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Last Updated: 30 May 2024

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At the crossroads of wanderlust, where choices abound among the glamour of American cities, the romance of Italian piazzas, the vivacity of Spanish fiestas, and the allure of British traditions, one name stands resolute: France. Amidst the global symphony of destinations, the European country emerges as a timeless contender, offering a medley of experiences that beckon with compelling reasons to visit France. From the iconic Eiffel Tower to world-class wines, artistic masterpieces, and culinary indulgences, France isn’t just a place – it’s a collage of reasons to visit that we’re about to explore.

In the article below, we’ll journey through ten delightful facets that set France apart. We’ll savour the feast fit for both kings and commoners, wander through history-rich castles, and embrace the art scene that whispers stories of centuries gone by. We’ll find ourselves immersed in the language, experiencing outdoor adventures that quicken the pulse, and discovering villages with names that are a puzzle in themselves.

So, whether you’re teetering on the brink of a travel decision or captivated by the notion of France’s allure, let’s delve into why this country serves up a variety of enticing reasons to visit. Buckle up as we navigate the charm and charisma that define France in captivating and charismatic ways.

 

10 Reasons to Visit France

Let’s take a stroll from Calais to Perpignan and from Brittany to Alsace as we visit France’s charms:

 

1. Feast Fit for Kings (and Commoners Too!)

French cuisine is like a masterpiece painted with flavours.

Imagine starting your day with a fresh-from-the-oven croissant or pain au chocolat.

Reasons to visit France: Almond croissant © French Moments
Reasons to visit France: Eating an almond croissant © French Moments

As the sun sets, cosy up to a plate of escargot (yes, those are snails – trust me, they’re tastier than they sound).

And dessert? Crème brûlée with its satisfying crackle and oozing vanilla goodness. Religieuses, éclair, mille-feuilles, and other French pâtisseries are such a delight for the eyes… and the mouth!

Reasons to visit France: Religieuse © French Moments
Reasons to visit France: Eating a Religieuse © French Moments

As for the cheese, you might discover that your taste buds didn’t even know they had preferences until they met Roquefort, Brie, and Camembert. And yes, you’ll find a favourite baguette.

The cheese from La Bergerie de Bonvillard at the farmers' market of Aime © French Moments
The cheese from La Bergerie de Bonvillard at the farmers’ market of Aime, French Alps © French Moments

 

2. Bonjour, Art Lovers

Step into a realm where canvases hold whispers of centuries gone by and sculptures come to life with a touch of genius. France isn’t just a country; it’s a masterpiece, a living canvas that has inspired and nurtured some of the greatest artists in history.

Imagine strolling through the Louvre, that magnificent palace turned treasure trove of art. The Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile welcomes you here, while the Venus de Milo stands in all her graceful glory.

Reasons to visit France: Photo by AboutImages via Envato Elements
Reasons to visit France: Your first time at the Louvre. Photo by AboutImages via Envato Elements
 

 

Then you stumble upon Monet’s Water Lilies at Musée de l’Orangerie – those pastels might soothe your soul.

Reasons to visit France: Nymphéas Claude Monet Orangerie © French Moments
Reasons to visit France: Admiring the Nymphéas by Claude Monet © French Moments
 

 

In Paris, art isn’t just in the museums; it’s in the air you breathe, swirling with inspiration around every corner.

Oh-and Paris is not the only city to visit if you love art. Check out the Musée des Confluences in Lyon, the Unterlinden Museum in Colmar, the Pompidou Centre in Metz, and the MUCEM in Marseille!

Reasons to visit France: Unterlinden Museum in Colmar © French Moments
Reasons to visit France: admiring the Unterlinden Museum in Colmar © French Moments

However, art in France isn’t confined to museum walls. It dances through the streets, from Montmartre‘s bohemian lanes to the Seine banks, where artists set up their easels and bring the city to life on their canvases.

Picture yourself in the vibrant town of Arles, where Vincent van Gogh found solace and inspiration, capturing the magic of Provençal light in his masterpieces.

