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Falling in love with this charming country is easy, especially after witnessing the most beautiful cities in France!
France is a country full of unique towns. There are Medieval towns, towns known for their lively markets, and towns with stunning alpine views. So narrowing down a list of the most beautiful villages in France was no simple feat.
Luckily, I called on my favorite travel bloggers to share the prettiest cities and towns in France that’ll make you want to book a trip here ASAP! Be sure to add these to your France bucket list!
25 of the Most Beautiful Cities in France
From the prettiest towns in Provence to gorgeous French countryside towns, these are the most jaw-droppingly beautiful places to visit in France!
Colmar is easily one of the most beautiful towns in France. Located in the Grand Est region of France, it is along the Alsace Wine Route, making it ideal for lovers of Riesling.
The Old Town of Colmar’s architecture closely resembles that of its neighbor, Germany. And between the architecture and the lovely Lauch River canal of “Little Venice,” you can start to see why Colmar is one of the prettiest villages in France.
Things to do in Colmar include exploring the Old Town and the Place de la Cathedrale including the preserved areas of Rues des Tetes, Rue des Clefs, and Rue des Marchands.
A visit to gothic Saint Martin’s Church is a must, especially as this is a 1,000-year-old church. You also cannot miss a chance to cruise along the canal in Little Venice (Petite Venise) and visit the covered market in Colmar.
Lastly, as Colmar is along the Alsace Wine Route, you must explore the Wine Route either on your own by car or taking a tour.
For a lovely place to stay in Colmar, opt for Hotel Turenne which is built in the traditional Alsatian-style way and is close to all the attractions nearby!
2. Carcassonne is a Truly Beautiful Place in France
I mean… the photo above kind of says it all. Carcassonne is located in the south of France in the Occitanie region.
This city has been inhabited since the Neolithic period, and even the Romans occupied this ideally located city, followed by the Visigoths. It was even under Islamic rule for a time. Basically, this city has been around for a LONG time, and it shows.
The Cite de Carcassonne is a Medieval citadel and is a World Hertiage Site, making it a must-visit. Book ahead of time to skip the line and explore the castle and ramparts.
While you’re exploring Cite de Carcassonne, you may as well also explore the Chateau Comtal, which is a castle located within the Cite de Carcassonne. It is also well worth exploring the Basilique Saint Nazaire.
Of course, just wandering around this ancient city is always a lovely time. For a fancy splurge, stay in the Hotel de la Cite Carcassonne to feel as if you’re staying in a castle!
The world capital of wine also happens to be one of the most beautiful places to visit in France!
Located in the southwest of France, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, many people visit to try famous Bordeaux wine. However, there is a lot to see and do in Bordeaux the city!
First of all, there are over 350 historic monuments in the city, making it the city with the most registered monuments in France, other than Paris.
A visit to the Place de la Bourse, or Stock Exchange Square, is a must. Pictured above, it is probably the most recognizable place in Bordeaux. Next up, the Quais de Bordeaux is lovely to wander along as you witness stunning views of the city and the Garonne River.
And for wine lovers, the Cite du Vin is a fantastic museum all about this famous beverage. Lastly, what is a visit to Bordeaux without exploring the vineyards nearby to try the local wine? This is a great full-day tour to take it all in!
L’Hôtel Particulier Bordeaux is a fantastic hotel in a great location for exploring the city of Bordeaux.
4. Paris, of Course, Makes the List of Most Beautiful Cities in France
From the Eiffel Tower to the Ile St. Louis, Montmartre to Saint Germain, you can’t miss the chance to spend some time in Paris! Paris is located in the north-central part of France in Ile de France.
However, for some highlights of the city, be sure to take a food tour of the Le Marais, spot the Eiffel Tower, visit art museums including the Louvre, Orangerie, Rodin, and Orsay, and definitely have a picnic in a famous park.
I have a whole post all about the most unique things to do in Paris, so be sure to check that out! But even just wandering the streets and walking along the Seine is beautiful. No matter what, though, spotting the Eiffel Tower lit up at night is breathtaking!
