France Tourist Attractions
Eiffel Tower – one of the most recognisable monuments and tourist attractions in the world. It is open to the public every day of the week, however queues can be long. Tickets can be purchased online, or opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Approaching the tower from Trocadéro will give a spectacular view of the tower. Don’t forget to revisit the tower at night so that you see it lit up.
The Louvre – famously known as the home of the Mona Lisa. There are some 35000 works of art in display in over 300 rooms – so remember to do some planning before you go. You may want to give the Mona Lisa a skip – the small painting is behind bullet proof glass and you will need to navigate through hordes of visitors trying to sneak a peek. The quieter entrances are at Carousel du Louvre shopping centre, the Passage Richelieu and the Porte des Lions (check opening times for these entrances).
Musée d'Orsay – the world’s largest collection of Impressionist paintings. It also houses artworks from the Academism, Realism, Symbolism and Art nouveau movements. mong the featured artists are Bonnard, Carpeaux, Cézanne, Courbet, Daumier, Degas, Gallé, Gauguin, Guimard, Lalique, Maillol, Manet, Millet, Monet, Pissarro, Redon, Renoir, Rodin, Seurat, Sisley, van Gogh, Vuillard.
Notre Dame Cathedral – meaning “Our Lady of Paris” – one of the world’s first Gothic cathedrals. The cathedral itself took 300 years to be completed, and represents various styles and developments in architecture. On display inside the cathedral are various artworks, furniture and other items from the Gothic period. Mass is held three times a day.
Arc de Triomphe – one of the most famous landmarks in Paris. It was built between 1806 and 1836 to honour those who fought for Paris, particularly during the Napoleanic Wars. Also at the site is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – the anonymous remains of a WWI soldier laid to rest here to symbolise all the soldiers who laid down their lives for the country. The Eternal Flame is located beneath the Arc de Triomphe and is lit every day at 18:30 by one of the Veteran Associations.
Palace of Versailles or Château de Versailles – this UNESCO site is one of the grand achievements of art and architecture. It was home to 3 French kings (and Marie Antoinette), until the French Revolution. After the French Revolution, it fell into disrepair and many of the furnishings were sold. In 1830 is was established as the Museum of the History of France. The site includes The Palace, The Garden and Park, The Grand Trianon and Marie-Antoinette’s estate.
There are 12 major wine regions in France, plus a few smaller regions. Each region is broken into 472 AOC’s (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) that are established based on geography and the unique French concept of terroir.
For a good description on how this works, click here
Champagne - renowned for the sparkling white wines that bear its name.
Burgundy – famous for Burgundy wines, Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays
Bordeaux - the heart of the largest fine-wine producing areas in the world. The town of Bordeaux is also a world heritage site due to its monumental architecture.
For more information on visiting the wine regions of France, visit: www.visitfrenchwine.com