The 10 Famous Cities in France:
From Paris to Marseille: embark with us on a journey of discovery of France’s most interesting cities, perhaps after a tour of its ports. You will be overwhelmed by cultural attractions, refined atmospheres, sea and unforgettable sights, but also by folklore and history that have distant roots. You will visit neighborhoods, wander through markets and shopping, and find the souvenir that suits you.
Not only Paris, France is full of beautiful cities: between history and nature, from big cities to small hamlets. Discover the most beautiful ones to visit, and if you want, even take a dip among France’s islands.
Romantic city, capital city with indescribable charm and a thousand cultural attractions. Everything has already been written about Paris, but there will always be a way to find a different perspective, a glimpse that surprises us or a neighborhood that gives us a moment to count among our memories. Montmartre, once the haunt of the greatest artists, will be a fine way to begin your journey. You can then lose yourself in the Latin Quarter and its effervescent atmosphere of clubs and cafes. Among so many colors there is also the sobriety of the Sorbonne. The French capital rhymes with museums, from the Orsay, built in an old station, to the Louvre, which in spite of its obsession with the Mona Lisa contains hundreds of masterpieces that deserve time.
The allure of the Eiffel Tower is timeless, as is the importance of a monument that had been hailed as a “tragic chandelier” or “a plastic chimney,” and now attracts more than 6 million visitors each year. Paris is the city that in the blink of an eye will take you on a journey into the past. The Palace of Versailles will take you back to the time of Louis XIV-a power that lasted for more than 70 years. Paris can also be peeked at from a boat or discovered through its bistros.
international the town comes alive with stars and life, the Palais des Festivals is colored with the red carpet, the Croisette fills up in clubs, restaurants and even beaches. Its enchanting location on the French Riviera makes it a prime beach destination, but Cannes is also more. It can boast a 2,000-year history and offer a range of attractions that will captivate every type of tourist at any time of year.
Among the sights to visit is definitely the Musée de la Castre housed in a splendid manor house located in the oldest quarter. It will be a journey through primitive arts to even touch on oriental influences. In the area you can reach the old port to breathe in some sea breeze or to relax in one of the many bars or restaurants offering seafood dishes.
To get some insight into daily life, you cannot miss a visit to the markets. The Marché Forville is the oldest and most famous one in Cannes. It covers more than 3,000 square meters and houses a wide variety of fresh produce. Also treat yourself to a trip to the Iles de Lerins and discover the mysterious Fort Royal where the famous Iron Mask was imprisoned.
It is known for being the “City of the Popes” having been the seat of the Papacy from 1309 to 1377, the period of its greatest prosperity. The Palace of the Popes, built in just 20 years, is certainly one of the most important legacies, but the city that is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site will know how to give numerous treasures. One of the obligatory steps involves visiting the museums, starting with the Piccolo Palazzo, a jewel that houses very important works, including those by Botticelli. Also special is the Angladon, which can boast of a collection of paintings by the likes of Van Gogh, Cézanne, Degas, Modigliani and Picasso.
During your walk you can admire the four remaining arches of the Bridge of St. Bénézet, a true masterpiece of engineering that was almost a kilometer long and connected Avignon to the town of Villeneuve, crossing the Rhone. Another of the landmarks is the Notre Dame des Doms Cathedral, built in 1100 and famous for its monumental statue of the Madonna blessing Avignon. Among the finer squares is, on the other hand, Place de l’Horloge full of clubs and life. Avignon is then renowned for being the gastronomic capital of Provence and an excellent center of wine production. Famous is the Cotes du Rhone.
Mont Saint Michel
It is a small island surrounded by a beautiful bay, also called “The Wonder of the West” and since 1979 listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We are located in the region of Lower Normandy, on the border with Brittany. At any time of the year, a visit to this atoll, about 1 kilometer in circumference, will give you excitement and architectural beauty thanks to the Abbey, whose origins date back to the 8th century. A fortified structure that was never conquered and was also used as a prison.
This enchanted place looks like something out of a fairy tale. It is one of the most visited sites in all of France, thanks in part to the beauty and power of its tides. Writer Victor Hugo called it “A pyramid on the sea,” one of the greatest natural phenomena in all of continental Europe. On the mountain dedicated to the archangel Gabriel, magnificent Gothic or Romanesque buildings and palaces have alternated and succeeded one another.
A city that has always been a bit of a crossroads of European history, a bit of France and a bit of Germany. It is no coincidence, that thanks to its troubled history three important European institutions are located there: the Court of Human Rights, the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. Strasbourg represents a cosmopolitan city where architecture, art, social organization and gastronomy represent the two nationalities. One of the first attractions is definitely the Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the greatest symbols of Gothic in Europe. Its construction began in 1015 on the remains of a temple dedicated to Hercules.
One of the must-see sights is the Maison Kammerzel, the house that a wealthy cheese merchant had built for himself. The upper part, where the main house and warehouse were, was decorated in wood with grotesque figures and warriors. Today it houses a major restaurant. Romantic souls can take a stroll through the Petite-France, a picture-postcard corner of the old town. At one time in the 1500s, tanners, fishermen and millers lived there. The picturesque houses with sloping roofs have remained intact. Not to be missed is the Rohan Palace, which houses no less than three museums: the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Museum of Decorative Arts.