5. Annecy is One of the Most Beautiful Towns in France
Located in the southeastern part of France, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Annecy is a stunner.
This alpine town not only borders the beautiful Lake Annecy, with gorgeous mountains on the other side but it is known as the “Venice of France” for its canals.
The canals wind around the city, but the most picturesque is the Thiou Canal that holds the lovely Palais de l’Ile (pictured above).
And no matter when you visit, whether it is Annecy in winter or summer, this town is an incredible place to see. Walk around the Old Town, especially on a Tuesday, Friday, or Sunday morning for the incredible market.
Have a picnic along the shores of Lake Annecy, paddle on the lake, and be sure to stop inside of the Palais de l’Ile, which was a former palace and prison before becoming a museum.
Also, being part of the Haute-Savoie department, you can’t miss a chance to try the Savoie wine. Book a tour with Alpes Flaveurs for a fun day trip hiking and drinking wine!
For a great place to stay, opt for Hotel Atipik Annecy as it is in an idyllic location for exploring the old city!
Another city for wine and food lovers, Dijon, located in the northeastern part of France in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region, is one of the most beautiful towns in France.
First of all, in the middle of the old city is the Ducal Palace, the former home of the Dukes of Burgundy. Now it is the home of the city hall and Beaux-Arts Museum, and definitely worth visiting.
Secondly, you’ll find charming cobblestone streets, Medieval architecture, stunning churches like Notre Dame de Dijon, and, uniquely, a lot of owls.
For something cool to do in Dijon, you can download a self-guided tour of the city and follow the owls, or little metal plaques on the ground with owls on them that point you to famous sights around the city.
Be sure to also try French treats like Dijon mustard while you’re there as well as very affordable Michelin restaurants.
As Dijon is an affordable place to visit, you can stay in nice, 4-star hotels like Hotel Oceania Le Jura for very good prices!
7. Aix-en-Provence is One of the Prettiest Towns in Provence
The golden city of Aix-en-Provence is a culture-lovers dream. It is a place to get lost in the French fantasy of cobblestone alleyways, tree-lined boulevards, grand palaces, and shuttered shop windows.
It’s the ideal location to base yourself for a holiday in Provence, as it has the charm of a small town or village, but the convenience and range of events and activities you’d expect of a city. Some of the best things to do in Aix-en-Provence revolve around the town’s museums and galleries – and there is an abundance of them!
Visit Musée Granet for Cézanne’s early sketches, Hôtel de Caumont for ever-changing exhibitions in one of the city’s finest buildings, or take in some avant-garde art at the family-friendly Fondation Vasarely.
Aix-en-Provence’s market scene is widely regarded as among the best in France, and it’s here you’ll sample the true joie de vivre that the South of France is renowned for. Pick up some goodies from the market and head to nearby Pavillon Vendôme to enjoy your feast in the gardens under the ever-present blue skies.
Shopping in Aix-en-Provence is endlessly enjoyable too. Wander around the old town and you’ll find beautiful boutiques selling everything from locally made linens to lavender-infused cosmetics, and upmarket fashion.
Submitted by Nadine from Le Long Weekend.
8. Rouen is One of the Most Beautiful Cities in France
The Northern French region of Normandy is world-renowned for its beautiful beaches and white-cliff coastlines. Though its capital city Rouen may not share its global reputation, its cute and cozy streets should put this quaint city on the top of your France bucket list.
Rouen is very accessible by car, bus, or train (located only about 2 hours from Paris) and most of its sights are easily accessible by foot. For accommodations, Le Vieux Carré and Les Initiés are highly-rated, charming properties located in the beating heart of the ancient quarter of the city.
Some of the must-see attractions in Rouen include the grandiose Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Rouen, and the modern Church of Saint Joan de Arc (erected at the exact location where its namesake was burned at the stake).
If you’re a fan of art, the Beaux-Arts Museum of Rouen showcases one of the most outstanding collections of art in all of France, hosting pieces from Delacroix, Degas, and Monet among an incredibly impressive list of artists.