Art here isn’t a static display; it’s a living, breathing entity that welcomes you to immerse yourself in the stories, the colours, and the emotions artists have poured onto their canvases.

So, whether you’re an art history aficionado or just someone who appreciates a well-painted picture, embarking on a tour to Europe, specifically France’s art scene, beckons with open arms, inviting you to witness the magic that continues to shape the world of creativity.

 

3. History Buff’s Playground

In France, history isn’t confined to dusty textbooks. It’s a living tapestry woven into the very fabric of the country.

Castles that seem pulled from the pages of fantasy novels populate the French countryside.

Fairy tale destinations in France - Menthon Castle © French Moments
Fairy tale destinations in France – Menthon Castle © French Moments

Imagine wandering through the echoing halls of the Château of Chambord, a true masterpiece of Renaissance architecture that whispers tales of kings and queens, conspiracies and grand celebrations. Each creak of the floorboards seems to carry echoes of the past, and you might find yourself half-expecting a courtier to emerge from behind a velvet curtain.

The Castle's Northwest facade © Benh LIEU SONG [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
The Castle’s Northwest facade © Benh LIEU SONG [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
 


 

And it’s not just grand castles that tell stories – stroll through the narrow lanes of medieval towns like Carcassonne, where towering fortifications transport you straight into a knight’s tale.

Reasons to visit France: Carcassonne Walls copyright French Moments
Reasons to visit France: the Cité of Carcassonne Walls © French Moments

Or visit the Normandy beaches, where the haunting remains of World War II remind us of the sacrifices made for freedom.

But history in France isn’t just a lesson in dates and battles. It’s a tangible experience that takes you by the hand and leads you through centuries of triumphs and tribulations.

It’s the feeling of awe as you stand before the Bayeux Tapestry, an 11th-century masterpiece that unfolds the story of the Norman Conquest like a medieval comic strip.

Whether you’re an avid history reader or simply someone who enjoys stepping back in time, France’s historical treasures offer an invitation to step into the shoes of those who came before us, hear their stories and immerse yourself in a living history that’s as captivating as it is educational.

If you love all things medieval, check out the country towns of Dinan (Brittany), Mont-Saint-Michel (Normandy), Colmar (Alsace), Gordes (Provence) and Rocamadour (Quercy).

Explore Dinan - Rue du Jerzual © French Moments
Explore Dinan – Rue du Jerzual © French Moments

 

4. C’est la Mode: Paris Fashion Week?

That’s just the beginning. France oozes style so effortlessly that even the street vendors seem runway-ready.

You’ll be torn between admiring the intricate designs at haute couture boutiques and keeping a low profile, lest you get scouted as the next big thing.

Art Nouveau Cupola in the Galeries Lafayette
The Great Hall and the perfume section of Galeries Lafayette © French Moments

Embrace the stripes, embrace the red lips, and embrace the confidence of knowing you’re treading the same cobblestones where style legends like Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent once roamed.

And who knows, after a visit, you might leave with a Hermes suitcase full of new clothes and a dash of that enviable French style tucked into your fashion sense.

The store of the Baccarat crystal works in Baccarat © French Moments
The store of the Baccarat crystal works in Baccarat © French Moments

 

5. Wine Not?

Grab a glass – or a bottle – of wine and toast to the picturesque vineyards of France.

Bordeaux‘s deep reds, Burgundy’s velvety Pinot Noirs, and Champagne’s effervescent celebrations make for a wine lover’s paradise. Without forgetting the fine wines of Alsace, Savoie, Loire and Provence!

Meursault in Burgundy © French Moments
Wine from Meursault, Burgundy © French Moments

And the good news is, you don’t need to be a sommelier to appreciate the art of wine sipping. In France, wine is as much about enjoyment as it is about expertise. A simple “Santé!” (meaning “Cheers!”) will suffice, and you’ll find that the locals are more than happy to share their passion with you.

You guessed it: in France, wine isn’t just a beverage. It’s a masterpiece crafted from sun-soaked vineyards, ancient traditions, and an unquenchable passion for perfection.

