The country of France is like a dream, impressing the realists with its contemporary yet progressive styling and delighting the romantically inclined with picture-perfect villages, fairy-tale castles, and soaring cathedrals. You can peruse the streets of Paris to enjoy the delights of the Eiffel Tower, or witness some famous masterpieces when you venture to Louvre Museum. The elegant Palace of Versailles is also fun to explore and you should definitely save some time for enjoying leisurely gourmet meals. It is not just about Paris, though, as every region of France boasts its own distinctive cuisines and culture.
Visit the cozy chalets within the French Alps, where charcuterie and cheese-based fondues are an indulgence, or check out the quaint fishing villages in Brittany that specialize in crepes and seafood. Some of the irresistible charms that the country of France has to offer include:
- Paris: Musee de Louvre
The most visited museum in the world, the Musee de Louvre is nothing less than an artistic dream. Even its main entranceway is a sight to behold, but there is not much time to linger over the glassy pyramid, as the inside houses the most ethereal collection of art in the world. You can see everything from Leonardo’s Mona Lisa and Egyptian mummies to the Venus de Milo and Code of Hammurabi. The museum has managed to maintain the beauty and vastness of the human mind while enduring the centuries-old social and political transformations of France. All of this can be seen under a single roof, which has made the museum a potent symbol of French sensitivity and finesse.
- Paris: Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel)
As a way to commemorate the centennial celebration of the French revolution, the Eiffel Tower was built in 1889. A company by the acclaimed bridge builder, Gustave Eiffel made the most-visited paid monument in the world. The tower can be seen twinkling with millions of multi-colored lights from the Champs de Mars, making it a popular spot for marriage proposals.
- Versailles: Versailles Palace
Back in 1682, Louis XIV decided to relocate to the court of Versailles and it turned out to be a good decision. The royal apartments, the intimacy of the furnishings, the amazing Hall of Mirrors and the glittering decorations of the bedroom are all fit for a king. The quintessential landscaping and the manicured lawns are also ideally suited to a fairytale. It functions as one of the primary tourist attractions in France and is considered a symbol of unconditional monarchy.
- Chartres: Cathedrale de Chartres
A symbol of French Gothic art, the Cathedrale de Chartres has beautiful soaring spires, porches adorned with detailed sculptures and stained-glass windows dating as far back as the 12th and 13th centuries. Most of the town of Chartres was destroyed by fire in 1134, but the Cathedral survived miraculously and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and major pilgrimage destination in 1979. It is regarded as one of the best examples of French architecture.
- Mont Saint-Michelle: Abbaye du Mont Saint-Michel
A legendary abbey, the Abbaye du Mont Saint-Michel lies on the border between Normandy and Brittany. It brings together the forces of nature and medieval architecture. The abbey sits atop a tidal island and was given the status of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1979. It is also considered a symbol of the French resistance during the Hundred Years’ War against the English.
There is a picturesque Middle Ages village within the fortified walls, which has been flourishing since the 11th century. During low tide, it was easily accessible to the pilgrims because it was just 600 meters from land. The Mont had been converted into a prison during Louis XI’s reign, though now it is considered one of the most visited tourist attractions in France.
- Paris: Notre Dame Cathedral
In 1831, after the publication of Victor Hugo’s novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the Notre Dame Cathedral had gained a lot of popularity. Nonetheless, the church is a great reflection of the prestige of the capital city with its rose-colored stained glass windows, ornate spires, sizable lofty archways, ribbed vaults, flying buttresses and the indispensable Gargoyles. Every visitor in Paris should definitely check out the Notre Dame de Paris.
- The Loire Valley
Making its way throughout the valley’s rolling hills is the River Loire that twists and turns. It is a naturally soothing spectacle that sets the stage for something similar to heaven on earth. This beautiful area of grandiose vineyards and blooming flowers is dotted with more than 1,000 elaborate chateaus on both sides. The valley has also received recognition from UNESCO and you will certainly agree once you see it.
- Nîmes: Arenes de Nîmes
For almost 2,000 years, the city of Nîmes has been dominated by this arena and it is the best-preserved Roman amphitheater. Thanks to the perfection seen in Roman engineering, you can still witness events staged in the amphitheater, including popular theatrical and musical concerts, along with bullfights. The entire area appears to be a haven of antiquity, as it is close to the Ponte du Gard and the Principality of Orange.
- Reims: Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Reims
A wonderful display of royal history and architectural artistry, the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Reims gives you the chance to witness a representation of Gothic elements in unity, harmony and remarkable balance. In terms of ornamentation and sculpting, it may not come close to the Cathedral in Chartres, but it still remains quite unique and impressive. The subtle contrast between realism and formal classism may not be so obvious to the layman, but the grandness of the cathedral leaves a lasting impression. Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Reims Cathedral ended up being on the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites back in 1991.
You can take advantage of the best of these French attractions and take in the culture, architecture and history of the European country when you decide to visit it.