France: 10 cities that are absolutely worth the trip
France is one of the most beautiful countries in the world to visit. A popular destination for travellers, you can see magnificent landscapes, taste incredible dishes and drink delicious wines. However, this country has so many different cities, each more attractive than the next, that it is difficult to make a choice; unless you travel there for a longer period of time, it is difficult to visit several at a time if you really want to enjoy all that each of them has to offer. Here is a non-exhaustive list of 10 of the cities in France that are absolutely worth a visit.
Paris is obviously a must. The capital of France, this city has many attractions and activities to offer you. Magnificent architecture, historical monuments and museums of all kinds are only a glimpse of what Paris has to offer. Obviously, a getaway in the City of Light must involve a visit to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Arc de Triomphe and Notre-Dame Cathedral, not to mention a walk on the banks of the Seine, among others!
Lyon, considered the second largest student city in France, is, like Paris, perfect for those who enjoy partying. In fact, there are fewer tourists than in the City of Light. The ideal time to visit it is certainly during the Nuits Sonores festival, which will satisfy all electro fans, but Lyon is not essentially a party city; you can also taste delicious local dishes such as Lyonnaise salad, brioche sausage rolls and bugnes. Go for a walk to the Canal flea market or to the gardens on the roof of the Perrache station and do not hesitate to take the various traboules you will encounter all over the city.
Marseille is worth a visit for its many historic districts and, above all, its Old Port. You will love the hiking trails and the roof terrace of the MuCEM, as well as the clear water coves found there. From the Old Port, you can also access the Château d’If, a former fortress and state prison, widely recognized for its importance in Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. Marseille is a great city for lovers of culture and history, but also for street art lovers. You can see the art in the Old Port, but Le Cours Julien, an all-pedestrian street, is a must.
Wine lover? Of course, you can’t miss Bordeaux. With its wineries where you can taste the best wines of the region, this city is one of the most popular in France. Feel free to have a drink on the banks of the Garonne or to have a snack at the Garage Moderne, a very interesting community workshop. Why not take advantage of your visit to attend a winemaking class? If you would like a short trip into nature during your visit, about an hour from Bordeaux is the Dune du Pilat, a white sand dune 616 metres long and 110 metres high that can be found between the ocean and a pine forest.
The French Riviera is always a winning destination and Nice is certainly one of the favourite cities for travellers. Whether you want to relax on the beach or take a walk on the Promenade des Anglais or in the magnificent alleys of Old Nice, this city will not disappoint you. Go to the Château de Nice and admire the incredible view from its summit, then enjoy eating pissaladière and soccas. Certainly, Brice has popularized Nice, but Nice is much more than Brice!
Located only one hour from Paris by TGV, but also directly accessible by plane, Lille is an absolutely charming city perfect for a day or two. If you go there in September, don’t miss its big annual sidewalk sale, but if you are more interested in culture and history, the Museum of Natural History and the Citadel of Lille, dating from the 17th century, are worth a visit. If you are hungry and you come across Il Piccolino pizzeria, you should know that it offers delicious pizzas at low prices! However, if you want to go to Lille to hear the Northern Patois you loved so much in Bienvenue chez les ch’tis, you will be disappointed!
Who has never heard of Avignon, if only because of its famous bridge, also known as the Pont Saint-Bénézet? But this Provençal town has much more to offer you, including the Palais des Papes, Notre Dame des Doms, the Halles d’Avignon and the rue de la soie. If you go there in July, you should know that for three weeks there is the famous Festival d’Avignon, which presents many contemporary creations. You can also follow the itinerary proposed by the Panoramic Walk to admire Avignon from above or from the Rhône.
All history lovers should visit Perpignan at least once in their lives. A happy mixture of French and Catalan culture, this city can only make you dream, especially since it is located at the foot of the Pyrenees, thus offering a splendid view from certain places. Enrich your knowledge and marvel by visiting the Palace of the Kings of Majorca, the Castillalet and the Campo Santo. You can also relax in one of the city’s many parks.
Located on the Loire, which is renowned for its many castles, a trip to Nantes would not be complete without a visit to the Château des Ducs de Bretagne. Architectural enthusiasts will also enjoy visiting Saint-Pierre and Saint-Paul Cathedral and Passage Pommeraye, a shopping mall built in the late 1840s. You can certainly do some shopping there, but the beauty of its setting is worth a visit. The Plant Garden, a huge park and botanical garden, as well as Les Machines de l’île, an impressive amusement park, are also worth a visit.
Ideal for enjoying the sun and beaches since it is only 25 minutes from the sea, Nîmes is also the perfect city to admire historical remains. Indeed, an ancient Roman city, Nîmes is home to the Maison Carré, an ancient Roman temple built at the beginning of the 1st century, the Arena of Nîmes, an extremely well preserved amphitheatre also built during the 1st century, and, of course, the famous Pont du Gard. Roman history lovers will be delighted!
No matter which region of France you want to visit, there is an incredible city waiting for you to discover it. Whether you prefer art to history or gastronomy to architecture, you will certainly find a city in France that will meet your expectations.
Cover photo: @el_._mauro | Instagram