Once you’re done visiting the city’s impressive churches and museums, you can take in the medieval Colombage streets of the ancient town square. If you find yourself in Rouen during the holiday season, be sure to check out its famous Christmas markets, which truly transform Rouen into something out of a storybook!
Submitted by Emma from All Over the Place.
France has many beautiful places, and often you will have to share them with a fair number of fellow tourists. Now if you are looking for a true hidden gem, the Jura Region in Eastern France is so hidden that even many locals have not visited. The region is the epicenter for outdoor activities, wonderful hiking, Jura wine, and – not least – the delicious comté cheese.
The city of Besançon goes by the name capital of time. Stepping foot in this little city will make you feel like time has stood still: Roman ruins dotted around the city, a medieval fortress, renaissance houses and fountains, and the illustrious craft of watchmaking that was perfected in this region hundreds of years ago.
Make sure to visit the Museum of Time and pop over to the artisan watchmaking workshop across the museum to catch a glimpse of artisans hard at work.
Besançon was called home by some pretty famous historical figures including Victor Hugo and none other than the Lumières brothers, who went on to invent the cinema.
Aside from famous historical figures, the region has some equally famous wines to try: Cremant, Vin de Paille, and the deceptively sweet Macvin digestif. Why not try wine tasting when staying in Besançon?
Base yourself in the historic Hotel le Sauvage, incidentally also one of the top places to go for dinner in the city.
Submitted by Caroline from Veggie Wayfarer.
When thinking of the most beautiful towns in France, pictures of rural villages in the Provence region come inevitably to one’s mind. Shady squares, small bistros, cold rosé wine, and the sweet scent of lavender and olive trees are the quintessence of the South of France.
There are plenty of villages to enjoy this rural vibe, but if you are seeking an exceptional place to take in the beauty of the region, visit Baux-de-Provence.
The village is situated on an elevated platform in the Alpilles mountain range and was once a mighty fortress that controlled the majority of the region. Today, only ruins are left from the medieval stronghold, but the village remained.
The historical importance and the beauty of the town are only two of the many reasons why Baux-de-Provence became a touristic hotspot.
Thanks to the fantastic railway connection between the South of France and Paris, many of the tourists are Parisians on a weekend getaway from Paris, stocking up on regional wine, soap, and olive oil. But also the enchanting views and the thriving art scene of Baux-de-Provence are great reasons to head up to the hamlet.
Hence, it can get crowded in this beautiful village, especially if you visit during the busy summer months. Accommodation in Baux-de-Provence is limited, but Le Fabian des Baux is a lovely place to stay nearby.
Submitted by Lena from Salut from Paris.
Giverny is home to Monet’s gardens, which is why it is one of the most beautiful towns in France. It is less than an hour away from Paris by train and is the perfect day trip away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The main thing to do in Giverny is tour Monet’s gardens. You can walk through the painter’s two gardens that inspired some of his most famous artwork.
You also have the opportunity to tour his house, see where he lived, and get a better understanding of his life.
The gardens are only open from April through the start of November, and tickets cost €13 for an adult.
As you’re leaving Monet’s gardens, be sure to stop by the Giverny Museum of Impressionism just a few feet away from the garden’s entrance.
While Monet’s gardens are what draws tourists to Giverny, it isn’t the only thing to do in the area.
Leave extra time to walk to the nearby town Vernon. It’s only five minutes away but is worth visiting. Vernon has some of the best restaurants in the area and is the best place to relax after touring Monet’s gardens.
Giverny is so close to Paris, making it one of the most beautiful villages near Paris. So you’ll likely want to stay in Paris and visit the town as a day trip.
If you want to spend more time in the area, you can rent a cottage at L’Orée de Giverny and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and gardens.
Submitted by Erica from Travels with Erica.
12. Marseille is One of the Most Beautiful Cities in the South of France
Marseille, a major port on the Mediterranean Sea, is found west of the French Riviera in southern France.
This vibrant city, the second-largest in the country after Paris, has a real character and soul feel to it with streets that are old, narrow, charming, and intimate while the modern area is a major tourist center.
The main focal point of the city is the Vieux Port (Old Port), where fishmongers sell their catch of the day and you’ll see the yacht and boat-lined quay.
