France is a fantastic country, steeped in history, UNESCO French monuments, impressive chateaux and awe-inspiring medieval cathedrals. In this post, you will find the 60 most famous landmarks in France, perfect inspiration for your next trip!
This list of 60 France landmarks includes famous landmarks in Paris – France’s most visited city, famous French monuments, historical places in France and the most impressive natural landmarks of France.
Landmark map of Paris
#1 The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is the most famous French landmark, one of the most famous landmarks of Europe and one of the most recognisable structures in the world! The tower was built in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, and it was nicknamed by the French ‘La dame de fer’, which means ‘Iron Lady’. The tower was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel whose company designed and built it. He also created the metal structure of the Statue of Liberty in New York and the Bordeaux railway bridge.
The Eiffel Tower is an absolute must see in France! Interestingly, this famous tower in France is the most visited monument in the world where the entrance fee is charged. The Iron Lady is situated on the Champ de Mars, and it’s the tallest structure in Paris, measuring 324 meters. Going up the Eiffel Tower is a bucket list experience and if you’re planning to visit, make sure you book your tickets way in advance! From the top of the Eiffel Tower, you’ll be able to enjoy a stunning, panoramic view of Paris!
The Louvre Museum is one of the most visited museums in the world and where the most famous art in France is kept. The Louvre, with its iconic glass pyramid, is also one of the most famous monuments in France and one of the most famous sights in Paris – the reason why people come to the French capital.
Located on the Right Bank of Seine – France famous river, in the heart of Paris, the museum houses some of the most precious pieces of art in human history, such as the Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, Venus de Milo, the sculpture of The Winged Victory of Samothrace and Liberty Leading the People by Eugene Delacroix.
The museum opened in 1793 and today exhibits over 38,000 precious objects. If you were to visit just one museum, it must be the French Louvre! The best time to visit the museum is during the offseason, such as during the European winter. You will need at least half a day to view only some of the main collections. The Mona Lisa painting is stored in a separate part of the Louvre, and expect to queue to be able to see her just for a few seconds!
#3 Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge, located near Montmartre district, is one of Paris France famous landmarks not to be missed when visiting the French capital city! It has a very recognisable red building facade with a windmill on its rooftop, in fact, Moulin Rouge means ‘Red Mill’!
The origins of its name are mostly unconfirmed. In the 1800s, there were lots of windmills in the Montmartre district, and the owner could have been inspired by one of them. Or it could have been after a man that shot a Russian officer in an attempt to defend his property in 1814 when Napoleon Bonaparte was losing, and the Russian army invaded Paris. It is believed that the Russians killed the French man, cut up his body into pieces and hung them up on a windmill in a brutal act of vengeance. The mother of the killed man, put a small, red windmill on his grave that you can still see in the Cimetière du Calvaire.
This super famous French cabaret was founded in 1889, and it is known as the birthplace of the modern form of cancan dance. Initially, cancan was a seductive dance performed by the courtesans, and after a while, it gained in popularity, and it became a form of entertainment in its own right. Today, visiting the Moulin Rouge is one of the best things to do in Paris. You can either just take a photo from outside or book an evening entertainment package that will include watching a show, dinner and a bottle of wine.
#4 Notre Dame
The most famous cathedral in Paris – Notre Dame dedicated to the Virgin Mary is the finest example of French Gothic architecture. Notre-Dame de Paris is a mediaeval Catholic cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the famous landmarks of France and a top position on the list of landmarks in Paris.
Notre Dame is also famous for the fictitious persona of Quasimodo, a hunchback that was a bell-ringer from the novel by Victor Hugo that was also adopted in Disney’s film the Hunchback of Notre Dame. In 2019, the cathedral’s roof caught fire during the renovation, and a substantial part of it got destroyed. Luckily, prominent art connoisseurs have donated considerable funds to restore Notre Dame. The works currently taking place are planned to be completed in 2024.
#5 Pont Alexandre III Bridge
The most famous bridge in Paris and one of the most beautiful and extravagant bridges in the world, Pont Alexandre III connects Champs-Élysées, the Invalides and the Eiffel Tower quarters. The bridge is one of the most famous places in Paris, where you can get a stunning view over the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Not surprisingly, the bridge is also one of Paris popular places for photoshoots and one of the most Instagrammable places in Paris! It has been featured in multiple films and music productions. Some of the most famous ones include the Netflix Series – Emily in Paris, Adele’s music video – Someone Like You and the 1985 James Bond movie – A View to a Kill.
The bridge was built between 1896 and 1900, and it is regarded as an engineering genius of the 19th century. It consists of a 6 metres high single span steel arch to ensure the bridge doesn’t obscure the view! It features four gilt-bronze statues of fames and nymphs symbolising the Franco-Russian Alliance. The Nymphs of the Neva with the arms of Imperial Russia and the nymphs of the Seine with the arms of Paris. Gustave Eiffel built a similar bridge symbolising the alliance in Saint Petersburg called the Trinity Bridge.
#6 Palais Garnier & Opera Garnier
This famous palace in Paris – Palais Garnier is one of Paris famous landmarks, equally iconic as Notre Dame Cathedral or the Louvre. This is because it was featured as the setting for the famous Gaston Leroux’s 1910 novel The Phantom of the Opera and its subsequent film adaptations. Some describe Palais Garnier as “unquestionably a masterpiece of the first rank” built during the Second Empire and the rule of Napoleon III between 1861 and 1875.
What’s left without a doubt is that Palais Garnier is a super famous building in France. It houses one of the world-famous operas – Opera Garnier and its Library Museum. Its architecture style combines Baroque, Classicism, and Renaissance elements based on axial symmetry. Its main facade is heavily ornamented with the two prominent gilt copper sculptures representing poetry and harmony. Inside, the Palais Garnier features a large extravagant staircase made of marble that leads to the Grand Foyer with spectacular ceiling paintings depicting different moments in music history. The auditorium itself can seat 1,979 spectators and is designed to accommodate up to 450 artists!
#7 Arc de Triomphe
Hands down, the most famous arch in France and one of the most famous France landmarks, Arc de Triomphe proudly sits in the middle of the Place Charles de Gaulle roundabout, at the western end of the Champs-Élysées Avenue in Paris.
