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Places to visit in France

France has got a lot to offer. There’s no question about it. But how to choose from this wide range? We have created a little overview of the must-see places to visit in France.

Paris

A selection of the best tours in Paris, Eiffel Tower Prices, places to visit in Paris

Certainly, Paris the most visited place in France. The City of Lights invites everyone who is planning to do some sightseeing, those who are interested in culture, art and architecture as well as guests who just wish to go out and have a good time. The surrounding area around Paris should be mentioned. For example, you can go to Versailles and visit the breath-taking castle of the former French kings and its marvelous gardens. For those who feel like having a bit more action can visit Disneyland.

Champagne region

places to visit in FranceIn the Northeast of France, the Champagne region is most famous for its production of fine sparkling wine – the real Champagne. Wine lovers can visit vineyards and wine cellars or participate in wine and Champagne tastings.

Reims is one of the cities in the Champagne region with several monuments designated to the UNESCO world heritage, like its giant cathedral. Especially for those who are interested in medieval traces, the castles in the region are worth a visit, for example the Castle of Sedan.

On top of that, the landscape of the Champagne region is particularly charming because of its many lakes and forests, for example in the natural park Montage de Reims. There are even limestone caves tourists can visit.

NormandyMont Saint Michel, places to visit in France

Apart from beaches, cliffs and museums, you can visit Mont Saint-Michel – a small fortified town on a tidal island on the coast of Normandy. Don’t miss visiting the Abbey and the winding alley of the town below. Learn more about Mont Saint-Michel here.

Strasbourg

strasbourg, france in 15 days all inclusive, places to visit in FranceLocated in the region of Alsace, Strasbourg is the capital of Europe and seat of the European parliament with numerous museums. Besides, the Roman-gothic cathedral is one of its most important sights. The architecture of Strasbourg is particularly charming because of the great number of half-timbered houses of Alemannic and South German style. Since it there are two rivers, you can participate in a boat cruise to see all the monuments and sights. Especially in Christmas time, the center of Strasbourg enchants with its Christmas markets.

Loire Valley

This region captivates tourists with breath-taking landscapes, ancient castles and fortresses, old villages and impressive monuments. For example, you can visit the UNESCO-designated cathedral in Nantes. Learn more about travelling to Loire Valley here.Loire Valley 2 Days, loire valley private in 1 day, places to visit in France

Provence

Provence, Lavender, places to visit in FranceEspecially in summer, the Provence region in the south of France is worth a visit because of its amazing landscapes with olive trees and the fragrant lavender fields. The Provence region also has some wonderful cities. Marseille is the second biggest French city after Paris. Located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, it does not only offer culture but also magnificent beaches. If already in the Provence region, make sure you stop by Arles and Aix-en-Provence – two cities full of ancient Roman and medieval traces.

Lyon

lyon, france in 15 days all inclusive, places to visit in FranceLocated in the Southeast, Lyon is one of the best places to visit in France. It is the third biggest city of the country and its old town was designated to the UNESCO world heritage. Amongst other things, you can visit its religious buildings like the Saint-Jean Cathedral or the Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière.

Don’t miss the capital of French gastronomy! Great chefs like Paul Bocuse left their marks on the regional cuisine of Lyon. The small restaurants serving traditional regional dishes attract lovers of good food from all over the world. The regional food is simple but exquisite using the huge variety of cheese, fish, vegetables and fine wines from all around the city.

Bordeaux

bordeaux, bordeaux wine trip, places to visit in FranceBordeaux is probably most famous for the regional fine wine. It is the largest wine region in the world and offers a great deal of culinary delight. Besides, it is a university city and the political and intellectual center of the Southwest of France. The city has got a lot to offer – art, culture, museums and extraordinary architecture. Visitors are attracted by its impressive ecclesiastical buildings, for instance the Saint-André Cathedral.

French Riviera

The French Riviera is certainly one of the most important places to visit in France! It is a popular destination for both French and foreign tourists because of its magnificent beaches and cities, such as St-Tropez, Cannes or Nice.

