Historic sites in France

If you’re looking to discover historic sites in France then there's a wealth of amazing attractions to explore. From stunning roman ruins and medieval fortresses to World War battlefields and beyond, there’s a staggering array of historic sites in France, deriving from a history filled with everything from bloody conquests to ostentatious royalty and ecclesiastical grandeur.

You can explore the France historic sites search map above or browse our list of historic sites in France below, then plan some great things to see on your trips. Once you’ve browsed the historical sites of France, use our itinerary planner tool to plan your France history tour, then print off a free pocket guidebook which you can use when visiting your favourite historical places in France. Our database of France's historic sites is growing all the time, but we may not cover them all. If you know of other historic sites in France, you can always add them to Trip Historic now by visiting our upload page.

Top Historic Destinations in France: Historic Sites in Paris | Historic Sites in Reims | Historic Sites in Marseille | Historic Sites in Lyon | Historic Sites in Arles | Historic Sites in Nimes |

Historical sites in France: Regional Index

France: Editor's Picks

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1. Palace of Versailles

Few historic sites in France showcase the opulence and grandeur of King Louis XIV as the Palace of Versailles, once the residence of this famous monarch and former seat of the French Government.

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2. Mont Saint-Michel

An imposing rocky outcrop in Normandy, Mont Saint-Michel is the site of a stunning Romanesque Abbey, medieval church and historic battlements. It is one of the more picturesque historic sites in France.

Photo by Wolfgang Staudt (cc)

3. Nimes Arena

Nimes Arena is amongst the best preserved Roman historic sites in France, if not the world and is arguably better preserved than even the Colosseum in Rome.

Photo by Historvius

4. Somme battlefields

The Somme battlefields are one of the most tragic historic sites in France. They are made up of a series of sites where the Battle of the Somme was fought during World War I.

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5. Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral is a gothic cathedral originally built in the 12th century in Paris and one of the most iconic historic sites in France.

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6. The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower in Paris is on pretty much any list of top attractions in France. This vast iron monument was completed in 1889 and one of the world’s most iconic landmarks.

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7. Abbaye Saint-Victor

Marseille is home to many medieval historic sites in France including Abbaye Saint-Victor, an 11th century abbey with a fascinating crypt.

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8. Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a fortified town in France with a history dating back to before the Roman era. It is one of the UNESCO listed historic sites of France.

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9. La Maison Carrée

The Maison Carrée in Nîmes is a staggeringly well preserved Roman temple, and one of the best-preserved examples of Roman historic sites in France or anywhere in the world.

Photo by Historvius

10. The Catacombs of Paris

Among the creepier historic sites in France are the Paris Catacombs, a set of underground quarries housing around six million human skeletons dating back to the 18th century.

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11. Chateau d’If

Chateau d’If was a sixteenth century island fortress turned notorious prison. Like many historic sites in France and around the world, it is the setting for a novel, in this instance The Count of Monte Cristo.

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12. Grotte de Font de Gaume

One of several prehistoric sites in France granted World Heritage status, Grotte de Font de Gaume is a prehistoric cave in Les Eyzies containing a series of paintings from this period.

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13. Schoenenbourg Maginot Line fort

The Schoenenbourg Maginot Line fort was one of a network of forts built on the French-German border after World War I. It is among the most fascinating military historic attractions in France.

Photo by Historvius

14. Arc de Triomphe

This iconic 19th century Parisian landmark commemorates those who fought for the nation and is one of the top landmarks in France.

France: Site Index

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Abbaye aux Hommes

The Abbaye aux Hommes is an 11th century Romanesque abbey church in Caen, Normandy, known for being William the Conqueror’s gravesite.

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Agincourt Battlefield

Agincourt Battlefield is one of the most famous historic sites in France relating to the Hundred Years’ War, when it was the site of an important English victory over the French.

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Aisne-Marne American Cemetery

This is a US World War I cemetery and the site of the Battle of Belleau Wood. It is one of many historic places in France commemorating this period in history.

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Alesia

Amongst the most important Roman historic sites in France is Alesia, the place where Julius Caesar defeated the Gauls in 52 BC.

