When asked to name famous cities in France, most people respond with Paris. And why not. The iconic city of France stands out globally. Known for rich historical timelines, French cuisine, arts, culture and fashion, Paris often tops lists of most visited international cities. This article looks at Paris and why this French city ranks alongside Rome and Milan as world hubs.
Yet we will talk about seven other cities, to get the buzz for all things French, that make suitable places to visit and live. Many people have purchased property in France. Alongside Paris, they live in other cities to advance their careers, but also explore anything delightfully French.
8 Prominent Cities in France
1: Paris: French Cultural Capital
Easily reached by Charles de Gaulle International Airport of France, Paris oozes sophisticated charm. So thinks days exploring art galleries and museums, followed by afternoon tea served by traditional French cafés. Of course, most tourists visit to see the Eiffel Tower. Still, Paris, called the “city of lights”, offers more landmark attractions, including Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre, and Arc de Triomphe.
More than 800 million people descend every year to prove the French city’s popularity, and surrounding urban landscapes are home to many foreigners who live there all year round. The 777 kilometres Seine River flowing through the city attracts tourists and locals with interesting landmark buildings and scenic landscapes. Of course, though, visit the notable Champs-Elysees, an elite French avenue housing big international brand names like Valentino, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Dior. In France’s most prominent city, nobody wants for anything. (More About Paris.)
2: Marseille City in France
Ah, Marseille. Sitting in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region of France, France’s second-biggest urban landscape homes roughly 1.6 million people. Locals called Marseilles, enjoy everything vibrant cities offer, and of course, masses of tourists arrive to explore modern and historical attractions. As France’s oldest city, Marseille features the famous Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, a Romano-Byzantine church and city symbol.
Marseille stands out internationally because of its location to the Mediterranean Sea, connecting the city with various other countries and cultures over centuries of advancement. History buffs will be pleased because Marseilles has the most significant museums after Paris. Marseilles embarked on projects to make daily life more pleasant, including parks, gardens, and environmentally friendly real estate developments. The city embraces modern living with top notch shops, bars, restaurants, and impressive transport system, therefore delighting tourists and expats at the same time.
3: Bordeaux and fine French Wine
Sitting alongside the southwestern Garonne River of France, Bordeaux locals are Bordelaises and Bordelaise. What makes this city stand out is excellent wine production with vineyards bearing fruit that eventually ends up in bottles sold all over France. So naturally, delicious food goes great with wine, and Bordeaux delivers with refined, regional gastronomy and French restaurants serving gourmet delights.
Aside from that, Bordeaux’s cultural and historical landmarks bring millions of tourists annually. Head to the 1.2 kilometres Rue Sainte Catherine, France’s most concentrated shopping street for shopping thrills. Otherwise, Bordeaux delivers numerous green parks to spend weekends including Jardin public de Bordeaux, Jardin Botanique de la Bastide, Parc aux Angeliques, Parc Riviere and Parc Floral.
4: Best of Lyon
Sitting near Saone and Rhone rivers, southeast of Paris, Lyon earns fame for delicious regional cuisine and architectural sites like Croix-Rousse slopes, a UNESCO World Heritage site list. Throughout history, Lyon commanded respect for silk production and big screen and cinema development. Lyon’s nickname, “capital of lights,” refers to the four days Fete des Lumieres festival, but tourists and curious wanderers will enjoy what Lyon offers from January to December regardless.
Touring landmark sites from through history would take months to complete, but otherwise, locals enjoy pleasant green spaces like the 117-hectare Parc de la Tete, where small boats sail the lake during summer. Also, put Jardin Botanical gardens on your list. Other green spaces to enjoy include Gerland, hauteurs, Lacroix-Laval and Parilly.
5: Popular Strasbourg City
Strasbourg in eastern France is an important DeFacto European union capital on the border with Germany. For avid city explorers of France and Europe, the historic city centre, a UNESCO World Heritage site throws out interesting landmarks. Indeed, Strasbourg’s long list of attractions appeal to tourists and make cultural statements about France’s connection to Europe. Visit the beautiful Gothic cathedral, the medieval Rhineland district with famous white and black timber buildings, and the extended German section displays unique architectural style.
Famous city bridges include Ponts Couverts, Barrage Vauban and Pont de la Fonderie. There are numerous museums and parks but start at Parc de l’Orangerie. Strasbourg city oozes delight for all 12 months, but for an added twist, visit at Christmas because of the season fair, France’s most popular and best.
6: Guide to Beautiful Toulouse
As France’s fourth-largest city, Toulouse sits on the Garonne River banks. Known for university excellence, that is one of France’s oldest, do not assume, education is all the city does well. Initially founded by the Romans, Toulouse’s three UNESCO Sites, Canal du Midi, Basilica of St. Sernin, and Hotel-Dieu Saint-Jacques, signify the French city’s cultural importance. If you hear anyone call Toulouse the pink city, this refers to pinkish bricks used to build houses and office buildings.
But you will spot many more architectural styles, including Romanesque, gothic, and Renaissance, hence the other French nickname of the city of arts and history. Like other French cities, Toulouse offers up an astonishing number of green spaces, and should you like museums, get ready for a months’ worth of visits.
7: Nice and the Riviera of France
Belonging to the famed southeast French Rivera, Nice’s nickname “Nice la Belle” means beautiful Nice, reflecting what awaits visitors to France. Historically, Nice city was favoured by English upper-class families, who spent winter there, because of the city’s Riviera winter resort town reputation. Additionally, Nice boasts of literature connections proving ultimate worth as a famous city of France. Naturally, like any French city, daily life revolves around community city squares. They include Massena, Garibaldi, Rossetti, and Saleya.
Otherwise, on average, Nice city hosts about 4 million tourists annually hence expect varied tourist attractions, including high profile shopping centres like Nicetoile, TNL, Lingostiere, St-Isidore, Trinity Cap3000 and Polygone Riviera. Hang out or walk the Promenade des Anglais to see daily city life and fantastic sea views.
8: Grenoble: Capital Gateway to the French Alps
Regarding population, low-key Grenoble deserves mentioning because this city is the Alps gateway. So, to swap urban landscapes for weekends enjoying Mother Nature, Grenoble gives easy access. As the Alps capital city of arts and culture, Grenoble old town features interesting museums and historical buildings. Also, visit La Bastille fortress for fantastic city views.
Finally, indulge your tastebuds at traditional French restaurants by sampling regional delights of buckwheat pasta Crozets, Foie Gras Pate, and Caillette meatballs. Enjoy the 67 acres of Parc Paul Mistral Parkland and various outdoor family activities if you can’t get to the Alps from Grenoble.
More About France
Regions of France: This article looks at 13 areas within France. All break down into separate boroughs and communities, with something unique to offer. Altogether France covers 550,000 square kilometres, borders two seas and an ocean, and includes five mountain ranges. This makes France, an interesting country to learn about.
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