Many things entice travelers to visit France—food, wine, fashion, architecture, and natural beauty among them. There’s something wonderful to eat, drink, see and do in every corner of this Western European nation. It’s hard not to fall in love with Paris. The dazzling beaches of the Cote d’Azur are legendary. Provence also features fragrant lavender fields, Luberon hilltop villages and vineyards. Vineyards and grand châteaux mingle in the Loire Valley. To be honest, the number of dazzling spots in the country is actually pretty dizzying, but we’re more than happy to help point you in some of the most photogenic directions. Scroll for 20 of the best places to visit in France.
Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful small towns in the world, Gordes attracts droves of tourists who descend on this idyllic Luberon village in the hope of capturing the perfect shot of its cobbled streets, weathered churches and the 12th-century Sénanque Abbey, framed by lavender fields.
The Palace of Versailles
Whether you’re a movie buff, a history buff, or just want to tick one of France’s most famous landmarks off your bucket list, the grandeur of Versailles never fails to impress. The palace is home to the Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Chapel and many other magnificent rooms. Outside are the magnificent gardens, fountains and sprawling park.
The Camargue doesn’t look or feel like anywhere else in southern France. This wild region between the Mediterranean Sea and the two arms of the Rhône Delta is filled with the untamed natural beauty of salt marshes, reedbeds, free-roaming white horses and hundreds of bird species — most notably pink flamingos.
Built for the 1889 World’s Fair, the Eiffel Tower is a timeless symbol of Paris. It’s one thing to see the famous landmark in movies, TV shows, and photos, but it’s quite another to get a close-up look at this incredible feat of ingenuity in real life. The twinkling lights at night only add to the romance of it all.
St. Marguerite Island
Located about half a mile off the coast of tourist-heavy Cannes, Île Sainte-Marguerite reflects a more modest side of the French Riviera with beautiful scenery at every turn. The largest of the Lérins Islands, it has beautiful rocky beaches, turquoise waters and a eucalyptus forest, as well as a museum of underwater sculptures.
Castles of the Loire Valley
Part of the country’s historical and architectural fabric, the castles of the Loire Valley are a lasting reminder of Renaissance splendor. Impressive in both design and landscaping, these regal landmarks range from palaces with extensive gardens (such as Château de Chambord) to smaller castles.
Saint Jean Cap Ferrat
Nestled on the eastern side of a forested peninsula, the exclusive commune of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat has long captivated artists such as Henri Matisse, writers and wealthy tourists with its enchanting beauty. Expect exquisite villas hidden by lush vegetation, breathtaking beaches with clear waters for snorkeling, hiking trails, and a marina full of yachts.
Located just south of Colmar in France’s Alsace region, Aegisheim looks like a medieval village you’d see on the cover of a storybook with a concentric plan of narrow streets, half-timbered houses, bubbling fountains, centuries-old castles and wine caves.
No list of the best places to visit in France would be complete without mentioning the Louvre. The world’s most patronized museum is a historic landmark in its own right, with an eye-catching exterior and rooms filled with priceless works of art, including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.
Strasbourg Cathedral is widely regarded as one of the most outstanding examples of Rayonnant Gothic architecture (although, to be precise, the remaining parts of the original structure are Romanesque). It is a beautiful landmark with a rich history and visual appeal that is well worth a visit while in the Alsace region.
Located on the French-Italian border and stretching into Switzerland, Mont Blanc (which translates as “White Mountain”) rises to 15,771 feet, making it the highest mountain in the Alps and the second most famous peak in Europe. People come from near and far to ski, ride the Aiguille du Midi lift and even try to climb to the top.
Lavender fields on the Valensole plateau
Lavender fields define Provence. This purple-tinged visualization is splashed across the front of nearly every postcard in the region. Many of these photos were taken on the Valensole Plateau, which bursts into fragrant and vibrant blooms every summer.
The charming hill of Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement of Paris looks more like a small village than a big city. Cobbled streets, sidewalk cafes, windmills and performances by local musicians give it a quaint atmosphere. Its jewel in the crown, the iconic white-domed Sacré-Cœur temple commands attention.
Few places shine like Saint-Tropez. Celebrities, artists and jet-setters have flocked to this cinematic vacation hot spot on the French Riveria since the 1960s. The glitzy beach clubs, mega yachts and charming old fishing district draw the crowds every summer.
The largest of the islands off the coast of Brittany in northwest France, the aptly named Belle-Île-en-Mer is a beautiful destination with uncrowded beaches, charming villages and rocky cliffs. The jagged rock formation known as Les Aiguilles de Port Coton even inspired Monet to pick up his brush.
While it’s impossible to pick a favorite spot along the French River, there’s a lot to love about Porquerolles. The largest of the Îles d’Hyères offers tranquil beaches, calm waters, rolling vineyards, cycle paths through the countryside, old fortresses and an off-the-beaten-track atmosphere.
Veuve Clicquot Champagne House
For champagne lovers, few things are as fabulous as a trip to the Champagne region of France. Founded in 1772, Veuve Clicquot heads the list of the most significant and famous producers. A visit to this world-famous house in Reims includes a tour of the historic cellars and, of course, sipping the best sparkling wine.
Anyone visiting the French capital for the first time heads to the Arc de Triomphe for the “I went to Paris” photo. It’s worth joining the crowds to admire this famous monument that rises high at the west end of the Champs-Élysées.
Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc
It’s true that a night at the luxurious Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc atop Cap d’Antibes is out of most travelers’ budgets. But that shouldn’t stop you from visiting. Book a table on the restaurant’s terrace to enjoy Mediterranean cuisine alongside spectacular views of the sea and rock-framed infinity pool.
D-Day Landing Beaches
Normandy is closely associated with World War II—specifically, the fateful day Allied troops reached the D-Day beaches, an operation that ultimately led to the liberation of France (and ultimately Western Europe) from Nazi occupation. Today, travelers can visit the many museums and monuments along the 50-kilometer stretch of coastline.