Is France Worth Visiting? 19 Reasons Why You Should!

I moved to France over six years ago, but my first trip to this beautiful country was in 2012.

Since then, I’ve been to some of the most amazing places. From World War I memorials in Dunkirk to the sandy beaches in Marseille, I’ve seen it all.

And I often get asked, “Is France worth visiting? Is it worth all the hype?”

The short answer is, yes!

France is an incredible destination, whether you’re a history buff, an adventure junkie, or a cultural fiend.

In this post, I’ll share 19 reasons why France is worth adding to your travel bucket list.

Is France worth visiting? Here are all the reasons why you should add it to your travel bucketlist.
Is It Worth Visiting France?

Is France Worth Visiting?

Yes, France is worth visiting!

This enchanting destination is a melting pot of art, cuisine, architecture, and natural beauty. It captured my heart on my first visit in 2012 and I’ve been in love ever since.

Situated in the heart of Europe, France offers a mix of landscapes. You’ll find everything from the snow-capped peaks in the Alps to the sandy beaches in the French Riviera.

The country’s rich history is evident in its iconic landmarks. Some of the most awe-inspiring ones I’ve seen include the Eiffel Tower, the Amiens Cathedral, the Hospices de Beaune, and the Citadelle de Besançon.

This is the view from the Citadelle de Besançon. In the center of the photo there is a river. Then on one side there is a tall tree-covered hill. On the other there is the city of Besançon.
View from the Citadelle de Besançon

Of course, I can’t talk about visiting France without mentioning its world-renowned culinary scene.

From gourmet Michelin-starred restaurants to cozy bistros, it’s a foodie’s paradise. Classic dishes like escargots, coq au vin, and crème brûlée are some of my personal favorites.

And let’s not forget about the wine. France is home to some of the most famous wine regions in the world, including Alsace, Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne.

So, a visit to a local winery for a tasting is a must-do activity for any wine lover.

But that’s not all.

France’s charming villages and picturesque countryside provide a serene escape from the busy city life.

This is a cycling path on the Alsace Wine Route. It's a pave path surrounded by lush vineyards.
The Alsace Wine Route

Whether I’m exploring the lavender fields of Provence, cycling through the vineyards of Alsace, or strolling through Marseille’s colorful Panier district, I always find myself in awe of this country’s natural beauty.

Finally, France’s fashion scene, bustling markets, museums, and lively festivals add to its dynamic appeal. And you can be sure there’s always something new to discover.

So, whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway or an adventure-filled trip, France has it all.

19 Reasons to Visit France

There are so many reasons to visit France.

From its beautiful natural landscapes to its enchanting villages, here are 19 reasons why you should.

1. Charming Villages

This is photo of me in Strasbourg's La Petite France. I'm standing in front of La Maison Tanneurs, which is a white half-timbered house. I'm wearing shorts, gym shoes, and a jacket.
Me in Strasbourg’s La Petite France

If there’s one thing I love about France, it’s the charming villages scattered throughout the country. From Alsace to Brittany, each region has its own charm and character.

Some of the most incredible villages I’ve visited are often the most underappreciated places in the country.

At the top of my list is Strasbourg. It’s where I’ve been living since 2019 and I love everything about it.

With its half-timbered houses, cobbled streets, and colorful flower boxes, it’s like stepping into a fairytale.

Of course, there are many villages in the same region (Alsace) that I also adore, such as Colmar, Eguisheim, and Kaysersberg.

2. Lively Cities

This is a street in Marseille's Le Panier Neighborhood. It's a paved street lined with colorful buildings. Then, on the windowsills, there are potted flower and plants.
Marseille’s Le Panier Neighborhood

As much as I love the villages in France, I can’t get enough of its big cities. I mean I did live in Paris for three years.

But it’s not just Paris. The urban scenes in Lyon, Marseille, and Toulouse are as epic.

