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Things to do in France

Things to do in  France

Welcome to France

Chic. Sophisticated. Iconic. France’s cultural identity is prominent across the globe. Paris, known affectionately as the City of Light, tops every list of romantic destinations yet offers something for every type of traveler, from dinner shows at the Moulin Rouge to world-renowned art at the Louvre Museum and Gothic architecture at Notre Dame Cathedral. In Versailles, the colossal palace exudes grandeur; fine wines beg to be quaffed in Bordeaux and Champagne; and war history enshrouds the battlefields of Normandy and the Somme. Gastronomes will find nirvana in France, where freshly baked baguettes, cheese, casseroles, and delicacies such as snails and frogs’ legs are staples on most menus.

Top 15 attractions in France

Eiffel Tower

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The Eiffel Tower isn't just a symbol of Paris but a symbol for all of France. Erected by Gustave Eiffel to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution in 1889, the 1,050-foot (320-meter) tower once held the title of the world's tallest structure. Despite having been dwarfed by Dubai's Burj Khalifa and The Shard in London, the Eiffel Tower remains one of the most recognizable landmarks on the planet. View the architectural icon from afar, or stop in at the three observation levels for stellar city views.More

Louvre

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Primarily associated with the steady gaze of Leonardo Da Vinci's famous Mona Lisa, Paris' Louvre museum is home to a 35,000-strong collection of paintings and sculptures considered one of the greatest in the world. The contemporary glass Louvre Pyramid heralds the museum's entrance, which millions of tourists flock to every year to feast their eyes on masterpieces that span from antiquity to the 20th century.More

River Seine

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The lifeblood of Paris, the River Seine acts as a dividing line between Paris’ historically sophisticated and bohemian halves; it provides transportation via riverboat and plenty of opportunity for romantic strolls; and its riverbanks are a UNESCO World Heritage Site lined with the city’s top landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Musée d’Orsay, Jardin des Tuileries, and the Louvre.More

Notre Dame Cathedral

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Second only to the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral (Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris) is one of Paris' most iconic attractions, a marvel of medieval architecture that was immortalized in Victor Hugo's classic novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Today, the Gothic grandeur and stained-glass windows of the UNESCO World Heritage site continue to reign supreme from Ile de la Cite, an island in the middle of the Seine River.(UPDATE: Notre Dame Cathedral is currently off-limits due to fire damage.)More

Orsay Museum (Musée d'Orsay)

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Rivaling the Louvre as Paris' favorite art museum, the Orsay Museum (Musée d'Orsay) is known for its impressionist, post-impressionist, and art nouveau works from 1848 to 1914. Equally impressive as what’s inside the museum is its exterior: a former Beaux-Arts railway station with an enviable location on the banks of the Seine River. Both architecture and art buffs will want this museum on their Parisian itineraries.More

Moulin Rouge

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Expect bright lights, extravagant costumes, and raucous music at the world-famous Moulin Rouge. Opened in the Belle Epoque of 1889 to celebrate Paris' thriving creative scene and the end of the civil war, the windmill-cum-cabaret hall has never stopped basking in fun and frivolity. As a staple of Parisian nightlife, an unforgettable evening at the Moulin Rouge is a must on any traveler's France itinerary.More

Versailles Gardens (Jardins de Versailles)

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Louis XIV’s Palace of Versailles takes the award for the most visited château in France, and the magnificent Versailles Gardens (Jardins de Versailles) are world renowned. A series of beautifully landscaped gardens, show-stopping fountains, and tree-lined pathways covering 800 hectares (1,976 acres), the gardens center on the cross-shaped Grand Canal.More

Reims Cathedral of Notre Dame (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims)

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One of France’s greatest Gothic masterpieces, the Reims Cathedral dates to the 13th century and is hallowed as the coronation site of many French kings. The UNESCO-listed landmark—recognizable for its twin bell towers and rose stained-glass window—was shelled during World War I but has since been restored to its former glory.More

Grand Palais

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The Grand Palais is one of Paris’ most beautiful and recognizable structures. Debuted in 1900 in time for the World’s Fair, the architectural marvel is famed for its colossal nave, Beaux-Arts architecture, and immense glass roof. Today, the Grand Palais houses several gallery areas and also hosts tournaments, Chanel fashion shows, and other major events.More

Eze

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With its twisting cobblestone lanes, jumble of medieval houses, and shady courtyards lined with traditional cafés, Eze is a tranquil village high above the glamorous resorts and golden beaches of the Cote d’Azur. The hilltop town, traditionally written Èze, is undeniably picturesque, affording panoramic views over the Mediterranean, and its timeless charm has made it a firm favorite on French Riviera itineraries.More

Latin Quarter (Quartier Latin)