The vineyards are like time capsules, their roots digging deep into history. Imagine standing amidst the rolling hills of a French wine region, the air heavy with the scent of grapes, as you’re transported to a realm where terroir isn’t just a word – it’s the soul of the wine itself.

Around Colmar: Ammerschwihr © French Moments
The vineyard of Ammerschwihr, Alsace © French Moments

So, whether you’re sipping your way through a wine tasting in a rustic cellar or savouring a glass of red at a charming café, France’s wine regions offer an invitation to raise your glass and immerse yourself in the artistry of winemaking – a journey that’s as rich and complex as the very wines you’ll be relishing.

 

6. Language Acrobatics

Prepare to embark on a linguistic journey that’s charming and comical.

In France, language isn’t just a means of communication. It’s an art form that might have you tripping over words and inadvertently creating your version of French fusion.

Picture yourself standing at a bustling café, gazing at the menu with excitement and apprehension. You muster the courage to order “croissant” with a confidence that wavers as the waiter responds with a knowing smile – perhaps it’s the accent, or the subtle mispronunciation leaves you slightly embarrassed.

Lyon Gastronomy © French Moments
Lyon Gastronomy – A typical restaurant in the old town of Lyon © French Moments

But here’s the secret: the French appreciate the effort.

A heartfelt “merci” or a sheepish “pardon my French” can break the ice and often result in a genuine smile.

And then there’s the beauty of navigating the streets, asking for directions, and listening to the lyrical rhythm of French conversations around you.

The language becomes more than words. It’s a melody that dances through the air, a symphony of vowels and consonants that carries the history and culture of the country.

Lesson Notes at French Moments © French Moments
French notes at French Moments in Sydney, Australia © French Moments

So, even if your attempts at mastering French involve some linguistic acrobatics and unintentional word gymnastics, embrace it with open arms.

After all, a well-timed “bonjour” can open doors, and even if your French isn’t flawless, your enthusiasm for trying will undoubtedly make you a charming visitor in the eyes of the locals.

Want to read in French? Check out our other blog entirely written in French. Mon Grand-Est focuses on the eastern regions of France, from the Ardennes to Provence via Alsace, Lorraine, Burgundy and Savoie.

I passed the challenge: "One day, one blog post"! © French Moments
Bonjour from the East of France! © French Moments

 

7. Outdoor Adventures

France isn’t just about sipping wine in a picturesque château – it’s also about pumping your adrenaline.

Pack your hiking boots, fasten your helmet, and prepare for an outdoor escapade that will make your heart race and your senses come alive.

Picture yourself standing atop the rugged peaks of the French Alps, the crisp air filling your lungs as you take in panoramic vistas that seem straight out of a postcard.

Reasons to visit France: Hamlet of Pra-Spa, Granier © French Moments
Reasons to visit France: Hiking in the Alps © French Moments

Whether you’re a seasoned mountaineer or a casual wanderer, the trails that crisscross these mountains offer an array of challenges and rewards. 

If the sea beckons, venture to the captivating coastlines – surfers can catch waves in Biarritz, while kayakers can navigate the mesmerizing Gorges du Verdon, often called the “Grand Canyon of Europe,” one of the top kayaking trips in the world, according to Outdoorplay.

Verdon River. Photo by Slepitssskaya via Envato Elements
Verdon River. Photo by Slepitssskaya via Envato Elements

Cycling enthusiasts can pedal through the rolling landscapes of Provence or conquer the famous hairpin bends of the Tour de France.

Arriving at Bonnieux from Lourmarin © French Moments
Arriving at Bonnieux from Lourmarin © French Moments

France’s natural beauty is a canvas on which you can paint your adventure, whether skiing in the winter, paragliding in the summer, or simply hiking through meadows that burst with wildflowers.

Les Arcs Resort © French Moments
Skiing at Les Arcs © French Moments

So, for those who crave the thrill of the outdoors, France is your playground, and every corner of this picturesque country promises an experience that will leave you with stories to recount and memories to cherish.

