10 Places to See in France (That Aren’t Paris)

I was thrilled to be able to make my first trip to Paris. Everywhere you turn, you will find iconic sights like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and Champs Elysees.

Paris is an indisputable must-see on any French vacation. Paris is a wonderful place, but you have to see it outside of Paris to truly appreciate its rich culture and beauty.

Every region is rich in its own treasures, from the turquoise waters of the French Riviera to Provence’s lavender fields.

These are 10 amazing places to see in France that are not Paris.

French Riviera

The south of France is the ideal destination for the most memorable road trips around the globe. Enjoy the luxury lifestyle while sipping local wines on the idyllic beaches of the Provence or Cote d’Azur coasts.

French Riviera Planning Guide
French Riviera Planning Guide

Rent a car and explore Cannes, Nice, Saint-Tropez and the rest of the coast on your dream road trip.

Lyon

You already know that France is home to some of the finest food in the world. Where can French foodies find the best indulgences? Lyon is France’s food capital. There are many reasons to travel to Lyon, but Lyonnaise food is my favorite. They’re on a different level, offering freshly baked praline pie and cervelle du canut.

Brittany

You can hike the rugged coastline and then go through the forest to reach the many medieval towns in this Breton region. Every morning, local fishermen bring in fresh fish to fill your stomach. It’s a totally different experience than Paris, with all its hustle and bustle.

It is a beautiful, rugged peninsula in France’s northernmost region that is worth the effort.

Chateau de Chambord, Chambord

Loire Valley

For its cool chateaus, and castles, the Loire Valley is a top destination in France’s countryside.

You can discover a fairy-tale setting at the intersection of two distinct regions of France. The entire Loire Valley is a Unesco World Heritage Site because of its unique culture. Explore the opulent estates and taste the wines before you dive into the city of Orleans, Blois or Tours.

Normandy

This region of northern France is rich in history and peaceful medieval cities.

The stunning countryside is a must-see for WWII history enthusiasts. It offers a glimpse into the small towns in the northern region.

Normandy, a world away from the glamorous international scene in the south, will offer you a deeper glimpse into authentic French culture.

Marseille

It was a beautiful 48 hour stay in Marseille, right on the Mediterranean Sea. This port city is one of Europe’s oldest. It has been a melting-pot for generations. It is a far cry from St Tropez or Cannes, but that can be a good thing.

Marseille is a great place to live if you want to get away from resort life.

Bordeaux

It is a region that my fellow wine enthusiasts have put at the top of their bucket list.

There are many tours that take you to the best vineyards on the Left Bank and Right Bank. There will be plenty to choose from at each stop. But don’t forget to leave the town!

Bordeaux offers a wide range of activities so make sure to spend at least one day exploring the city before you put the cork in.

Strasbourg

Strasbourg, the largest city in the Grand Est region in eastern France is located just next to the German border.

This has led to a cultural fusion that combines the best of both cultures. Take in the breathtaking views of the Rhine River by visiting the astronomical clock.

You can take a train from Strasbourg to Colmar. Take a stroll through the cobblestone streets to admire the stunning medieval and early Renaissance architecture.

Verdon Gorge

Provence

This colorful region was my first love after I set out to find lavender and sunflower fields in Provence.

It is hard not to be captivated by the beautiful aromas and vibrant colors of the flowers and herbs that dot the landscape. There are many things to do in this area, but you could easily spend the entire day just walking through the fields.

Verdon Gorge was my highlight, despite flower hunting. This beautiful gorge is formed by limestone cliffs that divide to make this stunning gorge.

Biarritz

Although Spain’s Basque Country is the most well-known, France’s Basque Coast is also worth exploring. This place is a popular spot for nineteenth-century monarchs and has an old-school charm.

Take a stroll around the charming boutiques and restaurants along the coast, then get your hiking shoes. For a breathtaking view of the Bay of Biscay, take the footbridge to Rocher de la Vierge.

Are you ready to go on your first trip? Here are my top 10 tips to help you make the most of your first trip to France.