France is easily one of the most famous countries in the world.

If I were to put you on the spot, you’d say it is best known for its iconic capital city, classy culture, fashion scene, and cuisine.

Not to mention its impressive architecture left by a deep legacy of Rennaissance, royalty, and, I guess, war. It has been a center of Western European culture for years, however, many tourists are quick to skip the natural scenery and stunning places in France.

France is not all grand palaces and chateaux – in fact, the large European country is home to some of the most exquisite landscapes and scenery on the planet. From the lavender carpets of Provance to the French Riviera to the Alps and to Europe’s tallest sand dune, there is plenty to explore here.

Without underplaying the grandeur of this cultural centerpiece, we have put together this list of the MOST beautiful places in France, grand architecture, history, and natural beauty included. Let’s take a look.

1. Gorges du Verdon

A landscape view of Gorges du Verdon, France surrounded by mountains

High in the Provance-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region, the Grand Canyon of France reaches depths between 250 and 700 meters and widths as narrow as six to 100 meters. 

How does a canyon like this materialize, you ask? Well, this dramatic canyon was formed by melting alpine ice gnawing away at the landscape over millions of years.

One of the best ways to explore the canyon is to kayak along the Verdon River, which carves its way 25km through the gorge. 

If you want to keep your feet firmly on the ground, you could spend a day hiking along the rim of the canyon or even join a horseback riding tour through the limestone cliffs.

The Cote d’Azur is known for just that: its azure blue waters. However, you don’t have to be on the coastline to experience these otherworldly turquoise waters. Trust me, you’ll want to bring your camera along for this one!

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    2. The Palace of Versailles, Paris

    As one of the best cities in Europe, Paris never fails to impress with its grand architecture, manicured gardens, and palatial interiors. All harmoniously blending in the truly captivating Palace de Versailles.

    Historically speaking, the palace was the original residence of the Kings of France during the reign of King Louis XIV in 1682.

    Back then, the palace was far out of modern-day Paris and was a countryside hunting lodge. As the city’s population grew, Paris did, too, and today, the palace is on the periphery of the capital city. 

    The prestigious, ornate Palace of Versailles, with its marble courtyard, in Paris
    A portal to heaven.

    A guided tour of Versailles must be on your Paris itinerary. After exploring the Hall of Mirrors and the King’s State Apartment, you’ll understand how King Louis led France into bankruptcy and revolution with the way he spent the country’s money.

    Try to coordinate your visit with a Musical Fountain Show or Musical Gardens Show, when the estate garden lights and fountains are programmed to ‘dance’ to baroque music as you stroll through the maze of paths.

    3. Saint Paul de Vence

    Saint Paul de Vence is a small hillside village located a few miles inland of Nice in the Cote d’Azur.

    This medieval town is made up of narrow streets and alleyways, century-old stone cottages, and panoramic countryside views. 

    Do yourself a favor and enjoy a meal at La Colombe d’Or Hotel. This place hosted many famous artists throughout the 1900s, and it’s undoubtedly one of the best places to stay in France.

    Buildings covered in plants and a narrow street in Saint Paul de Vence, France
    You don’t get this everywhere.

    Saint Paul de Vence gained fame as a haven for artistic nobility. Henri Matisse, and Pablo Picasso, along with other famous actors, sculptors, and poets, would vacation in the village.

    It’s so tiny that you could explore it in half a day. That said, give yourself a full day to explore the town’s hidden alleyways and visit the Fondation Maeght museum to admire modern art produced by some of the greatest artists in the world.

    4. Mont Saint-Michel

    Precariously perched on a tidal island in Normandy, Mont-Saint-Michel is easily among the best places to backpack around France. The original commune was built after the bishop of Avranches had a dream about the archangel Saint Micheal. In 966, the abbey was built to honor the divine persona of Saint-Michel, and boy, is it an impressive honor.

    A group of people walking across Mont Saint-Michel, in France
    Mont Saint-Michel is a French gem!

    Medieval walls surround the mount’s base, protecting it from the unseasonably high tides. At the base of the mount, a small village of clustered buildings frames the penultimate building – the Benedictine Abbey.