 

8. Quaint Villages, Unpronounceable Names

Prepare to step into a storybook world where cobblestone streets wind through villages that seem frozen in time.

France isn’t just a land of bustling cities; it’s also home to enchanting villages that might leave you tongue-tied as you attempt to utter their names.

Imagine walking through a village straight out of a fairy tale like Kaysersberg, with its half-timbered houses plucked from a children’s storybook.

Tour of Alsace - Kaysersberg © French Moments
Kaysersberg © French Moments

Or imagine strolling through Yvoire, a town that resembles a watercolour painting brought to life, with its pastel-hued buildings reflecting in Lake Geneva that borders its castle.

Reasons to visit France: Yvoire © French Moments
Reasons to visit France: Yvoire © French Moments

But here’s the catch: these villages, as idyllic as they seem, often have names that require a linguistic puzzle-solving approach.

With its famous gardens that once inspired Monet, Giverny is pronounced “jee-vehr-nee,” while Eygalières, a Provençal gem, takes on the enigmatic “ay-gah-lee-air.”

Monet Gardens Giverny © Michal Osmenda - licence [CC BY 2
Monet Gardens Giverny © Michal Osmenda – licence [CC BY 2.0] from Wikimedia Commons

And navigating Les Baux-de-Provence might make you feel like you’re decoding a secret message.

Les Baux-de-Provence © French Moments
The village of Les Baux-de-Provence © French Moments

But fear not, for these names are like hidden keys that unlock the treasure chests of France’s most charming corners.

So, while you might struggle with pronunciation, the magic of these villages isn’t lost in translation.

Each lane you walk, each café you visit, and each breathtaking view you encounter is a testament to the uniqueness that defines these picturesque pockets of French paradise.

France is home to hundreds of beautiful villages, some listed by the association “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France” (France’s most beautiful villages). Check out Châteauneuf-en-Auxois, Riquewihr, Lourmarin or Castelnaud-la-Chapelle.

Reasons to visit France: Châteauneuf-en-Auxois, Burgundy © French Moments
Reasons to visit France: Châteauneuf-en-Auxois, Burgundy © French Moments

Just be prepared to put your tongue through some linguistic gymnastics, as the names of these villages often sound like someone dropped a bunch of Scrabble tiles. Do you know how to pronounce Rennes, Reims and Rouen correctly?

 

9. Riviera Reverie

Close your eyes and imagine a coastline glitters like a diamond string under the Mediterranean sun. The French Riviera, or Côte d’Azur, isn’t just a destination; it’s a glamorous daydream inviting you to bask in luxury.

The Esterel corniche road. Photo by StevanZZ via Envato Elements
The Esterel corniche road. Photo by StevanZZ via Envato Elements

Picture yourself strolling along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, where the sea breeze promises endless adventures. Celebrities might whiz by in their convertibles, but you’re too busy absorbing the ambience – it’s like stepping onto a movie set where the soundtrack is a symphony of waves.

French Riviera - Beach in Nice © Dennis Jarvis - licence [CC BY-SA 2.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Beach in Nice © Dennis Jarvis – licence [CC BY-SA 2.0] from Wikimedia Commons

And then there’s Cannes, where the glamour reaches its zenith during the iconic film festival. You might not have a red carpet to strut on, but the stunning beaches and palm-lined boulevards are ready to embrace your starry aspirations.

Cannes @SteveAllenPhoto via Twenty20
The old town of Cannes @SteveAllenPhoto via Twenty20

Monaco, the tiny principality that glitters like a jewel, beckons with its opulence and extravagance. Here, you can try your luck at the famous casino or indulge in being part of an elite club, if only for a moment.

The Principality of Monaco. Photo: Grigory_bruev via Envato Elements
The Principality of Monaco. Photo: Grigory_bruev via Envato Elements

And who could forget Saint-Tropez, the charming coastal town that oozes elegance and chic? The yachts gleam in the harbour, and the cobbled streets exude an irresistible charm that has captivated artists and jet-setters for decades.

