3 interesting cities in France that are worth knowing about
Here are only large cities in France, which are in the top 10 most beautiful in the country. Smaller cities have a completely different charm and are listed separately:
In addition, there are associations:
France’s 10 most beautiful cities
* In the ten most beautiful cities in France often mention Marseille , but it makes a very mixed impression on many tourists. Someone comes away from there in terror. Someone, on the contrary, likes Marseille for its bustle and life. It is important to remember that Marseille is the largest port in France, with all the attendant, such as suspicious personalities, filth and a very high crime rate.
10 most beautiful cities in France in pictures
The capital of France and one of the most visited cities in the world by tourists. Center of the culinary, cultural and fashion life of Europe, Paris has become a favorite place for artists and lovers. The banks of the Seine – in the UNESCO list of cultural heritage.
The capital of Alsace, popular for its half-timbered houses, canals and “Little France”. The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Avignon was the seat of the Popes from 1309 to 1377. This bright chapter in the history of the city is reflected in the magnificent majestic architecture. Avignon is considered the most beautiful city in Provence. It is one of the best preserved fortress cities in France. Its historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Favorite vacation spot among aristocracy, Nice has become a center of cultural and leisure life in Provence.
The capital of the Rhône-Alpes region and the “culinary capital” of France is famous for its fine cuisine. The historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The capital of Aquitaine, Bordeaux is world famous for its fine wines. The historic center of Bordeaux is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The capital of Burgundy and home to the world famous Dijon mustard. Interesting for its combination of old half-timbered houses and classic French architecture.
Second most popular in Provence , Aix is perched on a hill surrounded by beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. A favorite spot of many artists, including Cézanne.
The capital of the southern Pyrenees, Toulouse is the fourth most populous city in France. Because of the color of the bricks used to build Toulouse, it has been nicknamed the “pink city.” The 11th century Romanesque basilica, a popular pilgrimage site, is on the UNESCO list of cultural heritage. The city itself, although it does not impress the eye with the elegance of buildings, but leaves a feeling of the most pleasant and cultural city in France.
Largest city of France, second only to Paris, Lyon and Marseille. The combination of French architecture and Flemish influence impresses most tourists.
10 most beautiful cities in France on the map
Click on the sign on the map you’ll see the name of the city and you can click on it to open the city guide.
The most beautiful cities in France
France has long held a leading position in the ranking of the most visited countries in the world. Every year there are more and more people who want to take romantic photos against the Eiffel Tower and treat themselves to croissants in Montmartre. In 2017 another record was broken: 89 million tourists visited the country. People come to France for its stunning architecture, culinary experiences, and an almost tangible spirit of romance. Each city here is charming in its own way: the port city of Marseille, high-society Cannes, posh Strasbourg, charming towns of Provence and snowy resorts of the Alps attract visitors from all over the world.
Top 10 most beautiful cities in France
Most cities in France have a long history and many of them are open-air museums. Leisure time activities for tourists in France is rich with sights, museums and parks. And a simple walk around the city will bring a real pleasure due to the stunning architecture. Almost every city has an ancient fortress or a magnificent castle, and in the most beautiful and not one. Each of the cities has its own face and is not like the others. So, in Nice, guests will find a light Mediterranean atmosphere, in Paris – the romantic bustle, and in Strasbourg – the cold charm of restraint.
Although it is incredibly difficult to choose the best among all the variety, guests of the country and experts consider the most beautiful cities in France:
Paris – the most visited and most beautiful city in the world
One of the most beautiful cities not only in France, but all over the world, is Paris. For centuries, it has inspired artists, writers, musicians and ordinary everyday people to create the beautiful and display high feelings. The number of attractions is just off the charts, with signs of all possible styles and eras, so every visitor will find beauty to their liking.
