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, Mont Saint Michel Abbey – these are just a few 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 history both old and new. Whether you’re looking for history or culture, there is something here for everyone.
Brief History of France
France is famous for its illustrious history and rich, varied culture. There are few nations and peoples on the planet that 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 its own 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 terms of art and architecture. So it’s little wonder that France is home to some incredible landmarks.
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), which is 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 originally conceived as a gateway to the World Exposition that took place 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.
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, book a tour in advance to secure your spot.
The Arc de Triomphe, as the main unifying element of the Axe Historique (historic 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 originally built in the 12th Century and is famous 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.
Normally, Notre Dame Cathedral is the most popular tourist destination in France and attracts millions of visitors every year.
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 of the priceless, unique works of art within were saved. The cathedral’s altar, pipe organs, and the stunning rose windows also survived mostly intact.
Due to its historic and cultural significance, the French government invested a vast sum of money in the restoration of 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 originally founded in 1793 as a palace.
The Louvre Museum, which opened in 1989, is the most prominent museum of its kind in France (and arguably the world). It registers over 10 million visitors every year and has an average turnover of around 15,000 people per day.
Today, the museum’s collection is divided into eight main departments including paintings, sculptures, Islamic art, Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan, and 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 on your visit.
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5. Sacre Coeur Basilica
This is one of the most notable France 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 has stood on the location where Saint-Denis is said to have been martyred.
The best view of the city 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 and is renowned for the Mont Saint-Michel Abbey, famous for its beautiful Gothic architecture.
This famous landmark in France is also known for its famous bridging causeway that was 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.
If you’re looking for a place to stay near the Mont Saint Michel Abbey, there are a few options available.
There are a number of charming hotels and guesthouses in the town, as well as restaurants and cafes. The most popular place to stay is in the town of Mont Saint Michel, which is located on the island itself.
Another option is to stay in the town of Avranches, which is located just a few kilometers from the island. Avranches offers a wider range of accommodation options, including hotels, guesthouses, and B&Bs.
Finally, if you want to stay in a more rural setting, there are also a number of villages located close to the abbey that 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.
8. Moulin Rouge
The Moulin Rouge is the most famous cabaret in Paris, France, made famous in novella and on the silver screen. It was established in the district of Pigalle, which is known for being the city’s red-light district. The cabaret is famous 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.
9. Cité de Carcassonne
The Cité de Carcassonne is a medieval citadel located 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 film being Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
10. Edith Piaf’s Tomb
Edith Piaf was a famous French singer and actress who is buried in the famous Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
The Père Lachaise Cemetery is one of the most famous cemeteries in the world. It’s located in Paris, and it’s home to the graves of many famous people, including Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison, and Oscar Wilde. The cemetery is a popular tourist destination, and 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 it’s 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 the south of France that was originally built in the 18th Century. This monument is known for its picturesque views of the two mills located 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 definitely worth a visit.
Whether you’re looking to snap some photos or just soak up the peaceful atmosphere, the Gate of the Two Mills is definitely 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 historical building that was originally constructed in the 16th Century. The hotel is known for its luxurious accommodations and its excellent service.
The hotel has a number of different room types, including standard rooms, deluxe rooms, and suites. The hotel also has a number of different 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 famous 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 most famous of these houses is the Maison de Victor Hugo in Paris. This house is located 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.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Nice, France
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 the town of 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 museum of military history and a chapel as well as a hospital and retirement home for French war veterans.
Check out our full 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), are both classified as historical monuments and are located within the complex.
The former hospital chapel was remodeled into a national cathedral of the French military, and the neighboring historic Royal Chapel known as 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 as a symbol of his devotion to Christ. This chapel was constructed 7 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 as a way to protect the town 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, which is 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 larger hotel, we recommend Hotel du Chateau Saint Vincent. This four-star hotel features an on-site spa and gym, as well as a 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 it is now a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can climb to the top of the monument 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 then 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 large 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.
As soon as we got onto this stunning bridge though, time seemed to pass far too quickly. The bridge itself and the views from it are among the most incredible in France.
