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From rolling vineyards and plunging canyons to towering sand dunes and majestic villages, we share the most breathtaking places to visit in France.
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There is a reason why France is the most visited country on the planet. Not only does it boast some of the finest wines and cuisine in the world, but also some of the most beautiful destinations. Indeed, wherever you travel within
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, there are numerous scenes that will take your breath away. From rolling vineyards and plunging canyons to towering sand dunes and majestic villages, there is more than enough to satisfy inquisitive travelers.
But with so much to see and do, choosing which places to visit in France can feel overwhelming. So, to help you narrow down your options, here are our favorite picks to inspire your travel bucket list.
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Let’s face it, a roundup of the best places to visit in France wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the birthplace of bubbles. Located in the north-east of France, just 1.5 hours drive from Paris, the Champagne region is an absolute must-visit for anyone who likes to sip bubbles. Just watching the sun set over the idyllic rolling vineyards and dreamy landscape is reason enough to visit the region. That said, those who do want to sample the fruits of the land can take a tour to one of the prestigious Champagne houses. And it’s sure to make for an unforgettable experience – or maybe not if they choose to indulge too much!
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Moët & Chandon, Veuve Cliquot, Taittinger and Dom Pérignon are some of the famous houses that open their doors to the public. The latter is perhaps best known for its namesake; A Benedictine monk who was an important quality pioneer for Champagne. However, contrary to popular belief, Dom Pérignon did not invent the famous wine himself. This is just one of many facts you will learn while visiting his cellar and final resting place in the Abbey of Hautvillers.
Every summer, the seemingly endless ocean of lavender fields makes Provence one of the most beautiful – not to mention fragrant – places to visit in France. The heavenly scented crop can be found almost everywhere in the region during this time. That said, some of the most beautiful places to enjoy it include the Valensole Plateau, the Sault Plateau and the Luberon Valley. For the ultimate postcard shot, however, nothing beats the flower fields around the Notre-Dame de Sénanque Abbey. Set in the peaceful countryside near the village of Gordes, the beautiful 12th-century church is enveloped in a sea of purple every June and July.
Together with the local honeybees, these beautiful lavender fields are lovingly cared for by the monks who live in the abbey. In fact, visitors can even stay with them and enjoy a peaceful spiritual retreat. If you prefer to keep it for a day trip though, the fields are open from 9.30am during the summer; and 1pm on Sundays. Just keep in mind that the unique beauty of the location means it gets extremely busy at this time. So make sure you arrive early and join the first tour of the day at 10:30.
If a trip to the Grand Canyon in Arizona feels like too much of a stretch, then you can always settle for its French counterpart. Located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of southeastern France, the 700-meter-deep Gorges du Verdon is a truly breathtaking sight to behold. The limestone canyon carved by the Verdon River is the largest in Europe. It is also a hotspot for adrenaline fueled activities and water sports.
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Sailing along the 25 km long stretch of enchanting turquoise water that flows into the artificial Lac de Sainte-Croix is truly an unforgettable experience. However, more adventurous travelers prefer to go white water rafting along the rapids. A more relaxed day can be spent walking around the 100 km rim of the canyon or jumping on horseback and weaving your way through the vertical limestone cliffs. Whatever you do, make sure you have your camera ready. After all, it is one of the most breathtaking places to visit in France.
France is home to many beautiful villages. However, few are as enchanting and otherworldly as Mont Saint-Michel with its majestic abbey. High on the rocky island of Mont Saint-Michel, some 600 meters off the coast of Normandy, the striking medieval monastery looks like something lifted straight from the pages of a children’s fairy tale. It is all the more enchanted by the narrow, winding streets and beautiful half-timbered houses that lead to it. In fact, the magnificent setting actually inspired Disney’s Rapunzel’s Tower and the Kingdom of Corona
The majestic island village once served as a major Christian pilgrimage site in the 8th century. Today, however, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that attracts more than three million tourists a year. Needless to say, it remains one of the most popular places to visit in France, outside of Paris. That said, the vast ocean and sandbar surrounding the island certainly make it look less inviting.
And the fact that it becomes completely isolated when the tides are very high adds even more to its mystery. Fortunately, most travelers today can reach the island by crossing a 2,500-foot-long bridge. However, if they are feeling adventurous, they can traverse the treacherous mud flats when the sea recedes at low tide.
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Nature lovers will undoubtedly enjoy enjoying the breathtaking 360-degree views from the top of the Dune du Pilat; the highest sand dune in Europe. Located in La Teste-de-Buch in the Arcachon Bay area, the magnificent natural wonder is one of the most iconic places to visit in France. Indeed, every year more than one million people come to climb the 154 wooden steps to the top and walk along the 2.7 km long ridge.
And with the sparkling Atlantic Ocean on one side and deep green pine forests on the other, the effort is definitely worth it. Indeed, the high dune offers some of the most beautiful natural views in Europe. Dune du Pilat is also a hotspot for paragliders and other outdoor sports enthusiasts. The five nearby campsites meanwhile make it popular among campers. If you feel like cooling off after your victorious climb, Corniche Beach offers a refreshing place to enjoy a dip. It lies at the foot of the dune and is easily accessible through the main entrance.
If you’re looking for the decadent life – or at least want to dip your toes into it – then a visit to Saint-Tropez is definitely in order. After all, this beautiful sun-drenched seaside resort on the French Riviera is known for its designer boutiques and pristine sandy beaches; not to mention yacht-jumping celebrities. Originally a sleepy fishing village on the Côte d’Azur, the small town became a land of opulence in the late 19th century; thanks to the impressionist painter Paul Signac and other great artists such as Henri Matisse and Albert Marquet.
However, it wasn’t until Hollywood bombshell Brigette Bardot appeared on the scene in the 1950s that Saint-Tropez gained international fame. The resort was the backdrop of her film,
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). However, despite its reputation as a playground for the wealthy, the town still manages to retain its original charm; especially if you visit outside the high season. Beyond the glitz and the glam, older locals still play
Next to the picturesque harbor. And whether you want to sunbathe on the famous Pampelonne beach, explore the six quaint villages on the rocky Saint-Tropez peninsula, or enjoy fantastic views from the hill town of Ramatuelle, there’s plenty to fill your day.
There is a reason why the enchanting hill town of Rocamadouris is the second most visited attraction in France, after Mont-Saint-Michel. Perched high on the side of a limestone cliff overlooking the Alzou Canyon in the Dordogne region, the holy village is nothing short of majestic. The UNESCO-listed medieval town was once an important pilgrimage site and famous for its shrines. It is also home to a 15th-century statue of the Black Madonna that stands in the Chapel of Notre Dame.
) to the square at the top. Amazingly, it was once climbed by pilgrims on their knees! From the top of the village, the views over Rocamadour, the Alzou canyon and the wild and unspoiled landscape below are unparalleled. Needless to say, they are worth sweating for. If you have time, you can also hop on a boat trip in the nearby Gouffre de Padirac. Gigantic rock formations, underground pools and huge stalactites and stalagmites bring this extraordinary underground network of caves
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