There are so many well-known sights in France that it might be tough to choose which one to visit first! This article will teach you about some of the most prominent monuments in France and what you can expect from each of them.
This guide will teach you some of the most famous French landmarks and what you can expect from each of them. The Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, Sacre Coeur Basilica, and Mont Saint Michel Abbey are famous landmarks in France that make for an unforgettable experience.
But if you think those are the only most visited landmarks in France, you’re in for a surprise. This country is filled with a ton of old and new history.
Most Famous France Landmarks to Visit
With this list of the most famous landmarks in France at your fingertips, planning your next trip abroad has never been easier!
1. The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is the most well-known monument in France (and maybe the world), recognized for its unique style – and the fact it was meant to be temporary! It’s almost 300 meters tall and features four levels.
The World’s Fair of 1889 was initially conceived as a gateway to the World Exposition on the Champ de Mars. Since its completion in 1889, over 200 million people have visited the Eiffel Tower. To explore the tower, book a direct access tour here.
There are many great places to stay near the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Some of the best include the Hotel Plaza Athenee, Le Bristol Paris, and the Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe.
2. Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile is a famous monument in Paris, France. It is located at the heart of the Champs-Élysées and features twelve radiating avenues. The best way to see this monument in person is by taking a full historical tour with a local guide and booking a tour in advance to secure your spot.
The Arc de Triomphe, as the central unifying element of the Axe Historique (historical axis, a sequence of monuments and major thoroughfares along a route that runs from the courtyard of the Louvre to the Grande Arche de la Défense), was erected in 1806 by Jean Chalgrin.
The 16th, 17th, and 8th Arrondissements are linked by an arc that runs down the middle of the Place de la Concorde. The Arc de Triomphe is a triumphal arch in Paris erected to commemorate France’s military victories and generals from the Revolution and Napoleonic Wars.
The names of all French victories and generals are inscribed on the inner and outer surfaces of the monument. France’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I now resides beneath the Arc in a vault.
The Arc de Triomphe in Paris was the tallest triumphal arch until Mexico City’s Monumento a la Revolución was built in 1938, which is 67 m (220 ft) tall. This is a prominent Parisian landmark in the capital city of France and an iconic backdrop to the famous Champs-Élysées.
3. Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame de Paris is one of the most famous landmarks in the French capital. The cathedral was initially built in the 12th Century and is renowned for its stunning architecture and stained glass windows.
The cathedral took over two hundred years to build and was finally completed in the 13th Century. Typically, Notre Dame Cathedral is France’s most popular tourist destination and attracts millions of visitors annually.
However, in April 2019, a devastating fire broke out. By the time the fire was extinguished, the cathedral’s spire had collapsed, much of the roof had been destroyed, and walls were severely damaged. Luckily, most priceless, unique works of art within were saved. The cathedral’s altar, pipe organs, and stunning rose windows also mainly survived intact.
Due to its historical and cultural significance, the French government invested a vast sum of money in restoring Notre Dame, with repairs slated to be completed in 2024.
4. Louvre Museum
The Louvre Museum is renowned for being the world’s largest and most famous art museum. The Musée du Louvre is located in Paris, France, and was founded in 1793 as a palace.
The Louvre Museum, which opened in 1989, is the most prominent museum in France (and arguably the world). It registers over 10 million visitors annually and has an average turnover of around 15,000 people daily.
Today, the museum’s collection is divided into eight central departments: paintings, sculptures, Islamic art, Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan, Roman antiquities, Near-Eastern antiquities, and Chinese art.
One of the most famous pieces in the Louvre Museum’s collection is Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa – arguably the most famous portrait in the world. The (surprisingly small) painting has been on display at the Louvre Museum since 1806 and is one of the most visited artworks in the world. You can book a museum tour here to skip long lines.
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5. Sacre Coeur Basilica
This is one of France’s most notable landmarks built within the last 150 years, especially for its unique design. It is nearly 300 meters tall and has four levels.
Sacré-Cœur (consecrated in 1919) is a chapel on the hill of Montmartre and is recognized for its artistic significance and picturesque views of Paris. This famous monument in France stands on the location where Saint-Denis is said to have been martyred.
The best view of Paris can be enjoyed from this location – it’s even better than the Eiffel Tower because you can’t see the Eiffel Tower from the Eiffel Tower!
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Beaune, France
6. Mont Saint Michel Abbey
Saint-Malo is the largest city in Finistère, France’s Brittany region. It’s a commune in the Manche department of Normandy, France. The island is situated about one kilometer (.6 miles) off the country’s northwestern coast at the entrance to the Couesnon River near Avranches. It is renowned for the Mont Saint-Michel Abbey, famous for its beautiful Gothic architecture.