A city that has always been regarded as an emblem of multiculturalism and joie de vivre. The Promenade des Anglais is the ideal place for strolling and relaxing, jogging or just lounging by the sea. It is not just a seaside promenade, but the symbol of the Belle Epoque, as evidenced by the palaces, hotels, and Villa Massena, a museum of local history. The seaside and worldly soul is, in fact, only one side of this town’s personality. The pride and joy are definitely the museums, starting with the one dedicated to Matisse. The facility, opened in 1963, houses sculptures, paintings, sketches and photographs of the great artist.
Another very interesting attraction is the Marc Chagall Museum, dedicated to the multifaceted painter who had an adventurous life between Europe, Palestine and the United States. It houses, among others, 17 works that were commissioned from Chagall by a French gallery owner with a biblical theme. For those who want to reach glimpses of incredible beauty, the advice is to reach The Three Corniches, three parallel roads that join Nice to Menton. The scenery will take your breath away. Charm can also be found in Nice’s Old Town, wandering around cafes, stores and palaces. One of the most interesting is Palais Lascaris, an emblem of the Baroque style.
Slightly off the beaten tourist track Lyon offers first and foremost a beautiful old town, the largest Renaissance quarter in Europe. Here there are small squares, large stores, alleys, three fine churches, and even several secret passages. The area has currently been restored and redeveloped and is now protected by UNESCO. Place de Terreaux is a must-see: here you can admire the Town Hall, the Bartholdi fountain, and the Museum of Fine Arts, particularly popular for its collection of coins (over 50,000 specimens), among the largest in France. The collection also includes numerous paintings ranging from primitive art to the 19th century.
There are many Italian artists (Perugino, Tintoretto, and Veronese). The symbol of Lyon is definitely the Cathedral, work on which began in 1100. It took 300 years to complete it, and from the Romanesque style was changed to Gothic. The town is full of curiosities, starting with the traboules (covered passages), built during the Renaissance for aesthetic purposes but which became, for example, partisan shelter from the Nazis. Today you can still walk through some of them. Another of the attractions is the Wall of the Lyonnais, a palace facade depicting scenes of daily life with famous people. These include Emperor Claudius and the Lumiére brothers.
Welcome to the beating heart of northern France, in an important commercial and cultural center. You will be imbued with a history that begins in the Middle Ages and is rich in contamination, given its proximity to Belgium. Your day could begin at the Grand Place and its interesting combination of modern and ancient styles. You could then visit the Vieux-Lille district, not only for its picturesque streets and beautifully restored brick houses, but also for several monuments, including the Old Stock Exchange building, Charles de Gaulle’s birthplace, and the Opera House. An additional stop might be the Civic Tower of City Hall: you will have a wonderful view of the city.
The Tower was built in 1900, in the Flemish style. You cannot miss a visit to the Marché de Wazzemes, one of the busiest markets in the city. It will be a journey through exotic and local products with many stalls that are dedicated to street food. You will have the opportunity to visit one of the most interesting museums in all of France, the Palais des Beux-Arts, holds a very large collection of drawings, sculptures and paintings ranging from antiquity to modern times. For those who need some contact with nature, there is a wonderful green space: the Parc de la Citadelle, a 60-hectare island where a zoo also appears.
Wine is the common thread that will run through your entire trip to Bordeaux. From the Place de la Bourse, the building where prices were haggled to the Garonne River warehouses that have been transformed into a place of leisure. The symbol of the city is St. Andrew’s Cathedral, built in 1096 at the urging of Pope Urban II. Its main features are its majesty and the 5 chapels that extend inward. Another church not to be missed is Saint Michel, famous for the 114 meters of its bell tower. At the base of the tower is a crypt where thousands of mummified bodies were found.
Another of the emblems is the gate of the Grosse-Cloche (Big Bell) which was built in the 1400s. The Bordeaux Museum of Fine Arts is one of the most amazing in all of France since it houses one of the best-stocked collections, ranging from 1400 to 1900 with paintings by Veronese, Rubens, Van Dick, Matisse, Delacroix, and Picasso. Arriving in the city, you cannot fail to cross one of the most beautiful quays in the world along the Garonne. Here the old red brick warehouses have been recovered and transformed into places of leisure and culture. For shopping lovers, a fixed stop is definitely Rue Sainte Catherine, a street that stretches for more than a kilometer among stores and boutiques.
A colorful city that may appear messy and chaotic, but it has great charm. Marseille is like that: you either love it or you hate it. To get a feel for it, you can start at the Old Port, an explosion of scents and everyday life among the fish stalls, the boats that constantly go back and forth, and the hubbub of fishermen. Nearby is the Rive Nouveau, a bustling place where among trees and neoclassical buildings Marseillais and tourists meet in bars and restaurants, perhaps to taste the famous bouillabaisse, a local soup. Marseille’s old town hints at the sparkling Le Panier district.
You’ll find a mix of folklore and contamination among artists’ workshops, clubs and little stores. The visit must continue with one of the symbols of the city, the Notre Dame de la Garde cathedral. For those who want to continue walking there is the Corniche, a wonderful walk that can be taken along a scenic 5-kilometer road. A stop that might give you some surprises is definitely the Soap Museum where you will discover all the secrets of Marseille soap. Another nice highlight will be provided by the Museum of African Arts and the Museum of Mediterranean Archaeology.