Tourism in France

  about-france.com - the connoisseur's guide to france.

  • ► Covid-19 INFORMATION -  France has opened up again to tourism in a new post-Covid age.   Museums and galleries are open, as are hotels restaurants , shops   tourist attractions and public transport . .    France's international borders with neighbouring countries are open, but the situation may change in function of the way in which the Covid-19 pandemic evolves in France or other countries.
  • Covid pass ? These are not required for entry into France. However in the event of a resurgence, the rules may change. ► CLICK HERE for full details about when a covid pass is needed, and how to obtain one. This can be easily done online, as long as you satisfy the criteria. There is no charge.

Castle in Dordogne

Practical tips & info

  • + Doctors and emergencies
  • Find hotels in France
  • Hotel guide for France - different types of hotel in France, how to choose, and to get the best rates.
  • Other accommodation   - Information about alternatives to hotels, including gites, B&B, hostels and camping.
  • Staying safe in France
  • Paris hotel guide
  • Essential French phrases for tourists
  • Cheap car hire in France
  • Planning a trip to France
  • Day trips to France from the UK
  • A weekend trip to France - ten ideas
  • French school holiday dates
  • Weeks of the year in France
  • Shopping in France
  • Banks, money and paying for things
  • France on a limited budget 
  • Opening and closing
  • Postage rates from France
  • French perfume
  • French wine
  • French bread
  • French cheese

Ways to travel

Travel in france.

  • Getting round France  
  • Driving in France
  • France by train
  • France by bicycle
  • France on foot
  • France by boat
  • About-France.com home
  • The best of France -  thematic lists
  • Find more information on About-France.com.

Seasonal travel to France

  • The weather in France
  • Paris in the Spring   - Visit Paris and France at Easter or in the Spring time
  • Autumn travel to France - Autumn, or the Fall, can be an excellent time of year for visiting France.
  • Winter sports and skiing in the French Alps
  • Winter sports and skiing in France: the Pyrenees and other areas
  • Christmas shopping and markets in France

Map of France

Main sites & attractions

Things to see and do in france, top tourist sites in france.

  • Top tourist attractions in France
  • Top free tourist attractions in France
  • Ten must-see sights in France , away from Paris
  • Best offbeat or unusual sights in France
  • Theme parks in France
  • Disneyland Paris
  • Puy du Fou historical theme park
  • The Eiffel Tower
  • Mont Saint Michel
  • The medieval city of Carcassonne
  • Loire châteaux
  • Historic monuments in France
  • Tourist map of France - the most interesting sites and cities

Cities towns and areas

French cities towns and villages.

  • Visiting Paris  - lots of info on sites and sights, getting round, where to stay, how to get by on a limited budget, and more practical information.
  • Other major tourist cities: Lyon , Nice Strasbourg , Toulouse
  • Most interesting heritage cities in France
  • The best towns and other cities to visit in France   other French cities where there is plenty to see and do.
  • Small towns in France - a selection of some of the most attractive traditional small French towns
  • Beautiful villages in France - notably those that are not overrun by tourists.
  • The best of rural France  - discover eight beautiful areas  with unspoilt countryside.
  • Best walled cities and towns in France

Rural France

  • The regions of France   in France tourism is not just concentrated in Paris. The French regions are very diverse and each region has plenty to offer.
  • Wild France - the French countryside
  • Wildlife in France
  • France for bird watchers
  • Wild flowers in France
  • The French seaside and coast

Thematic tourism - special interests

  • Roman France - the best sites
  • Best prehistoric sites -  Carnac, Lascaux, Pech Merle and others, some of the world's greatest prehistoric sites.
  • The best art galleries and museums in France   -  museums in Paris and in other French cities too.
  • Best medieval cathedrals
  • Great medieval castles in France
  • Renaissance and classic châteaux
  •   First world war sites and memorials in France
  • The Tour de France
  • Art: Monet and the Impressionists in Paris
  • Cycling in France
  • Hiking trails - long-distance footpaths in France
  • The markets of France
  • Scenic railways in France
  • Music in France; festivals, concerts and ideas
  • Food & eating in France
  • Christmas shopping in France
  • Wine map of France

Road Genius

France Tourism Statistics

Page last updated: 25 June 2024

For over 30 years, France has consistently held the title of the world’s most visited destination, and it’s no wonder why. Known for its romantic cities, iconic landmarks, world-renowned cuisine, art, culture and fashion, France has long captured the imaginations of travellers from across the globe.

How many tourists visit France each year?

  • In 2019, France welcomed 90.91 million international visitors.
  • Visitors number declined to 41.68 million in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, France saw a slight recovery in 2021 with 48.40 million international visitors.
  • This trend continued to rise resulting in 93.20 million international visitors in 2022, indicating a 124% increase compared to 2020 and 3% higher than 2019 (pre-pandemic).
  • Over 100 million tourists travelled to France in 2023. 1
  • International arrivals in France for the first half of 2024 are expected to be at 93% of the same period in 2019. 2

How many tourists are expected to visit France in 2024? 

  • International visits to France are expected to reach a new record of over 100 million in 2024, largely influenced by the 2024 Paris Olympics . Previously recorded highs include 100 million visits in 2023 and 90.91 million in 2019.


  • Read more: France Tourism Statistics: 2024 Forecasts

How much do people spend in France each year?

  • From $63.5 billion in 2019, international tourism expenditure dropped to $32.6 billion (a 51% decrease) in 2020 due to border closures and travel restrictions.
  • France saw signs of recovery in 2021 with $40.8 billion and in 2022 with $59.7 billion in tourist revenue.
  • In 2023, France generated $68.6 billion in tourist revenue. 3 This marked a 110% increase in tourist expenditure compared to 2020 and an 8% increase compared to 2019.


Where do visitors to France come from?

The United Kingdom has traditionally been the leading source of tourists to France. In 2018, the number of tourists from the United Kingdom amounted to 13 million , followed closely by Germany with 12.3 million and Belgium with 11.6 million . 4

How many people visited France in 2022?

  • In 2022, over 93.2 million tourists visited France, indicating a strong rebound from pandemic years and a 3% increase compared to the 2019 peak.

How much did people spend in France in 2022?

  • France generated $59.7 billion in international tourism revenue in 2022, indicating an 83% increase compared to 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, but still 6% less than the 2019 peak.

How long do visitors stay in France?

  • International visitors spent an average of 6.4 nights in France in 2018. For domestic visitors within France, the average stay was slightly longer at 8.2 nights .

How popular is France as a tourist destination?

  • With over 85 million visitors every year, France has been consistently ranked as the top global tourist destination for over 30 years.

France Travel Resources

  • Car rental prices in France
  • Car rental prices in Paris – comparison

Economic Impact – France Tourism Statistics

  • Tourism is a major contributor to France’s economy. Combining tourism-related spending from both domestic and international visitors, the tourism sector accounted for 7.5% of GDP in 2019.
  • In 2019, almost 91 million international tourists visited France, accounting for 21% of France’s service exports. 5

Coronavirus Impact – France Tourism Statistics 2020-2021

France saw a big drop in international arrivals in 2020 and 2021 due to global travel restrictions. 

  • International arrivals in France dropped to 41.68 million in 2020, a decrease of 54% from the previous year, before slightly recovering to 48.4 million visitors in 2021.
  • Tourism’s contribution to GDP fell by 34% to EUR 114.5 billion , or 5.3% of the economy in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

France Inbound Travel Statistics for 2019 – International & Domestic Tourism

  • In 2019, France welcomed over 90.91 million international visitors with tourists spending over $63.5 billion in that year alone.
  • The top sources of international visitors have remained largely consistent, with the UK , Germany , Belgium , Italy , Spain , the US and Switzerland making up over half of all foreign tourists annually. 
  • In addition, France recorded 186.3 million domestic tourism trips and 306.6 million overnight domestic stays in 2019. 6


Is France still the most visited country?

France remains the world’s leading tourist destination, with over 100 million people from other countries visiting it in 2023, and reports say it will stay number one until at least 2025 .

Why do people visit France?

Most tourists come to France for a holiday , with the number growing from 94.2 million in 2019 to 98.7 million in 2022 . These tourists enjoy France’s rich history, great food, and famous landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum.

  • A large number of tourists travel to France to visit friends and relatives , with the number reaching 87.1 million in 2022. 
  • France hosts millions of visitors for business reasons, with 23 million visitors travelling for business in 2022. Major cities like Paris and Lyon hold important global business events that draw professionals from all over the world.
  • People also visit France for other personal reasons like attending special events, education, or healthcare, with around 20.2 million visits in 2022. 


What are the top attractions to visit in France?

In 2017, the top five most visited destinations in France were Disneyland Paris (14.86 million visitors), the Louvre Museum (8.02 million visitors), Versailles Palace (7.71 million visitors), the Eiffel Tower (6.20 million visitors), and the Pompidou Centre (3.38 million visitors).


  • Disneyland Paris : Considered to be Europe’s leading tourist destination, it is also the driving force behind the urban and economic development of the Val-d’Europe conurbation.
  • Louvre Museum : The Louvre is the largest museum in the world, and the glass pyramid marking its entrance has become a global symbol of priceless art.
  • Versailles Palace : The Palace of Versailles was the principal residence of the French kings from the time of Louis XIV to Louis XVI. Embellished by several generations of architects, sculptors, decorators, and landscape architects, it provided Europe with a model of the ideal royal residence for over a century.
  • The Eiffel Tower : Located in the 7th arrondissement, this immense iron monument, a true architectural and technical feat, is now the symbol of Paris and France.
  • Pompidou Centre : Primarily a museum and centre for the visual arts of the 20th and 21st centuries, the Pompidou Centre houses many separate services and activities.

France Outbound Tourism Statistics for 2019

Before the unprecedented events of 2020, 2019 marked a significant year for outbound tourism.

  • Over 30.4 million French residents travelled internationally in 2019, contributing  $50.51 billion to the global tourism industry. 
  • French residents primarily visited other European countries like Spain ( 6.2 million visits), Italy (3.8 million visits), Belgium (2 million visits), Portugal ( 1.9 million visits ), and Germany ( 1.5 million visits ).

The purposes varied widely, encompassing leisure vacations, business trips, visits to friends and relatives, and participation in cultural or educational programs.


France Travel Statistics Resources

  • Disneyland Paris Statistics
  • Eiffel Tower Statistics
  • Louvre Museum Statistics
  • Paris Statistics 2024 – Olympic Games Impact
  • Paris Olympic Games 2024 Facts and Statistics
  • France Statistics 2024 – Olympic Games Impact

Europe Travel Statistics Resources

  • Germany Statistics
  • Greece Statistics
  • Iceland Statistics
  • Italy Statistics
  • Norway Statistics
  • Portugal Statistics
  • Singapore Statistics
  • Spain Statistics
  • Sweden Statistics
  • United Kingdom Statistics
  • UNWTO : France Inbound Tourism Arrivals ↩︎
  • WTTC : Latest Analysis from WTTC and ForwardKeys – France 2023 ↩︎
  • UNWTO : France Inbound Tourism Receipts ↩︎
  • EGFR : Tourist in France – 2018 ↩︎
  • OECD : Tourism Trends and Policies – France ↩︎
  • UNWTO : France Domestic Tourism Trips & Overnights ↩︎
  • Français ( French )
  • 日本語 ( Japanese )
  • Español ( Spanish )
  • Go to the main menu
  • Go to the mobile menu
  • Go to main content
  • Press Room Press Room

tourism in france facts

  • Increase text size
  • Decrease text size
  • Add our RSS feed
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • Partager sur Linkedin

Destination France: The recovery and transformation plan for tourism

“Consolidate France’s position as the number one tourist destination in the world.” This is the goal set by the President of the French Republic at the first Destination France Summit on 4 November 2021.

France has been the world’s leading tourist destination for more than 30 years. In 2019, 90 million international tourists visited France to discover our rich natural and architectural heritage and to enjoy our world-renowned hospitality and way of life. In France, tourism accounts for 8% of GDP. This is thanks to the millions of people, passionate about their jobs and their country, who uphold its excellent reputation day after day.

During a trip to Amboise in the department of Indre-et-Loire, French Prime Minister Jean Castex – accompanied by the Minister of State for Tourism, French Nationals Abroad and Francophonie, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne – presented the goals set out in the Destination France plan.

Announced on 2 June 2021 by the President of the French Republic, this plan aims to set a trajectory of 10 years for the tourism sector to bounce back after being hit particularly hard by the public health crisis. The plan will consolidate France’s stable position as the world’s number one tourist destination.

“Today, we want this position to mean greater benefits for all stakeholders throughout our territories. Increasing the length of stays, making it easier to get around, becoming the world’s leading sustainable tourism destination and focusing on quality will be the essence of French tourism for the coming decade.” Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne

On the same topic

Coming to France

Official portal for wine tourism in France



Tourism in France

Development of the tourism sector in france from 1995 to 2021.

Tourists per year in France

World famous landscapes

Côte d'azur, loire valley, revenues from tourism.

Tourism receipts in France per year

All data for France in detail

Comparison: quality of life


26 Best Places to Visit in France

Written by Lisa Alexander Updated Jan 19, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Author Lisa Alexander studied and lived in Paris, and has traveled extensively around the country.

The French affectionately call their homeland "l'Hexagone" because of its distinct six-sided shape. Each corner of France has its own unique character: the rugged and outdoorsy French Alps ; sun-drenched and slow-paced Provence ; the glamorous and gorgeous Côte d'Azur ; and idyllic Alsace , a pastoral region where storybook hamlets are tucked away in the vine-covered rolling hills.

View over Paris with the Eiffel Tower

Paris and Versailles are must-see destinations for a first trip to France. Other classic travel itineraries include stops at fashionable seaside resorts, fairy-tale castles, and glorious Gothic cathedrals.

More off-the-beaten-path experiences are found in the countryside, such as at farmhouses in Burgundy , fishing villages in Brittany , and thermal spas in the Pyrenees Mountains .

From cultured cities to pristine nature sites, France offers endless tourist attractions . Discover this fascinating and diverse country with our list of the best places to visit in France.

2. The Charming Countryside of Provence

3. côte d'azur, 4. versailles, 5. mont saint-michel in normandy, 6. the châteaux of the loire valley, 7. strasbourg's unesco-listed historic center, 8. seaside towns & resorts in brittany, 9. biarritz & saint-jean-de-luz, 10. chartres cathedral: a gem of medieval architecture, 11. joan of arc monuments in chinon, rouen & orléans, 12. quaint villages of the alsace region, 13. walled medieval city of carcassonne, 14. mont-blanc & annecy in the french alps, 15. unesco world heritage sites in reims, 16. prehistoric caves in the dordogne & the pyrenees, 17. rocamadour: a medieval pilgrimage destination, 18. bordeaux & saint-émilion, 19. the burgundy region: quintessential france, 20. cirque de gavarnie in the pyrenees mountains, 21. lourdes: france's biggest catholic pilgrimage site, 22. gourmet restaurants & cultural attractions in lyon, 23. belle époque spa towns, 24. gascony region & toulouse in the south of france, 25. the camargue, 26. island of corsica, map of best places to visit in france.

Paris Cityscape including Hôtel des Invalides and the Eiffel Tower

Appreciated for its elegance and joie de vivre, Paris is a grand European capital filled with architectural masterpieces like the Eiffel Tower and the Notre-Dame Cathedral .

Reflecting the city's rich heritage, the Louvre (one of the top museums in Paris ) contains an exceptional fine arts collection, while the Musée d'Orsay and the Musée de l'Orangerie display treasures of French Impressionist art.

Other charms of Paris are its atmospheric medieval quarters and graceful boulevards. Quintessential tourist experiences include shopping at bookshops in the Latin Quarter , strolling the Champs-Elysées , and people-watching from a sidewalk café terrace on the Boulevard Saint-Germain-de-Prés .

Lavender fields in the Alpes de Haute Provence

In contrast to the grey skies of Paris and northern France, the charming region of Provence basks in bright Mediterranean sunshine most of the year. This rural area feels untouched by the modern world and has a rugged, earthy appeal.

The rolling hills are covered with a patchwork of small farms, olive groves, sunflowers, and lavender fields. Fragrant rosemary, sage, and thyme and other wild herbs grow here in abundance and enliven the local cuisine.

In this dreamy landscape, Impressionist painters found inspiration to create vibrant works of art.

The Charming Countryside of Provence

Visitors are enchanted by the villages perchés , which crown Provence's hilltops. Two favorite destinations are Saint-Paul-de-Vence , a picture-perfect walled medieval town (near many Côte d'Azur tourist spots , such as Eze) and Gordes , which is among the top places to see in the Luberon .

In the heart of Provence, traditional ambience is found on the tree-shaded streets and outdoor cafés of Aix-en-Provence , at the festivals of Arles , and by the old seaport of Marseilles .

Also not-to-be missed are the Palais de Papes in Avignon ; the legendary beach resort of Saint-Tropez ; and the Roman theater in Orange , one of the amazing sites of the Haut-Vaucluse .

Villefranche-sur-Mer (Day Trip from Nice) on the Côte d'Azur

Also known as the French Riviera, the Côte d'Azur is a glamorous stretch of Mediterranean coastline named for its deep azure-blue waters. The skies are often a mesmerizing cerulean hue as well, thanks to the sunny weather most of the year in this area of southern France.

Stretching roughly from Saint-Tropez (overlapping with the Provence region) to Menton , less than 30 kilometers from the border with Italy, the Côte d'Azur has been a fashionable seaside resort destination since the early 19th century.

Spring and autumn bring milder weather and a quieter, more relaxing atmosphere.

The Côte d'Azur has something for everyone . Nice is the place to enjoy the good life, visit art museums, and stroll along cobblestone streets and palm-fringed boulevards. Within a short drive from Nice are places to visit as day trips , such as splendid waterfront villas and top-notch art museums.

Among the most famous French Riviera tourist attractions are Cannes , which has a dazzling beachfront promenade and an alluring Old Town; and Monaco , a tiny royal principality that is synonymous with luxury and decadence. Both Cannes and Monaco feature five-star hotels, acclaimed restaurants, and yacht-filled marinas.

Sun worshippers flock to Saint-Tropez , a happening summer vacation spot with exclusive private beaches, as well as public beaches that appeal to regular tourists. Vacationers appreciate Antibes for its expansive sandy beaches, atmospheric medieval quarter, and fabulous Picasso Museum housed in a castle overlooking the sea.

Apollo Fountain in the Versailles Gardens

A short train ride from Paris is the UNESCO-listed Château de Versailles . Built for Louis XIV (the "Sun King"), this opulent 17th-century palace is a testament to the glory and absolute power of the French monarch.

The château's splendid Baroque façade, dazzling Hall of Mirrors , and fountain-adorned formal gardens allow visitors to imagine a scene of France's bygone royal court.

Versailles immerses visitors into the extravagance of France's Ancien Régime , the glittering world where Marie-Antoinette hosted lavish balls and garden parties.

Tourists may wander around Le Hameau de la Reine , the make-believe country village created by the last Queen as a way to escape the formality of court life. The hamlet includes a lake, orchard, dovecote, and originally had a working dairy.

Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel is a highlight of the Normandy region, a pastoral landscape of apple orchards, woodlands, and cow pastures. This unmissable tourist attraction ranks number one on the long list of Normandy travel destinations , which includes stellar sights such as historic castles and picture-perfect towns.

Built between the 11th and 13th centuries, the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel is one of the most awe-inspiring sights in France. The UNESCO-listed abbey is perched on the hilltop of an islet in the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel and is considered a marvel of Gothic architecture.

