Are you looking for inspiration for your next trip or just want to learn more about France? Wandering what is France famous for? This post includes 50 super famous French things that scream FRANCE.
From famous French landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, France famous food like French baguettes, lesser-known things that are French like the use of garlic in the cuisine to famous French people such as Coco Chanel – after reading this post you will find out all things to do with France!
What Is France Famous For? – 15 Most Famous Things About France
If you’re wondering what is famous in France but have no time to read the whole article, here are the 15 things about France that are super iconic! From Paris, and Disneyland to Chanel and macarons, here are the ultra-famous things associated with France.
#1 Paris – The City Of Love
France’s most populous city and its capital – Paris is France’s most prominent icon and the most famous French place. If you’ve never been to the city of love, you probably wonder what is Paris famous for.
Paris is home to some of France famous buildings and monuments, such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral known for the story of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and the Louvre Museum, home to the world’s renowned Mona Lisa painting (more about that later).
Other famous places in France Paris include Moulin Rouge and the most famous hill in Paris- Montmartre, where you can get some of the best views of the entire city!
Paris is probably the most romantic destination out there and one of the most popular tourist destinations! Couples love visiting the city because there is nothing more romantic than sipping wine with a view of the Eiffel Tower or strolling through Champs Elysee – the city’s most beautiful avenue!
Other Paris famous things include the big coffee culture, Paris Fashion Week, and French art. If you want to visit France and learn about typical French things, Paris is undoubtedly a great place to start!
#2 Lavender Fields
The Provence countryside and fields covered with purple blossoms as far as the eye can see are other famous things of France. 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.
French macarons are something that we directly associate with Paris. They are one of the most iconic French things to eat and typically French things that we bring home as souvenirs.
Macarons are a type of biscuit made of almond flour, egg white and sugar, typically with a jam or clotted cream filling. They resemble a sandwich and come in different colours. Macarons are a super famous food France is known for!
In Paris, you can find many pastry shops that specialise in making them. One of the most famous is Laduree, located on the Champs-Élysées. Visiting one of the fancy macaron shops is a must-do when visiting Paris!
#4 Moulin Rouge
Moulin Rouge, located near the 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 facade with a windmill on its rooftop, in fact, Moulin Rouge means ‘Red Mill’!
This super-famous French cabaret was founded in 1889, and it is known as the birthplace of the modern form of cancan dance – an important part of France culture. 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, the Moulin Rouge is a super popular destination and one of the best France things to do. 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.
#5 Mona Lisa
The Mona Lisa painting is the most famous France art piece that can be seen in the Louvre in Paris. It was painted by an Italian artist – Leonardo da Vinci and it is often called “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world”!
If you’re visiting Paris, you can not leave without seeing this mysterious portrait of this woman. The Mona Lisa arrived in Paris in 1804 as a part of the royal collection and has stayed in Paris ever since.
One of the interesting facts about it is that the whole fascination around this painting comes from the unproven identity of the woman and her mysterious smile that has been the subject of multiple kinds of research and investigations over the years.
Today, millions of visitors come to the Louvre Museum to see the mysterious and priceless painting of the Mona Lisa. If you’re wondering Paris is famous for what things, the Mona Lisa painting is definitely one of them!
#6 Chateaux & Castles
Another super famous things in France are its many stunning castles, also called chateaux. They were mostly built in the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, and some of them look like castles taken straight from a fairy tale!
If you’re interested in visiting some of the famous chateaux in France, head to the regions of Loire, Alsace and Occitania. Château de Chambord, the most famous chateau in France, is located in Loire.
This France famous castle was built during the Renaissance, and many famous artists participated in designing and decorating the castle, such as Leonardo Da Vinci. He was believed to have designed 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.
Other famous French castles include Château de Chambord, Loir-et-Cher and Chenonceau Castle.
#7 French Fashion
In answering the question – what France is famous for, it’s impossible not to mention French fashion! Paris is home to world-famous French brands such as Christian Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and Céline which have their luxury fashion boutiques in Paris as well as all over the world.
There is also a Paris Fashion Week that takes place twice a year and includes ready-to-wear and couture shows. Paris Fashion Week is part of the ‘BIG 4’ that also includes fashion weeks in New York, London and Milan.