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Ambrussum

A ruin of a Roman village where the Via Domitia crossed teh Vidourle River between present-day Nimes and Montpellier

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Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls

Whilst not the best preserved of historical sites in France, the Amphitheatre of the Three Gauls was a 1st century Roman amphitheatre in Lyon.

Arch of Germanicus

The Arch of Germanicus was built in 19AD to honour Emperor Tiberius, his son Drusus and his adopted son Germanicus. It is one of the many historic sites in France dating to the Roman period.

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Arenes de Lutece

One of the lesser known but relatively important historic sites in France is Arenes de Lutece, an ancient Roman amphitheatre in Paris. Sadly, it is not as well preserved as other such sites.

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Arles Amphitheatre

Arles Amphitheatre is a UNESCO listed Roman built sports arena and among the best preserved historic sites in France from this period. In fact, it is still in use today.

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Arles Archaeological Museum

The Arles Archaeological Museum houses an extensive collection of prehistoric and Ancient Roman artefacts, particularly from historical sites in France located in this region.

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Arles Roman Theatre

Arles Roman Theatre is one of many historic sites in France constructed during the reign of the Emperor Augustus.

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Autun Cathedral

Autun Cathedral is a medieval church renowned for its decorations by famous French sculptor, Gislebertus.

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Avenue des Champs Elysees

The Avenue des Champs Elysees is a famous Parisian route dating back to the 17th century and one of the most popular tourist sites in France.

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Barbegal Aqueduct and Mill

The remains of a milling complex described as "the greatest known concentration of mechanical power in the ancient world" and remnants of the aqueduct that carried water to nearby Arles.

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Basilica of St Denis

The Basilica of St Denis was the site where French monarchs were buried until the French Revolution and a stunning example of the ecclesiastical historic sites in France.

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Basilica of St Sernin

The Basilica of St Sernin in Toulouse is a medieval church on a famous pilgrimage route and among the illustrious list of UNESCO-listed historic sites in France.

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Basilique Notre-Dame de Fouviere

Basilique Notre-Dame de Fouviere is an iconic 19th century basilica in Lyon.

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Battle of Normandy Memorial Museum

The Battle of Normandy Memorial Museum traces the events of this famous World War II battle and is a good place to discover the background of many of the historic sites in France relating to this historic episode.

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Big Red One Assault Museum

The Big Red One Assault Museum looks at the history of the US First Infantry Division in this conflict and is one of many World War II historic sites in France located in Normandy.

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Bordeaux Amphitheatre

These spectacular ruins are all that remain of what was once a grand amphitheatre; the centre of entertainment in a bustling Roman town.

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Chateau de Chambord

Chateau de Chambord is a beautiful French Renaissance palace situated on the Loire river, which is now one of France’s most popular historic homes.

Chateau de Laas

Château de Laàs is a 17th century stately home with a Napoleonic collection.

Chateau de Malmaison

Chateau de Malmaison was once the home of Napoleon Bonaparte. It is among the tourist sites in France located near Paris.

Chateau de Pirou

One of the oldest Norman castles in existence, the Chateau de Pirou is picturesque, small and yet well-fortified.

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Chateau-Thierry American Monument

The Chateau-Thierry American Monument is an American memorial and one of the best known commemorative World War I historic sites in France.

Cimetière Chinois de Nolette

Cimetière Chinois de Nolette is among the lesser known World War I commemorative historic sites in France and stands in honour the Chinese workers who contributed to the war effort.

Cimiez Roman Ruins

The Cimiez Roman Ruins are remnants of the ancient Roman city of Cemenelum.

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Constantine Baths - Arles

The Constantine Baths in Arles are a good example of the Roman historic attractions in France. Built in the 4th century, they remain well preserved.

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Crypte Archeologique - Paris

The Crypte Archeologique is a subterranean museum housing the remains of Gallo-Roman Paris. It is a fascinating place yet among the more hidden historic sites in France.

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Douaumont Ossuary

One of the more imposing monuments in France is the Douaumont Ossuary, which commemorates fallen soldiers from the Battle of Verdun. It holds the bones of 130,000 French and German soldiers.

Dunkirk Cemetery and Memorial

The Dunkirk Cemetery and Memorial commemorate the commonwealth troops that fought there in both World Wars.

