10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in France

France is a land of fairytale castles, fairytale country villages, chic seaside resorts and snow-capped mountains. Paris, the City of Light, is the ultimate dream vacation destination. Start your day with a visit to the modern Eiffel tower, then explore the world-renowned Louvre Museum, where you can spend a day as a real-life princess. Spend a day at the Palace at Versailles, where you can save time for a leisurely meal. French gastronomy is one of the world’s most celebrated culinary traditions. It has been recognized by UNESCO as one of the “Intangible Cultural Heritage” of the world. Each part of France has its own unique culture and cuisine. In Brittany, you’ll find the old world charm of charming fishing villages and old seaports. In the French Alps, there’s cheese fondue, charcuterie and hearty cuisine served in chalets close to ski slopes. 10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in France

1. Eiffel Tower

In addition to being one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, the Eiffel tower is also a work of engineering. This 8,000-foot-tall structure was constructed in 1889 as a temporary exhibition at the World Fair. Initially, it was panned by critics. Today, the tower stands at 330 meters above sea level and is one of the most beloved and iconic symbols of Paris. The first thing that strikes you is the delicate airiness of the tower. The panoramas on each of the tower’s three floors will leave you breathless.

2. Musée du Louvre

The Louvre is the most important museum in Paris and one of the most prestigious collections of fine art in Europe. It houses some of the most famous pieces of art from Western Civilization, including the famous Mona Lisa, the Wedding Feast at Cana, the Veronese’s Venus de Milo, and many other masterpieces from the 1st century BC. The Louvre’s extensive collection is the result of many contributions from various kings who have lived in the Palace of Paris in the past centuries, as well as other contributions from France’s treaties with Vatican and Republic of Venice and the spoils from Napoleon I. The Louvre houses some 35,000 works of art, many of which are masterpieces, and it is impossible to see them all in a single day or even a week. For the most satisfying experience, consider taking a private tour or focusing on a short list of key works of art.

3. Château de Versailles

The château of Versailles, which is listed as UNESCO-listed, offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in France’s rich royal history. Take a journey back to the time of Louis XIV (the “Sun King”), Louis XV and Louis XVI, when Versailles was the scene of the most important princely court in Europe. The Hall of Mirrors is the most impressive room in Versailles, where courtiers wait to meet His Majesty. The gallery glows with the sunlight that floods in through the windows, reflecting off hundreds of ornate mirrors and dozens of sparkling chandeliers with gilded details. Les Jardins are another of Versailles’ most famous gardens, which are formal French gardens with decorative pools, carefully trimmed shrubbery and numerous sculptures.

4. Côte d’Azur

The Côte d’Azur is the most fashionable part of France’s coastline, stretching from St. Tropez to Menton, close to the Italian border. The name translates to “Coast of Blue,” a fitting description of the Mediterranean’s hypnotic cerulean turquoise waters. For English speakers, the French Riviera is simply known as “the Riviera,” a combination that rings of sun-kissed luxury. During the summer months, the Riviera’s seaside resorts welcome beach-goers and sun-seekers alike. The wealthy and famous live here in their opulent villas and luxurious yachts. The town of Nice offers spectacular sea views and world-class art museums, but nothing compares to the views from Eze, a hilltop village in the picturesque town of Nice. Cannes is home to the world’s most famous celebrity film festival and its famous “Belle Epoque” hotels.

5. Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel rises majestically from a rocky outcropping off the coast of Normandy, making it one of France’s most spectacular sites. The UNESCO-listed “Pyramid of the Sea” is a mystic sight, rising 80 meters over the bay and encircled by impressive walls and fortifications. The most popular tourist attraction, the abbeye du mont Saint-Michel, is a masterpiece of medieval architecture, with its majestic Gothic spires. You’ll be overwhelmed by the serenity of the abbey church, which features a harmonious Roman nave and an ornate high- vaulted choir. Founded in the eleventh century, the abbey church has long been a Christian pilgrimage site, known as “The Heavenly Jerusalem.”

6. Castles of the Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is like stepping back into a children’s book. Turquoise-tiled castles grace a picturesque landscape of thick forests and slow-flowing rivers. The entire Loire valley, which is often referred to as “the Garden of France,” is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. While some of the most well-known Loire castles date back to the Middle Ages and are fortified hilltop forts encircled by ramparts, the most renowned Loire chateaux are Renaissance palaces, designed for pleasure and entertainment, an extension of the court life outside Paris. 10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in France

7. Cathédrale Notre-Dame

For over eight centuries, Chartres Cathedral has captivated the faithful and some say that this grand sanctuary has restored faith in the doubting. Chartres Cathedral, which is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, with stained-glass windows dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries. The cathedral covers an area of 2.500 square meters, and the brilliant windows allow colored light to seep into the great nave creating an ethereal atmosphere. The intricate craftsmanship of the stained-glass windows reveals the incredible craftsmanship of depicting biblical stories. The rose windows are particularly remarkable for their size and detail. Other highlights include the Passion window (one of the most unique in style and expression) and the 12th century Blue Virgin window. On the 3rd Saturday of September, Chartres presents the festival of light, Chartres en lumières, during European Heritage Days.  10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in France

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