Paris Day Trips, places to visit in France

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Loire Valley, french castles

Top 10 French Castles

Fond of the Middle Ages, their mysteries and monuments full of history? Also keen on kings and the way they left their mark on their time? Here is a top 10 French castles which will fulfil your curiosity about the most stunning French architectural creations.

 

Around Paris

Versailles Gardens, versailles, the gardens, french castles1. Versailles Palace

In order to avoid any rebellion against his reign, King Louis XIV built a magnificent castle in Versailles for his court and himself. They settled there from 1682, and the palace still is an important sign of the greatness of France. With its renowned Hall of Mirrors, King’s apartments, but also Palace of the Grand Trianon, Marie-Antoinette’s Estate and its sumptuous gardens, it is without a doubt an outstanding castle nobody should miss.

 

french castles2. Vaux le Vicomte Castle

Located in the south-east of Paris, this 17th century castle was designed by Nicolas Fouquet, in charge of Finance under the reign of Louis XIV. It was actually used as a model for the construction of the Château de Versailles, which already implies how beautiful this castle is. Don’t miss its French gardens designed by Le Nôtre, which will leave you as relaxed as admiring.

 

3. Fontainebleau Castle

Fontainebleau, french castles

Here is a castle which has known many different ages. Its construction probably began in the 12th century and it housed French Kings such as François Ier. With its classical, Renaissance, medieval but also Italian styles, it is a must-see near Paris, particularly because it is surrounded by a beautiful parc and the very popular Fontainebleau Forest.

 

4. Chantilly Castle

french castles

Originally a medieval fortress, then damaged during the French Revolution, this castle knew a great revival in the 1880’s thanks to the descendant of the last French King Louis-Philippe, the Duc d’Aumale. Full of its personal collections, it was left by the duc himself in 1885 to the Institute of France. It has now become the “Condé Museum” and is also surrounded by gorgeous French gardens designed by Le Nôtre.

 

In the Loire Valley

 

5. Chambord Castle

Loire Valley, Full Day, Guided Tour, visit paris and france, french castles

Our top 10 French Castles continues with the biggest castle of the Loire Valley: Chambord. It was built in the 16th century by King François Ier, who used to spend a lot of time there. The magnificence of its surroundings but also of its architecture, which is said to originate partly from De Vinci’s imagination, caused its registration at the UNESCO World Heritage in 1981.

 

6. Chenonceau Castle

Chenonceau, 5 days in france, france tourist attractions, french castles

This Renaissance castle, nicknamed the “Ladies’ castle”, housed many duchesses and queens such as Diane de Poitiers or Catherine de Medicis, who both have dedicated gardens there. Particularly known for its galleries on the Cher river, it is the second most visited castle just after Versailles, and its splendour tells us why.

 

7. Cheverny Castle

french castles

A heritage transmited through ages within the same family, this classical castle from the 17th century was the first to be opened to the public in 1922. It is a huge estate with a botanical garden, parks, doghouses and even a 3D museum about the “Moulinsart castle” used by Hergé in his Tintin cartoons.

 

8. Ussé Castlefrench castles

Also known as the “Sleeping Beauty Castle” because Charles Perrault took inspiration from it for his tale, its medieval and Renaissance style make it a very unique castle. Although private, it is open to public visits and its Le Nôtre gardens are as worth a visit as the stunning castle.

 

9. Villandry Castle

Villandry Castle, french castles

Registered in the UNESCO World Heritage, the great renown of this castle is mainly due to its gardens divided into 4 terraces : the sun garden, the water garden, the decoration garden and the vegetable garden. The last Renaissance castle built along the river Loire, the harmony of its estate makes it a must-see.

