While France might seem like a place full of charm and romance (and it is!) there’s so much more to it than most people realize. Visitors should definitely take note of both the most well known attractions (Eiffel Tower, I’m talking to you), as well as the stunning natural wonders of spots like Gorge du Verdon, and the fantastical town of Carcassone. To help you get the most out of your trip, we’ve compiled a list of incredible tourist activities, from the famed attractions you wouldn’t want to miss to the activities you wish you’d heard about sooner.
1. Experience the Art of Musee du Louvre
No where else would you be able to see masterpieces such as Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa in the same place. Easily one of the best art galleries in the world, you can spend days in The Louvre exploring all of the incredible exhibits. The museum, which has been around since 1792, is open daily (except for Tuesdays) from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For the extremely dedicated traveler, a Paris Museum Pass might be the perfect option for you: from €42 (for two days) you can explore both the splendor of the Louvre as well as 60 other museums and monuments.
2. Get Wet and Wild at Gorge du Verdon
The gorgeous Gorge du Verdon canyon, which rises an impressive 700 meters and measures 25 kilometers in length, is one of the most beautiful destinations in France for tourists to enjoy water sporting activities, such as rafting, water rambling, hydrospeeding, and kayaking. We recommend Montagne and Riviére Rafting a variety of aqua-trekking, rafting and hydrospeeding courses in the Gorge du Verdon.
3. Take a Trip Back in Time in Carcassonne
Boasting numerous attractions that you wouldn’t want to miss out on, including the Gothic church and national monument Basilique Saint-Nazaire-et-Saint-Celse, Château Comtal and the Château Comtal Museum and Place Carnot, a square offering a carousel, playground sports ground and a Farmers Market on Wednesdays, Carcassonne is a fairy tale town that dates back prior to the Roman era. Located in the region of Languedoc-Roussillon, it is a picture-perfect place to spend a lazy day exploring.
4. Enjoy the Grandeur of Château de Chambord
With its interesting history and brilliant style, the Château de Chambord, located at Chambord, Loir-et-Cher, is quite the site to see and explore inside and out. The chateau is a beautiful piece French Renaissance architecture that was built for Francois I, who only stayed there less than 40 days himself. Visitors can enjoy spending the day at the Château, exploring the beautiful rooms, impressive grounds and wonderful on-site restaurants.
5. Be Amazed by the Views at Dune of Pyla
The natural splendour of the Dune of Pyla provides stunnin views, from the large pine tree forest on one side to the inlet bay of the Atlantic coast on the other. As the tallest sand dune in Europe, daytime visitors will enjoy sights like no where else in the world, making an awesome attraction for amateur photographers.
6. Climb to the Top of Notre Dame Cathedral
One of the most brilliantly designed gothic cathedrals in all of Europe, Notre Dame Cathedral is a destination you don’t want to miss! Enjoy climbing the 400 steps to reach the top of the tours for magnificent views of Paris.
7. Experience Extravagance at the Palace of Versailles
From the spectacular architecture to the brilliant art to the gorgeous gardens, touring the Palace of Versailles is quite the experience. Showcasing the extravagance of the French monarchy better than anywhere else, the Palace depicts absolute luxury with its well appointed furnishings and intricate gardens.
8. Go for a Stroll on Les Champs-Élysées
Take a walk down no other than the Champs-Élysées, one of the most famous boulevards in the world. On weekdays, the avenue greets about 300,000 visitors daily and 500,000 on weekends, as the wide, tree-lined street is perfect for enjoying standard French tourist activities, from sightseeing to dining at restaurants like the famed Fouquet’s (which has served guests from Orson Welles, Josephine Baker and Liza Minelli), to shopping at stores like Benetton, Cartier, H&M, Sephora, Zara and Gap.
9. Explore the Caves of Grotte de Font de Gaume
Part of the UNESCO World Heritage of Vezere Valley, Grotte de Font de Gaume is a fascinating location that dates back to prehistoric times. Visiting the caves and seeing prehistoric wall paintings and engravings up close is an experience that shouldn’t be missed, especially considering the over 200 images in the cave date back to the Magdalenian period. It’s important to note that the daily number of visitors has been cut from 160 to 80, for preservation purposes, and that rumors of the site closing all-together in the next few years are rife.
10. Visit the Famous Eiffel Tower
As one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world, a trip to France cannot be considered complete until you visit the Eiffel Tower. This enormous, iconic monument allows you to see incredible views of Paris from it’s third level, located at 276 meters. Tickets for visiting the famous tower range from €3,00 to €15,00, depending on age, how high you want to travel up and whether you’ll be taking the lift or the stairs. Queues can also take up a lot of time, so it’s best to get to the tower before it opens in the morning, which is 9 a.m. from mid-June through early September and 9:30 a.m. the rest of the year.
Whether you’re about to go on a French adventure or are dreaming about it happening in the future, keep in mind not only the activities you’re going to experience but also the necessary preparation you’ll need to do for your trip. Nothing could prepare you more for a trip to France than learning a little of the language – for French courses in your area, contact us today!