Traveling without any tourist traps to France: Here are our top tourist attractions in France. Read which highlights and attractions you can not miss during your holiday in France!
Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles was transformed from a dilapidated house in a farming village to a Baroque splendor, once the seat of government of France. Today, it is home to many museums and attracts 3 million visitors a year.
The Baroque Palace of Versailles is located in a suburb of the French capital Paris and is considered one of the most beautiful European palaces. Since 1979, the castle and its park are on the UNESCO World Heritage List .
From the farmhouse to the magnificent building
Originally, the magnificent castle was a small dilapidated building in the not insignificant farming village of Versailles. King Louis XIII. spent most of his hunting trips in the area and finally decided to build the building into a hunting lodge. Often mocked as a house of cards, the royal residence did not even offer room for the Queen and was considered a poor dwelling for a statesman. Thus, the hunting lodge became a three-winged hunting lodge, which today still encloses the Marmorhof.
The subsequent Sun King Louis XIV used the castle regularly as a summer residence and arranged the actual expansion as a demonstration of its power and wealth. Gradually, it became increasingly impressive and even worthy to accommodate the seat of government through the splendid additions, which made it the cultural and political center of France in the mid-17th century . The turn came with the French Revolution. In 1789 the castle was stormed and the king and his queen were expelled. Plundering and destruction were imminent to the castle.
The interior was unfortunately lost for the most part, all rivet and nail fests is still visible today. Ornate wall paintings, ceiling paintings, marble columns, figures and frescoes testify to the enormous artistic skill of the architects and the wealth of the time. In the 19th century parts of the former equipment could be retrieved and was supplemented by recent work.
The most famous rooms of the castle are the two magnificently decorated bedrooms of the King and Queen , the stunningly decorated Hall of Mirrors between them, the Ochsenaugensaal with two huge round windows, the Herkulessalon , the acoustically impeccable wooden court opera and the castle chapel with its magnificent ceiling paintings. The wedding of Louis XIV with Marie Antoinette took place here.
Today, Versailles is the most visited palace in France , and besides its magnificent garden and wonderful architecture, most of the castle is a museum .
For most travelers in the area, the castle is a must, attracting around 3 million visitors each year. Splendid castle garden in Versailles
Outside the castle are not less impressive gardens. Beautifully arranged floral ornaments delight the walkers, who are led along the lovely paths over and over wells, salons and sculptures. Several pergolas connect the low-growing part with the more distant hunting forest and the closer Lustwald.
Also impressive is the vegetable garden . Strawberries, figs, grapes, cherries and many other fruits are also artfully grown here. The staircase “Hundred Steps” leads to the orangery with the imposing arched windows , where exotic fruits are grown in heated surroundings in winter.
Imposing dimensions of the Palace of Versailles
The palace is built on an area of more than 60,000 square meters, the entire castle covers an unimaginable 790 hectares. The castle houses nearly 300 apartments, and about 2,000 rooms. The Hall of Mirrors houses over 350 mirrors, and the park has 75,000 trees. The garden provides a rich annual harvest of up to 80 tons of fruit and vegetables. The administration and maintenance of the palace and the garden employs 800 people.
Saint Tropez, once a sleepy fishing village in the south of France, has become famous by the movie industry, attracting millions of visitors each year and meeting point for artists and high society.
Saint Tropez – a small provincial fishing village in the south of France with a few thousand inhabitants.
Saint Tropez – the name of a world-famous hot spot on the Côte d’Azur that makes one think of the beautiful and rich and super-rich in the world. A place full of high-society stereotypes and fancy Micki myths. A place of topless fashion and stars and starlets. The real crowd here are the visitors, who arrive in several millions per year – and also let several millions per year here. In the port of Saint Tropez a splendid yacht swings next to the next, who does not have a yacht, must at least arrive in the luxury car.
Unspectacular History of Saint Tropez
The history of Saint Tropez is inconceivably unspectacular. Only in the 15th century did the first families settle on the now priceless pavement, the insignificant fishing village never left the shadow of Marseilles or Toulon. Only at the end of the 19th century, with the painter Paul Signac, did a few more artists enter the sleepy idyll, which gradually became known as the center of artists.
Saint Tropez only made the right breakthrough in the mid-twentieth century – as so often – with the help of the film industry. It was filming location for “And always lures the woman” with Brigitte Bardot, who quickly became the sinful leader of the city and gradually attracted celebrities. Numerous scandals reinforced the disreputable image. Since it was the reputation as a city of playboys and little clothed women not far away. The celebrities are now largely gone, the enormous tourist rush has remained.