Although a first-ever fashion week was held in New York, the event originates in French “défilés de mode”, which translates to “fashion parades”. In Paris, the first fashion showings were taking place as early as the 1700s. First, the clothes were presented to affluent customers on mannequins before models replaced them in the later years.
#8 French Wine
Wine is what France is known for in terms of drinks! Wine is what’s tea for the British and beer for the Germans. The French language and French literature are the best evidence of the wine’s importance, with a rich vocabulary describing wine.
It is estimated that 80% of French people drink wine, and wine consumption is one of the biggest in the world – 11 gallons per person a year compared to 3 gallons per person for an average American. If you’re looking for quintessential French stuff, wine is one of them.
While wine consumption is steadily declining, it is still customary to drink wine with the evening meal in France. France is also the second biggest (after Italy) wine producer in the world!
Some of the most famous wine regions in France include Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne and Corsica. Some of France famous wine include Trimbach Riesling Alsace Réserve from Alsace, Château Lestage Listrac-Médoc from Bordeaux and Louis Latour Mercurey from Burgundy. If you’re a big wine fan, a holiday to France will feel like heaven!
#9 French – The Language Of Love
Did you know that the French language is often called the language of love? In the 18th century, French was spoken by aristocrats all over Europe, and it was associated with arts, culture and poetry.
Today, French is the 5th most spoken language in the world, with over 280 million speakers. Together with English and Spanish, French is a popular language to learn in schools.
People love French because of its beautiful, melodic sound and rhythm and often choose to learn French as their second language.
Also, what’s interesting, according to Google, today, French is the most common language to translate romantic expressions from other languages, which would indicate that French people have the most romantic relationships with foreigners. Wouldn’t you agree that nothing sounds more romantic than French?
#10 French Croissants – Most Famous French Thing To Eat
What is the famous food in France eaten for breakfast? The answer must be croissant! Croissants are buttery puff pastry crescent-shaped that are eaten for breakfast with butter, jam or chocolate spread.
Today, these yummy popular French things are prevalent everywhere in the world as part of the European continental breakfast, but they are the tastiest in France!
Did you know that this most famous food in France eaten for breakfast doesn’t really originate in France? Yes, you read me right. Croissants originally come from… Austria and only became one of the famous things from France when French bakeries started making it using puff pastry.
One of the biggest celebrities from France of the 20th century is Gabrielle Coco Chanel, founder of Chanel’s world-famous and luxurious brand. The House of Chanel started in 1909 as a hat-making shop at 160 Boulevard Malesherbes in Paris.
Gabrielle was the mistress of a wealthy textile businessman – Étienne Balsan, and her shop was located at the bottom of his flat where there also was a salon for the hunting and sporting elite frequented by many influential men who often were accompanied by their mistresses.
That gave Gabrielle the opportunity to make huts for ladies of wealthy men, and that’s how her brand started. Today, apart from designer clothes, the brand is famous for its Chanel perfume that are one of the most famous French items in the cosmetics industry.
#12 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 things France is famous for in the world. This part of the French coast is renowned for its beauty and glamour, and France famous 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 French 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.
#13 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 famous France landmarks and famous things related to France. 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 which 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.
#14 Tour de France
What is France known for in terms of events? The number one sporting event in France is the Tour de France! The Tour de France is a cycling race, and it primarily takes place in France; occasionally, the tour passes through neighbouring countries.
It takes 23 days with 21-day-long stages. The event is not only famous in France but is also world-renowned. The best male cyclists from all over the world take part in the tour and winning the Tour de France, which is the most prestigious cycling competition, means a lot!
The competition first took place in 1903, and it was organised by the magazine L’Auto to increase its sales. Since then, it has taken place every year. Since 1984, there is also a female competition called La Course by Le Tour De France every year, which takes place simultaneously.
#15 Marseille Soap
What products is France known for? Marseille Soap or in French ‘Savon de Marseille’ is one of the products France is famous for worldwide! The soap production in Marseille dates back to 600 years ago, and the first soapmaker was officially documented in 1370.
Savon de Marseille is a hard soap made of vegetable oils. It takes about two weeks to make the iconic French thing, and then the soap must rest for another month before it can be used. In the past, the Marseille soap was only sold in blocks of 5 kg or 20 kg.
Today, as you can imagine, you can find these famous French products in small bars too, and they come in different colours and scents. They are also made not only out of vegetable oil but also of olive oil, palm and coconut oil.
