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26 Best Things To Do In France in 2024

Traveling in France is always special, no matter what part of the country you visit. Whether you’re headed to Paris for a few days or planning a trip along the country’s southern coast, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to sights and tourist attractions.

The best things to do in France range from partying in Saint Tropez to hiking 2,000 kilometers in the footsteps of 18th-century customs officers. And there are myriad things to do in between, including castles, art museums, volcanoes and, of course, the monuments of Paris.

No matter where you choose to stay or what places you decide to visit, you will always have access to some of the best food and wine in the world. It is the country that produced the Michelin Guide, one of the most important authorities in the restaurant and travel sectors.

From the beautiful Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy to the beaches of the French Riviera, here are all the best things to do in France!

For a first visit to France, it is best to stay in Paris. Focus on the capital’s main attractions, numerous and spectacular, and take part in as many excursions as possible during your stay.

Versailles, Bourges, Champagne and even Normandy are all relatively close to Paris and can be visited on day trips by car or public transport.

Best of France Quick Guide

  • Must  see: the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles, the Bourges Cathedral, the Chambord Castle
  • Where to stay: Alcôve Hôtel (Nice), Hôtel La Maison Champs Elysées (Paris), Hôtel Mont-Blanc (Chamonix)
  • Fun to do in france: Pilat Dune, Claude Monet’s House and Gardens, Skiing in Chamonix, Mont Saint Michel
  • Day trips: Bordeaux, French Riviera, Nîmes
  • Foods to try: Coq au Vin, Ratatouille, Crepes, Pain au Chocolate

Best Things To Do In France

Fun things to do in France

With its large cities, beautiful beaches and countless hiking trails, there is plenty to do for everyone in the country. Want to spend your trip relaxing on the beach and sipping a cocktail? Head to the French Riviera in the south of France for the most magical experience.

Do you prefer hiking and outdoor adventures? This shouldn’t be a problem, as nearly a third of France is forest with too many trails to count. You can even climb to the top of a volcano and stay in a village at the foot of the highest peak in the Alps. And for short city breaks, there is hardly a better destination in Europe than Paris, the city of light and love.

1. Mont Saint Michel

Things To Do In France Mont Saint Michel

Mont Saint Michel is a small island and municipality in Normandy. The island is famous for two things: the Romanesque abbey in the center of the island and the highest tides in Europe. The island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed for its importance as a Catholic site.

It is one of the most famous monuments in northern France and a must-see for travelers to Normandy. I recommend combining the trip to Mont Saint-Michel with a visit to the island of Jersey and its magnificent castle with secret rooms.

Practical Information

Mont St. Michel is open from 9 AM until 6 PM. Tickets are 11€.

2. Visit The Louvre

Best things to do in France Visiting the Louvre

The Louvre has managed to maintain the title of the most visited museum in the world for several years. Millions of people line up in front of the glass pyramid for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the Mona Lisa in person.

The sad thing is that many people cannot see Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous work well due to the huge crowd in front of it. Even in the off-season, the Louvre is incredibly crowded and it’s virtually impossible to get the best seat in front of the iconic painting.

But it doesn’t matter because there are many other interesting works of art in the museum.

The Venus de Millo, The Marriage at Cana and The Coronation of Napoleon are among the Paris museum’s other iconic works, and the crowds in front of them are much smaller.

Insider Tip: Head to the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and head down the stairs to enter the Louvre without waiting in line for hours.

3. Drink Champagne in Champagne

Things To Do In France Champagne

It’s not champagne if it doesn’t come from French Champagne, and this is the perfect opportunity to go straight to the source to find the real deal. Champagne occupies the northeastern region of France and can easily be visited on day trips from Paris.

The Pressoria Champagne Museum is a delight for all five senses. Features a detailed exposition on the history, production and trends of champagne production, as well as tastings.

Champagne is home to countless wineries, which offer tours and tastings to visitors. The most popular by far is Moët et Chandon, and other great wineries to visit include Champagne Taittinger, Leclerc Briant and Paul-Etienne Saint Germain.

