Top 10 French Tourist Attractions

Script written by David MacIntyre. These are enough to make you say “ooh la la.” For this list, we’ve chosen those monuments, buildings or regions of France that draw many tourists per year, as opposed to just specific cities that are popular for tourists to visit. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 French Tourist Attractions and Destinations. Special thanks to our users Georgina Bransfield, PowerCosmic901, Diego A-D and arimazzie for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by David MacIntyre.

These are enough to make you say “ooh la la.” Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 French Tourist Attractions and Destinations.

For this list, we’ve chosen those monuments, buildings or regions of France that draw many tourists per year, as opposed to just specific cities that are popular for tourists to visit.

#10: Lascaux

Found close to the village of Montignac in southwestern France, these caves showcase paintings from the Late Stone Age and are estimated to be over 17,000 years old. The subjects of the paintings range from animals like deer and horses to humans and varied symbols. The caves were briefly open to the public in the mid-‘40s following their discovery, but this, along with environmental factors quickly took their toll; now, wannabe cave explorers can visit the facsimile that’s been constructed for their viewing pleasure.

#9: Gorges du Verdon

While we could’ve picked the cliffs and inlets of the Cassis, we chose the Gorges du Verdon for this spot. Known as one of the most stunning of its kind in Europe, this pristine river canyon runs for more than 15 miles in southeastern France and stands out due to the water’s distinctive turquoise-green color. Tourists are particularly attracted to the Verdon Gorge because it’s so close to the French Riviera, and because of the outdoor activities available there, like hiking, kayaking and rock climbing.

#8: Arena of Nîmes

While it may initially remind you of the Colosseum, this Roman amphitheater located in the southern French city of Nîmes is a wonderful sight in its own right. While the Pont du Gard is another ancient Roman site to check out in France, it’s this arena built around 70AD, that grabs our attention. Used for diverse events, including bullfights, the Arena of Nîmes gives us a taste of history while also allowing us to watch our favorite bands – as its 16,000-plus capacity has often been used as a concert venue for acts like Rammstein and Metallica.

#7: Normandy Beaches and D-Day Sights

These beaches in Normandy are among the most recognizable sites of World War II, and for good reason. On June 6, 1944, allied forces from the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and others joined together to launch Operation Overlord against the Nazis in Western Europe. The Allies ended up winning the invasion. Because of their historical importance, and the D-Day museums that have been set up in the country, the area has become and remains a popular tourist attraction.

#6: The French Riviera

Known as the Côte d’Azur, this coastline in France’s southeast region is one of the most popular resort destinations in the world – and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why. Attracting artists, writers and celebrities, as well as regular foreign tourists, the region boasts a Mediterranean climate, events like the Cannes Film Festival, and water-based activities like yachting and cruising. Its biggest city is Nice, though it also surrounds the sovereign city-state of Monaco.

#5: Palace of Versailles

Talk about a big transformation: Versailles started off as a country village, but now it’s one of Paris’ most affluent suburbs. It’s most famous for being the site of the Palace of Versailles, a royal chateau with strong roots in French history, as it was a major hub for political power for Louis XIV starting in the late 1600s. It is grand building with multiple “appartements,” “salons” or rooms, and more, with The Hall of Mirrors being especially notable. While the palace was converted into a museum in the mid-1830s, it is also now used for political functions.

#4: Arc de Triomphe

This landmark just screams Paris. One of the most famous and most distinctive monuments in the city, the Arc de Triomphe has got roots from both the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, and was commissioned by Napoleon following France’s victory at Austerlitz. With its Neoclassical Roman design, representations of academic sculptures and an eternal flame accompanying the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, it’s definitely something not to be missed especially if you’re near the western end of the Champs-Élysées.

#3: Notre-Dame de Paris

Located in Paris’ fourth arrondissement, this Catholic cathedral is one of the biggest of its kind in the world. Not only is the exterior of the cathedral breathtaking, the interior boasts all the makings of a classic gothic church. Even the basement has a fascinating history, as it has an archeological crypt to protect historical ruins. This is remarkable considering the cathedral was vandalized during the French Revolution; fortunately, actions were undertaken to restore it in the 1840s and it’s still quite a site to see.

#2: The Louvre

There’s not much to say about this museum that you haven’t already heard. It’s one of the most distinctively Parisian landmarks and one of the most well-known museums in the world. Calling Paris’ 1st arrondissement home, the massive institution houses a collection of works ranging from antiquities, sculpture, paintings and more – but it is, of course, most famous for the being the home of the Mona Lisa. With thousands of pieces of art, it’s no wonder The Louvre is the most visited museum on the planet.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Mont Saint-Michel
- Carcassonne
- Château de Chambord
- Mont Blanc
- Dune of Pilat

#1: The Eiffel Tower

Nothing says Paris quite like this. Built in 1889 for that year’s World’s Fair by engineer Gustave Eiffel, it’s become not only the world’s most-visited paid monument but also an icon of the country. Standing over 1,000 feet tall, the man-made structure offers an observatory as well as restaurants, which can be reached by stairs or an elevator. The striking landmark might be the cheesiest place for a proposal, but the Eiffel Tower remains a bucket list item for many a traveller.

Do you agree with our list? Which French tourist attraction or destination is your favorite? For more entertaining top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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