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 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.
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.