When we talk about cities in France, the first city that comes to mind for many people is of course Paris. The capital of the country, the ‘City of Love’ is a famous destination for tourists from all around the world, but France has plenty of lovely places to visit besides Paris, including these 10 beautiful cities.
OK so Paris is still on the list, but the romantic city boasts several famous landmarks which are all worthy of a visit, so it would be rude to not include it! Wandering through the elegant Parisian streets, visiting the Eiffel Tower, stopping by the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe. The city has so many charms, it might be big and touristic but we will always love it.
Located on the coast of the Gulf of Lion (part of the Mediterranean Sea) and near the mouth of the River Rhône, Marseille is France’s second largest city. An impressive combination of bustling city, gorgeous architecture and delicious food, the city also has a charming port which is worth exploring, whilst its proximity to the coast means you can also enjoy water activities like sailing or diving.
Strasbourg is the capital of the historical and cultural region of Alsace. Strasbourg’s historic city center the Grande Île was classified a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, and the most popular tourist attractions of the city are Le petite France, Strasbourg Cathedral and Place du Marché aux Cochons de Lait. The city has many beautiful places to visit and wandering along the narrow streets or the river is a lovely past time.
Nice is the seventh most populous urban area in France and the capital of the Alpes-Maritimes department. The city is popular with tourists thanks to its many picturesque attractions, from its stylish architecture and quaint old town to its great restaurants and museums. The stretching beach just serves to make the city that bit grander, with the Promenade des Anglais running 7km along the seafront, the ideal place for a daytime or evening stroll.
Lyon is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. The city is the gastronomic capital of France, famous for its Bouchons (traditional Lyonnais restaurant) and the flavourful dishes they serve. Any visit here should include trying some local food and wine or learning about the traditions of the Lyonnais cuisine. The city has two rivers running through it, the Rhône and the Saône, as well as beautiful architecture and various neigbourhoods such as the incredible Old Town, each unique in their own way. An evening walk along the river is an essential, after all it isn’t known as the City of Lights for nothing!
Nantes is the sixth-largest city in France and sits on the River Loire in the Loire-Atlantique department, just 50 km from the Atlantic coast. Nantes is a good destination for the holiday that offers you much. The city has a long history as a port and industrial center and is home to the restored Medieval Château des Ducs de Bretagne, where the Dukes of Brittany once lived. The castle is now a local history museum with multimedia exhibits and is worth adding to you holiday itinerary.
Bordeaux is the second most visited city in France after Paris. Many will know the name thanks to the popular wines produced in the region, but it is also an international tourist destination due to its architectural and cultural heritage, boasting more than 350 historic monuments. A must-see on the attractions list is the grand Place de la Bourse, centered on the Three Graces fountain, which overlooks the Miroir d’Eau reflecting pool.
Annecy is an alpine town in eastern France where Lake Annecy feeds into the Thiou River. The cute cobbled streets, winding canals and pastel-colored houses make for an idyllic scenery which has earned the place its nickname ofVenice of the Alps. The medieval Château d’Annecy, once home to the Counts of Geneva, overlooks the city and contains a museum with regional artefacts such as Alpine furniture and religious art, as well as a natural history exhibit.
Tours is a French city located between the River Cher and River Loire. Famous for its food, wine and markets, there are many beautiful places to visit here. Château de Chambord, Château de Chenonceau, Château d’Amboise and Saint-Gatien Cathedral are worth a visit, among others, and there are also some great museums.
Avignon is located in southeastern France’s Provence region and sits on the banks of the River Rhône. From 1309 to 1377 the city was the seat of the Catholic popes, and the historic centre still has the Palais des Papes, as well as an impressive cathedral and of course the famous Medieval Pont d’Avignon, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. The medieval monuments and the annual Festival d’Avignon have helped to make Avigno the major centre for tourism that it is today.