In these cities, there is always something going on. You’ll find cultural excursions, meetups, bars showcasing up-and-coming DJs, and the list goes on.

But if I had to choose, I would say that Marseille is my favorite big city. It’s the perfect mix of modernity and historic charm.

Its incredibly famous Le Panier neighborhood is full of things to do. It has an energy that’s both authentic and lively.

You won’t find anywhere else like it in France, at least in my opinion.

3. It’s Affordable

This is a photo of me, Jen Ciesielski, holding my Strasbourg City Pass. It's a small card that says Strasbourg City Card.
My Strasbourg City Pass

One of the great things about France is that it is an affordable destination. I go on several trips per month without emptying my bank account.

There are many factors that contribute to this affordability. The public transportation system is top-notch and relatively inexpensive.

You can easily get around on buses, metros, and trains without spending a fortune.

I always buy my train tickets in advance. For TER trains (or regional trains), I’ll buy them at least the day before. But, for TGV trains, I always book my tickets a month in advance (at least).

Additionally, there are plenty of affordable accommodations all over the country.

I, personally, book all my hotels with I’m part of their loyalty program (Genius Level 3), so I get tons of discounts.

Then, in most cities, there’s a low-cost city pass that can save you tons of money on the top attractions. My favorite city passes so far have been from Strasbourg and Lille.

Not only that but you’ll also find tons of free attractions.

Cities like Dijon, Marseille, Lyon, and Lille are known for their free museums. So, you can enjoy art, history, and culture without spending a single euro.

4. Exquisite Cuisine

This is my plate of Choucroute Garnie from Le Gurtlerhoft Restaurant in Strasbourg. There is sauerkraut topped with three different kinds of pork. There are two potatoes and a sprig of parsley.
Choucroute Garnie from Le Gurtlerhoft Restaurant in Strasbourg

French cuisine is renowned for its delicious flavors, diverse dishes, and culinary expertise.

Not only that but French chefs take pride in using only the freshest ingredients. They often shop at local markets, so you know you’re getting a high-quality meal.

Some of the best classical dishes include boeuf bourguignon and coq au vin. But my favorites come from Alsace. The top two dishes on my list are tarte flambée and choucroute garnie.

Helpful Tip: The best choucroute garnie I had was from Le Gurtlerhoft Restaurant in Strasbourg. That’s where I took the photo above.

And of course, you can’t forget about the pastries. Croissants, macarons, éclairs…you name it, the French do it best.

Helpful Tip: The best macarons I had were from Nancy. The exterior was crispy, and the inside was soft, but not too chewy. And, unlike most macarons in France, they were not too sweet.

5. World-Class Shopping

This is the Sunday market in Dijon. There are rows of vendors selling clothes and other accessories. Then, there are people shopping and looking at the items.
Sunday Market in Dijon

Often touted as the fashion capital of the world, France has been and continues to be at the forefront of the industry.

Its role in fashion began as early as the 15th century.

And today, Paris hosts the ever-impressive Paris Fashion Week.

This exclusive show gathers top designers from around the world twice a year. And, for one week, they showcase their latest creations.

But if you just want to shop, you’ll find everything from luxury boutiques to vintage shops. Stroll down the Champs-Élysées or visit a market. Either way, you’re sure to find something that fits your style.

I, personally, prefer shopping at the local markets. I enjoy haggling with vendors and finding unique pieces.

6. Wine Regions

This is the Patriarche Père et Fils Wine Cellar in Beaune. There are two rows of large wooden wine barrels.
Patriarche Père et Fils Wine Cellar in Beaune

From Bordeaux to Burgundy, France and wine are synonymous.

Believe it or not, there are more than 200 varieties of grapes spread across the country.

So, why is the wine so good?

Well, to grow grapes, you need rich fertile soil. You also need a lot of sun and heavy rainfall. And, in France, there is a perfect balance. It creates a unique climate that allows the vineyards to flourish.

Of course, you can sample wine at any restaurant in France.