The arc is also one of the more important France historical monuments. It’s been built to honour all those that fought in the French Revolution. It has all the most significant victories inscribed on the walls along with the names of leaders involved in the fighting. On its lower ground, there is also the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier commemorating all those that died in World War I.
Today, the arc is one of the most famous places to visit in Paris, one of the most photographed spots! It is possible to access the inside of the Arc de Triomphe! You can also get to the top by either climbing the 264 steps to the top or taking an elevator to the mid-level and climbing the remaining 64 steps.
#8 Palace of Versailles
Château de Versailles is one of the historical places of Paris of great significance and one of the most visited castles in Paris, and even the whole country. Versailles is an important UNESCO World Heritage Site today, built by Louis XIV and expanded by Louis XIV that made the chateau his permanent residence. The palace is situated 19 km from the centre of Paris and can be reached by metro.
A visit to Paris would not be complete without visiting this impressive royal palace and its magnificent, expansive gardens that span over 30,000 acres and feature 400 decorative sculptures and 1,400 fountains!
No expense has been spared to decorate and furnish the interiors! One of the most impressive chambers at the palace is the Hall of Mirrors that boast a total of 357 mirrors. Interestingly, at the time of the construction of Versailles, Venetians had a monopoly on manufacturing mirrors. In order to go round it, the French lured a Venetian mirror maker to France! The hall is also famous for being a place of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I. Today, Versaille is one of France famous places visited by over 10,000 tourists per year.
#9 Jardin du Luxembourg
Luxembourg Gardens are one of the most famous gardens in France! Before the French Revolution, the gardens were only open to the privileged few, but today, they are one of Paris most famous places to come with family or friends for a relaxing time in nature! If you want to experience a place where Parisiens hang out, visit this famous landmark in Paris. The garden is also an excellent place for people watching and experiencing the local vibe.
Jardin du Luxembourg was designed by Marie de Medici, the widow of King Henry IV, in 1612 to go with the newly built residence – Luxembourg Palace. After the death of her husband, Queen Marie couldn’t stand living alone in the Louvre, and she designed the Luxembourg Palace to resemble Pitti Palace in Florence, where she spent her childhood. Today, the gardens are owned by the French Senate that meets in the palace, and it also is referred to as Senate Garden. One of the most beautiful places in the garden is the area around the long basin of the Medici Fountain shaded by the plane trees.
#10 Philharmonie de Paris
Opened to the public in 2015, the Philharmonie de Paris is one of the modern famous monuments in Paris. The Philharmonie is located in Parc de la Villette, and it consists of various concert halls with the main symphonic concert hall with the capacity of 2,400 spectators designed by Jean Nouvel. The concert hall boasts exceptional acoustic properties. Due to its compact design, all members of the audience, wherever they sit, are suspended in the music.
This modern landmark in the French capital city has an unusual look – it resembles a UFO saucer. Its external grey shell is made up of 265,000 aluminium birds that serve as tiles. The building was also designed to be energy efficient and have a minimal negative impact on the surrounding environment. Also, this musical monument of France was created to increase access to music for the underprivileged. It boasts various educational and recreational spaces, including a 34 meters high rooftop. The access to the rooftop and its walkway is free of charge to the general public and impresses with 360-degree views of the city!
#11 Musée d’Orsay
Musée d’Orsay is one of the most visited Paris museums and one of the most famous France tourist spots. The museum is housed in a unique building of a former train station called Gare d’Orsay, and it features some of the most outstanding French artworks dating from 1848 to 1914.
The museum is famous for an extensive collection of impressionist artists and the post-impressionism movement, including Claude Monet, Van Gogh and Renoir. During your visit, don’t miss the iconic large clock behind which there is a museum cafe! If you’re an art enthusiast, consider buying combined tickets that will also include access to two other museums: the Orangerie and Musée Rodic.
#12 Montparnasse Tower
Montparnasse Tower is one of the tallest famous buildings in France, measuring 210 meters and 60 floors. It is also the tallest landmark in Paris France, excluding the business district of La Défense. The tower was constructed between 1969 to 1973 and designed by architects Eugène Beaudouin, Urbain Cassan and Louis Hoym de Marien.
This France landmark is super controversial and often criticised as being the ugliest building in Paris. And yes, the ultra-modern, office-like design majorly contrasts with the majority of historic townhouses of the Paris centre. In fact, it caused such a big outcry amongst Parisiens that the city authorities banned buildings taller than seven stories to be built in the centre.
However, what’s incredible about the Montparnasse Tower is its 210 meters high observation deck. On a clear sky day, it boasts a 360-degree panoramic view of Paris, reaching as far as 40 km in every direction! From the deck, you can see the Iron Lady, Notre Dame Cathedral, Sacre Coeur and even the aeroplanes taking off from the Orly Airport! And, the entrance tickets are cheaper than for the Eiffel Tower!
#13 Centre Pompidou
Pompidou Centre, also known locally as Beaubourg due to its location, is one of the famous buildings of France, designed in a high-tech architecture style. This famous French place houses the Public Information Library, Europe’s largest modern art museum – Musée National d’Art Moderne and a centre for music and acoustic research.
It was opened in 1977 and named after a former French president and the centre’s visionary, Georges Pompidou. The building of the centre was designed by two architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. It is a glass and metal, the ultra-modern structure that, according to the vision of its creators, is a living organism – a heart fed by huge metal arteries in bright, prime colours.
Today, Centre Pompidou is one of the most iconic landmarks Paris France is renowned for. The building also has become popular for the alternative view of other famous sites in Paris, such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Opera Garnier! So, even if you’re not a massive modern art fan, it is still worth popping into the Pompidou Centre for the spectacular panoramic views.
#14 Sacre Coeur
Sacre Coeur Basilica, one of the most famous landmarks in France Paris, sits atop Montmartre Hill. The church was built in the 19th century by the French government after the defeat by the Prussian army following the Franco-Prussian war. The generous donations of the Parisians fully sponsored it. Sacre Coeur was designed by the artist Paul Abadie in a romano-byzantine architectural style, with large domes being its main feature.
Today, Sacre Coeur is the second-highest point in the city, boasting some spectacular vistas over Paris stretching for many kilometres. The church is roman-catholic, and it is the most visited church in Paris after Notre Dame and of the most famous locations in Paris to enjoy a sunset.
