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Things to do in France (Northern)
Be Moved by Mont Saint Michel
Experience the awe-inspiring Mont Saint-Michel, a magnificent place to visit in Northern France that will leave you amazed. It is an incredible abbey and a famous pilgrimage site located on a rocky island where the Couesnon River meets the regions of Normandy and Brittany.
This area is known for its dramatic tides, which cause the abbey to become unreachable for a few hours each day, adding to the charm and beauty of Mont Saint-Michel.
A Royal Day in Versailles
The Palace of Versailles is an amazing example of French baroque architecture and is a must-see attraction in France, especially if you’re visiting Paris. Inside the palace, you can explore the stunning rooms and grand halls where three French kings and their courts used to live. It’s like stepping back in time and experiencing the luxury of the past. Afterward, make sure to venture out into the incredible French-style gardens. These gardens are filled with beautiful fountains and neatly arranged pathways. You can even rent a bicycle or rowboat to explore the grounds around the Grand Canal. It’s a fun and unique way to enjoy the vast and picturesque surroundings.
Normandy D-Day Landing Beaches
The Normandy Landing Operations was a very big and important event in history. It was the largest invasion by sea ever carried out. The Allies invaded Normandy on Tuesday, June 6, 1944. They landed on five beaches: Omaha, Utah, Sword, Gold, and Juno. The invasion of Normandy was the beginning of the end for the Nazis in Europe. It led to the liberation of France and eventually all of Western Europe from Nazi occupation.
The Normandy D-day Landing Beaches are a very famous place to visit on a day trip from Paris. But if you have more time, it’s worth considering a longer road trip to fully explore the area. You can visit the different beaches where the D-day landings took place and take the opportunity to see war cemeteries and memorials that honor the people who fought in the war. It’s a chance to learn more about history and pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives during that time.
Climb Up the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is the most famous and recognizable monument in Paris, and even in all of France. Going up to the very top of the tower is something that many people want to do when they visit Paris. The views from the summit of the Eiffel Tower are breathtaking, especially during sunset when the sky turns colorful. If you go to the second floor, you can also check out an exhibition that tells the story of how the Eiffel Tower was built and its history.
Spend a Night (or two) in a French Château
Staying overnight in a French castle is one of the special things to do in France. There are over 40,000 castles in France, each with its own unique style and history. Some of these castles are still owned by noble families or wealthy individuals, while others have been lovingly restored and transformed into boutique hotels, providing a perfect opportunity for a peaceful and relaxing weekend escape in France. Château de Villiers-le-Mahieu and Château d’Ermenonville are two stunning examples located near Paris, but there are many more beautiful castles to explore throughout the country!
Visit the Burial Place of the Kings of France at Saint-Denis
The Basilica-Cathedral of Saint-Denis is a place where many French kings and queens were buried. It started in the 12th century and continued until the 19th century. It’s a truly magnificent building and it marks the beginning of Gothic architecture in France. In fact, this cathedral was the first in France to be rebuilt using techniques like pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and stained-glass windows to let lighter in.
The Basilica-Cathedral is in the city of Saint-Denis, just a short distance north of Paris. It’s a great option for a half-day trip from the French capital, and you can easily visit and explore this historic site.
A Day at the Louvre Museum
Make sure to visit the Louvre, which is considered the best museum in the world. You’ll get to see some of the most amazing and famous artworks ever created! While you’re there, take the opportunity to learn about the history of this place. The Louvre used to be a palace where the French kings lived for many years. It was only later that King Louis XIV moved to Versailles. You can explore different parts of the Louvre, such as the medieval moats and walls, Napoleon III’s apartments, and the royal galleries. There’s so much to discover and enjoy at the Louvre!
Follow the Cider Route in Normandy
If you’re looking for a fun activities and things to do in France, consider taking the Cider Trail in Normandy. This region is known for its abundance of apples and is famous for producing delicious cider, as well as other popular French drinks like Calvados or Pommeau. On the Cider Trail, you can embark on a journey to discover how apples go from farms to becoming tasty drinks in your glass.
This 40-kilometer tourist route in lower Normandy winds through the beautiful Pays d’Auge region. The path is easy to find and follow.
The Pays d’Auge is known for its charming half-timbered houses, horse breeding farms, apple orchards, and distilleries. Many of these distilleries open their cellars and pressing sheds to visitors, allowing them to taste and experience their cider and other apple-based products. It’s a wonderful opportunity to explore the region and indulge in the flavors of Normandy.
A Night of Can Dance and Bubbles in a Parisian Cabaret
Parisian cabarets are a fun and stylish way to experience the nightlife in Paris. They are often chosen for special celebrations, like birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations. The most well-known cabaret shows in Paris, like the Moulin Rouge and the Lido, combine elements of music, theater, and burlesque. These shows feature extravagant performances with beautiful costumes, singing, and dancing.
