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15 Famous Must-See Landmarks to Visit in France

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

France is typically known as a romantic country with Paris being the City of Love. On top of that, France is home to historic, regal landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe! Everywhere you adventure you will be surrounded by rich history, dating back at least to the 12th century, and captivated by the grandeur of the cities, buildings, and people. There is plenty to see and explore in France; however, let us learn more about the 15 most famous French landmarks!

1. Eiffel Tower: The Iron Lady's Splendor

The Eiffel Tower is the tallest structure in Paris at a height of 330 meters (1,083 feet), including the antenna on top. It is located in Paris on the Champ de Mars and was built in 1889 for the World's Fair. The Eiffel Tower was designed by Gustave Eiffel and stands tall as an emblem of Paris and Western Europe. Beyond its breathtaking views, it symbolizes human ingenuity and innovation. It is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world and the most visited monument in France!

2. Louvre Museum: Where Art and History Converge

Louvre Museum in Paris, France

The Louvre, located in Paris, France, was originally a royal palace, built in the 12th century. Throughout the years, it was expanded and renovated and eventually became the home of the French royal art collection. After the French Revolution, the palace was converted into a museum, and has been open to the public since 1793. It is one of the largest and most visited museums in the world, with an estimated 7.8 million visitors in 2022. The Louvre houses a collection of over 350,000 works of art from prehistory to the 21st century. Housing treasures like the Mona Lisa, the Louvre is not just a museum; it is a journey through time!

3. Mont Saint-Michel: A Medieval Marvel

Mont Saint-Michel in France

Mont Saint-Michel is a tidal island and abbey in Normandy, France. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in France and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rising from the sea like a fairytale fortress, Mont Saint-Michel's charm lies in its history as a medieval abbey and its unique location on a small island. The abbey is a beautiful example of medieval architecture, and the views from the top of the island are stunning. The island is also a great place to learn about French history and culture.

4. Palace of Versailles: Opulence and Grandeur

The gardens at Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is a vast complex of buildings, gardens, and fountains. The palace itself consists of over 2,000 rooms, and the gardens are over 800 hectares in size. Once a hunting lodge, this palace transformed into the epicenter of royal power and quickly became the center of the European political scene. After the revolution, the Palace of Versailles turned into a museum. It is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. It is a stunning example of Baroque architecture and is a fascinating glimpse into the life of the French royal family.

5. Château de Chenonceau: Renaissance Elegance

Château de Chenonceau

Château de Chenonceau is renowned as the "Ladies' Castle," having been owned by women for the majority of its history. This château spans the Cher River and showcases the intertwined stories of influential women who shaped its history. Furthermore, it also functioned as a military hospital during World War I and World War II. An interesting fact: the château was constructed in the early 1500s, the bridge in the mid-1500s, and the gallery in the late 1500s – all of these elements were inspired or designed by women!

6. Lavender Fields of Provence: A Perfumed Paradise

Lavender Fields of Provence in full bloom

In late June, the landscapes of Provence burst into shades of purple as the fragrant lavender fields come alive. This natural wonder is not only a feast for the eyes, but also a sensory delight. The best time to see the fields is during the summer, from mid-June to mid-July, and the best place to see them is in the Valensole Plateau!

7. Pont du Gard: Roman Engineering Marvel

Pont du Gard

The Pont du Gard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands as a testament to Roman engineering. This ancient aqueduct is a marvel of symmetry and elegance that has withstood the test of time. It is 50 meters (164 feet) high and 275 meters (902 feet) long, and it is made up of three tiers of arches. Interesting fact: from June 17 - September 17, 2023, they will have a sound and light show with drones above the Pont du Gard!

8. Arc de Triomphe: Triumph of French Identity

Arc de Triomphe

Commemorating French victories, the Arc de Triomphe's magnificence is more than architectural. It embodies the resilience and pride of a nation. The Arc de Triomphe is 50 meters (164 feet) high, 45 meters (148 feet) wide, and 22 meters (72 feet) thick. It is made of limestone and decorated with sculptures. This triumphal arch is a popular place to visit and is often used as a backdrop for official ceremonies.