Mysterious and majestic Notre Dame de Paris charms with its Gothic monumentality, and the graceful basilica Sacré Coeur with its snow-white domes gives a sense of delight and serenity. The Basilica is located in Montmartre, the freest, most creative and a bit crazy area, where artists and poets have long lived and conquered Paris. Here you’ll also find the famous Moulin Rouge cabaret, which reveals another passionate side of the city of lovers.
A symbol of Paris, of course, is the Eiffel’s creation – a landmark of the industrial era, which suddenly became a monument of romance and love. From the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower offers a mesmerizing panorama of the banks of the Seine with its palaces, parks, squares and cathedrals. On the right bank is the famous Louvre and the beautiful Tuileries gardens, a little further – the majestic Champs Elysees. During your walks through the city you stand in admiration, looking at the architectural masterpieces of the House of the Disabled, the Grand Opera House or the Bastille Square.
Strasbourg – an interesting blend of cultures
The old town of Strasbourg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The capital of Alsace strikes with its international culture: its location on the border with Germany and its rich historical way left a mark on the appearance of the city. Today it is not only one of the most beautiful cities in the country, but also an important economic and political center. The main human rights organizations of the planet are located here: the European Court of Human Rights, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament.
The most picturesque part of this extraordinary place, the so-called “Little France”, is a good place to start. The old quarter is situated on a small island formed by the branches of the River Ile. Its charm lies in the numerous canals, above which rise like toy houses. The famous Strasbourg Cathedral, which from the 15th to the 19th century was considered the highest Christian church in the world, is also worth a visit. Another interesting example of Gothic architecture is the Protestant Church of Saint Thomas.
Avignon – interesting for fans of Gothic architecture
In the past, Avignon was the papal residence, and it was this era that gave it its main attraction. The monumental papal palace in Avignon is astonishing in its scale and is the largest palace in the Gothic style in Europe. The length of its fortress wall with teeth is more than 4 km, and the towers and monastery above it give the construction a special grandeur. The palace covers an area of 15,000 m2 and the interior is striking in its sophistication.
Nearby is another attraction – the famous Saint-Benenez Bridge, built in the XII century. At that time it was almost a kilometer long: a monumental construction for that era. However, due to frequent floods and numerous reconstructions, the structure began to deteriorate. Today the bridge looks mysterious and still fascinating, reaching to the middle of the river and supported by massive arched piers. Avignon has its own Notre Dame: a Gothic cathedral of the XII century, famous for the gilded statue of the Virgin Mary and the mausoleum of Pope John XXII.
Nice is a famous resort with a rich history
Nice is one of the most popular and beautiful resorts of the French Riviera. Founded in antiquity and named after the goddess Nika, today Nice attracts visitors with its gorgeous beaches, eclectic architecture, atmosphere of luxury and aristocratic atmosphere. The most beautiful Baroque buildings are on the main promenade of the resort, the Promenade des Anglais. Walking along the sea, you can enjoy the elegant mansions of European nobility, including Villa Fortado, Villa Officers and Villa Nui. The famous hotels Negresco, Royal and Veltmeister are also located here.
One of the popular tourist spots is the Old Town with its intricate narrow streets, preserved since the Middle Ages. Then head for the 19th-century quarter of France with its broad avenues and squares, such as Rossetti Square, home to the Cathedral of St. Reparata.
Lyon – bustling and touristy
Lyon is one of the most extraordinary, extravagant, noisy and modern cities in France, where life never stops. It is worth coming here to feel its stirring atmosphere, to indulge in gastronomic delights and excellent shopping. But the main treasure of the city is its stunning architecture and abundance of attractions, among which there are those under UNESCO protection.
The historic center of the city, which has been in existence for more than two thousand years, is the peninsula of Presquille, formed by the confluence of the arms of the Rhone and the Sona. Here it is worth a walk through the typical medieval building, but still in a special way beautiful streets with low houses and numerous passages. Another peculiarity of the city – the abundance of squares, of which there are more than 100. If you can not explore all of them, it is worth paying attention to the most beautiful, which is called Bellecourt.