But I recommend touring a vineyard or a wine cellar.

Some of the best wineries I’ve toured were at Mumm when I was in Reims for a day and at Patriarche Père et Fils in Beaune.

7. Tons of Outdoor Activities

This Grand Ballon in the Vosges Mountains. It's the tallest peak in the photo. There are smaller peaks next to it. Then in the foreground you can see the rest of the forest.
Vosges Mountains

I love the outdoors. So, for me, France is the perfect destination.

There’s a great combination of adrenaline-pumping fun and nature activities. From skiing in the Alps to paragliding in Reunion Island, there’s something for everyone.

My favorite is hiking in the Vosges mountains near Alsace.

It’s one of the lesser-known mountain ranges in France, but the viewpoints are spectacular and the trails are pristine.

Plus, you don’t need a car to get there. The train takes you directly to the starting point of many hikes.

I also enjoy biking. There are tons of cycling paths throughout the country, like the 16 EuroVelo routes. I find it’s a great way to explore the countryside and visit small villages that are otherwise difficult to get to.

8. Stunning Architecture

This is the exterior of the Amiens Cathedral. It has a tall spire in the middle then columns of stone surrounding the center. There are statues, carvings, and stained-glass windows.
Amiens Cathedral

France is known for its stunning architecture. From ancient Roman structures to modern skyscrapers, there’s a lot to see here.

The country has a rich history and it’s evident in the buildings you’ll see when traveling through different regions.

One of my favorite architectural wonders in France is the Amiens Cathedral. It’s a stunning example of Gothic architecture and is the largest cathedral in France.

Other notable sites include the Palace of Versailles, the Château de Chenonceau, and the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Each one has a unique style and story to tell.

It’s not only historic relics, but France also has tons of modern masterpieces like La Cité Radieuse – Le Corbusier in Marseille or the Centre Pompidou in Metz.

9. Scenic Landscapes

The view from the Belvédère de Sugiton in the Calanques National Park. There are limestone cliffs plunging into the blue Mediterranean Sea.
View from the Belvédère de Sugiton

From the snow-capped peaks of the Alps to the sandy beaches of Marseille, France is full of scenic landscapes.

One of the most iconic images of France is the lavender fields in Provence. These vibrant purple fields stretch for miles and are a must-see when visiting the region.

But nothing beats the Calanques National Park in Marseille, at least, in my opinion. This stunning park features rugged cliffs, hidden coves, and crystal-clear waters. It’s a popular spot for hiking, swimming, and kayaking.

My favorite hike was to the Belvédère de Sugiton. Afterward, I took a dip in the Calanque de Sugiton.

Helpful Tip: I recommend going to the Calanques National Park in early June. The crowds have yet to arrive, and you won’t need a reservation to visit.

10. World-Class Museums

This is the main building in the Hospices de Beaune. It's made of wooden and stone. But the most pronounced feature are the colorful tiles on the roof top.
Hospices de Beaune

France is known for its rich cultural heritage. And one of the best ways to learn about it is to explore its museums.

Whether you want to see work from Claude Monet or learn about ancient history, France has a museum for what you’re looking for.

Of course, a trip to the Louvre can’t be beat.

But I, personally, like the smaller museums.

Some of my favorites are the Unterlinden Museum in Colmar, the Hospices de Beaune in Beaune, and the Musée Alsacien (Alsatian Museum) in Strasbourg.

11. Iconic Landmarks

This is the the Eiffel Tower at sunrise from Place du Trocadéro. You can see the entire tower and on the left near the base you can see the sun rising.
Eiffel Tower

France is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in the world.

The most popular include the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame de Paris, and the Arc de Triomphe.

But there are also lesser-known gems that are just as impressive.

For example, the Palais Garnier in Paris is a stunning opera house filled with grand staircases and ornate details.

The Château de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley is a beautiful castle built over the Cher River.

