8 Places to Visit in France Outside Paris

Are you planning a vacation to France? French teacher, Carol Beth L. shares eight wonderful places to visit in France outside of Paris…

Chances are the “City of Light” is one of the top places to visit on your travel itinerary. Visiting Paris, however, doesn’t mean you’ve seen all that France has to offer by a long shot. There are many other wonderful places to visit in France.

Lucky for you, Europe has a relatively good rail system, which means you can visit places in France with ease and comfort. If you’re not sure where to start, below are eight beautiful places to visit in France.

In addition to speaking French with locals, be sure to take in all of the French culture and delicious French foods. After all, each region has it’s own unique specialties.

Are you an avid skier or snowboarder? The French Alps border France to the east, right along Italy, Switzerland, and Germany.

The mountain range is known for its height and beauty, and makes for an excellent ski or hiking location.

This southern French castle has an interesting story. According to legend, a peasant girl saved the inhabitants from siege when she suggested they catapult a pig fattened with their last grain.

The castle itself is beautiful and worth the trip. It is relatively close to the city of Toulouse, which is home to several cathedrals and museums, including the Pont Neuf, la Cite de l’Espace, and more.

If you like architecture then you’ll love Loire Valley. Loire Valley is home to several astonishing castles.

The best part is you can see several different castles in a short period of time, as they are located in close proximity to one another.

Located on the eastern coast of France, this beautiful castle is connected to shore by a thin strip of beach during low tide. During high tide, it becomes an island.

Book the castle hotel (in advance) and stay the night. You’ll get to eat on castle grounds, and march all the way up to the church at the very top of the castle.

Located in the province of Dordogne, these caves boast some of Western Europe’s best and most extensive examples of prehistoric cave paintings.

If you’re a history, anthropology, or art buff, this might be a good place for you to start your journey.

This capital city of the eastern province of Alsace lies right along France’s eastern border with Germany.

The German influence is still evident, especially in the food and the street signs, which are in French, German, and English.

Try some sausages or other local dishes before you leave. Some notable city sites include the Musee d’Alsace, the Cathedral Notre Dame de Strasbourg, the European Parliament, and the Musee du Chocolat.

Aix-en-Provence is located in the south of France, close to Marseilles. You’ll have the taste of the sun, seafood, and fresh fruits and vegetables typically associated with southern France.

A few well-known locations include the Cours Mirabeau, the Aux Cathedral, and the Museum of Natural History.

If you’re there in the month of July, keep your eyes peeled for events related to the Aix-en-Provence Festival, an annual music festival.

Located in the north of France, Rouen contains a number of old churches worth visiting, including a local cathedral later painted by Monet and a church named after Saint Joan of Arc.

Also of interest are Rouen’s Musée des Beaux-Arts, Jardin des Plantes, Natural History Museum, and Maritime Museum.

These places to visit in France offer both beauty and history. Check with the local office of tourism and with your hotel, as they may offer expert guided tours.

And of course, learn some French. Even if you aren’t perfect, locals will surely appreciate your efforts!

CarolPost Author: Carol Beth L.
Carol Beth L. teaches French lessons in San Francisco, CA. She has her Masters in French language education from the Sorbonne University in Paris and has been teaching since 2009. Learn more about Carol Beth here!

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