France is the most visited country in the world and ranked as the number one vacation destination worldwide. This is not surprising when one considers that France features cities of high cultural interest, beaches and seaside, ski resorts as well as rural regions that are splendid in their beauty and renewing in their tranquility. When planning a trip to this magical country, there is a plethora of activities to consider including golf, spas, wine tasting and vineyards, seaside escapes, cities, islands, antiques, ecotourism, skiing, unparalleled shopping and of course delectable cuisine.
Among France’s most renowned attractions is the Eiffel Tower located in Paris. This 19th century iron lattice tower is a global icon for France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. Standing at 325 meters tall with three levels, the Eiffel Tower is France’s tallest building and affords awe-inspiring vistas. It also boasts the most paid visits of any monument in the world.
For connoisseurs of culture and the arts, there are three popular museums that draw millions of visitors through their doors. The Louvre Museum, located within the Louvre Palace, is one of the world’s largest museums and among the most visited museums worldwide. This historic monument is a central landmark of Paris and features nearly 35,000 objects from pre-history to the 19th century. Another special museum is the Musee d’Orsay, also located in Paris. This is housed in the former railway station, the Gare d’Orsay and holds mainly French art such as paintings, sculptures, furniture and photography dating from 1845 to 1915. The Musee d’Orsay is best known for the world’s largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces. Yet another renowned and well-visited Pair museum is the Musee Picasso. This is one of the finest historic houses in the Marais and features more than 3000 different works of art by Pablo Picasso, complimented by Picasso’s own private collection of works by other artists.
For those who appreciate history and architecture, there are many famous attractions including the Palace of Versailles. This royal Chateau in Versailles is located in a suburb of Paris. It is famous not only as a building but as a symbol of a past system of absolute monarchy. This palace is bordered by resplendent gardens that typify French garden planning. The chapel is one of the finest examples of French Baroque architecture and ecclesiastical decoration. The most celebrated room in the palace is the “Hall of Mirrors.” Another compelling attraction is the Centre Pompidou, which houses a vast public library, Europe’s largest museum of modern art and the IRCAM center for music and acoustic research. The Centre Pompidou reflects high-tech architectural design. The Chateau de Chambord is one of the most recognized castles in the world. Its distinct French Renaissance architecture and verdant surrounding wooded park and game reserve make it a major tourist attraction. Renowned for its stain glass, the Sainte-Chapelle or Holy Chapel is a Gothic chapel located in the heart of Paris and is truly a historic monument.
There are many other famed attractions in France that celebrate human accomplishment and creativity but for those who wish to revel in natural wonders, a trip to Puy de Dome is a must. This large lava dome is one of the youngest volcanoes in south central France, amazingly located far from any edge of a tectonic plate. Known for its paragliding, expansive views, and hiking, this is a nature lovers paradise.
France is a country of unparalleled beauty, reflected not just in nature but also in human construction and creation. Rich in culture, saturated with history, decorated with architectural wonders, and steeped in tradition all while leading in economics, politics, education, health, fashion, and culture and arts, France is truly a magical destination for vacation. Vive la France!