Places To Go
With its outstanding history, culture, architecture, museums, castles, gastronomy, iconic landmarks and landscapes, France has long been the world’s most visited country with over 80 million arrivals every year. The French “Art de vivre” (quality of life) has seduced tourists from over the world who come to France to eat croissants in boulangeries, shop its high-end fashion stores and drink a coffee on a Parisian terrace. Its coasts and mountains also offer a lot of outdoor activities and adventures throughout the year.
France's capital, is a major European city and a global center for art, fashion, gastronomy and culture. Its 19th-century cityscape is crisscrossed by wide boulevards and the River Seine. Beyond such landmarks as the Eiffel Tower and the 12th-century, Gothic Notre-Dame cathedral, the city is known for its café culture and designer boutiques along the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
Capital of the Alpes-Maritimes department on the French Riviera, sits on the pebbly shores of the Baie des Anges. Founded by the Greeks and later a retreat for 19th-century European elite, the city has also long attracted artists. Former resident Henri Matisse is honored with a career-spanning collection of paintings at Musée Matisse. Musée Marc Chagall features some of its namesake's major religious works.
The French Riviera (or Côte d'Azur)
The French Rivera is the Mediterranean coast of southeastern France. It includes famously glamorous beach resorts such as Saint-Tropez and Cannes, and the independent microstate of Monaco. A health retreat in the 18th century, the area later attracted aristocrats, artists and the 1960s "jet set." Today it’s an established holiday destination, with paths connecting many coastal villages and towns.
A port city in southern France, has been a crossroads of immigration and trade since its founding by the Greeks circa 600 B.C. At its heart is the Vieux-Port (Old Port), where fishmongers sell their catch along the boat-lined quay. Basilique Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde is a Romanesque-Byzantine church. Modern landmarks include Le Corbusier’s influential Cité Radieuse complex and Zaha Hadid’s CMA CGM Tower.
The capital city in France’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, sits at the junction of the Rhône and Saône rivers. Its center reflects 2,000 years of history from the Roman Amphithéâtre des Trois Gaules, medieval and Renaissance architecture in Vieux (Old) Lyon, to the modern Confluence district on Presqu'île peninsula. Traboules, covered passageways between buildings, connect Vieux Lyon and La Croix-Rousse hill.
Usually shortened to Chamonix is a resort area near the junction of France, Switzerland and Italy. At the base of Mont Blanc, the highest summit in the Alps, it's renowned for its skiing. Year-round, cable cars take visitors up to several nearby peaks with panoramic views, including Aiguille du Midi above town, and Pointe Helbronner, across vast glacier fields on the Italian border.
A university town between France's Cher and Loire rivers. Once a Gallic-Roman settlement, today it's a university town and a traditional gateway for exploring the chateaux of the Loire Valley region. Major landmarks include the cathedral, Saint-Gatien, whose flamboyant Gothic façade is flanked by towers with 12th-century bases and Renaissance tops.
The capital city of the Grand Est region, formerly Alsace, in northeastern France. It's also the formal seat of the European Parliament and sits near the German border, with culture and architecture blending German and French influences. Its Gothic Cathédrale Notre-Dame features daily shows from its astronomical clock and sweeping views of the Rhine River from partway up its 142m spire.
Hub of the famed wine-growing region, is a port city on the Garonne River in southwestern France. It’s known for its Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André, 18th- to 19th-century mansions and notable art museums such as the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux. Public gardens line the curving river quays. The grand Place de la Bourse, centered on the Three Graces fountain, overlooks the Miroir d’Eau reflecting pool.