France: 10 Beautiful Cities to Visit


Almost every visitor to France starts with Paris. It’s beautiful city but its beauty extends beyond the momentous architecture that it is famed for. The mild climate, stunning scenery of the Seine valley and the emblematic culture all enrich your experience. Although everything in the French capital is unspeakably French, it extends beyond that and everything has a flavour that is distinctively Parisien. It has a class, a refinement and a streak of bohemia that is all its own.

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As well as being celebrated for its historical beauty and gastronomic delights, the third largest city in France also benefits from having a thriving cultural and arts scene. It is also the place where cinema was born. The city benefits from two great rivers (The Rhone and The Saone) sweeping through and joining at its heart. It is also divided into distinct districts which emphasise the diversity of the city. With its Roman roots, Lyon is rich with stunning architecture and relics.

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Formerly a quaint fishing town, Cannes is now famed for being an ultra glamorous holiday destination. The prestigious Cannes Film Festival has bought a lot of attention to the city and entertains the stars of the silver screen in its stunning setting. The city brims with class with its high end restaurants and sophisticated nightlife. There is also a beautiful marina, secluded winding streets and exceptional architecture.

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St Tropez

The appeal of St Tropez lies in the breathtaking beaches. The most popular ones are in the area of Baie de Pampelonne and are frequently populated by international rap artists and celebrities. There are plenty of more secluded family-friendly beaches though that still offer glorious sun traps with waves ideal for surfing and sand perfect for relaxing on.

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Nice has a delightful mix of bustling cosmopolitan interest with its thriving fashion boutiques and exceptional restaurants, yet it is also blessed with some beautiful pebble beaches and stunning scenery. Climbing the lovely Castle Hill will give you a great view of the city below and the magnificent blue waters that stretch beyond.

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The main association with Bordeaux is of the wine that it is famous for and this element certainly brings a lot of tourists on a wine pilgrimage to Bordeaux. As well as this there is a thriving university population and much bustling tourist activity. It’s more unusual features include a plethora of antique shops, a lovely riverside promenade, the well-stocked Capuchin market, back-street theatres and a lido.

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Resplendent with stunning delicate pink architecture the city of Toulouse hosts a wealth of beautiful monuments, religious buildings, museums and private mansions. Particular highlights include The Saint-Etienne Cathedral, the breathtaking Carmelite Chapel with its painted ceilings and the Roman amphitheatre. It also has a thriving nightlife with regular festivals as well as vibrant cafés, theatres, cinemas, bars, casinos and discos.

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As the capital of Brittany, Rennes is rich in medieval architecture and style as well as thriving with modern city action. Its timber framed houses are a particularly unique feature as are its fortified remains. It also holds regular outdoor markets with beautifully displayed quintessentially French produce and is packed with things to do such as ice skating, swimming, golf, theatres, cinemas and bars. The thriving cultural scene is active all year round and celebrates diverse music forms from jazz to rap to rock to classical and opera.


As well as the mustard (which is still produced locally) there is a lot going on in Dijon. The magnificent architecture was fortunate to escape World War II without significant damage and still stands proudly to this day. For some time Dijon was capital of the Dukes of Burgundy who were great patrons of the arts, as a result Dijon has its roots firmly in the richness of art and architecture. Because of the traffic restrictions on the inner city you can enjoy the peaceful heart of Dijon on foot.

La Rochelle

La Rochelle has a history of being associated with the sea that still continues today with its impressive pleasure-boat marina, aquarium and focus on the stunning Vieux Port (Old Harbour). It displays a picturesque array of heritage architecture and also benefits from a natural-history museum, well-kept expansive gardens and the wonderful Francofolies music festival in July.