The abbey church was an important medieval pilgrimage site on the "Way of Saint James" route to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Modern-day pilgrims still make the journey here, crossing the Bay of Saint-Michel by foot at low tide.

Visiting Mont Saint-Michel is a spirit-lifting experience. Tourists may attend religious services, concerts, and cultural events at this sublime historic abbey.

Château d'Azay-le-Rideau

Like the scene of a fairy tale, magnificent castles are scattered throughout the densely forested landscape of the Loire Valley. Stretching for 280 kilometers, from Sully-sur-Loire to Chalonnes-sur-Loire in Anjou, the Loire Valley is the largest UNESCO-listed site in France .

The region boasts an incredibly rich cultural heritage. During the 15th and 16th centuries, France's kings built sumptuous country retreats here purely for entertainment and enjoyment.

Extravagant châteaux, such as the grandiose Château de Chambord and the emblematic Château de Chenonceau , offer insight into the opulence of the Renaissance-era French court.

French nobles and elites also built stately manor houses, such as the majestic Château of Cheverny and the Château d'Azay-le-Rideau in an idyllic setting with a water-filled moat.

For families with kids, the M ini-Châteaux Park in Amboise is a marvelous destination. Set in two hectares of woodlands, the amusement park features 41 replicas of Loire châteaux built on a 1/25 scale. Children love exploring the kid-sized castles designed with authentic details.

Strasbourg's historic center

Quaint and cultured, Strasbourg enchants visitors with its old-world charm . The entire historic center of Strasbourg, the Grande-Île , is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site .

When stepping foot into this mostly pedestrian area, one enters the world of centuries past. Medieval cobblestone lanes and narrow alleyways invite travelers to discover a delightful maze of pastel-painted half-timbered houses, ancient churches, and public squares filled with outdoor café tables.

At the heart of Strasbourg, the cathedral amazes all who admire its breathtakingly ornate façade.

The cathedral is within easy walking distance of many top tourist attractions, like the Maison des Tanneurs , a fine-dining restaurant in a classified Historic Monument; the 15th-century Maison Kammerzell , considered a gem of Alsatian Renaissance architecture; and the Eglise de Saint-Thomas , a 12th-century church that played an important role during the Protestant Reformation.

To soak up the quaint ambience of Strasbourg, be sure to wander around one of the most picturesque quarters of the Grande-Île, the Quartier des Tanneurs ("La Petite France"), with its meandering canals, tree-shaded walking paths, and traditional flower-bedecked Alsatian houses. The Rue du Bain-aux-Plantes is especially charming.

Also within the Grande-Île, the Quartier Krutenau is another wonderful neighborhood for a stroll. With the feel of a small village, this lively quarter brims with restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries.

The walled city of Saint-Malo

A picturesque coastal region, Brittany has a rich maritime heritage seen in its historic port towns: Saint-Malo , surrounded by old ramparts; the medieval capital of Nantes; and the fortified 14th-century Concarneau .

The seaside also boasts stylish beach resorts like fashionable Dinard on the Côte d'Emeraude, the summertime vacation destination of La Baule on the estuary of the Loire River, and Tréboul near the lovely riverside town of Quimper.

The scenery is dramatic and unspoiled, with secluded sandy beaches and a rocky coastline where wild Atlantic waves crash against the shore. Centuries-old fishing villages are sheltered in quiet bays and on tiny windswept offshore islands.

Breton culture can be traced back to the Celts (the local dialect is related to Gaelic). Similar to Ireland, it is a land of mythology and legends. Today, Brittany is strongly Catholic. Locals celebrate ancient religious customs called "pardons," special festivals when townspeople wear old-fashioned regional costumes.

The local cuisine features delicious specialties such as fresh seafood and savory buckwheat crepes. Brittany also has a famous regional pastry, the " kouign-amann ," a buttery pastry made with croissant dough that is layered with sprinkles of sugar, has a moist cake-like center, and a crispy caramelized exterior.

Biarritz Beach

A blend of Parisian-style elegance and the untamed natural beauty of the Atlantic coast, Biarritz is an upscale seaside resort with fabulous beaches. Biarritz was favored by Empress Eugénie, who loved this area of the Basque region. She chose a sandy hillside overlooking the Bay of Biscay as the location for her Imperial residence, the Villa Eugénie.

This Second Empire palace has been converted into luxury accommodations, the five-star Hôtel du Palais , which offers exquisitely decorated guest rooms and an oceanfront gastronomic restaurant. Next to the hotel property is the Grande Plage , a sandy beach that has attracted sunbathers since the Belle Époque.

Another of the top beaches in Biarritz is the Plage du Miramar . A picturesque scene of colorful, striped cabanas and parasols during summertime, this sheltered beach has the delightful ambience of an old-fashioned seaside resort.


Just a half-hour drive (15 kilometers) from Biarritz is the historic fishing port of Saint-Jean-de-Luz , a popular summertime destination with family-friendly beaches.

Traveling inland 25 kilometers from Biarritz is the traditional Basque village of Espelette. This small village boasts typical half-timbered, red-shuttered Basque houses decorated with rows of dried red peppers called Piment d'Espelette (prized for use in Basque cuisine).

In Spain's Basque country, 50 kilometers by bus, car, or train from Biarritz, the lively seaside city of San Sebastian delights visitors with its elegant architecture, sandy beaches, and gourmet tapas.

Chartres Cathedral

If you only have time to visit one cathedral in France, then head to Chartres. Crowning the historic town, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site . This magnificent Gothic monument dates to the 12th and 13th centuries and is remarkably well preserved.

Visitors are awed by the soaring spires, elaborately decorated façade, and marvelous array of stained-glass windows that give the sanctuary an ethereal quality. Most of the windows were created between 1210 and 1260, which is extremely rare.

During summertime, the cathedral hosts the Chartres International Organ Festival with performances of sacred music on Sunday afternoons.

Joan of Arc Monument at Place du Matroi in Orléans

France's national heroine, Joan of Arc led the country to victory during the Hundred Years' War when she was only seventeen years old. Her divinely ordained mission, instructed by heavenly voices, is still an inspiration to the faithful.

Joan of Arc's remarkable story began in Chinon , where on March 9, 1429, she went to meet the future Charles VII (the "Dauphin") at the Forteresse Royale (a medieval fortified castle). On this momentous occasion, the "Maid of Orléans" informed the Dauphin of his right to the crown and asked for help in forming an army, which was needed to break the Siege of Orléans (a pivotal event during the Hundred Years' War between France and England).

Because of its rich heritage, Chinon is listed as a Ville d'Art et d'Histoire (City of Art and History). At the tree-lined Place Jeanne d'Arc stands a monumental bronze equestrian statue of Joan of Arc depicted as a heroic military leader.

Among the top attractions of the Loire Valley , Orléans is another essential stop on the Joan of Arc trail. The city was saved by the "Maid of Orléans," during the Siege of 1429. After leading the French to defeat the English army, Joan of Arc came to the town's Cathédrale Sainte-Croix to pray. The cathedral's 19th-century stained-glass windows recount the history of Joan of Arc.

In a 15th-century half-timbered house, the Maison de Jeanne d'Arc in Orléans presents exhibits about Joan of Arc, who is now recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church. A bronze equestrian statue of Joan of Arc graces the Place du Martroi in Orléans.

Eglise Jeanne d'Arc in Rouen

Tourists can learn more about Joan of Arc's life story at several of the top sights in Rouen . At the 13th-century Tour Jeanne d'Arc (dungeon), a relic of the town's old château, Joan of Arc was imprisoned, threatened with torture, put on trial, and accused of heresy.

Since this infamous trial in 1431 and martyrdom, Joan of Arc has been elevated to a saint. Built on the site in Rouen where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, the Eglise Jeanne d'Arc pays tribute to the saint's legacy. This modern church features an upwards-swooping roof designed to resemble flames.

Rouen also has a museum devoted to Joan of Arc, the Historial Jeanne d'Arc , in the former Archbishop's Palace (a classified Historic Monument) on the Rue Saint-Romain. This museum delves into Joan of Arc's epic story and explains how she changed the course of French history. Evocative multimedia exhibits and videos bring the events to life in a thrilling way.

Tiny Hamlet of Hunawihr in the Alsace Region

Bucolic scenery and old-world charm set Alsace apart from the rest of France. The architecture and ambience of the region has been influenced over the centuries by neighboring Germany, as seen in the brightly painted, half-timbered buildings and ornate Gothic churches.

Colmar is the quintessential Alsatian town, full of interesting historic monuments and traditional houses with flower-bedecked balconies. An unspoiled landscape of vine-covered foothills surrounds Colmar, and nestled in the nearby valleys and along the Rhine River are tiny storybook hamlets and picturesque villages.

The Alsace Villages route is a delightful way to explore the region. Many villages are listed as the Plus Beaux Villages de France (Most Beautiful Villages of France), and some are designated as Villages Fleuris (Flowering Villages) because of the vibrant potted flowers that adorn the homes and streets.

Walled city of Carcassonne

Carcassonne has the look of a Disneyland castle, with massive fortifications that enclose the medieval citadel ( La Cité ). The concentric circles of defensive walls feature 52 turreted towers, many of which were renovated in the 19th century by Viollet-le-Duc (who also restored Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris).

The integrity of the ramparts gives Carcassonne a picture-perfect appearance and makes it one of the world's best-preserved medieval towns. Because of its cultural value, La Cité de Carcassonne is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site .

Drawbridges once provided access into Carcassonne. Today, tourists can walk freely into this medieval citadel at any time. Stepping foot into La Cité provides visitors with a glimpse of life during the Middle Ages.

Wandering the labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets leads to discoveries of historic monuments (such as the Basilique Saint-Nazaire et Saint-Celse and the 12th-century Château Comtal ), small squares, and plenty of touristy restaurants and boutiques.

The French Alps

The French Alps boast some of the most awe-inspiring natural scenery in the world.

The majestic Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in Europe, an iconic snowcapped peak that soars to 4,810 meters. At this altitude, the air is fresh and the landscape is sublime, with crystal-clear lakes, dramatic rushing waterfalls, peaceful valleys, and refreshing pine forests.

During summertime, visitors flock to the Alps to go hiking, cycling, and mountain climbing. In the winter, the French Alps draw many tourists for Alpine skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing. The area has many of France's best ski resorts . Other things to do during the snowy season include ice-skating, dog sledding rides, and old-fashioned horse-drawn sleigh rides.

Besides the spectacular mountain terrain, the region also has a rich cultural heritage linked to the ancestral territory of the Italian royal House of Savoy, as well as the historic Dauphiné region.

The lovely mountain village of Chamonix (about a 15-minute drive from the base of Mont Blanc) offers traditional Alpine ambience, while Annecy (just over a one-hour drive from Chamonix) has an ancient château, lakeside parks, and fairy-tale ambience.

Reims Cathedral

Reims is justifiably placed among France's list of " Villes d'Art et d'Histoire " ("Cities of Art and History").

Of the town's three UNESCO World Heritage Sites , the most renowned is the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims , where French kings were crowned. The most celebrated event was when Joan of Arc escorted Charles VII to the cathedral in July of 1429 for his coronation as king.

Built in the 13th century, the Notre-Dame Cathedral of Reims is a gem of High Gothic architecture. The dazzling exterior features a profusion of flying buttresses and sculpted angels, while the spacious interior has a solemn ambience of spirituality.

Among the city's top attractions , other UNESCO-listed landmarks include the Palais du Tau , a 17th-century Archbishops' Palace, and the 11th-century Basilique Saint-Rémi .

Prehistoric Painting at Lascaux Cave

The Dordogne region is one of the best places to visit in France for viewing prehistoric cave paintings. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Lascaux Cave in the Dordogne's Vallée de la Vézère contains masterpieces of Paleolithic art created by Cro-Magnon man.

Although the Lascaux Cave has been closed to the public to prevent damage, visitors may view copies of the cave's artwork at the nearby Lascaux II site (in Montignac).

Also in Montignac is the Centre International de l'Art Pariétal (International Center of Cave Art), which presents exhibits about prehistoric animal paintings and reveals the work of archaeologists. The center includes Lascaux IV , which is a complete replica of the prehistoric Lascaux Cave.

Also in the Vézère Valley, the Grotte de Rouffignac is adorned with paintings of horses, cows, bison, deer, goats, and mammoths.

Grotte du Mas d'Azil in the Pyrenees

One of the top attractions of the Pyrenees region is the Grotte du Mas d'Azil , an immense cave decorated with drawings from the Magdalenian and Azilian periods. This tourist attraction deep in the Pyrenees Mountains offers guided tours and admission to the nearby Musée de la Préhistoire .

About an hour drive from the Mas d'Azil Cave, the Grotte de Niaux also has remarkable Palaeolithic art dating from 14,000 to 10,000 BCE. The Grotte de Niaux is open to the public for guided tours (reservations required).

Near the town of Tarascon-sur-Ariège , the Grotte de Lombrives reveals fascinating ancient history, and the Grotte de Bédeilhac dazzles with its rare Magdalenian-era prehistoric art.

Rocamadour: A Medieval Pilgrimage Destination

Clinging to a sheer cliff, Rocamadour seems to aspire towards heaven. This amazing site was the third most important Christian pilgrimage destination in the 11th century and a stop on the Camino de Santiago pilgrims' route.

The village has seven medieval-era sanctuaries, accessible by steep pedestrian staircases. The most famous is the Chapelle Notre-Dame (Chapelle Miraculeuse), which contains the precious 12th-century Black Virgin (Notre-Dame de Rocamadour) associated with miracles.

Rocamadour's largest church, the Basilique Saint-Sauveur is a UNESCO-listed historic monument. This 13th-century pilgrimage church displays the architectural transition from Romanesque to Gothic.

Outside the village is the Causses du Quercy Regional Nature Park . Within this unspoiled landscape on the Quercy plateaus, grazing goats produce milk that is used to make AOC-labeled Cabécou de Rocamadour cheese. In late May or early June, the Rocamadour village hosts the Fête des Fromages (Cheese Festival) devoted to farmhouse cheeses of the region.

Other top attractions within an hour-and-a-half drive of Rocamadour include: Limoges (145 kilometers away), classified as a Ville d'Art et d'Histoire and one of the top travel destinations in the Limousin region ; and Périgueux (115 kilometers away), a quaint town in the Dordogne region dating to the Roman era, which was also on the Camino de Santiago.

Palais de la Bourse, Bordeaux

The Bordeaux region is a beautiful bucolic corner of France, where grandiose castles preside over rolling, vine-covered hills. Scenic tree-shaded paths traverse the countryside and follow alongside the Garonne River, as well as its placid canals. Many travelers enjoy exploring this area on a leisurely cycling itinerary.

The region has two exceptional UNESCO World Heritage Sites : the elegant city of Bordeaux , with more than 350 buildings classified as historical monuments, and the little country village of Saint-Émilion, 51 kilometers from Bordeaux, which is packed with notable churches and monasteries.

Abbey of Cluny in the Burgundy Region

The Burgundy region is an idyllic landscape of lush woodlands and rolling hills dotted with impressive monuments. Romanesque chapels, ancient towns, and inspiring old abbeys attest to a rich cultural heritage.

Among the top sights of the Burgundy region are the historic city of Dijon , with its aristocratic palaces, ornate Gothic churches, and excellent museums; the charming medieval town of Beaune ; and the monumental Abbaye de Cluny , a Benedictine abbey founded in the 10th century. The abbey belonged to the most influential monastic order of the medieval era.

Besides its incredible history, Burgundy is renowned for gastronomy. The traditional cuisine includes a repertoire of famous specialities such as escargot, Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy), and Coq au Vin .

Cirque de Gavarnie in the Pyrenees Mountains

The mountainous Pyrenees region is a soul-inspiring place that offers both natural splendor and spiritual wonders. The region has many sacred pilgrimage sites, as well as rejuvenating spa towns.

The UNESCO-listed Cirque de Gavarnie is nature's version of a cathedral. Forming a semicircle, these awesome 1,700-meter-high limestone rock walls are draped with dramatic waterfalls that tumble down into rushing rivers and peaceful streams.

The entire Hautes-Pyrénées region is part of a national park, the Parc National des Pyrénées , which borders Spain. Within the park are hiking trails through lush forests and verdant valleys.

During wintertime, the French Pyrenees is a popular destination for downhill skiing. Top resorts include Cauterets, Font-Romeu, and the Grand Tourmalet ski area.

Lourdes: France's Biggest Catholic Pilgrimage Site

Nestled in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains, Lourdes is France's most important Catholic pilgrimage site.

Millions of visitors come to Lourdes every year for spiritual inspiration. Some arrive to bathe in the waters in hopes of miracle cures. To the faithful, Lourdes is known for the 70 validated miracles that have occurred here.

The main pilgrimage sites, the Grotto (where Saint Bernadette received her divine visions), and the Basilique Notre-Dame du Rosaire are surrounded by a serene woodland alongside a tranquil babbling brook.

Marian Processions take place every evening at 9pm from April through October. The procession of hundreds of pilgrims holding candles is a breathtaking sight to behold.

Outdoor seating at a

An enticing destination for gourmands to visit, Lyon is at the heart of French gastronomy. Lyonnais cuisine is renowned for its delicious regional specialties such as quenelles (fish dumplings served in a creamy sauce), steak, Bresse chicken with morels, sausages, and salads.

Tourists can choose from an incredible selection of restaurants. For casual everyday dining, the "Bouchons Lyonnais" (traditional bistros) allow visitors to sample the authentic local cuisine while enjoying an inviting, cozy ambience.

A top destination for fine dining, the Auberge du Pont de Collonges was helmed by famous chef Paul Bocuse for decades. Today this legendary gastronomic establishment with two Michelin stars has changed its name to Restaurant Paul Bocuse . The restaurant carries on the legacy of Paul Bocuse by continuing to serve his signature dishes.

Besides its gourmet delights, Lyon is rich in cultural heritage . The city's four historic districts (representing 500 hectares) are designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site . Among the many historic attractions are ancient Roman ruins, atmospheric medieval quarters, and elegant Renaissance houses.

Lyon's Musée des Beaux-Arts is second only to Paris' Louvre Museum in its wealth of artistic treasures. The museum contains an outstanding assortment of European paintings from the 14th to 20th centuries, including masterpieces by Véronèse, Rubens, Delacroix, Renoir, Monet, and Picasso.

Aerial view Evian-Les-Bains

For those seeking a rejuvenating getaway, the Belle Époque spa towns in the French Alps region, such as the lakeside resorts of Aix-les-Bains and Evian-les-Bains , deliver the ultimate relaxing vacation experience at pampering thermal spas and upscale hotels.

The Pyrenees region is prized for its pristine fresh-water streams and rejuvenating spa towns. During the 19th century, the area's thermal spa resorts such as Cauterets and Luz-Saint-Sauveur attracted a silk-stocking clientele, who came to soak in the healing mineral waters.

Set in a verdant valley, Bagnères-de-Bigorre is home to the top spa resort of the Hautes-Pyrénées region. The town's thermal spa was inaugurated in 1823 by Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte , the daughter of Marie-Antoinette.

In an elegant marble-faced 19th-century building, Les Grands Thermes offers thermal baths filled with certified mineral waters that are said to cure various health conditions. Five-day retreats with lodging are available.


The rural area of Gascony and the city of Toulouse exude the sultry charm of southern France.

