10 Cities you MUST visit in France
Updated: May 24
France is one of the most stunning and diverse countries we've ever been. Every little city has something so special about it. When living in France, we traveled around this beautiful country for over a month and fell more in love with the culture, beautiful cities, and the food! There is so much more to this country than just Paris. Here are our favorite cities!
We may be a little biased as we did live in Bordeaux for a year, but this city is completely underrated! This city is the gateway to the world famous Bordeaux wines. Rent a car and venture out into wine country. Drive on the famous Rue des Vins Bordeaux and take a look at the beautiful chateaus! Visiting these chateaus does require a reservation, so make sure to arrange this before visiting. In the city itself, there are an abundance of wine bars. Our favorite is Bar a Vin, just across the Opera house. This little wine bar only serves Bordeaux wines by the glass. The menu is divided by different Bordeaux regions and the wine is very affordable.Bordeaux is easy to travel to by train from Paris. Bordeaux also has its own airport. Click here to check out our post on Bordeaux!
Nestled deep in Provence is the small city of Gordes. This beautiful city has 360 degree views of stunning olive tree and lavender fields. This city is very close to the Sénanque Abbey- known for its lavender during lavender season. A stop here is a must! Wander around this medieval city with a lavender ice cream in hand! You will feel like you've entered into a French fairytale! Gordes is about an hour drive north from Aix-En- Provence.
Of all the places in France, one of our favorite spots is the French Riviera. Located just a half hour away from Nice is the small village of Èze. This small village holds the most beautiful views of the Mediterranean. It was built in 2000 BC and still stands today. At the very top of the city is the Jardin Botanique d' Èze. It's a beautiful collection of cacti and succulent plants created after World War II. The views here are absolutely breathtaking. The entrance fee is 6 euros per person- it is completely worth it!
If I could only vacation in one spot for the rest of my life this would be it! Menton is a stunning village on the border of France and Italy. It was acquire in 1346 by Charles Grimaldi, the lord of Monaco, but became a French city in 1861. This city is so unique because you can relax on the beach overlooking the Mediterranean and Italian coastline at the same time. It is much smaller than Nice, and less touristic. It is located about a 45 minute drive from Nice.
Deep in the heart of Burgundy is the small city of Beaune. Surrounded by some of the most expensive vineyards in France, this city is a wine lover's paradise. The most famous landmark of the city is the Hôtel- Dieu, an old hospital founded in 1442 that has been transformed into a museum. It plays an integral part of the history of Beaune and winemaking in the Burgundy region. You can easily reach Beaune by train from Paris, or rent a car. We suggest renting a car so you can visit all of the wineries in the region!
Dijon may be famous for its Dijon mustard, but this city is absolutely charming! With Renaissance houses dating back to the 18th century, this city is like stepping back in time. We suggest spending two days here while visiting the Burgundy region. You must sample some of the famous Dijon mustards that are on tap in the Maille store! Dijon is easy to reach by train from Paris.
Colmar & Eguisheim
The Alsace region is unlike any region in France! Sharing a border with Germany, this region is the perfect fusion of French and German charm. With cookie cutter houses all painted the colors of the rainbow, you would be happy to get lost here! Colmar is the third largest of the Alsace cities and is considered to be the "capital of Alsatian wine." Spend the day wandering through the canals of La Petit Venise and admire the colorful buildings.The food in Colmar is also incredibly different than any other cuisine in France. With the German mix, there are heavier plates of meats and sauerkrauts. It's delicious!
Eguisheim is a smaller city located on the Alsatian Wine route and about a half hour away from Colmar. This entire village felt like I stepped into Beauty and the Beast! With smells of macarons and gingerbread cookies baking in the morning, I felt like I was in a fairytale! This city was even awarded "Les Plus Beaux Villages de France" or the prettiest city in France! The entire city is also surrounded by vineyards! Rent a bike for the day and wander through the beautiful vineyards of Alsace.
Located on the North West coast of France, Étretat is most famously known for its Chalk Cliffs. Monet famously came to Étretat to gather inspiration for his paintings, and I completely understand why. There are beautiful walks along the cliffs where you can sit and watch the sunset. It's a little more difficult to get to in France. We suggest renting a car in Paris and driving to Étretat.
Tours is the gateway of Medieval France! From here, you can visit the famous Loire valley- a playground to the French royalty. There are many notable castles here including Château de Chambord(left picture), Château de Chevery, and Château de Chenonceau (right picture). Each have a unique part in French history.
Château de Chambord was once owned by King Louis XIV and includes a double helix staircase designed by DaVinci himself! It is the most famous of the Châteaux and can get quite busy. It's easy to spend the day here walking through the gardens and visiting the inside of the castle. There are some nice cafes here to enjoy a coffee. You can rent bikes, or even golf carts to tour the property. The château opens at 9 AM. It is 14.50 euros per person to visit the Chateau and gardens. Parking is 6 euros for the day.
Château Chenonceau has a rich history as it was a gift from King Henry II to his mistress Diane de Poitiers and then later his wife, Catherine De Medici resided here. There are beautiful gardens and a few cafes to enjoy some food. The entrance to this Château is 14.50 euros per person and the Château opens at 9 AM for visitors.
We suggest buying tickets a head of time online. This saves you time because the lines to purchase tickets can get quite long. You can easily drive from each Château and have parking.
We hope this inspires you to visit more of France and enjoy these cities as much as we did!
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