Saint-Tropez by Синявский Борис [public domain]
Saint-Tropez by Синявский Борис [public domain]

But the magic of the Riviera isn’t just in its exclusivity. It’s in the way the cerulean sea shimmers under the golden sun, in the taste of fresh seafood by the waterfront, and in the memory of those moments when time seemed to stand still as you gazed at a horizon that stretched beyond imagination.

So, whether you’re rubbing elbows with the rich and famous or simply lounging on the sands of paradise, the French Riviera, with its stars and yachts, its culture and coastline, invites you to experience a reverie that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, leaving you with memories that are as precious as the jewels that adorn this sun-kissed coastline.

 

10. Eiffel Tower Selfies

Get ready to strike a pose because, in France, every corner seems to whisper, “Snap a selfie!”

Starting with the grand dame herself – the Eiffel Tower. It’s not just a tower; it’s a symbol that speaks of dreams realized and love celebrated. As you snap a selfie against its iron lattice backdrop, you’re joining a tradition that dates back decades.

Bonjour from Pierre © French Moments
Reasons to visit France: Get a selfie by the Eiffel Tower © French Moments

But the Eiffel Tower isn’t the only selfie star in France. Head to Mont Saint-Michel, where the medieval abbey seems to rise from the mist like a fairytale castle. Capture a selfie as the tides ebb and flow around this architectural wonder, making your photo unique.

Mont Saint-Michel © French Moments
Our family at Mont Saint-Michel © French Moments

Venture to the Palace of Versailles, where opulence and history converge in every nook and cranny. Pose for a selfie amidst the grandeur of the Hall of Mirrors, where centuries of royal splendour reflect on you.

Hall of Mirrors in Palace of Versailles © French Moments
Hall of Mirrors in Palace of Versailles © French Moments

And when in Provence, don’t miss the chance to snap a selfie in the fragrant lavender fields that stretch as far as the eye can see. As you stand amidst the vibrant purple, you’ll have a selfie that’s a feast for the eyes and a memory that evokes the scent of summer.

French countryside: Lavender Field in Provence © French Moments
Staging our little girl Aimée in lavender fields!! © French Moments

Even the quiet harbour of Etretat in Normandy, with its awe-inspiring cliffs and picturesque beaches, must be captured in selfies that tell stories of coastal beauty.

Explore Normandy - Etretat © French Moments
Explore Normandy – Etretat © French Moments

And, of course, the stunning architecture of Strasbourg, with its timbered houses and lofty Gothic cathedral, provides a charming backdrop for selfies that exude Old World charm. Without forgetting, a unique Christmas market!

Strasbourg at Christmas © French Moments
Reasons to visit France: Discover Strasbourg at Christmas © French Moments

So, whether you’re grinning in front of the Eiffel Tower, embracing the medieval mystique of Mont Saint-Michel, or basking in the lavender fields of Provence, France offers a multitude of selfie spots that aren’t just about the perfect angle – they’re about capturing moments that resonate with the soul. Each selfie becomes a cherished memento, a testament to your journey through a country as diverse as it is enchanting.

 

A Mere Conclusion

As we bid adieu to our whirlwind tour of France’s irresistible charms, one thing becomes clear: this country is more than a destination; it’s a captivating mosaic of experiences waiting to be embraced.

From culinary adventures that ignite the senses to artistic wonders that stir the soul, France beckons with open arms, inviting you to immerse yourself in its tapestry of history, culture, and boundless allure.

But remember, these words are just a tantalizing glimpse of what’s in store. If you find your curiosity piqued and your sense of wanderlust ignited, dive deeper into the world of French touristic attractions.

Embark on a journey to discover hidden gems, iconic landmarks, and local treasures that will shape your unique experience of this enchanting country.

Bon voyage on exploring France’s rich and diverse offerings – the adventure is only beginning!

romantic destinations in France: Nancy © French Moments
View to place Stanislas and the cathedral from the top of Arc Héré in Nancy © French Moments

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About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of Discovery Courses and books about France.

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