Sunny and slow-paced, Gascony (Le Gers) has a traditional rural character that seems untouched by modernity. The rolling hills are blanketed with a patchwork of small farms and dotted with quiet country villages and ancient castles.

Steeped in history dating back to the 13th century, Toulouse is known as " The Pink City " because of its distinctive red-brick architecture. These buildings reflect the sunlight in a rosy-toned hue.

While ambling the pleasant town squares and basking on outdoor café terraces in Toulouse, visitors soak up the laid-back vibe of this beautiful and balmy city.

The UNESCO-listed Canal du Midi runs through Toulouse and flows all the way to the Mediterranean port of Sète near Marseille. The tree-shaded path along the canal is popular for leisurely strolls and cycling.

Wild horses in the Camargue

The Parc Régional de Camargue , just 16 kilometers from Arles in Provence , is a place where visitors can take a breath of fresh air and enjoy unspoiled natural scenery. Marshlands, meadows, salt flats, and pastures blanket the landscape.

In this pristine UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserve (around 100,000 hectares of protected wetlands), wild white horses roam free, and pink flamingoes thrive.

The nature reserve is home to over 300 bird species, which makes it a paradise for bird-watching. Other famous fauna include the native Camargue Bulls, which are raised for use in bullfighting.

Fishing boats in Bastia, Corsica

The island of Corsica has a rugged and raw beauty, seen in its dramatic coastal landscapes, pristine forests, and snowcapped mountains. The island is fringed with beautiful beaches, quiet bays, attractive fishing ports, and lively seaside cities, while the inland hillsides are crowned with ancient villages where time seems to stand still.

Sun-worshipping beach lovers and outdoorsy and sporty types (including hard-core hikers) are drawn to the island's incomparable nature sites. The 1,000-kilometer shoreline offers crystal-clear waters that make it a paradise for snorkeling and scuba diving.

instagram logo

More on France

France Travel Guide

Book Your 2025 France Trip Today ✨ See available tours

  • Favourites 0


10 interesting and fun facts about France

With its world-famous cuisine, picturesque villages, sweeping vineyards and influential culture, there's no wonder why France  is one of the most popular destinations in the world! Here are some interesting and fun facts about the nation of France. 

cheese plate - emmanuel lefevre

Emmanuel Lefèvre

Emmanuel is part of our travel consultant team. His love for France has taken him on thrilling adventures across the country, from its top to its southernmost corners, either by train or on his trusty bicycle.

Share this post

Add to favourites, interested in visiting france, have a look at our recommended tours, fun facts about france.

Numerous intriguing facts await those considering a visit to France! Within this article, we've curated a compilation of our top 10 favorite fun facts about the country.

France is known as "L'Hexagone" ⬡

French gastronomy is recognised as a UNESCO cultural heritage

The  French consume around 25,000 tons of snails each year

The French consume around 40 litres of wine per person per year

In France you can eat a different cheese every single day of the year

It's illegal to throw out or burn food that is perfectly edible  

Putting a baguette upside down is unlucky

Croissants were actually invented in Austria  

The French railway is the second largest in Europe  

In 1910, a law forbade couples to kiss in train stations  

Interested in visiting France? Explore some popular tours to France .

1. France is known as "L'Hexagone" ⬡

Because of its shape, France is also known as the Hexagone, and the French often use this nickname when talking about their country. In fact, the shape of France can be drawn in a six-sided shape, with which children learn to draw their own country from an early age at school. From north to south and from west to east, France is about 1000 km long, with a diameter of 1000 km.

Related: Explore all corners of the Hexagone on a Grand tour of France


2. French gastronomy is recognised as a UNESCO cultural heritage

France is famous for its gastronomy. Snails, beef bourguignon, coq au vin, tarte Tatin, wines, cheeses and many other exquisite dishes are well worth trying. This is why, in 2010, French gastronomy was added to the list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO.


3. The French consume around 25,000 tons of snails each year 

France is famous for its snails, also called escargots. The love of these slithery creatures remains a great mystery to the rest of the world, but the French love them! They eat about 25,000 tonnes of snails a year, or about 6.5 snails per person per year, usually cooked in garlic butter, chicken stock or wine.

France - Escargots - Maria Orlova, Pexels.jpg

4. The French consume around 40 litres of wine per person per year 

Our dear french friends also like their wines. On average, they drink about 40 litres of wine per year per person. This means that in the whole country, about 26.5 million litres of wine are consumed per year. The figures have decreased though and continue to do so as they have been advised to consume less wine by the health authorities.

France  - Wine - Elle Hughes, Unsplash.jpg

5. In France you can eat a different cheese every single day of the year

France produces more than 1600 different kinds of cheese. Many different types are produced such as soft, blue-veined, hard cheeses etc. Many are protected by strict regional labels and are a source of pride for the regions. As for the wine, the French are very fond of their dairy product and are therefore the most cheese-eating population in the world!


6. It's illegal to throw out or burn food that is perfectly edible

Since 2016, it has been forbidden to throw away food that is still edible. The rule was introduced to prevent food waste by making it more difficult to destruct edibles. In a country that loves food so much and is known for its gastronomy, this is not a world shocking law. However, should you choose to throw food away or burn food that is perfectly edible, you could find yourself in big trouble with the law. 


7. Putting a baguette upside down is unlucky 

This superstition probably dates back to medieval times. At that time, executions were still numerous, so the executioner did not have time to pass by the bakery before working. The baker would hold back a piece of bread by putting it upside down on the shelves of his bakery. For this reason, putting a baguette upside down is associated with death and misfortune.


8. Croissants were actually invented in Austria

Indeed, croissants are a Viennese style of pastry, which of course refers to the Austrian city of Vienna known as the birthplace of croissants, it comes in various shapes and sizes, The ancestor of the modern croissant was called the kipferl, which dates back to the 13th century.

France - Croissants - Pexels, Pixabay.jpg

9. The French railway is the second largest in Europe 

With a total length of 29,000, the French railway network is the second largest in Europe (behind Germany) and the ninth biggest in the world. It is not surprising that their busiest station, Paris Gare du Nord, receives more than 214 million passengers per year. France was one of the world’s first countries with high-speed technology. In 1981 the TGV high-speed rail was introduced by the SNCF, the state-owned train company.

France - TGV Railway - Erich Westendarp, Pixabay.jpg

10. In 1910, a law forbade couples to kiss in train stations

In 1910, a law was introduced in France prohibiting kissing in railway stations, especially on the platforms, to avoid delays and overcrowded stations. However, it has never been possible to find out what the penalties were for breaking these rules or how long this law was in use. Nowadays, there is no law anymore that forbids kissing in the train stations of France.


By Authentic Europe - Specialist in tours to Europe / Jul 13 2022

Popular france tours.

tourism in france facts

Autumn offer

tourism in france facts

Join Our Newsletter

Be the first to know. sign up for insights.


France Facts


Written by Alleah

Modified & Updated: 23 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith

  • French Cuisine Facts

France facts

France is a known tourist destination across the world , especially for those who are into romantic places. Its beautiful chateaus, towers, and architectures make the country a perfect place to explore new things while meeting new people. More than their love for wine and cheese, this incredible country has a very rich culture and history that will make you fall in love with it over and over again. Join us as we explore these France facts like never before!

  • France has almost 551,000 sq km in land area. 
  •  Around 88% of the total population in France speak French, with the rest speaking indigenous dialects. 
  • As of 2019, there are an estimated 66.99 million people in France. 
  • France is 126% larger than the United Kingdom. 
  • France’s capital, Paris, is home to 2.148 million people with 105.40 km sq in land area.
  • France’s national motto is “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity”.
  • Académie Française is a group in France that aims to preserve the French language. It started in 1634 and runs until today.
  • The first film ever produced and shown publicly was in 1895 by Louis and Auguste Lumiere who are from France.
  • Same-sex marriage is legal in France since 2013. 
  • Mont Black is the highest mountain in Europe found in France, 
  • Paris, France’s Louvre Museum is the world’s most visited museum. 
  • The busiest railway station in all of Europe is in Paris Gare du Nord which is in France.
  • France held the 2010 UNESCO World Heritage Status in Gastronomy. 
  • France is home to the world’s influential thinkers and writers. 
  • The French celebrate April Fool’s Day with paper fish stuck on their backs.
  • France is the most-visited country in the world. 
  • Due to the six-sided shape of the country, it’s also called the l’hexagone or “The Hexagon”.
  • Camoflague was first used and introduced by the French Army in 1915 during World War I.
  • France started the initiative to donate unsold food from supermarkets and restaurants to charities- the rest of the world followed right after.
  • Radio stations in France get charged if they do not stream at least 40% music of French origin.

France Facts Infographics

France Facts Infographics

French people value their sleep.

Compared to the rest of the world, the average person in France sleeps an average of 8.8 hours. While most people from rich and progressing countries sleep for only 5-6 hours a day, the typical French citizen enjoys bedtime without hitting the snooze button.

You can marry dead people in France.

One of the least known France facts is that in French law, there are cases where you can marry a person even after their death . The country simply requires proof that the dead had a legitimate intention to marry when they were alive. After this is confirmed, the French President will then approve the marriage.

The first face and heart transplant in the world took place in France.

French surgeons performed the first face transplant in 2005 while the first heart transplant was in 2013 at Paris’ Georges Pompidou Hospital. The device mimics real contractions of the heart and runs via batteries that are 3 times more the heart’s weight. 

The shortest reign of a king in France lasted only 20 minutes. 

In July 1830, Louis-Antonie, who was the last Dauphin, became the King of France after his father’s abdication. However, he ended up abdicating himself in no less than 20 minutes. How’s that for crazy France facts?

France is a country of inventors.

We should thank French scientists and inventors for a lot of things we use today. The Braille System, a writing and reading system for the blind, was created by Louis Braille. The stethoscope was invented by Rene Laennec, while Alexandre- Ferdinand Godefroy holds the honor of making the first hairdryer. Meanwhile, the Montgolfier brothers are credited for the first hot air balloon flights.

France was the 14th country in the world to support the union of same-sex partners.

France’s 24th p resident , Francois Holland, signed the bill for same-sex marriage in 2013. This made France Europe’s 9th country to ever legalize the law. Not all of the French population were happy about the decision and thousands protested in the streets to defend their “family values”.

Wines in France are extremely expensive.

Currently, France holds the record for selling a single lot of wine for the highest price. France secured the record in 2014 after selling a bottle of DRC Romanee-Conti wine in Hong Kong for €1.45 M. With the selling price, a glass of this wine would retail for €1,619.

France hosts the biggest cycle race in the world.

Tour de France is the greatest cycle race in the world, with the first event held in July 1903. Since then, France held the competition in July, running for 23 days straight each year. Annually, cyclists would compete on being the first to finish the 2,000 mi race around France. How’s that for cool France facts?

France produces at least 1,200 cheese varieties in a year.

The French are devoted to their love for cheese. For them, it is an ancient form of art that dates back to 500AD. With this, France produces tonnes of cheese in the billions all year round.

cheese, france facts

A 10-second recording in France was the oldest human voice recorded.

The oldest existing recording of a human voice dates back to April 9, 1860. Recorded by French inventor Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville using a phonautograph, the audio featured the song Au Clair de la Lune. To this day, the 10-second audio clip remains the oldest recorded human voice in history. Definitely one of the creepiest France facts to date.

The French regularly consume snails.

As a country known for its fine cooking , you may be surprised that escargot or snails make up a big part of French cuisine . In total, France consumes around 30,000 tonnes of snails in a year. Their common French delicacy is snails served with butter, garlic, and parsley.

Snails in France need to have their own train tickets.

One of the more interesting France facts is that the country requires train tickets for snails. Snail owners who smuggle their pets or supply of snails would be subject to hefty fines once caught. 

The longest book in the world is French.

A French writer, Marcel Proust, published the longest book in the world called Remembrance of Things in the Past or A la recherche du temps perdu has over 3,000 pages. It has hundreds of thousands of plots and strands. In 1913, the book’s first volume got published.

France has a high percentage of early retirement.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an organization that aims to make better policies for its partner countries. Out of all the OECD countries, France ranks 12th among countries whose workers retire young.

In France, males have an average retiring age of 59.7, while women usually retire at 60. French citizens can claim their state pension as early as 62 years old, which is the world’s lowest age of retirement.

France is the European Union's second-largest population.

Next to Germany , France holds second of the largest population covering at least 13% of the EU. It has the highest rate of birth in 2014, too.

France is Western Europe's largest country.

Aside from serving as the gateway to Europe’s Southern and Northern regions, France is also Western Europe’s largest country. It has lengthy borders touching Belgium , Germany, Spain, the Pyrenees Mountains , and the Atlantic Ocean.

France was part of the Roman Empire from 58 BC to 476  AD.

From 700-500 BC, the Celtic Gauls arrived in France. However, Julius Caesar defeated them, making France a part of the Roman Empire. Throughout this period, kings ruled for many centuries until the French Revolution in Bastille in 1789. Now, France officially functions as a democratic republic.

castle, france facts

France has many famous structures.

France is not only home to the greatest writers, inventors, and thinkers. The country also prides itself in many iconic landmarks such as the world-famous Eiffel Tower, Montmartre, Notre Dame , Louvre, the River Seine, and the Arc de Triomphe . In 2016 alone, France had 82.6 million visitors all across the world – which is 7 million more tourists than Spain and the US.

France uses the most time zones of any country in the world.

Since they hold territories in many parts of the world, France has 12 official time zones. While the mainland territory of France in Europe only uses one time zone, their other territories all over the continent span 12 different time zones. These areas include Martinique, Reunion och New Caledonia, French Polynesia, French Guiana, and Guadeloupe. Definitely one of the most interesting France facts to date.

A French inventor first developed the camera in cell phones.

In 1997, French local Philippe Kahn invented the first cell phone camera. Intending to document his wife’s birth, Kahn created a software and hardware interface with his Motorola StarTAC flip phone, a Casio QV-10 digital camera, and a laptop. Truly, one of the most amazing France facts!

Death by guillotine was France's official method of execution.

The French guillotine was designed to behead those with death sentences in 1792. The device utilizes an upright and tall frame with the blade on top. Luckily in 1981, this form of death penalty got abolished.

Impotence was a crime in France.

In 17th century France, men may be charged with a crime if found unable to get an erection. If a husband exhibits impotence, their wife can file a divorce. If the husband objects, the issue can only be settled when they have intercourse in front of a judge. Luckily for men, the law was abolished in 1677. Truly one of the most obscene France facts that we have heard today.

Public transportation was first introduced in France.

Before it was a part of our everyday life, Blaise Pascal launched the very first forms of public transport in the 1660s. The earliest form of public transport feature horse -carried wagons with fixed times of departure. 

Women were once not allowed to wear pants in Paris.

We have already established that France had some of the most bizarre laws, and this one does not disappoint. Namely, a law in 19th century France prohibited women from wearing pants around Paris. If caught, offending women would be charged with a fine. Surprisingly, the law had not been not abolished until the year 2013. How’s that for shocking France facts?

France also holds the record for the world's oldest person.

French local Jeanne Calment was the world’s oldest person to have ever lived on Earth. When she died on August 4, 1997, she was 122 years and 164 days old. To date, she still holds the record for the oldest person to have lived.

France is the world's biggest producer of wine.

Good news for wine lovers out there: France produces at least 50 billion hectoliters of wine every year. In fact, there’s actually a yearly competition between Italy and France to see which country produces the highest number. But so far, France always came on top. Now, that’s an amazing example of France facts.

Marseille is France's oldest city.

Marseille is the oldest and second-largest city in France. It was founded in 600 BC. One of the interesting things about this place is that they get to have 300 days of warmth and sunshine in a year! Talk about sunny France facts.

marseille, france facts

The French flag is also tricolor.

The country’s flag features a simple design of 3 colors — blue, white, red. France’s current flag was first used in 1794 during the French revolution. Since then, it became France’s official flag.

Paris was originally called Lutetia Parisiorum.

Paris used to be a Roman town called Lutetia of the Parisii . Due to its baths, temples, theaters, amphitheaters, and forums, this area was considered among the wealthier parts of town. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, it was then called Parisius, eventually becoming Paris.

The French word "Salut" is both a goodbye and a hello.

It’s universally agreed upon that the French language is quite complicated. For example, the word salut can both be used as a goodbye and a greeting. If you visit France, your interactions with the locals may begin and end with the same words.

The Eiffel Tower in Paris was once unappreciated.

Named after the tower engineer Gustave Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower received a lot of backlash and bad comments when it was first constructed. Many locals deemed the tower as very ugly. Eventually, the tower received international attention and is now one of the most visited places on Earth .

Not everyone in France speaks French.

Although the majority of the French population speak the official language, some of those who live near the borders of Italy and France speak very fluent Italian. This is one of the France facts that make us appreciate the country more.

French is a Romance language.

Do you remember being asked what languages you think are the most romantic? In reality, there is what we call Romance languages. In fact, French is one of the romance languages in the world, along with Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian and Italian. Of all these languages, their common denominator is having Latin origins.

Hitler wanted to tear down the Eiffel Tower.

During World War 2, Germany occupied areas of France. Their leader, Adolf Hitler, asked to have the Eiffel Tower destroyed. His orders were never completed and to have their revenge, French fighters cut off the elevator cables so that Hitler and his men would be forced to walk and climb the stairs to reach the top.

eiffel words, france facts

France is not a French word.

France was originally called Gaul, but after the Gauls were destroyed by the Germanic barbarian tribes, “Frank” was used in its place. The term translates to “free”. Eventually, it evolved into France and became its name since then.

The youngest president in France swore into office when he was 39 years old.

In 2017, Emmanuel Macron became the youngest French President at 39 years old. He was also the youngest head of state since the reign of Napoleon.

The Muslims of Paris protected French Jews during the World War.

During the occupation of Nazis in France, a mosque in Paris protected the French Jews by handing out identifications that say they are Muslims. A French Film titled Les Hommes Libres (Free Men) shares the story of how a mosque rector helped French civilians. Witness the heartfelt story for yourself here . 

France had the first automobile license plates.

The French were always innovative and forward-looking. With this, they introduced the license plate concept in 1893 for cars and automobiles, which the rest of the world then adapted.

France has the lowest obesity rates in Europe.

Although France is the culinary mecca of the world, France has the lowest obesity rates in Europe. It’s the lowest among the OECD countries with an obesity ratio of one in 10 French citizens. However, reports show that overweight rates may increase by 10% within the next 10 years.

Taxi drivers in France needed to pay a huge sum to get their license.

One of the pricey France facts is that a taxi driver needed to pay at least €200,000 in order to get their license. The French government implemented this to prevent license holders from leasing their licenses to taxi company. However, the policy has slowly changed since October 2014. From then on, the government issued renewable but non-transferable licenses.

France bags the world's most Nobel Prizes in the field of literature.

With 17 Nobel Laureates in Literature, France has the most number of winnings. They’re also one of the top countries to have awards in Physiology, Medicine, and Physics. IT’s no wonder why France always tops the world’s most inventors and thinkers.

You cannot call it a legitimate Champagne if it's not from Champagne, France.

In France and other European countries, it’s illegal to call sparkling wines champagne if it does not come from France’s Champagne region. If it’s produced anywhere in the world other than Champagne, it’s best to just call it sparkling wine.

champagne, france facts

France houses several UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Courtesy will determine the cost of your cup of coffee in france..

Of all values, France places emphasis on courtesy. A coffee shop in Southeastern France named Grenoble serves its regular cup of joe. But here’s a twist: The cost would depend on how the customer ordered it. Were you polite, or were you rude? The cost is up to you. Truly one of the France facts to take note of if you plan on visiting someday.

