France is a large country, and it’s full of sites that can’t be missed when traveling abroad. This list will take you from one end of the country to the other, but every stop is worth the extra travel. Give yourself a healthy amount of time to adventure through and truly get to know this one-of-a-kind, culturally rich country.
Most overseas travelers choose Paris as their first stop in France, and it’s no wonder why. Most of the country’s top sites are located right there in the city. The first site in France that you should visit is the Eiffel Tower. You can make your way all the way to the top to take in awe-inspiring views of the city as far as the eye can see.
The Louvre is the world’s largest art museum, and it’s also a former historic palace in Paris. It’s also the world’s most frequently visited art museum. It houses works such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting, the Winged Victory of Samothrace statue, and the famous Venus de Milo.
This medieval Catholic cathedral is the most famous of the Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages. It is also the most visited monument in France! It’s distinguished for its size, stained glass, and antiquity, and is overall architecturally stunning. Although it continues to serve as a Catholic place of worship, it still houses 13 million visitors each year. You can go and tour it any time that it’s open.
If you’re traveling with the whole family, Disneyland Paris is not a place you’d want to miss. It’s the most visited theme park in all of Europe, and it sits just outside the Paris city center. The resort includes two theme parks, seven Disney-themed hotels, two convention centers, a 27-hole golf course, and Disney Village, a large entertainment complex. This park could be an entire vacation all in itself.
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles is a royal chateau from which King Louis the XIII and those who came after him ruled. This palace was used for the royal family until the French Revolution, from which the Palace miraculously escaped destruction. It is now a museum in which you can go and tour.
Arc de Triomphe
Another historical site, the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile is another very famous monument in Paris. It sits at the end of the Champs-Élysées at the center of the Place Charles de Gaulle. The triumphal arch was erected to honor those who fought for France during the Napoleonic Wars. Engraved on the inside and on the top of the arch are all the names of the generals and of the wars fought.
Also called the “Wonder of the West,” Mont Saint-Michel is a Gothic style Benedictine abbey that sits perched on a rocky islet between Normandy and Brittany. A small village lives within its walls, and it’s an intriguing place to visit if you’re willing to step outside of Paris.
Château de Chambord
Located in Chambord, France, the Château de Chambord is one of the most recognizable chateaux in the world. It blends French architecture with that of medieval and Renaissance styles. It was originally built to serve as a hunting lodge for Francis I, and it’s thought that Leonardo da Vinci may have even been involved in the design. If you can’t make it out to Chambord, you can view some of the artworks from the Château in the Louvre.
Pont du Gard
The Pont du Gard is an ancient Roman aqueduct in southern France. It crosses the Gardon River, and it is part of the aqueduct built around 20 BC. It was used to transport water over 50 kilometers to the city of Nîmes. Today, visitors come from all over to see the three-level, almost 50-meter-high, artistic masterpiece that it is.
On the southeastern coast of France, on the Mediterranean, there is a famous beach that hosts many trendy resorts – the French Riviera. It was once a health retreat for aristocrats and artists, but is now a popular holiday destination that connects different coastal villages and towns.
If you have the proper time and the inspiration to visit more areas of France, you’ll find that there’s so much more to see than you could have imagined. Paris is a convenient location to go and see most of the sites France has to offer, but it’s on the outskirts and coasts that you’ll find the rest. No matter your reason for going, it’s important to learn all you can about this country while visiting. You won’t want to miss any details!
Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AArc_de_Triomphe%2C_2_August_2015_002.jpg