Travel guide : Top 10 Best Places & Cities to Visit in France

best places to visit in France - Travel guide : Top 10 Best Places & Cities to Visit in France - 2024 - 1

Embarking on a journey through France, a country famed for its exquisite wine, breathtaking landscapes, and rich history, is like stepping into a beautifully illustrated storybook. Each city and town tells a story, a blend of the past and the present, making it an essential destination for travelers seeking both beauty and depth.

Discover the best places to visit in France, each with its locale rich history and its own narrative.

From the best places to explore France wineries to the best spots to chill on the beach, discover our dedicated guide to explore the top 10 places and cities in France that promise an unforgettable experience, especially for those with a penchant for fine wine and stunning views.

What are the best places to visit in France?

Paris, the iconic city of lights

best places to visit in France - Travel guide : Top 10 Best Places & Cities to Visit in France - 2024 - 3

Paris, the luminescent heart of France, offers more than the quintessential allure of its landmarks and boulevards. A timeless destination that will captivate you with its rich history, stunning architecture, world-renowned art scene, and delicious cuisine. From iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame Cathedral to charming neighborhood cafes and fashionable boutiques, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this enchanting city. Explore the Louvre Museum to see masterpieces like the Mona Lisa, stroll along the Seine River, and indulge in delectable French pastries and cheeses. Whether you’re a lover of art, history, fashion, or simply seeking a romantic getaway, Paris offers a truly unforgettable experience that will leave you enchanted and longing for more. Discover our dedicated guide of the best things to do in Paris.

If you’re a wine amateur, discover the hidden gem that is the Clos Montmartre vineyard, nestled in the iconic Montmartre neighborhood. This vineyard, spanning just 1,500 square meters, produces around 1,500 bottles of wine each year, making it a rare and coveted treat for wine enthusiasts. To truly immerse yourself in the world of French wine, consider visiting the best Paris wineries, all available on Winalist!

Reims, nested in the heart of Champagne

best places to visit in France - Travel guide : Top 10 Best Places & Cities to Visit in France - 2024 - 5

While journeying to Reims, one enters the sanctum of Champagne, a region where the effervescence of its namesake beverage permeates the air. The Gothic splendor of the Reims Cathedral, combined with history, art, and gastronomy converge to create a truly unforgettable destination.

But it is the champagne houses that truly make Reims a destination like no other. From the historic cellars of renowned houses like Veuve Clicquot or Champagne Ruinart to smaller, family-owned producers, there is no shortage of opportunities to taste and learn about the world-famous sparkling wine that has made the region famous. Discover the best Reims champagne houses to visit on Winalist and book your next experience for free.

Whether you are a champagne connoisseur, a history enthusiast, or simply a lover of beautiful architecture, Reims has something to offer everyone. 

Useful info & links:

Bordeaux, perfect for wine lovers

best places to visit in France - Travel guide : Top 10 Best Places & Cities to Visit in France - 2024 - 7

Bordeaux is a symphony in vineyards, a city synonymous with wine, offering an odyssey that weaves through historic châteaux and contemporary cellars. Nested in one of the most famous french wine regions, the wine routes around Bordeaux, with their illustrious Bordeaux wineries, beckon with promises of tastings that highlight the depth and complexity of this region’s offerings.

We must append Saint-Émilion, a jewel in Bordeaux’s crown, where the very cobblestones seem steeped in history and viticulture. This UNESCO World Heritage site is not merely a destination but a journey into the soul of Bordeaux’s winemaking tradition, offering insights and tastes that linger long after the journey has concluded.

If you’re here in summer and are in desperate search of a beach, drive south up to Biarritz and spend some great time surfing under the sun.

Useful info & links:

Lyon, capital city of gastronomy

best places to visit in France - Travel guide : Top 10 Best Places & Cities to Visit in France - 2024 - 9

Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France, stands at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, a crossroads of culinary and vinous heritage. Here, the vibrant bouchons (typical Lyon restaurants) that serve as stages for the Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône wines to shine, accompanied by dishes that tell of the region’s bounty. Lyon is a city where food is seen as a form of art, with chefs showcasing their skills and creativity through traditional Lyonnaise dishes such as coq au vin, quenelles, and bouillabaisse. The city’s famous markets, such as Les Halles de Lyon-Paul Bocuse, offer a feast for the senses with stalls piled high with fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, and charcuterie.

Wine is also a key component of Lyon’s gastronomic culture, with vineyards in the nearby Beaujolais and Côtes du Rhône regions producing some of the finest wines in France. Visitors can savor these wines at local bars and bouchons, traditional Lyonnaise eateries known for their warm and convivial atmosphere.

Useful links

Strasbourg, in the famous Alsace region

best places to visit in France - Travel guide : Top 10 Best Places & Cities to Visit in France - 2024 - 11

In the Alsace region, Strasbourg stands out with its charming half-timbered houses and vibrant Christmas market and is mostly famous for its stunning Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. The city’s picturesque old town features narrow cobblestone streets lined with half-timbered houses, many of which date back to the medieval period. The crowning jewel of Strasbourg is undoubtedly its Christmas market, one of the oldest and most famous in Europe. The market fills the streets with the scent of mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, and gingerbread, creating a festive atmosphere that is truly magical.

Just a short drive from Strasbourg is Colmar, a town that looks like something out of a fairy tale. Its well-preserved medieval old town is filled with colorful half-timbered houses, flower-filled canals, and charming squares. Colmar is also known for its museums, including the Unterlinden Museum, which houses the Isenheim Altarpiece, a masterpiece of Renaissance art.

