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Famous Landmarks in France

Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey at low tide in France
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France is full of famous monuments, structures, landscapes, history, and culture worth exploring. It has some of the most recognizable and most visited landmarks in the world.

If you want to check a bunch of items off your bucket list, France is the place to visit. Paris happens to hold a lot of the famous landmarks in France, but it isn’t the only location in the country with landmarks worth visiting.

The south of France also has a ton of famous landmarks. If you have the opportunity, take a trip around France and explore all the famous landmarks that this beautiful country has to offer.

It’s satisfying when you finally see something in person that you’ve learned about in history or seen countless times online. 

12 Famous Landmarks in France

Keep reading for a list of twelve of the most famous landmarks in France. Youve probably heard of most, but not all of them.

Theyre famous for a reason, and theyre worth all the hype and worth the visit. So if you need a little inspiration on what to visit on your trip to France, here you go.

Paris Travel

1. Eiffel Tower

Starting off strong with one of the most iconic landmarks in the entire world is the Eiffel Tower. Its one of the most recognizable and majestic sites to see and a must-visit on anyone’s bucket list.

This Paris landmark is stunning. You can walk, take an elevator right to the top and enjoy spectacular views of the city.

At night it also sparkles every hour, and its just breathtaking. The Eiffel Tower was built from 1887 to 1889 and was the centerpiece of the 1889 Worlds Fair.

The iron monument is just over 1,000 feet tall. The Eiffel Tower was almost torn down by the Parisian government, but the antennas put on top of the tower saved it from being deconstructed.

Today, there are over 100 antennas broadcasting radio and television around the world. Besides its practical use, it has become one of the most visited locations in the world. 

The Sunsetting over the Lourve in France

2. Louvre

Another Paris landmark, the Louvre museum is the most visited museum in the world. Its the famous home of the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, and many other notable works.

The building on its own is a piece of art, and inside are thousands upon thousands of precious art pieces.

If you havent been to the Louvre, its a must-visit. Take the time to walk along the exterior of the 12th-century architecture, as well as visit the museum and marvel at its interior glory and all the art held inside of it.

The Louvre was originally built as a fortress in 1190 but became a royal palace in the 16th century.

Throughout the years, it was built and rebuilt like many other famous structures. It was continuously expanded throughout the years and now covers over 650,000 square feet.

The Palace of Versailles in France

3. Palace of Versailles

The Palace of Versailles is a UNESCO World Heritage site dating back to the 17th century. Its another one of the most famous landmarks in France.

The Hall of Mirrors is the most popular room, and you must also explore the Gardens, which have fountains, sculptures, and other unique sites.

Its about a half-hour trip from Paris and there are lots of easy transportation options to get you to Versailles.

The former French royal residence was first the hunting lodge and private retreat of Louis XIII, and in 1624 he turned it into a chateau.

Then, King Louis XIV turned into an extravagant palace to glorify the royal king. Its a wonderful piece of architecture to experience in person; its mesmerizing.

Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey at low tide in France

4. Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey on Mont-Saint-Michel Island

Mont-Saint-Michel Abby is located in Normandy on Mont-Saint-Michel island. It has been considered a French monument since 1862 and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

The abbey is perched on a rock, and depending on the tidal conditions, its sometimes surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean.

The Roman abbey was originally built in the 11th century but was partly burnt down and rebuilt in the 13th century, which is the Gothic construction that can be seen today.

During high tide, Mont-Saint-Michel becomes an island, and during low tide, you can walk to the island barefoot on the sand.

A pedestrian bridge allows the island to be accessible at any time, and you can also reach the island by free shuttle bus. Once on the island, you can visit the abbey and walk the streets of the medieval village.

This is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque places in France and a must-see if youre in the Normandy/Brittany region of France.

A woman standing in the lavender fields in France at sunset

5. Lavender Fields in Provence

Summer is iconic in the south of France. The landscape turns into a sea of purple-lavender fields. From mid-June to mid-August, this fragrant flower blooms and is harvested.

The best time to see the lavender in person is from the end of June to early July. There are lots of great places in the Provence region that have beautiful and thriving lavender fields.

The fields can bloom at different times, so if you want to see them in full bloom, youll need to plan accordingly.

Another thing about visiting the lavender fields is you cant be too early or too late, or else you wont see anything at all.

You need to visit just on time, and this can sometimes be hard to plan out, but that makes it all the more worth it.

The D-Day Beach, France

6. The D-Day Beaches of Normandy

The beaches in Normandy used on D-Day include Utah Beach, Omaha Beach, Gold Beach, Juno Beach, and Sword Beach.