This famous landmark in France is also known for its renowned bridging causeway built to allow easy access to the island by medieval pilgrims. The magnificent abbey is recognized for its French Gothic architecture and has been featured on many postcards throughout history.
Take a full-day guided tour to Mont Saint Michel and see its beauty. A few options are available if you’re looking for a place to stay near the Mont Saint Michel Abbey.
There are several charming hotels and guesthouses in the town, as well as restaurants and cafes. The most popular place to stay is in Mont Saint Michel, on the island.
Another option is to stay in Avranches, just a few kilometers from the island. Avranches offers more accommodation options, including hotels, guesthouses, and B&Bs. Finally, if you want to stay in a more rural setting, several villages near the abbey offer bed and breakfast accommodation.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Reims, France
7. Batterie Du Roule
Batterie du Roule is recognized for its stunning ocean vistas and distinctive French architecture. This renowned monument in France has a long history, dating back to the 17th Century.
However, it wasn’t until the early 20th Century that it became a popular tourist destination. The battery was built to guard the coast against aggressors, and it is now a favorite location for tourists seeking to enjoy the lovely French coastline.
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8. Moulin Rouge
The Moulin Rouge is the most famous cabaret in Paris, France, made famous in the novella and on the silver screen. It was established in the Pigalle district, the city’s red-light district. The cabaret is renowned for being the birthplace of the French can-can dance and Moulin Rouge shows.
The Moulin Rouge is a famous tourist attraction in Paris and is often considered a must-see for those visiting the city. The cabaret features a variety of shows that are sure to entertain visitors of all ages.
If you want a memorable night in Paris, check out the Moulin Rouge and Moulin Rogue & Seine River Cruise.
9. Cité de Carcassonne
The Cité de Carcassonne is a medieval citadel in the French town of Carcassonne, in Aude province, Occitanie region. It is on a strategically significant hill on the city’s right bank, in the southeast sector.
This famous monument in France was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997. This renowned structure in France is a well-known global cinema star since it has been used as a filming location for numerous popular movies, the most famous being Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
10. Edith Piaf’s Tomb
Edith Piaf was a famous French singer and actress buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. The Père Lachaise Cemetery is one of the most famous cemeteries in the world. It’s in Paris and home to the graves of many famous people, including Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison, and Oscar Wilde. The cemetery is a popular tourist destination; there’s plenty to see and do there.
Her tomb is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the cemetery, and it’s easy to see why. The tomb is beautifully ornate and a great place to learn more about Piaf’s life and career amid a tranquil setting.
11. Gate Of The Two Mills
The Gate of the Two Mills is a famous monument in southern France built in the 18th Century. This monument is known for its picturesque views of the two mills on either side of the river.
If you’re looking for a beautiful landmark to take in some stunning views, the Gate of the Two Mills is worth a visit. Whether you’re looking to snap some photos or soak up the peaceful atmosphere, the Gate of the Two Mills is worth a stop on your next trip to France.
12. La Maison des Têtes
The La Maison des Têtes Hotel is a popular tourist destination in the historic city of Lyon, France. The hotel is housed in a historic building originally constructed in the 16th Century. The hotel is known for its luxurious accommodations and its excellent service.
The hotel has several different room types, including standard rooms, deluxe rooms, and suites. The hotel also has several other dining options, including a restaurant, a bar, and a café.
The La Maison des Têtes Hotel is the perfect place to stay in Lyon for tourists who want to experience the city’s history and culture.
13. Maisons de Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo was a famous French author who lived in the 19th Century. He was recognized for his novels and plays, including Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Hugo was also famous for his architectural work, and he designed several houses in France that are still standing today. These houses are known as the Maisons de Victor Hugo. It is a sight not to miss on a Paris walking tour.
The Maison de Victor Hugo in Paris is the most famous of these houses. This house is on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and is open to the public. It contains a museum dedicated to the life and work of Victor Hugo.
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14. Laon Citadel Gate
The Laon Citadel gate is a notable sight in France that is well worth seeing. The ancient castle was erected in the 11th Century and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The citadel gateway, which dates from the medieval period, is an excellent example of medieval construction with spectacular views from the tops of the walls.
The best way to get to the Laon Citadel gate is by car. The castle is located in Laon, and it’s easy to find. Just follow the signs to the citadel, and you’ll be there in no time.
