35 most Beautiful Cities to visit in France (Map + Itinerary)

35 most Beautiful Cities to visit in France to put on your Bucket List (with Itinerary)

France is one of the most touristic countries in the world. There is good reason for that.

It has amazing cities, villages, landscape and culture

We created a big list of the 35 most beautiful cities to visit in France.

You should add all these places in France to your bucket list. There is no way around it.

In order to make things easier for you, we created a map of France with cities that are worth to visit.

That will help you to plan your 10 days in France, your round trip or your travel plans overall. Anyways, I personally love to plan my travels with an actual map, so I thought that will be handy for you too.

We also wrote:

List of 35 best places to visit in France

This is your inspirational list of the best and most beautiful cities to visit.

To simplify it for you, I created a map and put all towns on it. You find this map at the end of the article.

This list also includes Paris.

Why? Simply because it is gorgeous. You have to visit the French capital as well. I know it sounds obvious, but I just wanted to emphasize this.

Okay, let us get started:

  1. Mont Saint Michel
  2. St Malo
  3. Bayeux
  4. Le Havre
  5. Rouen
  6. Paris
  7. Amiens
  8. Lille
  9. Strasbourg
  10. Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg
  11. Colmar
  12. Eguisheim
  13. Besancon
  14. Dijon
  15. Annecy
  16. Grenoble
  17. Lyon
  18. Verdon Gorge
  19. Bormes les Mimosas
  20. Cassis
  21. Marseille
  22. Aix en Provence
  23. Avignon
  24. Uzès
  25. Nímes
  26. Aigues Mortes
  27. Saintes Maries de la mer
  28. Collioure
  29. Carcassonne
  30. Ariege
  31. Toulouse
  32. Montauban
  33. Biarritz
  34. Bayonne
  35. La Rochelle

Remember, we put all cities on the map.

We starte in the North-East and went clock-wise around France. Take notes of the cities you would love to visit.

35 most Beautiful Cities to visit in France

1. Mont Saint Michel

When it comes to places to visit in France, Mont Saint Michel cannot be missed.

There is no way around it.

This majestic castle is settled above the water. With low tide you can walk over.

Click on the video to get amazed. It is incredibly beautiful – and even better in real-life.

2. St Malo

Tall granite walls and the sea shore right in front of you. This tiny village with only 45.000 inhabitants is located in the Brittany, in France’s northwest coast line.

It also took an important role during WW2.

The best way to get here is by car.

St Malo in France

Photo by @thierrybegoud

3. Bayeux

The highlight of tiny Bayeux is its medieval city center and the Tapisserie de Bayeux.

This is a 11th-century tapestry depicting the 1066 Norman invasion of England.

You can park your car in the city center and wander around. Wander the cobbled streets and take endlessly great shots for your travel album.

Bayeux in France

photo by @gabri_ang97

4. Le Havre

Another highlight along the Northern Coast: Le Havre.

It is known for its artsy scene and the endless walks along the boardwalk. In ww2 git got heavily damaged and the city center itself is rebuild. Nevertheless, it’s beautiful!

Cities to visit in France: Le Havre in North France

5. Rouen

Following the river Seine from Paris, you will end up here, in Rouen.

The Roman era and Middle Ages formed the city of Rouen until today.

I loved wandering around the old town. There is also many beautiful churches you can enter for free. It is not a very touristic city, so that is a big plus too.

On your way from Paris to the Normandie, you can stop here and walk around for 2 hours.

7 Days in France, Rouen should be on your roundtrip

Photo by @kings through

6. Paris

The French Capital of Paris is always in the top 10 cities in France.

It is such a cliché, but it is always true.

We wrote a big guide to one week in Paris.

It covers everything you need to know to have a great time.

Most likely your trip around the country will start and end here. Plan accordingly and spend a few days here in the City of Love.

I recommend staying here for 3 nights. Find a great Airbnb near the Eiffel Tower (just add Paris Eiffel tower on the search bar and press search).

This gives you time to explore the romantic area of Montmartre, climb up the Eiffel Tower and take a river cruise at night or right before sunset.

The Louvre is obviously not to miss as well. Just make sure you get your skip-the-line ticket for Louvre.

Same goes for the island of Notre Dame and the Champs-Élysées.

Here is a full list of 27 Fun Things to do in Paris.

10 Days in France: Paris has to be on your list

photo by @theliamman

7. Amiens

Amiens is by divided by the Somme river and is known for its Gothic Amiens Cathedral overlooking the city.

I love to come here just to sit down in one of the many cafés. Order a Café au lait and Croissant; thank me later!

Same as Rouen, it is not a super overrun touristy place.

The cathedral has the same Gothic style as Notre Dame in Paris, very beautiful! Go up here and enjoy the scenery!

Amiens Cathedral in France

photo by @audrey_hncq

8. Lille

Up in the North, Lille is one of the places to see in France.

The city center is filled with plenty of shops, it is very popular to come here for shopping.

The highlight is the medieval castle and old town.

Lille is a very industrial city, and recently many industrial chic cafés and shops openend up.

Good to know: Lille has one of the best Christmas markets in France.

Read: best Christmas markets in Europe.

Lille in North France

photo by @claire__paris

9. Strasbourg

Strasbourg is a gorgeous pearl right next to the German border, not far away from Colmar.

