France is the most visited country in Europe. Mainly because of its capital, the beautiful Paris, but there are many other beautiful cities in the country. Streets with a romantic air, historical monuments, corners dedicated to art and much more! All this awaits you in the best cities in France. We present you the 12 most beautiful cities in France to visit , do tourism and enjoy a magical atmosphere.
You will find the best cities in France on this map.
Most Beautiful Cities In France
Paris, undisputed among the best cities in France
The list of the best cities in France could not start anywhere else. And it is that Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the whole world! Its romantic atmosphere is unmatched: climb the Eiffel Tower , a boat ride on the Seine, walk the streets of the bohemian neighborhood of Montmartre , contemplate the Champs-Elysées from the top of the Arc de Triomphe , be amazed by the decoration of the Opera Garnier… there are endless activities to enjoy the Parisian magic ! Whether you are traveling with children or not, an excursion to Disneyland Paris seems like a great plan. We tell you 10 tips to make the most of a day in the most magical theme park.
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The historic center of Bordeaux reminded us very much of Paris for its classical French architecture of the 18th century. The city has a stately air thanks to places such as the Place de la Bourse , the Bordeaux cathedral or the six monumental gates at the entrance to the city that have been preserved since medieval times. As if its beauty were not enough, Bordeaux is one of the best cities in France for lovers of good wine. It is a great center for wine tourism due to the number of wineries that can be visited in the surroundings. We also recommend you visit the Cité du Vin, a very modern and interesting museum about the entire winemaking process.
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The capital of Alsace has had a turbulent history. Being touching the border with Germany has been the subject of dispute between the two countries for centuries. Now, curiously, it houses the headquarters of the European Parliament , which you can visit for free to discover curiosities about politics within the European Union. But the main attraction of Strasbourg is its historic center. With its typical half-timbered Alsatian houses , an imposing Gothic cathedral where you can climb for the best view of the city, and what many consider to be the best Christmas market in the world , Strasbourg has a lovely atmosphere. It is also worth going through the most modern area of the city to see the mix of French and German-style buildings.
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Colmar, one of the best cities in France at Christmas
Very close to Strasbourg is Colmar, the other great city to see in Alsace. It is smaller in size, but its entire historic center is a real delight. It combines the canals of Petite Venise with cobbled alleys lined with buildings with colorful facades and typical half-timbering. Unlike Strasbourg, it has more of a village feel. In addition, the entire city has a very careful decoration , with flowers in summer and Christmas lights during the last months of the year. Precious! Colmar is a great base for excursions in Alsace. You can rent bikes to move between the various villages dotted in a landscape full of vineyards. Undoubtedly, Colmar is one of the best cities in France to spend a few days in a very special environment.
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We’re going to the Côte d’Azur! A coastal city could not be missing from our list of the best cities in France. Bathed by the Mediterranean, Nice is a very glamorous destination during the warmer months of the year. It has a curious mix of Italian style architecture with medieval alleys in the old town. Strolling along the Paseo de los Ingleses next to the beach is an essential plan. Nice has something for everyone, combining an idyllic summer setting with the atmosphere of a big city. Beyond the city, you can make excursions to places like Cannes , Monaco or charming little towns on the French Riviera like Menton or Villafranche-sur-Mer.
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After Paris and Marseille, Lyon is the third largest city in the country. It is located at the confluence of the Rhone and Saone rivers , a perfect location for commercial development since it was founded in Roman times. The center of Lyon has a very sophisticated air thanks to the Renaissance buildings, majestic squares and the promenades along both rivers. The large avenues contrast with the streets of Vieux Lyon, one of the largest medieval neighborhoods in Europe. There is the beautiful cathedral of Lyon. For sunset, there is no better plan than to climb the Fourvière hill to have the best views of the city. For lovers of good food, Lyon is considered the gastronomic capital of France. It has establishments called bouchons , which are high-quality restaurants serving local specialties such as onion soup or Lyonnais salad.
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Toulouse is the fourth most populous city in France. But we liked it a lot because it doesn’t have that typical hustle and bustle of a big city, rather it preserves a calm atmosphere. The huge university community of Toulouse brings a lot of life, especially if you like to go out at night! It is known as “the pink city” due to the characteristic pink color of the bricks of most of its buildings. Capitol Square , considered the heart of the city, is beautiful. A different way to see the city is by riding a boat. You can choose between sailing the historic Canal du Midi or the Garonne River. Precisely the river bank is a perfect place to see some beautiful sunsets in Toulouse. You should also know the facet of Toulouse linked to aeronautics and space travel. On the outskirts of the city you can visit the Cité de l’Espace (extremely interesting if you go with children), the Airbus and Aeroscopia facilities, a museum dedicated to airplanes.
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Carcassonne, among the best cities in France to visit with the family
There are few cities as picturesque as Carcassonne in the world. Its walled citadel will take you back to the Middle Ages. Strolling through its cobbled streets surrounded by defensive towers, an imposing castle and the majestic Basilica of San Nazario is quite an experience. If you are lucky enough to visit the city in summer you can attend a festival set in medieval times. We think it is a very cool place to visit with children, they will feel like the protagonists of a story! Without a doubt, Carcassonne is one of the most beautiful cities in France.
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The capital of the Normandy region is one of the best cities in France. It has been home to numerous artists and historical figures. For example, Joan of Arc spent the last years of her life there before dying at the stake. You can learn about the history of the city and its most famous inhabitants by visiting some museums. Do not miss the old Market Square, it is surrounded by beautiful buildings! Although without a doubt, the most famous monument of Rouen is its cathedral. Did you know that it was the tallest building in the world from 1876 to 1880 thanks to its 151-meter central spire?
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Lille is the largest city in northern France , partly because of its historical importance. It was a great center of commerce as it was located between Paris and Flanders. Today, it’s a college town with a cool vibe. We think it’s a great weekend getaway, especially if you’re interested in culture and like to go out at night. There are many interesting museums , as well as a fascinating mix of French and Flemish architecture in the historic center.
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Annecy, one of the best cities in France surrounded by nature
Nature lover? Then surely you will agree that Annecy is one of the best cities in France. It is located north of the Alps, practically touching the beautiful Swiss city of Geneva. It is extremely lucky to be on the shore of Lake Annecy. You can take dream walks through the area to enjoy the landscapes. Beyond the privileged environment, the city center is cute. Colorful facades, canals that cross its streets, flower decorations and a 14th century castle await you in Annecy.
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We end our list of the most beautiful cities in France with Dijon. It is not as famous as the others, but it is very worth it. It is the historical capital of the Burgundy region, known worldwide for its wine production. Dijon had its heyday in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, when it was the seat of the Duchy of Burgundy. You can still see the impressive palace where they lived. The historic center of the city is full of monumental buildings , among which the cathedral stands out. With just over 150,000 inhabitants, it is a city with an ideal size to explore on foot, getting lost in its beautiful streets and letting yourself be surprised.
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