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Gems of Paris by French Moments

Here is our list of the Top 10 sites to see in France in July, the first month of Summer. Some of the places may be overcrowded so make sure you plan your visit on a weekday avoiding Saturdays and Sundays.


Top 10 sites to see in France in July

I’ll take you from Alsace to Brittany via the Alps. France has thousands of castles to discover. Some of them are stunning pieces of architecture: Pierrefonds is one of them. To the South of France, don’t miss the harbour town of Cassis and the perched village of Èze. If you’ve been to any of them and have a travel experience to tell, please do by commenting below!


1. District of La Petite France, Strasbourg, Alsace

The Tanner's House in the Petite France district of Strasbourg © French Moments
The Tanner’s House in the Petite France district of Strasbourg © French Moments

The Petite France district of Strasbourg is arguably the city’s most romantic district, especially at nightfall. A succession of canals along which have been built beautiful half-timbered houses gives to the district an undeniable charm. You must take the time to stroll along the banks of the navigation channel and appreciate the reflections of the half-timbered houses in the water. The pretty medieval houses of the district date from the 16th and 17th centuries, and half-timbering is magnificently decorated. Their steep roofs are open over the attics where skins used to dry. It’s worth featuring in our top 10 sites to see in France in July 2016!


2. The historic town of Provins, Île de France

Provins Ville Haute 02 © French Moments

The medieval town of Provins is situated 80 kilometres South-East of Paris in the Seine-et-Marne département. Once a prosperous town where the popular Fairs of Champagne were held, Provins has been listed as a World Heritage Site in 2001 by Unesco. One of the major landmarks is the mighty Tour César, a superb medieval octagonal keep, the only one of its kind.


3. The castle of Pierrefonds, Hauts-de-France

Pierrefonds Castle © Elisa11 - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Pierrefonds Castle © Elisa11 – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The imposing castle of Pierrefonds, located 80 km to the northeast of Paris, appears enchantingly around a bend in the road beside the Compiègne Forest. Built in the 12th century, the castle was destroyed in the 17th century then completely restored by the architect Viollet-le-Duc under the direction of Napoleon III.

This reconstruction, unusual but also often criticised, resulted in a grandiose architectural ensemble, making Pierrefonds a medieval as well as a modern 19th-century castle. For this, Pierrefonds is known as “the romantic folly of the Emperor”.


4. The harbour of Cassis, Provence

Cassis © Olivier Risnes
Cassis © Olivier Risnes

The harbour town of Cassis is on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea, 20 km east of Marseille. It is particularly famous for the Calanques and their cliffs. Cassis counts two listed sites along its 11km of coast: the Calanques themselves, which have been listed since 1975, and the Cap Canaille range, since 1989.


5. The perched village of Èze, French Riviera

Sites to see in France in July 2016
Eze by Jimi Magic (Public Domain)

The perched village of Èze commands stunning views of mountains falling sheer to the Mediterranean. With its clusters of houses perched on rocky outcrops above the cliffs, Èze truly is one of the most celebrated resorts of the French Riviera. Èze is situated between Nice and Monaco on the Corniche Roads at an altitude of 426 m above sea level.


6. Semur-en-Auxois, Burgundy

Sites to see in France in July 2016
Semur-en-Auxois © Michel FOUCHER – licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The medieval town of Semur-en-Auxois was built on a rocky spur above the river Armaçon. Situated in the heart of Burgundy, Semur is a picturesque town with old houses, gates and towers dating back to the Middle Ages. The Notre-Dame collegiate is also worth a visit. Built in flamboyant Gothic, it was restored by Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century.


7. The Aiguille du Midi, Chamonix

Sites to see in France in July 2016
Aiguille du Midi © Garrondo, Creative Commons (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

The journey to Aiguille du Midi is arguably one of the most exciting cable-car rides in the Alps. It is a two stage journey, lasting only 20 minutes with an ascent of 2,800 m. The cable-car first leaves the centre of Chamonix to Plan de l’Aiguille (2,308 m) suspended part of the time 500 m above ground.

From Plan de l’Aiguille, a second cable car rises up without any support pillar, to Aiguille du Midi with fantastic views of the jagged Aiguilles de Chamonix and the upper parts of the Mont Blanc massif.

At the top of Aiguille du Midi, at an altitude of 3,842 metres, the view of the mountains is breathtaking and embraces the Swiss, Italian and French Alps as far as the Matterhorn and Monta Rosa.


8. The suspended gardens of Marqueyssac, Périgord

Sites to see in France in July 2016
The gardens and castle of Marqueyssac © French Moments

Unique of their kind, the suspended gardens of Marqueyssac are one of the finest achievements in the history of French gardens. Laid out on a rocky spur overlooking the Dordogne Valley between La Roque-Gageac and Beynac, the Marqueyssac gardens cover an area of 22ha. The charm of the terrace gardens has delighted its visitors for the last three centuries and there is no doubt that Marqueyssac has become one of France’s most beautiful Italian-style gardens.


9. The Marais district, Paris

Sites to see in France in July 2016
In the Marais district, Paris © French Moments

The Marais District is located in the 3rd and 4th arrondissements in Paris between Beaubourg and the Place de la Bastille on the right bank of River Seine. It was the preferred residential area of the Parisian aristocracy up to the 18th century. It takes its name from the marshland (marais in French) that used to surround the Rue Saint Antoine in the 13th century.


10. The old city of Dinan, Brittany

Sites to see in France in July 2016
Dinan © Velvet – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The Breton city of Dinan overlooks the river Rance. It is famous for its medieval town built on the hilltop. There are many medieval buildings to discover along the narrow streets: the city walls, the castle, the Clock tower from the 15th century, Romanesque and Gothic churches and convents.

Gems of Paris by French Moments
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 the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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  1. Hello Amigos…..my darling Jeanette & i just RT from SXM where we stayed on the french
    side, which was rather UNIQUE as one ‘enters’ by the dutch side. Originally I did not know that she booked 3
    different places on the french side, but as it turned out that was just what I needed !
    We shall leave BARAKISTAN later this year & move to Sint Maarten, from where we then continue our “work”
    on Saint Martin.
    Your website is lovely !!!
    Aurevoir mes Amis……
    Lance van Merlin

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