The French saw potatoes as harmful.

Between the years 1748 to 1772, potatoes were illegal in France. The French parliament implemented this law based on their belief that potatoes cause leprosy. As strange as it may seem, the French also believed potatoes were poisonous.

Thankfully, the law got abolished and the French people then had the liberty to make mashed potatoes and other potato treats.

France's oldest bridge is called "New Bridge".

France’s Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge standing across the Seine River in Paris. It wouldn’t be such a novel fact if the name didn’t literally translate to New Bridge. The Pont Neuf’s construction started in 1578 and finished in 1607. 

The French Government awards medals to those who raise their kids well.

The Médaille de la Famille française (Medal of the French Family) is an award given by the French Government to citizens and individuals who managed to raise and support children successfully. The medal comes in 3 kinds of gold , silver, and bronze.

The French government awards gold medals for citizens that raise eight or more kids, silver for six to seven, and bronze for those with four to five. The decree was passed in 1920, and reformed on 1982. Talk about inspiring France facts.

France exports luxury items.

One of the more commonly-known France facts is how France ranks among the leading exporters of luxury items in the world. With companies like Cartier, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel to boast, it’s no surprise that the country stays on top when it comes to designer brands.

Paris is the "City of Light".

Most tourists believe that one of the most romantic places on Earth is the Eiffel Tower in Paris. We cannot discredit that because aside from that, Paris is the City of Light (La Ville Lumière). It has survived a lot through the years and its motto testifies to that. “She may be tossed by the waves, but she does not sink”. It’s also called the “City of Light” because it had a major role in the Age of Enlightenment and it’s also the very first city in Europe to use gas for street lights, monuments, and boulevards.

paris, france facts

It's illegal to kiss on train platforms in France.

Although it’s known as a country of romance, a law officially forbids kissing on train platforms in France. Passed in 1910, the government implemented the law to prevent delays in service and avoid overcrowded stations. That said, it’s best to kiss your loved ones goodbye before the train arrives. Don’t the crazy laws make these France facts even more interesting?

France banned unlimited ketchup and salad dressings.

The French are health-conscious individuals and the government fully supports it. In line with this is the banning of unlimited salad dressing, ketchup, and mayonnaise in school cafeterias. Although ketchup is still served with meals, the government puts it under heavy regulation to protect the health of the children.

A city in France requires you to be polite.

They say that bonjour is the most important French word, and courtesy is everything. As a result, Lhéraule obliges its citizens to be polite when they enter the Town Hall unless you are ready to get tossed out. The law got decreed in 2011 when a civilian harassed and disrespected a public servant.

It's okay to drink alcohol at work in France.

Offices in France allow alcoholic beverages for employees. Beers , wines, pear cider, and hydromel (fermented honey drink) are totally okay. The only rule is that you drink only in moderation as your bosses may send you home if you have had too much. Better save those bottles of alcohol for the weekend!

In France, you can write your check on any kind of regular paper including toilet paper.

Under the Uniform Commercial Code, you can issue a valid check using regular paper ; however, do not expect other banks to use it aside from the drawee bank that accepted it. Since it’s a special paper, it does not have a special code for automated processing so it will not run in any reader or sorter. Maybe it’s best to just follow your bank’s format of a check.

The French Foreign Legion can give you a new identity.

If you are someone who has had a haunted past from anywhere in the world, you can join the French Foreign Legion. In 1831, the organization accepted almost anyone- misfits and criminals alike. But through the years, the screening process has been more thorough. Aside from tough mental and physical requirements, you need to know how to speak French.

If you do not pass, be ready for the looming removal. To this day, the FFL still exists with the training now focused on military skills.

You can get a French Citizenship by joining the French Foreign Legion.

If you get wounded during a fight or a war defending France, you are automatically qualified to apply for a French Citizenship. By this point, the government already considers you “French by spilled blood, “worthy of becoming a citizen of the country.

Lake Geneva is France's largest lake.

Lake Geneva straddles the borders of France and Switzerland with over 583 sq km and it’s one of Europe’s largest freshwater lakes. Generally, it’s located in Western Switzerland and shares the Haute Savoie in France.

lake geneva

There are 40,000 chateaus in France.

France has over 40,000 abandoned chateaus. With the change in the Renaissance period, chateaus were no longer a symbol of stronghold but rather a place of leisure and work . It has also become a way for the rich to show their power and money. Many of these go unattended and sold at bargain prices for the exorbitant costs in maintenance and renovation .

France follows the Napoleonic Code as a basis for their legal system.

The Napoleonic code came into the picture after the French Revolution. The French Consulate had the civil code in 1804. The new and improved legal code gave France a set of laws to follow post-revolution. Everything that concerns colonial affairs, property, individual, and family rights are written there.

Paris does not have major road signs.

Due to being the capital of France, Paris experiences heavy traffic in its major cities. Despite this, you would not find a single “Stop”, “Do Not Enter”, or “No Left Turn” sign in the whole country.

Throughout the country, you would only find a one-stop sign in the exit of a private building company. According to Paris police, there was no need to place any stop signs as priority is given to the right within the city. Doesn’t that top the most incredible France facts today?

There was a plan to remove the Eiffel Tower

Paris is best-known for its Eiffel Tower. However, the famed structure was originally just a part of the Centennial Exposition in France in the year 1889. Originally, the French government planned to remove it after 20 years. However, they eventually opted against it since it gained so much popularity.

Many countries celebrate independence from France.

Out of all the countries that observe Independence Day, at least 26 of these celebrate their liberty and freedom from France. Throughout history, France has held the national reserves of many places including African countries.

Some of the countries that celebrate their Independence Day from France are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo, and Djibouti.

France has national emblems.

The French people liked to portray their values in symbols and art . Their national emblem or the national animal is a Gallic Rooster. They used this emblem in the French Revolution. It represented the French people as Gallus means rooster or “Coq” and Gallus for the “Gaul”.                                                                                                                            

Cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris is France's most visited monument.

Contrary to popular belief, Paris’ Eiffel Tower is not the most visited monument in the city. Instead, the title goes to the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Paris. In a year, the monument has at least 13 million visitors.  The cathedral sits on the Island of the City and is not far from the Metro Station of the 4th arrondissement.

America's Statue of Liberty was a gift from France.

Countries around the world strive to live in peace and alliances. In order to commemorate the alliance of the United States and France during the American Revolution, the French people gave America the Statue of Liberty . It landed on American soil on June 17, 1885.  The statue was a symbol of hope for many of the French liberals that democracy will always prevail and that justice and freedom for all peoples.

statue of liberty

France is a leader in the perfume industry.

The French industry of perfume is nothing but legendary. Most of their brands and products are in demand across many countries. It is in demand for over 100 countries where sales are skyrocketing. In fact, 30% of all the perfume products marketed in the world are from France. Some of the most famous brands include Chanel, Estée Lauder, and Christian Dior. Now, that’s one of the most fragrant France facts today.

France has some of the largest forests.

In the year 1860, the French have discovered noticeable deterioration of the conditions of some of the forested areas in the countries. Since then, they began to do unprecedented programs of planting and reforestation to help save it. To date, the forests in France cover at least 28% of the total land area in the country.

France takes conservation very seriously.

Climate change, human destruction, and many external factors cause the extinction of many of the country’s abundant species. The French have put in a lot of effort to support conservation causes in the country and their programs of reintroducing species that are in danger of extinction. Some of these animals that benefited these programs are brown bears, storks, wolves. hawks, and lynx.

The French education system is extremely consistent.

Since the year 2000, France has had a literacy rate of 99%. This means that those aged 15 and above can read and write. Not only that, but the population can also understand simple and short statements that they need in their everyday life. The French people do not take education lightly and the numbers speak for the efforts that they have made.

French workers enjoy 5 weeks of vacation.

Most of the countries in the world work a 9-5 job with at least 40 hours of work in a week. If you live in France, their full-time workers have an official work of 35 hours in a week while part-timers for an average of 23.30 hours. Work is still on Monday to Fridays but the schedule depends on the company.  

Apart from that, workers have a guaranteed 5 weeks of vacation in a year. French employees will have the leisure of sunny outings and lazy days in bed. They also observe public holidays. Definitely, one of the coolest France facts.

The Loire is France's longest river.

The longest river found in France is the Loire River. It rises in the Southern Massif Central and flows West and South for at least 1,020 km or 634 miles to the Atlantic Ocean. It enters through the South of the Brittany Peninsula. Since the river is prone to regular heavy flooding, many dikes line its banks.

Europe's oldest university is in France.

The University of Paris or the “La Sorbonne” is Europe’s first established university. It was in Paris between the 1660’s to the 1250’s.  King Philip II sponsored the university but operations stopped after the French Revolution which was around 1793 and 1896. To date, the university is 763 years old.

France's currency is in Euros.

Just like all the countries covered by the European Union, France’s unit of currency is in euro. They have 5,10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros in notes and bills and coins are also available in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50.

euros, france facts

Louis XIV played a big role in France.

King Louis XIV ruled over France from 1643 to 1715. He ruled the French people in the great palace of Versailles. His leadership allowed the monarchy in France to have absolute and peak power and this made France obtain dominant power all over Europe .

To this day, his reign was the greatest in the age of the art and culture of French.  Even to this day, Louis XIV is still the symbol of the established monarchy in the classical age.

France boasts of world-class cheese products.

Many regions in France are famous for their cheese production. France has the perfect vegetation and climate which makes it a great avenue to concoct unique flavors. Because of this, France produces at least 1,600 types of cheese that the French people enjoy. It’s a world export, too.   

The most famous kind of cheese is the Camembert and it comes from Normandy, Camembert. It is everywhere due to its consistency and softness. It’s one of the yummier sides of France’s facts.

The Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire in 2019.

Notre-Dame de Paris or the “Our Lady of Paris” is a cathedral in the medieval area in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. It’s a French Gothic building and architecture that is a treasure in France. It’s also one of the famous Paris symbols and at least 13 million pilgrims and visitors visit the cathedral every year.

On April 15, 2019, the cathedral tragically caught fire. According to prosecutors, the fire might have been caused by an electrical fault or a cigarette fire.

Cannes is home to France's rich and famous.

You might have heard about the yearly Cannes Festival. Throughout France, the city of Cannes is known among the famous and the rich, with several conferences, luxury hotels, and restaurants.

Among these features, Cannes is known for the commune in the department of Alpes-Maritimes that hosts the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Cannes Film Festival, and the Midem.

Former French colonies become immigrants in the country.

Immigrants that sett;e in France usually come from their colonized countries. This expanded the cultural diversity of France. The country has the third-largest immigrant percentage in the world next to Canada and the United States.

france facts

France is Europe's leading agricultural sector.

The moderate climate seems to be working for the growth of plants and vegetables. As a result of their abundant and usable amount of farmland, they are Europe’s leading country when it comes to agriculture and farming. Meanwhile, there are at least 700,000 active farms in France.

France has the highest life expectancy rate. 

One of the least known France facts is that compared to the rest of the world, France has the highest life expectancy rate. In France, men can live for an average of 78 years while women for 84 years. On a global scale, men live on an average of 69 years old while women at 74. This means that compared to other countries on the planet , France has the healthiest people.

Was this page helpful?

Our commitment to delivering trustworthy and engaging content is at the heart of what we do. Each fact on our site is contributed by real users like you, bringing a wealth of diverse insights and information. To ensure the highest standards of accuracy and reliability, our dedicated editors meticulously review each submission. This process guarantees that the facts we share are not only fascinating but also credible. Trust in our commitment to quality and authenticity as you explore and learn with us.

Share this Fact:

Touropia Logo

Touropia Travel

Discover the World

29 Top Tourist Attractions in France

By Jamie Gambetta · Last updated on May 22, 2024

When the mind ponders a trip to France, Paris quickly makes an appearance. Its storied streets are the very definition of romanticism. But beyond the Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Élysées is a sprawling country with the rugged Normandy coast on one side and the French Riviera on the other.

Day trips from Paris to Champagne and Versailles are easy to add to the list of things to do in France. But one needs to make use of the country’s efficient (and fun) train network to venture beyond to such memorable towns as Strasbourg, Lyon, Cannes, and St. Tropez.

Beyond glamour, the turquoise Mediterranean and ancient old towns, the French Alps harbor spectacular scenery where skiing, hiking, and climbing come to the fore.

But perhaps the biggest tourist attractions in France are found among its rich culture with food and wines that are among the most celebrated in the world.

29. Chateau de Chenonceau

Chateau de Chenonceau

The Loire Valley is home to countless spectacular castles. At the top of your list should be the Chateau de Chenonceau. Dating back to the early 1500s, the castle has seen multiple iterations, each an improvement on the last.

Over time, the bridge spanning the Cher grows in length. But as it crosses the water, the arch bridge becomes the pillar that holds up an expanded castle. Showcasing a mix of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, the Chateau de Chenonceau reflects off the water below, offering brilliant photography.

Travelers can make their way into the castle where they’ll find the ornate chapel, the King Louis XIV Drawing Room, and bedrooms fixed with period furniture. Beyond the castle are expansive gardens that stretch into the French countryside.

28. Le Puy-en-Velay

Le Puy-en-Velay

Thousands of years ago, volcanic eruptions carved the landscapes surrounding Le Puy-en-Velay. Today, dormant volcanoes and basalt spires are within constant sight. Yet, perhaps what brings Le Puy the most notoriety is its position along the Camino de Santiago.

For many, the 800km journey along the Way of St. James begins right here. The town has a storied connection to the pilgrimage and religion. One of the first sights you’ll see as you make your way into Le Puy-en-Velay is Our Lady of France statue which showcases the Virgin Mary. It’s almost 23 meters tall.

Beyond the Camino, visitors can experience the town’s traditional lacemaking industry.

27. Epernay Champagne

Epernay Champagne

Alongside Reims, Epernay is the best town to visit in Champagne to experience the local delicacy. A simple day trip from Paris , Epernay, is a wonderful place to sample a wide range of world class champagne. After all, if it’s not from around here, then it isn’t really champagne.

Surrounded by rolling green hills, Epernay is the home of the famous Moet & Chandon. Arguably the world’s most sampled champagne, Moet & Chandon offer a range of tours where you can wander through the cellars and try their beloved drink within a sightly tasting room.

After visiting a range of other champagne houses, make your way to Hautvillers, where you can enjoy expansive views across multiple vineyards.

26. Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Festival

Along the Cote d’Azur, Cannes is lined with high-end hotels, glamorous boutiques, fine dining and plenty of sunshine. At the center of its fame is the Cannes Film Festival, which attracts the biggest movie stars from across the globe.

Although Cannes is a year-round destination with plenty of things to do, the film festival is one to mark on your calendar. Held in May, it’s a chaotic yet rewarding time to visit the stunning seaside town. You’ll find stars dotting the red carpet outside of the Lumiere Theater at the Palais. The 18 on-site auditoriums host many of the year’s top films.

Sans tux or ball gown and a hefty check, the best way to see movies (for free!) is the Cinema de la Plage, an open-air cinema steps from the Med.

25. Val d’Isere

Val d'Isere

Alongside Chamonix, Val d’Isere is a destination not to be missed among snowbirds. This world-class skiing and snowboarding destination offers guaranteed snow cover, fun for beginners through to expert, and thrilling après-ski.

On the edge of the Tarentaise Valley, minutes from the Italian border, reaching the high alpine village is a trek. A forty-minute drive up from the valley is immediately rewarded with an exciting destination that harbors enough history to rival its sea-level compatriots.

Beyond the chalets, chairlifts take you up into the heavens. The run awaits, yet you’ll want to take in the spectacular views of the surrounding Alps. Once the day is done, change boots and experience Val d’Isere’s vibrant nightlife.

24. Nîmes Roman Monuments

Nîmes Roman Monuments

Around 2,000 years ago, the Romans made their mark upon the town of Nimes in southern France. Today, it’s the most Roman city to exist outside Italy. At the heart of this are the Nimes Roman Monuments that showcase an incredible city at its peak.

Once a major regional capital, Nîmes was where engineers and architects pushed boundaries to create the Pont du Gard, the Maison Carree, Temple of Diana and the Arena of Nîmes.

The Maison Carrée was built around the same time as the birth of Christ. It translates to square house and, incredibly, is almost completely intact. The Arena of Nîmes is another highlight. Similar in age to the Roman Coliseum, it remains in use today.

23. Camargue


Beneath the city of Arles in southern France, the Parc Regional de Camargue is a protected landscape. France is teeming with old town and glamorous coastal enclaves. This sets Camargue apart.

UNESCO has listed this as a Biosphere Reserve, a place where wild horse saunter along the golden sands, at times venturing into the Med. Elsewhere, the park’s famous pink flamingos go about their daily lives.

There are over 300 bird species, both local and migrating within Camargue. This makes the reserve one of the best spots for birdwatching in France. Beyond hiking, you can explore on riverboats, kayaks, or horseback.

22. Vieux Lyon

Vieux Lyon

On the precipice of Fourviere Hill, Vieux Lyon ( Lyon Old Town ) is home to vibrant facades, old communes, churches, and business all reached along paved streets that have been worn smooth by the passage of time.

Thanks to a movement in the 1960s, the Vieux Lyon has remained much as it was going back hundreds of years. It has also been revitalized to the point it’s as prominent a part of local life as the popular Presqu’ile.

Now a World Heritage Site, Vieux Lyon’s three districts are waiting for your footsteps. Within them are three distinct churches, each with an important chapter in Middle Age religion.

21. Bonifacio


Known as the City of Cliffs, Bonifacio is one of France’s best-kept secrets. Clinging to the edge of white limestone cliffs, this seaside town along the Corsica coast is relaxing to visit, even at the height of summer.

Back from the cliffs that fall quickly to the kaleidoscopic Mediterranean Sea, is a medieval town that was once a part of Sardinia, an Italian island. Volcanic activity put an end to the connection leading to waters that are now littered with infamous pirate ships.

The vibe of the oft-chaotic sea is left behind once you step inside the coastline’s oldest town. The fortified Bonifacio is an ancient citadel, with colorful homes, and a culture that is a fascinating mix of Italian and French.

20. Millau Bridge

Millau Bridge

Touring around southern France is on the bucket list of many travelers. As such, it’s nice to know that such a journey can take you across one of the most incredible bridges in the world. The Millau Bridge stands at 343 meters tall, a world record. Add on stunning panoramas and you’ll quickly be changing course.

The Millau Bridge stretches across the stunning Tarn Valley, connecting a duo of limestone plateaus otherwise known as the Causse du Larzac and Causse Rouge across 2.5 kilometers. The cable-stayed bridge is as visually appealing as the surrounding landscape featuring white towers that often poke through the clouds above.

19. Ètretat Cliffs

Étretat Cliffs

Along the hauntingly beautiful Normandy coast, stands the towering white rock known as the Étretat Cliffs. Looking out across the English Channel, the cliffs are home to two famous natural arches that jut into the water, showcasing both its strength and fragility.

The white cliffs are encased in thick greenery, providing a beautiful breadth of colors on a sunny day. It’s easy to scale up the Étretat Cliffs to enjoy vast views of the coast and the ghost white sand below. But it’s from the beach that you can best appreciate the scale of the cliffs and the arches which were initially carved by a rolling river.

18. Reims Cathedral

Reims Cathedral

For eight centuries until 1825, French kings received their coronation within the walls of the Notre Dame de Reims Cathedral. All up there were 29 such kings, which include the famous names of Francois I and Louis XIV. Such was the esteem of the cathedral’s coronations that led Joan of Arc to its doorstep in 1429.