9. Palais Garnier: Opulent Opera House

Palais Garnier
The Palais Garnier is a 1,979-seat opera house in Paris, France, home to the Paris Opera. The Palais Garnier has been used as a setting for many films and television shows, like The Phantom of the Opera and Moulin Rouge! You may recognize it by its infamous Grand Staircase measuring 30 meters (98 feet) wide and 12 meters (39 feet) high. Palais Garnier is a beautiful and impressive opera house in its exterior and interior that is a must-see for any visitor to Paris.

10. Château de Chambord: Renaissance Extravaganza

Château de Chambord

Explore the largest and most magnificent château of the Loire Valley, offering a glimpse into the world of French Renaissance architecture and royal extravagance. It was built in 1519 and is known for its intricate architecture, extensive gardens, and royal history. Interesting facts about the château include: having 440 rooms and 84 staircases - the central courtyard is 170 meters (558 feet) long and 100 meters (328 feet) wide, and it was built in the style of a hunting lodge but was never used in that manner.

11. Notre-Dame Cathedral: A Tale of Restoration

Notre-Dame Cathedral

This Gothic masterpiece's history extends beyond its architectural beauty. The recent fire and ongoing restoration highlight its resilience and cultural significance. The Notre Dame Cathedral was built in the 12th and 13th centuries and is famous for its flying buttresses, rose windows, and gargoyles. Interesting facts about this infamous Cathedral are that it is one of the oldest churches in Paris, it is the largest church in Paris with a capacity of 9,000 people, and it was the setting for Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It is another one of the most famous monuments in Paris!

12. Mont Blanc: Conquer the Tallest Peak

Mont Blanc in Southern France

For adventure seekers, check out Mont Blanc with its breathtaking vistas and challenging ascent. Conquer the highest point in Western Europe at a peak elevation of 4,808 meters (15,776 feet) and soak in the panoramic views. Mont Blanc is located on the border of France and Italy, is great for skiers and mountaineers, and is one of the best places to escape the hustle and bustle of the cities and enjoy nature!

13. Millau Viaduct: A Modern Marvel

Millau Viaduct in France

The Millau Viaduct, the world's tallest cable-stayed bridge, seamlessly merges contemporary engineering with its natural surroundings, providing an awe-inspiring drive. It is also the tallest structure in France at 343 meters (1,125 ft). This bridge was constructed to be a part of the A75 motorway, which connects Paris to southern Spain, and since opening in December 2004, it has cut travel time up to an hour and reduced travel congestion in the nearby valley. The Millau Viaduct also offers the best views of the surrounding countryside and is a popular attraction for base jumping and other extreme sports.

14. Calanques National Park: Pristine Natural Beauty

Calanques National Park

Immerse yourself in the picturesque beauty of Southern France's limestone cliffs, pine forests, and turquoise waters. Calanques National Park offers a stunning coastal landscape for outdoor enthusiasts. It is a popular attraction for swimming, kayaking, and hiking! It is also home to wildlife like whales, dolphins, and seabirds. Calanques National Park is a beautiful and unique place worth visiting on your trip to France!

15. Sacre-Cœur Basilica: A Beacon of Faith

Sacre-Cœur Basilica

Majestically perched atop Montmartre, this basilica offers not only spiritual solace but also panoramic views of Paris, making it a must-visit in both reverence and awe. Sacre-Cœur Basilica is a Catholic Church built in the late 19th century. The interior of the church is decorated with mosaics and stained glass windows. This basilica is beautiful inside and out and is open to the public for tours and services.

Bon Voyage!

Each landmark is a testament to France's rich history, cultural diversity, and architectural prowess. From grand palaces, historic monuments, and a field of lavender to serene landscapes, France truly offers a remarkable tapestry of experiences waiting to be explored. Whether you are captivated by the artistry of the Louvre, the lavender fields of Provence, or the majestic churches, these landmarks will leave you with a profound appreciation for the beauty and depth of French history and culture.

Parisian bridge in France

Have you been to any of these places in France before? If so, let us know in the comments below - we would love to hear about your experience! If you have not gone, are they on your bucket list of places to visit now? Let us know in the comments below, and share this article with the person or people you want to go with! Either way, SUBSCRIBE below to learn about other places you should add to your "To Visit" List! Ready? Okay, vamos. Time to have fun!

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