Cities of France: Sights and Interesting Things to See

The 30 Best Cities in France

French cities can be explored endlessly and still not get satiated with their beauty, unique atmosphere and absolutely stunning architecture that delights even the most indifferent. Paris never seems to get bored, Nice and Cannes will always attract fans of chic, and Strasbourg and Reims will amaze by the number of historical sites included in the UNESCO list.

And in France there are still charming little communes, where the streets are buried in flowers, owners of restaurants are welcoming guests as relatives, stone squares still remember the rulers of the Caroling Dynasty, people still live in the houses of XIV century. I can not even believe that these places are not the setting for a historical movie.

The main tourist cities in France

List of the most interesting cities for cultural tourism.


The incomparable and grandiose capital of France has always attracted tourists from all over the world. It is a real treasury of world culture: the Louvre, Notre Dame de Paris, the Pompidou Center, the Champs Elysees, the Eiffel Tower, Versailles – these sights are on the lips of every traveler. And even the enormous queues of people eager to get in touch with Parisian chic do not stop the people who come to visit the city by the millions every year.

Population – 2 148 327 (2020)



Holidays on the Cote d’Azur has long been associated with luxury, impeccable service and spending a lot of money that not all travelers can afford. This is why the rich and famous prefer to come here. Nice is one of the most popular resorts in the region, its unofficial capital and the place where the important events of social life take place. Often dubbed the “aristocrat town”, it’s certainly meant to celebrate the city’s famous people.

Population 533,554 (2019)


A city of museums, haute cuisine restaurants, green parks, and charming waterfronts. Many architectural sites located in the historic center are listed by UNESCO, which speaks volumes about their historical and cultural value. Also Lyon will appeal to party goers and tourists who can’t imagine a good vacation without a good shopping: the city has a lot of entertainment facilities and stores with quality products.

Population 522,679 (2017)



Located in the picturesque Alps, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is a first-class ski resort whose history dates back to the 19th century, when the first tourists arrived here. By the middle of XX century the locals abandoned the traditional agriculture and reoriented to the tourist sphere. In Chamonix-Mont-Blanc there are more than 100 pistes of varying difficulty levels and excellent conditions for various winter sports.

Population 8,611 (2017)


Monte Carlo

The famous resort center located in the Principality of Monaco. It is known for its casino with luxurious interiors, a chic harbor where the world’s most expensive ships belonging to celebrities and the powerful are moored, and an incredible number of cars of the rarest and most exclusive brands. In short, Monte Carlo is a territory of success, luxury and big money.

Population 2,874 (2008)



The completely German name of the city confuses tourists who are not particularly strong in geography. But Strasbourg belongs to France, and it is one of the most picturesque places in the country. Two cultures, two lifestyles and two ways of thinking are intermingled here. Even UNESCO recognized it as a world heritage of humanity. And Strasbourg is also an important administrative center: the European Parliament and the Council of Europe meet here.

Population 280,966 (2017)



The history of Bordeaux began in the first century BC, during the Roman Empire it was the center of the province of Aquitaine Gaul, in the Middle Ages for a time belonged to England. For a long time Bordeaux has been developing a wine industry – the city is just famous for its excellent drinks, which have admirers around the world. Each year it is visited by about 3 million tourists, cruise ships stop here, calling at the Garonne from the Atlantic Ocean.

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Population 254,436 (2017)



The classic port city of the Mediterranean is colorful and bustling. It is known to the Russian tourist largely thanks to the adventure novels of the French classics. People come to Marseille to sunbathe on the beaches, explore its priceless architectural heritage, cruise along the coast and admire the picturesque calanques, as well as the Castle of If – the place where Edmond Dantes (the Count of Monte Cristo) was imprisoned.

Population 869,815 (2017)



An old Provençal town with 17th- and 18th-century palaces built in the luxurious Italian Baroque style. It is famous all over Europe for its flea markets, where you can buy unique antiques. Collectors from all over the world come here to pick up the next masterpiece for their private collections. Tourists will be primarily interested in the Old Town, the platanine Boulevard Mirabeau and small squares, decorated with copies of paintings by Rubens.

Population 142,482 (2017)



In the 19th century Cannes transformed from an unremarkable fishing village into a fashionable resort of the Côte d’Azur. The first tourists appreciated the excellent climate, comfortable beaches and picturesque panoramas of the bay. Frequent guests of Cannes at the time were Russian and English aristocrats. Since the end of the Second World War, the city has enjoyed a well-earned fame thanks to the Cannes Film Festival, held here every year.