    The abbey has been an important site for Christian pilgrims and is still considered of religious importance. Today, you can visit the abbey, stroll along La Grande Rue in the village, and walk along the shallow bay. We highly recommend this guided day trip for arguably the best views in the house.

    5. Mont Blanc, Chamonix

    No, we’re not talking about the watch brand; we’re speaking of the iconic mountain. Located in the French Alps in Chamonix, Mont Blanc is the focal mountain of one of the most famous ski resorts in the world and is among the best places for adventure travel.

    The mountain straddles the French and Italian borders and even extends into Switzerland. It reaches 15771 feet above sea level, making it the highest mountain in the European Alps. It’s also the second-highest peak in Europe. 

    A man on hike, looking at the cows in the mountain
    Sharing some love for the cows.

    The most popular activity to do in the alpine town of Chamonix is winter sports. Skiers and snowboarders flock from across the globe to experience the awe-inspiring views of the peak while cruising down well-groomed slopes.

    To elevate the experience, you can go on a paragliding adventure in the skies to savor the spectacular views of the Alps.

    If physical activity doesn’t appeal to you, there is nothing wrong with chilling in the village with an aperitif and admiring the views. There are amazing hostels in Chamonix that suit different ranges of budgets, personalities, and travel styles (including yours). CHOOSE WISELY.

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    6. Corsica

    Pure natural beauty and tranquility await you on the Isles of Corsica. Known as the Isle of Beauty, you’d struggle to find a more gorgeous place to visit while in France. 

    If it reminds you of Sardinia or Sicily, it’s because the island is also found in the middle of the Mediterranean and has a similar climate and landscapes. However, it’s one of France’s Mediterranean islands, with a unique culture and atmosphere.

    Isles of Corsica, France
    The beautiful Isles of Corsica.

    You can expect jagged mountains and cliffs that drop into clear blue waters, contrasting with white sandy beaches and gorgeous local villages and towns.

    When you aren’t catching some rays on the beaches or snorkeling over the rocky ocean underworld, there are incredible hiking trails and water sports to be enjoyed across the island.

    It’s no secret that France is known for its world-class cuisine and gastronomy (croissants and baguettes are just the start of it). And as you might expect, Corsicans love fresh seafood and Mediterranean-French food, with plenty of local eateries to choose from.

    7. Notre-Dame de Senanque Abbey, Provance

    With rolling hills, valleys, fertile soil, and lavender plants, you could spend months exploring the Provance region.

    That said, I’ll give away my secrets and let you in on my favorite place in Provance. During the summer months, the Valensole Plateau, Sault Plateau, and Luberon Valley bloom into an ocean of lavender. 

    But for the most picture-perfect lavender fields, there is no place more beautiful than the fields that surround the iconic Notre-Dame de Senanque Abbey, an old 12th-century church in the heart of Provance.

    Lavender fields at Notre-Dame de Senanque Abbey, France
    Even bees take selfies here!

    From the vivid lilac color of the lavender fields to the overpowering smell of the flowers to the undertone hum of buzzing bees, this is no doubt one of the top ten places to visit in France, if not in the whole of Europe.

    Take it from me: while this landscape is a treat for ALL the senses, it is by no means a secret. Visit early and book a tour of the Abbey to avoid the crowds. 

    8. Vanoise National Park

    Nature lovers and adventure seekers, have I got your attention? With high mountains capped with snow, glaciers, and glacial lakes, Vanoise National Park is France’s greatest national park.

    The park, which was first designated as protected land in 1963, links up with the Gran Paradiso National Park in Italy. It’s the mother of all European national parks.

    The park is home to a huge variety of Central European wildlife. Marmots, chamois, ibex, and eagles – you name it, they live here! Endless hiking trails and treks zigzag through the park, where you can spot other species like owls, ptarmigans, grouse, snakes, and foxes. 

    A landscape image of mountains in Vanoise National Park
    Mountains streaming their inner ocean!

    If you have a fear of bugs, you should leave this one off your bucket list of adventures. The park’s insect population represents more than 80% of that of the entire country.

