15 Best Things To Do in France

They say, a bad day in Paris is still better than a good day anywhere else! France has topped as a favourite holiday destination for years together now, and rightly so! Its fierce culture, chandeliered châteaux, diverse landscapes, lush olive groves, sun-drenched rolling hills, superstar attractions, celebrity-ridden beaches, crispy wines, and warm croissants have cartwheeled France into the list of top travel destinations in the world! 

Aller de l'avant! Check out our list of recommended places to go and things to do in France. 

1. Experience an unforgettable holiday experience at Val-d'Isère

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Move over the Rockies and Tetons, France’s Val d’Isere is a mega-resort and the quintessential ski destination that remains favourite among the British and French holiday makers. With its epic vista, abundant & reliable snow, chocolate box chalets, eclectic food options, and English-speaking staff, Val-d'Isère is a traditional Savoyard village. With over 140 kilometre of tracks and 42 lifts, winter activities in Val d’Isere include winter walking trails, cross country skiing, husky dog sledding, ice driving and ice skating; whereas on the other side, summer activities include soaking in its beautiful sunshine and exploring the nearby mountains. 

2. Follow the fizz along the Route du Champagne

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Celebrate Champagne! Route du Champagne allows visitors to travel along the signposted circuits of Bar-sur-Aube and Colombey-les-Deux-Églises among many other routes. With warm and festive atmosphere in the air and a glass of champagne in your hands, visit the many village, wineries, and cellars and taste the best of the sparkling white wine. This festival happens during the months of July and August every year. A few other routes are: The white coast and the southern slopes of Epernay, The Saint Thierry Massif and the Ardre Valley, The mountain of Reims, and The Marne Valley West among a few others. 

3. Tour the magical Mont Saint-Michel

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Mont Saint-Michel is a lovely island located about one kilometre off France’s Atlantic coast and at the mouth of the Couesnon River. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the rocky islet of Mont Saint-Michel is a must-visit for the history buffs. Once here, you can self-guide yourself through the cloister and rooms of the island’s picture-perfect Gothic abbey, which is easily one of the most recognisable sites in France. Later, you can walk around the village and explore its shops and also the views of the bay. Mont Saint-Michel is located at roughly 4 hours’ drive west of Paris. 

4. Enjoy an undulated stay at the Burgundy Countryside

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Situated along the east-central France, Burgundy is a former administrative region of France that is home to lush pastoral countryside, world-famous wines, glorious history, and acclaimed cuisine. There are many things to do in Burgundy; history buffs can find the clues of far older civilisations in the ruins of Autun or the Gaulish; explorer can tour the elegant cities of Dijon and Beaune; nature-lovers can hike through the trails of Morvan Regional Natural Park; while the foodies can indulge in the delicious local patisseries. 

5. Visit the must-see sights/attractions of France

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France has time and again been named as one of the most visited countries in the world. Through the many towns and cities of France, here are some of its must-see attractions: Eiffel Tower and Louvre Museum in Paris, Palace of Versailles in Versailles, Mont-Blanc in Chamonix, Côte d'Azur along the Mediterranean Coast, Disneyland Paris in Marne-la-Vallée, Strasbourg in Alsace, and so much more. France offers an agreeable climate all through the year making this one of the best travel destinations in the world. 

6. Lose yourself in the magnificent fairy-tale castles of France

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As one of the battlegrounds of many of Europe’s wars, France has many sublime and awe-inspiring castles, abbeys, and fortified towns most of which are waiting to be explored by travellers. The ones looking to explore the many castles of France are treated to a limitless supply of architectural marvels. Here are some of the best French castles –

  • Haut-koenigsbourg (Alsace) : Dominating the region of Plain of Alsace, this pink sandstone castle offers panoramic views of the plains and the neighbouring Black Forest region of Germany.
  • Pierrefonds (Picardy) : This 12-century enchanting castle sits inside the Compiègne Forest. Often criticised for its unusual reconstruction, this castle still makes it to the list of top 10 castles of France.
  • Château De Chenonceau (Chenonceaux) : Spanning the River Cher, this ladies’ chateau is one of the most photographed in France. Château de Chenonceau is a stunning Renaissance masterpiece and one of the must visit places in France.
  • Chateau de Chambord (Chambord) : The largest in the Loire Valley, Chateau de Chambord was built by King Francis I to be used as a hunting lodge. Complete with many mysteries, this is one of the most majestic castles in France.

7. Shop at the fashion capital of the world

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Milan is surrounded by scores of shops selling everything right from hot fashion trends to runaway bargain deals. This city offers you a unique shopping experience of up to 30-70% less on your favourite brands like Gucci, Dolce&Gabbana, Hugo Boss, Blue marine, and Versace, that too all year round. The Golden Quadrilateral, La Rinascente, The Brera District, and many Milan Markets are where you can shop for while in Milan. Milan Fashion Week is another unmissable event in Milan. Held bi-annually every year as autumn/winter and spring/summer events, this show sees the best of fashion designers showcase their best works! 