 

10. Blois Castle

french castles

Domicile of many French Kings it is also called the “Royal Castle.” This castle is an extraordinary exhibition of how the French architecture changed through the years. You can distinguish 4 styles from the “cour d’honneur”: medieval with the 13th century fortress, gothic with Louis 12’s wing, Renaissance with François Ier’s wing, and classic with Gaston d’Orleans’ wing. And don’t miss the monumental double helix staircase!

 

So if you liked this top 10 French Castles, what are you waiting for? Go satisfy your curiosity!

 

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The Paris attractions trips package is aimed at tourists coming for the first time to Paris and looking for Paris itineraries and top things to do in Paris. Book one of our Paris vacation packages to fully discover the city within your time and budget constraints., france tourist attractions

France Tourist Attractions You Should Visit

Want to visit France? Beyond the Paris and France tourist attractions you are already familiar with, such as the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Disneyland Paris, or the Château de Versailles, France is full of tourist attractions through its beautiful regions. Here is a short list.

1 – Futuroscope

futuroscope, amusement parks in Paris, france tourist attractions

Located in Chasseneuil-du-Poitou and in Jaunay-Clan, in the region Nouvelle-Aquitaine, the Futuroscope, with 1.9 million visitors per year, is a leisure park that offers scientific and technology-based attractions. Due to the diversity of the different ones, they are accessible to both adults and children.
You can experience sensorial attractions with realistic special effects, such as 3D and 4D (Ice Age attraction for instance) simulators, or get your adrenaline pumped up in training centers such as the Arena Fun Experiences, where you will test sports like the Flying Ball, and where you will experience sensational slides. More information here.

 

2 – The Castle of Chenonceau (Château de Chenonceau)

Chenonceau, 5 days in france, france tourist attractions

Wikimedia Commons

Among France tourist attractions, we can obviously find the Château de Chenonceau, one of the Loire castles. It is THE castle which can’t be missed during your visit of the valley of the Loire. It is the second most visited castle in France, after the Château de Versailles. Built in 1513, it is an emblematic castle which has known many personalities, like Catherine de Medicis. At ParisByM, we have designed a package “Loire Valley”, where the visit of this castle is included. More information about the castle here and about the package here.

 

3 – Colleville-sur-Mer American Cemetery (Omaha Beach)

American cemetery D Day Omaha beach, france tourist attractions

Each year, the Colleville-sur-Mer American Cemetery attracts numerous visitors who pay tribute to the graves of 9,387 US soldiers dead during Operation Overlord during the Normandy landings of June 6, 1944.

The cemetery is on the edge of Omaha Beach, there is a chapel, a garden, and you can attend the American Flag Descent and Folding ceremony, which takes place every day.
We have created for you a special itinerary American D-Day Tour here. More information here.

4 – The Mont-Saint-Michel

Mont Saint Michel, mont saint michel abbey, france tourist attractions

Who has never wanted to visit the Mont Saint Michel? This rock detached from the mainland facing the English Channel is above all a village, on which thrills the Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel, overhanging a huge bay, which offers you a magnificent view. It is a must, and it is only 2 hours from the landing beaches in Normandy ! You can plan your visit checking information here.

 

5 – Top 1 France tourist attractions in winter/spring: ski resorts in the Alps!

france tourist attractions

pixabay.com

If you are visiting France from December to May, it is essential that you go skiing on the Mont Blanc massif, where a wide choice of resorts is possible: Chamonix, Brévent, Les Houches, Planard … According to if you want skiing at altitude or in valley. A great opportunity to discover the French Alps. More information here.

 

 

 

6 – Gorges du Verdon (Verdon Gorge)

france tourist attractions

Wikimedia Commons

Located between the Var and the Alpes de Haute Provence, the Gorges du Verdon are part of the natural beauty of France. The turquoise color of the Verdon river will not leave you indifferent, and for the sportsmen and sportswomen, a little walk will make you discover the detail of these magnificent landscapes .. Learn more here.