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Paris’ Latin Quarter is a popular, historical area of the Left Bank. Home to the main Sorbonne campus, this dynamic, student-filled neighborhood was once frequented by Ernest Hemingway, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and other revolutionaries. Today it’s distinguished for its buzzing cafés, lively restaurants, and must-see landmarks.More

La Cité du Vin

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Bordeaux has long been one of the world’s top wine destinations but when Cité du Vin opened in 2016, it finally got a museum to match its reputation. Housed in a modernist building that resembles a wine decanter, the center comprises exhibition spaces, cultural events, a wine bar, a cinema space, and more.More

Porte Cailhau

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Built in 1495, this dramatic Gothic Revival 35-meters tall city gate was built to commemorate King Charles VIII's victory at Fornovo in Italy during the Italian War of 1494. At the time, it was the main entry point to Bordeaux from the port. It faces Place du Palais and features several ornamental sculptures and towers, something that is very typical of architecture built under the reign of Charles VIII; indeed, the monarch wanted this gate to showcase his power and affluence. The gate, which was once part of the Bordeaux city wall, was later on used as a defensive tower (the multitude of portcullis, murder holes, and machicolation features are there to prove this), and as a salt scale and storehouse.Nowadays, it houses an informative exhibition dedicated to the tools and materials with which the tower was built as well as the urban development of Bordeaux. There is a wonderful view of the old town center, the Garonne River, and the Pont de Pierre Bridge from the top floor.More

Pont Alexandre III

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One of many bridges that cross the Seine, Pont Alexandre III was officially unveiled in 1900. Widely considered the city’s most beautiful and opulent bridge, it connects the Champs-Élysées and Grand Palais on the Right Bank with Invalides on the Left, making it a popular thoroughfare for tour groups and amblers.More

Old Lyon (Vieux Lyon)

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At the foot of Fourviére Hill, the historical streets of Old Lyon (Vieux Lyon) offer a welcome change of pace from the modern city across the river. With elegant medieval churches, Renaissance-era monuments, and pastel-painted facades, this is Lyon’s most atmospheric district.More

Trip ideas

The Do's and Don'ts of the Paris Catacombs

The Do's and Don'ts of the Paris Catacombs

Around France in 15 Dishes

Around France in 15 Dishes

Top activities in France

Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Gourmet Dinner & Sightseeing Cruise
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Eiffel Tower Skip the Line Ticket Summit Priority Access with Host
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Louvre Museum Skip-the-Line Guided Tour with Venus de Milo & Mona Lisa
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Louvre Museum Paris - Exclusive Guided Tour (Reserved Entry Included!)
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Eiffel Tower Skip the Line and Small Group Tour with Summit Access by Elevator
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Paris Crazy Horse Cabaret Show with Champagne or Drinks
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Paris Montmartre walking tasting tour with Secret Food Tours
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Paris by Night with Seine River Cruise plus Moulin Rouge Show with Champagne
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Montmartre Hill Sweet & Savory French Gourmet Food & Wine Tasting Tour
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in France