When you attend a cabaret show in Paris, you will typically have dinner before the show. You can enjoy delicious food paired with some of the finest French wines and champagne. This makes for an extravagant and exciting evening. Cabaret shows in Paris are a great way to experience French culture and nightlife. They are sure to be a memorable experience for you and your friends.
Admire the Spectacular Cliffs of Etretat
In our list of must-visit places in France, we shouldn’t forget about the natural wonders. Etretat is a small town located on the Alabaster Coast in Normandy. It’s famous for its breathtaking cliffs that go straight up and its unique rock formations, which inspired some of Monet’s famous paintings. You’ll see arches, tall rocks standing in the sea, and tunnels that have been carved into the chalk walls, which can reach heights of 50 to 80 meters.
Etretat also has beautiful architecture that follows the Anglo-Norman style, and there are some interesting sites to explore as well. You can plan a weekend trip from Paris to visit Etretat, or even better, include it as part of a road trip around Normandy. It’s a place where you can enjoy both the stunning natural scenery and the charming town itself.
Feel the Divine at the Grandes Cathédrales
The historical region of Picardy, located in Hauts de France, is known for having a lot of amazing gothic cathedrals in a small area. It might have the highest concentration of these cathedrals in the world!
In France, there are many beautiful Gothic cathedrals. One of the first was built in Laon. There are also cathedrals in Amiens and Beauvais. Gothic cathedrals show how architecture changed over time.
UNESCO has chosen these places as the best in the world. They are important and often surrounded by beautiful old towns.
Nature as its Best at Bay of Somme
The Bay of Somme is the biggest place where a river meets the sea in the northern part of France. It’s a natural area that has not been changed or damaged, and it’s made up of sandy hills, wetlands, and areas with salty grass.
Since it’s on the path that migrating birds follow, the Bay of Somme is like a paradise for people who enjoy watching birds. More than 250 different kinds of birds spend part of the year there. The bay is also the home of the biggest group of seals in France. When the water goes away with the tide, you can see them resting on sandbanks.
You can explore the Bay of Somme and the animals that live there by going on a boat, walking, or riding a bike. Another fun way to see the beautiful places is by taking a steam train from the Belle Époque era called “Le Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme.”
Look for the Water Lilies at Monet’s Garden
Discover Monet’s Gardens in Giverny, which were the inspiration for some of Monet’s most famous paintings. Take in the beauty of the water lily pond, the same one Monet captured in his well-known series of water lily paintings. Visit Monet’s house and workshop in Giverny. It’s a great way to see where he lived and worked, and to learn more about his art.
Fly over the Valley of the Kings on a Hot-Air Balloon
Going on a hot air balloon ride is a truly special and enchanting adventure, no matter where you are in the world. Hot air ballooning is even more amazing when you can float above the impressive castles in the Loire Valley.
Imagine floating in a hot air balloon, watching the sun rise or set. It’s a magical experience. It’s a breathtaking experience! And to make it even more memorable, you can enjoy a glass of champagne as you glide over magnificent Renaissance castles and their stunning gardens in the Loire Valley. It’s a magical way to admire the beauty of these historic places from a unique perspective.
The Loire Valley by Bike
La Loire à Vélo is one of the best fantastic things to do in France for people who love biking and want to explore France. The Loire by Bike is a long bike route that goes from Nevers to Saint Brevin-Les-Pins near the Atlantic Ocean. It is about 800 kilometers long.
When you ride along this route, you’ll be following the last remaining untamed river in France, the Loire River. It’s an incredible experience to pedal alongside this beautiful river and discover the Valley of the Kings, known for its charming Renaissance castles, medieval towns, and delicious wines. If you like biking and want to see France, you should try La Loire à Vélo. It is a great way to see the country and have fun.
Things to do in France (Southern)
Explore the World of Perfumes in Grasse
Grasse, a little town in Provence, is famous all around the world for making perfumes. Since the late 1700s, the perfume industry has thrived there.
Nowadays, people from all over the world come to Grasse to discover the art of perfume-making in France. During winter, it’s particularly lovely to drive along the Route du Mimosa, and Grasse is the destination on this scenic route.
In Grasse, you can find many perfume factories, with the most well-known one being Fragonard. They have been creating perfumes for a long time.
Go in Search of the Blue Gold in Provence’s Lavender Fields
The lavender fields in Provence are incredibly beautiful sights in the south of France. From the middle of June to the end of August, you can visit places like the Valensole Plateau, the Luberon Valley, and the Sault Plateau. These areas are famous for their lavender fields, where the lavender is turned into oil and other products. You’ll also find charming small towns nearby.
