What are the Top Visitor Sites in France?
There's a host of fantastic visitor attractions in France to explore and among those consistently voted as the most popular include Notre Dame, Mont Saint-Michel, the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles and the battlefields of the First World War.
And when it comes to the sights, there’s simply loads to do – meaning it’s a challenge to select a list of just the top ten places to visit in France.
But if you are seeking inspiration, then our selection of the top ten sights in France will get you started. We’ve included some of the most famous tourist attractions in France as well as a couple you may not have heard of. Take a look at our top 10 tourist attractions in France list and also our deeper list of sites in France.
If you’re looking for a beautiful backdrop then this is hard to beat. A medieval town perched atop an imposing rocky outcrop in Normandy, Mont Saint-Michel is one of the top attractions in France and contains, amongst other things, a stunning Romanesque Abbey, medieval church and historic battlements. Be warned however that the steep climb to Abbey is pretty darn demanding…
2. Nimes Arena
Not a standard entry on a list of France’s top tourist attractions, we think Nimes Arena deserves to be here every time. What is probably the best preserved Roman amphitheatre in the world – better even than Rome’s Colosseum – Nimes Arena really gives you an idea of what it would have been like for Roman spectators. It includes an interactive audio guide and some detailed exhibits to really bring the experience to life.
Boasting a fairy-tale-like appearance and a history dating back to before the Roman era, Carcassonne is a picturesque fortified town in France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region. There’s a heap of great attractions to explore in Carcassonne, not least of which are the incredible double fortified 3km walls which boasts 52 separate towers.
4. Pont du Gard
It’s sometimes easy to forget that France was a crucial part of the Roman Empire for hundreds of years, and indeed France’s Roman heritage is often forgotten from lists of major tourist attractions. And quite frankly that’s a shame, as France boasts some of the best Roman sites in the world. Among the most arresting of these is Pont du Gard, a wondrous and iconic ancient bridge and aqueduct which is now a spectacular sight to visit.
One of the best known tourist attractions in France, few places better showcase the opulence and grandeur of the French monarchy better than the Palace of Versailles. There’s a huge amount to see here, from stunning architecture to fabulous furniture, art and antiques and of course the magnificent gardens. Audio headsets are available as are guided tours – probably a good idea given the sheer scale of the place.
A sombre reflection of a terrible conflict, the World War One battlefields are among the most frequented tourist destinations in France. From the trenches of the Somme to the solemn cemeteries and memorials and through to the museums which tell the story of this sad time, these places remain a startling reminder of a history that should not be forgotten.
One of the best known major visitor attractions in France, the Louvre contains world-famous art, sculpture and artefacts from periods spanning over 2,000 years of history. Indeed, the very building itself is a 12th century fort turned medieval palace! The truth is that there’s simply so much to see you’ll never stand a chance of seeing it in a day, so better just to plan out those elements you wish to explore and keep it on your bucket list for another visit.
Included on every top 10 list of visitor attractions in France, the Eiffel Tower dominates the Parisian skyline and attracts thousands of tourists every day. This vast iron monument was completed in 1889 based on the designs of engineer Gustave Eiffel, and is one of the world’s most iconic landmarks. The most extensive views can be found on the Tower’s 3rd level at 276m, which has its own separate lift from the second floor.
9. D-Day Sites
Scene of one of the largest and most crucial wartime operations in history, the Normandy beaches and other D-Day sights are among the top tourist attractions of France. Visitors can explore the beaches themselves, museums examining the history of D-Day as well as the locations of operations by Special Forces and airborne troops. While you’re in the area, take the time to visit the Bayeux Tapestry, and check out the history of an invasion which went the other way!
France is home to some of the most fascinating prehistoric locations in the world and among the most visited of these ageless attractions is Grotte de Font de Gaume. A prehistoric cave in Les Eyzies, Grotte de Font de Gaume contains a series of fascinating wall paintings from this period and forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage of the Vezere Valley and its many prehistoric caves.
If that’s whetted your appetite for all things French explor our full list and map of France’s tourist attractions.