Another great time to visit Sacre Coeur is early in the morning when the church is less busy. There are no entrance fees to go inside the church, but it’s an active place of worship, so be respectful to others praying inside. If you want to go up to the top for even better views, it costs 5 euros.
#15 Louis Vuitton Foundation
Perhaps not one of Paris most famous places for tourists, Louis Vuitton Foundation is an important nonprofit organisation that supports modern and historical art that encompasses an art museum and a cultural centre.
The design of this France famous building of the Louis Vuitton Foundation is truly extraordinary and is meant to reflect the “cultural calling of France”. The architect Frank Gehry combined the traditional “art de vivre” with modern technology. He was deeply inspired by other glass buildings, such as the glass Grand Palace. The whole project was supposed to cost €100 million, but later on, it was revealed to the public that the final expenditure was eight times more! As a result, he created a building resembling a boat’s sail inflated by the wind with plenty of natural light and space. The art museum opened in 2014, and it is estimated that in 2017 the Louis Vuitton Foundation was visited by 1.4 million people!
#16 La Grande Arche de la Défense
The Grand Arche is one of the famous French structures in Paris, located in the business district of La Defense, west of Paris. This impressive modern landmark is part of the “historical axis” of Paris, also known as the “Triumphal Way”. The historical axis of Paris is a line of famous monuments of France, avenues and landmarks that are lined up starting from the Louvre in the centre of the city, running through the Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe and ending in the Grand Arche.
La Grande Arche de la Défense is supposed to serve as a ‘window to the world” and a national symbol of France where people from different cultural backgrounds can meet and communicate. It was first opened on the 14th July 1989, which was also the year of the bicentenary of the French Revolution. The structure has an impressive size and stands proudly amongst the skyscrapers of the business district facing directly the historic Arc de Triomphe, located exactly 4 km away.
#17 Les Invalides Complex
One of the famous national monuments in France, Hôtel national des Invalides, is a large complex of museums and monuments French people celebrate relating to the military history of France. The complex also includes a hospital and retirement home for the French veterans, which was the original purpose of the complex – Les Invalides means disabled.
Les Invalides was created by King Louis XIV in 1670 to provide care for the injured soldiers. Today, the complex is one of the most famous landmarks in Paris France where visitors come to see the resting place of the greatest French leader in history – Napoleon I. The Tomb of Napoleon I is located in the attention-worthy building within the complex – the impressive, Baroque-style basilica – Dôme des Invalides that occupies the most central location.
#18 Pantheon de Paris
The Pantheon stands proudly in the Latin Quarter of Paris, and although it’s not one of the most famous places in Paris France favoured by tourists, it takes an important position on the Paris landmarks list. The Pantheon was commissioned by King Louis XV that after recovering from an illness, wanted to do something to express his gratitude! The construction was delayed and only completed in 1790 when the French Revolution had already started, and Louis XV was dead. So the temple, instead of serving as a church dedicated to the Paris patron – Saint Genevieve, as initially planned, became a temple for liberty and great French people. The Parthenon is not quite as impressive as the one in Rome, but it’s also not a modest building by any means!
Today, the Pantheon de Paris is one of the most important historical buildings in France, where you can find graves of the finest French artists, scientists and philosophers. There are about 70 people buried at the Pantheon, including Victor Hugo, Voltaire, Marie Curie – the great chemist (she was actually Polish) and Alexandre Dumas.
Sainte-Chapelle (Holy Chapel in English) is one of the most famous churches in Paris renowned for its rich decorations, including the most exquisite collection of its stained-glass in the world, from that epoch.
This famous church in Paris was built in the 13th century within the medieval royal residence – Palais de la Cite. The original purpose of the chapel was to house King Louis IX’s collection of relics, including the most precious, the Crown of Thorns – the most expensive Christian relic that was stored in Notre Dame Cathedral for years. Unfortunately, during the French Revolution, the chapel was severely damaged. However, two-thirds of the stained-glass that are installed today are genuine! Interestingly, the glass was removed for safe-keeping twice in the chapel’s history, including during World War II.
#20 Disneyland Paris
Located in Chessy, 32 km from the French capital, Disneyland Paris is the only Disney entertainment park in Europe that used to be called Euro Disney Resort. As there is no other entertainment park like this in Europe, Disneyland Paris is one of the most famous landmarks France is renowned for.
The park opened in 1992, and it was the second Disney park to open outside of the US after Tokyo Disney Resort. After 25 years, the park was visited by a whopping 320 million visitors, making Disneyland Paris the most visited theme park in Europe. In fact, many children from different countries dream of visiting Disneyland Paris with their parents. Today, the park consists of the original theme park Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studio Park that was added later on. Apart from those two parks, Disneyland Paris encompasses many resort hotels, restaurants, shopping venues, a golf course, Disney Nature Resorts, and smaller entertainment complexes.
Famous Landmarks in France Map (Non Paris)
LANDMARKS IN FRANCE – FAMOUS FRENCH CASTLES
What are the famous landmarks in France? The answer is – the incredible chateaux! Here are some of the most famous castles in France.
#21 Château de Chambord, Loire Valley
Situated in the Loire Valley, Château de Chambord is the most famous chateau in France! The castle was built in the 16th century in an architectural style that was very different from other styles at that time, referred to as the French Renaissance. The construction took 28 years, and the intent for the castle was to serve as a hunting lodge for King Francis I.
Chateau de Chambord was built with an extensive garden, and although it had a moat and towers, they were not built to defend the castle but rather for decorative purposes. The main chateau was built inside a large square with bastion towers on each corner. The interior boasts over 400 rooms and 84 staircases. Many famous artists participated in designing and decorating the castle, such as Leonardo Da Vinci. He was believed to design the famous Chambord double helix staircase. Other incredible parts of the castle include the legendary apartments of the sun king Louis XIV and the Royal Chapel.
Interestingly, after the castle was complete, Francis I threw a vast hunting event inviting almost 2,000! Also, he only managed to spend a mere seven weeks in the castle in total! Today, Château de Chambord is one of the most important landmarks France boasts and one of the most popular tourist places in France.
#22 Château de Chaumont, Loire Valley
Château de Chaumont-sur-Loire is another France famous castle of the Loire region, first built in the 10th century by Odo I, Count of Blois. In the 15th century, the family that owned the castle rebelled against the French King Louis X1, and as a result, all their property was confiscated, and the castle was destroyed. Luckily, later on, the castle was rebuilt!
