Travel France: 25 Amazing Destinations not to miss

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houses overlooking a harbour
Honfleur, France

When we were putting together our travel plan for France, our eyes were opened to many beautiful cities, towns and villages.

Whether we visit well-known cities like Paris or Lyon. Or beautiful old towns like Uzes or Perouges. Even villages like our second home in Fontenoy le Chateau.

France has become a familiar travel destination.

Initially, our travel plan for France was focused on seeing Paris and then venturing south to Lyon and Nice. But all that changed when we embraced slow travel with housesitting.

And the result?

Our travel plan for France grew exponentially.

We started getting recommendations from locals of the best destinations to visit in France.

Of course, the suggestions were for places near our stay or regions of France we would see next on our itinerary.

This is why we have seen some amazing destinations, which we can now share with you.

We have put together 25 destinations in France. All have a small snippet of information to help you with your travel plan in France.


25 Destinations for your travel plan to France

Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower, Paris

We have covered a lot of France.

From north to south, west to east, and lots in between, we love our road trips around France.

Terry loves creating our travel plan for France based on the recommendations we get from locals or from blogs.

But, yes, there’s a but.

We haven’t listed all the places we have visited below.

Instead, we’ve chosen the places we found interesting, beautiful, and worth a stop on your itinerary of France. We have listed our favourites.

These destinations in France are great places to stay and spend a day, a half-day, or a few hours.

It will also give you ideas on creating your travel plan for France.

They are in no particular order, but we have listed the regions for you, allowing you to pick a region to explore.

And the constant theme is a medieval old town and cobblestone streets.

If you visit France for the first time, you’ll want to see Paris and hang out on the Côte d’Azur.
But if you’re returning to France like us, you can plan to see different destinations or regions. For example, we combined two regions to travel: Brittany and Normandy.
Another great destination is Montpellier. Use the city as a base and take day trips to travel around the south coast of France’s villages.
Ideally, you want to limit your travel to a region or three to five destinations when you have a short time to travel. You’ll find you enjoy the experience a whole lot more.

12 Beautiful Villages on the South Coast of France

See the Best of Paris with a Walking Guide

Create your Travel Plan for France

Here are 25 of our favourite destinations in France.

When planning our trip to France, we discovered many beautiful cities, towns, and villages that we had never heard of before.

These destinations are not listed in any particular order, but they are all worth a stop on your itinerary. We have listed the region for each destination, allowing you to choose a region to explore.

1. Pérouges Cite Medievale – Region: Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France

Stone buildings
France Perouges – Region: Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France

One of our favourites and one of the best-preserved medieval villages in France is Pérouges.

A short walk up to one of the old medieval gates transports you back in time. This preserved village with stone-cobbled streets is one of the most beautiful in France.

Wander the old streets of Artisan Artist Studios or enjoy a cafe or wine in the village centre.

2. Honfleur – Region: Normandy

houses overlooking a harbour
Honfleur – Region: Normandy

The old Honfleur harbour on the Seine River estuary is charming and quaint.

Stop at one of the many restaurants dotted around the harbour basin. The narrow 16th-18th century houses extend upwards to the street behind. Here, you can browse delightful shops or visit St. Catherine’s Church, built entirely of wood in the 15th century.

It’s definitely a must for your travel plan for France.

Tourism Website: Honfleur 

3. Mont St Michel – Region: Normandy

Village on a mound surrounded by water
Mont St Michel – Region: Normandy

Rising out of the sea, Mont St Michel is a fairytale village.

The cobbled streets lead up to the Abbey of Mont St Michel as you browse shops and cafes along the way.

Book a stay in the village or one of the bigger hotels before walking out to the tidal island.

4. Troyes – Region: Grand Est

Half timbered houses
Half-timbered houses of Troyes – Region: Grand Est

Troyes old town is easy to explore on foot and perfect for an overnight stay.

It is located within the Champagne region and, during the Middle Ages, became an important trading town.

The local tourist office walking guide will cover the historical places of the old town.

5. St Malo – Region: Brittany

Walled city
St Malo – Region: Brittany

Don’t be put off by the grey, drab stone of St Malo. This fortress is impressive. The ramparts enclose the old town of beautiful early-century homes, businesses, and daily life.

Take a walk around the ramparts, which offer views of the English Channel. Then, find a table to taste galettes and savoury crepes with delicious fillings.

We combined our stay at St Malo with Mont St Michel.