Dunkirk War Museum

The Dunkirk War Museum tells the story of the famous World War II allied evacuation of Dunkirk and offers a good introduction to the historic sites in France relating to this famous event.

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Etaples Military Cemetery

The Etaples Military Cemetery is a commonwealth cemetery built on the former site of a WW1 military hospital.

Fecamp Abbey

Fecamp Abbey played a vital role in William the Conqueror's story.

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Fort Douaumont

Fort Douaumont was one of the strongest, most state of the art forts in France at the time of the First World War. Like many historic places in France, it was destroyed during World War I, in the Battle of Verdun.

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Fort Saint Jean

This 17th century fort in Marseille was later used as a prison during the French Revolution. It is among the defensive historic sites in France found in this area.

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Fort Saint Nicholas

Fort Saint Nicholas was built in the 17th century to quell an uprising in Marseille.

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Fort Vaux

Fort Vaux was a 19th century fortress and one of the historical sites in France occupied by the Germans in the Battle of Verdun.

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Glanum

Glanum is an extensive archaeological site of a former Roman settlement near Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. It is one of the ancient historic sites of France.

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Gold Beach Museum

The Gold Beach Museum tells the story of one of the D-Day Landings.

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Grand Roman Theatre of Lyon

One of several Roman historic sites in France located here, The Grand Roman Theatre of Lyon dates back to the late 1st century BC.

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Grotte des Combarelles

Grotte des Combarelles is a cave in southwest France with prehistoric paintings.

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Historial de la Grande Guerre

For things to see in France relating to the social effects of World War I, Historial de la Grande Guerre is a museum near the site of the Battle of the Somme which looks at the conflict from a different perspective.

Horreum

The Horreum in Narbonne are a series of 1st century underground tunnels. It is one of the lesser known historic sites in France.

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Jardin des Vestiges

Among the ancient historic places in France is the Jardin des Vestiges. This archaeological site in Marseilles houses the ruins of the Greek and Roman port.

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Jumieges Abbey

A picturesque Norman abbey which was partly destroyed during the French Revolution, Jumièges ranks among the most beautiful ruins in France.

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La Conciergerie

La Conciergerie in Paris is a former palace turned prison which now serves as a museum and government building. Like some other historic sites in France, it has a somewhat sinister past relating to the French Revolution.

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Lapidaire Museum

This is a museum of ancient Roman artefacts in Narbonne.

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Le Memorial at Caen

Le Memorial at Caen is a history museum dedicated to World War II and other conflicts. It offers tours to nearby military historic sites in France.

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Le P’tit Train de la Haute Somme

This is a reconstruction of the supply line used by allied forces during World War I and is just one of many tourist sites in France relating to this conflict.

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Les Alyscamps - Arles

Les Alyscamps was a Roman necropolis which now houses a collection of crowded medieval sarcophagi.

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Les Invalides

Les Invalides was originally built by Louis XIV as a hospital for ailing soldiers and is famed among historic sites in France as the place where Napoleon was laid to rest.

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Lochnagar Crater

This vast crater was left by an explosion which signalled the start of the Battle of the Somme. It is one of a circuit of things to do in France relating to this famous battle.

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Longues-sur-Mer Gun Battery

The Longues-sur-Mer Gun Battery was a World War II German defensive battery. It is one of many military historic sites in France, particularly in Normandy.

Lorraine American Cemetery

The Lorraine American Cemetery is home to the largest number of US WWII graves in Europe.

Louvemont

Many historic places in France were left utterly abandoned after World War I and Louvemont is a good example of this. Once a French village, it has been unoccupied since the Battle of Verdun.

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Lyon Cathedral

Lyon Cathedral was constructed between the 12th and 15th centuries and is renowned among ecclesiastical historic sites in France for its astronomical clock.

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Lyon Gallo-Roman Museum

This museum displays exhibits relating to the city’s time under the Roman Empire. It is among the popular historic attractions in France located in Lyon.

Lyon Roman Baths

Definitely among the hidden historic sites of France, the Lyon Roman Baths were built in the 2nd or 3rd century.

