Thinking of a summer holiday to France but aren’t sure where to visit? Maybe you’ve already been to France and want something different. Perhaps you want some insight to help you plan a vacation of a lifetime. You can get accommodation ranging from budget-friendly hotels to resorts to luxurious French villas throughout the country. Whether it’s you’re first visit or fifth discover these must-visit spots in France to turn an average vacation into an awesome one.
Every trip to France involves a stop in Paris at least once. Millions of visitors from around the globe travel to the City of Love every year. Some come to soak up the culture, food and fashion. Others like to photograph the famous attractions like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and Notre Dame. Hit the outdoor cafés along Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore and watch the Parisian world pass by. If this is your first time to France, consider spending a few nights in the capital. Otherwise, you can stop by for a day before heading out to other parts of the country.
Large parts of Lyon have a UNESCO-World Heritage status. Explore the old town and you’ll quickly find out why. Lyon combines layers of history starting with the Romans through medieval times and to the Renaissance. You’ll find an enormous Roman Amphitheatre in the heart of the city centre. Stunning architecture lines the narrow streets. But what attracts most to Lyon is the food. The city has dozens of Michelin-star restaurants serving both French and international cuisine. Throw in the thriving café scene and some of Europe’s best coffee, and you’re in for a treat. Lyon acts as a cultural hub in southern France too. Festivals including the Greater Lyon Film Festival, the Festival of Light and the Dance Biennale take place each year. You’ll find regular shows and events on most weekends including concerts and art exhibitions as well.
Provence lies in southern France a stone’s throw from Italy. The region has a stunning stretch of coastline on the French Riviera. Most visitors relax along the coast rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous. Away from the beach, you have easy access to the French Alps. If you want to explore the mountainous landscape, you’ll find plenty of hiking trails. Or drive 30 minutes north from the resort area and you’re in the heart of rural France. Another highlight are the vineyards scattered around the landscape. Take the chance to taste some of France’s finest wine and bring a bottle or three home as a souvenir. History lovers can get their dose here too. You’ll find plenty of Roman ruins including a stunning two thousand-year-old aqueduct.
Nice is the centre of the French Riviera. The city has approximately 7 kilometres of shoreline. Head down to the port and photograph the luxury yachts. Check out the vast collection of art dating from between the 16th to 20th centuries at the Musee des Beaux. Or spend the night at the theatre watching your favourite play. Stroll along the promenade in the evening and dine al fresco overlooking the beautiful coastline. Nice is not only a cultural centre, it also ranks among France’s most romantic cities.
Marseille is a port city with thousands of years of history. The Greeks thrived here before the Romans. Reminders of both still exist today. Because of its strategic location, Marseilles has always been at a crucial point of trade in southern France. When you step into the city centre, you’ll discover cathedrals including Basilique Notre Dame de la Garden and streets filled with designer shops. Stroll through the streets and snap up the stunning architecture before ordering a latte in an outdoor café. Browse through the shops and pick up the latest fashion. And to make it even better, it all comes with a year-round warm climate.
Toulouse rarely gets the level of tourism it deserves in southwest France. Unlike the other must-visit destinations, this city has an unusual feature. Most of the buildings use terracotta bricks giving a vibrant red and pink appearance in the streets. You’ll find several 18th century buildings in Central Toulouse and the 400-year-old Canan du Midi. Check out the Opera House and City Hall. Another highlight is its proximity to micronation Andorra. The tiny country sits high in the Pyrenees Mountains and provides both photogenic landscapes and duty-free shopping. Rent a car and drive up the winding roads to one of the world’s smallest countries.
Bordeaux has an international reputation for its fine wines. Wine lovers often spend a weekend in region touring the vineyards and tasting the different types of wine. Inside the attractive city centre next to the Garonne River, you’ll find opulent mansions dating to the 18th century along with a gothic cathedral. Grab a map and search for some of the 300 or so historical monuments including ruins which date back to Roman times. Or spend the afternoon getting a dose of culture in the art galleries. After a long day, unwind in the warm evening air inside the public gardens watching the world pass by.
The best places to spend your summer in France
France has dozens of attractive cities. Head to Paris and experience the City of Love. Or make your way to the French Riviera and see Lyon, Nice and Bordeaux. Stop by Provence to make the most out of the outdoors and to go hiking. Or head to Toulouse to see the pink buildings and take a day trip to nearby Andorra.