Paris is known as the City of Lights for its many talented inventors and scientists. Major well-known sites to see include the Louvre (the largest art museum in the world), the Eiffel Tower (a steel structure built in 1889), the Notre Dame Cathedral, and of course the small outdoor cafés.
Other areas to visit include the Latin Quarter, Montmartre (the area where artists paint), and the George Pompidou Center. Paris is also one of the most visited places in the entire world!
As host of the first Winter Olympics in 1924, Chamonix will always be remembered. Its main attractions are Mont-Blanc (Western Europe’s tallest mountain at 4807 meters and 15, 771 feet located in the French Alps) and the many ski areas that face the Chamonix Valley. France has more ski hills than any other country in the world. For the most part, their steep slopes and the country’s extreme weather conditions are probably better for more advanced skiers, but there are also runs for beginners.
Nice has a cosmopolitan Riviera feeling. Many tourists enjoy exploring its fashionable boutiques and restaurants. You can also enjoy the popular beaches. Walk up to Castle Hill for a beautiful view of the city, the Bay of Angels and view the bright blue water that gave the Cote d’Azur its name. You can check out Old Town and see the national museum and the Marc Chagall library.
Galas, regattas, and the famous Cannes Film Festival describe this city. Large yachts, lovely beaches, and the town live up to its motto “Life is a festival.” People-watching is the activity that brings most visitors to Cannes, and the hotel-lined La Croisette provides a fine place to watch.
Visit Strasbourg where you can have the best of French and German cuisine, including the wines. The entire central island is a World Heritage Site. Don’t miss the 12th-century cathedral or the storybook “la Petite France” neighborhood. You can also tour the Cathedrale Notre Dame.
A stylish beach town on France’s southwestern coast, Biarritz was once the vacation spot for kings and queens. Today it is Europe’s surfing capital. Summers are busy with lots of tourists and vacationers from France. In this city, you’ll hear a mixture of French, Spanish and Basque languages. You might enjoy a tour of the old port city after a day at the beach.
Controlled by the British for 300 years, Bordeaux now looks like a typical French city. What was once a sleepy city (literally nicknamed “Sleeping Beauty” in French), Bordeaux is now a thriving tourist destination and gathering place for wine enthusiasts. A mix of tourists and the university population draws the excitement of this city.
Avignon charms visitors with its ancient streets, restored medieval sections and the immense Gothic architecture of the Palais des Papes (Palace of Popes, the papacy was based here in the 14th century). The annual Festival d’Avignon, a major arts festival, attracts hundreds of visitors for theater, dance, film and street performances.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city has 2,000 years of history. Explore Vieux Lyon (one of Europe’s most extensive Renaissance neighborhoods) and Lyon’s two Roman amphitheaters, which stage rock concerts. Lyon is a popular area for travelers with its well-known university, shopping areas, antique markets, a variety of theatre and music festivals, and a range of interesting museums. These include the International Puppet Museum and the Museum of Miniatures and Film Sets.
Saint-Malo, originally built as a walled citadel. It was for centuries home to feared pirates. Today, it’s a very popular city to visit. Walk the busy streets of the reconstructed old city and the endless beaches, making sure to stop at the Grande Porte, Porte St-Vincent, and the town’s castle with its Musée de la Ville and the Grand Aquarium.