Today, the Reims Cathedral is a brilliant example of High Gothic architecture and is one of the most stunning attractions in France. Despite enduring heavy artillery fire and bombings in the Second World War, it has returned to its former glory. Its front facade features more statues than any equivalent on each and comes with a trio of towering entrances, known as portals.

Like other French cathedrals, Reims also has an enormous rose window which leads to the Gallery of Kings.

17. Strasbourg Old Town

Strasbourg Old Town

In northeast France, Strasbourg is the capital of the Grand Est Region. Minutes from the German border, Strasbourg’s entire Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Encased in picturesque half-timbered houses and the canals of Petite France, it’s a destination that oozes history.

The wider Strasbourg is a town driven by youthfulness, but its historic interior tells the tale of a city that has lived under many kingdoms and within multiple nations. The narrow passageways act as a maze, guiding you by the pastel homes half covered in wood, past medieval churches and onto vibrant town squares where locals gather in droves on the cafe patios.

Within the Old Town are a number of unique quarters, such as La Petite France and the Quartier Krutenau, each with their own story to tell.

16. Promenade des Anglais

Promenade des Anglais

Set along Nice ’s spectacular waterfront, the Promenade des Anglais spans seven kilometers. It splits Nice’s beloved Baroque palaces, historic museums, and high-end shops with its pebbly shores home to scantily clad travelers soaking up as many rays as possible.

While there’s much to do on the city-side of the promenade, it’s along this path that you can best participate in local culture. The Promenade des Anglais boasts a series of cafe terraces, offering gorgeous views of the Med. Festivals are consistently set upon the smooth path and in the center is the Jardin Albert 1er, one of Nice’s original parks.

After a lengthy stroll, the Promenade delivers you to the doorstep of Nice’s memorable Old Town.

See also: Best Neighborhoods & Hotels in Nice


In southeastern France, Annecy is surrounded by giant snow-capped peaks. But little time is spent marveling at the mountains as Lake Annecy steals the show. Known as the Venice of the Alps, Annecy features pastel-colored homes, narrow alleys, and an abundance of old churches. All set upon the waterfront or the town’s series of slim canals.

Between the memorable man-made creations is a town that preserves its natural beauty. Almost 30,000 trees are spread across the locale, a historic town that refuses to grow much beyond its original design. Here, pedestrians are king and getting about on foot is the best way to admire not just the buildings, but each garden and the alpine lake that reflects the surrounding mountains.

14. Bordeaux Wine Regions

Bordeaux Wine Regions

Broken up into 38 sub-regions, the Bordeaux Wine Regions are not to be missed. Though enjoying a good wine is one of the most popular things to do in France, you may not enjoy sampling the local tipple in Bordeaux . If that’s the case, you’ll have no problem falling in love with the countryside home to such quaint towns as Pomerol, Graves, and Saint-Emilion.

Set between each charming village is a collection of 7,000 vineyards split by the Gironde Estuary. Mesmerizing views are found around each passing corner, whether it be the lush rolling hills or the sight of the spire rising above a town as old as time.

The Gironde Estuary separates the region along the Left and Right banks. The former is famous for its cabernet sauvignon, while the latter provides sumptuous merlot and white wines.

13. Palace of Fontainebleau

Palace of Fontainebleau

It was here, within the walls of the Palace of Fontainebleau, that Napoleon abdicated the throne and was exiled to Elba. Unsurprisingly, the palace, which dates back to the 1130s, is lathered in history.

Older than the Louvre and the Palace of Versailles, Fontainebleau was once the home of Marie Antoinette, among other famous (and infamous) royal characters. Inside, you’ll find the horseshoe staircase which was created for Louis XIII and where Napoleon saluted his guards for the last time.

Decorated hallways lead you to the renowned Throne Room where Napoleon once sat. It’s the only one of its kind in France to remain exactly as it was. Each part of Fontainebleau has much to say. However, as most travelers choose Versailles, this palace remains easy to explore.

12. Pont du Gard

Pont du Gard

In the south of France, the River Gardon snakes its way through the surrounded landscapes. As it reaches the Occitanie region, it passes under Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct that was built in the heart of the first century.

The aqueduct, which at its height was as long as 50km, is one of the most impressive Roman creations. Built by the ancient Nemausus, a Roman colony, the three-story creation supplied the city of Nimes with water from Uzes. Pont du Gard was pivotal, as it allowed the water to cross over the River Gardon.

In 1985, it joined the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, allowing the preservation and celebration of this historic and vital work of art.

11. Carcassonne


Once you set foot within the town limits of Carcassonne, you’ll understand how it came to inspire the strategic board game that harbors the same name. The ancient town has been impeccably preserved over the centuries, so each step along the cobblestone streets feels like another step back in time.

Among the lush green trees are fortified walls eclipsed by towers that sparkle under the French sun. Also known as La Cite, it’s a fascinating journey back to the Middle Ages, where the streets guide you to historic sites such as the Chateau Comtal, constructed in the 1100s, and the 52 towers that belong to the Basilique Saint-Nazaire et Sainte-Celse.

10. Chartres Cathedral

Chartres Cathedral

The story of France’s connection with religion is as old as time, as ancient even as the medieval Gothic architecture strewn across the provinces. Each is a prominent reminder of culture within the middle ages and the endurance of spirituality. Standing at the forefront of this is the Chartres Cathedral.

For over 800 years, the spectacular cathedral, with its twin spires, has inspired the masses and provided a sanctuary. The UNESCO-listed cathedral features impressive stained-glass windows that you can admire from several blocks away.

Two windows are particularly beloved. They are the Blue Virgin and the Passion windows that are almost as old as the structure itself. They both come to life during the annual light show.

9. Dune of Pyla

Dune of Pyla

An hour southwest of Bordeaux, on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean is a soaring sand dune. The Dune of Pyla is the tallest in Europe and grows further eastward every year. On its edges is a vast forest creating eye-catching contrast that only enhances the dune’s beauty.

The Dune of Pyla stretches along the Arcachon Bay for three kilometers, holding off the pounding Atlantic surf while thousands of trees rustle on the other side. At its highest, the Dune of Pyla stands 100 meters above sea level, providing epic west-facing sunsets as the sun dances along the glistening sands.

Whatever the time of day, a quick stroll down to the Arcachon Bay for a refreshing dip will be a traveler’s reward.

8. Palais des Papes

Palais des Papes

Within the medieval city of Avignon , is the equally medieval Palais des Papes. The remarkable gothic architecture dates back to the 14th century and is the largest of its kind on earth. From then until now, it’s been a constant symbol of Christendom.

At first glimpse, you’ll notice just how imposing the fortress is. Yet it’s equally luxurious within the fortified walls. A visit to the gothic palace will provide you with a look into the immaculate staterooms, ornate chapels lined with historic decor and private apartments where a series of nine popes resided in the 1300s.

Within, you’ll spot countless works of art while the onsite museum dives into the story behind Palais de Papes. Before departing, admire the views of Avignon from the terraces.

7. Chateau de Chambord

Chateau de Chambord

Set in the romantic Loire Valley, the Chateau de Chambord is a veritable masterpiece that owes its origins to the French Renaissance. Ordered under the rule of King Francois I in the early 1500s, the chateau features over 400 rooms, 282 fireplaces (naturally) and even 83 staircases.

It’s enough to fill the stats book, yet Francois I, who had planned to use it as a hunting escape, spent only a handful of nights staying within its four walls. It was maintained over the centuries, yet recently it received rejuvenation. The colorful surrounding gardens are now just as much a reason to visit.

The Chateau de Chambord is just one of the numerous incredible castles within the valley. Others include the neoclassical Chateau de Cheverny and the Chateau de Chenonceau. 

6. Gorge du Verdon

Gorge du Verdon

One of Europe’s largest canyon, Gorge du Verdon, brings together the strength and might of ancient rock and the turquoise beauty of the Mediterranean. Set between Marseilles and Nice, north of the French Riviera , Gorge du Verdon was carved by glaciers creating cliffs as tall as 700 meters that soar about the milky blue water illuminated by glacial till.

It’s the Grand Canyon, but with a river far more relaxing. The canyon walls are littered with lush vegetation, seeming holding on for dear life as the canyons rise sharply upwards and sometimes over the Verdon River.

Beginning at the Pont du Galetas bridge in the Provence, you can kayak along the river admiring the sheer scale of the canyon with each stroke.

5. Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel

Surrounded by the chilling waters of the English Channel, along France’s memorable Normandy coast, is the UNESCO-listed Mont Saint-Michel. It’s the castle of dreams known as the Pyramid of the Seas that rises out of the encompassing landscape to provide one of the world’s great vistas.

The castle’s story begins in the 11th century, its awe-inspiring architecture home to Abbey Church (Abbaye du Mont Saint-Michel) draws pilgrims in large numbers a 1000 years later. From the beginning, pilgrims crossed the surrounding bay by foot, a tradition that has not lost steam.

Viewing the castle from a distance will only inspire you to come closer. The aforementioned church is the main attraction, boasting inspiring high-vaulted choirs, ancient naves and striking gothic spires.

4. Palace of Versailles

Palace of Versailles

France has no shortage of groundbreaking architecture. Perhaps the most prominent is the Palace of Versailles. Originally constructed in the 1600s as a hunting lodge for King Louis XIII, such was the beauty of the building that the country’s royal court was moved from Paris to Versailles, up until the infamous French Revolution.

Under an hour from downtown Paris, the Palace of Versailles continues to capture the imaginations of all visitors into the 21st century and remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. Within is five centuries of untouched history and stunning works of art splashed across the ornate walls.

Yet the palace itself, which boasts an incredible 2,300 rooms is the true work of art. The highlight of the palace is the Hall of Mirrors featuring over 350 mirrors that reflect the surrounding gardens.

3. Chamonix


A year-round destination, Chamonix is one of the more famous alpine villages in Europe. Nestled in the foothills of France’s tallest mountain, Mont Blanc, Chamonix captures all that is good about nature and humanity.

The picture-perfect village provides access to a lively local culture where locals and travelers mix within the storied buildings from alpine churches to rustic auberges. But steps from the quaint cobblestone streets bring you to the marvels of the French Alps, from world class skiing and hiking to towering rock walls made for fearless climbers.

One could indulge in only the human or natural aspect of Chamonix and still walk away with an unforgettable experience. Regardless, a mouthwatering, traditional cuisine awaits every evening.

2. St Tropez

St Tropez

In the 1950s, St Tropez was a simple fishing village harboring an eye-catching secret. As tourists ventured elsewhere, locals went about their daily lives surrounded by striking beauty. Upon the release of the film And God Created Woman, the coastal town was forever changed.

Today, it’s a gorgeous hot spot along the famed French Riviera. In the distance the Alps rise across southeastern France, but for visitors’ eyes are firmly fixed on the arresting architecture and the glistening sea.

Eyes dart from spot to spot with the possibility of spotting a celebrity in a town that has now become a hallmark for glitz and glamour. Elsewhere, the calm sea breeze laps the sand as windsurfers and sailors play on the water mere yards from million-dollar yachts.

1. Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Such is the modern-day popularity of the Eiffel Tower. It’s hard to imagine that it was once despised among local Parisians. Built in 1889, the famous tower which harbors the bulk of Paris ’ romantic sensibilities has come a long way.

No trip to France’s biggest city is complete without a closeup view of the Eiffel Tower’s 8,000 parts. Once you’ve admired the marvelous architecture, wander up the staircase to restaurants across multiple levels, plus wondrous views of the city itself.

Within the tower, you can enjoy fine dining at the Michelin starred Le Jules Verne. Later, venture to the highest level almost 280 meters (905ft). From the jaw-dropping height, appreciate the beauty of the River Seine, Notre Dame, and the Trocadero.

Map of Tourist Attractions in France

Map of Tourist Attractions in France

Share this post:

Underrated Destinations in France

10 Most Underrated Destinations in France

tourism in france facts

12 Most Charming Small Towns in France

tourism in france facts

17 Best Cities to Visit in France

tourism in france facts

5 Most Beautiful Chateaus in France

2 Weeks in France Itinerary Map

How to Spend 2 Weeks in France: DIY Itinerary

tourism in france facts

10 Most Beautiful Lakes in France

tourism in france facts

10 Most Beautiful Castles in France

tourism in france facts

8 Most Awesome Places to Stay in France

Regions of France

18 Most Beautiful Regions of France

tourism in france facts

12 Most Beautiful Churches in France

Reader interactions.

' src=

January 25, 2024 at 5:57 am

Brilliant list! I’ve been to most of these places and enjoyed them massively. Calanques National Park in Marseille is another one that isn’t featured. There are so many picturesque hikes and fun activities for a busy day out.

' src=

November 28, 2016 at 10:14 am

Very good list but Lyon is missing! There is so much to discover…Vieux Lyon, Traboules, Fouviere and its Basilica but mostly lyonnais cuisine as Lyon is the Capital of Gastronomy.

' src=

July 14, 2016 at 11:34 pm

Pity that Lourdes is not mention….especially in these times of such unrest….many prayers have gone forth from that Holy Place…much unity and peace has gone forth from there to the world. Our Lady of Lourdes pray for us.

' src=

February 2, 2016 at 3:18 am

You’ve listed two of my favourite places in France! First is the Gorges du Verdon. I doubt if there’s anywhere in France that’s more spectacular. The second is the Chateau de Chambord. Certainly my most favourite Chateau in the Loire if not France!

' src=

January 25, 2016 at 10:34 am

I think it’s a “pity” that Val d’Isère always comes up as the best ski resort in France. Ok maybe it is not usurped, but many others “genuine” and wonderful villages deserve to be visited in the Alps.

' src=

June 23, 2015 at 3:10 am

I ve been to all of that places and if i could go back to one of them i would choose the Gorges du Verdon. Clearly one of the most beautiful canyon in the world. Perfect place for canoeing, swimming, and it’s not really far from the french riviera if your staying there for holiday (around 1 hour by car !)

' src=

January 16, 2015 at 5:07 am

Have been up the Dune du Pyla near Arcachon – remarkable ! but take food and drink with you! Have been next to the Eiffel Tower and have skied in Les Contamines but only see Mont Blanc from there – does that count ?!? Yes as someone says surely the Louvre as I think it had something like 7 or 8 million visitors last year!

' src=

August 7, 2014 at 6:37 am

I love these places. It makes me feel like I want to visit France and explore these places. This site is soooo useful for my project,wayyyy tooo useful, haha…..Thanks to the writer or blogger of this site/page. Thanks so much !

' src=

March 19, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Thanks for the tips. I´m planning a 20 day tour in France next month and certainly I´ll use your informations. I want to include Bordeaux and some other places. Mercy.

' src=

March 5, 2014 at 11:36 am

This website really helped with my French homework, it made it quick, easy and enjoyable and I loved learning these facts on these stunning attractions!

' src=

February 12, 2014 at 1:43 pm

This really helped me out to giv a wonderfull project on tourism in college thanks to one who wrote tis

' src=

January 30, 2013 at 4:34 am

The Pyrenees National Park is just one of the most outstanding areas of natural beauty to be found on this planet!

' src=

January 14, 2012 at 8:49 am

Hi this is really helping me on my speech. thnx to whoever wrote this

' src=

October 12, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Would love to visit the Chamonix – mountain biking is something I recently took up and this place just seems perfect………

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

11 things only the locals know in France (and now you do too)

Anna Richards

May 7, 2024 • 6 min read


France is an incredible place to explore, especially when you know these do's and don'ts Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

One kiss or two? Anna Richards, one of the authors of the new Lonely Planet France guidebook , shares her tips to avoid some common French faux pas.

Even if you’ve never been to France before, it’s easy to think you know it — Parisian rom-com scenes are six to a dozen. On screen and real life are very different, though. There’s an unflattering reputation that the French are unfriendly, but in my experience, you’re probably just making a cultural faux pas. I’ve lived here for three years: here’s what you need to know before visiting France, and how not to get shouted at on the Metro.

1. Pay attention to tourist laws in France

EU residents can come and go as they please, but non-EU nationals (including those holding British and American passports) have the right to stay in France for up to 90 days within the period of 180 days, visa free (your passport is stamped upon arrival and exit). You’ll need three months of validity left on your passport from your intended departure date. The full list of visa requirements according to country can be found here .

Be aware of import and export rules. That stinky, unpasteurized cheese might seem like the perfect way to cover up the stench of your week-old socks, but if you’re leaving the EU, it’s not allowed. 

2. Keep ID on hand

You don’t have to always have your passport, but you should carry photo ID as the police have the right to demand it (although it’s rare). You’ll need your passport for international border arrivals, and your hotel or hostel will often ask for it at check-in too. If you don’t have it on your person, it’s a good idea to have a scan to hand.

3. France isn't paperless – yet

France has not embraced contactless card payments with the same zealousness as the UK, and it’s not possible to pay with contactless in some pretty surprising places, including Paris Metro. The Metro in other cities in the country (including Lyon) does accept contactless card payments, but Paris still resolutely uses paper tickets or a rechargeable Navigo card. In rural France, I recommend still carrying some cash. Even if you can pay by card in most places, there’s often a minimum spend, which I’ve known to be as high as €40.

A camper drives along a road in the French Pyrenees

4. Driving can be pricey 

Driving can be eye-wateringly expensive, particularly on the motorways, where péages (tolls) often cost the same or more than your fuel. Calculate the cost of your journey on ViaMichelin to see whether it makes sense to avoid toll roads and consider sharing your ride on BlablaCar (a bus and carpooling platform) to mitigate the cost of your journey.

5. You'll need to navigate varying opening hours

Get wise to the opening hours, particularly in rural areas. From Sunday–Tuesday, a lot of shops, restaurants and attractions are closed. Smaller shops and the post office often close over lunch, regardless of the day of the week. Watch out for seasonality, too, as the French holiday en masse. At the start and end of the school holidays, roads (particularly those to the south) grind to a standstill. Outside of travel season, you may find a lot of accommodation, restaurants and attractions to be closed, regardless of the day of the week. 

Woman sitting on scooter embracing friend

6. Say your hellos and goodbyes

La bise (kiss) was threatened during Covid-19, but it's firmly back. How many kisses to give depends on the area of the country. In most of France, two kisses are the norm, but in parts of the south and south west it’s three, and in certain departments, like the Yonne and Aube, four. People who still prefer to socially distance may offer you a fist bump or an air kiss instead.

Say bonjour  or bonsoir  (hello or good evening) to everyone, and bonne journée  or bonne soirée  (have a good day/evening) as you leave. Don’t think you can slip away at a party either. It’s generally expected to greet, and say goodbye to, everyone at a gathering. Yes, this can be time-consuming.

7. Skip the athleisure wear

Don’t wander around in your gym kit. The French tend to dress chic, and spending the day in sportswear isn’t a thing. Many French people won’t even bother with sports clothes for a cycle commute, unless they’re hardcore cyclists in head-to-toe Lycra and clip shoes.

A waiter attends a tourist couple on the terrace of a bistro in the Le Panier neighborhood, one of the liveliest and most touristic districts of Marseille

8. Learn French table etiquette

Plates have no place at breakfast, but bowls do. Most people eat their viennoiseries and tartines (bread and jam) directly over the table, and simply clear up the crumbs when they’re finished. A waste if you ask me, because it’s difficult to clean up all the delicious little flakes of croissant that fall, but that’s the way it goes. There’s no crockery for the food, but for drinks, coffee or tea is more often served in a trough-like bowl than a mug.