The Romanesque-Byzantine church of Notre Dame de la Garde is the most visited monument in the city. Other noteworthy places to visit include La Bonne Mère, Le Corbusier’s influential Cité Radieuse complex, and Zaha Hadid’s CMA CGM Tower.
All this sightseeing is bound to leave you feeling famished and you cannot leave without trying some bouillabaisse. This multi-ethnic city is known for its unique cuisine.
Other reasons to visit include its natural heritage, almost year-round sunshine, local culture, and colorful markets. The Old Port is the best area to stay in the city, as it is safe and offers a great deal of entertainment and dining options. Hôtel La Residence Du Vieux Port is a lovely hotel right in the Old Port area.
Submitted by Rai from a Rai of Light.
Tucked away in the far eastern corner of France, far closer to Geneva than Paris, you’ll find the picture-postcard village of Chamonix. With stunning Mont Blanc visible directly above, Chamonix is unbelievably photogenic from every angle.
It is one of the oldest ski resorts in France, while in summer outdoor enthusiasts flock to the area to enjoy world-class hiking or, if slightly less energetic, at least ride the cable car up to Le Brevent or Aiguille du Midi, two of the most incredible viewpoints in the entire Alps.
At just over 1,000 meters above sea level, the Chamonix ski season is long but its summers are short. As a result, it can get very busy in July and August and the best times for hikers to visit are the shoulder seasons of late June or early September.
Chamonix is also the main starting (and ending) point of the world-famous Tour du Mont Blanc, a gorgeous 170-kilometer trail that traverses three different countries (France, Italy, and Switzerland) as it makes its way around epic Mont Blanc. Passing through extraordinary valleys and over phenomenal high passes with Mont Blanc always looming, it truly is one of the world’s great treks.
Chamonix features a wide range of accommodation options from luxury mountain resorts, like Grand Hotel des Alpes, to basic chalets, like Chalet Hotel Les Campanules, to fit most budgets (except for shoestring).
And, being just a short drive from both Switzerland and Italy, the restaurant scene is renowned for both its quality and diversity. Daily trains from Paris take about 5 hours, or Geneva is just 1.5 hours away by car or bus.
Submitted by Dean and Laynni from Routinely Nomadic.
Beynac is a beautiful, small city in the Dordogne department. It’s considered so beautiful that it’s on the list of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. The city towers over the River Dordogne and is on a hill. On top is a castle, which you can see from afar.
You’ll feel like you’re in the Middle Ages when wandering the Medieval streets of Beynac. The town is well preserved, with beautiful old streets and buildings. There are cute (touristic) shops to browse through and from many points in the small city, you’ll have perfect views of the Dordogne River and its surroundings.
Beynac is a great thing to do in the Dordogne with kids. Other great things to do include kayaking on the River Dordogne. Or take a ride with a Gabarre de Beynac on the river. Both start at the riverside of Beynac. The Gabarres are freight ships from the 18th and 19th centuries. You’ll have perfect views of Beynac from the river.
Be sure to have dinner at Hostellerie Maleville at Beynac. They have a terrace on the River Dordogne with delicious French cuisine. You can also stay the night here.
Submitted by Cosette from KarsTravels.
15. Menton is One of the Most Beautiful Villages in France
One of the best towns to visit in France is Menton. This is a beautiful place that you can find on the French Riviera.
Moreover, you can find this town close to the more well-known city of Nice and the city-state of Monaco. From these places, it is easy to get to Menton by train. For example, from Nice, it takes a bit more than 30 minutes by train.
One of the best places in Menton is the beach Plage des Sablettes, which is one of the reasons to visit the town. What’s great about this place is not only the relaxing shores but also the colorful houses that you can find next to it.
These are great to see from the pier and are very photogenic. Besides that, the beautiful old town is worth visiting too. There is lovely architecture, which makes going for a walk here a great activity.
Another reason to visit Menton is that there are beautiful botanical gardens in the town. For example, you can go to the Jardin Botanique Val Rahmeh where you can find tropical trees and beautiful aquatic plants.