Marseille History Museum

The Marseille History Museum chronicles the city’s history since Ancient Greek times. It offers a good overview of the story of many of the historic sites in France in Marseille.

Marseille Roman Docks Museum

This museum has a collection of artefacts from Marseille’s thriving ancient port.

Memorial des Camps de la Mort

This site commemorates the suffering of those persecuted by the Nazis in Marseille during World War II.

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Monument aux Girondins

Monument aux Girondins is a fountain in Bordeaux commemorating the Girondists of the French Revolution. It is one of the historical sites in France which is viewable at all times.

Musée d’Aquitaine

Located in Bordeaux, this is a museum of the archaeology and history of the region.

Musée d’art et d’archéologie du Périgord

Located in a region with many of the prehistoric tourist sites in France, this museum contains pieces dating back as far as 70,000 years ago.

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Musee Airborne

Musee Airborne is a museum dedicated to the Normandy Landings of 1944. It is among many World War II historic sites in France found in Normandy.

Musee d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaisme

This museum explores the history of France’s Jewish community.

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Musee de Cluny

Musee de Cluny is the national medieval museum in Paris and also houses one of the ancient Roman historic sites in France, a set of ancient baths.

Musee de la Reddition

Musee de la Reddition is the site where Germany surrendered in World War II, making it one of the most important - yet relatively unknown - historic sites in France relating to this famous conflict.

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Musee du Louvre

One of the best places to visit in France for stunning exhbitis of art and history is Musee du Louvre. This 12th century fort turned palace and today stands as one of the world’s foremost art museums.

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Musee National de Prehistoire

Musee National de Prehistoire is one of the most comprehensive historical attractions in France relating to the nation’s prehistoric past.

Museum of Orange

located amidst a range of impressive historic sites in France, the Museum of Orange displays mostly Roman, but also prehistoric, artefacts found in the region.

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Museum of the Great War

The Museum of the Great War guides visitors through the years of the First World War using a vast archive of objects, that are displayed across multimedia exhibitions.

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Narbonne Archaeological Museum

This museum displays a range of ancient Roman artefacts.

Newfoundland Memorial

The Newfoundland Memorial is the best surviving trench system from World War I and commemorates the efforts of the 1st Battalion of the Canadian Newfoundland Regiment. It is among many historic places in France dedicated to commemorating casualties from the World Wars.

Nice-Cimiez Archaeological Museum

The Nice-Cimiez Archaeological Museum houses artefacts from the ancient Roman city of Cemenelum.

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Normandy American Cemetery

Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is a World War II graveyard with a visitor centre. It is one of the well known Second World War historic sites of France located in this region.

Notre-Dame de la Garde - Marseille

Notre-Dame de la Garde is a 19th century basilica in Marseille.

Odeon of Lyon

The Odeon of Lyon is a well-restored Ancient Roman theatre and one of the UNESCO World Heritage historic sites in France.

Oise-Aisne American Cemetery

Oise-Aisne American Cemetery is a World War I cemetery and memorial containing the grave of 6,012 American soldiers who lost their lives in this conflict.

Omaha Beach Museum

The Omaha Beach Museum chronicles the largest of the D-Day Landings. It is among the most well known World War II historic sites in France located in Normandy.

Palais de Justice

As the main courthouse in Paris, the Palais de Justice is not technically one of the tourist things to do In France, but is historically important as the former court of the Revolutionary Tribunal.

Palais de Papes

Part palace part fort, Palais de Papes in Avignon was the 14th century seat of the papal court and is one of the more imposing ecclesiastical historic sites in France.

Palais du Tau

Palais du Tau in Reims was where French monarchs would prepare for and celebrate their coronations. It is one of several historic attractions in France in this area awarded UNESCO status.

Pegasus Bridge

Pegasus Bridge in Normandy was captured by British forces at the start of D-Day, the Allied invasion of France.

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Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris is the resting place of many famous figures of French and other nationalities. It is quite popular among places to visit in France.

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Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde was where King Louis XVI and many others were executed in the French Revolution. It is one of a trail of famous historic sites in France set around Paris.

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Pointe Du Hoc Memorial

The Pointe Du Hoc Memorial is located on one of the sites of the Normandy Landings. It is among the World War II commemorative historic sites of France.