France has a long list of table rules, and while deviating from them isn’t always frowned upon, it can quickly mark you out as a tourist. It’s rare to see the French eating or having a coffee on the go; they prefer to stop and enjoy what they’re consuming. Lunch is a sit-down affair and never eaten at your desk at work (it’s even explicitly written in the French labour code that employees should leave their desk for lunch). France is officially a secular country, but mealtimes are a religion. Outside of set hours (12-2pm for lunch and 7:30pm-9:30pm for dinner), your chances of being served are slimmer than a ficelle (skinny French baguette).

Drinks come with rules, too. When you "cheers" someone, clink glasses and look them in the eyes as you say santé (health). Don’t cross your arm with anyone else at the table as you clink. Failure to make eye contact, or accidental crossing of arms, is said to result in seven years of bad sex.

9. Pick up a bit of French...

Learn to speak some French – a little effort goes a long way.

10. ...and pay attention to pronouns

Pay attention to your tu and your vous . Both mean "you," but tu is the informal version, reserved for friends, children and casual situations. In professional situations, and if addressing anyone older than you (friends’ grandparents or parents, for example), always use vous , unless they give you permission to do otherwise. You’re less likely to cause offense, and the older generation in particular can be old school about the extra respect attached to vous .

11. Be chill – it's good manners

Lower your voice. One thing that makes visitors stick out like sore thumbs is shouting your conversation, particularly in restaurants. You’ll be thanked for keeping volume to a minimum in a restaurant more than you would be for a generous tip (which is not customary in France, although always appreciated). Have patience in shops and restaurants; service can often seem painfully slow and unhurried, but it’s nothing personal.

Keep planning your trip to France:

See all the heavy hitters with 13 of the best places to visit in France Take to the highways with  7 top road trips to see the best of France Save some dough with  20 ways to see France on a budget Enjoy the views from a train car with  The 8 most spectacular train journeys in France

This article was first published Jul 30, 2022 and updated May 7, 2024.

Explore related stories

tourism in france facts

Jul 8, 2024 • 8 min read

Here’s a break-down of how to best navigate Paris during the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Train viaduct in Morlaix, France.

Jun 26, 2024 • 5 min read

tourism in france facts

Jun 20, 2024 • 6 min read

tourism in france facts

Jun 15, 2024 • 7 min read

Hands of cook in gloves preparing crepe galette, typical of Brittany, France, with ham, cheese and egg on black griddle.

Jun 14, 2024 • 7 min read

tourism in france facts

May 30, 2024 • 6 min read


May 29, 2024 • 4 min read

tourism in france facts

May 14, 2024 • 10 min read

tourism in france facts

May 9, 2024 • 6 min read

tourism in france facts

May 7, 2024 • 5 min read

News for Kids

  • Dominican Republic
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Philippines
  • Puerto Rico
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • 7 Continents
  • Australia/Oceania
  • North America
  • South America
  • Chinese New Year
  • Elections 2024
  • Olympics 2024
  • European Union
  • Trivia & Quizzes
  • Solar System Quiz
  • Travel Reviews
  • Travel Health
  • Travel Links

Competition 2024

  • Winners 2023
  • Winners 2022
  • Winners 2021
  • Winners 2020
  • Winners 2019
  • Request A Correction

France Facts

Interesting facts for kids.

france_header: France Facts: Alsace, Paris, Provence

Here are some interesting France Facts which were chosen and researched by kids especially for kids.

Flag of France

  • Population : 68 million people live in the country (2024)
  • Capital : Paris metropolitan area with 11 million inhabitants
  • Name : R é publique Française (French Republic)
  • Motto : ' Libert é , Egalit é , Fraternit é '  (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity)
  • Government : Democracy
  • Language : French
  • Religion : mainly Christians  65%, Muslims 8%
  • Currency : 1 Euro = 100 cents, until 2002 French Franc
  • History : In 700 - 500 BC the Celtic Gauls arrive in France. In 58 - 50 BC Roman Emperor Julius Caesar defeats the Gauls and France becomes part of the Roman Empire until 476 AD. French was ruled by kings for many centuries until the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution in 1789. Then Napoleon becomes Emperor of the French Republic until he is sent to exile.

French music note

  • Flag : blue, white and red. The French refer to the flag as 'Tricolore' (French for 'three colours')
  • Anthem : La Marseillaise

France Map | France Geography

France is the largest country in Western Europe. The capital city of France is Paris.

On the map you can see France and the French island Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea.

France Map

France shares land borders with eight countries.  The bordering countries of France are Belgium ,  Germany ,  Luxembourg, Switzerland , Italy , Monaco, Andorra and Spain .

The longest border is shared with Spain and the shortest with Monaco.

Continental France is slightly smaller than the state of Texas in the USA.

It takes a one-hour-flight from London/England to reach Paris via airplane and a flight from Paris to New York/USA takes about 5.5 hours.

France is known for its stunning landmarks and attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe , Sacre Coeur Cathedral or the Loire castles.

france paris sacre coeur

France is a country also known for its 'haute couture' designers and fashion houses such as Dior, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, and the French car manufacturers Renault, Peugeot and Citroën.

france citroen lois go be shutterstock

France Geography | Superlatives of France

  • The Loire is the longest river of France with about 1,006 km/ 625 miles. The river passes through the cities Orleans and Nantes.
  • The Pyrenées are the longest mountain range in France. The mountain range is located in the South of France and forms a natural border between Spain and France. The Pyrenées are 430 km/ 270 miles long.

French Pyrenees Pic du Midi

  • The highest mountain in France is the Mont Blanc, that is 4,810 m/ 15,780 ft high and stands at the border between France and  Italy . This is the second highest mountain in Europe after Mount Elbrus.

Relief map of France

France is generally a flat country with coastal plains and rolling hills in the north and west and high mountains in the south and south eastern parts.

Mainland France, also referred to as Metropolitan France, is divided into 27 regions and these into 101 departments. Of the 101 departments there are also 5 ROM (' régions d’outre mer ' meaning overseas regions) that belong to France.

The 5 overseas departments of France are:

  • French Guyana in South America
  • Guadeloupe, an island in the Caribbean
  • Martinique, an island in the Caribbean,
  • Mayotte, an island in the Indian Ocean in Africa
  • La Réunion , another Indian Ocean island in Africa - click here to read more about Reunion

Reunion island is part of France

France Facts Tourist Attractions in France

  • Paris : The capital city houses the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Montmartre, Arc de Triomphe, the river Seine, the Louvre Museum and many other great attractions. The Eiffel Tower in the centre of Paris is often referred to as the "Iron Lady" and is 324 m high/ 1,063 ft. Built in two years by Gustave Eiffel and his collaborators for the Universal Exhibition of Paris in 1889, the tower has become the symbol of the French capital.

Paris Eiffel tower

  • Versailles Palace : Located in the outskirts of Paris, this palace was embellished by several generations of designers. French monarchs from Louis XIV to Louis XVI have lived there. For more than a century, this palace was the model of what a royal residence should be. There is still a lot of gold inside this awe-inspiring "château"

Queens Bedroom at Versailles - image by Gabriela Beres/shutterstock.com

  • Mont Saint Michel : The gothic-style, Benedictine abbey is located in the Normandy. The cathedral has been built on a rocky islet surrounded by powerful tides. 

Mont Saint Michel

  • Pont du Gard : This ancient 50 m high three-level bridge is a technical masterpiece in Occitanie. It was  built shortly before the Christian era to allow the Nîmes aqueduct, nearly 50 km long, to cross the Gardon river. This tall and magnificent bridge is almost a thousand years old!

Pont du Gard

  • Château de Chambord : Built in 1519, Chambord is the largest of the Loire Valley castles and has 440 rooms! There are about 300 castles in the Loire Valley. The origin of most of the Loire Valley castles comes from the Hundred Year-War between France and England. 

Chambord Castle

There are so many more exciting places and landmarks, gorgeous beaches, historic cities and villages, ancient ruins and majestic castles to visit. Among these are:

  • C ô te d’Azur for turquoise blue sea and great beaches
  • Corsica: island in the Mediterranean sea, known for being the birth place of Napoleon
  • French Alps: great for hiking, skiing and snowboarding
  • Provence: region with lavender fields and old historic towns like Avignon
  • Lascaux Caves: for 17,000 years old rock paintings

And here are 10 Attractions in France everybody should know about:

10 Top attractions in France by Kids World Travel Guide

France Facts | French Language

French is the official language in France and it is also the second major language in Europe.

French is one of the  Romance languages. The Romance languages, which include Italian and Spanish, have their origins in  the Latin language. Today, French is the second most studied language after English and spoken by more than 300 million people around the world as first or second language.

Try these five useful expressions in French:

  • bonjour - good day
  • salut - hello
  • merci - thank you
  • je m'appelle ... - my name is....
  • bon appétit! - enjoy your meal!

And here is the French Alphabet. Enjoy!

French alphabet with animals

France Facts | French People

Most of the French people in Metropolitan France (on the European continent) live in cities and urban areas. The three largest cities is France are:

  • Paris: 11 million inhabitants
  • Lyon: 1.7 million inhabitants
  • Marseilles: 1.6 million inhabitants

Lille, Toulouse and Bordeaux each have about 1 million inhabitants.

About 10% of the French people are unemployed and roughly 15% of the population live below the poverty line.

France Facts Famous French People

French has made a lot of the world’s renowned inventions like the creation of the vaccinations and the pasteurization process by Louis Pasteur, the first hair dryer, the hot air balloon and many other useful things. Now, they are building the first prototype of nuclear fusion reactor in France, called ITER (International Thermo-nuclear Engine Reactor) with the collaboration of 35 other countries. 

France is famous for the ' beaux-arts ' (fine arts). The city was and is still home for many artists and great painters, artisans and sculptors.

Eiffel tower Paris

Gustave Eiffel  (1832-1923), a French engineer who designed the famous Eiffel tower in Paris. The Eiffel tower is named after him. He also worked together with Auguste Bartholdi, designer of the Statue of Liberty in New York. 

Famous French painters are:

  • Claude Monet
  • Pierre-Auguste Renoir
  • Edgar Degas
  • Paul Cezanne

Sculpture by Auguste Rodin

and  Auguste Rodin  is certainly one of the most famous French sculptors.

Among the most famous French composers are  Maurice Ravel  (composer of ' Bolero ') and  Georges Bizet  (composer of the opera ' Carmen '). Children all around the world love French literature, like the famous “The Three Musketeers” by  Alexandre Dumas  and “The Little Prince” by  Antoine de Saint-Exupery .

French political leader  Napoleon Bonaparte  (1769-1821) was born on Corsica. He reformed the French laws. He declared himself Emperor of the French in 1804. Napoleon’s army was defeated by the British in the Battle of Waterloo (now in Belgium) in 1815. Napoleon was exiled to the island St. Helena in the South Atlantic where he died in 1821.

The current president of France is  Emmanuel Macron who in 2017 became the youngest president in the history of France, with 39 years of age. Now President Macron is 45 years old. In 2024, there are elections in July.


France Facts | French Food

The French main dishes contain fresh vegetables, meat and cheeses. French cuisine is well known for its freshness and high quality dishes. The French people enjoy their main meal in the evening and this meal often consists of three courses starting with a 'hors d’oeuvre', a starter dish which often is soup or a salad and bread, then the main course and afterwards some cheese or fruit.

French baguettes

The bread you will buy in France in a typical French boulangerie (bakery) is mostly white wheat bread or bread sticks, called baguette .

Make sure to read our separate article on  'Food in France' , but let's quickly tell you some typical French food:

  • Baguette : long thin white bread stick
  • Croque Monsieur : grilled sandwich with ham and cheese. Croque Madame is the more heavy version with ham, cheese and a fried egg on top
  • Escargots : snails cooked in garlic butter are considered a delicacy in France
  • Crêpes : very thin pancakes with sweet or savoury fillings

French crepes

  • Foie Gras : goose liver paté
  • Ratatouille : vegetable stew
  • Pain au chocolat : similar to a croissant filled with chocolate
  • Cancoillotte : this is a liquid creamy French cheese typical for the East of France. It is eaten hot or cold and delicious when added to sausages and potatoes.
  • Macaron : sweet delight with cream filling 

france macarons

Click here to read more about 10 Typical French Dishes

Try to visit a patisserie for the wonderful sweet like cakes like the petit fours or pain au chocolat. Not to forget to eat some pancakes in the many creperies. In Paris, you will find the oldest café or coffee shop in the world which was opened in 1694. It is called ' Le Procope'.

Here is a good picture of a typical boulangerie (bakery) in Paris. You can see the white church of Sacre Coeur in Montmartre in the background.

Boulangerie - French Baker

More France Facts: And here is another unique fact about the French cuisine: Every meal has an "order", thus we begin with the starter followed by a main course, then it's cheese with bread and only after all that, the dessert. 

France Facts | Did you know…?

…the  Tour de France , which is the world’s most famous cycle race, was first held in 1903.

The 111th Tour de France takes place from 29 June until 21 July 2024. This year the participants ride their bikes over 3,497 km/ 2,172 miles from Florence/ Italy to Nice/ France.

tour de France muller denis ssk

The winning bike rider gets to wear a yellow shirt to show that he is the leader of the race.

In 2020, the winner of the Tour de France was 21-year old Tadej Pogačar from Slovenia. He is the second youngest champion of this prestigious cycle race and won the cycle tour again in 2021. In 2022 and 2023, Danish cycle champion Jonas Vinegaard led the race.

Who will be the tour winner in 2024?

Popular Pages

Resources for france facts.

  • Central Intelligence Agency. "France."  CIA WorldFactBook . Last updated 3 July 2024. Last accessed 4 July 2024
  • Institute of Statistics. Homepage. Insee . Last accessed 4 July 2024
  • Estate of Chambord. "Chambord - Presentation Pack.” Chambord.org  3 September 2018. Last accessed 27 January 2023


Many Thanks go to Estelle Lin of EAC School of Languages, and for this article special thanks to the students Augustin Bailly, Julien Thoumy and Anais Erman for their fabulous insights and unique France facts.

We hope you enjoyed reading our France Facts. Please bookmark this page and spread the word. We will add more information about France in the near future.

Picture Credits on France Facts: All Pictures, own and if not otherwise mentioned from sxc.hu and  shutterstock.com

Back from France Facts to Kids-World-Travel-Guide

Competition 2024 is open!

essay competition 2024 poster

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  • Click on the HTML link code below.
  • Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

essay competition 2024

Events & Celebrations

Organisations, games & quizzes, travel tips, competition, recent articles.


France Facts for Kids | Facts about France | France for Kids | Travel

Jul 04, 24 11:46 AM

France Travel Guide | Kids World Travel Guide | France for Kids

Jul 04, 24 09:26 AM

EU facts for kids | European Union Facts for kids | EU for Kids | 2024

Jul 04, 24 08:42 AM

More about France

castles in france

Temperature in Celsius

Temperature in fahrenheit.

tourism in france facts

More about Europe 

tourism in france facts

More about Countries in Europe 


Did yo u  like what yo u read?

tourism in france facts

Like us on Facebook

Kids World Travel Guide

Winning Essays 2020

Kids World Travel Guide essay winners 2020 - Vietnam

Winning Essays 2021

Kids World Travel Guide essay winner 2021 - Only Hope

Winning Essays 2022

Freedom Winner 2022

Winning Essays 2023



Content & links.

Verified by Sur.ly

©Kids-World-Travel-Guide.com 2010-2024 | Created by Regina Gräff and KidsWorldTravels

 All rights reserved | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer

Tutorful Award Best Geography Resource: Kids World Travel Guide

  • Sites and Monuments in Paris
  • Sites and Monuments in France
  • Things to do in Paris
  • Things to do in France
  • Arrondissements
  • Monuments & Landmarks
  • Secret & Offbeat Paris
  • More about Paris...
  • Île de France
  • More Regions of France...
  • Aix-en-Provence
  • More Cities...
  • Castles and Palaces
  • Cathedrals and Churches
  • Gardens and Parks
  • World Heritage Sites
  • Villages of France
  • Autumn / Fall
  • Mardi-Gras / Carnival
  • April Fools' Day
  • Bastille Day
  • All Saints' Day
  • More Holidays and Celebrations...
  • National Anthem
  • Gallic Rooster
  • National Day
  • Motto of France
  • Motto of Paris
  • Coat of Arms
  • French President
  • Le Croissant
  • French Cheese
  • French Wines
  • Christmas Food and Recipes
  • French Nursery Rhymes
  • France geography
  • The Secrets of the Eiffel Tower
  • The Gems of Paris
  • Office desks and chairs
  • Travel suitcases

10 Compelling Reasons to Visit France and Explore its Treasures

Full Width Featured Image With Sidebar

Last Updated:  30 May 2024

At the crossroads of wanderlust, where choices abound among the glamour of American cities, the romance of Italian piazzas, the vivacity of Spanish fiestas, and the allure of British traditions, one name stands resolute: France. Amidst the global symphony of destinations, the European country emerges as a timeless contender, offering a medley of experiences that beckon with compelling reasons to visit France . From the iconic Eiffel Tower to world-class wines, artistic masterpieces, and culinary indulgences, France isn’t just a place – it’s a collage of reasons to visit that we’re about to explore.

In the article below, we’ll journey through ten delightful facets that set France apart. We’ll savour the feast fit for both kings and commoners, wander through history-rich castles, and embrace the art scene that whispers stories of centuries gone by. We’ll find ourselves immersed in the language, experiencing outdoor adventures that quicken the pulse, and discovering villages with names that are a puzzle in themselves.

So, whether you’re teetering on the brink of a travel decision or captivated by the notion of France’s allure, let’s delve into why this country serves up a variety of enticing reasons to visit. Buckle up as we navigate the charm and charisma that define France in captivating and charismatic ways.

10 Reasons to Visit France

Let’s take a stroll from Calais to Perpignan and from Brittany to Alsace as we visit France’s charms:

1. Feast Fit for Kings (and Commoners Too!)

French cuisine is like a masterpiece painted with flavours.

Imagine starting your day with a fresh-from-the-oven croissant or pain au chocolat.

As the sun sets, cosy up to a plate of escargot (yes, those are snails – trust me, they’re tastier than they sound).

And dessert? Crème brûlée with its satisfying crackle and oozing vanilla goodness. Religieuses, éclair, mille-feuilles, and other French pâtisseries are such a delight for the eyes… and the mouth!

As for the cheese, you might discover that your taste buds didn’t even know they had preferences until they met Roquefort , Brie , and Camembert . And yes, you’ll find a favourite baguette .

2. Bonjour, Art Lovers

Step into a realm where canvases hold whispers of centuries gone by and sculptures come to life with a touch of genius. France isn’t just a country; it’s a masterpiece, a living canvas that has inspired and nurtured some of the greatest artists in history.

Imagine strolling through the Louvre , that magnificent palace turned treasure trove of art. The Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile welcomes you here, while the Venus de Milo stands in all her graceful glory.

Then you stumble upon Monet’s Water Lilies at Musée de l’Orangerie – those pastels might soothe your soul.

In Paris, art isn’t just in the museums; it’s in the air you breathe, swirling with inspiration around every corner.

Oh-and Paris is not the only city to visit if you love art. Check out the Musée des Confluences in Lyon, the Unterlinden Museum in Colmar, the Pompidou Centre in Metz, and the MUCEM in Marseille!

However, art in France isn’t confined to museum walls. It dances through the streets, from Montmartre ‘s bohemian lanes to the Seine banks , where artists set up their easels and bring the city to life on their canvases.

