Historic Sites in France

France has a wealth of fantastic historical sites, you would not know in an instant where to go first. From Ancient Roman ruins to World War battlefields, the list is staggeringly long you would not be able to cover them all in a short period. For those interested in the historical attractions of France, here are our recommended picks:

Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy is a rocky outcrop in the middle of the bay where Normandy and Brittany merge. It is an awe-inspiring site with the Benedictine Abbey and Parish Church dominating the skyline, which draws eyes from a great distance. It is rich in history that can be seen in its stunning buildings and ancient streets that attract both pilgrims and tourists.

The Palace of Versailles

One of the largest and most luxurious castles in the world, The Palace of Versailles has been declared as a World Heritage Site for 30 years. A very fine model of 18th-century French art and architecture where generations of royalty resided up until the French Revolution. Today, this is one of the most visited palaces in France, drawing tourists with its opulence and magnificence that represented France’s power in the days of yore.

The Arena of Nîmes

Also known as Nimes Amphitheatre, it was originally built by Emperor Augustus in the first century AD to host gladiator events and then, later on, was converted into a military base. It has a resplendent façade complete with ornate archways and intricate decorations. It can seat up to 24,000 spectators as it is still used today to host events, though mostly it serves as a tourist attraction.

Somme Battlefields

Located in the charming, rural landscape of the region of Picardy and the Département de la Somme, the battlefields of Somme were the scenes of one of the most savage battles of the Great War. One of the most tragic historical sites in France, many tourists take a hiking or biking trip to pay their respects to the fallen soldiers of World War I. There are trails and corresponding itineraries that were created to let you explore the pleasant region through hiking, biking, or walking tours.

Grotte de Font de Gaume

If you’re interested in seeing prehistoric paintings and engraving that dates back to the Stone Age, Grotte de Font de Gaume is a must go for you. Located in Les Eyzies south-west of France, it is a prehistoric cave that holds more than 200 polychrome paintings of bison, horses, mammoths, and reindeer. It is also listed as a World Heritage with UNESCO since 1979 and is open to the public, but the daily number of visitors is limited.

These historical sites are but a few of the array of sites that France has to offer. A country steeped in captivating history filled with ostentatious architecture and bloody conquests, France is home to magnificent Gothic cathedrals, grandiose royal residences, prehistoric sites and many others. It is one of a lifetime experience to see these unique historical treasures first-hand.



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Things You Should Not Miss While in France

It is quite expected for people traveling to France to visit its main attractions such as the Eiffel Tower or the Mont Saint-Michel, but there are a lot more destinations you can go to in France that will still give you that French experience. These attractions may be well hidden or simply not popular enough to catch the attention of most tourists. Let us look at some of the things you should not miss when you are in France.

Les Gorges du Verdon

The Les Gorges du Verdon is located in the southeast part of France and is considered Europe’s deepest and most beautiful river canyon. The hiking trails are exhilarating, and the views are stunning. You can bird-watch, kayak or hike, this is nature tripping at its best.

D-Day Beaches

On the early morning of June 6, 1944, this wide stretch of fine sand beaches in Northern Normandy has become a bloodbath, and the harsh noise of gunfire has replaced the peaceful breeze of winds. The sands are now back in their pristine state, and the winds are blowing serene whiffs again, this is the most emotional journey you can have in the whole of France.


Chamonix-Mont-Blanc shortened to just Chamonix, is a ski resort area in southeastern France that is near the borders of Switzerland and Italy. Having the Mont Blanc massif as its backdrop, you can have your adventure skiing, parasailing or paragliding, a few of the many things you can do in Chamonix.


Dordogne is a region on south-west France that is home to beautiful medieval towns and villages, unspoiled countryside, and its most famous attraction, the prehistoric caves. The famous Lascaux cave in the Vézère valley contains some of the oldest artworks known to man, dating from roughly 12,000 years ago.

Loire Valley

The Loire Valley is located in central France and offers plenty of great sites to explore such as Tours, Saumur, Orléans, and Angers, all sophisticated cities that give you food and style with all the splendor. You can go for fine dining or wine tasting or just experiencing the French high society.

Carnac Megaliths

The Carnac Megaliths are a dense collection of megalithic sites located in the French village of Carnac, in Brittany. It is a moving reminder of ancient human habitation, although it is still unclear why these stones were built. These are composed of more than 3,000 aligned megaliths, which date back from 4,000BC.

The GR20

Located in the southeast of the French mainland, the GR20 is a breathtaking trail along the jagged spine of Corsica’s central mountains. Most backpackers will enjoy this hiking trail that offers dramatic sights and some fantastic swimming holes if the weather is right.