Furthermore, there are many beautiful places to stay in the town. For example, you can stay at the amazing and gorgeous L’Orangeraie Hotel.
Submitted by Dymphe from Dymabroad.
16. Head to Bonifacio in Corsica for One of the Most Beautiful Towns in France
Bonifacio is located on the southern tip of the French island of Corsica. Corsica’s most dramatic and beautiful town is made up of two parts, the modern marina area at sea level, packed with luxury yachts, and the old citadel which sits precariously on a rocky limestone cliff overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The citadel dates back to the 9th century and is made up of a warren of narrow streets. Here and there the streets open up to reveal a beautiful old church or a tiny square. The views across the sparkling sea towards Sardinia and the Lavezzi Islands nature reserve are impressive.
Bonifacio is best reached by car – but you’ll need to park outside the protected old town – there’s a small tourist train which takes visitors up the steep road to the top. The nearest airport is Figari and there are daily ferries from Sardinia.
For a thoroughly atmospheric experience, it is best to book a stay in the old town – there are not many places to stay in the center, just one or two rooms and apartments. However, the Hotel Santateresa is well positioned close by.
Corsica is all about beaches and there are some beautiful sandy coves and bays close to Bonifacio. Boat trips to the Lavezzi islands are also popular.
Submitted by Annabel from Smudged Postcard.
17. Versailles is a Beautiful Place in France
Versailles is a beautiful city to explore in northern France. Located 20km southwest of Paris, it is easy to visit on a day trip from the capital by train.
Versailles is famous for its Royal Palace, home to French Kings and Queens until the French Revolution. The Gardens of Versailles, in the French style, are beautiful to explore too.
Apart from the royal sites, the city has beautiful architecture, mainly from the 16th and 17th centuries, which is when the royals moved from the Louvre Palace in Paris to live in the newly built Versailles Palace. Landmarks like the Royal Opera, Notre Dame of Versailles Church, or the former Royal Stables are worth visiting too.
The Royal Tennis Court is another place in Versailles that is very important for the history of France. Here, the 578 deputies of the General States swore not to be separated until they had given a constitution to France. According to most historians, this was the beginning of the French Revolution.
Last but not least, don’t miss Versailles’ colorful market, Marché de Notre Dame, where you will find all that you need for a picnic by the Grand Canal.
If you decide to visit Versailles on a weekend trip, you will find many good hotels near the Palace. Hotel Le Versailles is always a favorite, and it is located a one-minute walk from the Palace.
Submitted by Elisa from World in Paris.
18. Saint Paul de Vence
A visit to Saint Paul de Vence is an absolute treat to see if you are in the French Rivera region. This walled town sits on top of a hill and effectively takes your breath away as soon as you see it rising in the distance.
The lush rolling hills around the town are covered in olive groves or vineyards, belying Saint Paul de Vence’s penchant for excellent produce and quality food.
There is much to explore on a day trip to this stunning region, however, there is also plenty to fill a weekend or even longer if you enjoy the town’s slower pace.
Walking the walled town’s ramparts is a perfect way to get acquainted with this lovely medieval village where clear skies will afford visitors views all the way to the sparkling Mediterranean Sea.
The hillside cemetery of Saint Paul de Vence is also worth exploring. It is here that famed artist Marc Chagall is buried under a gravestone covered with tiny pebbles and farewell notes scrawled on the tomb.
One of the greatest joys of a day in Saint Paul de Vence is simply strolling through the narrow laneways, stopping in at the various shops that line the streets. Some notable stores to make sure you stick your nose into include the Maison de Parfums de Godet or the 14th-century wine cellar of La Cave de Saint Paul.
If you choose to stay in Saint Paul de Vence, then Hotel Les Vergers de Saint Paul is a splurge-worthy place book!
Submitted by Emma from Emma Jane Explores.
19. Vannes is a Beautiful town in France in Brittany
Vannes, the capital of the Morbihan in the south of Brittany, in France’s most western region, has 272 heritage-listed buildings and a lovely port. So it’s not surprising to see Vannes on the list of the prettiest cities in France.