The Millau Viaduct is easy to get to – just 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 great landmark to visit in France. It’s located in the city of Paris, and it was built to commemorate the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
This monument is a very important symbol of French history and culture, and it’s 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 originally 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 reach the palace is by car. There is a large parking lot at the palace, and it’s easy to get to from the Paris motorway.
If you’d rather take 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 during this time, including Benedict XII, who was elected Pope at the Palais des Papes in 1334, and then Clement VI in 1342, followed by Innocent VI in 1352, and finally Urban V in 1362.
23. Pont du Gard
The Pont du Gard is an incredible ancient Roman aqueduct that is still standing today. This marvel was built between 40–60 AD and still looks amazing.
The views from the bridge are simply stunning and it’s 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 the south of France near the city of Nimes and is easily accessible via car. Tickets are required for entry.
If you’re traveling by car, it’s easy to find and there are plenty of parking spaces available. The entrance fee is required to gain access to the bridge, so be sure to have cash or a credit card on hand.
See Related: Best Things to do in Colmar, France
24. Stanislas Gate of Nancy
The Stanislas Gate of Nancy is a famous French landmark located 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 a truly impressive sight to see.
The gate is mounted in 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 in France of a woman named Marianne, the personification of the French Republic.
Unveiled in 1883, this gorgeous statue was ordered by the city of Paris to commemorate several key events during the French 1st, 2nd, and early stages of the 3rd French Republics.
26. Le Panthéon
Le Panthéon is a building in Paris, France which was originally 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 originally 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 year of 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 an impressive sight, 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 special occasions, such as 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 from the fact that it was the ninth bridge to be constructed in Paris.
The Pont Neuf has been famous for its unique architecture since it was first built.
28. Tour du Nord
The Gare du Nord is one of six major railway stations in Paris, France.
This station is used by trains going to and from northern France and other 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 famous 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 famous landmarks and monuments.
In 2006, a national competition was held to select the best bid for the station’s redevelopment. The winning bid was announced in 2008.
The Gare du Nord railway station will be rebuilt in the late 2010s and early 2020s. This will include an increase in the size of the station, 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 famous for being a famous monument located in Paris, which was built to honor the “Little Corporal”, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, and inaugurated on 3 August 1840.
It is an important landmark in the history of French sculpture as well as 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 a variety of different plant species, as well as several sculptures and fountains. The Trocadéro gardens are definitely 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. For seeing unusual tourist attractions in Paris, I recommend visiting Grévin museums.
The museums include waxes of historical and contemporary French figures as well as other famous names and faces 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 the largest and most famous cathedrals in all of Europe, and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.
The cathedral is famous for its intricate Gothic architecture, which is some of the most beautiful in the world. You can expect to find 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 originally built in the 12th Century, and over the years it has been modified and expanded many times. In fact, the current building is actually a combination of several different styles of Gothic architecture.
If you’re interested in history and architecture, then the Strasbourg Cathedral is definitely worth a visit. 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 famous 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 the flag of France’s second-largest city, as well as 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 located 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 right in the center of Marseilles and offers easy access to all of the city’s famous landmarks. It’s also affordable and clean, making it a great 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, be sure to visit Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica and take in the incredible view.
35. La Croisette
The Croisette is a famous walkway in Cannes that’s 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 a number of 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.
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 also so much 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 Triumphe, Notre-Dame de Paris, and Sacre-Cour.
What famous landmarks are in France?
There are many famous landmarks in France, but some are more famous than others. Here are three of the most famous landmarks in France:
– The Eiffel Tower: This famous landmark is located in Paris and is named after its designer, Gustave Eiffel. The tower is 324 meters tall and is a popular tourist attraction.
– Mont Saint-Michel: This castle is located on an island off the coast of Normandy and is an abbey and former fortress. The abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
– The Palace of Versailles: This famous building is located in Versailles and was once the home of Louis XIV. The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts millions of tourists every year.
These are just a few of the famous landmarks in France. There are many others, including The Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, and Chateau de Chenonceau. Each of these landmarks has its own unique history and offers tourists a different experience.