Population – 73,868 (2017)



A distinctive and vibrant city in the south of France, where the traditions of different peoples have mingled. Toulouse has a strong nickname “The Pink City” because of the red brick of which the houses of the historic center are built. Many buildings were deliberately built in a pseudo-Romanesque style in order to preserve the continuity of the era. Toulouse is also an important scientific and industrial center of the country.

Population 479,553 (2017)


La Rochelle

The city was founded in the 10th century, and a century later it became an important port controlled by the Knights Templar Order. La Rochelle is mentioned in the novel The Three Musketeers. To see all the sights a tourist will need at least a week: there are both medieval architecture and modern (sometimes even incomprehensible) collections in the museums. Perhaps the most famous place in the vicinity of La Rochelle is the legendary Fort Boyard, where they filmed a popular TV show.

Population 75,735 (2017)



It is situated among the hills near the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The city has a long and rich history that has left its mark on the architecture and local traditions. The spice trade began here in the 10th century, the city’s university was founded in the 13th, and the city became the capital of the Lower Languedoc under Louis XIV. The main attractions of Montpellier are the 16th century Botanical Gardens, the Fabre Museum famous for its Impressionist work and the cathedral.

Population 285,121 (2017)



Located near the border with Belgium, the Flemish influence is strongly felt here. In past centuries, it was known for textile production, but with the invention of synthetics, the industry fell into decline. Today Lille is a center of students and the cultural capital of the region. The real masterpieces of the city’s architecture are the Riur Palace of the XV century and the building of the Old Stock Exchange, built at the beginning of the XX century.

Toulouse: a pink town in southwestern France

Population 232,787 (2017)



A picturesque city in the Provence region. According to many tourists – the most beautiful in this part of France. Until the end of the XVIII century, it was undividedly owned by the popes of Rome, until they ceded its territory to France. Since those times there is an architectural complex of the Papal Palace of the XIV century – one of the largest in Europe. Today it hosts a theater festival. It is also interesting to look at the preserved fortress walls of Avignon.

Population – 91,921 (2017)


A freedom-loving city in Brittany, which has kept the central authorities busy for many centuries: constant quarrels with the rulers, popular uprisings, rebellions, demands for special privileges – such events are quite numerous in the history of Nantes. It was also the birthplace of the genius writer Jules Verne and the first omnibus in the 19th century. Tourists are attracted by the city’s abundance of architectural sights and delicious fish and seafood dishes – a specialty of Nantes cuisine.

Population 309,346 (2017)



A Breton port on the English Channel, founded in the 6th century. Today, more than 80 architectural monuments in the city have the status of valuable historical sites. Most of them were built between the 12th and 15th centuries. In the Middle Ages, Saint-Malo had a reputation as a city of corsairs. Today, this theme is actively exploited in the tourism industry, bringing the city a lot of income from the large flows of travelers.

Population 46,097 (2017)



One of the most beautiful ports of Normandy. Honfleur was often depicted in paintings by French impressionist painters. The city had its heyday in the 17th and 18th centuries, when ships sailed from the local harbors to the distant colonies of the American continent. Today, the old port is more of a tourist interest, its cargo turnover is rather modest. Honfleur has many art galleries and antique stores with an interesting assortment.

Population 7,425 (2017)



Located on the west coast of Corsica, it is the largest port on the island. It is primarily famous for the fact that Napoleon Bonaparte was born here. It seems that everything in the modern city is connected with his name: the names of streets, restaurants, cafes, hotels, monuments, souvenirs and even the varieties of wine and liquor. Ajaccio is a seaside resort, as well as a developed wine and olive oil production.

Population 70,659 (2017)


The city is a jewel in the north of France, nestled on the banks of the Seine. Here you can endlessly admire masterpieces of different architectural styles, from Gothic to half-timbered. Walk up and down the streets among the flower-pot colored medieval houses and eat enough of the tastiest apples in the country. In Rouen executed national heroine Joan of Arc, on the site of her burning in 1979 built a church.

Population 110,145 (2017)


Sarla la Caneda

A small town in the southwestern part of the country, famous among travelers for its Medieval and Renaissance architecture. Sarla la Caneda was originally a Benedictine abbey which existed there since the Carolingian dynasty. The city has a population of about 25,000, with an annual flow of travelers long surpassing 1.5 million.

