France is a stunning country, with plenty of gorgeous places to explore. We share the 9 most beautiful cities in France, perfect for a romantic trip.
Most beautiful cities in France
Loved for its beaches and great surfing waves, Bordeaux is also known for its tasty wine and scenic vineyards. When exploring this city in the southwest of France, make sure to visit the dreamy Château Haut-Brion, the oldest winery in Bordeaux with a history that dates back to the 19th century.
Explore the city through its architecture and hop through a few UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which include the stunning buildings of Place de la Bourse, the Grande Theatre, and the Cathedral of Saint Andrew. Go surfing at the famous spots in Lacanau, Le Porge, Cap Ferret, and Biscarrose or simply enjoy the beach and watch talented surfers catch some massive waves.
Nice is undeniably one of the most famous cities in the South of France for its picturesque beaches and vibrant French Riviera. Enjoy a stroll at the seaside walkway all day long or wait for the golden hour that covers the sky with all bright shades of watercolor.
From here, you can explore and reach the romantic view of the lavender fields in Provence, especially if you’re visiting at the end of June or the beginning of July. When you’re done enjoying the beach, check out some art galleries and cultural center such as Muysee Matisse, the Musee Marc Chagall, and Musee d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain.
Strasbourg lies along the delightful Rhine River, which flows through 6 different countries. To make the most of your time, sign up for a romantic and lovely cruise through the Rhine River, available from morning to evening. This little city is most visited during winter for its magical Christmas markets.
The wooden houses covered in bright lights and light snow make it a perfect Christmas village. However, if you come during summer, you can make a day trip to Germany’s famous Black Forest or go for a drive to the wine region of Colmar.
If you really want to experience a proper French town, head to Annecy, a lake-town east of Lyon. The streets are lined with traditional French cafes serving authentic French pastries and dishes. The heart of the town is the Medieval building of Le Palais de I’Île, a castle and a prison, but now serves as an art and history museum. Another highlight of Annecy is its own lake Lac d’Annecy where you can rent a boat to enjoy the water and sun all day.
Lyon is the gateway to the Alps from France. But before you get there, the flat city of Lyon is famous for its numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites. At least 10% of the city is part of UNESCO, making it an ideal destination if you love history and ancient buildings. Discover the breathtaking district of Vieux-Lyin, hike up to the Fourvierie Hill, and don’t miss the slopes of Crois-Rousse Hill.
It’s also the spot to learn more about French culture by visiting the cultural hub of Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Opera de Lyon, and the well-celebrated Festival of Lights during the first week of December.
The Medieval city of Carcassonne is one of the most beautiful cities in France for its ancient yet notable buildings, scenic surroundings, and exciting activities you can do while visiting. From thrilling hiking, fantastic bike paths, scenic driving routes, and interesting art galleries, Carcassonne is out of the usual tourist trail but a must-visited city in France.
You can spend half of the day at La Cite de Carcassonne, its main attraction, and then go explore its neighboring surroundings, such as Narbonne, Cathar Castles, and the lovely Canal du Midi.
Toulouse is one of the biggest cities in Southern France, just before you reach the border with Spain. Besides its long and fascinating history, Toulouse is also rich in natural beauty. This is the city you can stay in while you explore the magnificent National Park of the Pyrenees, home to thousands of flora and fauna, exciting hiking trails, and fantastic winter skiing slopes.
Back in the city center, you can take instagrammable photos with the famous pink brick houses of Toulouse matched with cobblestone streets and charming cafes located in the Old Town.
Cannes is probably mostly known for holding annual movies called the “Cannes Film Festival”. But even without being invited to the event, Cannes is an incredible and unique place to visit in France for its various sights. Located on the southern coast of France, it’s not hard to imagine that spending time on the beach is the number one activity here. The delightful Croisette Beach Cannes is the most visited beach, but if you want to get away from the crowd, head to Plages du Soleil. Don’t forget to hike Crois des Gardens National Park, where you can find seasonal wildflowers.
Finally, take a boat out and admire Château de la Napoule, which was initially built in the 14th century and restored in 1918. Around the castle are plenty of cafes, art hubs, and a museum. If you visit in May, see if you can get some tickets for film screenings and watch the most awaited movies before anyone else can. Finish off your day by checking out the nightlife in Cannes, which includes clubs and bars, or simply visiting various French restaurants with live music.
A list of the most beautiful cities in France is never complete without including the capital city of Paris. The most romantic city in Europe, known for many top attractions and incredible fashion culture. Besides the classic sites in Paris, such as Eiffel Tower, The Louvre Museum, and Notre Dame Cathedral, you should also visit the beautiful National Forest of Saint-Germain, where you can do some hikes.
Feel the real Medieval Parisian vibe at the Château of Vincennes and enjoy a bite of croissant and a cup of coffee at cute little cafes around it. If you are interested in visiting Paris’ high-end streets, go to Avenue Montaigne, Rue Saint-Honoree, Galeries Lafayette, Le Bon Marche, and Printemps, where you can find the top brands such as Gucci, Saint Laurent, Louis Vitton, Prada, and Chanel to name a few.
- We LOVE this camera for our travel photography.
- For a cheap, easy, and compact camera, we use this to vlog and take photographs.
- We use this microphone for all our Youtube voiceovers.
- We use this travel drone (but make sure to check drone laws in your chosen destination first).
- This is our favorite travel insurance because it covers so many activities and travel situations that could arise on longer trips but also offer year coverage.
What to pack
- No matter where we travel, I always take these trusty hand sanitizers and a mini first aid kit.
- We love these toiletry bags (especially great for smaller bathrooms) and choose a laptop bag like this as our hand luggage.
- We keep our devices charged on long travel days with these lightweight battery packs and bring these worldwide travel adaptors on all our trips.
- I still struggle not to overpack so stick to using an expandable suitcase like these and always take my trusty luggage scales to avoid being charged at the airport.