The authentic Savon de Marseille is 100% natural, made of plants only with no addition of animal oils and artificial colouring and is one of the best things from France, to bring home from your trip as a souvenir.
Foods France Is Famous For
What is France famous for food? French cuisine is rich and sophisticated, and wine and cheese play a significant role. Some of France famous cuisine dishes include foie gras, bisque which is a soup and for dessert – creme brulee.
#16 French Champagne
Champagne is another answer to the ‘France is famous for which products?’ question. We all know champagne, and we call any sparkling wine champagne. But, the truth is that real champagne comes from the Champagne wine region in France, and there are super strict rules for the companies to be able to use the name ‘champagne’ on their products.
Some of the regulations include the type of grapes and place of their source, vineyard practices and fermentation method. Champagne is hands-down one of the French famous things, that dates back to before the medieval ages when the Romans started growing grapes in northeast France.
Between the 17th and 19th-century drinking champagne was associated with royalty and even today, champagne is a fancy drink consumed for special occasions, normally to celebrate events like weddings and anniversaries. Some of the most famous French champagnes include Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Laurent-Perrier.
#17 French Baguettes
What food is France famous for when it comes to breakfast? Apart from tasty croissants, French favourite baked goods are baguettes. Biting into one is like receiving a warm embrace from a Parisian sunset- it’s one of those “very French things” that instantly transports you to a cobblestone street alongside the Seine.
Baguette has been added to France’s intangible cultural heritage, and it plays a vital role in the country’s culinary culture. The exact origins of this French long, stick-like bread are unknown.
However, there are some interesting theories on why and how the bread was invented. One of the most interesting explanations says that the baguette was created by Napoleon Bonaparte for his soldiers to be able to pack bread more easily, as regular bread took up too much space in their backpacks.
Today, baguettes are popular all over the world and can be bought in most bakeries and larger supermarkets.
In France, you can spot local people going to bakeries to purchase a fresh baguette for breakfast in the early morning. When you travel to France, don’t forget to sample a genuine French baguette to see if it differs in taste and texture from one that is sold in your home country!
#18 French Cheese
One of the best things in France, apart from wine, is cheese- a cornerstone in the grand edifice of “famous French stuff.! You may be thinking, why France is famous for cheese?
The cheese tradition in France dates back to the Middle Ages when monks in different locations in France made cheese and created new recipes. During the 13th century, inhabitants of the same village would make cheese together to preserve milk and then share it amongst themselves.
During that period, many types of French cheese were created, such as Gruyère and Emmental. In the 19th century, French scientist Louis Pasteur invented pasteurisation and his colleague Emile Duclaux came up with an idea to use this method on cheese, which was an essential development for cheese popularisation.
Today, France has about 1,200 varieties of cheeses and produces 2 million tonnes each year. Some of the most famous French cheeses include Camembert, Brie, Roquefort, Reblochon and Comté.
It is estimated that an average French person eats 25 kg of cheese a year, which is one of the highest in the world!
#19 Eating Snails
Although snails are France famous dish, eating snails or French escargots is nothing new. The first signs of humans eating snails were discovered in Spain and date back to 30,000 years ago!
Snails were Romans’ delicacy, and it is believed that Julius Caesar introduced snails when he invaded France.
In the Middle Ages, the monasteries monopolised snail farming, and Catholics had snails on Fridays instead of fish.
Today, snails are still eaten in France, and some France famous restaurants serve snails in various forms: in puff pastry, in white wine and cream sauce, in paella and snail caviar is eaten as a luxurious aperitif, which is more expensive than ordinary fish caviar.
#20 French Fries
Despite having ‘french’ in the name, french fries are not a France famous food dish! French fries originated in southern Belgium, where villagers traditionally ate fried fish along the River Meuse.
However, when the river froze in the winter, and the people couldn’t catch fresh fish, they fried potatoes instead. American soldiers discovered the dish during World War I. Since the villagers spoke French, the soldiers called the newly discovered dish ‘French Potatoes’.
#21 Garlic In French Cuisine
Another super-famous thing in French cuisine is the omnipresent garlic. French cuisine uses garlic extensively in almost anything, and you can buy all sorts of garlic in France, including smoked, fresh, green, violet, pink and giant garlic.