star-5
Very informative tour
David_B, Nov 2022
Paris in a Day: Montmartre, Eiffel Tower, Seine River Cruise & Louvre
In spite of the rain, we managed to see so many places in Paris!
star-5
Beautiful and unforgettable tour!
Karen_L, Nov 2022
On the Road Again
We had a marvellous time touring the vineyards, understanding the history of this beautiful wine region and our guide even drove us to see a castle and a natural spring.
star-5
The nice guide we had. He...
Pat_O, Nov 2022
Paris Private Departure Transfer: Hotel to Railway Station
He knew his history about France & did such a good job of explaining in English
star-4
Nice and the surrounding area
Katherine_K, Nov 2022
French Riviera Sightseeing Guided Day Trip with Transfer from Nice
A great way to see the south of France in one full day.
star-5
Charming Loire Valley
Alex_W, Oct 2022
Loire Valley 2 Days private tour all inclusive from Paris with train tickets
Glad to see more of France beyond the cities.
star-5
Best decision of our trip!
Megan_C, Oct 2022
French Riviera Private Motorboat Cruise with Personal Skipper from Nice
We had limited time in the area and wanted to see as much as possible and this was an awesome way to do it.
star-5
Must do!
Janet_C, Sep 2022
Private Guided Day Trip to the Luberon Villages
She asked what we wanted to see and what our interests were and she delivered!
star-5
Matthieu was a great guide
Hala_M, Sep 2022
Seine River Cruise on board Vedettes du Pont Neuf
I highly recommend him to visitors.
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A great way to visit the Tour Eiffel
Alberto_B, Sep 2022
Eiffel Tower Skip the Line 2nd Floor Priority Access Ticket with Host
A good choice to visit the most visited place in France.
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Our tour guide Nima was...
Kathy_M, Aug 2022
NEW Fun Versailles Golf Cart + Bike Tour -all included-
It would have been impossible to see as much as we did if we had not been on bikes
star-5
Five star Giverny Tour!
Christine_C, Jul 2022
Giverny Half-Day Guided Tour from Paris
He was a wealth of information as we toured the gardens, Monet's home and popped in to see his burial site as well.
star-5
Lovely tour. Our driver...
Stephanie_T, Jun 2022
Private Organic Wine & Provence Food Tasting Tour
Gave us a lot of information regarding things to do, places to see and a little history of southern france.
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Versailles…great day with Michele!
Ben_G, Jun 2022
Versailles Best of Domain Skip-the-Line Access Day Tour with Lunch from Paris
Michele was the best guide we’ve had as she knows France 🇫🇷 And her English is good.
star-4
Great Gorge Trip
Nance, Jun 2022
Visit the gorges du verdon.
Got to see parts of France not easily visited without a car.
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Late November
David_M, Nov 2022
Best of Luberon in an afternoon from Avignon
It was a great way to see several villages and learn as much as we could about each town, the Luberon region, and France in general.
star-5
Great day in Champagne!
Samantha_M, Nov 2022
Champagne Area Small Group Day Trip with 8 Tastings & Lunch from Paris
It’s so convenient to have all the logistics taken care of and to be able to see 3 different types of wineries in 3 different areas of Champagne.
star-5
Not to Hurried for all the Stops We Made - Great Day
Lucie_G, Nov 2022
Nice, Monaco, Monte Carlo, Eze, 7H from Cannes port Small-Group Shore Excursion
First stop was Nice to see an impressive farmers market full of flowers, produce, cheese, herbs, hand milled soaps, etc.
star-5
Excellent tour, although rushed.
AGNES_H, Nov 2022
Normandy D-Day Landing Beaches Day Trip with Cider Tasting & Lunch from Paris
There is a cider tasting that took about 45 minutes that I would have gladly skipped in order to spend more time at Pointe du Hoc and Omaha beach, as both were rushed and we were at Omaha beach so briefly we were only able to visit the cemetery and were unable to see the visitor’s center or go down to the beach.
star-5
Best Guided tour of Normandy Beaches
Elizabeth_L, Nov 2022
Normandy American D-Day Beaches Full Day Tour from Bayeux
Kate was extremely personable and spoke English as if it was her first language.
star-4
Beautiful but a little rushed
Raquel_G, Oct 2022
Mont Saint-Michel Guided Day Trip from Paris
Worth visiting and it was one of my favorite activities in France.
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All about France

When to visit

France is a country for all seasons. While summer visitors flock to the beaches of the French Riviera and the lavender fields of Provence, winter wonders include skiing in the Alps, the Christmas markets in Strasbourg, and Lyon’s Festival of Lights. Bastille Day (July 14) sees countrywide celebrations, while other major events include the Nice Carnival and the Cannes Film Festival.

Currency
Euro (€)
Time Zone
CET (UTC +1)
Country Code
+33
Language(s)
French

People Also Ask

What is France best known for?

France is known for its world-famous wines and cheeses, delicious cuisine, and rich art history. As a tourist destination, France’s most iconic sights include the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the lavender fields of Provence, the glamorous beaches of the French Riviera, and the ski resorts of the French Alps.

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What are three fun things to do in France?

Ride the rollercoasters and meet your favorite characters at Disneyland Paris, hire a bike and cycle between fairy-tale châteaux and Loire Valley wineries along the Loire à Vélo bike route, or head into the French Alps to ski, snowboard, or ride the highest mountain zipline in the world.

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What is the most visited attracion in France?

Believe it or not, the Eiffel Tower isn’t France’s most visited attraction—that honor goes to Disneyland Palace, which draws up to 16 million annual visitors. The Louvre, Versailles Palace, and Eiffel Tower also top the list, while outside of Paris, the Futuroscope and Puy du Fou theme parks are most popular.

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What is the prettiest place in France?

There are 160 villages awarded the status ‘most beautiful villages of France’, found everywhere from Normandy to the Alsace. Aside from these, some of the most picturesque sights include the lavender fields of the Dordogne, the fairy-tale châteaux of the Loire Valley, and the rose-colored lagoons of the Camargue.

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What are some cultural activities in France?

France is packed with cultural activities, whether browsing the art museums of Paris, wine tasting in Bordeaux or Burgundy, or visiting UNESCO World Heritage sites like Carcassonne Medieval City and the Mont St-Michel. To experience authentic French culture, visit the local markets, attend a traditional festival, or take a cooking class.

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What are some outdoor activities in France?

France is hugely popular with hikers and cyclists, with long-distance trails covering the French Alps, Pyrenees, Loire Valley, and beyond. In summer, hit the west coast beaches to surf and enjoy water sports, or go rock climbing or rafting in the Verdon Gorge. In winter, enjoy skiing, snowboarding, and winter sports.

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Frequently Asked Questions