I have been to Strasbourg several times. It is always worth it. You can wander La Petit France, the most scenic district.

I summed up all best places to visit in this list of 28 things to do in Strasbourg.

Good to know: The Christmas market in Strasbourg is amazing!

Strasbourg in Alsace, East France

10. Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg

You cannot make a list of best places in France, without adding some castles.

Chateau du Haut Koenigsburg is a restored 12th-century mountain fortress with artillery platform, and medieval garden.

Right next to it you can find another castle, the Château de l’Œdenbourg.

Chateau du Haut Koenigsbourg

photo by @christierosen

11. Colmar

Located close to the German and Swiss Border, Colmar is a beautiful, tiny village. It is named “small Venice”. You can even take a small Gondola ride on the small river.

You can walk around the city center in 30 minutes. One thing you should put on your list as well: the local market.

It is a local market with local fruits, vegetables and cheese. Endless cheese!

Strasbourg and Colmar are one of the safest cities in France to visit. The whole area is super safe and beautiful at the same time.

Cities to visit in France: Colmar

Photo by @Jamiesweetie

12. Eguisheim

One of the best preserved medieval towns in France. It is full of color and plants.

And most likely, this is the kind of town you have in your mind when thinking of cities and towns in France.

It is just a stone throw away from Colmar, previously mentioned in this list of the best cities to visit in France. It is a very small city, you can walk around in just 1 hour.

Eguisheim; one of the best preserved mediaval towns in France

13. Besancon

I wanted to include Besancon due to its distribution and location. And also, since it is for me one of the friendliest cities in France.

It is a peninsula, 90% surrounded by its river. It is accessible by around 10 bridges.

Only the part of the castle is directly connected with the “main land”.

I have spent a few days here. It is not very touristic, and the castle is impressive to visit. There is even some history about World War 2, the resistance was hiding in the area.

The castle has also a zoo inside. Personally, I do not enjoy visiting a Zoo, but the animals look very healthy and are well taken care of. I guess it is one of the great things to do in France with families.

14. Dijon

The landscape around Dijon is something not to miss. Here you can visit wineries and taste the world famous Burgundy cheese.

There are numerous authentic tours to join.

You can find all wine tours and cheese tastings in Dijon here.

This is a must-do!

Dijon in France

Photo by @thelondonfoodie

15. Annecy

Annecy, a beautiful village and castle near the Alps.

It is only 40km South of Geneva, so actually very close to Switzerland and Italy.

Annecy is the capital of the Départements Haute-Savoie, directly located at a beautiful lake.

In the area you find many different lakes, perfect for the summer.

Annecy, south of Genova

photo by @vehbi_ch

16. Lyon

Known as the “next Paris” or “Small Paris”, Lyon is certainly a city to keep an eye on. Lyon is certainly one of the best cities in France to live.

World class cooks call this city their home.

The markets are filled with delicious cakes, cheese, wine and more tasty products you want to taste.

When visiting Lyon, make sure you wander the 4th district.

This is the area of the Croix-Rousse.

It is well known for its partially colorful stairways, the market and art.

Another highlight is Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière.

It is the Basilica on top of the hill.

You can come here by walking up 20 minutes or taking the funicular. From here you have a panoramic view all over Lyon.

Good to know: I recommend walking down. You will pass a tiny park and more monuments you would not expect.

I include here a beautiful video; it sums up the city really well, better than a photo could do.

17. Grenoble

The highlight in Grenoble is taking the cable care over the city, up the mountain.

Grenoble has amazing views to the Alp mountains. It is the door to Switzerland, and is close to the Italians border with Torino.

Good to know: North ot Grenoble you have many many lakes, perfect for the hot summer time! I went to Lago Bourget, loved this! There is certain swimming areas for families, but also areas for kite surfing.

Grenoble in France; check out the many lakes in the area

photo by @luciedgr

18. Verdon Gorge

Verdon Gorge is not an actual city, but one of the best places to visit in France.

It also one of the best regions of France to visit thanks to the mountains but also the Lavender fields in the area. This area is one of the best road trips in France you can take; no doubt! As it is a river canyon, popular for Kayaking. Verdon Gorge is often considered to be one of Europe’s most beautiful river canyons.

Although I have not seen every single canyon in Europe, this is very likely.

Especially in summer this place was wonderful! I came here in August with our camper van, and in the mountains the temperature was wonderful! It was warm and at night you could actually cool down again. Before coming here, I was in Avignon; it was boiling hot. The lakes in Gorge du Verdon are also great to have a swim. You can also rent Kayak and do other family-friendly activities.

In winter times, this are is covered in snow. Bare this in mind.

Have a look at this video.

19. Bormes les Mimosas

Bormes les Mimosas is a very popular destination to get married. So, yes, it is one of the romantic places to visit in France!

The city is covered in the Mimosas flowers.

And not just that.

The city organizes every year a traditional floral procession: the Grand Mimosa Procession.

More than 12 tonnes of yellow sprigs and more than 90.000 flowers decorate the streets in the old village.

The festivals takes place at the last weekend of February.

Bormes les Mimosas in France, a very romantic city to visit in France for couples

photo by @ettavee

20. Cassis

Limestone cliffs, fishing port, romantinc ambiant.

Just a shor ride away from Marseille, you can find the tiny town of Cassis.

You can come here as well for a day trip.

Make sure you walk along the boardwalk and get a coffee along the way.