Interestingly, garlic was introduced to France by the Roman soldiers who carried garlic for courage and inspiration. Today, we all know that garlic is supposed to deter vampires, but the belief in garlic’s medicinal and spiritual properties dates back to the times long before the Roman Empire and the vampire tales.
In French cuisine, garlic is not just an ingredient; it’s a celebration of flavour, embodying the essence of “France famous things” in every sauté, sauce, and stew. Here are some statistics to further convince you that garlic is what France famous for! France produces 18,500 tonnes of garlic each year, and an average person in France (babies included in the count) eats 0.6 kg of garlic per year!
France Famous People
Do you know any France famous person? Don’t worry if you don’t! In this section, you will get to know some famous people in France history, music, art and French famous people and famous French personalities.
#22 Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte is probably the most famous French person and the most famous French leader. He lived at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century and left a significant mark on history and Europe’s heritage.
He was a French political and military leader who took part in the French Revolution and conquered most of the European continent, creating a huge French Empire that prevailed in Europe for more than a decade!
His list of achievements and reforms is enormous. He was considered a military genius, and even today, the European and American armies use his techniques, and the Napoleonic Code had a considerable impact on Civil Laws in most of the world.
#23 David Guetta
Although everyone knows David Guetta, most don’t associate him with someone famous from France. But, David Guetta, a world-famous music producer and songwriter, is French!
This famous French musician was born in Paris in 1967, but he only released his first album at the age of 35 called ‘Just a Little More Love’ (2002). Guetta became famous in 2009 with the release of the ‘One Love’ album with the hit singles such as “When Love Takes Over”, “Gettin’ Over You”, “Sexy Bitch”, and “Memories”. Today, he is one of the most successful and well-known DJs in the world!
#24 Claude Monet
One of the most famous French painters, Claude Monet, lived between 1840 and 1926 in France. He was a founder of impressionism – a painting movement that was all about expressing how the painter perceived reality instead of painting how things looked in reality.
In the area, when Claude Monet lived, this was a new way of thinking of art, and it was controversial. Claude Monet is also a precursor of modernism. The impressionist French artists left their studios and loved painting outside where they could capture light and its effect on nature.
Claude Monet is probably most famous for painting various versions of the water lily pond that he had in his garden. Here are his most famous paintings: Impression, Sunrise, Woman with a Parasol, Poppy Field and The House of Parliament, London.
#25 Coco Chanel
Gabrielle Coco Chanel, the founder of the world-famous and luxurious brand – Chanel, is one of the most famous French celebrities of the 20th century. She was a fashion designer and successful businesswoman.
After World War I, she popularised the chic and casual feminine style instead of the corseted silhouette that was dominant in the previous years. She was also recognised as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century by Time magazine as the only fashion designer!
Coco Chanel was a real boss babe and a role model for any female entrepreneur. She was talented beyond high fashion; she designed herself the Chanel logo that is still used today and the iconic fragrance Chanel NO 5!
During World War II, Coco had a romantic relationship with the Nazi diplomat Hans Günther von Dincklage but she was never charged for collaborating with the enemy, although the more recent evidence indicated that she indeed did. She also was known to have a close relationship with Winston Churchill, the British prime minister.
#26 Zinedine Zidane
Also known as Zizou, Zinedine Zidane is one of France famous football players and one of the world’s greatest players of all time. He played for the national French football team as an attacking midfielder.
Zizou was renowned for his elegance, ball control and technique. Zidane was named multiple times as FIFA World Player of the Year, and he won Ballon d’Or in 1998. In 1998, Zidane became a national hero when he won the FIFA World Cup, scoring twice in the final. Zizou received for that the Legion of Honour.
In 2006 in the final of the World Cup against Italy, which was his last game before retiring, he infamously headbutted Italian player Marco Materazzi. Despite that incident, he retired as one of the best football players in history.
After retiring, Zidane coached Real Madrid with immense success. In his initial two and a half seasons, Zidane became the first coach to win the Champions League three times consecutively, won the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup twice each, as well as a La Liga title and a Supercopa de España!
Michel de Nostredame is someone famous in France and the world. He was a French astrologer and a physician of the 16th century. Nostradamus is best known for the prophecies he wrote in the books published during his lifetime.
He is believed to have predicted many major world events such as the rise of Napoleon and then Hitler, the invention of the aeroplane, two World Wars, the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and even the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre of 2001 and the death of Princess Diana.