4. Tour The House and Gardens of Claude Monet

Things To Do In France House and Gardens of Claude Monet

The garden of Monet’s house in Giverny is what inspired his iconic Water Lilies painting. A visit to the artist’s former home is a must for all art lovers in France.

Located in Giverny, just an hour and a half from Paris, Monet’s house is one of the best day trips from the capital. The house is furnished with period furniture and the walls are covered in paintings from floor to ceiling.

The garden is so large that visitors are provided with a map to help them navigate. Walking around is an adventure in itself and my favorite thing about this place. We already know how much this inspired Monet and imagine what it could do for your creativity.

5. See The Dune of Pilat

Things To Do In France Dune of Pilat

Located in the Arcachon Basin region of France, the Pilat dune is the highest dune in Europe. It’s like a mini desert and a beautiful natural monument that everyone should visit. My favorite thing about Dune du Pilat is that it’s not extremely famous, so it’s rarely as crowded as some of the other popular destinations in France.

The dune is between 100 and 115 meters high, depending on the wind. It takes approximately 10-20 minutes to climb to the top of the dune from the parking lot, depending on your fitness level. Walking on the ridge offers a beautiful view of the ocean.

Insider tip: Take off your shoes and feel the sand between your toes, because climbing the dune is easier when you’re barefoot.

6. Kayaking in the Verdon Gorge

Things To Do In France Verdon Gorge

The Gorges du Verdon are one of the most astonishing natural sites in France and a prime destination for hiking, climbing and aquatic pleasures. It is nicknamed the “Grand Canyon of France” and offers a wide variety of attractions and many ways to experience its natural beauty.

It is even possible to climb to the top of the highest walls of the gorges and discover breathtaking views. Travelers on foot can enjoy kayaking, cliff climbing, gorge hiking and even paragliding. You could easily spend several days there, have fun and discover the best of French nature.

7. Tour The Palace Of Versailles

things to see in France Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is one of the most famous monuments in the country. The 18th-century palace is known for its gilded apartments, fountain show and Hall of Mirrors. This is one of the main reasons why so many travelers choose to stay in the municipality of Versailles, located just 45 minutes from Paris by public transport.

A real visit to the Palace of Versailles will take a whole day. With over 2,300 rooms spread across the palace, it’s easy to spend hours wandering the property and admiring the lavish furnishings.

8. Go Skiing At Chamonix

Things To Do In France Chamonix

Located on France’s border with Switzerland and Italy, Chamonix is one of the country’s top ski destinations. With five ski resorts in the Swiss, Italian and French Alps and access to World Cup slopes, Chamonix is by far the best place in France for an active winter holiday.

Chamonix sits at the foot of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps. The town’s cable cars transport passengers to mountain slopes for easy access to the best slopes in France. Chamonix is also perfect for hiking, mountaineering, mountain biking and pretty much anything else you can do in the mountains.

9. Stand At The Top Of The Eiffel Tower

Best things to do in France Eiffel Tower paris

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most famous monuments on the planet, so it fits perfectly on the list of the best things to do in France. Climb to the top of the iconic tower to enjoy spectacular views of the Parisian skyline and feel like you’re on top of the world.

It’s a must see if you’re in Paris, unless you’re afraid of heights. The Eiffel Tower is a popular monument, but the queue to go up it is not as long as you might expect. Most visitors head to the Champ de Mars, the vast park at the base of the monument, and simply enjoy the view from there.

For stunning photographs of the famous Parisian tower, head to Rue de l’Université. The charming alley offers great views of the tower and is never as crowded as the park.

Insider tip: It’s always windy on the top floor of the tower, so bring a jacket.

10. Learn About Perfume History at Grasse

Things To Do In France Parfumerie Fragonard Museum Grasse

Located on the heights of Cannes, Grasse is a small town on the French Riviera famous for its perfume industry. The city is home to the International Perfume Museum, which hosts a fascinating exhibition on the art of perfumery through the centuries.

It’s quick to see all the different tools used for creating perfume throughout history, as well as the evolution of containers. The museum also includes some samples to smell, most of which are basic ingredients used in perfume production.