15. Les Invalides
This cluster of famous landmarks in France consists of a military history museum, a chapel, and a hospital and retirement home for French war veterans.
Check out our tour of this incredible complex from the ViaTravelers YouTube channel.
The Musée de l’Armée (Museum of the Army) is located within the Invalides complex (or Les Invalides). The National Military Hospital or Hôtel National des Invalides, commonly known as the Hôtel des Invalides (Invalids House), is classified as a historical monument and located within the complex.
The former hospital chapel was remodeled into a national cathedral of the French military. The neighboring historic Royal Chapel, the Dormal des Invalides, is part of the complex. The tallest church in Paris has been turned into a mausoleum for some of France’s most illustrious war heroes.
16. Sainte-Chapelle, Paris
Sainte-Chapelle is a holy site of religious significance. In the second decade of the 13th Century, Louis IX commissioned the construction of this Gothic church in Paris to symbolize his devotion to Christ. This chapel was constructed seven years apart from Notre Dame Cathedral.
Sainte-Chapelle is famous for its stained glass windows, which depict scenes from the Bible. You’ll also find beautiful murals and sculptures on the walls and ceilings of this chapel. In addition to the religious art, be sure to check out the incredible architecture of Sainte-Chapelle. This Gothic church is a masterpiece of French architecture.
Take a virtual tour of this iconic church in Paris with us by watching out the video tour here:
17. Les souterrains de Provins
Les souterrains de Provins are a famous set of underground tunnels that are located in the town of Provins, France. These tunnels were originally built in the 12th Century to protect the city from invasion. Today, the tunnels are a popular tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visitors can explore the tunnels on their own or with a tour guide. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay near Les Souterrains de Provins, here are some of our top recommendations:
- The first option is Hotel Le Cheval Blanc, located right next to the entrance of the tunnels. This hotel offers comfortable rooms and an on-site restaurant.
- If you would rather stay in a more prominent hotel, we recommend Hotel du Chateau Saint Vincent. This four-star hotel features an on-site spa, gym, and restaurant serving breakfast and dinner.
18. Monument aux morts de l’île du Souvenir
The Monument aux morts de l’île du Souvenir is a famous landmark in France that commemorates the sacrifices of French soldiers during World War I. This massive monument dominates the former battlefield of Verdun and serves as a reminder of the bloodshed and devastation that took place there.
The monument was unveiled in 1932 and is now a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can climb to the top of it for stunning views of the surrounding area.
The Monument aux morts de l’île du Souvenir is located in Verdun, France. To get there, take the A30 autoroute to Verdun and follow the signs to the monument. The monument is open daily from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.
19. Millau Viaduct
The Millau Viaduct is a famous landmark in southern France. This mind-boggling cable-supported bridge spans the Tarn Valley in the village of Millau. This 2.5km marvel of modern engineering was designed by engineers Michel Virlogeux and Norman Foster in 2004.
The village has always had significant traffic in summer because its main route leads through the Mediterranean Sea. On our last visit, we had to sit in traffic for hours during passing through town.
However, as soon as we got onto this stunning bridge, time seemed to pass too quickly. The bridge itself and its views are among France’s most incredible.
The Millau Viaduct is easy to get to – follow the A75 motorway. When you reach the junction for Millau, take the exit for the bridge and follow the signs.
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20. Monument to Human Rights
The Monument to Human Rights is a significant landmark to visit in France. It’s located in Paris and was built to commemorate the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen. This monument is a significant symbol of French history and culture and a must-see for anyone visiting Paris.
21. Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles is one of the most notable France landmarks of all time. It was initially built as a hunting lodge(!) for King Louis XIII, but it was later expanded and turned into a palace by his son, King Louis XIV. The palace is famous for its opulent decoration and its grandiose scale.
Today, the Palace of Versailles is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can tour the palace’s many rooms and gardens or attend performances in the palace’s famous Hall of Mirrors.
The Palace of Versailles is located around 20 kilometers west of Paris. It can be reached by car, train, or bus. The easiest way to go to the palace is by car. There is a large parking lot near the palace, and it’s easy to get to from the Paris motorway.
Instead of public transportation, the palace can be reached by train or bus. The RER C train line runs between Paris and Versailles, and the bus lines run from the city center to the palace gates.
22. Palais des Papes
The Palais des Papes is a magnificent ancient palace in Avignon, France. It served as the European headquarters of Christianity during the 14th Century and was originally a fortification and papal home.
It saw a rapid succession of popes, including Benedict XII, elected Pope at the Palais des Papes in 1334, Clement VI in 1342, Innocent VI in 1352, and finally, Urban V in 1362.