Photo by Wolfgang Staudt (cc)

Pont du Gard

Among the most arresting of the Roman historic sites in France is Pont du Gard, a famous ancient bridge and aqueduct once used to supply Nimes with water.

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Pont Neuf

Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge in Paris and one of the most famous tourist sites in France.

Porte de Mars

Porte de Mars is an ornate 3rd century Roman arch in Reims.

Pozieres

One of the major World War I historic sites in France is Pozieres, which was the site of an important battle between Allied and German forces in 1916, forming the first part of the Battle of the Somme.

Reims Cathedral

Of the historical sites in France, Reims Cathedral has one of the strongest links with the French royal family, having been the setting of its royal coronations. It is a World Heritage site.

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Remains of the Bastille

Among the least well known historic sites in France is the location of the remains of the Bastille prison, which can be viewed at Square Henri Galli in Paris.

Photo by Historvius

Rocamadour Shrine

The Rocamadour Shrine is an 11th to 13th century holy complex in the south and one of the Christian historic sites in France which attracts pilgrims from around the world.

Roman Amphitheatre - Saintes

The Roman Amphitheatre in Saintes was built in the 1st century in the Roman settlement of Mediolanum Santonum.

Roman Pyramid of Vienne

Whilst Vienne’s Roman Circus is not one of the historic sites in France to have survived intact, its Roman Pyramid, once its centrepiece, can still be seen today.

Roman Theatre of Orange

One of the best-preserved Roman historic sites in France is the 1st century Roman Theatre of Orange. UNESCO listed.

Rouen Cathedral

Rouen Cathedral is the site where Richard the Lion Heart’s heart is buried.

Rouffignac Caves

The Rouffignac Caves house a myriad of Palaeolithic paintings. They are one of the historic sites in France listed under the World Heritage category of the cave paintings of the Vézère Valley.

Saint-Hippolyte Convent

The Saint-Hippolyte Convent was founded by Saint-Fulrade in the 8th century.

Saint-Pierre Abbaye of Moissac

Mossaic Abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned as part of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela.

Saint-Remi Abbey

Saint-Remi Abbey in Reims houses the tomb of Saint Remi. This is one of many medieval World Heritage historical sites in France.

Saint-Sulpice Church

Saint-Sulpice Church is a large 18th century church in Paris.

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Sainte Chapelle

Sainte Chapelle is a stunning 13th century gothic church, home to the oldest wall painting in Paris and one of the top tourist sites in France.

Sainte-Foy Abbey

Those looking for places to go in France to track the famous pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela can visit Sainte-Foy Abbey in Conques, which was one of the stopping off points.

Salses Fortress

Salses Fortress is an impressive medieval fortress in Plateau de Rousillon and one of the Spanish-built historical sites in France.

St Amand de Coly

St Amand de Coly is a 13th century fortified church in France’s Dordogne region.

St Nicolas Mine

The St Nicholas Mine was once the most productive silver and lead mine in the commune of Steinbach. It is arguably one of the most important mining historic sites in France.

St-Trophime Church

St-Trophime Church in Arles renowned for its Romanesque architecture. UNESCO listed.

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Sword Beach

Sword Beach was one of the five historic sites in France where the Normandy D-day Landings took place in World War II.

Photo by AndyHay (cc)

Temple de Mercure

The ruins of a temple built atop a mountain called Puy de Dome outside the Gallic city of Augustonemetum (now Clermont-Ferrand).

Photo by maarjaara (cc)

Temple of Augustus and Livia

The Temple of Augustus and Livia is a very well preserved Roman temple in Vienne. It is one of the historic sites in France which is viewable for free.

Temple of Diana - Nimes

The Temple of Diana is a Roman site in Nimes whose ultimate purpose remains a mystery.

The Bastille

The Bastille was a prison stormed in 1789, sparking the French Revolution. Nothing remains at its original location, but it is still among the significant historic sites of France and is marked by a monument.

The Bayeux Tapestry Museum

One of the top tourist sites in France for fans of the Norman period is the Bayeux Tapestry Museum, home of the famous embroidered account of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.

