France is a dream destination for most folks looking to fulfill their fashion dreams or to tour Paris and experience the diva lifestyle as we see it on TV. Paris is the city of love and home to fashion icons like Coco Chanel, the designer that popularized the little black dress and made it a must-have item in every woman’s wardrobe. Other notable French designers are Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Louboutin – founder of the red-souled heels among many other renowned fashion designers. So, while touring France, make sure to check out one of those sleek fashion stores and get you something elegant to remember your Vacances de rêve.
France beyond Fashion
Other than fashion, there are many reasons to travel to France – mostly, for a vacay, or to experience the Tour de France, or to visit the magnificent Chateaus and other historical places; the list is endless.
Stretching for over 643,801 km² on the western edge of the Continent of Europe, France is famous for its fashion sense and boasts of the best vineyards. The country also has alluring and mouthwatering cuisines in the world.
According to Statista statistics, France receives an excess of 100 million tourists annually. Given her expansive area and numerous tourist destinations, you may be confused about where to start your tour, but don’t worry. We’ll take you through France’s top attractions if you’re planning for a short stay visit.
We love to travel throughout France and have narrowed down our favorite destinations.
Best French Destinations
What to expect in Paris:
- Paris Fashion Tour
- Boucheron or Cartier jewelers in Place Vendôme
- Coco Chanel, Christian Dior fashion history
- Scenic tour of the city’s trending boutiques with a Parisian stylist
Paris is the world’s city of fashion. Take a planned guided tour and experience luxury fashion on French soil. For the best experience, begin your tour at Place Colette near the Palais Royal metro station. Visit the Palais Royal garden, established in 1781, as the first shopping mall in modern Paris. Take a stroll through the building and take pictures of the designer boutiques that birthed Paris’ fashion fame. The building is well-preserved with beautiful arcades adjoining the Palace garden.
Explore the Rue Saint Honoré – the iconic French fashion houses and listen to how icons such as Coco Chanel, and Christian Dior, built powerful fashion empires. Next, take a stroll through the magnificent Place Vendôme, where notable designers like Boucheron, Cartier, and Cleef & Arpels display their luxury items.
Eiffel Tower: A View from the Top
A visit to France will most likely first land you at the Charles De Gaulle airport in the Country’s capital city of Paris and the home to the gigantic Eiffel Tower, a massive iron wrought structure that stands at a staggering 300 meters high and weighs a massive 7.3 metric tons. Located at Camp De Mars, the equivalent of New York’s Central Park, The Eiffel tower has three levels. On the first level sits a museum, souvenir shops and restaurants. The observation area is situated on the second floor, coupled with more restaurants and eateries. Up a flight of 387 steps sits The Montparnasse tower at 276 meters high. At that point, you get a 360 degrees view of Paris. It is a breath-taking view that includes The Seine and is one of the tower’s favorite tourist activities. Talking of The Seine, apart from just viewing this river that cuts through the city of love, you can take boat cruises and get to view the city from a water angle. How cool is that?
Louvre Museum: A Wealth of Art
A visit to Paris would not be complete without visiting the Louvre Museum at France’s heart on the right side of The Seine. Receive a warm welcome from the enchanting Louvre Pyramid, constructed entirely in glass and stands at a towering 21.6 meters. It is a sight to behold.
The museum attracts almost 10 million visitors each year, making it the most famous museum in the world. Whether it is the Louver Pyramid’s majesty or the thirst for the extensive history housed at the Louvre Palace, this destination is just irresistible. At the cost of 17 Euros for a standard ticket, you can access the museum and view the original Mona Lisa and the Venus De Milo statues, and countless masterpieces displayed here.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, The Louvre is presently closed indefinitely until a solution can be found. During the Pre-COVID-19 period, advance ticket booking is highly recommended to avoid the long ticket queues typical at the booking office. It is an experience well worth your penny.
Cathedral de Notre Dame: Timeless History
Dating back to the year 1260, The Cathedral De Notre-Dame de Paris is considered the epitome of French Gothic architecture. The Cathedral is especially significant for the Christian community as it houses the relic of the Crown of Thorns; which, according to the bible, was the wreath with thorns placed on the head of Jesus Christ at his crucifixion.
Despite the 2019 fire that caused extensive damage, a visit to the Cathedral will have you see most of the original structure. The 2019 incident is not the first suffering of the Cathedral, and much destruction has happened in the past, occasioning several repairs.
All in all, visiting the Cathedral is worth it as you witness over 800 years of history. It is a chef-d’oeuvre to behold.
Palace De Versailles: A Show of Opulence
Located just 12kms South West of the capital at Place d’Armes, 78000 Versailles, France, The Palace De Versailles is a must-visit. Experience the lavish luxury of 16th Century France from 682 to 1789. The Palace of Versailles sits on an expansive area of 67,000 m2 on over 1,000 hectares of land.
A visit to the palace will reveal:
- The Hall of Mirrors
- Le Grand Perspective
- Marie Antoinette’s Bedroom
- The Art Collection
- The Grand Chapel
- The Grand Canal
The Champs-Élysées: Shop till You Drop
You can’t leave France without catching the Fashion bug. The Champs-Élysées is the perfect store to upgrade your wardrobe and dazzle people back home. With all the big fashion names and houses living in France, you will be spoilt for choice. Champs-Élysées offers the best shopping option for tourists.