 

 

7 – Provence: Arles

provence in 5 days, arles, france tourist attractions

Provence is one of the most visited regions of France. Aix-En-Provence, Avignon, the famous village of Baux-de-Provence, they all are a must see, but the Roman heritage of this region is not to be overlooked: come and visit Arles, the magnificent Roman city remains with its amphitheater, its ancient theater, the thermal baths of Constantin (les thermes de Constantin), or the cryptoportica. History lovers, the information is here.

 

 

 

We hope our France tourist attractions will help you to prepare your visit!

 

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Chenonceau Castle

Chenonceau Castle

The Chenonceau castle had in the past the same name of the region where it stands: Chenonceaux. However, Louise Dupin, owner of the castle in 18th century, changed its name removing the “x” of the name as a symbol of the French Revolution and as an approax to the people.

WHAT TO SEE?

As you may be wondering, this castle has a huge history in its backwards, and played a prominent role in the French history. Do you want to know why this castle is considered “the castle of the ladies?” Let´s take a look back to the history:

Chenonceau castle

Credit: ParisByM

A necessary mention about the castle is the fact that Diane de Poitiers, Duchess of  Valentinois and Étampes, had her residence in the building after the King Henry II gave it to her since she was his favourite secret lover.

In addition, Cataline of Medecis also lived within the big walls of the castle since she took over the management of the castle in the XVI century.

You also will be able to visit La chambre des cinq Reines, a bedroom where up to 5 queens and high rank ladies lived.

Back to its foundation, in 1431, Jean Marques ordered to re-built up the castle after King Charles IV “the Crazy” ordered to throw it down in 1411. However, the castle suffered many modifications and restorations as a result of that many other families lived in the castle during the history. Nevertheless, the building has been well preserved until our days.

In the castle, you will be able to find the bedroom where Diane lived, the work gabinet of Cataline of Medecis,  as well as contemplating the Renaissance style, modyfied and adapted by the most famous owners.

Chenonceau Castle

Credit: imagesdemarc

 

HOW TO EXPERIENCE?

Chenonceau castle

Credit: imagesdemarc

Discover all the history that this castle can tell, go for a walk around the beautiful and green gardens and appreciate the beatiful landmarks that this places offers.

The Diane of Poitiers garden, the Cataline of Medecis garden, and the Laberynth garden are one of the most important and beautiful gardens that you can find in the place, and why not? Around Loire Valley too.

In addition, near the castle you will be able to find a hot air balloon company, it is a good way of contemplating the beautiful landscapes that Chenonceaux region offers, BUT it is not the same company as the castle’s itself and may be really expensive.

Chenenceau castle

Credit: ParisByM

Last but not least, you also will be able to find a guided tour in the site, which is highly recommended to take. But if you prefer to go on your own way, you have also the chance of taking an audio guide of 40 minutes, or 90 minutes for the extended version, available in 11 languages. We recommend to take a guided tour since this castle is one of the most importants of France, as well as it shows a better way to understand some facts about the French history.

 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Hours: From 9am to 5/8 pm depending on the season.

Prices: Adults 12,50€. 9,50€ under 19 and students. Free under 7.

Access: By car or buss.

Additional sightseeings in the Loire Valley

Villandry Castle

Azay-Le-Rideau Castle

City of Amboise

Château: Azay Le Rideau, france in 5 days

Azay-Le-Rideau Castle

Built between 1518 and 1523 by Gilles Berthelot, which was at that time the Treasurer of the France´s Finances under the King Francis I, as well as mayor of the city of Tours;  the Azay-Le-Rideau castle inspires nowadays a new method of conceiving the beginning of the french Renaissance architecture.

Azay Le Rideau castle

Château d’Azay-le-Rideau
(Wikimedia Commons)

WHAT TO SEE?

Today, the Azay-Le-Rideau castle is owned by the Government and managed by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux.

It is one of the most popular castles in the Loire Valley region. In addition, it was declared World Heritage by the UNESCO in 2000.

Its structure is consolidated in the middle of the Indre river, on a small island of it. Its main fact is that the principle stair is located in the middle of the castle, being one of the first buildings to adquire this new perspective in its ages.