Nostradamus claimed that his predictions were based on astrological judgment and other literary sources he interpreted and translated into French. As you can imagine, his predictions are highly controversial; however, a sizable group of scientists believe in his prophecies.
#28 Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Bardot, born in Paris in the 1930s, is one of the most influential women of her lifetime recognised fashion icon, a sex symbol and one of the most liberated women of the post-war era.
Brigitte was an actress, a singer, and a model, and after she retired from the public world of entertainment, she became an animal rights activist.
A Bardot neckline was named after her. It is a wide-open neck that exposes both shoulders. She also popularised the bikini as she was photographed wearing it on many beaches during the Cannes Film Festival.
She inspired many women who styled their hair and wore eyeliner to resemble Brigitte! She also inspired fellow actors and artists such as John Lennon. In 2020, Vogue named Bardot number one of “The most beautiful French actresses of all time“! Brigitte Bardot is undoubtedly one of the most influential women of all time who impacted the lives of many women!
#29 Claude Debussy
Claude Debussy is one of the most famous French composers and one of the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was born into a low-income family, but his immense talent was discovered, and at the age of 10 years old, he was admitted to France’s leading music college.
He regarded a classical symphony as obsolete and worked on his own style. Debussy became world-famous at the age of 40 but died of cancer at the age of 55. Claude Debussy remains one of the most famous French people of all time!
Have you heard the story about the hunchback of Notre Dame? It comes from a novel by a French writer Victor Hugo and many film adaptations, including the Disney version from 1996. In the story, Quasimodo gets abandoned at the doorstep of the Notre Dame cathedral because, as a baby, he was born with a deformity.
The people of Paris are scared of him because he looks like a monster, and he finds refuge in being a bell-ringer in the cathedral. Although he looks like a monster, he has a kind heart. His story encapsulates some of the “most French things,” from its rich history to the palpable romanticism that courses through the very veins of Paris.
Interestingly, in 2010 a British researcher found evidence that there was a stone carver with a hunchback that lived at the same time as Victor Hugo! So, after all, Quasimodo was a real person!
France Famous Landmarks
In this section, you will get to know the most famous France monuments and famous French places. This is not an exhausting list, but it covers some of the top France famous sites.
#31 The Eiffel Tower
If you’re wondering whats Paris famous for, the answer is Eiffel Tower!
France famous tower, the Eiffel, is the most famous French landmark and one of the most recognisable structures in the world! It’s not just a “famous thing in France,” it’s a global symbol of romance, engineering, and timeless allure.
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 Eiffel Tower is one of must see France famous attractions and 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. The tower was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel whose company designed and built it.
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!
The Louvre Museum is one of the most visited museums in the world and where the most famous art in France and famous French items are kept. The Louvre, with its iconic glass pyramid, is also one of France famous monuments located in Paris on the Right Bank of the Seine – France famous river.
The museum houses some of the most precious pieces of art, 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!
#33 Sacre Coeur
Another famous landmark of the France famous city – of Paris, Sacre Coeur 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.
It was fully sponsored by the generous donations of the Parisians. 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.
The best time to visit the basilica is early in the morning or late afternoon. At these times, the church is less busy, and if you’re planning to take photos, the light will be less harsh than during the day.
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.
#34 Notre Dame
France famous building – Notre Dame Cathedral 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 and one of the most visited places in France.
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 during the renovation, the roof of the cathedral caught fire, and a substantial part of it was destroyed.
Luckily, prominent art connoisseurs have donated a considerable amount of funds to restore Notre Dame. The works that are currently taking place are planned to be completed in 2024.
The Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel situated in Normandy is one of the most famous France places! The abbey sits on a small island, and its dramatic setup can be seen from a distance.
Since the 8th century, Mont-Saint-Michel has been an important destination for the Christian pilgrimage, and today this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the best things to see in France due to its unique location!
In the past, the island where the abbey is located was only accessible 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 tourist spots, so expect a lot of people, 3 million per year to be exact!
#36 Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc, which means white mountain rising to 4,808 metres, is the highest peak in the French 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, but it’s not just a mountain, it’s one of those “French iconic things” that speaks to the grandeur and natural beauty of France.
Mont Blanc is one of the famous sites in France, and climbing it is one of the top things to do in France for outdoor enthusiasts. The most popular place to start a hike in 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 to take too much food with you.