11. Discover French Cuisine

Things To Do In France Coq au Vin

French cuisine is one of the most influential in the world. It has shaped the way many professional kitchens operate and produced the world’s first restaurant guide. Michelin stars have become synonymous with gastronomy and excellence and France is entirely responsible for this.

A culinary tour of the best French dishes is a must for anyone traveling to the country. Personal favorites include French Onion Soup, Coq au Vin, Ratatouille and Quiche Lorraine. Some dishes can be skipped and I’d rather chew Michelin tires than try snails.

For dessert I can always opt for crepes, macaroons, profiteroles or chocolate pain. I get ravenous just thinking about the delicious pastries filled with warm, melted chocolate. BRB

12. Roman Ruins at Nimes

Things To Do In France Roman Ruins at Nimes

Located in the Occitanie region of southern France, Nîmes is one of the best cities in terms of history and architecture. It was once an important outpost of the Roman Empire, and the Roman ruins prove it.

The two-level Nîmes Amphitheater is one of the city’s main tourist attractions. Ancient Roman towers, churches and city gates are also scattered throughout the city, and a classic walking tour of Nîmes will take you to discover all its best monuments.

If you are already in Nîmes, you must visit the Pont du Gard. The spectacular aqueduct bridge dates back to the 1st century AD, just half an hour from Nîmes.

13. Tour Château de Chenonceau

Things To Do In France Chateau de Chenonceau

Located on the Cher, Chenonceau Castle is a charming 16th-century French castle. The medieval castle is a fabulous example of late Gothic and early Renaissance architectural style.

Chenonceau Castle also redefines the castle moat, as the entire building extends over the Cher. On the north bank of the river are the extensive castle gardens with a labyrinth and a gourmet restaurant.

The most famous attraction of this magnificent castle is the collection of ancient paintings. Works by Rubens, Van Dyck, Tintoretto and others adorn the castle walls.

14. Visit the Bourges Cathedral

Things To Do In France Bourges Cathedral

Located in the heart of France, Bourges Cathedral is one of the most famous religious buildings in the country. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site inscribed for its remarkable Gothic architecture. The cathedral is also famous because it houses the crypt of Jean de Berry.

Crypt tours are offered daily and are a highlight of cathedral tours. Don’t miss the interior of the church either; it’s as whimsical as its Gothic-style exterior, with stunning stained glass windows, vaulted ceilings, and opulent chandeliers.

15. Cruise the Canal du Midi

Best things to do in France Cruise Canal Du Midi

Stretching from Toulouse to Sète, the Canal du Midi is a segment of the Canal des Deux Mers, which connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. It has magnificent nature, historic cities and a rich history, which is best discovered on canal or river cycle paths.

The Canal du Midi represents 80% of French river tourism. It offers visitors the opportunity to stay on hotel barges and dine on restaurant boats for a unique way to discover France. Water sports are also common in the area and, in addition to cycling, the Canal du Midi is also famous for rowing, kayaking, canoeing and much more.

16. Hike to a Volcano Summit

Things To Do In France Volcano Summit Puy de Dome

The Auvergne region of France is rural, mountainous and home to around 80 dormant volcanoes. The highest is Puy de Dôme, easily accessible via hiking trails. Two trails lead to the top of the volcano, and both are very easy, even for inexperienced hikers.

The summit offers spectacular views of the region’s landscapes. There is also a restaurant here where you can eat something, but it is expensive. Camping is permitted in the area and is a great way to experience the beautiful landscapes of Auvergne.

Insider tip: Bring a windproof jacket as it gets very windy at the top.

17. Lounge on the Beaches of Corsica

Things To Do In France Beaches of Corsica Menton

A boat trip from Nice or Marseille will take you to Corsica, the beautiful French island in the Mediterranean Sea. Known for its crystal clear turquoise sea and vast sandy beaches, Corsica is a popular destination for a relaxing summer holiday.

The beauty of the island is that everyone likes it. Whether you’re looking to stay in a five-star resort or a secluded cove where you can have an entire beach to yourself, Corsica has you covered. The island has beautiful cities, a vast natural park and high mountains accessible via hiking trails.