The castle is located in the small village of Chaumont-sur-Loire, 17 km from Blois. The chateau stands on an imposing hill just above the village and overlooks the riverside. Like many other famous chateaux in France built in similar times, it has some elements of the protective mediaeval castles, but they are more of a decorative purpose than defensive. In the 16th century, the chateau belonged to Catherine de Medici before she managed to convince Diane de Poitiers, the mistress of her husband Henry II, to exchange it for Chateau de Chenonceau.
Today, Château de Chaumont is one of the protected historical monuments in France. Many of its rooms are beautifully restored for visitors to enjoy. Some of the must-sees include the grand spiral staircase, the salon made of beautifully painted ceramic tiles and the historic apartments of the two past lady owners.
#23 Berbie Palace, Albi
The Berbie Palace dating back to the 13th century, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the oldest castles in France and one of the most important historical landmarks in France. This famous palace in France is situated in the village of Albi, 76 km northeast of Toulouse.
‘Berbie’ means bishop, and the Berbie Palace was the palace of the bishops of Albi. Together with the Sainte-Cécile Cathedral, it formed a defensive complex raised above the village of Albi overlooking the river Tarn. You can only imagine how much power held the bishop in those times by simply looking at the grandeur of his residence that, in the later years, was turned into a leisure residence. The Barbie Palace is the best-preserved castle that belonged to the church and one of the most famous French buildings in its region.
The complex also includes the Toulouse Lautrec Museum featuring many religious artworks and the classical French, carefully manicured gardens that boast breathtaking river views.
#24 Château de Fontainebleau
Located in a quaint village, 70 km drive from Paris, Château de Fontainebleau is one of the important France historical landmarks and one of the most popular attractions in France that can be visited on a day trip from Paris.
The first castle erected on these grounds dates back to the 12th century and served as a hunting lodge to the French kings. In the 16th century, King Francis I transformed this medieval castle into a luxurious Renaissance chateau that became a residence for many French kings. Some of the most famous people in France that lived here include Napoleon III and his wife Marie Antoinette, Henri II with his wife, Catherine de Medici.
Today, the palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site distinguished for its unique architecture and historical importance. You can tour its interior to admire stunning artworks, luxurious private apartments of Marie Antoinette, four different museums, Galeries and chapels. If you want to visit one of the most impressive famous places in France without the crazy crowds of Paris, choose Fontainebleau!
#25 Pope’s Palace, Avignon
Palais des Papes located in Avignon, southern France, is one of the largest and most important medieval landmarks in Europe.
You may be asking why it is called ‘Pope’s Palace’? We all know that Rome is the traditional residence of Popes until today. But, in the 14th century, Italy was a place of brutal wars, and for that reason, Pope Clement V decided to move the headquarters of the Catholic Church to France. Avignon remained the head of the church residence between 1309 to 1377, and during that time, seven different popes were in charge of the church. No expense had been spared during the construction of the complex, which shows how wealthy and influential the church was at that time. Between 1377 and 1403, there were two alternative popes – one in Italy and one in Avignon, because the French popes refused to surrender their power.
Today, the palace measures over 15,000 meters square and has been granted a UNESCO status due to its architectural merits. This famous French architecture example is one of the most important medieval buildings in the world! It is one of the most visited tourist places of France.
#26 Château de Chenonceau, Loire Valley
Château de Chenonceau, located in the Loire Valley famous for its most impressive castles, east of Tours, is one of the most famous landmarks in France. After Versaille, it is the most visited chateau in France! And there are good reasons why people choose to visit this impressive chateau!
The early mentions of the estate date back to the 11th century and the current French chateau was built in the early 16th century on an old mill. What’s unique about this castle is its architecture – it spans over the river with a beautiful archway bridge constructed in a French Renaissance style! It was acquired by Thomas Bohier but later given to King Henry II as debt repayment. The king gifted the chateau to his mistress – Diane de Poitiers, but after his death, the king’s wife – Catherine de Medici, took back the castle’s ownership.
Some of the best things not to be missed when visiting this famous landmark in France is the Grand Gallery over the river Cher where Catherine de Medine hosted some of the most prestigious parties, the beautifully furnished apartments and its 16th intricate tapestry. If you’re into unusual activities, take a balloon ride over the chateau to enjoy a magnificent aerial view of the complex and its surroundings!
#27 Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg, Alsace
When it comes to spectacular locations, Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg is one of the famous French landmarks with the most scenic setup. Perched on a rocky spur and overlooks the Alsatian Plain and the Balc Forest, this medieval fortress had a perfect strategic location. It is located close to the border with Germany in a small village of Selestac, and the two nations fought in the past over the control of the castle.
The first castle was built in the 11th century in this location. In the 17th century, the Swedish invaders looted and burned the chateau, and its ruins stood abandoned for over 200 years. After that, the region became part of Germany, and king Kaiser Wilhelm II rebuilt the castle. After World War I, the French authorities took back these lands and the castle, which they granted the status of the national historical monument.
The chateau boasts a large courtyard with a square keep in the middle, various beautifully decorated chambers and a jew-dropping view of the surrounding area! The castle is one of the popular France tourist attractions, so book your visit in advance.
#28 Pierrefonds Castle, Picardy
Situated in Pierrefonds village, just under 100 km northeast of Paris, Château de Pierrefonds is one of the most important monuments in France characterised by the medieval architectural style.
Pierrefonds Castle has a turbulent history. The first castle in that place dates back to the 12th century that was extended to its present form in the 14th century. In the 17th century, the castle was destroyed by Louis XIII because his owner rebelled against him. The chateau stood abandoned for a long time until Napoleon I bought its ruins, and his successor Napoleon III rebuilt the castle exactly how it looked in its original form back in the 14th century.
Today, the castle is one of France sights to see, open to the public to enjoy its chambers, the inner courtyard and the walk along its walls with a beautiful view over the village. The chateau is also famous for being a set for notable films and TV shows, including the Netflix series Versailles, the BBC series Merlin and the 1998 film The Man in the Iron Mask.
FRENCH LANDMARKS – FAMOUS CHURCHES IN FRANCE
#29 Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg
The famous French cathedral – Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg is one of the most exquisite examples of the Rayonnant Gothic architecture, situated in Alsace close to the border with Germany.