    Take a step out of your comfort zone and try out some new experiences in the great outdoors. Fancy horseback riding through the Alps? Interested in paragliding or even hopping on a hot air balloon ride? What about skiing at the Bonneval-Sur-Arc resorts? The opportunities are endless.

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    9. Chateaux of the The Loire Valley

    With more than 300 elegant homes and opulent chateaux, the valley holds incredible natural and historic beauty.

    The entire valley is a sheer reminder of the outrageous opulence and ostentatious wealth experienced during the French Renaissance. I’m not complaining, it sure does make for an exceptionally unique place to visit in France!

    A landscape image of Chateaux of the The Loire Valley, France
    How do you even pronounce CHATEAUX?

    Some of the chateau were built as far back as the 9th century, with many listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Each one is beautiful in its own right, well maintained, and has its own stories to tell. 

    Chateau de Chambord, the most popular in the valley, is famed for its unique Gothic architecture, and Chateau de Sully-Sur-Loire has a medieval appearance. 

    Between the chateaux, stop off at one of the revered wineries for a true gastronomical treat. You could even upgrade your experience and indulge in a bit of wine tasting.

    10. Rocamadour, Dordogne

    Set on the walls of a steep gorge above a section of the River Dordogne, Rocamadour is best known for its sanctuary of the Black Madonna. 

    It is one of the most dramatic villages in the country, tucked into the hillside and layered with winding cobblestone alleyways and slanted stone buildings. 

    Don’t skip out on the iconic Basilique-Saint-Sauveur, a church towards the top of the village, as well as the Chapelle Notre-Dame. Regardless of your religion or beliefs, this is one for the books.

    Buildings lined in the hillside commune of Rocamadour Dordogne, surrounded by lush valleys
    Rocamadour is an outstanding hillside commune in France.

    Could you picture yourself living in this small commune of religious pilgrimage? Well, around 650 people do live here year-round, most of them involved in the upkeep of the historical monuments.

    For a taste of small-town life, book a hostel in the village. Of course, the best views of the village are from outside of the village itself. Head to one of the famous viewing points at sunrise or sunset for a spectacular photo opportunity.

    11. Eze

    landscape views of he hilltop village of Eze overlooking the Mediterranean, in France
    Eze overlooking the Mediterranean.

    Escape the busy streets of Cannes or Nice on the Cote d-Azure for an example of what France was like in medieval times.

    One of the most beautiful places in France, Eze is a charming hilltop village overlooking the Mediterranean, packed with shops, galleries, hotels, restaurants, and churches. 

    12. Auvergne

    A close shot of daisies in Auvergne, France
    You can’t smell a picture, can you?

    This central region of France is famous for its impressive mountain ranges and dormant giant volcanoes (of which there are eighty – whew!).

    Resembling a scene out of Jurassic Park, this natural phenomenon is a relic of prehistoric times and a haven for hikers, cyclists, and hot-spring enthusiasts.

    13. Champagne

    Buildings surrounded by lush valleys in Champagne France
    Imagine a morning jog around there!

    The familiar Champagne region is home to Dom Perignon, Veuve Cliquot, and Moet. An absolute must-visit for the bubble-popping crowd.

    Made up of lush valleys and fertile vineyards, there are plenty of high-end restaurants to indulge in and even the odd, low-key winery for budget travelers, too!

    14. Dune de Pilat

    A girl waling through the Dune de Pilat in France
    Worth taking the time for.

    Deserts of the world: make room for the Dune de Pilat.

    The tallest dune in Europe, this majestic natural phenomenon offers unrivaled views of the Atlantic Ocean to one side and dense pine forests to the other. Visit for the views, to camp, or to hike to the top. You won’t be disappointed.

    15. Eguisheim

    The narrow streets and buildings of Eguisheim village, France
    This street is a photographer’s dream.

    Head into the Alsace region for a touch of German influence in Eguisheim. Famous for its vineyards and wineries, this is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of Eichberg.