Other options include:
- Rue Saint-Honore
- Rue De Rivoli into Le Marais
- Boulevard Haussmann
- Canal Saint-Matin
Spoil yourself and go on a shopping spree for the latest that fashion has to offer.
Arc De Triomphe: A Place of Honor
The Arc De Triomphe is indeed one of the most eminent shrines in France hence a must-see; built-in honor of those who fought and died during the French war. The Arc de Triomphe has numerous fallen heroes’ inscriptions. What a way to honor them. By visiting this monument, you will witness incredible architectural pieces and a display of honor and reverence from those who sacrificed for the French nation’s future stability.
The following are activities that you can partake at the arc:
If you can bear to take a flight of 234 steps, the La Defense, the Champ-Elysees, and the Sacre-Coeur view of from the top of the arc is worth it.
Additionally, take a luxury walk on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, one of Paris most luxurious places.
Reims – Champagne and Wine Tasting
France produces some of the best wines and champagnes, and it is a tradition for the leading French meals to be accompanied by wine.
There are many opportunities to sample a variety of these by tasting. Just be careful not to get tipsy on all the sips. Slightly over an hour from Paris, Reims is the home of many Champaign produces, and you could hope from one producer to another in the pre-text of tasting.
A few of the houses you could visit for Champagne Tasting are:
- Union of Champagne Houses
- Champagne Taittinger
- Champagne Charles de Cazanove
- Champagne Piper-Heidsieck
Strasbourg is the capital of Alsace. It is also the borderline between France and Germany where the two countries meet. The city serves as the helm of critical “European establishments, “comprising “the European Council,” “the European Parliament,” and “the European Court of Human Rights.”
Visit Grande Ile, the city’s historic center with a blend of French and German architecture described in both languages. The Center offers unique attractions, including the magnificent Notre-Dame Gothic Cathedral, which features intricate carvings, pink sandstone, and an ancient clock that dates 300 years back. The clock is in perfect working condition.
Visit La Petite France, another tourist magnet in the city. This picturesque riverfront area is adorned with cobblestone streets, sleek cafes, and beautiful homes with half-timbered homes decked with colorful flowers displayed on the windows.
Enjoy local wine and beer after the scrumptious cuisine flavors from both countries, such as the delectable baeckeoffe (meat and veggies stew), spaetzle (German noodles), and sauerkraut and sausage. Sample out free drinks from the numerous breweries and winstubs while touring these areas.
The Loire Valley is a must-see destination in central France, popularly visited for its splendid chateaus, spectacular scenery popularized for its abundant fruit orchards, vineyards, flower gardens, and antique towns.
Stretched 175 miles, adjacent to River Loire, the Loire Valley twists through some of France’s settlements, such as Amboise, where the famous artist Leonardo da Vinci later settled and eventually died.
Other historic towns include:
- Chignon, Anglers, and Orleans
- The valley’s main attraction includes
- Chateau Chambord
- Chateau Amboise
- Chateau Rivau
- Chateau Chinon
- Chateau Chenonceau
You can also visit the Blois chateau, where French royals and nobles often met.
Located in south-western France, Bordeaux is revered as one of the largest wine-producing regions globally, generating nearly 900 million bottles of high-status wine brands yearly. Build on River Garonne; a few miles off the Atlantic Ocean, Bordeaux is beautifully satiated with fine architecture, rich historic sites, and a top-notch arts and culture scene to compliment the Aquitaine region. The Bordeaux city center, locally known as the Pedestrian Zone, features numerous historic structures, a Roman amphitheater, medieval churches, and the famous Pont de Pierre old bridge.
Visit the main feature of the town – the stunning de la Bourse plaza with its mirror-like effect. Other key chateaus to visit nearby cities like Dordogne; is the stunning hilltop castle Chateau de Beynac with the Dordogne River running right through the hilltop castle.
Take a lazy evening stroll through the streets and dine in cozy restaurants with a perfect view of the river.
Mont Saint-Michel Island
This spectacular Island is set in Europe’s most erratic tidal waves into the rocky Island strewn with rows of mudflats. Mont Saint-Michel is to the northwest coast of France, in France’s Normandy.
The only attraction here is the beautiful, sparsely populated Island with mudflats, the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel built by devout monks in 708 AD. Legend has it the inspiration to create the Abbey was derived from Archangel Michael’s visit as claimed by the Bishop of Avranches.
Our Final Word
While many people do not speak French, this is not a reason to stop non-French speakers from visiting the Country. Engage a tour guide, or use Google translator to get around quickly. France is a perfect destination if you are looking for an all-around holiday. Here, you get to enhance your fashion, enjoy the best cuisines in the world washed down with the best wines. You get to witness architecture at its best and see hundreds of years of French history.
Do not forget to check out the luxurious beaches at the French Rivera or head to the French Alps.
Lastly, you get to be in one of the most romantic places in the world. And who doesn’t want that?
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