#37 D-day Landing Sites
In June 1944, over 156,000 American, British and Canadian military forces landed on heavily fortified beaches of Normandy Coast in France. The five beaches the alliance forces landed on included Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Gold Beach, Juno Beach and Sword Beach.
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 who gave their lives during the battle.
#38 Palace Of Versailles
Is Paris known for Versailles? Yes! The Chateau de Versailles is one of the most famous things to see in France and Paris! The Palace of Versailles, with its opulent halls and resplendent gardens, stands as a testament to royal grandeur and is undoubtedly one of the landmarks that answers the question, “What is France most famous for?
Versailles is an important UNESCO World Heritage Site today, built by Louis XIV and expanded by Louis XIV which made the chateau his permanent residence.
The palace is situated 19 km from the centre of Paris and can be reached on the metro. A visit to Paris would not be complete without visiting this impressive royal palace and its magnificent, expansive gardens!
More Famous Things In France
Thanks for sticking around, here are even more famous things in France with pictures, to get you inspired and curious.
#39 Eating Late
French people eat their dinner very late. True or false? It is most definitely true. It is normal to eat dinner in France as late as 8 pm or even at 9:30 pm. In fact, if you’re looking to book a table at a restaurant, they may not be open any earlier than 7 pm – 8 pm!
French dinner is typically a light meal consisting of a soup with bread or salad, so it may make sense to eat it late. French people also tend to have substantial lunch that consists of a first and second course and sometimes even a dessert.
So, the reason why they have their dinner so late is that they have their most substantial, main meal at lunchtime. Also, the French truly revel in the pleasure of good food and company. This nocturnal repast is one of those quintessential “French related things” that give a glimpse into the leisurely, joy-filled lifestyle of France.
When in France, don’t forget to have something substantial for lunch because you may be waiting for dinner long!
#40 French Football Team
Football is undoubtedly the most famous sport in France! More than 2 million French people play football regularly at the amateur level, and there are over 18,000 recreational football clubs in the country!
Most French also support their national team – ‘Les Bleus’ which regularly gets qualified into the World Cup and the Champions League. Les Bleus won the World Cup in 1998 by beating Brazil, and the player who scored two goals, Zinedine Zidane, became a national hero!
You can find more information about Zidane in the famous French people section earlier in this post. There are also many excellent professional football clubs in France such as Association Sportive de Saint-Etienne, Olympique de Marseille and Olympique Lyonnais that regularly compete against each other in La Coupe de France and Le Championnat.
Renaissance was a cultural period in Europe’s history between the 15th and 17th centuries also described as a ‘rebirth’ and a break from the past (described as Middle Ages).
it may have been a European phenomenon, but when you think about the châteaux of the Loire Valley or the writings of Rabelais, it becomes clear it’s also a “famous thing in France,” marking an indelible chapter in the nation’s rich cultural tapestry.
In fact, the term Renaissance was first used by the French historian Jules Michelet. Generally speaking, the Renaissance promoted the rediscovery of classical philosophy, literature and art and is credited for bridging the gap between the Middle Ages and Modernity.
During that time, all kinds of art flourished in Europe, including France. Also, many beautiful chateaux, public buildings and cathedrals were built during that period, including Chateau de Chambord.
Marseille, situated in Provence, is one of France famous cities and the second-largest city after Paris. What is Marseille famous for? First of all, Marseille is famous for its hot and sunny climate.
With over 300 days of sunshine a year, hardly any rain and some of France famous beaches nearby, Marseille enjoys a steady influx of holidaymakers throughout the year.
The most recognisable landmark of Marseille is Notre-Dame de la Garde, also called La Bonne-mère by the locals. The basilica sits on the highest natural point in Marseille and boasts some spectacular views over the entire city. The church is probably most famous for its huge statue of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus located on top of its bell tower.
Other things that are famous in Marseille are its Old Port which in the past had immense significance and the world-renowned and one of the most famous French objects – Savon de Marseille, which you can read more about under number #15.
#43 Air France
Air France Airline is another thing closely associated with France. Air France has operated since 1946, when it had its first flight from Paris to New York.
Air France was also one of the four airlines that flew the Concorde, which was a British-French superjet that flew passengers with a maximum speed of twice the speed of the sound over 2,000 km/h!
Apart from being a passenger airline, Air France is also one of the leading players in air transportation, and as of 2003, it merged with the Royal Dutch airline KLM. Today it is owned by Air France-KLM Group, and it has its headquarters at the Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris.