On June 6, 1944, Allied troops from the US, Canada, and Britain landed on one of 5 beaches and were successfully able to push inland which helped free France from German control during WWII.

Today, the beaches have numerous monuments, gravesites, and other remembrance sites to honor those who fought and lost their lives for freedom.

Its very powerful to visit and a must-see for history buffs. While this is a more somber landmark of France, its very important and is a well-known historical event that shifted history.

Take the time to visit the museums and take in the experience to imagine what it must have been like to participate in D-Day.

Notre-Dame on a sunny day with blue skies

7. Notre-Dame de Paris

Located on the Île de la Cité, the island on the river Seine in the middle of Paris, Notre Dame is a medieval Catholic cathedral and is one of the best examples of French Gothic architecture.

Construction first began in 1163 and was completed by 1345, but it was modified for centuries.

Unfortunately, in April 2019, the church suffered a severe fire that took out most of the roof and the building’s spire.

While its being reconstructed, visitors can not enter Notre Dame right now but can enjoy the exterior.

The renovation will hopefully be complete soon so that people can return to this famous landmark of France.

Arc- De- Triomphe

8. Arc de Triomphe

Another famous landmark in France is located in Paris. The Arc de Triomphe is another important structure. It sits on the end of Champs-Élysées, a famous designer and shopping street in Paris.

The monument honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.

Also lying here is the Tomb of the Unknown soldier from World War I, which has an eternal flame. You can walk around the grounds of Arc de Triomphe for free, and you only need to pay if youd like to go inside.

You can also climb to the top of the arc and there are a total of 284 steps. Itll give you a great view of the city if you choose to climb. 

Couple Kayaking under Pont du Gard Bridge in France

9. Pont du Gard

This bridge, located in Southern France in the small town of Vers-Pont-du-Gard, is a brilliant Roman aqueduct.

It is located over the Gardon River, and there are three levels of arches. The bridge is considered around 2,000 years old and still stands today, showing the intelligence of Roman design and engineering.

Its a technical and artistic masterpiece built in the first century AD. It was created to carry water over 20 miles and stands over 160 feet tall and over 800 feet across.

There are walking trails around the bridge and a nearby museum where you can learn more about the history of the bridge. There are many other great bridges throughout France of both Roman descent and more modern designs. 

Amphitheater of Nîmes, France

10. Amphitheater of Nîmes

In the center of the historical city of Nîmes, the amphitheater of Nîmes is one of the best preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world.

It was built around 70 CE, before the Colosseum in Rome was built. The arena is perfectly symmetrical, which shows the craftsmanship of the Romans.

If youre in the South of France, this is a great place to visit. You can also enjoy exploring the historic town of Nîmes.

Sacré-Coeur on a hazy day in Paris

11. Sacré-Coeur 

Back in Paris, on top of Montmarte hill, Sacré-Coeur Basilica, which stands for the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, is an iconic monument.

It overlooks the entire city of Paris, making it a great place to visit for the views and to see the basilica.

Construction began in 1875 and was finalized in 1919. Not only is the church itself beautiful, but the grounds are gorgeous. Also, you can’t beat the panoramic views of the city, they are beyond stunning.

Inside the church, youll find the largest mosaic in France decorating the ceiling. You can also visit the dome of the basilica to admire the views from an even higher vantage point.

Beautiful view of Châteaux of the Loire Valley, France

12. Châteaux of the Loire Valley

The Loire valley along the Loire River is made up of a collection of hundreds of castles. The castles range from fortified castles from the 10th century to much more recent castles from the 15th and 16th centuries.

Kings would construct their castles in the Loire Valley and find the finest architects and designers to create beautiful structures to glorify them.

A lot of the castles were built on hills. This is the largest concentration of royal castles in the world.

While there are too many to see in one trip, some of the most famous castles to consider visiting include Chambord, Angers, Chenonceau, Saumur, Cheverny, and Blois.

When visiting the Loire Valley, youll be met with a fairytale-like experience, and you can even stay in a castle hotel yourself.

From quaint towns to luxurious gardens and, of course, majestic castles, you will have an amazing experience. Youre in for a magical retreat in this corner of heaven.

Conclusions

There are so many great places to visit around France. Hopefully, you found some inspiring famous landmarks in France on this list that you can add to your bucket list and one day see for yourself.

France is full of precious, beautiful, and awe-inspiring landmarks to see, ranging from landscapes to monuments to bridges and more.

This is a condensed list, but there are so many more amazing landmarks located all throughout France.

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Comments:

  • kmf

    01/14/2023

    I’ve been to France 3x and have seen 4 out of these 12 famous landmarks. I would especially love to return and visit the beaches of Normandy.

    reply...

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