18. Road Trip Along Côte d’Azur

Things To Do In France Cote d'Azur

The French Riviera, also known as the French Riviera, is the perfect excuse to rent a car in France. Drive from Nice to Montpellier for days, visiting as many towns as you want on the coast. Cannes, Marseille and Monaco are excellent destinations on the Côte d’Azur, but they are certainly not the only ones.

This region of France is by far the best place in the country for a beach holiday. With countless seaside resorts, endless sandy beaches and azure seas, it’s a little slice of paradise you’ll never want to leave.

While Saint-Tropez and Cannes are perpetually busy and crowded, many smaller towns offer a more serene environment.

19. Uncover Secret Rooms in Mont Orgueil Castle

Things To Do In France Mont Orgueil Castle

Mont Orgueil Castle is a logistical nightmare to visit and definitely worth it. It is located in Jersey, one of the Channel Islands, with ferry access from Granville and Saint-Malo. Furthermore, the Channel Islands are not technically part of French territory but are more easily accessible from the country’s northern coast.

The castle offers stunning sea views, with sandy beaches just minutes from the castle entrance. But my favorite part of this castle are its secret rooms, which look like something out of an Agatha Christie novel.

The castle’s witchcraft exhibit is also fascinating, as are all the different sculptures found within its walls.

20. Winter Wonderland at Alsace

Things To Do In France Winter in Alsace Kaysersberg

Alsace is the region of France located on the border with Switzerland and Germany. Strasbourg is the capital of the region, best known for its historic centre, the Grande Île, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The architecture and atmosphere of the place are different from those of large French cities. They remind me more of small towns in Switzerland and Germany, which is a direct consequence of Strasbourg’s border location.

This wonderful city is also home to the best Christmas markets in France, making it a great destination for a winter trip to the countryside.

Practical Information

Strasbourg in Alsace is most easily accessible by train from the Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg Airport.

21. Thermal Baths at Vichy

Things To Do In France Thermal Baths at Vichy Les Celestines

Located in the heart of central France, Vichy is one of the best spa towns in France. Visit the city to relax in the thermal baths and enjoy all the benefits of the healing waters.

When you feel sufficiently relaxed, head to the historic center of Vichy to admire its eclectic architecture and Art Deco churches.Stroll along the riverside and enjoy the view of the Allier River, preferably at sunset for a more magical experience.

22. Wine Tasting at Bordeaux

Wine tasting in Bordeaux France

The Bordeaux region of France is internationally known for producing some of the best (red) wines in the world. Visit the best vineyards in the region, which offer information on the production of several Bordeaux wines, as well as endless tastings.

The Cité du Vin is a museum dedicated to winemaking in Bordeaux, famous for its strange curved building. The high-tech exhibit offers an overview of wine production, covering everything from the differences between types of grapes to the function of differently shaped wine glasses.

23. Hike the GR34

Things To Do In France GR34 Cape d'Erquy

The GR34 is a popular long-distance hiking trail in northwestern France. It extends for more than 2,000 kilometers from Mont Saint Michel to Saint-Nazaire, following in the footsteps of 18th-century customs officers.

The trail crosses the entire Breton coast offering spectacular views of the sea at all times and is only suitable for travelers experienced in long-distance hiking, as it takes several months to complete.

Hiking a small segment of the long-distance trail is the best way to participate in the adventure, without actually embarking on a three-month adventure. Head to Crozon for unspoiled nature and some of the best views in western France.

24. Party At Saint Tropez

Things To Do In France Saint Tropez

Saint Tropez is internationally known for its nightlife. With many excellent bars and clubs, it is the best party city on the French Riviera. And if dancing the night away is something you’d like to do in France, there’s hardly a better destination than Saint Tropez.

The city is also famous for its wide beaches, many of which feature beach bars and clubs, so the party never ends. For sunbathing, swimming and partying, Saint Tropez is one of the best places in France.

25. Visit Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral in paris France

Located on a small island in the Seine, Notre-Dame is undoubtedly the most famous religious building in France. The church has been famous for centuries and even more so after the devastating fire of 2019, which destroyed much of the church’s roof.