The city of Strasbourg has a rich history of over 2,000 years, and today, it is one of the four capitals of the European Union, home to the European Parliament. The three other capitals are Brussels, Luxembourg City and Frankfurt.
It took over 400 years to build the cathedral. The first Romanesque structure dates back to the 11th century. In the 12th century, the church burned down, and the works on the new, more grand and more modern cathedral were led by Bishop Heinrich von Hasenburg. Interestingly, when the new cathedral was complete, it was the tallest building in the world for over 227 years (1647 – 1874)! Today, the church holds its status as the 6th tallest church in the world and one of France famous landmarks. Apart from the extraordinary heights measuring 142 meters of the church’s spire, another exquisite part is its west facade adorned by complex and intricate carvings.
#30 Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde
Often called ‘la Bonne-mère’, which translates ‘the Good/Holy Mother’, Notre Dames de la Garde is one of the French famous landmarks situated in Marseille. The city, located in the south of France, is one of the best cities to visit in France for the sunny weather and stunning beaches.
The basilica is perched on the 149 meters hill, an important defensive post overlooking the Marseille port. The early church was first built in this place as early as the 14th century, and the current structure dates back to the 19th century. It was initially supposed to be a medieval chapel, but at the request of Father Bernard, it ended up being something more substantial. Throughout history, the basilica was an important pilgrimage site where Catholics would visit on Assumption Day (when Mary was taken to heaven).
Today, the lower chapel carved in the rock is of Romanesque style, and the upper Neo-Byzantine part is generously covered in a beautiful mosaic. Even if you’re not a fan of religious architecture, it is worth visiting this basilica for the stunning panoramic views!
#31 Reims Cathedral
Reims Cathedral, situated in the city of the same name, 145 km northeast from Paris, is a famous French cathedral, place of coronation ceremonies of many French kings.
This Roman Catholic cathedral is believed to date back as far as the 5th century and was founded by bishop Nicasius on a site of a Christian church that was even older! The structure that we see today was built in the 13 century. Although largely destroyed during World War I, it was restored to its original glory after the war.
Today, the cathedral is one of the architectural points of interest in France, built in Gothic style. Its front facade features 56 statues of the French kings, often referred to as the Gallery of Kings and two front towers moderate in height (82 meters). Its length, however, is what sets it apart from other cathedrals! It measures 149 meters, which is exceptional and even longer than the Seville Cathedral, which is the third-largest cathedral in the world.
#32 Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, Lyon
What is Lyon famous for? Lyon is famous for its grand basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvière that sits atop the city’s highest point! This famous monument in France was built in the act of gratitude to the Virgin Mary for saving the city from the foreign invasion during the war with Prussia in the second half of the 19th century. The Virgin Mary is credited with saving the city on numerous other occasions, such as the bubonic plague of 1693 and the Cholera epidemic of 1832. Every year to thank Virgin Mary, the people of Lyon light candles throughout the city in what’s known as the Festival of Lights.
The Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvière is one of the famous churches in France that is non-Gothic. Instead, its architecture is a blend of Romanesque and Byzantine styles. It features two churches, a simpler lower church and a more elaborate upper structure. Other noteworthy elements include exquisite ceiling mosaics, beautiful stained glass, and a crypt of Saint Joseph.
#33 Amiens Cathedral, Picardy
Amiens Cathedral, situated in the heart of the Picardy region in northern France, has been granted the status of the UNESCO World Heritage Site for its architectural merits. The cathedral is one of the largest classic Gothic churches of the 13th century and one of the largest cathedrals in France.
Its 200,000 cubic metres space is large enough to fit inside two Notre Dame Cathedrals of Paris! The cathedral is also renowned for its coherent plan, stained-glass windows and intricate sculptures on its main facade. In the past, the church was home to a very important Christian relic – the reputed head of John the Baptist. The relic was later lost, but people are still praying to the replica that can still be found in the cathedral today.
#34 Basilica of Saint-Sernin, Toulouse
The Basilica of Saint-Sernin takes its name from the first bishop of Toulouse – Sernin buried in the 4th-century church where the current basilica stands today. The basilica was built in the 11th century, and it is one of the famous sites in France for being the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe!
Today, the basilica is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to other important Christian relics. The primary purpose of the basilica was to display precious relics and thus be a pilgrimage site. Although called basilica, the church deviates from its architectural styles from other known basilicas. It’s made of bricks, it is way larger with vaulted ceilings and the addition of a covered passage called – ambulatory that connects small chapels where relics were displayed. This way, it was possible to tour the chapels without disturbing the mass.
FRANCES LANDMARKS – FAMOUS FRENCH PLACES
#35 Mont Saint Michel
The Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel, situated in Normandy, is one of the most famous France tourist destinations! The abbey sits on a small island, and its dramatic setup can be seen long from a distance. Since the 8th century, Mont Saint Michel was an important destination for the Christian pilgrimage, and today this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most spectacular places to go in France due to its unique location!
In the past, the island where the abbey is located was only reachable through a tidal causeway that could only be accessed at low tide, but today there is a permanent footbridge that will get you there any time. However, if you want a more dramatic experience, check the tide schedule and visit Mont-Saint-Michel at high tide when the surrounding area is submerged in water, separating the island from the mainland. To avoid the crowds, choose one of the hotels on the island and have an early morning and later evening without the tourist masses. Mont-Saint-Michel is one of France famous attractions, so expect a lot of people, 3 million per year to be exact!
#36 D-day Landing Sites
In June 1944, over 156,000 Americans, British and Canadian military forces landed on heavily fortified beaches of Normandy Coast in France. The alliance forces landed on the five beaches, included Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Gold Beach, Juno Beach, and Sword Beach. Today, those beaches are one of the important historical places of France.
France was occupied by the Nazi forces, and the landing, which happened on the 6 of June, marked the beginning of the Battle of Normandy (D-Day) and lasted until August. The battle was the largest military assault of this kind (forces attacking from the sea) and resulted in liberating Western Europe from German occupation. D-Day is celebrated by Western Europe each year to commemorate the bravery of the soldiers that gave their lives during the battle.
#37 Carnac, Brittany
Situated in Brittany, 143 km west from Nantes, Carnac is one of the must sees in France for the history buffs! Apart from being famous for its gorgeous beaches, Carnac is renowned for the Carnac Stones that are over 7,000 years old!
