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 34 beautiful cities to visit in France.
You should add all these places in France to your bucket list. There is no way around it.
List of 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.
Okay, let us get started.
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.
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!
3. 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.
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.
5. 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!
Following the river Seine from Paris, you will end up here.
The Roman era and Middle Ages formed the city of Rouen until today.
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!
Amiens is by divided by the Somme river and known for its Gothic Amiens Cathedral overlooking the city.
I love to come here just to sit down in one of the many cafés.
Up in the North, Lille is one of the places to see in France.
The city center is filled with small and big shops.
The highlight is the medieval castle and old town.
One of the best preserved medieval towns in France.
It is full of color and plants.
It is just a stone throw away from Colmar, also mentioned in this list of the best cities to visit in France.
11. 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.
The French Capital of Paris is always in the top 10 cities in France.
It is such a cliché, but it is always true.
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.
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 28 Fun Things to do in Paris.
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!
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 Torin.
Known as the “next Paris” or “Small Paris”, Lyon is certainly a city to keep an eye on.
Worldclass 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.
Avignon is the former seat of Catholic popes.
Although this is long time passed, the Palais des Papes (Popes’ Palace) is still the main attraction of the city.
Same story: Uzès is magnificent.
The main attraction is to visit is their colorful flower and vegetable market.
It is very popular. Even French citizens come over just for the market.
Nímes took an important role during Roman Empire.
Some photos could even be taken for Rome.
Other than the Colosseum in Rome, the Arena of Nimes is still in use.
The amphitheater holds concerts and other city events.
I included here a photo from Rammsteins concert.
19. Aigues Mortes
The medieval city center of Aigues Mortes is well-preserved.
Yet, the highlight of Aigues Mortes is outside the city walls.
It is the Pink Lake.
The unnatural, pinkish colour of the salty water is given by micro-organisms growing in this environment.
It is not because of the pink flamingos nestling here.
Nevertheless, that’s a cute thought.
20. Saintes Maries de la mer
This is probably the tiniest village, town, on this list.
Saintes Maries de la mar has only around 2500 inhabitants.
Yet, in summer time, the population grows dramatically due it’s beauty.
Have a look at this video of Saintes Maries de la mer.
It shows you the animals in the area, things to do and what to admire.
The city on the Mediterranean is a well-known tourist destination. Besides the city center and the Roman architecture, there are many dreamy day trips from Marseille to join.
There is the French version of Alcatraz, the Château d’If, a prison located on the sea.
22. Aix en Provence
The birthplace of Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne awakes in serious charm when the sun goes down.
The main square is illuminated.
I recommend having dinner at a restaurant nearby. Here you can soak in the full charm.
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.
Hopping over to the atlantic coast.
The best way to explore Bayonne and area is by bike.
A bit more up the Atlantic coast, but still in the Basque area.
This is BIARRITZ.
The surfers paradise is perfect for every beginner and pro on the surf board.
It is also a small, cosy village with a beachy vibe. It’s really laid-back and easy-going, with monuments, architecture and a culinary scene to explore.
Just have a look at this video:
Located North of Toulouse, Montauban is mini-version of the bigger brother.
Carcassonne is not just a famous board game, but also a real city.
Carcassonne a tophill city with double-walled fortifications and citadel. It is one of the many points of interests in France.
Come here in the early morning.
At this time of day it is usually less busy.
From Carcassonne you can drive over to Toulouse. It is just a short car ride away.
You can even take a day trip from Toulouse to Carcassonne.
The highlights here are the old stone bridges as well as the big local markets.
I love to try out cheese and get some local wine for the house here.
If you or someone in your family is into football, visit the Stadium of FC Toulouse.
It is located on an actual island in the river.
I visited this small village during Spring time. Collioure is located near the Catalan border, directly at the Mediterranean.
The well preserved wall tower is the monument of the little village.
I also recommend walking around the narrow streets. It is said that Salvador Dalí came here to get inspiration once in a while.
31. Verdon Gorge
Verdon Gorge is not an actual city, but one of the best places to visit in France.
It is a river canyon, popular for Kayaking. It 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.
Just have a look at this video.
32. Bormes les Mimosas
Bormes les Mimosas is a very popular destination to get married.
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.
33. La Rochelle
La Rochelle is a Reannaissance Architecture village in the southwestern France.
I wanted to include Besancon due to its distribution and location.
It is a peninsula, 90% surrounded by its river. It is accesible by around 10 bridges.
Only the part of the castle is directly connected with the “main land”.
Last but not least: Annecy.
This list ends with a beautiful village and castle near the Alps.
It is only 40km South of Geneva.
Annecy is the capital of the Départements Haute-Savoie, directly located at a beautiful lake.
Map of France with Cities
My map of France with cities covers all cities, towns and villages I recommend.
It will help you to plan your itinerary proplerly.
Get around France and Itinerary
Personally, I love my freedom.
I recommend renting a car. You can compare car rental in France here.
The motorways/ freeways in France come with a road charge. Depending on your itinerary it can be pricey.
I love to use Via Michelin.com to plan my itinerary.
It gives you an overview of road charges, distances and patrol consumption.
It is very likely you will start in Paris. Since you are up in the North, you should travel clock wise.
You find castles and tiny villages all around the border of France.
Good to know:
- If you prefer the beach and coastline: start in the East and travel southwards.
- If you are more into mountains, I recommend the area of Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Alps.
Please drop me a comment below if you need help with planning your itinerary.
Hotels in France
You can find all hotels in France with Booking.com
Booking.com is the only website you need to book your accommodation. You can book the accommodation wihtout any prepayment. There is also a free cancellation policy.
Booking covers the widest selection of accommodations in Europe.
Just check out Booking.com.
AirBnb and Villas in France
Airbnb is not to underestimate.
When you are flexible by renting a car, I recommend staying in the country side. An exception is the big cities like Paris, Lyon and Lille.
I have here a promo code from Airbnb. Get a 35€ Discount on your first stay with Airbnb.
You can also book full villas for your family directly at Booking.com
More Guides to France
Get Your Guide is my favorite way to find
- things to do
- day tours
It is also the best way to get inspired.
Summary: Beautiful Cities to visit in France
I hope this list gave you a lot of inspiration.
France is simply awesome. Whether you are coming over for One Week, two weeks or a full month, make sure you spend your time wisely. Try not to get overwhelmed by all these points of interests in France.
As long as you do following things during your holiday, you are good:
- Try Local cheese
- Try local wine
- Visit a chateau aka. castle
- Visit a small village
- lean back and enjoy the journey
Do you have any questions? Did I miss any village?
Please let me know. I would love to have this list completed.
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