The castle itself contains both french and italian styles. You will be able to appreciate the italianized sculptural decorations, while the windows and the roof are purely french style.

Azay Le Rideau castle

Photo Credit: ParisByM

HOW TO EXPERIENCE IT?

Azay-Le-Rideau is a castle that presents you the opportunity of being in front of a gem of the Renaissance. The park is not that big, but tourists are usually spending an average of 1 hour and a half in the place. There is no best way to visit it, you can start your visit either with the park or the castle itself.

You can take a guided tour, which is available on site, but it is just in French language. However, you will have also the opportunity of taking an audio guide, available in English and also in French, among other languages.

Want to know more about the castle? Check out more here!

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

  • Hours: open from 9:30 am to 5 or 6 pm, depending on the season
  • Prices: Adults: 6,50€. Free under 18 and under 26 with a valid EU residence card.
  • Access: 19, rue Balzac, 37190 Azay-le-Rideau. Access only by car or guided tour.

Additional sightseeings in the Loire Valley

Villandry Castle

Chenonceau Castle

Clos Lucé Castle

 

Versailles palace

Palace of Versailles, castle and gardens

The  elaborate decoration of the palace of Versailles represents the royalty and majesty of French Kings. Today, the Versailles Palace is one of the most important Palace of the French History. Located just outside of Paris, the palace and its extraordinary domain are now a must-see attraction for every tourist coming to Paris for more than 2 days.

Palace of Versailles history

Versailles palace

The King Louis XIV – Credit: Wikipedia

In 1682, the French King Louis XIV decided to transfer the royal court and the French government from Paris to the city of Versailles (located in the southwest of Paris). The aims of this settlement were to host the French royalty, to be protected from any civil movement by keeping the powerful men of the court right under his nose, and to give an impressive visual representation of the power of the French monarchy to the whole world. Louis XIV decided to use a former hunting lodge of his father, the French King Louis XIII, to turn it into a magnificent palace.

 

Palace of Versailles

Credit: Wikipedia

And thus the palace of Versailles became a symbol of the majesty of French Kings. After the death of Louis XIV, all French Kings lived there. The out-broke of the French Revolution in 1789 forced the government to go back to Paris. In the 19th Century, it was turned into a museum of the History of France and many spaces in the palace became museum areas.

 

The domain of Versailles: the Palace, gardens and other places

Palace of Versailles

Galerie des glaces (Hall of mirros) – Credit: ParisByM

 

There are many areas to visit in the palace of Versailles. Inside the palace itself, you can visit the various living rooms of the King and the rest of the royalty members. The most impressive and unmissable place to see is the famous Hall of Mirrors. This massive corridor, which served as a ball room, displays not less than 357 mirrors reflecting the light of the sun entering from the huge 17 windows.

 

Palace of Versailles

Coach in the coach gallery – Credit: Official website of the Palace

 

It covers various spaces like the coach gallery that has reopened after 10 years of renovation. Outside of the palace, you can access three additional attractions: the gardens with its fountains, the palace of the Grand Trianon, and Queen Marie-Antoinette‘s estate.

 

Palace of Versailles

The Petit Trianon – Credit: ParisByM

 

The Estate of Marie Antoinette, also called “Petit Trianon”, was the private domain of Queen Marie-Antoinette, where she used to escape the gravity of the court by holding small parties and dinners and by playing at living a simple farmer’s life. She owned indeed a few sheep and other animals in this place.

 

Palace of Versailles

The Grand Trianon – Credit: Wikipedia

 

The Grand Trianon is a small side palace that Louis XIV had built to hide his love affairs with his mistresses. Built in marble and porphyry, it’s an exquisite example of the architect Mansard‘s talent.