8. Lounge along the crescent of sands at the best beaches of France

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Not all French beaches are on the Riviera! While the French Riviera does offer some of the sexiest stretches of sand with easy-to-walk-on beachfront and plenty of warm sunshine, there are many more beaches along the southern French coast perfect for toting a picnic. In no particular order, a few of the best beaches in France are

  • Porquerolles Island : This car-free island with its relaxed feel is a great way to enjoy a holiday with your special someone. 
  • Île de Ré : Located off the coast of Bay of Biscay, the Île de Ré will charm you with its soft white sand and elegant waterfront houses.
  • Antibes : Its hidden beach juts out in the sea and offers seclusion and crystal-clear waters that is perfect for a relaxing trip. 
  • La Pointe des Poulains : This terrific beach offers swimming, cinematic views, and a rugged coastline to watch the sunset.

9. Explore the bike routes of Bordeaux

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Bordeaux is a famed wine-growing region located on the coasts of Garonne River in southwestern France. Biking along the Bordeaux Countryside is one of the top things to do in France. Its exceptional food, characterful villages, and grand cru wine varieties have intrigued travellers for decades. This region is crossed by major cycle routes, some of which link the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. Rent yourself a bicycle and whiz past its mapped bucolic paths. Along the way, stop by to soak in the spectacular collection of monuments and natural beauty. 

10. Let your romantic imagination run wild at the Loire Valley

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Centrally located in France, the Loire Valley spans over 280 kilometres and is home to romantic chateaux, phenomenal forests, and splendorous sunflower fields. There are many reasons to visit the Loire Valley; it has stunning chateaux that peep through its lush landscapes, it has photogenic yellow fields that are filled with thousands of sunflowers, it has vintage markets, it has world-class vineyards, and most importantly, it has France’s most breathtaking scenery. A touristic journey through the Loire Valley is highly recommended and one of our favourite things to do in France. 

11. Stop by at the Chocolate Capital of France – Bayonne

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Take a walk along the streets of Bayonne and you will be greeted by the sweet scent of chocolate, cinnamon, and vanilla at every corner. This town in Basque in southwestern France is best known for its homemade chocolate. Its house speciality, the chocolat mousseux has seen clients come in from various parts of the world, including the Duchess of Windsor. Located along the rue Pont Neuf, there are homes of 11 chocolate makers, each with its own speciality. Apart from the chocolates, Bayonne is also known for its regional sheep milk cheeses and AOC certifies pepper. 

12. Watch the classic Paris Opera Ballet

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Dating back to 1662, the Paris Opera Ballet company has a long-standing association with the Académie Royale de Danse by Louis XIV. Back then, the academy’s mission was to create a dance-style performance which even the King himself could take part in. Over the centuries, this dance form has taken inspiration through the many ages of medieval period and transformed itself into the contemporary form that it is today. Rudolf Nureyev, who is regarded as one of the greatest classical dancers ever has served as a director of the Paris Opera Ballet.  Palais Garnier is one of the most famous venues to watch the Paris Opera Ballet in action. 

13. Journey through the evolution of French Architecture

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Apart from its cuisine, fashion, wines, and chocolates, France’s flamboyant architecture has interested many travellers and explorers through centuries. On your next visit to France, take a journey through its architecture. Explore its Roman inspired Galo-Roman designs, unified Romanesque styles, predominant French Gothic architecture, typical French Mannerism, famous French Baroque, colourful Rococo, modern Neoclassicism, and the Baron Haussmann inspired impressive contemporary French architecture. 

14. Check out the many great medieval cathedrals in France

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With its lovely spires reaching toward the sky, France is home to some of the most magnificent cathedrals in the world. These cathedrals were a prime example of striking designs, harmonious decorations, and masterly management of space. Here are some of the top cathedrals of France to check out on your next trip

  • Notre-Dame de Paris : Probably one of the world’s most famous, this gothic style cathedral has featured in many books and movies. If you visit this place, be sure to hike up its spiral stairs.
  • Notre-Dame de Laon : One of the firsts of the country, this cathedral inspired many that followed. 
  • Notre-Dame d'Amiens in Picardy : The largest Gothic cathedral in the whole of France, this architecturally glorious cathedral is known for its vibrant colours. 
  • Notre-Dame de Strasbourg : Located close to the German border, this cathedral has served as a seat of the Council of Europe and of the European Parliament.

15. Fine dine along the French Riviera

The French Riviera is known for its lavish lifestyle. So, it’s no surprise that the culinary delights of this place are not far less behind. From enchanting settings to food menus, here are some of our top picks:

  • Le Parc 45 : This Michelin star restaurant headed by chef Sébastien Broda will please you with its elegant dining rooms, a view overlooking the gardens, and a menu that changes every day.
  • Chevre d'or : Taste the finest from chef Arnaud Faye at this two Michelin-starred restaurant. First-class food, first-class service, and first-class service makes this one of the best fine dine restaurants in the region. 
  • Jan : South African chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen with his French twist creates for you one of the best dining experiences in the country. Considered by many, this is one of the best restaurants in Nice. 
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ever since my first trip at the age of 4, I’ve been fascinated to explore places around the world. Lover of world cultures, food, souls and all things blue; I spend most part of my day writing about travel ...

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15 best things to do in france
  • Hike to the mystical rock in the clouds, Roque Nublo. Found at the center of Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, the second highest peak on the island is the perfect place to see the world differently in Spain.

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    • Definitely! I have heard a lot about it too. You can check some of the other best things to do in Spain here as well.    

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    • Definitely! I have heard a lot about it too. You can check some of the other best things to do in Spain here as well.    

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