6. Carcassonne – Region: Occitania

Medieval Fortress
Carcassonne – Region: Occtiania

Travelling from Montpellier to Toulouse, the rising view of Carcassonne will make you detour. This incredible fortress from the 12th century is a must-see place in France.

Enter through one of two medieval gates to the Château Comtal within its walls.

Browse shops or relax at one of the restaurants to try the local dish, Cassoulet of sausage and beans.

7. Angers – Region:  Pays de la Loire

Medieval Tower
Château d’Angers, Angers – Region: Pays de la Loire

The Château d’Angers overlooking the Maine River is the gateway to the Loire Valley. Angers was where The House of Plantagenet originated.

You can follow the blue line in the old town to see half-timbered houses, the cathedral and the chateau. The city of Angers is worth stopping if you are on your way to Brittany.

8. Uzès – Region: Occitania

Medieval fortress
The Duché, Uzes – Region: Occitania

Ducal castle towers above the medieval old town. The Duché was built for the first Dukedom of France.

Find a table at Place aux Herbes under the shade of the trees to enjoy being in France.

Add Uzès to your travel plan to France and the nearby small village of Sommieres.

9. Bordeaux – Region: Nouvelle-Aquitaine 

Mirrir image of a building on water
Miroir d’eau, Bordeaux – Region: Nouvelle-Aquitaine

Bordeaux is a vibrant city only two hours by train from Paris.

Nestled in the wine region, Bordeaux sits along the Garonne River. Its architecture, built in the 18th and 19th centuries, was influenced by the wealth of the Bordeaux trade. Bordeaux has access to the Gironde estuary and the Atlantic Ocean.

With a three-night stay, there is plenty to see in Bordeaux, including a visit to nearby Saint Emilion for wine tasting.

10. Sarlat-la-Canéda – Region: Nouvelle-Aquitaine

Tall stone buildings
Sarlat-la-Caneda – Region: Novelle Aquitaine

For many English ex-pats, the Dordogne region is popular for its green spaces and scenery.

One place to visit is Sarlat-la-Canéda, a medieval village with the largest number of historical buildings per sqm in France.

We enjoyed a half-day visit, especially the panoramic view of the valley.

11. Dijon – Region: Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

Inspiring Destinations Dijon France
Pharmacie du Miroir is a historic pharmacy in Dijon

Yes, it’s the home to mustard. And we discovered the reason why.

The best mustard is made with wine. No surprises there; we are in France.

But besides the mustard, Dijon has a lovely old town to explore.

Here’s our free walking guide to Dijon.

12. Dinan – Region: Brittany

Viaduct and a bridge over water
Dinan, France

If you love sweet treats, Dinan has the best Kouign Amann. It’s also an amazing medieval town.

You can walk down the river, passing by half-timbered houses and shops. Or walk around the ramparts.

13. Etretat – Region: Normandy

Sandy white beach with white cliffs
Etretat – Region: Normandy

For a beautiful beach and coastal walk, Etretat offers both. The white chalk cliffs on either side of the town have stunning views.

While the town itself isn’t remarkable, taking in the sea air or a summer swim is ideal.

14. Reims – Region: Grand Est

Large Cathedral with two square spires
Cathedral Notre Dame, Reims – Region: Grand Est

The city of Reims is a favourite city we love. And not just for the Champagne houses.

The city is easily seen with a walking guide. And if you don’t have a car, you can still visit the champagne houses on foot within the city, like Tattingers.

France’s kings were crowned at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Reims, where Joan of Arc liberated the French from the English in 1429.

Reims for a Perfect Weekend, if you love Champagne

Get prepared with our Self-Guided City Walk of Reims.

We also visited the birthplace of Joan of Arc, Domrémy-la-Pucelle village in the Grand Est.

15. Colmar – Region: Grand Est

People in a boat overlooked by colourful houses
Colourful houses of Colmar – Region: Grand Est

Colmar is picturesque in any season. Seeing the pretty colourful houses along the canal is one of the reasons we have visited several times.

The Christmas market is a buzz, with mulled wine and nougat to enjoy.

You can also visit the popular villages of Riquewhir and Eguisheim nearby.

16. Marseilles – Region: Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Black and white marble cathedral
Cathédrale La Major, Marseille – Region: Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

Marseille city is a blend of cultures with a history dating back to the Greeks. With access to the Mediterranean Sea, Marseille has a maritime history.

The basin-shaped Vieux-Port (Old Port) is lined with restaurants and cafes.