On the way in Saint Tropez
The best way to discover Saint Tropez is by foot. If you look closely and leave the hustle and bustle behind something behind the pomp of the super- rich see the former small pretty town with winding streets, tiny boutiques, souvenir (and junk) shops and small eateries. Those who want to escape the summer heat can visit the Musée de l’Annonciade , which exhibits works by Signac, Matisse and other artists, or the Maritime Museum . This is located in a citadel over the 16th century town, from where you have a perfect panoramic view, which provides a recommended overview of which corners of the city you would like to visit next.
Tip: DO NOT drive to Saint Tropez. There is a road that leads in and out, which is almost hopelessly clogged at any time of the day. The parking fees are horrendous and the merciless sun does not stop even traffic jams and turns every vehicle (even convertibles) in an oven.
But usually you can not escape the busy flair of the city anyway. The hustle and bustle pulls you almost to the harbor. The most impressive way to explore the peninsula is to walk on the Sentier Littoral to the Tahiti beach. But you have to be good on foot and have sunscreen with you. If necessary, a cool bath will remedy the heat. Those looking for more than 10min recovery, unfortunately, on most beaches with partially sensitive high fees expected; However, there is also one or the other free beach.
The hilltop town of Gassin , also spruced up for visitors, is often overlooked by the splendor of Saint Tropez. Like Ramatuelle , even without sights, but in clear weather an imposing view of the surroundings. Ramatuelle actually owns the largest beach in Saint Tropez, the Baie de Pampelonne with the famous clubs Tahiti Plage, Club 55 and Nikki Beach.
The Eiffel Tower was designed and constructed by Gustave Eiffel and is today the undisputed landmark of Paris. With more than 300 meters, it offers visitors a magnificent view of Paris over a total of three floors.
A good 300 meters above the rooftops of the city , the Eiffel Tower stands out as the steel landmark of the French capital, Paris . Built by the engineer and bridge builder Gustave Eiffel, from whom the structure also got its name, it caused due to its futuristic appearance in many aversion and protests and was even referred to as a stain.
Originally, the lifetime of the Eiffel Tower was limited to 20 years, because the gigantic building was actually intended for the World Fair and the centenary of the French Revolution in 1889. Its opening took place on March 31st. Due to the then innovative construction technology and the strategic importance in the First World War, however, the Eiffel Tower was not dismantled again and could establish itself over the years as a landmark of Paris. By 1930 it was even the tallest structure in the world, after which it was overtaken by the Chrysler Building in New York.
Visit the Eiffel Tower
A visit to the Paris Eiffel Tower should not be missing from any stay in Paris, but also wants to be well planned. As an absolute tourist highlight of the
city, the building registers several thousand visitors daily, in summer even more than in winter. It is therefore advisable to start the tour early in the morning or late at night; with some waiting time in the queue but you should definitely expect.
There are several ways to get to the three viewing platforms: The first and second platforms can be reached either on foot via several steps or with the lift, which costs about twice as much per person as the entrance to the stairs. The higher you get, the more gigantic the view over the city becomes. At each level, interested visitors are offered additional information about the construction and the costly maintenance of the Eiffel Tower.
The last floor, which is at the top of the tower, can only be reached by lift. Again, patience and good nerves are needed, because it may happen that this area is closed due to overcrowding for a long time. On this last floor is the restaurant “Jules Verne” , which is not only due to its exquisite location among the top Parisian restaurants. This restaurant has also served as a stage for a great filmmaker, because several years ago, the James Bond movie “In the Face of Death” was filmed here and at other Parisian attractions.
Old town of Lyon
The picturesque old town of Lyon at the foot of Mont Fourvière is often referred to as one of the most beautiful Renaissance districts in Europe, with its impressive churches and magnificent mansions.
Vieux Lyon, the “old Lyon”, was once the first sight of France in 1954 , protected by the Malraux law as a cultural city. In 1998, UNESCO declared the historic center of Lyon as one of the largest surviving Renaissance quarters in Europe as a World Heritage Site
Visit the old town of Lyon
The city of Lyon, with over 400 hectares, stretches between the two hills, Croix Rousse and Fourvière, to the banks of the Saône, and can be reached via the D line. Strolling through the old town of Lyon, you will find magnificent mansions, over 300 in number, that still today characterize the special atmosphere of Vieux Lyon. The residences in the style of the High Renaissance are the most beautiful to look at with their pretty arcades and turrets, but also the other predominant styles Flamboyant, Early Classicism and the French Renaissance have created magnificent monuments.