#44 Formula 1
The French Grand Prix is a racing competition held as a part of the Formula One World Championship. It is famous because it is one of the oldest motor races in the world and the first ‘Grand Prix’.
Other countries that hold the Grand Prix include Monaco, the most prestigious race, Italy, Great Britain, and Germany. If you’re a fan of Formula 1, the French Grand Prix is one of the fun things to see in France!
#45 Cannes Film Festival
Wondering what is Cannes famous for? The answer is its annual film festival which is one of France famous festivals! The Cannes Film Festival was founded in 1946, and it is one of the Big 3 European Film Festivals, including the Venice Film Festival in Italy and the Berlin International Film Festival in Germany.
The highest prize that gets awarded at the Cannes Festival is the Golden Palm made of 18-carat gold.
#46 French Kiss
We all know what a French kiss is, right? It’s an erotic deep kiss where participants extend their tongues to touch inside the mouth and tongue of the other person for the purpose of sexual stimulation.
The question is, did the French really invent it? The first mention of ‘open mouth kissing’ or ‘tongue kissing’ appears in Kamasutra dating back to 1500 BC, which suggests that French kissing was already practised in India!
But, the term ‘French kissing’ was coined by the American and British soldiers stationed in France during World War I. They noticed that French women were more erotic and open to kissing with tongues than the women they were used to back home.
So, French people did not invent tongue kissing, but they certainly popularized the technique during the 20th century! Interestingly, only in 2004 French people added to their official dictionary a term that would describe kissing with tongues – the verb galocher!
#47 The French Sleep A Lot
According to the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) survey, French people spend the most time sleeping and eating out of all 30 members surveyed by the study!
An average person in France sleeps almost 9 hours! This is more than an average American and Spaniard who sleeps an average of 8.5 hours. Countries that sleep the least are Korea and Japan – an average of 7 hours 50 minutes.
The French also spend the longest time per day eating, which is not really that surprising based on their rich food culture. So, it seems that the best things about France are long sleep and eating well! Not a bad life at all!
#48 French Literature
French authors left a significant mark on the world’s literature, and some of their most remarkable work is read all over the world! Victor Hugo is probably one of the most famous French writers of all time.
He is the author of Les Miserables and Hunchback of Notre Dame which curiously was not intended to be a children’s story! Another super famous French author is Alexandre Dumas, author of Comte of Monte Cristo and the Three Musketeers. Other famous French authors include Voltaire, Emile Zola and Albert Camus.
Renault, the automaker that has been speeding along French roads and beyond for decades- it’s not just a car brand, it’s one of those famous products made in France that showcases the country’s knack for engineering and innovation.
The French car manufacturer Renault is the most famous car brand in France! It’s been around since 1899, and the company used to produce not only cars but also buses, tanks and aircraft.
As of 2011, Renault is ranked as the third-best European car manufacturer! The French government owes 15% of the firm, and since 2011, Renault has been heavily invested in the development of electric cars, which are the future of cars in Europe and hopefully the world. Renault also has a proven record in manufacturing Formula 1 cars.
#50 French Revolution
The French Revolution is the last but certainly, not least thing that France is famous for in this post. It took place between 1787 and 1799, and it was a major social uprising that resulted in the abolition of the despotic rule of the French monarch and the introduction of the constitutional monarchy in France and liberal democracy that included universal suffrage and the abolition of slavery.
After the turbulent period of the revolution, including the execution of the French king, Louis XIV, France became a republic. The change not only affected France but the French Revolution inspired many other European nations, including one of the more famous social upheavals – the Russian Revolution in 1917 and the rules of Lenin and Stalin.
Most Famous French Things: Final Word
I hope you enjoyed all the facts and famous things associated with France and your question – ‘What is France famous for’ has been answered in great depth!
There are so many famous French things- from the buttery flakiness of a well-made croissant to the chic allure of Chanel fashion, and the cinematic gems like “La La Land” that were inspired by French New Wave.
What’s fascinating is how seamlessly these elements have woven themselves into the fabric of our daily lives, often to the point where we don’t even realize their French origins. It’s as if a little piece of France is always with us, enriching our world in ways both subtle and grand.
I also hope you got inspired by the best things to do in France for your next trip. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below.
Like me? PIN me for later! 🙂