Exploring the lavender fields in Provence is one of the special experience things to do in France. If you want to take the best pictures, make sure to plan your trip carefully and visit during the times when the lavender is in full bloom in each area. It’s a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty and fragrance of these magnificent lavender fields.
The Gorges du Verdon by Kayak
Located in the Verdon Regional Park, the Gorges du Verdon is a stunning natural area and one of the most beautiful places you can visit in France. This place is like no other, with a long canyon made of limestone and turquoise-colored waters. It stretches for 25 kilometers through the park, and in certain parts, it goes down as deep as 700 meters!
There are different ways to explore the Gorges du Verdon, but the most popular one is kayaking. You can rent a kayak for a half-day and paddle through the canyon by yourself or with a friend. Along the way, there are places where you can anchor the kayak and take a refreshing swim in the water. It’s an amazing adventure that allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of this incredible place.
Explore the Magnificent Palace of the Popes in Avignon
If you’re looking for impressive architecture and fascinating history in France, Avignon is a great place to explore. Located in the south of France, Avignon was a significant city in the 14th century and served as the center of Christianity, hosting six Catholic Popes.
When you visit Avignon, make sure to see the Palace of the Popes, a magnificent building from the 14th century. It stands proudly above the city and was the residence of the Popes during that time. It’s a remarkable place where important religious ceremonies took place and the Popes lived. The palace offers a glimpse into the rich history of Avignon and the influence it had in the past.
Whisper to Horses at Camargue Nature Reserve
Visiting the Camargue is one of the special experience things to do in France. This area is in the south and is mostly made up of marshlands. It is well-known for its herds of horses and pink flamingos. In the Camargue, you can also enjoy watching different kinds of birds or simply have a peaceful and relaxing mini vacation surrounded by beautiful nature. It’s a unique place where you can appreciate the wonders of wildlife and take in the tranquil atmosphere.
Winter Fun at Menton’s Lemon Festival
If you’re looking for fun things to do in France during winter, make sure to visit Menton in February. Menton is a charming town located near the border with Italy and is famous for its lemons. These lemons are bright yellow, elongated, and highly valued by chefs for their fragrant oil.
Menton is a wonderful place to visit in France during the winter season. Every February since 1934, they hold a special event called the Lemon Festival or Fête du Citron. This unique festival celebrates lemons with giant sculptures made entirely out of lemons and other citrus fruits. The displays are truly impressive! In addition to the sculptures, you can enjoy parades, shows, music, and dances that add to the festive atmosphere. It’s a delightful experience that brings joy and color to the winter months.
Lyon’s Festival of Lights Awaits
In Lyon, the coldest time of the year starts with a special event called the Festival of Lights. It’s one of the most enjoyable things to do in France during winter.
The festival, also known as Fête des Lumiere’s, started many years ago when people wanted to honor the Virgin Mary. They put candles in their windows to show their respect after a bronze statue of her was put up in the city. This tradition continues today.
Nowadays, talented artists illuminate various buildings, streets, squares, and parks all around Lyon. The whole city feels like a magical place, with over forty beautiful light displays for everyone to explore.
Visit the Quirky Machines de l’Ile in Nantes!
Les Machines de l’Ile is a cool place to visit in Nantes, and it’s one of the most unique things do in France. It’s located on an island in the middle of the Loire River, where the old shipyards used to be. This place is like an art project that brings together a bunch of amazing machines that look like they came from the imagination of Jules Verne and Leonardo Da Vinci.
You can ride the Sea World Carousel, which has the weirdest sea creatures as its seats. It’s a lot of fun! You can also walk around the island while riding on a giant elephant who loves spraying water on kids. It’s funny! And don’t forget to visit the Galerie des Machines, where a team of inventors and mechanics are always working on new projects and machines. It’s a place full of creativity and craziness!
Run the Quirky Marathon des Châteaux du Médoc
If you want to have a lot of fun things to do in France, you should check out the Marathon du Médoc. It’s a special event that happens every September in the Médoc region, near Bordeaux, which is famous for its vineyards. During this marathon, people dress up in funny costumes and run through the vineyards. Along the way, there are wine tastings and other fun activities for everyone to enjoy.
This marathon is known as the “longest marathon in the world” because there are so many things to do in France and see along the course. And of course, all the wine tastings make it even more interesting!
The Marathon des Châteaux du Médoc attracts about 8,500 participants every year from more than 50 different countries. There are also many people who come to watch and cheer. The marathon is organized by a group of volunteers, more than 2,800 of them! It’s a joyful event, and we highly recommend giving it a try at least once in your life.