Discover Lyon – via MP3 or Lyon City Greeter
For the tour of Lyon’s entire old town, MP3 audio guides are available in tourist offices in five different languages ??(German, English, French, Spanish and Italian). Even more personally, Lyon’s visitors are looked after by the so-called Lyon City Greeters. These can be booked online and guide tourists through the neighborhood in which they live – on a voluntary basis and completely free. They reveal the most beautiful corners, the best shopping addresses and numerous gastronomic insider tips.
Vieux Lyon splits again into three regions, all named after their monumental churches.
District of Saint Jean
Saint Jean is the most famous and famous part of Lyon’s old town. In the Middle Ages, the region was the center of politics and religion, of which the
Gothic cathedral of Saint-Jean , until today the residence of the archbishop, still bears witness. Next to it, the manécantery raises one of the most beautiful Romanesque buildings in Lyon. At that time a choir school it now houses a museum of church treasures.
Old town of Nice
In charming Nice, where the Russian Tsarist family and British winter refugees met as early as the 18th century, not only the beautiful and the rich enjoy Mediterranean flair, French cuisine and high-quality shopping.
Vieux Nice, the “old Nice”, is one of the main attractions of Nice , next to the spectacular Nôtre Dame and the diverse museums . Winding lanes, pastel-colored houses with well-preserved historic facades, high-quality shops and boutiques and wide squares with cozy cafes and restaurants make a walk through Nice’s old town a discovery tour of a special kind.
Since the houses are mostly five-storey, there is always plenty of shade, so it is not oppressively hot even in midsummer in the charming streets. However, you soon lose yourorientation between the high facades and so a visit to the castle hill ” Colline du Château ” is recommended , in order to gain a first overview of Vieux Nice thanks to the magnificent view. Before you venture into the alleyways of the old town, you should not miss a visit to the picturesque harbor of Nice.
Parc Pheonix and Museum of Asian Art
The Parc Phoenix in Nice covers an area of ??approximately 7 hectares and more than 2000 different plant species, some of them in their natural environment dar. Since 1998, the Botanical Adventure Park also houses the Museum of Asian Art , whose impressive building was designed by the Japanese architect Kenzo Tange ,
Shopping in Nice’s old town
The lovely old town between the castle hill, the ” Colline du Château “, and the river Le Paillon is often referred to as the largest open air sales area on the Côte d’Azur. On every corner there are stalls selling handmade soaps, fine textiles or ornate paintings by local artists, and local vendors offer fresh fruit and vegetables, exotic spices, delicious pastas and colorful flowers at various markets.
Cathédrale de la Major in Marseille
The monumental Cathédrale de la Major is the seat of the Archbishop of Marseilles and is considered one of the largest cathedrals built after the Middle Ages.
The Cathédrale de la Major in the western city of Marseille is actually called “Sainte Marie Majeure” and is often simply referred to as the “Marseille Cathedral”. Located a few hundred meters north of the Old Port , its impressive domes have been welcoming seafarers and travelers to Marseille for over a hundred years.
History of the Cathedral of Marseille
Saracens during the French Revolution. The present appearance of the Cathedral of Marseille goes back to the Napoleonic era, when under Bishop Eugen von Mazenod the new building was arranged. The bishop, canonized in 1995, is now buried in the Lady Chapel on the apse.
Like the Notre Dame de la Garde Basilica , the cathédrale Cathédrale de la Major was designed by the Protestant architect Jacques Henri Espérandieu. Construction of the “Nouvelle Major” was in 1852, the basic position on 26 September happened under the rule of Napoleon. The
French emperor wanted to create a symbol for the upswing and prosperity of France with their impressive appearance . The completion of the neo- Romanesque-Byzantine cathedral took place in 1896. However, her originally planned mosaic jewelry was – for financial reasons – not completed today.
Visit to the Cathédrale de la Major
With a length of 141m, a width of 50m and several domes, of which the highest reaches 70m, making it the sixth largest in the world, the Cathedral of Marseille is still an impressive sight. Its interior is comparable to the gigantic dimensions of St. Peter’s in Rome and offers space for 3000 faithful. The combination of round arches and triangular roofs and the symmetrical alternation of light and dark stone give the Cathédrale de la Major a majestic harmony.
The design features of the façade continue inside. Here, too, striated walls dominate, as well as domes and arches, which are responsible for the Byzantine impression. In addition to some slender columns and sculptures and mosaics in the choir and in the crossing, the interior of the cathedral is rather restrained. For this, the stand-alone figures in the main room are all the better to advantage. Some of them date back to the 11th century predecessor chapel.