23. Pont du Gard
The Pont du Gard is an incredible ancient Roman aqueduct still standing today. This marvel was built between 40–60 AD and still looks fantastic. The bridge’s views are stunning and a great place to take photographs. Be sure to walk around and enjoy the views from all angles.
The Pont du Gard is located in southern France near Nimes and is easily accessible via car. Tickets are required for entry. If you’re traveling by car, it’s easy to find, and plenty of parking spaces are available. Accessing the bridge requires an entrance fee, so be sure to have cash or a credit card.
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24. Stanislas Gate of Nancy
The Stanislas Gate of Nancy is a famous French landmark in Place Stanislaus in the ancient city of Nancy in Meurthe-et-Moselle. The gate was named after Stanislaus I, the last King of Poland. It was built in the 18th Century and is an awe-inspiring sight.
The gate is mounted on sandstone pillars and made from wrought iron—the fascinating gate features elaborate, gilded carvings on the facade. Visitors can explore the interior of the gate and learn more about its history.
25. Statue of the Republic
Also known as Monument to the Republic and the Statue of the Second Republic (Statue de la Deuxième République), this is a magnificent bronze statue of a woman named Marianne in France, the personification of the French Republic.
Unveiled in 1883, this gorgeous statue was ordered by the city of Paris to commemorate several critical events during the French 1st, 2nd, and early stages of the 3rd French Republic.
26. Le Panthéon
Le Panthéon is a building in Paris, France, which was initially built as a church but has been used as a mausoleum since 1791. It is the final resting place of some of France’s most famous citizens, including Voltaire, Victor Hugo, and Emile Zola. The building is also home to the remains of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Le Panthéon was initially commissioned by Louis XV in 1744 as a church dedicated to Saint Genevieve. However, construction didn’t begin until 1758 and wasn’t completed until 1790 – the French Revolution. After the Revolution, the building was rededicated as a mausoleum, and the remains of some of France’s most famous citizens were transferred from other churches and cemeteries to Le Panthéon.
The building is impressive, with its neoclassical facade and grand dome. It’s located in the Latin Quarter of Paris, on the hill of the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève.
Visitors can tour the building and view the tombs of France’s most famous citizens. Le Panthéon is also open to the public on occasions like Bastille Day.
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27. Pont Neuf
Pont Neuf is the oldest standing bridge in Paris and was completed in 1607. The bridge got its name because it was the ninth to be constructed in Paris. Pont Neuf has been famous for its unique architecture since it was first built.
28. Gare du Nord
The Gare du Nord is one of six major railway stations in Paris, France. This station is used by trains from northern France and countries like Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Each day, more than 700,000 passengers use this station.
The famous landmark of France is renowned for being an urban area of Paris located on the north bank of the River Seine and named after a French saint called Saint-Denis.
It was established as a commune during the 10th Century when it became famous for its landmarks and monuments. The Gare du Nord railway station will reflect an increase in the station’s size, as well as more onsite services and a new departure terminal ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympics.
29. Monument to Napoleon Bonaparte
The famous landmark of France is renowned for being a famous monument in Paris, built to honor the “Little Corporal,” Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, and was inaugurated on 3 August 1840.
It is an essential landmark in the history of French sculpture and one of the most famous French landmarks dedicated to a man who shook the world with his desire for conquest.
30. Jardin du Trocadero, Paris
The Trocadéro gardens, which were created by the expert French architect Roger-Henri Expert in 1937, are regarded as one of the finest examples of Modernist landscape design.
This garden was built to showcase art and technology today and their applications through an exhibition called Trocadéro Palace of Mechanism and Electricity.
The famous gardens are located on the hill of Trocadéro, which offers a stunning view over the city of Paris, the Seine River, and the famous Eiffel Tower.
The garden is home to various plant species and several sculptures and fountains. The Trocadéro gardens are worth a visit if you’re exploring Paris.
31. Grévin Museum, Paris
The Grévin Museum, which was founded in 1882 by Alfred Grévin, has been modified several times over the years. The museum has a long history of wax museum locations around the world. Every year, 450 wax figurines are added to the display. To see unusual tourist attractions in Paris, I recommend visiting Grévin museums.
The museums include waxes of historical and contemporary French figures and other famous names and face from around the world. Brad Pitt, Kylian Mbeppe, Leonardo da Vinci, and Auguste Rodin are just a few of the wax figures that will be instantly recognizable.
The Grévin Museum has become an entertaining spot for youngsters interested in learning more about famous individuals depicted in wax form.