Notre-Dame de Paris is best known for its stained glass windows, considered Gothic masterpieces. As one of the most famous monuments of the French capital, it is a must-see attraction in Paris.

The sad news is that Notre Dame has remained closed to the public since the fires. But it is expected to reopen in December 2024, when the general public will once again be able to see the cathedral’s fascinating interior and visit its viewing platforms.

26. Château de Chambord

Things To Do In France Chateau de Chambord

Chambord Castle is the most famous and important castle in France. It was inhabited by kings and dukes of France and is the best example of French Renaissance architecture.

The history of the castle is varied and tumultuous.

It was originally built as a hunting lodge in the mid-16th century by Francis I, King of France. During the French Revolution the castle’s furniture was sold. It remained abandoned for decades and its restoration occurred only in the 19th century.

Today the castle is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the Loire Valley. Visitors are captivated by its architecture, opulent interiors and rich history, making it a must-see destination in France.

Tips And Information For Visiting France

Things To Do In France Tips And Information Alexander III Bridge

Best Time To Visit

Any season is a good time to visit France, and the best time for your trip depends on how you want to spend your time in the country. For hiking and the beach, summer is the best season. But France has a mild climate, and the sea is very fun even in September, when the crowds are half as large as in July and August.

Winter is the best season for skiing in the French Alps and exploring popular tourist destinations when the crowds are less crowded. Overall, there is no bad time to travel to France, except perhaps during a strike. Or protests.

Getting There

Charles de Gaulle International Airport is the busiest airport in France, with the largest number of direct flights to international cities. Chances are, you’ll land at this airport just outside of Paris and can take a train or bus into central Paris.

The other main French airports are Lyon Airport, Nice Airport and Toulouse Airport. Lyon Airport serves central and eastern France, while the other two airports provide easy access to the French Riviera and the French Basque Country. Basel and Geneva airports also offer easy connections to cities in eastern France.

Getting Around

Things To Do In France Getting Around Gondola Grenoble Bastille

Renting a car and traveling around France is ideal for visiting as many destinations as possible. But if you can’t or don’t want to, trains will help you get around. Some routes run high-speed trains reaching 300 km/h, so traveling by train is often faster than traveling by car.

Buses operate on routes without a rail connection and can take you to the most remote destinations. Taxis are also an opinion, although they are generally much more expensive than train and bus tickets.

To visit the islands off the coast of France, ferries are the usual means of transport. And if you want to visit Corsica, you can do it either by plane or by ferry.

How Much Time Do You Need

France can be done in a week or a month, depending on what you want to do in the country. For trips to big cities, Paris is the ideal destination.

Three days or a week may be enough for Paris, but I always recommend a longer stay so you can explore more and take day trips. Five or seven days are enough for a road trip on the French Riviera or a beach/ski holiday.

Where To Stay In France

Best things to do in France Accommodations

Paris is one of the best places to stay in France. The capital has much to offer tourists and is centrally located for easy access to the best attractions of northern, central and eastern France. For French Riviera road trips and beach holidays, any city between Nice and Marseille is a good place to stay.

Stay in Chamonix if you travel to France in winter and want to ski or snowboard. The resort offers easy access to the French Alps with some of the best skiing in the entire country. Here are some of the best hotels in France for all budgets:

Things To Do In France Where to Stay in France Mont Blanc

Choose your base in France carefully, based on nearby attractions, especially if you don’t plan to rent a car. Trains are not always reliable and may affect your travel plans in the area. The buses are slow, but that shouldn’t matter if all the attractions you want to see are close to where you’re staying.

We hope this guide to the best things to do in France offers enough information to help you plan your ideal trip to the country.

Plan Your Next Trip To France With These Resources

About author


Daniyal is an accomplished travel blogger boasting two years of extensive experience. Proficient in captivating narratives, Daniyal unveils the allure of undiscovered destinations and divulges insights into everything regarding traveling. Beyond the prose, he serves as the editorial architect, seamlessly incorporating editing finesse, SEO mastery, and strategic content deployment to ensure a sophisticated and enriching online travel experience.
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