Picture yourself in the vibrant town of Arles, where Vincent van Gogh found solace and inspiration, capturing the magic of Provençal light in his masterpieces.

Art here isn’t a static display; it’s a living, breathing entity that welcomes you to immerse yourself in the stories, the colours, and the emotions artists have poured onto their canvases.

So, whether you’re an art history aficionado or just someone who appreciates a well-painted picture, embarking on a tour to Europe , specifically France’s art scene, beckons with open arms, inviting you to witness the magic that continues to shape the world of creativity.

3. History Buff’s Playground

In France, history isn’t confined to dusty textbooks. It’s a living tapestry woven into the very fabric of the country.

Castles that seem pulled from the pages of fantasy novels populate the French countryside .

Imagine wandering through the echoing halls of the Château of Chambord , a true masterpiece of Renaissance architecture that whispers tales of kings and queens, conspiracies and grand celebrations. Each creak of the floorboards seems to carry echoes of the past, and you might find yourself half-expecting a courtier to emerge from behind a velvet curtain.

And it’s not just grand castles that tell stories – stroll through the narrow lanes of medieval towns like Carcassonne , where towering fortifications transport you straight into a knight’s tale.

Or visit the Normandy beaches, where the haunting remains of World War II remind us of the sacrifices made for freedom.

But history in France isn’t just a lesson in dates and battles. It’s a tangible experience that takes you by the hand and leads you through centuries of triumphs and tribulations.

It’s the feeling of awe as you stand before the Bayeux Tapestry, an 11th-century masterpiece that unfolds the story of the Norman Conquest like a medieval comic strip.

Whether you’re an avid history reader or simply someone who enjoys stepping back in time, France’s historical treasures offer an invitation to step into the shoes of those who came before us, hear their stories and immerse yourself in a living history that’s as captivating as it is educational.

If you love all things medieval, check out the country towns of Dinan (Brittany), Mont-Saint-Michel (Normandy), Colmar (Alsace), Gordes (Provence) and Rocamadour (Quercy).

4. C’est la Mode: Paris Fashion Week?

That’s just the beginning. France oozes style so effortlessly that even the street vendors seem runway-ready.

You’ll be torn between admiring the intricate designs at haute couture boutiques and keeping a low profile, lest you get scouted as the next big thing.

Embrace the stripes, embrace the red lips, and embrace the confidence of knowing you’re treading the same cobblestones where style legends like Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent once roamed.

And who knows, after a visit, you might leave with a Hermes suitcase full of new clothes and a dash of that enviable French style tucked into your fashion sense.

5. Wine Not?

Grab a glass – or a bottle – of wine and toast to the picturesque vineyards of France.

Bordeaux ‘s deep reds, Burgundy’s velvety Pinot Noirs, and Champagne’s effervescent celebrations make for a wine lover’s paradise. Without forgetting the fine wines of Alsace , Savoie, Loire and Provence!

And the good news is, you don’t need to be a sommelier to appreciate the art of wine sipping. In France, wine is as much about enjoyment as it is about expertise. A simple “Santé!” (meaning “Cheers!”) will suffice, and you’ll find that the locals are more than happy to share their passion with you.

You guessed it: in France, wine isn’t just a beverage. It’s a masterpiece crafted from sun-soaked vineyards, ancient traditions, and an unquenchable passion for perfection.

The vineyards are like time capsules, their roots digging deep into history. Imagine standing amidst the rolling hills of a French wine region, the air heavy with the scent of grapes, as you’re transported to a realm where terroir isn’t just a word – it’s the soul of the wine itself.

So, whether you’re sipping your way through a wine tasting in a rustic cellar or savouring a glass of red at a charming café, France’s wine regions offer an invitation to raise your glass and immerse yourself in the artistry of winemaking – a journey that’s as rich and complex as the very wines you’ll be relishing.

6. Language Acrobatics

Prepare to embark on a linguistic journey that’s charming and comical.

In France, language isn’t just a means of communication. It’s an art form that might have you tripping over words and inadvertently creating your version of French fusion.

Picture yourself standing at a bustling café, gazing at the menu with excitement and apprehension. You muster the courage to order “croissant” with a confidence that wavers as the waiter responds with a knowing smile – perhaps it’s the accent, or the subtle mispronunciation leaves you slightly embarrassed.

But here’s the secret: the French appreciate the effort.

A heartfelt “merci” or a sheepish “pardon my French” can break the ice and often result in a genuine smile.

And then there’s the beauty of navigating the streets, asking for directions, and listening to the lyrical rhythm of French conversations around you.

The language becomes more than words. It’s a melody that dances through the air, a symphony of vowels and consonants that carries the history and culture of the country.

So, even if your attempts at mastering French involve some linguistic acrobatics and unintentional word gymnastics, embrace it with open arms.

After all, a well-timed “bonjour” can open doors, and even if your French isn’t flawless, your enthusiasm for trying will undoubtedly make you a charming visitor in the eyes of the locals.

Want to read in French? Check out our other blog entirely written in French. Mon Grand-Est focuses on the eastern regions of France, from the Ardennes to Provence via Alsace, Lorraine, Burgundy and Savoie.

7. Outdoor Adventures

France isn’t just about sipping wine in a picturesque château – it’s also about pumping your adrenaline.

Pack your hiking boots, fasten your helmet, and prepare for an outdoor escapade that will make your heart race and your senses come alive.

Picture yourself standing atop the rugged peaks of the French Alps , the crisp air filling your lungs as you take in panoramic vistas that seem straight out of a postcard.

Whether you’re a seasoned mountaineer or a casual wanderer, the trails that crisscross these mountains offer an array of challenges and rewards. 

If the sea beckons, venture to the captivating coastlines – surfers can catch waves in Biarritz, while kayakers can navigate the mesmerizing Gorges du Verdon, often called the “Grand Canyon of Europe,” one of the top kayaking trips in the world, according to Outdoorplay .

Cycling enthusiasts can pedal through the rolling landscapes of Provence or conquer the famous hairpin bends of the Tour de France .

France’s natural beauty is a canvas on which you can paint your adventure, whether skiing in the winter , paragliding in the summer, or simply hiking through meadows that burst with wildflowers.

So, for those who crave the thrill of the outdoors, France is your playground, and every corner of this picturesque country promises an experience that will leave you with stories to recount and memories to cherish.

8. Quaint Villages, Unpronounceable Names

Prepare to step into a storybook world where cobblestone streets wind through villages that seem frozen in time.

France isn’t just a land of bustling cities; it’s also home to enchanting villages that might leave you tongue-tied as you attempt to utter their names.

Imagine walking through a village straight out of a fairy tale like Kaysersberg , with its half-timbered houses plucked from a children’s storybook.

Or imagine strolling through Yvoire , a town that resembles a watercolour painting brought to life, with its pastel-hued buildings reflecting in Lake Geneva that borders its castle.

But here’s the catch: these villages, as idyllic as they seem, often have names that require a linguistic puzzle-solving approach.

With its famous gardens that once inspired Monet, Giverny is pronounced “jee-vehr-nee,” while Eygalières, a Provençal gem, takes on the enigmatic “ay-gah-lee-air.”

And navigating Les Baux-de-Provence might make you feel like you’re decoding a secret message.

But fear not, for these names are like hidden keys that unlock the treasure chests of France’s most charming corners.

So, while you might struggle with pronunciation, the magic of these villages isn’t lost in translation.

Each lane you walk, each café you visit, and each breathtaking view you encounter is a testament to the uniqueness that defines these picturesque pockets of French paradise.

France is home to hundreds of beautiful villages, some listed by the association “Les Plus Beaux Villages de France” (France’s most beautiful villages). Check out Châteauneuf-en-Auxois , Riquewihr , Lourmarin or Castelnaud-la-Chapelle .

Just be prepared to put your tongue through some linguistic gymnastics, as the names of these villages often sound like someone dropped a bunch of Scrabble tiles. Do you know how to pronounce Rennes , Reims and Rouen correctly?

9. Riviera Reverie

Close your eyes and imagine a coastline glitters like a diamond string under the Mediterranean sun. The French Riviera , or Côte d’Azur, isn’t just a destination; it’s a glamorous daydream inviting you to bask in luxury.

Picture yourself strolling along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, where the sea breeze promises endless adventures. Celebrities might whiz by in their convertibles, but you’re too busy absorbing the ambience – it’s like stepping onto a movie set where the soundtrack is a symphony of waves.

And then there’s Cannes, where the glamour reaches its zenith during the iconic film festival. You might not have a red carpet to strut on, but the stunning beaches and palm-lined boulevards are ready to embrace your starry aspirations.

Monaco , the tiny principality that glitters like a jewel, beckons with its opulence and extravagance. Here, you can try your luck at the famous casino or indulge in being part of an elite club, if only for a moment.

And who could forget Saint-Tropez, the charming coastal town that oozes elegance and chic? The yachts gleam in the harbour, and the cobbled streets exude an irresistible charm that has captivated artists and jet-setters for decades.

But the magic of the Riviera isn’t just in its exclusivity. It’s in the way the cerulean sea shimmers under the golden sun, in the taste of fresh seafood by the waterfront, and in the memory of those moments when time seemed to stand still as you gazed at a horizon that stretched beyond imagination.

So, whether you’re rubbing elbows with the rich and famous or simply lounging on the sands of paradise, the French Riviera, with its stars and yachts, its culture and coastline, invites you to experience a reverie that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, leaving you with memories that are as precious as the jewels that adorn this sun-kissed coastline.

10. Eiffel Tower Selfies

Get ready to strike a pose because, in France, every corner seems to whisper, “Snap a selfie!”

Starting with the grand dame herself – the Eiffel Tower . It’s not just a tower; it’s a symbol that speaks of dreams realized and love celebrated. As you snap a selfie against its iron lattice backdrop, you’re joining a tradition that dates back decades.

But the Eiffel Tower isn’t the only selfie star in France. Head to Mont Saint-Michel , where the medieval abbey seems to rise from the mist like a fairytale castle. Capture a selfie as the tides ebb and flow around this architectural wonder, making your photo unique.

Venture to the Palace of Versailles , where opulence and history converge in every nook and cranny. Pose for a selfie amidst the grandeur of the Hall of Mirrors, where centuries of royal splendour reflect on you.

And when in Provence, don’t miss the chance to snap a selfie in the fragrant lavender fields that stretch as far as the eye can see. As you stand amidst the vibrant purple, you’ll have a selfie that’s a feast for the eyes and a memory that evokes the scent of summer.

Even the quiet harbour of Etretat in Normandy, with its awe-inspiring cliffs and picturesque beaches, must be captured in selfies that tell stories of coastal beauty.

And, of course, the stunning architecture of Strasbourg , with its timbered houses and lofty Gothic cathedral, provides a charming backdrop for selfies that exude Old World charm. Without forgetting, a unique Christmas market!

So, whether you’re grinning in front of the Eiffel Tower, embracing the medieval mystique of Mont Saint-Michel, or basking in the lavender fields of Provence, France offers a multitude of selfie spots that aren’t just about the perfect angle – they’re about capturing moments that resonate with the soul. Each selfie becomes a cherished memento, a testament to your journey through a country as diverse as it is enchanting.

A Mere Conclusion

As we bid adieu to our whirlwind tour of France’s irresistible charms, one thing becomes clear: this country is more than a destination; it’s a captivating mosaic of experiences waiting to be embraced.

From culinary adventures that ignite the senses to artistic wonders that stir the soul, France beckons with open arms, inviting you to immerse yourself in its tapestry of history, culture, and boundless allure.

But remember, these words are just a tantalizing glimpse of what’s in store. If you find your curiosity piqued and your sense of wanderlust ignited, dive deeper into the world of French touristic attractions.

Embark on a journey to discover hidden gems, iconic landmarks, and local treasures that will shape your unique experience of this enchanting country.

Bon voyage on exploring France’s rich and diverse offerings – the adventure is only beginning!

Check out our curated magazine on Flipboard for exclusive stories & insights on France!

Author Box 05

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of Discovery Courses and books about France.

Like it? Leave a comment!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

Name * * * * * * * * * *

E-mail * * * * * * * * * *

Website [optional]

Save my name, email and website in the browser for my next comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

Transparency: Some blog posts and pages may contain affiliate or sponsored links. If you are planning a trip, the use of these links helps us to run the site. There is no additional cost to you. All you have to do is click on the link and any booking you make is automatically tracked. Thank you for your support!

Escape to France with every email! Get insider insights, travel guides, cultural gems delivered and exclusive offers to your inbox twice a week. Your journey to Paris and France begins when you sign up!



We've detected unusual activity from your computer network

To continue, please click the box below to let us know you're not a robot.

Why did this happen?

Please make sure your browser supports JavaScript and cookies and that you are not blocking them from loading. For more information you can review our Terms of Service and Cookie Policy .

For inquiries related to this message please contact our support team and provide the reference ID below.

tourism in france facts

Which Airlines Use The Flying Blue Frequent Flyer Program?

  • Flying Blue is Europe's largest frequent flier program with 20 million members and 36 airline partners, growing at a rapid pace.
  • Air France-KLM Group's airlines, including KLM and Transavia, offer extensive networks and services to millions of passengers yearly.
  • Flying Blue program offers five status levels with unique benefits, allowing members to earn and redeem Miles for rewards easily.

Flying Blue is one of the largest airline frequent flier programs in Europe, with more than 20 million members. Founded in 2005, Flying Blue brought Air France and KLM together under the same frequent flier program one year after the Air France-KLM Group was created. Today, three airlines are part of the program, including KLM subsidiary Transavia.

Although only three airlines use the Flying Blue program, several airlines are partners, like Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic, and Oman Air. In total, Flying Blue now has 36 airline partners and a new member joins the program every six seconds. Adding other travel partners like hotels and car rental companies, Flying Blue has more than 100 partners.

Air France-KLM Considers Plans For Possible Merger Of Flying Blue and SAS Eurobonus Loyalty Programs

Air France, the flag carrier of France, was founded in 1933. Over the course of its 91-year history, the airline has grown its network to nearly 200 destinations. Its fleet ranges from small Airbus narrowbodies like the A318 to larger widebodies like the Boeing 777 and Airbus A350. In 2023, the airline carried more than 50 million passengers, helping the Air-France KLM Group’s growth over 2022.

The French carrier’s operations can be divided into three main parts: passenger transport, cargo transport, and aircraft maintenance services. Since the earliest days of its operations, Air France has transported cargo, starting with newspapers and evolving into much more today. Now, the Air-France KLM Group has 15 dedicated cargo aircraft in addition to carrying cargo on passenger aircraft. According to its website, the Air France Industries-KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI-KLM E&M) has a workforce of nearly 13,000 and has eight logistics centers.

Every year, the group’s maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services work on more than 3,000 planes for more than 200 customers worldwide. Five-hundred in-workshop engine inspections are performed annually.

KLM, formally known as Royal Dutch Airlines, is the world’s oldest airline. Founded in 1919, KLM is also the oldest airline still operating under its original name. The airline’s first flight took place in May 1920 on a De Havilland DH16 to London’s Croydon Airport. In 1946, KLM became the first European carrier to operate scheduled flights to New York.

KLM: 5 Fast Facts About The Worlds Oldest National Carrier

Now KLM and KLM CityHopper have grown to transport more than 30 million passengers annually. The airline’s network includes 92 European cities and 70 intercontinental destinations. Last year, the airline announced it was investing in modernizing its fleet and that the Airbus A321neo would replace the aging Boeing 737s. KLM will add the A321neo to the fleet this year and from 2026, the Airbus A350 will replace the Boeing 777s and Airbus A330s.

Transavia is the second largest airline in the Netherlands. The airline was founded in 1965 in Amsterdam and by 2000, opened its second base in Rotterdam. Six years after Rotterdam, Transavia opened a base in Eindhoven. Also in 2006, Transavia founded Transavia France which has four bases; Paris-Orly, Nantes, Lyon, and Montpellier.

In 2023, Transavia transported nine million passengers with its fleet of 50 planes. Earlier this year, the airline operated its first flight on the Airbus A321neo after having a fleet of Boeing 737-700 and 737-800 aircraft. By the end of 2023, Transavia’s network reached 159 routes serving 110 destinations.

More about Flying Blue

Using Flying Blue is broken down into three simple steps:

  • Create an account or sign in
  • Earn as many Miles as you like
  • Spend your Miles and get rewarded

The Flying Blue program has five status levels all of which can be reached with Experience Points (XP). XPs are earned based on the class of travel and distance of the flight. The lowest status tier is Explorer, which is given to anyone who joins the program and earns 4 miles per Euro spent and has a 10% discount on the first checked bag. The second level of the program, Silver, is reached once one earns 100 XPs. Those with silver status:

  • Earn 6 miles per Euro spent
  • Priority check-in, bag drop, and boarding
  • Some free seat options 24 hours before departure
  • Free selection of standard seats
  • One free checked bag on KLM or partner airlines

Gold is earned with 180 XPs and comes with the following benefits:

  • Earn 7 Miles per euro spent
  • Free access to our lounges with 1 guest. Your guest has to be on the exact same flight. Your flight has to be operated by KLM, Air France, Air Mauritius, China Southern Airways, GOL, Qantas, Virgin Atlantic or one of our SkyTeam partners.
  • SkyPriority: priority access throughout the airport
  • Free seat options 72 hours before departure
  • One free extra checked baggage item on flights with KLM or some of our partner airlines.

The next tier is Platinum, which is earned with 300 XPs. Platinum has the following benefits:

  • Choose any seat you want; theyre all free of charge.
  • Bring 1 extra piece of checked baggage on flights with KLM or some of our partner airlines.
  • Get access to our lounges and bring 1 guest with you. Your guest has to be on the exact same flight. Your flight has to be operated by KLM, Air France, Air Mauritius, China Southern Airways, GOL, Qantas, Virgin Atlantic or one of our SkyTeam partners.
  • Get SkyPriority and enjoy access to priority lines at check-in, baggage drop-off, and boarding.
  • Call the exclusive Platinum Service Line for 24/7 assistance.

The highest tier is Flying Blue Ultimate, which can be earned by gaining 900 UXPs. Ultimate Experience Points differ from XPs in that they can only be earned on travel by Air France and KLM or by buying Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). Once one reaches Ultimate status, they have access to the following benefits:

  • Earn 9 Miles per euro spent
  • KLM and Air France lounge access for you and up to 8 travel companions
  • SkyPriority services for you and your travel companions
  • Ultimate Assistant available 24/7 to tailor your travel experience
  • Four complimentary one-cabin upgrade vouchers per membership year
  • One Flying Blue Platinum card for 1 of your travel companions
  • Hertz Platinum Card with exclusive benefits

Flying Blue

Participating Airlines: Air France, KLM, Transavia, Aircalin, Kenya Airways, TAROM

Owner: Air France-KLM

Region: Europe

Which Airlines Use The Flying Blue Frequent Flyer Program?

  • Travel, Tourism & Hospitality ›
  • Leisure Travel

Coastal tourism in France - statistics & facts

Leisure activities, port infrastructure on all waterfronts, finding the balance between tourism and environmental issues, key insights.

Detailed statistics

Number of overnight stays on French coasts summer 2019

Number of recreational boats registered in French maritime waters 2021, by type

Editor’s Picks Current statistics on this topic

Travel, Tourism & Hospitality

Travel and tourism's total contribution to employment in France 2019-2034

Holiday Activities

Number of Blue Flag beaches in France 2022, by region

Number of recreational boats registered in French maritime waters 2022, by length

Further recommended statistics

Tourism industry in france.

