel by night – © Can Stock Photo / Xantana

5. Bordeaux

Bordeaux serves as the capital of southwestern region and ranks as one of the largest wine-producing regions in the world. Bordeaux region produces over 800 million bottles of various wine brands yearly. Bordeaux is just half an hour away from the Atlantic Ocean, making it a major port city.

Bordeaux city is also built upon a large river, the River Garonne, which cuts across. There are over 350 landmarks and historic structures, including charming old bridges, medieval churches, and a Roman amphitheater at Bordeaux’s city center. The city is also stuffed with world-class cultural scenes and artworks, historic structures, and modern architecture. It also features several beautiful plazas, such as the stunning Plaza de la Bourse.

The city’s well-developed infrastructure presents opportunities where travelers can dine in world-class hotels and shop in designer outlet shops while admiring views of the River Garonne. A trip to Bordeaux can’t be complete without taking a walk through the surrounding wineries, where travelers can admire chateaux, vineyards, and incredible scenery. Bordeaux city hosts the spectacular Festival of the River and Festival of Wine every year.

6. Luberon

Have you always admired mingling with the French societies in the southwestern region? The right place to meet the hoi polloi is Luberon city. It is a haven for foreign travelers who visit the country during the summer to mingle with the locals.

The Luberon became a renowned tourist destination after its history was published in Peter Mayle’s book. The Luberon attracts foreigners worldwide with its colorfully painted houses, lavender fields, farmers’ markets, and lush forests.

7. Loire Valley

It is a popular tourist destination located in central region. The Loire Valley region is highly regarded for its historical villages, beautiful vineyards, and spectacular scenery. It stretches along the Loire River while cutting across some of the most beautiful villages in the country, such as Amboise.

Other historical villages where the Loire River passes through include Orleans, Saumur, Anglers, and Tours. The Loire Valley region is significant for its chateau, which served as the aristocrat’s and French kings’ meeting point. The French nobility designed and built the valley’s chateau, which stretches throughout the hills.

Some of the region’s famous chateaux include Chenonceau, Rivau, and Chambord. French have nicknamed the Loire Valley the Garden of France due to its abundance of vineyards, orchards, and flower gardens.

8. Strasbourg

Strasbourg is the border point between France and Germany. It serves as the Alsace region’s capital city. Strasbourg city is home to numerous European institutions, including the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, and the European Court of Human Rights. A trip to Strasbourg would not be complete without visiting Grande Ile, the city’s historic center.

Here, you will enjoy watching a blend of both German and French historic and modern architectural designs. Other numerous attractions and museums to visit during a trip to Strasbourg including the Gothic cathedral, where you will find over a century-old astrological clock, intricate carvings, and pink sandstone.

La Petite is a popular picturesque neighborhood in Strasbourg. It is one of the region’s top tourist magnets, attracting millions of travelers across the world. La Petite is a riverfront area known for its half-timbered homes, cozy cafes, and cobblestone streets. Strasbourg’s culture scene and artwork are rife with notable galleries such as Musee Alsacien and renowned theatres like Theatre national de Strasbourg.

Wine lovers travel to Strasbourg to enjoy cuisines and wines featuring both German and France flavors. Being one of France’s top wine-producing regions, Strasbourg has many wineries and breweries that offer free wine tasting and tours. Common local foods in the region include meat and vegetable stews, sausages, sauerkraut, and German noodles.

9. Marseille

Marseille is France’s second-largest city and one of Europe’s oldest cities. It is a major port city stretching along the southern Mediterranean coast of the country. Marseille is an ever-busy city with an idyllic climate, distinguished cultural venues, medieval architecture, and several industries and learning institutions.

Vieux Port is the oldest port in Marseille. There are two historic forts in Vieux Port and several bars, shops, and waterfront cafes. There is a watchtower at the end of Vieux Port harbor, where visitors can view fishers auctioning off their catch, ferry boats, and luxury yachts.

The Calanques is one of the top tourist attractions in Marseille. It comprises a series of small inlets with limestone cliffs and blue water. Marseille is a thriving region and home to numerous historic buildings and art galleries such as the Basilique Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. It is also home to numerous Théatres and opera houses, including Theatre Toursky.

BEST PLACES to visit in France Marseille

Port of Marseille – © Can Stock Photo / bloodua

10. Lyon

Lyon is located in east-central region and serves as the capital of the Rhone-Alpes region. It is France’s third-largest city, boasting a long history. Lyon is known for its vibrant cultural scene and historic architecture. The city comprises numerous neighborhoods, where each offers unique treasures.

The Croix-Rousse, for instance, is known for its hidden passageways, while Presquile is the center for the city’s clubs, bars, and restaurants. Head to Fourviere if you want to enjoy seeing Gothic churches and Roman ruins. End the trip with a visit to the beautiful Tete d’Or park in the Brotteaux district.

A trip to Lyon would be incomplete without touring Vieux Lyon, the historic center of Lyon city. It features renowned landmarks such as St. Jean Cathedral, Renaissance architecture, and cobblestone streets. You will also enjoy dining and shopping at various souvenir shops along Vieux Lyon streets. While Lyon is a vibrant city all year round, the annual Festival of Lights is a monumental event. It attracts over 4 million visitors from across the world.