Every year, the Tour de France visits some of France’s most iconic and popular tourist attractions. Here, we list our top 7 must-see destinations for you to enjoy.
Though this laid-back island has been part of France for over two centuries, everything from its cuisine, customs, character, and language offers a different vibe than the mainland. With a breezy feel that feels part tropical honeymoon and part European weekend, it is no surprise travellers adore this magical area.
With landscaping ranging from glistening bays to stunning beaches to mountain ridges, dense forests, and valleys, Corsica almost feels like a miniature continent. Visitors can soak in the surrounding terrain by catching a train through the mountains to the beach or by hiking some of the island’s famous walking trails. Tourists can also enjoy canyoning, snorkelling, leisurely boat trips, sampling local delicacies, and learning the island’s rich history.
2. Colmar, Alsace
Colmar, often likened to something out of a fairy tale, features cobblestone lanes, picturesque religious buildings (don’t miss its majestic “Collégiale” St Martin’s Church), famous wines, stunning half-timber homes, romantic canals, museums, and endless charm. As the birthplace of Auguste Bartholdi, the creator of the Statue of Liberty, Colmar is famed for its multi-faceted history, rich heritage, and incredible art.
Each season here offers a diverse range of culinary, relaxation, nature, sporting, and cultural enjoyments. In the historic centre, every street features shops and boutiques offering table accents, textiles, accessories, soft furnishings, and food.
The stork, the symbol of Alsace, is famed in the region. There is even a town, Cernay, that is home to a park with around 60 freely roaming storks living in it.
3. St. Emilion
The UNESCO World Heritage listed medieval village of St. Émilion is perched among picturesque vineyards, renowned for producing deeply coloured, full-bodied wines. There is something absolutely magical every day when the sun sets over the valley and sets the limestone buildings aglow with golden hues.
Not surprisingly, it gets busy here in the high season, but it is still well worth the trip. On hot days, take a cool rest in the shade by either of the two washhouses in town and watch the sparkling reflections and listen to the calming sounds of the water.
Be sure to climb the 118 steps to the top of the Tour du Roi, a 13th century tower that boasts amazing views over the city.
With medieval houses and streets, this beautiful historical town — once home of the Pope — is a must-see stop. From diverse dining opportunities to little shops, big stores, museums, and theatres, this small city has something for everyone.
If rich cultural history fascinates you, you will want to start your exploration at the Place de l’Horloge (often referred to as the “centre” of Avignon). Here, you will find the City Hall and the municipal theatre (home to the Avignon opera) surrounded by restaurants and cafés.
Here, you will also find the formidable Popes’ Palace, a stunning emblem of the city. For more splendour, the Rocher des Doms offers a chance to relax among swans and peacocks by the sparkling pond while soaking in panoramic views of the city.
5. Reims, Champagne
Reims — the capital of Champagne — is small enough to walk everywhere, yet big enough to have interests for just about anyone. Of course, you can’t visit this bubbly city without visiting a Champagne house. Be sure to do a tour of the underground champagne caves!
For exploring around town, the Notre-Dame Cathedral of Reims is the best place to start. This gothic masterpiece — a true emblem of France — holds enormous importance in French history.
Tucked along the northwestern shore of Annecy Lake, Annecy is filled with antique charm and picturesque water canals.
From Château d’Annecy (an awe-inspiring restored castle) to its lovely canals, Annecy’s Vieille Ville (Old Town) is overflowing with unique charm and an antique feel. Numerous 16th and 17th century buildings, now painted in hues of rose and beach, house boutiques, bakeries, and restaurants. Canals leisurely trickle throughout the town, given Annecy its reputation as ‘Apline Venice’.
Lac d’Annecy, said to boast the cleanest waters in Europe, is speckled with row boats and swans. In town, it is common to see residents of this lovely area rollerblading, bicycling, and rowing the lake. Once you breathe the fresh mountain air and take in the stunning surroundings, you’ll see exactly why Annecy’s residents adore this area.
Languiole’s most famed attraction is its knife factory, so make sure to visit the Forge de Laguiole, home of the highly sought after Laguiole knives. While some of the knives sell for over 1000 euros, many are available at a more affordable price.
Although famous for their knives, Laguiole also boasts delicious food, gorgeous vistas of the vast sky and sweeping grasslands.
A list of must-see places in France just simply wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the capital city — Paris! For centuries, Paris has been one of the world’s most attractive, well-known, and important cities.
Appropriately nicknamed “the City of Light”, Paris has retained its importance as a centre for education and intellectual pursuits. To cover everything to do in Paris, we’d need an entirely separate blog! For now, here is a great list of the top things to do in Paris to get you started.
Interested in Touring With Us?
If you are interested in touring France with us, be sure to contact us to find out more about our Tour De France bike trips! We would love to have you join us to find out for yourself how wonderful these cities truly are!