Whether you’re exploring the rich historic culture of Paris or the glitz and glamour of the French Riviera, these vibrant French destinations are full of fun and cultural activities, so you are guaranteed to have the best time! From delicacy to landmarks, local insights to nightlife, we have the ‘in’ on France and know all of the things that you must see, visit, and do to make sure you experience the real deal (or the ‘vraie affaire’).
Travel to: France
As the ‘City of Lights,’ ‘City of Love,’ and the most visited capital, Paris is truly a European gem. The capital flourishes with culture, art, beauty, and history, inevitably creating an endless list of things to do, so here are the things we think you absolutely cannot miss when visiting this spirited city.
Your perfect Paris itinerary
Visit the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is the most symbolic structure in Paris and every year millions of people climb to the top and enjoy views of the whole city. You can celebrate your climb the French way and visit the built-in macaron and champagne bar, or you can just take in the breathtaking Parisian architecture that surrounds you. Visit after the sun has set, when the renowned structure is lit up by 20,000 light bulbs to see something truly special.
See Notre-Dame & the ‘Love Lock’ bridge
Although entry to this magnificent structure has been suspended due to the effects of the tragic fire, it’s definitely still worth a visit to the grounds of the Notre-Dame. This masterpiece of French Gothic architecture still remains to be the spiritual heart of the city, and both locals and visitors are eagerly anticipating its reopening.
Closeby is Ponts des Arts, also known as ‘Love Lock’ bridge, which is a bridge that crosses over the River Seine and has been subject to years of tourists attaching their padlocks to it, with written messages of love, initials and memorable dates. By 2015, over a million locks had been attached to the bridge and the weight was becoming a concern for the bridge’s power to resist collapsing and so most of the locks were removed. In saying this, some locks remain and it is still a destination that many tourists flock to every year – particularly those in love.
Discover uniquely Parisian attractions
If we were ranking the most iconic and symbolic landmarks of Paris, the Arc de Triomphe would be just behind the Eiffel Tower. This greatly historical monument dates back to 1836 and commemorates Napoleon’s victory at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1806. Its decorative finishes replete with symbolism and its arch-like figure stands majestically at the top end of the Champs-Élysées, a Parisian avenue often referred to as the ‘world’s most beautiful street.’ When on the Champs-Élysées, you must also visit the oldest patisserie in Paris, Ladurée, for macarons that are just as tantalising to your taste buds as they are as light as air.
Visit the Musée du Louvre
The innovative structure of the Louvre is just as much a reason to visit this museum as the vastly diverse collection of art it holds inside. On a clearer day, the sky’s anatomy can be seen mirrored onto the Louvre’s angled slopes, prompting unique patterns of light to surround the museum grounds. The museum’s collection is pretty impressive too, holding masterpieces from da Vinci such as the Mona Lisa, and works by Michelangelo and Rembrandt as well as Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Greek antiquities.
Try escargot & frog legs
The French delicacy of escargot (snails) and frog legs is world renowned, and for many travellers, their trip to Prais wouldn’t be complete without trying them! Often escargot comes served in its shell and is cooked in a garlic sauce. Frog legs, however, are often compared to chicken wings due to their flavour and texture. Although some may be slightly apprehensive in trying this unique delicacy, they both have actually been found to be an excellent source of protein, so once you get past the mental thought, you might find something you really enjoy!
The French Riviera, on the other hand, is less like your typical sightseeing city break and much more of a relaxing and indulgent getaway. The southern coast is famously known for its glamorous beaches that attract celebrity holiday homes including the likes of Elton John, Bono, and Ralph Lauren. France’s sun-kissed Mediterranean coast is packed with fun things to do and explore, but the main draw is sitting back, relaxing, and enjoying the finer things in life.
Your perfect French Riviera itinerary
Monaco and Monte-Carlo
Just a 20-minute train ride outside of Nice is the Principality of Monaco which is renowned for its flashy cars, towering yachts, and designer shops. The most prominent association with Monaco is the Monte-Carlo casino, which is open to the public for a small cost and is definitely worth a visit even if you are not wishing to gamble, particularly for its grand and regal aesthetic. Monaco also annually holds the Formula 1 Grand Prix in the last week of May, and the Musée Océanographique de Monaco is definitely worth a visit also for an interactive day-out with a killer location.
Nice is a great hub for your trip to the French Riviera, as both Monaco and Cannes are super accessible via train or car. Nice has great beaches, delicious seafood, and booming nightlife – make sure you look out for the planes that display promo flags as they fly over the beaches in the daytime, these are often advertising a range of different extravagant parties in and around Nice and the French Riviera. Perhaps their most well-known party is the Nice Carnival, where people partake in activities such as cold-water swims, waiter races, and ‘flower battles,’ in addition to the extravagant parade floats that splash colour into the crowds.
As well as Cannes arguably having the best beaches in the French Riviera due to the deluxe combination of white sand and turquoise water, Cannes is also the festival hub of France. Of course there is the annual Cannes Film Festival, where celebrities of all stature and sphere flock from different corners of the world to come and celebrate the art of motion picture. There is also Cannes Lions, the legendary advertising festival, and the Yachting festival, which parades the latest grand yachts.
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Thriving in the summer and hibernating in the winter, St. Tropez definitely has the most coastal feel to it out of all the destinations in the French Riviera. This is a hotspot for champagne popping and luxury living, so makes the ideal place to relax on the beach followed by cocktails with dinner. Most don’t know, but St. Tropez actually has a thriving contemporary art scene, with Musée de l’Annonciade showcasing local artists’ work.
Antibes & Villefranche-Sur-Mer
If you’re visiting Monaco and Nice, you must also visit the smaller towns of Antibes and Villefranche, as they’re super close by and a lot less touristy. Antibes is home to a yachting harbour where you can walk amongst some of the most magnificent yachts in the world and enjoy dinner on the cobblestone streets of the old town afterwards. Not to mention Antibes is where the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc is located, which is a world-famous hotel that welcomes many celebrities each year. The hotel gives off a 60’s vibe and even has a ladder and rhythmic gymnastics hoop set that overlook the waves on a repurposed sailboat mast.
The best way to ensure you tick everything off your list of things to do in Paris and the French Riviera is to do it as part of a tour! Tours ensure that you experience all of the best things a place has to offer, and with local insights, so that you don’t miss any of the good stuff and never go home feeling let down – only fulfilled. You can choose between a self-guided or big group tour, food & culinary or in-depth cultural tour, and many, many more!
Where would your dream itinerary take you?