The Carnac Stones is a most extensive Neolithic menhir collection. Menhir is a man-made standing stone typically from the European Bronze Ages. Another example of a menhir collection is Stonehenge, situated in England to give you some reference. There are over 10,000 stones lined up in perfectly straight rows. The stones were erected by the pre-Celtic people of Brittany from the local rocks. A legend says that these are Roman legions turned into stone by Pope Cornelius. Other theories attribute the existence of the Carnac Stones to a tradition of erecting a stone to honour ancestors or the stones being shields for the army of Carnac.
#38 Carcassonne Citadel, Occitanie
Another epic French landmark and one of the excellent places of interest in France for history and architecture enthusiasts is the Carcassonne Citadel! The citadel is located 93 km southeast of Toulouse in the Occitanie region.
Cité de Carcassonne is a fortified city where the first settlement dates back to 3500 BC. The city has an extremely strategic location between the historic trading routes – the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Due to its importance, the citadel was changing owners multiple times, including the Romans and the Islamic rule.
Today this impressive medieval fortress dating back to the Gallo-Roman period is a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the must see places in France! Together with Mont Saint Michel, Carcassonne is one of the super popular tourist attractions in France. The city is surrounded by a 3 km long wall with 52 huge guard towers. Some permanent residents live within the walls, and you also can stay in one of the few guesthouses to truly experience this medieval city!
#39 Les Baux de Provence
Les Baux de Provence is a medieval village located in Southern France, 20 km from Avignon. The town that we can see today largely dates back to the 15th and 16th century but the first signs of human settlement in the village date back to 8000 years ago!
Today, the village is one of the famous tourist places in France, visited by over 2 million people a year! The settlement is perched on a hill boasting beautiful views over the Regional Natural Park of the Alpilles. The main point of interest in the village is the Chateau of Baux-de-Provence that sits atop the highest point. Although the castle is mostly a ruin now, you can imagine how grand it used to be, taking almost as much space as the entire village! Other noteworthy places in the village include the Church of Saint-Vincent, the Chapel of the Penitents Blancs, Hôtel de Porcelet and Musée des Santons that features a collection of figurines representing the regional costumes.
Rocamadour is one of the famous places to visit in France on a Christian pilgrimage. The site situated in southwest France, 3 hours drive east of Bordeaux, has been a renowned pilgrimage site since the Middle ages. The believers started visiting the sanctuary when a thousand-year-old body of St. Amadour was discovered here in the 12th century. Amadour was believed to know Jesus and entertained him in his house. The Christians used to climb over 200 stairs to the churches of Rocamadour on their knees!
Today, the medieval village of Rocamadour that sits above the gorge of River Alzou is also one of the more attractive places in France for history buffs and outdoor lovers! The spectacular location and interesting history attract millions of tourists yearly. Apart from the quaint village, there is a group of churches to visit, located in the upper part. The most important church is called Notre Dame, and it features a wooden sculpture of Black Madonna allegedly curved by Saint Amadour himself.
#41 The French Riviera
The French Riviera (or in French Côte d’Azur) that stretches on the southeast coast of France is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in southern France. This part of the French coast is renowned for its beauty and glamour and France famous beaches. Places such as Cannes, Niece and Saint-Tropez are known to be the rich people’s playground. Here you’ll find multi-million yachts stationed in the marina, designer boutiques and luxurious restaurants and hotels.
Despite its glamorous image, you don’t need to be rich or famous to visit and enjoy the French Riviera. The natural beauty, the rich history of medieval monuments and charming towns make the French Riviera the perfect holiday destination. One of the best towns to consider is Eze, with medieval stone houses, winding alleys and superb hiking paths. Other places to consider are Menton, with excellent beaches, local charm and a fraction of the tourists and arty Antibes where you can see Picasso’s home and workshop.
#42 MUCEM Marseille
MUCEM is the cross-disciplinary Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations opened in 2013 when Marseille was designated to be the European Capital of Culture. The museum was built in the harbour of Marseille next to the 17th-century Fort Saint-Jean. The MUCEM features 250,000 objects, 350,000 photographs, 200,000 posters from the Neolithic to contemporary art.
FAMOUS FRENCH BRIDGES
#43 Pont du Gard
Pont du Gard is one of the most important historical monuments of Roman heritage and one of the most famous landmarks in France. It was built in the first century DC by the Romans to carry water over 50 km to the Roman colony – Nimes. The 3-storey aqueduct is an example of Roman’s engineering brilliance. It was supplying up to 40,000 m3 of water to the baths, homes and fountains so that the residents of Nimes could lead a comfortable life.
Today, this famous bridge in France is the tallest and best-preserved Roman aqueduct bridge, and it received UNESCO status for its historical importance and exceptional condition. Over 1 million tourists visit the site each year to marvel at the scale and architectural excellence of the bridge that was built over 2,000 years ago! The structure has three levels soaring to 50 meters in height. The bridge is as heavy as it looks, weighing 50,000 tonnes. It is estimated that it took five years and over a thousand men to build this gigantic structure!
#44 Millau Viaduct
One of the most famous bridges in France of the 21st century, the Millau Viaduct, is a cable-stayed bridge over the gorge valley of the Tarn located in the Occitanie region of Southern France. The Millau Viaduct is the tallest bridge in the world, measuring 343 meters which is 19 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower. It is also considerably taller than its closest competitors – Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge in Istanbul, Turkey, measuring 322 meters and Russky Bridge in Russia, measuring 321 meters.
The project was led by two brilliant engineers – Michel Virlogeux and Norman Foster, and when first announced, the design was deemed impossible to achieve! The bridge was built to relieve the pressure of holiday traffic going between France and Spain from the local towns of the Tarn Valley. The whole project cost over 310 million Euros!
The viaduct, considered one of the most impressive architectural French monuments in France and the world, was opened in 2004. Since then, it has won many prestigious prizes in recognition of its architectural brilliance.
HISTORIC FAMOUS LANDMARKS IN FRANCE
#45 Lascaux Cave
Lascaux cave paintings are one of the super important landmarks of France that can be found near a small village called Montignac, southwest France, just over 200 km drive south of Toulouse. The scientists estimated that the paintings date back to 17,000 years ago! Lascaux Cave is inscribed into UNESCO World Heritage due to its historical importance for humankind as evidence of some of the first forms of art by humans. The collection includes over 600 paintings on the walls of the caves, mostly of large animals that could be found in this area during the area of Upper Paleolithic.