 

Palace of Versailles

Gardens – Credit: ParisByM

Last but not least, the gardens are a wonderful place to wander. During spring and summer, they offer exceptional fountain and musical shows, “the musical waters” or “Grandes eaux musicales” on Tuesdays and weekends, when you can stroll from grove to bush at the sound of classical music while enjoying the numerous water fountains activity.  The “Musical Gardens” or “Jardins Musicaux”  offer the same nice walk at the sound of music but without the fountains. Moreover, the gardens are an excellent place if you want to have a nice walk and admire the architecture of the castle from the outside.

You can enjoy a group or private guided tour of the palace, the gardens and Marie-Antoinette’s estate as well.

How to get there by yourself

Palace of Versailles

The Chateau de Versailles station – Credit: Wikipedia

The Versailles Palace is located outside of Paris. That means that you will need to use transportation from Paris to suburbs if you want to get there by yourself. Several transports are available if you want to get there. If you are not going on a group or private trip organized from Paris, we recommend you use the fast train or a bus shuttle.

If you plan to take the fast train (called RER) use the line C and stop at the Versailles Rive Gauche station. The travel between this station and the Palace lasts 12 minutes.

Palace of Versailles

Red (Paris Montparnasse), Yellow (Paris Saint Lazare) – Credit: Google Maps

If you want to take the bus shuttle, there is a special bus that will take you from the Eiffel Tower to the palace of Versailles. Called the Versailles Express, it runs twice a day at 8am and 2pm from Tuesday to Sunday.

Other trains (not fast trains) can also take you to Versailles. We recommand this option if you are only near to the stations (Montparnasse & Saint Lazare).

 

  • From the station Paris Montparnasse stop at the station Versailles Chantiers.
  • From the station Paris Saint Lazare stop at the station Versailles Rive Droite.

 

Tips

Palace of Versailles

Credit: ParisByM

  • 1: at least 1 full day is necessary to visit the entire domain.
  • 2: If you do not have enough time to visit the entire domain, just go for the castle and the gardens, which you can see in approximately half a day.
  • 3: We advise you to go before 9 A.M (it opens at 10 A.M) because you will have less people in the castle. It is the same if you go after 4 P.M.

-> Do not try going on Tuesday or during the weekend, the attendance is very high!

  • 4: the gardens are open for free when the musical gardens or the musical waters are not on display.
  • 5: it is better to buy your tickets in advance. Even if you will have to do the security line, it will save you time as you will skip the first line.
  • 6: The Versailles passport will give you access to the entire domain with just one ticket, including the gardens on the days of the musical gardens and waters.

 

Plan your visit to the Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles closes on Monday.

There are several options to plan your visit to the Palace of Versailles. Below are the few we recommend.

Passport (Versailles Pass) – from €10

Book here
Buy the one day passport from €10 with / without show to get access to entire Versailles estate including the Palace & the gardens. There is an additional €15 when there is the musical fountain show and a €8 one when the show is not playing. It is definitely worth it if you visit Versailles the right day. Note that the access to gardens is not available when the musical shows are on. Do not forget adding this option when insert the passport into your cart.
You need your own transportation to Versailles (see how to get there) if you book the entrance only.

Shuttle & ticket – €53

Book here
Reach Versailles from central Paris with this shuttle that will allow you a half day visit of the Palace of Versailles and the gardens. The entrance tickets are included in the price. This solution is the easiest one to get a quick overview of Versailles. It does not include a guide tour.

Train & ticket – €69

Book here
Reach Versailles by train and feel free to spend as much time as you want. The train tickets will be provided at your hotel. You will be on your own and not part of a big group. This is how we recommend you to visit Versailles.

 Complete tour – €99

Book here
This tour is the most comprehensive one. You will access a tour of the entire Palace of Versailles. You can choose to do the tour on the morning or the afternoon. You will be picked up from your hotel to Versailles (if your hotel is located in the center of Paris). Note that it is available for a group of eight person.

Other options

Here

Find other options to visit the Palace of Versailles from Paris, that include private tours and visit, private transport, helicopter trips and much more.

Additional information

Here

For further information go on the Official website of the Palace of Versailles

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