32. Cathedral Notre-Dame de Strasbourg
The Notre-Dame de Strasbourg is a famous and iconic cathedral in France. It’s one of Europe’s largest and most famous cathedrals, and it’s worth a visit if you’re in the area.
The cathedral is famous for its intricate Gothic architecture, some of the world’s most beautiful. You can expect stunning stained glass windows, ornate carvings, and more at this famous landmark.
But the Strasbourg cathedral is also famous for its long history. It was initially built in the 12th Century and has been modified and expanded many times. The current building is a combination of several different styles of Gothic architecture.
If you’re interested in history and architecture, the Strasbourg Cathedral is worth visiting. It’s one of the most famous landmarks in France, and you won’t find anything quite like it anywhere else in the world.
33. Reims Cathedral
The Reims Cathedral is a must-see for any traveler in France. This Gothic cathedral was constructed in the 13th Century and is famous for being where French kings were coronated. The cathedral is also renowned for its beautiful statues. The exterior and interior of the cathedral are both worth seeing.
In addition to the cathedral, there are other top things to do in Reims. For example, you can explore the old city center, which has even more beautiful historic buildings and monuments. You can also visit the Champagne vineyards nearby and learn about how champagne is made. Finally, don’t forget to enjoy a glass of champagne in one of Reims’ many charming pubs and restaurants!
34. Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica
Notre-Dame de la Garde is a Catholic basilica built over the steep slopes of Marseille, overlooking the city and standing 150 meters above sea level. This incredible structure is France’s second-largest city flag and one of France’s most significant monuments.
The basilica, which dates from the 13th Century and houses a chapel for Mary, has grown in popularity, with the first chapel constructed in the 15th Century.
Since then, the city has been extended many times, and new fortifications have been built throughout the 16th and 17th Centuries. The Basilica of Marseilles is now a must-see for all visitors to Marseille. There are many great places to stay in Marseilles, but here are some of our favorites:
- La Casa del Papa: This charming bed and breakfast is in the heart of Marseilles and offers a unique experience. You’ll feel like you’re staying in a private home, and the hosts are incredibly welcoming and gracious.
- Hôtel le Petit Louvre: This hotel is located in the center of Marseilles and offers easy access to the city’s famous landmarks. It’s also affordable and clean, making it an excellent option for budget-minded travelers.
- Radisson Blu Hotel, Marseille: This luxury hotel offers stunning views of the city and the Mediterranean Sea. It’s perfect for travelers who want to enjoy a luxurious stay in Marseilles.
No matter where you stay, visit Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica and enjoy the incredible view.
35. La Croisette
The Croisette is a famous walkway in Cannes known for its incredible views of the Mediterranean Sea. The Cannes Film Festival takes place in Cannes every year, and thousands of people visit the city to attend the event. This makes Croisette a popular destination for travelers.
The Croisette is home to several restaurants and hotels, including the famous Hotel Cannes Croisette. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the incredible views of the city and the sea. Be sure to visit La Croisette when you’re in Cannes.
Brief History of France
France is famous for its illustrious history and rich, varied culture. Few nations and peoples have had as profound an impact on the global stage as France and the French, from its revered status as a valuable Roman territory and empire-building to its championing of human rights.
From its contributions to the world of art, science, mathematics, music, fashion, and cuisine to its reputation for stubbornly sticking it to the man, this relatively small country is the birthplace of a staggering array of norms, professions, phrases,, and traditions in place all over the world.
Throughout history, the French have been famous for their creativity, particularly in art and architecture. So it’s little wonder that France is home to some incredible landmarks.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why should I visit famous landmarks in France?
There are so many famous landmarks in France that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and not know which one to explore first. There is so much history to learn and to see between natural landmarks, famous buildings, and iconic history from the French Revolution.
What are three famous landmarks found in Paris?
The three most famous Parisian landmarks are the Arch de Triomphe, Notre-Dame de Paris, and Sacre-Cour.
What famous landmarks are in France?
France is home to some of the world’s most iconic landmarks, and any traveler to France should take the time to visit a few of them. The Eiffel Tower, located in Paris, is one of the most famous landmarks in France, standing 324 meters tall and attracting tourists from all over the world.
Mont Saint-Michel, located on a tidal island off the coast of Normandy, is an abbey and former fortress designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Palace of Versailles, once the grand home of Louis XIV, is another famous landmark in France, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination.
Other famous landmarks in France include The Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Chateau de Chenonceau, each with its unique history and offering a different experience to visitors.
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