A teenage boy discovered the paintings in 1940, and later the original cave was closed to preserve the images, but a number of replicas have been created in the neighbouring caves for the visitors to enjoy. There are multiple chambers in Lascaux Cave, with the Great Hall of the Bulls being the most famous one. The exact replica was created of the Great Hall of the Bulls and displayed in the Grand Palace in Paris before being permanently displayed in the neighbouring cave from 1983.
#46 Arena of Nîmes
Arena of Nîmes is an amphitheatre built by the Romans in the first century CE, which was a similar time when the Roman Colosseum of Rome was built. Nimes was a wealthy and influential Roman colony in the south of France between Marseille and Montpellier, and it’s the same city that had the Pont du Gard built for water supply.
In the 6th century, under the Visigoth’s rules, the arena was transformed into an emergency shelter surrounded by a moat for the residents on Nimes in case of a hostile invasion. In the 12th century, it became home to the ruler and a small neighbourhood of 150 houses. Later on, in the 18th century, the residential part was destroyed to restore the original function and look of the arena.
Arena of Nîmes is one of the best-preserved Roman amphitheatres as well it is one of the 20 largest of the total of 400 Roman amphitheatres that we know of. It could sit up to 24,000 spectators, and it was built to hold theatre performances as well as gladiator fights. Today, the arena still holds public events such as concerts and a biannual bullfighting tournament called Feria de Nîmes – one of the famous attractions in France.
#47 Roman & Romanesque Monuments of Arles
Arles, situated 39 km south of Avignon, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most famous places in France for history buffs. Throughout history, Arles experienced not one but three different Gold Age periods and today, a city is an exceptional place where great monuments of different cultures in history live side by side.
First, Arles boasts a rich Roman heritage. Some of the most important monuments from the Roman period include Arènes d’Arles dating back to the first century AD that could seat up to 21,000 spectators and the Roman Theatre. The Baths of Constantine, dating back to the 4th century, was an extensive complex of hot baths for socialising, exercise and relaxation. Some of Arles’ most important Romanesque monuments include the medieval cloister and the Church of Saint-Trophime.
Arles is also famous for being a place where Vincent van Gogh created some of his most prominent paintings – Café Terrace at Night and Starry Nights!
#48 Abbey of Fontenay
Abbey of Fontenay, located near Montbard, 72 km northwest of Dijon, is eastern France Burgundy region, is one of the oldest and most complete Cistercian abbeys in Europe dating back to the 12th century. It was founded by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and built in a Romanesque style comprising a church, dormitory, infirmary, prison, cloister, and other buildings. During the French Revolution, when religious activities were forbidden, the abbey survived as a pepper mill. In the early 20th century, the place undertook extensive restoration works and has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Today, the abbey is privately owned, and it’s open to the public. It attracts just over 100,000 visitors each year.
NATURAL LANDMARKS IN FRANCE
#49 Lavender Fields
The Provence countryside and fields covered with purple blossoms as far as the eye can see are a super famous French natural landmark. Visiting French lavender fields is a bucket list experience that draws many visitors to Provence each year.
You can find two types of lavender in Provence. Fine lavender is typical of Provence, and it grows over an altitude of 800 m. It is used for its medicinal properties, and you need 130 kg of fine lavender to produce 1 litre of essential oil. Lavandine grows all over the world. It doesn’t have medicinal properties, and to produce 1 litre of essential oil, you only need 40 kg of this plant. It is also more picturesque but not as precious as fine lavender for the producers of perfumes and cosmetics.
Lavender is used for making cosmetics, perfumes, aromatherapy products such as essential oils and candles. It is even used in gastronomy! Lavender fields in Provence blossom from mid-June to mid-August, and the best time to visit is early July, which is right in the middle of the lavender season. You can find some of the best lavender fields in Valensole Plateau, Luberon, Pays de Sault and Drôme Provençale.
#50 Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc, which means ‘white mountain’ rising to 4,808 metres, is the highest peak of the Alps and Western Europe and the second most prominent after Mount Elbrus in Europe. Mont Blanc peak is also the 11th highest peak in the world. The mountain is one of famous France natural landmarks, and climbing it is one of the top things to do in France for outdoor enthusiasts.
The most popular place to start a hike of Mont Blanc is Les Houches. Tour du Mont Blanc is a long-distance hike, and in total, it measures over 100 miles. An average hiker will take anything from 8 to 11 days to complete the hike, depending on the route, hiking style and accommodation choice. The route to Mont Blanc is not overly technical, and anyone keen on hiking with good fitness preparation will be able to climb to the top. Along the way, there are many refuge shelters where hikers can sleep and eat, so no need for taking too much food with you.
One of the most beautiful places in France, the Camargue region falls largely under the radar of mainstream tourism. The area is taken up almost entirely by the Regional Park of Camargue, and you can find it by driving 107 km west along the coast from Marseille.
Wildlife enthusiasts will be delighted by the rich fauna of the park, including freely roaming white horses and herds of pink flamingos majestically patrolling the coast. Other species include black bulls, foxes, beavers, coypus, polecats, shrew and wood mice. If you love horses, you can take a guided tour on horseback through some untouched landscapes of the region! And the landscape in Camargue is truly unique. The area is covered with salt flats with a gorgeous pink shade and some of the most spectacular remote beaches awaiting discovery. The region is also renowned for red rice cultivation, apart from salt production.
For a truly local experience, visit the region during one of its many annual festivals. Some of the best ones include the Maintenance Festival of local folklore and the Gypsies Pilgrimage in May, celebrating their patron – Sara the Black.
Corsica is a French island and one of its 18 regions that sit on the Mediterranean Sea between France and Italy mainland and directly north of Sardinia. The island of Corsica is renowned for its pristine beaches washed by turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea, its history and excellent hiking trails in its central part.
The GR20 is a 180 km hiking trail that cuts diagonally through the island, starting from the northwest and ending in the southeast. The trail is one of the most demanding trekking routes in Europe and takes about 15 days to complete.