Toulouse is beautiful and distinctive
The historic center of Toulouse is at the top of the most beautiful and authentic in France. Its architecture is an enchanting interweaving of Bavarian, Provencal, Spanish and Languedoc traditions. It makes you wander endlessly through its streets, gazing again and again at the unusual details.
Because of its pseudo-Romanesque pinkish-brick mansions, Toulouse is called La Ville Rose, or “The Pink City”, and the late Middle Ages gave the city many interesting mansions. Interesting monuments in the Old City are the Capitol and the churches of Saint-Sernin and Saint-Georges. One of the oldest buildings in the city is the Cathedral of Saint-Etienne, built back in the XI century.
Bordeaux – interesting and atmospheric
Bordeaux is called the “little Paris” because it is not only the capital of Aquitaine, but also the largest city in France in terms of area. Its history began in the first century BC and the port formed here became an important trading hub. An impressive Roman triumphal arch has been preserved.
The city was under English rule in the Middle Ages, so it took on a trace of English stiffness. The Enlightenment gave Bordeaux a splendid architectural ensemble, where crisp lines are combined with exquisite decoration. Most notable in this regard is the Port of the Moon, which is protected by UNESCO. In the Old Harbor is the famous Aquitaine Bridge – the longest in France.
Bordeaux is an unusually cozy and atmospheric city with elegant mansions and Gothic cathedrals left over from the Middle Ages. The most beautiful of them are the Cathedral of Saint Andre and the Basilica of Saint Michel. Do not forget that the region is famous all over the world for fine wines.
Dijon – home of famous symbols
Dijon is a popular tourist center and a city with a rich history which gave France more than one national symbol. First of all, Gustave Eiffel, whose name is given to the most recognizable landmark in the world, was born here. In addition, Dijon is the capital of one of the major wine regions, which gave the world the tart Burgundy. And of course, who hasn’t heard of Dijon mustard, which used to be served only to royal tables and today is used around the world.
Architecture of Dijon charms with understated beauty and attracts tourists with its many attractions. Chief among them is the Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy with a grand entrance. It houses an interesting museum of fine arts – the second largest in France after the Louvre. To see the change from Gothic to Renaissance style look at two churches: Notre Dame with its perpetual gargoyles and Saint Michael’s with its soaring domes.
Marseille, the famous port city
Marseille is the most vivid and bustling city in France, imbued with southern flavor, Mediterranean charm and spirit of freedom: it is not for nothing that the famous Marseillaise was composed here. The soul of the city is a lively port, where every day moored dozens of different boats and ships. Here local fishermen bring freshly caught seafood, which is used in local restaurants to prepare fragrant bouillabaisse.
A world-famous and popular tourist attraction is the white cathedral of Notre Dame de la Garde, towering over the city on a hill. It has an eleven-meter gilded sculpture of the Virgin and Child Jesus on the top instead of the spire, which gives it a special grandeur. The cathedral also deserves attention: it is 70 meters high and 142 meters long. Its “striped” exterior of alternating white and green marble is also of interest.
Annecy – the modest charm of the province
The small and quiet town of Annecy is a popular tourist destination. Located on the shores of a lake in the Alpine region, it has absorbed all the best of neighboring Switzerland. On the other hand, it is nicknamed “Venice of Savoy” for the abundance of rivers and canals that dot its center. Old mansions are reflected in the water, from which the medieval cobbled streets create a web of intricate streets.
One of Annecy’s most picturesque streets is Saint-Claire, which is lined with beautiful buildings from the Romantic era. Rue Royale is the center of the modern city with many souvenir shops, restaurants and the interesting Fountain Saint-Jean. The main attraction and the main tourist magnet is the Island Castle, built in the XII century for the Counts of Geneva. It got its name because of its location on the island: the fortress occupies its entire area. Walking around, it is also worth visiting the religious buildings of the XV-XVI centuries: the Church of St. Maurice and the Cathedral.