Many visitors come to Vannes to hop on a boat to visit the Morbihan Gulf and its beautiful islands, one of the best things to do in Brittany. But those who stop and take the time to explore the city are never disappointed.
Inside the walled city center, you’re taken back in time, surrounded by medieval buildings and beautiful, colorful half-timbered houses. A walk along the ramparts will teach you how each tower had a different purpose.
Outside the walls, you have the lively port with cafés and restaurants on one side and beautiful public gardens on the other. Most of the streets in the historical center and near the port are for pedestrians only or have low traffic. It is very enjoyable to visit a city without the car noises.
Vannes regularly hosts events during the year, including the popular Historical Festival in July. So make sure to check what’s on the calendar when you plan your visit.
Vannes is easy to access: the high-speed train links Vannes to Paris in only 3.5 hours. You’ll find a few rooms and apartments in the heart of the city or near the port, well-located to explore Vannes on foot.
Villa Kerasy Hotel & Spa is a great place to stay in Vannes.
Submitted by Eloise from My Favourite Escapes.
Avignon is one of the most beautiful towns in France. This gorgeous city in Southern France is only 3 hours from Paris by train, 1 hour from Lyon, and 2 hours from Marseille.
Avignon’s medieval town is like a trip back in time. It is surrounded by imposing medieval walls and dominated by the Palace of the Popes. Home to seven Catholic Popes, the Palace of the Popes is the largest civil building ever built in the Gothic Style and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The narrow, winding streets around the Palace are worth exploring too, with magnificent architecture and pretty squares.
The city is also an excellent base for exploring some of the most beautiful towns in Provence. Places like Gordes, Roussillon, or Fontaine de Vaucluse, in the Luberon, are easy to visit on day trips from Avignon.
Last but not least, don’t miss the Theatre Festival in Avignon, which takes place yearly in July. During this time, the city is particularly joyful, and there are theatre shows and street performances everywhere.
Avignon is an excellent destination for a weekend getaway in Southern France. There’s a good choice of lovely hotels in the Old Town. We especially like Hotel Central because it is very central and close to the train station.
Submitted by Elisa from Travel France Bucket List.
Fontainebleau is a beautiful city in France near Paris, and therefore it’s a popular weekend getaway destination among Parisians and tourists because of its location, festivities, and historic value.
Fontainebleau is only a 45-minute train ride away from Paris’s city center. It is also very easy to rent a car and enjoy the flexibility of exploring the beautiful fields and forests in the area.
In fact, this town was developed around the historic Château de Fontainebleau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that houses nothing less but an abundance of magnificent works of art and a beautifully crafted Italian Renaissance garden.
The extravagant site served as a residence for many French monarchs from Louis VII to Napoleon III. Don’t forget to take a walk in the Gallery of Francis I, the impressive chapels, and the Turkish boudoir designed especially for Marie Antoinette.
Furthermore, Fontainebleau has no lack of refreshing greeneries as it is surrounded by a natural forest. This is a great place to take a hot air balloon ride and prepare to gasp gliding through the farmlands. Optionally, simply bring a picnic with a glass of champagne for some fresh air.
If you visit Fontainebleau during summer, check out the Django Reinhardt Festival. It is a highly respected jazz music festival with a long history in the city, now expanded to music in a wide range of genres and performances.
Soak in the festive vibe at night where you could have some good food and wine in a local joint, dance, and see performances on different stages set up in the city’s streets.
Submitted by Kenny from Knycx Journeying.
22. Nice is Of Course One of the Prettiest Cities in France
This French city has everything a world traveler could ask for and more. Anyone making their way through the south of France should make this a destination on their travels.
Located on the French Riviera, you do not want to miss visiting this coastal city. The Mediterranean vibe, its beautiful beaches, and the clear air make it one of the most visited cities in France. Nicknamed Nissa La Bella (Nice the beautiful), it was recently just named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2021.
There are plenty of activities you can find while in Nice. You can start by taking a stroll through Promenade des Anglais, perfect for people watching.
Or if you want to enjoy the wind in your hair and treat yourself on vacation, splurge and drive a Ferrari down the coast of France. Stop off in Old Town for some enjoyable restaurants and the 18th-century atmosphere of cobblestone roads and old-style neighborhoods.