Definitely, there is more to France than just the usual tourist attractions of museums, towers, art galleries, or castles. The country has more than enough to offer those searching for the off-the-beaten-track destinations that will surely satisfy your craving for an awe-inspiring travel experience.



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Tips for Travelling to France

From romantic châteaux to a fantastic array of French cheeses, France has gained the title of being the world’s cultural capital, and for good reason. Traveling to France is almost on everyone’s bucket list, and nobody is surprised. However, travelling surely has its ups and downs, so it is a good idea to stock up on information to help you get the best of your trip and avoid undue embarrassment.

When to Go

Depending on what your plans are, the best time to travel to France is during the spring months, between April and June, or autumn, which is anytime from September to November. The weather in France varies from region to region, but generally, the French enjoy temperate weather all year-round. July and August should be avoided as the main holidays of France fall during these months, and most locals spend their holidays in their own country.


The French are known to be quite passionate when it comes to food. Before eating a meal, it is considered polite to say “Bon Appetit.” What is not appreciated is eating on the go, the French are proud of their food and prefer that they savor every bite and take their own sweet time when dining. Also, this may come as a surprise in a country that is known for its gastronomic delights; it is always proper not to overeat.

Shop at the Local Markets

Whether you want to shop for food, clothes or bric-à-brac (knick-knacks), France has a superabundance of indoor and outdoor markets where you can find your every heart’s desire. Most towns have “marché en plein air,” or outdoor market that sells their region’s best at very reasonable prices. It is always recommended to try local delicacies wherever you may be in the country.

Culture shock

Aside from the wine, cheese, and the Eiffel Tower, the French are also known for being snooty to strangers. No matter how friendly you may think you are, the French are not the type to get comfortable with you. However, this seems to be gradually changing, so a simple “Bonjour” is sufficient enough. But if you really want to get the best side of the French, it would not hurt you to pay them a compliment. They love hearing wonderful things about them and their country.


As with any other country, France is not free from a few scrupulous souls, and it is always recommended to be on your guard. Always keep your valuables close to your body, ignore people on the streets asking you to sign a petition or give something to you that you know is not yours, these tricks usually end up in them asking you for money. Although these are very isolated incidents, it is still better to be informed. The key here is to avoid being a target.

These are not rigid rules, and it is more than recommended to loosen up and free your adventurous spirit. Enjoy the food, the fashion, the art and always remember to cherish every moment.


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Train Travel in France

Traveling by train in France is an excellent way to get around and experience more of this country blessed with beautiful landscapes. This is a cheaper and more sustainable way to see the more scenic parts of France that you would not normally have the chance to if you rent a car or take the bus. France has a fast and efficient train system, but train travel can still pose some tricky challenges that first-time tourists may find frustrating.

France is linked by the rail system with every country in Europe usually via Paris or Lille. Trains also connect over 150 cities and towns in France making it easier for you to go around rather than going by bus. Inter-regional bus services in France are extremely limited, especially in rural areas where there are only a few, and they travel far between.

Going to the south of France from Paris will only take you three hours as opposed to the eight hours you would spend if you were driving. Traveling more than 200 mph, the trains can whisk passengers from Paris to Lyon in just under two hours. Taking the rail rockets can be more expensive, but it will surely save you time and in the long run, money as well.

Booking and buying tickets can be simple enough if you do a little research. It is essential that you pre-book tickets online, by phone, or at the train station by making a reservation. Getting your tickets through the French national train agency, the Sociète Nationale de Chemins de Fer, or SNCF is a cheaper alternative.

Paris has six international rail stations, each serving a different part of Europe. France has this centuries-old Paris-centered nature, so the majority of the main railway lines radiate from Paris, which makes services between provincial towns infrequent and slow. Also, many train stations have car renting agencies allowing you a combination of car exploration and train travel easily.

It is highly recommended to do a little research on when’s the best time to travel. Train travel is popular not only for the tourists but also for the locals as well, so be prepared and plan ahead as most train seats can be quickly filled during weekends and holidays.

Boarding the train half an hour before departure guarantees that you will get a good seat, depending on which rail system you are using, some have pre-booked seats, and some will let you choose. One very important thing you should remember before boarding that train is to have your ticket validated at one of the SNCF validating machines to avoid paying a steep fine.

France has a very efficient railway system, but train travel can still be somewhat exasperating if you do not know what to do. But overall, train travel is one of the best ways to see more of the country easily, and comfortably. If you equip yourself with the right information, traveling around the rural side of France can be an exciting and ultimately rewarding experience.


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