Population 8,869 (2017)


The city is very close to the Swiss border – the two states are separated by some 50 meters. It is notable for the fact that it is permeated by a network of canals, which is why it is called the Venice of Savoy. Despite the small size, tourist guides praise Annecy and recommend visiting it without fail. The city stands on the shore of the lake with the same name, equipped with first-class beaches.

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Its population is 126,924 (2017)



A place with benchmark postcard landscapes, as if frozen, waiting for the next artist to capture them on his canvas. It consists of ancient streets with half-timbered stone houses, canal bridges and flower-drenched marinas. Colmar is the starting point for the famous Route du Vin, the Route du Vin, which runs through the main wine-producing areas of the region.

Population: 69,105 (2017)



A fortress town in the heart of the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It was once the site of a Roman settlement, later a Celtic village and the fiefdom of the Visigoths. The powerful citadel of Carcassonne was built in the Early Middle Ages. It is surrounded by two rings of walls about 3 km long, with over 50 watchtowers on the perimeter. The very first fortifications on this site existed in the IX century B.C.

Population 46,031 (2017)



A resort city on the Atlantic coast, located half an hour from the border with Spain. It is famous for its wide and long yellow sand beaches, as well as excellent conditions for windsurfing. It is also famous for its thalassotherapy center which is a research institute for modern cosmetology.

Population 25,404 (2017)


A small town that is some distance from the Côte d’Azur coast, but it is no less popular with tourists thanks to its preserved Roman heritage (amphitheatre and ancient theater) and numerous architectural monuments of the 18th century. It is a quiet and cozy corner of Provence, fully absorbed the spirit of traditional France, with narrow stone streets, bakeries and small cafes.

Population 52,548 (2017)


The town is an important pilgrimage center. The Catholic Church claims that in 1858 the Virgin Mary appeared to a local woman in a cave. The girl claimed that the saint had visited her more than once. After a thorough investigation, the church hierarchs decided that she was telling the truth. After that, Lourdes began to receive mass pilgrims, and today their number has reached 5 million per year.

Population 13,389 (2017)



The city of kings, it was here that the coronations of many French monarchs took place, starting in the ninth century. This tradition only came to an end in 1825. The ceremonies were held in the grandiose Reims Cathedral, which can be considered a true masterpiece of the Gothic style. Reims is the largest city of Champagne-Ardenne region, famous for the production of sparkling wines.

Population 182,460 (2017)



A fashionable resort, graced with the attention of movie stars and other celebrities. The town itself has a fairly modest size, it is easy to get around on foot. The surrounding area is home to chic villas of actors, couturiers, financiers, and famous socialites. Luxury yachts are moored at the wharf, numerous restaurants with summer terraces stretch along the waterfront.

Population 4,352 (2017)


Mont Saint-Michel

A town in Normandy located on the rock island of the same name, which stands in the middle of the sea and is connected to the land by narrow isthmuses through which roads are laid out. The abbey and the settlement are from the eighth century and today there are a few dozen people, mostly engaged in the tourism industry and the Benedictine monks who are engaged in the production of honey and tea.

Southern Istria with its typically friendly atmosphere, rich culture and great swimming in the sea

Attractions in France

The catalog contains the main sights of France with photos and descriptions, names in Russian and French and location map. From the article you will learn what to see in Paris in the first place and where it is worth to visit outside of it, where to go on vacation with children.

France is consistently the most visited country in the world. Most travelers flock to Paris, which holds the tourist lead among capitals, while the Eiffel Tower, the unshakable symbol of France, remains the world’s most popular attraction.

Travelers dream to visit the Mont Saint-Michel Abbey, French castles and palaces, see the best works of art in museums in Paris and major cities, walk through the legendary historic squares and streets.

No one will be left indifferent parks and gardens, ideal in terms of landscaping. A real work of art – the garden of Versailles, the former summer residence of French kings.

The most interesting attractions for children in France are amusement parks. The center of attraction, a dream park – Disneyland Paris: to see the fabulous Castle of Sleeping Beauty and a parade of Disney cartoon characters, a ride on the dizzying attractions dream even of many adults.

Second place in popularity is occupied by the theme park Asterix, created based on famous French comic books and cartoons. Park Futuroscope in Poitiers is devoted exclusively to virtual rides, and for walks and family vacations suit the park “France in miniature”.

What to see in France

The Eiffel Tower (Tour Eiffel) is one of the most famous sights in the world. It is called the object.