And the Pont du Gard is a well-preserved Roman aqueduct from the first century AD.

But my favorite is the Reims Cathedral. This Gothic masterpiece is known for its intricate stained-glass windows and was the site of many coronations of French kings.

12. Year-Round Destination

This is a cherry tree full of Cherry Blossoms in spring. I took this photo near a town called Obernai, which is in the region of Alsace.
Cherry Blossoms in Alsace

France is a year-round destination. So, the best time to visit depends on the kind of experience you are looking for.

In the winter, ski enthusiasts can hit the slopes in popular destinations like Chamonix or visit the infamous Christmas markets.

Springtime brings beautiful blooms and festivals such as the Easter and Spring Markets in Colmar. It’s a great time to visit regions like Alsace, Provence, and the Loire Valley.

Summer is a perfect time to explore the French Riviera or go hiking in the Alps.

Autumn brings cooler temperatures and picturesque landscapes. It’s my favorite time to visit wine regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Alsace.

13. Rich History

This is a photo of Artillery Bunkers at Batterie de Leffrinckoucke. There are one in tact and then demolished ones in the foreground. They are all on a beach surrounded by sand dunes.
Artillery Bunkers at Batterie de Leffrinckoucke

France is a country with a rich history. From prehistoric cave paintings to battlefields, there is no shortage of historical sites to visit.

I’ve been to a lot of them, but there are a few that stand out.

The first is the Batterie de Leffrinckoucke. This World War II site is home to the artillery bunkers used during the infamous Operation Dynamo.

The second is the Roman ruins in Lyon. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to the ancient theater of Fourvière, which dates to 15 BC.

And finally, the Cosquer Méditerranée in Marseille. This enthralling museum is a replica of the infamous Cosquer Cave, which holds some of the world’s oldest cave paintings.

But the history of this fascinating country is not limited to physical sites. France has also been home to many influential figures such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Marie Curie, Charles de Gaulle, and Joan of Arc.

14. Artistic Heritage

This is the inside the Musée Fabre in Montpellier. There are a set of stairs leading to a room full of paintings.
Musée Fabre in Montpellier

France is known for its artistic heritage, and rightfully so.

Some of the world’s most famous artists such as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Auguste Rodin have called France home.

I highly recommend visiting the Louvre Museum in Paris, which houses the iconic Mona Lisa painting by Leonardo da Vinci.

But that’s not all.

There are many other museums and galleries throughout the country that showcase a diverse range of art.

In fact, my favorite city for art museums is Montpellier. There’s the Musée Fabre, the Musée Art Brut, and, of course, Parcelle 473.

Each museum offers a unique experience and highlights a different form of art.

15. Literary Legacy

This is the inside of Jules Verne's home in Amiens. This is his bedroom. There is a bed with a top hat on it, a desk with a chair, and drapes on the window.
Jules Verne’s home in Amiens

France has inspired countless writers and poets.

From Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables to Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, French literature has left a lasting impact on the world.

Visiting the homes and museums of these writers is a great way to get a deeper understanding of their works.

I visited the home of Jules Verne in Amiens and the birthplace of Victor Hugo in Besançon.

Both were insightful and enriching experiences, giving me a glimpse into the lives of these literary giants.

Helpful Tip: Cimetière du Père-Lachaise is the final resting place for many famous French writers such as Marcel Proust. It’s a beautiful place to pay your respects while also appreciating the literary legacy of France.

16. Romantic Atmosphere

If there is one thing I can attest to, it is the undeniable romantic atmosphere that’s around every corner of France.

From strolling hand in hand along the Seine in Paris to sipping wine at a cozy bistro in Provence, there’s no better place for a romantic getaway.

After all, I did marry a Frenchman in France.

But it’s not just the scenery that makes France so romantic.

The language itself is often described as the language of love, adding to the ambiance.

17. Easy to Get Around

This is the front of a regional TER train in France.
Regional TER Train

There are a ton of ways to get around France.

