There are hundreds of gorgeous little French villages, historic cities, off the beaten track beauties and iconic landmarks. We look at ten of the most unmissable places in France …
Our tour de France wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention the birthplace of bubbly in the list of the best things to do. The Champagne region, which lies about 1.5 hours from Paris in the north-eastern part of France, is a must-visit destination for anyone who appreciates wine. Viewing the setting sun over rolling vineyards and a dreamy landscape is more than enough reason to visit the region. It is possible to tour one of the Champagne houses if you wish to learn more about Champagne – an unforgettable experience.
Gorges du Verdon
Why not visit the French equivalent of the Grand Canyon! Found in France’s south-eastern region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur the Gorges du Verdon, a 700 metres deep landmark is a must-see. The largest limestone canyon in Europe, carved by the Verdon River. A big attraction for those who love adrenaline-styled water sports and activities.
Visit the stunning Mediterranean island Corsica, and you will soon forget that you’re on French land. Sitting between Italy and France, this island celebrates the best of each culture. The island is famous as the birthplace of Napoleon. And it is easy to see why it is known as the island of beauty. The stylish coastal towns, pristine forests, and rocky peaks are wild, unspoiled and beautiful. There are around 1,000 kilometres of picturesque turquoise coastline to explore, plus Corsica is a hotbed for scuba diving and snorkelling. If activities are not your thing and you want to relax, the pristine sandy beaches are irresistible.
Provence is one of the most beautiful destinations in France especially for its seemingly endless expanse of lavender farms. The area is almost completely covered with aromatic crops during the summer. The Valensole Plateau, the Sault Plateau, and the Luberon Valley are among the most beautiful places to visit. For a photo that captures the beauty of Provence perfectly, nothing beats the flower meadows surrounding the Notre-Dame de Sénanque Abbey. Every June and July, tucked away in the peaceful countryside near Gordes, the beautiful 12th-century church is bathed in purple hues.
Dune du Pilat
The top of the Dune du Pilat, Bordeuax, which boasts stunning 360-degree panoramic views of the region, is a must-see for nature lovers. The breath-taking natural wonder, which is one of the most well-known sites in France, is located in La Teste-de-Buch on the Arcachon Bay coast. Every year, over one million people come to climb to the top and stroll along the 2.7km ridge.
The wonderful hilltop hamlet of Rocamadour is France’s second most visited attraction, after Mont-Saint-Michel. The sacred village perched high on a limestone cliff overlooking the Alzou canyon in the Dordogne region is nothing short of spectacular. The UNESCO-protected mediaeval town was once a notable pilgrimage site renowned for its religious buildings. A famous statue known as the Black Madonna, which dates from the 15th century, is housed in the Chapel of Notre Dame.
Mont Saint-Michel is a magnificent mediaeval monastery perched on an island 600 metres off the coast of Normandy. The stunning ancient building looks like something from a fairy tale. The sheer natural beauty of this ancient city is enhanced by the tiny, twisting lanes and picturesque timber-framed homes that climb up to it.
It is the world’s largest volcanic ensemble and a prehistoric-era relic nestled within the heart of central France. There are four volcanic massifs in the park which cover 395,000 hectares. As the highest volcano in the region, the Puy de Dôme stands at an altitude of 1,465 metres. There are thousands of visitors from around the world who come to see these long-dormant sleeping giants. Hot-air ballooning, cycling, and hiking are popular on the peaks.
There are many opportunities in Saint-Tropez for you to immerse yourself in the luxury lifestyle the town is famous for. Along the French Riviera, this gorgeous resort is home to countless designer boutiques, immaculate beaches, and yacht-hopping celebrities. It originally started out as a sleepy fishing village but was transformed into a luxury resort in the late 19th-century with the arrival of artists such as Paul Signac and Albert Marquet.
The Loire Valley
Formerly the home of French royalty and nobility, the Loire Valley is known as the garden of France. It is one of France’s most iconic tourist destinations today and a UNESCO-lisetd World Heritage Site. Castles date back to the 9th century, but the Renaissance castles are the most famous like Chambord and Chenonceau. There are more than 300 elaborate chateaux open to the public, and each has a different story to tell.