Apart from the great outdoor scene, Corsica is one of the most popular places in France for a beach holiday. One of the best holiday towns is Porto-Vecchio, situated on the southeast coast of the island with the historic old town, cosy waterfront restaurants, boutique hotels and a stunning long stretch of beach.
And, for the history buffs, the oldest city of Corsica – the Bonifacio Citadel sits on top of the cliff boasting spectacular sea views.
#53 River Seine
The Seine is the most famous river in France that goes through its capital city Paris. The river is 777 kilometers long which makes it the third longest river in France. The river starts in Dijon all the way through northern France to the English Channel. The Seine is one of the most navigable rivers in France. Ocean vessels can navigate it up to Rauen, which has always been an excellent advantage for trade in France.
In Paris, there are 37 bridges that go through the Seine connecting its two banks, the most famous bridge is Pont Alexandre III (you can read more about this famous landmark in Paris in the first section of this post). The Seine is the main source of water supply in France, and it supplies more than 50% of water in Paris. Every summer in Paris, a part of the riverbank is transformed into a beach with real sand and palm trees! And, one of the famous things to do in Paris is a romantic cruise along the river!
#54 Dune of Pilat
Located 60 km southwest of Bordeaux, the Grand Dune of Pilat is the tallest sand dune in Europe. It is 2.7 km long and 500 m wide with 60,000,000 cubic meters of volume and a maximum height of 107 cm above sea level. The dune is tucked between the sea and the forest, and the forest side is famous as a paragliding side. It is that steep!
Today, the dune is one of the most famous places to visit in France. A staircase that cut through the dune was built to facilitate the climb to the top of the dune, where you get rewarded with the impressive view of this vast mass of sand! The sand dune is an excellent destination for a day trip from Bordeaux. Alternatively, there is a fantastic coastal 30 km cycle route from Biscarrosse.
#55 Verdon Gorge
Verdon Gorge is a River Verdon canyon that can be found in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France. The Verdon Gorge is one of Europe’s most beautiful gorges, renowned for its perfect, turquoise-green waters! The colour in the gorge is turquoise, thanks to the microscopic algae that mix with tiny rock particles. The name of the canyon has been given after the water colour. The gorge is 25 km long and 700 meters deep and is one of France popular places to go kayaking, hiking and rock climbing. Some of the best hiking trails include Pathway de Martel, Pathway de l’Imbut and Pathway du Bastidon. Another great way to enjoy the Verden Gorge and take in some of its epic sights is routing the 24 km circuit road – the Ridge Road or Route des Cretes in French. The Verdon Gorge is an excellent destination for a day trip or a longer stay due to its proximity to the French Riviera.
#56 Pampelonne Beach
Located 5 km southeast of the famous city of Saint-Tropez, Pampelonne Beach is a long stretch of sand renowned for its private beaches and fancy beach clubs such as Club 55, Bagatelle, Nikki Beach and Verde. Saint-Tropez is famous for being the rich and famous playground with multi-million yachts docked in its ports, fancy restaurants and designer boutiques. Here you can spend some quality time and feel privileged relaxing on a luxurious sunbed with 5-star service. Or book a candlelit dinner with your feet in the sea! It’s all possible, but be prepared for a hefty price tag.
There is a bohemian side of Saint-Tropez beaches of the 1950s when Brigitte Bardot was sunbathing in a two-piece bikini as one of the first famous celebrities. Also, the good news is that you don’t need to be rich or famous to enjoy the beach. There is a public part where you can stretch your towel and even a free shuttle bus from the city centre.
#57 Côte de Granit Rose
The Pink Granite Coast is a 30 km stretch of rocky coast in northern Brittany that is famous for its pink granite rocks shaped by the destructive powers of tides and wind over 300 million years ago. Cote de Granit Rose is an excellent destination for a vacation away from the crowds!
The best way to admire the pinky stones that are scattered along the coast is by taking the scenic walk along the coastal footpath between Perros-Guirec via Ploumanac’h to Tregastel Plage. Some of the peculiar rock formations have their own name. The most famous granite rock in the harbour of Ploumanac is called ‘Napoel’s hut’ because it resembles the famous french general’s three-cornered hat! The most famous place and a superb photo spot in the area surrounding the lighthouse in Ploumanac’h!
#58 Parc National des Calanques
The Calanques National Park is situated 15 km south of Marseille and was established in 2012. The park is renowned for its diversity, and it’s the only national park in Europe that includes land, sea, and urban areas. The park boasts many fantastic hiking routes, the most popular being the Calanques de Cassis trail that starts near Port Miou and goes all the way to Port Pin and back to Cassis. The hike takes about 3 hours at a leisurely pace. If you’re a sucker for a good viewpoint, you’ll love the Calanque d’En Vau lookout (part of the hike), which offers the best views over the park! It is also a fantastic beach so don’t forget to have a break there and enjoy the refreshing swim. Some of the best beaches in the park include Plage Sauvage de Morgiou, Calanque d’En Vau and Calanque de Sormiou.
#59 Lake Annecy
Situated 154 km east of Lyon and 50 km south of Geneva, Lake Annecy is the third largest lake in France, which is known as Europe’s cleanest lake. The lake was formed 18,000 years ago as a result of a melting Alpine glacier, and today it is fed by many small rivers.
Lake Annecy is a popular tourist destination centred around the quaint town of Annecy with picturesque lake views with the snow-capped mountain backdrop. Stroll along the Annecy old town dubbed as the ‘Venice of the Alps’ featuring many picturesque canals. For the outdoor lovers, the lake infrastructure offers different water activities to enjoy over the lake. Some of them include paddleboarding, sailing, wakeboarding and scuba diving. The lake also has some small beaches excellent for relaxation and catching vitamin D.
#60 The Cliffs of Etretat
Etretat, situated in Normandy, southwestern France, is a coastal town best known for its iconic white cliffs. The cliffs of Etretat are part of the stunning La Côte d’Albâtre or Alabaster Coast that stretches for over 130 km along the English Channel.
The cliffs of Etretat are made of chalk and include three natural arches and a pointy 70 metres tall rock called the Needle. In the past, the cliffs and the nearby seaside resort attracted famous artists such as Claude Monet, Victor Hugo and Arsène Lupin that wrote a story based here. The sights are easily accessible via paths and staircases, and the area also boasts some fantastic white pebble beaches!
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