The Chapel of the Souvenir Francais

This is a memorial to French soldiers who fought in the Battle of the Somme.

The Cryptoporticus

Reims is home to a few Roman historic sites in France, including The Cryptoporticus, which is a very well preserved 3rd century AD passageway.

The Franco Australian Museum

The Franco Australian Museum in the Picardie region explores the contributions and experiences of Australian troops in World War I.

The Gier Aqueduct

The Gier Aqueduct near Lyon served its Roman counterpart, Lugdunum. Reconstructed along the roadside, this is a great example of historic sites in France which can be viewed at all times.

The Joan of Arc Memorial Cross

Among the commemorative monuments in France is The Joan of Arc Memorial Cross, which is dedicated to the Catholic saint and military heroine at the site where she was burnt at the stake.

Photo by Milan Boers (cc)

The Juno Beach Centre

The Juno Beach Centre explores the history of the Canadian forces in World War II.

The Lyon Gallo-Roman Tombs

The Lyon Gallo-Roman Tombs are a trio of reconstructed 1st century burial chambers. Whilst probably some of the least well-known historic sites in France, they are also free to view.

The Magne Tower

One of many historic sites in France built under the Emperor Augustus, the Magne Tower in Nimes is a well preserved remnant of the Roman fortifications.

Photo by Archangel12 (cc)

The Merville Gun Battery

The Merville Gun Battery is a former German fortification neutralised by the Allies on D-Day. It is one of several such World War II historic sites in France.

Photo by Historvius

The Pantheon - Paris

The Pantheon in Paris is a neo-classical church completed in 1789. Whilst rarely at the top of tourist sites in France, this church is beautifully decorated and its crypt interns many famous French figures.

Photo by Historvius

The Pegasus Bridge Museum

The Pegasus Bridge Museum in Normandy is dedicated to the British 6th Airborne Division, the first Allied troops to land on D-Day. It is among many World War II historic sites in northern France.

The Somme 1916 Museum

The Somme 1916 Museum explores the realities of this infamous First World War battle.

Photo by MikeFitz (cc)

Thiepval Memorial

The Thiepval Memorial is a Commonwealth memorial dedicated to over 72,000 servicemen who died in the Somme region during WWI.

Toulon National Maritime Museum

The Toulon National Maritime Museum houses exhibits relating to the city’s naval history.

Triumphal Arch of Orange

The Triumphal Arch of Orange is a first century Roman arch built during the reign of Augustus. It is one of the many ancient historic sites in France found in this area.

Tropaeum Alpium

The Tropaeum Alpium, also known as Trophee des Alpes or the Trophy of Augustus, is a Roman monument dedicated to the Emperor Augustus.

Ulster Memorial Tower

The Ulster Memorial Tower in France is a memorial to the men of Ulster who fought and gave their lives in World War I. Made to look like St Helen’s Tower in County Down, this ranks among the more distinctive of commemorative historic sites in France.

Photo by Richard Matthews (cc)

Utah Beach Memorial

This memorial is located at the place where the US 4th Infantry Division landed on D-Day and is one of five such historic sites in France where the Allies landed on that day.

Photo by Wolfgang S (cc)

Verdun Memorial

The Verdun Memorial is a comprehensive museum of the Battle of Verdun and a memorial to fallen soldiers.

Photo by aurélien. (cc)

Vezelay Basilica

Vezelay Basilica is a 12th century Romanesque church. It is famed among the ecclesiastical historic sites in France as being said to have housed Mary Magdalene’s relics.

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Vienne Cathedral

Vienne Cathedral was constructed over a long period, starting in the 11th century and up to the 16th.

Photo by TyB (cc)

Vienne Roman Theatre

Vienne Roman Theatre is a first century theatre said to have once been amongst the largest in Gaul. It is one of the historic sites in France which is still used today, now for festivals and shows.

Photo by Loimere (cc)

Vimy Ridge Memorial

The Vimy Ridge Memorial commemorates the more than 60,000 Canadians who lost their lives in th First World War.

Photo by jinterwas (cc)

Vis-En-Artois Cemetery

Vis-En-Artois Cemetery is a World War I burial site in France’s Pas de Calais region.