Are you over the tourist scene in Paris? If so, check out these ten best cities to visit in France that aren’t Paris.
Did you know that 89 million tourists visit France each year? These impressive figures have made France the number one travel destination for many years.
Yet one most people think of France, Paris is the first thing that comes to mind. While the home of the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre has plenty to offer, there’s much more to France than most people know.
If you want to know the best cities to visit in France that aren’t Paris, here are 10 places that will never disappoint.
Versailles is less than an hour away from Paris by subway, but everything is much cheaper. This city has something that everyone will love.
Foodies can take their time sampling from the Marche Notre Dame, which is the largest open-air market in the area. If you bring a picnic basket, you can fill it with tons of classic French foods like bread, cheeses, and wines.
While you explore the quaint streets, you’ll have no trouble finding scenic parks to stop and enjoy your treasures.
You don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy the Palace of Versailles. Witness firsthand how royalty lived in France as you explore the largest palace built in the world.
You’ll be wowed by the vast collection of artifacts that have been gathered over the centuries. The gardens are also the perfect places to capture breathtaking photos.
If you’re a fan of art, Arles is one of the best places to visit in France. You can walk through historic streets and pretend you’re Picasso or Van Gogh. In fact, there are tons of signs that indicate where famous artists painted their masterpieces.
Arles is packed with wonderful things to discover. Any route you take on the charming cobbled streets can lead to an adventure. You can explore a Roman amphitheater that was constructed in 90 AD. If you’re adventurous, you can enjoy wild bulls, horses, and other beautiful animals on a safari.
There are tons of incredible things to do in Brittany, which is one of the most northwestern provinces in France. Rennes, the capital, is packed with history.
Take some time to stop and smell the roses in Parc du Thabor. Admire some classic art at the Musée des Beaux-arts. Wander through historic churches like the Rennes Cathedral.
If sightseeing isn’t your thing, Rennes has plenty of outdoor activities. To learn more about this region, check out the best 10 things to do in Brittany.
4. Major Cities in France: Marseilles Is #2
If you want to explore impressive French cities, Marseilles is the second largest after Paris.
Marseilles combines lush, hilly landscapes with the bustle of a major city. If you’re a fan of the Count of Monte Cristo, you’ll be delighted to learn that Marseilles is the home of Chateau D’If, the prison that Dantès escaped.
With tons of museums, historic landmarks, shopping, and beaches, you’ll never want to sleep. Nature lovers will adore the cliffs overlooking the ocean.
How often do you get to explore medieval towns? Carcassone is rich in history since its founding in the Neolithic era. As you wander within the fortified walls of this town, be sure to indulge in one (or tons) of the sweet and savory crepes prepared to-order.
You also won’t want to miss out on the impressive cathedrals and museums. To get the most out of your visit, it’s best to take a walking tour with a local guide who can point out all the historical artifacts you see along the way.
This city is made for anyone who loves wine. Since this city produces the most grapes in the region, you’ll have tons of samples to taste. Wine is one of the best souvenirs to buy in France to remember your time or to give as a gift.
If drinking isn’t your thing, don’t worry. Bordeaux’s ample theaters, cathedrals, museums, and historic sites can keep you busy for a long time.
7. La Rochelle
La Rochelle is the perfect place for people who want to relax and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. The city center has areas only open to foot traffic, so you can take your time absorbing all the sights.
If you want to explore the coastal region, you can visit the old lighthouse or rent a bicycle for a euro per hour to ride along the beach.
Although La Rochelle has a relaxed vibe, there are still many things to do. You can spend your days at the aquarium, exploring the islands, shopping at the markets, swimming, and eating your way through decadent French cuisine.
8. Best Cities to Visit in France for History Buffs: Normandy
Americans may not know much about Normandy except for the historical WWII event named D-Day.
You can walk the same beaches as the soldiers and even spot tanks and other warfare supplies left behind. Some of the wharves that the Allies built on the beach still remain, so don’t forget to seek those out.
One of the other hot spots in Normandy is the Mont Saint-Michael Abby, which is on its own island. This church is actually one of the most popular tourist destinations outside of Paris.
9. Stunning French Towns: Annecy
If you’re all about avoiding tourist traps, Annecy can give you the best of two countries. This town combines charming French flair with the picturesque waterways of Venice. Locals even refer to Annecy as the Venice of Savoie.
You’ll be blown away by the hilly landscape in this lake town. With plenty of calm waterways cutting through colorful Parisian architecture, you’ll never want to walk anywhere.
If you have the chance, though, don’t miss out on visiting the local cafes filled with delectable eats.
10. Les Beaux-de-Provence
Les Beaux-de-Provence is home to an ancient castle that overlooks an expansive village. Though all that’s left of the castle is ruins, it’s still a treat to listen to its rich history.
This town also boasts a modern underground museum full of classic art. As you wander through the caves, you’ll be surrounded by stunning pieces projected all across the walls.
Ready to Plan Your Dream Vacation?
Now that you know the best cities to visit in France, you can start planning your itinerary.
The most experienced travelers who want to get the most out of their trips have learned that locals know best. If you want all of your vacations to be unique, let Tripipedia be your guide. For the best tips from locals themselves, be sure to check out our blog.