Overlooking the port is the famous Basilica of Our Lady of the Guard. The walk-up is steep, but the views are breathtaking.

But for us, the Byzantine Cathédrale La Major had us in awe.

Make it easy for yourself with our Self-Guided City Walk of Marseille.

17. Riquewhir – Region: Grand Est

Colurful houses along a cobblestoned street
Riquewhir – Region: Grand Est

Like Colmar, Riquewhir is another Alsace village. As you wander the cobblestone streets, you can’t help but smile.

You can taste the wine from the Alsace region in one of the many tasting rooms.

18: Château de Chambord – Region: Centre-Val de Loire

Chateau in front of a lake
Château de Chambord, Loire Valley – Region: Centre-Val de Loire

This amazing chateau is within the Loire Valley UNESCO Heritage Site.

The Renaissance architecture is one of the most photographed chateaus in the Loire Valley. It was constructed by Francis I and used as a hunting lodge.

You can wander the outside free of charge.

19: Eguisheim – Region: Grand Est

Colourful medieval houses
Eguisheim, Grand Est

The medieval village of Eguisheim is a must-see when visiting the Alsace region.

Half-timbered houses, narrow cobblestoned streets, and Château Saint-Léon make Eguisheim a village to visit.

20. Montpellier –Region: Occitania

A triumphal arch in Montpellier, France
Arc de Triomphe of Montpellier (Port de Peyrou) – Region: Occitania

Montpellier is another of our favourite cities.

The old town is pedestrian-friendly. You can wander amongst the old courier lanes to find a small square for a coffee or lunch. Stopping at one of the many boutique shops to browse.

To learn more: How to See the Best of Montpellier Like a Local

21. Avignon – Region: Provence

View of a stone wall and buildings across a green lawn
View of Avignon

We loved our three-night stay in Avignon to explore the old town and Villeneuve-les-Avignon across the river.

We got to sing “Sur le Pont d’Avignon” on Avignon Bridge but got strange looks from bystanders. And we got lost in the Palace of the Popes several times trying to find the exit.

Ensure you have a jacket outside the summer season, as the Mistral wind blows.

22. Nancy – Region: Grant Est

Golden gates of a French city
Place Stanislas, Nancy

Nancy’s gilded gates bring us back to this lovely old city.

The Place Stanislas, a royal square, is a UNESCO-listed site. You can enter the square through Arc Héré, a triumphal arch from 1755.

Porte de la Craffe, an impressive old city defence gate near the Ducal Palace, is a three-minute walk from Place Stanislas.

Or it could be the Quiche Lorraine we love to eat bringing us back to Nancy.

Either way, Nancy can be added to your travel plan for France.

23. Le Château de VillandryRegion: Centre-Val de Loire

Red and green colour of gardens
Chateau de Villandry – Region: Centre-Val de Loire

The renaissance gardens of Chateau de Villandry are exquisite.

The gardens are a mixture of flower and vegetable gardens laid out in patterns using box hedges.

It is a tranquil setting, and it is easy to lose time as you meander through the various beds.

24. Annecy – Region: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Medieval bridge over a canal
Annecy – Region: Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

France has many medieval old towns to visit. But what makes Annecy’s old town (La Vieille Ville) popular is the canals through the old town winding their way to Lake Annecy.

The day we visited was a market day on Tuesday. It seemed every street had a stall of produce, crafts, and delicious foods, and the streets were packed with shoppers.

Annecy’s market day is held every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday morning from 8 am.

You can visit the Château d’Annecy, which overlooks the old town or wander the cobblestone streets to the lake.

25. RocamadourRegion: Occitania

Sunset with forest view
Rocamadour – Region: Occitania

If you are visiting the Dordogne Valley, Rocamadour is a stunning village.

Sitting above the gorge overlooking the River Dordogne is the village of Rocamadour, built into the rock.

You can visit the church at the top of the village or walk the streets below. This way, you can see the incredible engineering of the houses built into the rock.


Destinations for your Travel Plan to France

As you can see from this small snippet of destinations in France to visit, planning your French itinerary just got more interesting.

France is a popular travel destination; choosing what to see in France is always better with a recommendation.

We suggest using a city as a base to explore, like Montpellier, or a village like Colmar, which is close to other impressive villages within a region of Grand Est.

This way, you’ll see some amazing destinations when you travel to France.

We’ll update with more destinations, as France always has more to see.