Holiday Destinations - France, from European Travel Advice

Find out all about France, the top ten places to visit, a little bit of it's history and much more.

European Travel Advice Holiday Destinations – France

France is the most popular tourist destination in Europe and plays host to millions of visitors each year. This is hardly surprising when you consider the rich culture, history and architecture France has to offer throughout the entire country. So add to that the natural beauty of the landscapes, the coastlines, inland waterways and the cuisine; then you can understand the attraction.

The capital city of France is Paris which has a population of approximately 2,200,000 inhabitants. France itself has a population of over 65,000,000 contained within 22 regions made up of 95 departments that form the mainland of France.

The most popular portion of France for holidays is down in the South where you will find a Mediterranean climate and plenty of sunshine in the summer months. The month of August sees a mass migration of the French population from the North of France to the South of France. The French love to head to the South to take advantage of the sunnier climate and the abundance of long sandy beaches that make up the Mediterranean coastline.

Top Ten Tourist Destinations for France

The 3 main cities in France that receive an abundance of visitors are Paris, Lyon & Marseille. Paris as the capital receives the most visitors and resides in the northern part of France with Lyon and Marseille being in the central and southern parts respectively.

After these 3 main cities of France the tourists tend to head to the regions and their principle cities, particularly some of those situated on the Mediterranean coastline or in the much warmer southern regions nearer to Spain. You can find the most popular listed below, but remember this list is not exhaustive and there are many other beautiful places to be found in what is Europe’s most popular country to visit.


Paris which played host to around 14.8 million visitors in 2009 resides in the Ile de France and of course has Euro Disney just to the East which is considered to be the cultural capital of theme parks and a must visit destination for any Europeans with young children.


Lyon in the Rhone-Alpes region, famous for its cuisine, food and wine. The capital of gastronomy as it is widely known and the second largest metropolitan area after Paris.


Marseille in Provence-Alpes- Cote d’Azur is the oldest city in France and is heavily populated with only Paris having more residents.

Provence -Alpes-Cote d’Azur

Provence -Alpes-Cote d’Azur is highly popular, particularly for Nice and Cannes which both reside in this region as does Marseille mentioned previously. There are many little gems of places to be found in this region but one that is a little special is the lovely seaside resort of Cassis with its neighbour ‘Les Calanques’ that sits between Marseille and Cassis and is a national park area.

Languedoc Rousillon

Languedoc Rousillon is also very popular and benefits from the presence of several gorgeous cities. The most famous and most visited being Carcassonne and MontPellier. But Perpignan, Narbonne and Beziers also reside in this lovely part of France and are all great places to visit. Not forgetting of course that, like Provence, Languedoc Roussillon has its entire coastline on the Mediterranean Sea, not a bad little tourist attraction.

The Midi Pyrenees

The Midi Pyrenees has the Ville Rose, Toulouse, which is considered the capital of the South of France. It runs down to the Pyrenees and is steeped in the history of the region from the medieval periods and the persecution of the Cathares. There are an abundance of fortified towns and chateaus in the area and some amazing scenery with inland lakes, rivers and views of the Pyrenees.


Normandy which most British will be aware of, resides in the northern region of France and as such has a climate more akin to the UK. It still benefits from a large number of tourists despite the possibility of climatic challenges. It is split into upper and lower Normandy and attracts many visitors interested in the 2nd world war. Similar to Aquitaine its coastline is in the West and to the Atlantic, which never sounds as enticing as the Mediterranean, but it still has some wonderful beaches and scenery to enjoy.


Brittany is one of France’s most rugged but beautiful coastlines than can boast some of the most wonderful views in Europe. It is yet another region of France that is steeped in history and has the architecture to prove it. Probably more chateaux and medieval per hectare than anywhere else in France, including the South of France.


Limousin despite being relatively central is still very popular and considered to be quintessentially France. It offers peace and quiet in the countryside for its visitors. One of the less populated regions but full of beautiful little French villages and towns including Limoges which is the historical capital of the region. Limoges is quite a good stop over location for anyone heading from the channel ferry ports to the extreme South of France.


Aquitaine is in the South West of France and plays host to Bordeaux capital of wine production for the region. You will probably be able to buy the best wine you have ever tasted for a couple of euros in this region, although Languedoc Roussillon offers a similar facility.

 More Places to Visit in France

Skiing in the Pyrenees

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