The white beach atMarinières Beach makes it irresistible to not want to lay down in the sun and get yourself a nice tan.
Tip: Want to get your James Bond credentials? The country of Monaco is only 30 minutes away. Put on your best suit and gamble at the world-famous Monte Carlo.
For a great place to stay, opt for Hotel Villa Rivoli, a charming hotel within walking distance to the beach.
Submitted by Nicholas from The World Overload.
23. Lyon is One of the Most Beautiful Cities in France
The city of Lyon is too often overlooked by visitors focused on Paris, Provence, and the Loire chateaux, but that is a mistake they realize as soon as they get to Lyon. The city has something for everyone.
Its location is intriguing – it sits at the confluence of two rivers, which meet right in the city, where a modern museum has just been built, appropriately called Confluence.
At the other end of the timescale are the city’s Roman ruins, with two well-preserved amphitheaters and a Gallo-Roman museum. From the Fourviere Basilica, up on the hill, the entire breadth of the city can be seen below.
Lyon has an old medieval town, with twisty streets and secret passageways that lead from one cobblestoned street to the next, much needed back in the days when Lyon was the capital of silk: it prevented all those bolts of silk from getting wet.
Lyon is also an unexpected art center. Of course, it has excellent museums, but this art is on the outside, with more than 100 brightly painted murals scattered throughout the city, although some of the best ones are right in the heart of town.
And there’s plenty more to see, from booksellers along the river to fabulous architecture to streets filled with luxury antique shops (or an outdoor flea market, if that’s your preference).
But perhaps the most striking thing about Lyon is its reputation as a capital of gastronomy. Home of the magnificent Paul Bocuse, the city prides itself on its food offerings. The Halles Paul Bocuse, a sort of indoor upmarket food mall, offers some of the best and freshest goods you’ll find anywhere in town.
For the perfect place to stay, Hotel Carlton Lyon is in the heart of the city!
Submitted by Leyla from Offbeat France.
24. Strasbourg is a Stunning Town in France
Strasbourg, the capital of the Grand Est region of France, is stunning to behold. Between visiting the Petite-France area of the city to admiring the charming half-timbered architecture, you’ll easily fall in love with Strasbourg.
This beautiful city in France can certainly be visited at any time, but it is definitely well-known for its incredible Christmas markets! Known as the Capital of Christmas, Strasbourg is full of holiday chalets and beautiful twinkle lights in every corner of downtown.
Enjoy locally made products including craft beer, wine, and treats as well as pick out the perfect handcrafted decor to take home during the Christmas market season in Strasbourg.
Other than the markets, there is plenty to see and do here year-round including visiting Petite-France for its Medieval buildings, the Ponts Couverts, and the Barrage Vauban. You can also visit places like Cave Historique des Hospices de Strasbourg and Palais Rohan.
Of course, no matter when you visit, you’ll want to stop by the Notre Dame de Strasbourg for its iconic Renaissance astronomical clock.
For a great place to stay, opt for Hannong Hotel & Wine Bar, which is in a great location for exploring!
25. Epernay is One of France’s Most Beautiful Cities
Reims may be the capital of Champagne, but Epernay is certainly the most scenic. Aside from the stunning architecture as observed above, this place is full of Champagne houses at seemingly almost every turn.
Epernay is home to the famous Avenue de Champagne, which is where you’ll find several Champagne houses offering tours and tastings (just be sure to book in advance)! Spend a day or two wandering along this famed route and stopping in houses to purchase some bubbly.
Other great things to do in Epernay include visiting the Museum of Champagne, Wine, & Regional Archaeology to learn more about how this famed beverage came to be, going for a ride on the Ballon d’Epernay, or even hiking in the nearby area.
For a charming place to stay during your time in Epernay, opt for the Les Suites du 33, which is a small B&B attached to the Chateau de Venoge Champagne house.
There are so many beautiful cities in France! From Medieval towns to gorgeous beachside escapes, France is full of beauty and wonder.
Which town would you most like to visit?
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