Disneyland Paris is a grandiose complex of amusement parks with a total area of 1,943 hectares.

Notre Dame de Paris, or Notre Dame de Paris, is one of the symbols of Paris and a masterpiece of the Gothic.

No museum in the world can compare in popularity with the Louvre, which is visited annually by about 10 .

Arc de Triomphe is a true symbol of Paris and the history of France. It is located on the Place Charles de Gaulle (also called.

The Paris Grand Opera, located in the Palais Garnier, is considered one of the most famous in the world. Connoisseurs.

Montmartre is one of the most picturesque areas of Paris, which is located in the north and is the 18th municipal district of the capital.

Cabaret Moulin Rouge is considered one of the most famous attractions in Paris. Fairy show.

Le Lido is one of the most unique and famous cabaret not only in Paris, but also in the world. For all lovers.

Sightseeing in France on the map

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France’s main attractions in Paris

Paris – the city of lovers, famous all over the world, where the most famous attractions of France are concentrated.

It is impossible to visit Paris and not see the magnificent Catholic Cathedral of Notre Dame, the protagonist of the novel of the same name by Hugo. At the observation deck of Notre Dame de Paris you can see the gargoyles and make a panoramic photo of the city from a height of 45 meters.

Champs-Elysées and the Arc de Triomphe, the legendary landmarks of France, are included in the main walking route through the capital. Parades and celebrations are held here, and the most luxurious restaurants and brand stores are located not far from the walking area.

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Palme d’être among Parisian museums belongs to the Louvre, all expositions of which are difficult to cover even for one day. To visit not only the Louvre, but also several thematic exhibitions, it makes sense to buy a Paris Museum Card, which gives the right to visit more than 60 museums.

Exciting and eerie would be a walk through the catacombs of Paris – a vast network of tunnels under the city, part of which are buried. A kind of way to see “another Paris”, where romance has no place.

A popular suburban route is a trip to the castles of the Loire, most of which were built in the Middle Ages, are well preserved along with all the structures and now work as museums.

If the purpose of your trip is exactly the capital, see a detailed list of attractions of France in Paris.

Panoramic view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris from

City sights in France

France is not just about Paris and the Western Alps. The sights of Provence, Brittany, Alsace, Normandy and other regions are no less interesting, where it is worth visiting not only the major cities, but also historical villages against a backdrop of enchanting landscapes and fragrant herbs.


A fashionable resort city, the pearl of the azure coast, Nice attracts tourists not only with beaches and entertainment, leisurely strolls along the Promenade des Anglais. There are the Chagall and Matisse Museums, the Archaeological Museum dedicated to antique artifacts, the park exhibition of primitive art. And to see all the cathedrals, castles and palaces of Nice would take a few days.


The largest port on the Mediterranean, an elegant and multifaceted French city – this is how Marseille welcomes foreigners. Tour routes lead to the Cathedral and Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde Basilica, the Abbey of Saint Victor, the beautiful Palais de Lonçon, the Chateau d’If – the one from the novel by Dumas. Walking along the promenade, you can see the famous statue of David – or rather, a marble copy of the masterpiece created by Michelangelo.

Panorama of Marseille from the height of Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica: the city and the Castle of If © Elena Eliakova

Panorama of Marseille from the height of Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica: the city and the If Castle © Elena Eliakova

Lyon has always been and remains a city of vibrant club and cultural life, interesting museums and lush green parks. The historical sites of Lyon are concentrated in the Old Town, stretching along the banks of the Saône River. For relaxation, children’s walks and sport, the picturesque Golden Head Park is ideal.


Toulouse is home to the main observatory of France, and there are companies of the aerospace industry. The architecture of the historical center of the city is quite unusual – the old buildings are made of pink bricks, and this color prevails in the building of the district. The Southern Canal is an outstanding monument of engineering, connecting Toulouse with the city of Sete on the coast of the Gulf of Lyon.


Bordeaux, the capital of Aquitaine, is a romantic city, famous as “Little Paris”: evening lights, elegant streets, arches and bridges, medieval gates – all this encourages long walks. Tourist routes run along the pedestrian street St. Catherine, cover Exchange Square and the nearby fountain-monument of the Girondists.

There are many interesting places in other cities in France. So, a visit to Rouen is worthwhile for the historic complex of Joan of Arc and the magnificent Gothic cathedral, listed as a World Heritage Site. And in Honfleur begins the Pont de Normandie, one of the longest suspension bridges in the world.

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