  • Premium Statistic Share of the GDP of the tourism sector in France 2014-2028
  • Premium Statistic Number of international tourist arrivals in France 2014-2029
  • Premium Statistic Overnight stays recorded in hotels in France monthly 2019-2020
  • Premium Statistic Monthly overnight stays in hotels in France 2019-2024, by guest type
  • Premium Statistic International tourism receipts per capita in France 2001-2029
  • Premium Statistic Expenditure per capita on international tourism in France 2001-2029
  • Premium Statistic Monthly revenue evolution of the hospitality industry in France 2019-2020
  • Premium Statistic Monthly revenue evolution of the restaurant industry in France 2019-2020
  • Basic Statistic Travel and tourism's total contribution to employment in France 2019-2034

Share of the GDP of the tourism sector in France 2014-2028

Share of the GDP of the tourism sector in France from 2014 to 2028

Number of international tourist arrivals in France 2014-2029

Number of international tourist arrivals in France from 2014 to 2029 (in millions)

Overnight stays recorded in hotels in France monthly 2019-2020

Number of overnight stays registered in hotels in France from 2019 to 2020, by month (in million)

Monthly overnight stays in hotels in France 2019-2024, by guest type

Number of monthly overnight stays in hotels in France from January 2019 to April 2024, by type of guest (in 1,000s)

International tourism receipts per capita in France 2001-2029

International tourism receipts per capita in France from 2001 to 2029 (in U.S. dollars)

Expenditure per capita on international tourism in France 2001-2029

Expenditure per capita on international tourism in France from 2001 to 2029 (in U.S. dollars)

Monthly revenue evolution of the hospitality industry in France 2019-2020

Revenue growth in the French hospitality sector from October 2019 to July 2020

Monthly revenue evolution of the restaurant industry in France 2019-2020

Turnover growth in the food service industry in France from October 2019 to July 2020

Travel and tourism's total contribution to employment in France 2019-2034

Total contribution of travel and tourism to employment in France in 2019 and 2023, with a forecast for 2024 and 2034 (in million jobs)

Overnight stays

  • Premium Statistic Number of overnight stays on French coasts summer 2019
  • Premium Statistic Change in domestic and international overnight stays on French coasts in summer 2019
  • Premium Statistic Change in the overnight stays spent in hotels on the French coasts summer 2019-2020
  • Premium Statistic Change in the hotel overnight stays on the French coasts summer 2019-2020, by region
  • Premium Statistic Number of overnight stays on French coasts during the 2018-2019 winter season
  • Premium Statistic Number of overnight stays on French coasts winter 2018-2019, by region
  • Premium Statistic Number of overnight stays on French coasts during winter 2018-2019, by month
  • Premium Statistic Number of overnight stays on French coasts winter 2018-2019, by origin
  • Premium Statistic Change in domestic and international overnight stays on French coasts winter 2019

Number of overnight stays in coastal areas in France in summer from 2015 to 2019 (in millions)

Number of overnight stays in France in summer 2019, by coast (in millions)

Change in domestic and international overnight stays on French coasts in summer 2019

Percentage change in the number of overnight stays by domestic and international tourists in France between summer 2018 and summer 2019, by coast

Change in the overnight stays spent in hotels on the French coasts summer 2019-2020

Percentage change in the number of nights spent in coastal hotels in France between summer 2019 and summer 2020

Change in the hotel overnight stays on the French coasts summer 2019-2020, by region

Percentage change in the number of nights spent in hotels on the French coastlines between summer 2019 and summer 2020, by region

Number of overnight stays on French coasts during the 2018-2019 winter season

Number of overnight stays in coastal areas in France from winter season 2015-2016 to 2018-2019 (in millions)

Number of overnight stays on French coasts winter 2018-2019, by region

Number of overnight stays in coastal areas in France in winter 2018-2019, by region (in millions)

Number of overnight stays on French coasts during winter 2018-2019, by month

Number of overnight stays in coastal areas in France in winter 2018-2019, by month (in millions)

Number of overnight stays on French coasts winter 2018-2019, by origin

Number of overnight stays in coastal areas in France in winter 2018-2019, by origin (in millions)

Change in domestic and international overnight stays on French coasts winter 2019

Percentage change in the number of overnight stays in coastal areas in France between winter 2017-2018 and winter 2018-2019, by origin


  • Premium Statistic Leading coastal towns with second homes France 2020
  • Basic Statistic Number of second homes in France 2015, by region
  • Basic Statistic Share of secondary homes in France 2015, by region
  • Premium Statistic Tourist accommodation establishments in French coastal regions 2022
  • Premium Statistic Hotel establishments in French coastal regions 2022
  • Premium Statistic Campgrounds in French coastal regions 2022
  • Premium Statistic Tourist residences in French coastal regions 2022
  • Premium Statistic Vacation villages and family vacation homes in French coastal regions 2022
  • Premium Statistic Youth hostels, international holiday and sports centers in France 2022

Leading coastal towns with second homes France 2020

Ranking of the cities in coastal areas with the most secondary residences in France in 2020

Number of second homes in France 2015, by region

Number of second homes in France as of January 1, 2015, by region

Share of secondary homes in France 2015, by region

Breakdown of secondary residences in France as of January 1, 2015, by region

Tourist accommodation establishments in French coastal regions 2022

Number of tourist accommodation establishments in coastal regions in France as of March 2022

Hotel establishments in French coastal regions 2022

Number of hotel establishments in coastal regions in France as of March 2022

Campgrounds in French coastal regions 2022

Number of campgrounds in coastal regions in France as of March 2022

Tourist residences in French coastal regions 2022

Number of tourist residences in coastal regions in France as of March 2022

Vacation villages and family vacation homes in French coastal regions 2022

Number of vacation villages and family vacation homes in coastal regions in France as of March 2022

Youth hostels, international holiday and sports centers in France 2022

Number of youth hostels, international holiday and sports centers in coastal regions in France as of March 2022

Seaside resorts

  • Premium Statistic Leading French beach resorts 2018
  • Premium Statistic Most expensive French beach resorts for one-week apartment rental during summer 2020
  • Premium Statistic Cheapest beach resorts for a one-week apartment rental in France during summer 2020
  • Premium Statistic Most expensive French beach resorts for one-week vacation home rental in summer 2020
  • Premium Statistic Cheapest beach resorts for one-week vacation home rental in France during summer 2020
  • Premium Statistic Coastal towns under 10,000 inhabitants the most searched on internet France 2021

Leading French beach resorts 2018

Ranking of the most popular beach resorts in France in 2018

Most expensive French beach resorts for one-week apartment rental during summer 2020

Ranking of the most expensive seaside resorts in France during August 2020, according to the price for a one-week apartment rental (in euros)

Cheapest beach resorts for a one-week apartment rental in France during summer 2020

Ranking of the least expensive seaside resorts in France during August 2020, according to the price for a one-week apartment rental (in euros)

Most expensive French beach resorts for one-week vacation home rental in summer 2020

Ranking of the most expensive seaside resorts in France during August 2020, according to the price for a one-week vacation home rental (in euros)

Cheapest beach resorts for one-week vacation home rental in France during summer 2020

Ranking of the least expensive seaside resorts in France during August 2020, according to the price for a one-week vacation home rental (in euros)

Coastal towns under 10,000 inhabitants the most searched on internet France 2021

Ranking of the coastal towns under 10,000 inhabitants the most searched on the Internet in France in 2021, by the average number of monthly requests

  • Premium Statistic Number of Blue Flag beaches in France 2022, by region
  • Premium Statistic Breakdown of the coastal water quality in France 2016-2021
  • Premium Statistic Sea bathing water quality in France 2018, by region
  • Premium Statistic Most expensive French beaches France 2018, by the average price for a day
  • Premium Statistic Most expensive French beaches 2018, by setup costs
  • Premium Statistic Most expensive French beaches 2018, by lunch price

Number of Blue Flag beaches in France in 2022, by region

Breakdown of the coastal water quality in France 2016-2021

Distribution of the water quality of coastal bathing sites in France from 2016 to 2021

Sea bathing water quality in France 2018, by region

Distribution of coastal bathing water with excellent quality in France in 2018, by region

Most expensive French beaches France 2018, by the average price for a day

Ranking of the most expensive beaches in France in 2018, by the average price for a day (in euros)

Most expensive French beaches 2018, by setup costs

Ranking of the most expensive beaches in France in 2018, by setup costs (in euros)

Most expensive French beaches 2018, by lunch price

Ranking of the most expensive beaches in France in 2018, by lunch price (in euros)

Recreational boating

  • Premium Statistic Boat licenses issued to navigate at sea France 2020
  • Basic Statistic Recreational boats registered in French maritime waters 2020, by region
  • Basic Statistic Number of recreational boats registered in French maritime waters 2021, by type
  • Premium Statistic Number of recreational boats registered in French maritime waters 2022, by length
  • Premium Statistic Share of people who planned to go boating during summer in France 2019, by age
  • Premium Statistic Berths in French maritime ports 2018, by maritime area
  • Premium Statistic Maritime ports in France in 2018, by maritime area
  • Premium Statistic Vessels using berths in French maritime ports 2018, by type of activities
  • Premium Statistic Average price of berths France 2018, by maritime area

Boat licenses issued to navigate at sea France 2020

Number of boat licenses issued to navigate in maritime areas in France from 2008 to 2020

Recreational boats registered in French maritime waters 2020, by region

Total number of pleasure boats registered in maritime waters in France as of August 31, 2020, by region

Recreational boat registrations issued in mainland France as of August 31, 2021, by propulsion type

Number of recreational boats registered in French maritime waters as of August 2022, by length

Share of people who planned to go boating during summer in France 2019, by age

Percentage of French people planning to go boating this summer in 2019, by age

Berths in French maritime ports 2018, by maritime area

Number of berths in maritime ports in France in 2018, by maritime area

Maritime ports in France in 2018, by maritime area

Number of maritime ports in France in 2018, by maritime area

Vessels using berths in French maritime ports 2018, by type of activities

Distribution of boats using berths in maritime ports in France in 2018, by type of activities

Average price of berths France 2018, by maritime area

Average price per meter of berths in France in 2018, by maritime area (in euros)

Other water sports activities: sailing, surfing, diving

  • Premium Statistic Number of licenses released by the Sailing Federation in France 2015-2019
  • Premium Statistic Clubs of the Sailing Federation in France 2020, by region
  • Premium Statistic Number of new and used sailboats sold in France 2017-2019
  • Premium Statistic Number of licenses released by the Surfing Federation in France 2016-2019
  • Premium Statistic Distribution of surfers by type of practice in France 2020
  • Basic Statistic Surf clubs affiliated to the surfing federation in France 2020, by region
  • Premium Statistic Number of licenses released by the Diving Federation in France 2015-2019

Number of licenses released by the Sailing Federation in France 2015-2019

Cumulative number of licenses and other titles of participation issued within the French Sailing Federation from 2015 to 2019

Clubs of the Sailing Federation in France 2020, by region

Number of clubs of the Sailing Federation in France in 2020, by region

Number of new and used sailboats sold in France 2017-2019

Number of new and used sailboats sold in France from 2017 to 2019

Number of licenses released by the Surfing Federation in France 2016-2019

Number of licenses and other titles of participation issued within the French Surfing Federation from 2016 to 2019

Distribution of surfers by type of practice in France 2020

Breakdown of surfers by type of practice in France in 2020

Surf clubs affiliated to the surfing federation in France 2020, by region

Number of clubs affiliated to the surfing federation in France in 2020, by region

Number of licenses released by the Diving Federation in France 2015-2019

Cumulative number of licenses and other titles of participation issued within the underwater studies and sports (Scuba diving) Federation from 2015 to 2019

Further reports

Get the best reports to understand your industry.

Mon - Fri, 9am - 6pm (EST)

Mon - Fri, 9am - 5pm (SGT)

Mon - Fri, 10:00am - 6:00pm (JST)

Mon - Fri, 9:30am - 5pm (GMT)


  1. 14 Facts About The Fantastic City of Paris: Infographic

    tourism in france facts

  2. 100 Amazing France Facts That Will Make You Want To Visit

    tourism in france facts

  3. France Travel Guide

    tourism in france facts

  4. 30 Interesting Facts About France [Infographic]

    tourism in france facts

  5. France facts

    tourism in france facts

  6. 10 Fun Facts About France

    tourism in france facts


  1. 5 Fascinating Facts about France


  3. Best Places in France

  4. France Facts Part 3 #france #facts #youtubeshorts #youtube

  5. France Facts Part 5 #france #facts #youtubeshorts #youtube

  6. France Facts Part 4 #france #facts #youtubeshorts #youtube


  1. Tourism in France

    Tourism in France. Tourism in France directly contributed 79.8 billion euros to gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013, 30% of which comes from international visitors and 70% from domestic tourism spending. The total contribution of travel and tourism represents 9.7% of GDP and supports 2.9 million jobs (10.9% of employment) in the country. [1]

  2. Travel and tourism in France

    In 2023, France maintained the top spot in the ranking of countries with the highest number of international tourist arrivals worldwide, with arrivals reaching 100 million, the highest figure ...

  3. 15 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in France

    Rocamadour. 15. Prehistoric Cave Paintings in Lascaux. Best Time to Visit France. 1. Eiffel Tower. Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower is a feat of ingenuity as much as it is a famous landmark. This structure of 8,000 metallic parts was designed by Gustave Eiffel as a temporary exhibit for the World Fair of 1889.

  4. Tourism in France

    Tourism is a major part of the French economy, representing close to 8% of GDP and 2 million direct and indirect jobs. It is also a recognized soft power asset abroad, and France has been the world's leading tourist destination for years. A record 90 million international tourists visited France in 2019, including its overseas communities.

  5. Tourism in France

    Tourism is one of France's major industries. France is the world's leading tourist destination. Not only is it situated at the heart of western Europe, bordering on all the larger countries in the region - Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and - across the straits of Dover - the UK; it also has Europe's second busiest airport - Paris Charles de Gaulle airport - and dozens more ...

  6. France Tourism Statistics

    This trend continued to rise resulting in 93.20 million international visitors in 2022, indicating a 124% increase compared to 2020 and 3% higher than 2019 (pre-pandemic). Over 100 million tourists travelled to France in 2023. 1. International arrivals in France for the first half of 2024 are expected to be at 93% of the same period in 2019. 2.

  7. Regional tourism in France

    Regional tourism in France - statistics & facts. In 2018, France was the most visited country in the world, based on overnight stays. Its most visited region was, unsurprisingly, Ile-de-France ...

  8. Tourism

    France has been the world's leading tourist destination for more than 30 years. In 2019, 90 million international tourists visited France to discover our rich natural and architectural heritage and to enjoy our world-renowned hospitality and way of life. In France, tourism accounts for 8% of GDP. This is thanks to the millions of people ...

  9. Development and importance of tourism for France

    In 2020, tourist receipts plummeted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the $70.78 billion billion (2019), only $35.96 billion billion remained. This is a 49 percent decrease in France. On average, each of the tourists arriving in 2021 spent about 849 US dollars.

  10. The 10 best places to visit in France

    2. Arcachon. Best for old-school seaside charm. Artists fell for the shimmering blues, grays and greens of northern France's Côte d'Opale in the 19th century, and the Côte d'Azur 's golden light in the 20th. Neither has lost its razzle-dazzle. But for retro chic, Arcachon on the Atlantic Coast is the masterpiece.

  11. Travel and tourism in France

    This report presents a range of statistics and facts on travel and tourism in France. It provides an overview of the contribution of travel and tourism to the country's economy, key data on ...

  12. 25 BEST Places To Visit In France

    This large city in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with many amazing attractions including The Animal Place, Tete d'Or Park, Chocolate Museum Gelencser, Puy du Fou Theme Park, Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste and Place Bellecour. 16. Bordeaux. Bordeaux / Best Places to Visit in France.

  13. 26 Best Places to Visit in France

    Tourists may wander around Le Hameau de la Reine, the make-believe country village created by the last Queen as a way to escape the formality of court life. The hamlet includes a lake, orchard, dovecote, and originally had a working dairy. 5. Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy. Mont Saint-Michel.

  14. 10 interesting and fun facts about France / Authentic Europe

    The French flag. Photo: Cecile Hourneau. 2. French gastronomy is recognised as a UNESCO cultural heritage. France is famous for its gastronomy. Snails, beef bourguignon, coq au vin, tarte Tatin, wines, cheeses and many other exquisite dishes are well worth trying.

  15. Best regions to visit in France

    See battlefields, beaches and beautiful cities in Northern France. North of Paris is Hauts-de-France (Upper France). Its chalk-cliff-framed Côte d'Opale, beaches and wildlife-rich Baie de Somme estuaries are well worth exploration, along with the Somme's sobering WWI memorials. On the Belgian border, industrial-center-turned-design-hub Lille ...

  16. 100 Amazing France Facts That Will Make You Want To Visit

    04 France is 126% larger than the United Kingdom. 05 France's capital, Paris, is home to 2.148 million people with 105.40 km sq in land area. 01 France's national motto is "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity". 02 Académie Française is a group in France that aims to preserve the French language.

  17. 29 Top Tourist Attractions in France (+Map)

    17. Strasbourg Old Town. In northeast France, Strasbourg is the capital of the Grand Est Region. Minutes from the German border, Strasbourg's entire Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Encased in picturesque half-timbered houses and the canals of Petite France, it's a destination that oozes history.

  18. 11 things to know before going to France

    6. Say your hellos and goodbyes. La bise (kiss) was threatened during Covid-19, but it's firmly back. How many kisses to give depends on the area of the country. In most of France, two kisses are the norm, but in parts of the south and south west it's three, and in certain departments, like the Yonne and Aube, four.

  19. 10 Top Reasons Why You should Visit France

    Hence, without further ado, here are the top ten reasons to visit France and which may persuade your partner or family to also pack their bags. 1. Paris - The city of romance. You could spend your whole vacation in Paris, the city of romance, and never grow tired of it since it has so much to offer.

  20. France Facts for Kids

    Interesting Facts for Kids. France Facts: Alsace, Paris, Provence. Here are some interesting France Facts which were chosen and researched by kids especially for kids. Flag of France. Population: 68 million people live in the country (2024) Capital: Paris metropolitan area with 11 million inhabitants. Name: R é publique Française (French ...

  21. Domestic tourism in France

    In 2020, a majority of the French population, nearly 70 percent, indicated that they did in fact take a domestic trip in France that year. Show more. Published by Statista Research Department ...

  22. 10 Compelling Reasons to Visit France and Explore its Treasures

    9. Riviera Reverie. 10. Eiffel Tower Selfies. A Mere Conclusion. At the crossroads of wanderlust, where choices abound among the glamour of American cities, the romance of Italian piazzas, the vivacity of Spanish fiestas, and the allure of British traditions, one name stands resolute: France. Amidst the global symphony of destinations, the ...

  23. 4 Best Hidden Gems in France: Places to Visit That Aren't Tourist Spots

    Wild horses. Oyster farms. Fondue with a view. These lesser-known spots in France are pure magic.

  24. Which Airlines Use The Flying Blue Frequent Flyer Program?

    Air France, the flag carrier of France, was founded in 1933. Over the course of its 91-year history, the airline has grown its network to nearly 200 destinations.

  25. Coastal tourism in France

    Coastal tourism in France - statistics & facts. Although the coastline represents only four percent of the French metropolitan area, it is nonetheless a key space for the tourism industry in ...