Together, Strasbourg and Colmar offer a unique blend of French and German cultures, making them a must-see destination for anyone looking to experience the best of both worlds. Whether you visit during the festive Christmas season or in the quieter months of the year, you’re sure to be captivated by the beauty and charm of these two enchanting cities in the Alsace region. 

Useful info & links:

Chinon, in Loire Valley just near Brittany

best places to visit in France - Travel guide : Top 10 Best Places & Cities to Visit in France - 2024 - 13

In the verdant embrace of the Loire Valley lies Chinon, a town where the legacy of Cabernet Franc thrives amidst castles and fortresses. This picturesque locale provides a backdrop against which the narratives of vineyards and viticulture are intimately explored, revealing the subtleties of terroir and tradition. Chinon is known for its elegant and complex Cabernet Franc wines, characterized by their bright red fruit flavors, earthy undertones, and spicy notes. The region’s unique climate and limestone soil contribute to the distinctive profile of these wines, making them revered by wine enthusiasts around the world.

In addition to experiencing the world-class wines of Chinon, immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of the region. The imposing Château de Chinon, once home to King Henry II of England, stands as a testament to the town’s storied past. The winding streets of the old town are lined with charming cafes and boutiques, offering a taste of everyday life in this enchanting corner of France.

Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or a curious traveler looking to explore a new destination, Chinon offers a blend of history, culture, and world-class wine that is sure to enchant and inspire. So come, raise a glass of Chinon Cabernet Franc, and toast to the enduring legacy of this remarkable region. Santé! 

Useful links

Dijon, in the picturesque Burgundy region

best places to visit in France - Travel guide : Top 10 Best Places & Cities to Visit in France - 2024 - 15

Venture to Dijon, the heart of Burgundy, where the vines are as deeply rooted in the landscape as the city’s architectural marvels, is a must-see place in France for any traveler. The Route des Grands Crus offers a pilgrimage through some of the world’s most esteemed Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards, each glass a testament to the artistry of Burgundy’s winemakers up to Beaune, a perfect spot to settle in Burgundy.

Useful info & links:

Marseille, get the Provence art de vivre

best places to visit in France - Travel guide : Top 10 Best Places & Cities to Visit in France - 2024 - 17

Marseille, with its azure coastlines and sun-drenched terraces, offers a Mediterranean interpretation of wine culture. The city’s proximity to Cassis and Bandol introduces palates to wines that encapsulate the warmth and vibrancy of the Provence region, mirroring the sun-kissed landscapes from which they hail. Rosé wines, in particular, are a standout in Provence and are perfect for sipping on a balmy evening while watching the sunset over the Mediterranean Sea.

If you’re looking to delve deeper into the world of viticulture, Provence wine guided tours and tastings are available at vineyards in the surrounding countryside. Learn about the winemaking process, sample a variety of wines, and gain a greater appreciation for the artistry and tradition behind each bottle.

Whether you’re a wine aficionado or simply looking to savor a glass of something special on your vacation, Marseille offers a delightful fusion of wine and culture that is sure to enchant and delight. Santé! (Cheers!) 

If you have the time, we highly recommend adding Avignon to your itinerary, a beautiful city located about 90 kilometers north of Marseille is also famous for its well-preserved medieval architecture, including the stunning Palais des Papes (Papal Palace) and the Pont d’Avignon (Bridge of Avignon). In addition to its historical sites, Avignon also offers charming streets, quaint cafes, and bustling markets. The city is also known for its vibrant arts scene, with numerous theaters, galleries, and music festivals throughout the year.

Useful links

Deauville, on your way to normandy

best places to visit in France - Travel guide : Top 10 Best Places & Cities to Visit in France - 2024 - 19

If you’re planning on visiting France and particularly some of the D-Day beaches and D-Day memorial museums, allowing you to learn about the events of June 6, 1944, when Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy to begin the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi occupation we recommend driving to the beautiful city of Deauville.

Deauville is a picturesque seaside resort town known for its elegant architecture, charming streets, and sandy beaches. While it may not have the historical significance of some of the other sites in Normandy, it offers a relaxing and luxurious atmosphere that can be a welcome break from the intensity of visiting D-Day sites and museums.

Additionally, Deauville is known for its horse racing events, such as the prestigious Deauville American Film Festival and the annual horse races at the Deauville-La Touques racecourse. The town also has a bustling market, boutique shops, and a range of gourmet restaurants serving delicious French cuisine.

Visiting Deauville can provide a different perspective on Normandy, allowing you to experience the region’s beauty and charm in a more leisurely setting.

Saint-Tropez, on the french riviera

best places to visit in France - Travel guide : Top 10 Best Places & Cities to Visit in France - 2024 - 21

Synonymous with glamour, Saint Tropez‘s azure waters and legendary beaches have long attracted the jet set. Yet, it’s the town’s old-world charm and proximity to Provence’s vineyards that make it a truly enchanting place to visit. While on the French Riviera, you could also take a moment to visit Cannes! Known for its annual film festival, attracting celebrities and film industry professionals from around the world and home to beautiful sandy beaches, perfect for relaxing and soaking up the Mediterranean sun.

Useful info & links:

France is a country that promises endless discoveries – from the snow-capped peaks of the French Alps and Mont Blanc to the sunny shores of the Côte d’Azur and the historic beaches of Normandy.

Each city and town, with its unique charm and story, invites you to explore, taste, and immerse yourself in what it means to live the French way. Whether you’re drawn to the allure of metropolitan cities or the tranquil beauty of hilltop villages, France offers a mosaic of experiences that cater to every taste and sensibility. As you plan your trip to France, let these destinations inspire your journey, and prepare to uncover the best places, the finest wines, and the most beautiful landscapes this country has to offer. Get ready to explore the best of France, a journey where every moment is a brushstroke on the canvas of unforgettable memories.