Below is a list of some of the best ways to travel around the country.

By Train – Train travel is my preferred way to get around France. The high-speed TGV trains connect cities like Paris and Marseille. Then, regional trains (TER trains) are perfect for exploring more remote areas.

By Car When I want to visit smaller villages or lesser-known destinations, I opt to rent a car. It gives me the freedom to explore at my own pace and not depend on public transport.

By Bus – If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, consider taking a bus. Many cities offer direct routes to popular destinations. But, for me, the buses are too slow, and the time wasted is often not worth the money I saved.

By Bike – France has some of the best cycling routes. After all, this is the country that created the Tour de France. Most wine regions have a Route des Vins where you can explore the vineyards on a bike.

By Plane – Traveling by plane is another option, but it’s not as efficient as train travel. I only take a plane when I can’t get there any other way.

18. Unforgettable Experiences

These are the floating gardens in  Les Hortillonnages d’Amiens. There is a wooden cabin surrounded by trees and colorful flowers. It's on the canal surrounded by water.
Floating Gardens in Les Hortillonnages d’Amiens

France offers a plethora of unforgettable experiences.

I’ve traveled to so many places it’s hard to pick only one, so I’ll list a few of my favorites below:

Verdun BattlefieldsWalking through the trenches and bunkers of this historic site was one of the most moving experiences for me. It reminded me of the sacrifices made during World War I.

Mont Saint-Michel – The iconic abbey perched on a rocky island is something to see. I loved visiting during low tide. I walked around the base of the island and saw it from all angles.

Eiffel Tower at Night – Seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up at night is one of my first memories of France. It’s an absolute must-do.

Wine Tasting in Burgundy – France’s wine regions are world-renowned, and Burgundy is no exception. I loved visiting the quaint villages, touring picturesque vineyards, and tasting the wine.

Marseille’s Calanques – I loved hiking through the Calanques National Park in Marseille. The views of the Mediterranean coastline were breathtaking.

Les Hortillonnages d’Amiens – These floating gardens in Amiens are a unique and peaceful experience. I took a boat ride through the canals and admired the beautiful gardens and wildlife.

19. Festivals and Events

France is also known for its lively festivals and events, which are great ways to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Some of my favorites are:

Bastille Day – On the 14th of July, France celebrates its national holiday with parades, fireworks, and other festivities. I watch the fireworks every year and can’t get enough of the lively atmosphere.

Mardi Gras – This colorful carnival takes place during February and features elaborate floats, street performers, and lively music. The best Mardi Gras I’ve seen was in Dunkirk, but the ones in Nice and Paris were good too.

Fête de la Musique – Every year on the 21st of June, France celebrates music with free concerts and performances throughout the country. I’ve been to the ones in Paris and Strasbourg. Both were incredible.

Tour de France – Cycling fans won’t want to miss this iconic event, which takes place over three weeks in July. I usually watch it on TV, but you can catch sections of it live.

Conclusion: Is France Worth Visiting?

France is a destination full of adventure, history, and culture.

I’ve been traveling around the country since 2012 and never get bored with all there is to do.

So, whether you’re looking to indulge in a gourmet meal or climb a glacier, there’s something for everyone.

Not only that but it’s also affordable.

Now, the only thing left to do is plan your trip. Why not look at all the guides I have for France? It’s a great place to get started.

Read More Articles from France

I hope you enjoyed my post and found it helpful. Here are some other articles that I think you might find interesting.

Jen Ciesielski
Jen Ciesielski

Jen Ciesielski is the creator of Dabbling in Jet Lag. She has lived abroad for over ten years, traveled to more than 50 countries, and speaks French and English fluently. Her areas of expertise include moving abroad, learning languages, and travel planning. Originally from the United States, she now lives in France, where she has been for more than six years. She has also traveled extensively around the country. She shares her experiences as an expat living in France and helps thousands of people plan their trips every month.

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