    It looks just like a traditional medieval village, with timber tudor houses painted in different colors, cobblestone streets, and blooming flower pots on the windows.

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    16. Biarritz

    A building of the Casino Municipal de Biarritz, France with green trees and the Atlantic coastline in the background
    Claude Monet’s color palette!

    Biarritz sits on the country’s Atlantic coastline and is home to a laid-back surfer community.

    From one street to the next, you’ll pass luxurious hotels interspersed with grunge surf shops, adding to the charming atmosphere of this seaside town. 

    17. Dinan, Brittany

    A boat crossing la Rance river in Dinan Brittany, France
    Just a random sunny day in France!

    In the Brittany region of Northwestern France, Dinan straddles the La Rance River and is one of the most unique places to visit in France.

    The gorgeous medieval town is known for its ramparts, cobblestone streets, and half-timbered homes, as well as the Tour du Coequal, a 15th-century centerpiece of the village. Highly recommend. 

    18. Menton

    looking over the pastel coloured buildings of Menton, South of France
    Everyone on the same page.
    Photo: Nic Hilditch-Short

    Brightly colored buildings on a pristine stretch of the Mediterranean – what more could you ask for?

    Nicknamed the Pearl of France, Menton is a small town on the French / Italian border with beautiful beaches, a trendy harbor, designer boutiques, upscale restaurants and wine gardens. 

    19. Pyrenees National Park

    A landscape shot of the Pyrenees Mountain Range, France
    How’s this for a view?

    Straddling the French and Spanish borders along the Pyrenees Mountain Range, this national park is one of the most beautiful places in France.

    While here, you could curate your own hiking route from the extensive network of trails and summit some of the highest peaks in France.

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    20. Riquewihr

    A narrow street lined with colorful houses in Riquewihr town, France
    The medieval town of Riquewihr

    A traditional medieval town at the crux of France’s wine route, Riquewihr is one of Europe’s hidden gems. It’s famous for its historical Renaissance and medieval architecture (dating back to the 1300s).

    It’s the home of the famous Riesling wine, which we are all so familiar with. What’s not to love?

    21. Ecrins National Park

    A landscape view of a late surrounded by mountains in Ecrins National Park, France
    Hikers’ paradise!

    Closing off our list of beautiful places in France with a bang, Ecrins National Park is an alpine region overflowing with beautiful flora and wildlife.

    The park’s jagged terrain and flowing rivers make it the perfect location for hikers, rock climbers, white water rafters, and mountain bikers, while winter months bring perfect conditions for snow sports.

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    How to See Beautiful Places in France

    Let’s get one thing straight – France is massive. Flying domestically on budget airlines can be great for long distances, but isn’t too fab for the environment. That said, a flight from Paris to Nice might cost under $50 in each direction.

    If you’re staying in Paris over the weekend, we’d recommend riding around the city at your own pace by renting a scooter or a bicycle!

    Looking over the blue waters of the south of France
    Take your time. No rush.
    Photo: Nic Hilditch-Short

    Otherwise, traveling by rail is the best way to move around France. The country is connected with regional trains (TGV) that link most of Europe, and the big cities also boast easy-to-use public transport.

    A train along the French Riviera from Nice to Menton takes just half an hour and costs around $6. A longer train from Chamonix to Paris might cost between $60 and $120 and take a solid thirteen hours.

    FAQs About Beautiful Places in France

    Here are some answers to a selection of the most frequently asked questions about the most beautiful places in France.

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    Final Thoughts on Stunning Places in France

    Holding the title of one of the most visited countries in Europe, there is no denying that France deserves this recognition.

    The country has served as a cultural center for Western Europe for centuries, boasting an incredible history, rich tradition, regal architecture, and iconic cities.

    But France is so much more than the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. The country is home to snow-capped mountains, Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines, idyllic islands, national parks, and ancient villages. 

    If you’re visiting France, make sure to hit the lavender fields of Provance and the artsy village of Saint Paul de Vance. What are you waiting for? Hop onto and start planning!

    A girl in a flower field in France
    Best of luck on your journey backpacking France!
    Looking for more info on travelling to France?

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