101 Exciting Things to Do in France!
1. Get Lost in the Catacombs
There is something eerie, bizarre, and downright morbid underneath the streets of Paris. You would not expect it but just beneath the cafes, there are about…oh…about six million DEAD people. The catacombs began many a hundred years ago because the cemeteries of France were bursting at the seams—there just was no more room. So it was decided to convert what once was old mining tunnels into an ossuary, a place for the burial of human bones. Now you have the opportunity to actually take a guided tour along the spooky passageways to see the meticulously stacked bones under the streets of Paris. Check out the once in a lifetime hidden secret for yourself.
2. Marvel at The Pont du Gard
A part of the Nîmes Aqueduct, The Pont du Gard is a marvel of ancient Roman architecture. Constructed around the 1st century AD, the aqueduct transported water from the plentiful springs in Uzès to the homes in the Roman colony of Nîmes. Architects, anthropologists, and archeologists have studied the three-tiered bridge and in order to further understand the technology of the times as well as what was the blooming culture of the conquering Romans. If you find yourself in southern France near the town of Remoulins, be sure to stop and have a look at the still standing Pont du Gard aqueduct be sure to remember it was built thousands of years ago and without a single piece of modern technology.
3. Eat ALL the Macaroons at Ladurees
You deserve a little treat, especially after traversing a foreign city all afternoon. Make a stop at arguably the best patisserie is all of France. It is here that you will find the divine and delicate macaroon. Laudrees has been making these wonderful little cookies since 1862 and thanks to perfecting the balance between sweet and subtle is selling more than fifteen thousand PER DAY. Drop in at their Champs Elysees location where you can pick up one of their trademark green boxes filled with such flavors as classic chocolate, spunky pistachio, and even an exotic passion fruit.
4. Discover the Ancient Lascaux Caves
When we think back on ancient man, dwelling in their dark caves grunting over a fire to one another, perhaps a thought far from our minds is the artwork they created. If you find yourself in southwestern France, you will have the special opportunity to see what our distant relatives painted on their cave walls at the Lascaux Caves. A young 18-year-old French boy in 1940’s discovered the site of the world’s oldest Paleolithic cave paintings since then it has become famous around the globe. Though the actual cave have been closed to the public in order to preserve its structural integrity, you can now see Lascaux II where the cave paintings have been painstakingly duplicated.
5. Brave the Louvre
You do not need someone to tell you to go to the Louvre while you are in France…it is a no-brainer. In fact, the Musée du Louvre is THE most visited museum on the planet thanks to over 8 million guests passing through its doors each year. The baroque style palace has 35,000 works of art ranging from ancient Islamic statues to such iconic paintings as Eugene Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People. The one, tiny little downside of the Louvre is well, the people. It can literally take hours to just get entrance and once you make it inside, good luck having a glance at the Mona Lisa through the hoards of other tourists attempting to do the same thing. Insider tip: Get a museum pass to avoid waiting in the lines and try to visit during off hours such as early in the morning or late on a weekday. Have a plan when braving the throngs at the world’s most popular palace of art.
6. Pay Respects at Normandy
Normandy is a region of opposites. On the exterior, its surface makes it seem like a simple land of cows, cheese, and rolling green hills. However, when you know something of Normandy’s past this idyllic façade seems to fade. The Allied troops of Canada, England, and America stormed the beaches of the serene land during World War II and the impression still resonates throughout the areas culture and memories. This is an excellent destination for history buffs, foodies, or really anyone interested in a charming region who has a complicated and fascinating past.
7. Buy a Royale With Cheese
This is a special one…this is something that perhaps only a handful of people will find enjoyable or worthy of attempt. But, let’s say you are the type who enjoys more eccentric experiences while traveling. Being able quote the lines from the beloved American film, Pulp Fiction will be a highlight of your trip. They really do call the McDonald’s Quarter pounder a Royale with Cheese in France and just as John Travolta says it is because of the metric system and they DO serve keg cups of beer at the golden arches as well. So, if you want to do something a little weird, a little silly, but ultimately really fun go find any ol’ McDonalds, (we recommend the largest one in Paris located on the Champs Elysees) and enjoy reliving a little slice of cinematic history.
8. Go Through the Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe is one of the many important monuments in Paris. It is located at the west end of the Champs Elysees in the center of the Place de Charles de Gaulle. Built in 1805, this archway was constructed with the intent that conquering military parties would be able to enter back into their home city through the magnificent structure. The arch is decorated with the images of battle scenes and is inscribed with the names of fallen soldiers. Additionally to viewing the architectural splendor of the arc , you can visit the observation platform at the top and get a stunning view of all of Paris, from Sacre-Coeur to La Defense.
9. Spot Stars at Cannes
It may be hard to picture but once upon a time Cannes, France was just a small fishing town. Now, it is a seaside luxury destination packed with elegant nightclubs, bustling casinos, and a multitude of fancy cafes. The grandeur of this Cannes is part thanks to the yearly film festival which is held every May and attracts celebrities from around the globe. If you want to rub elbows with the rich and famous try stopping by Cannes during that time of year and make a beeline for the Palais des Festivals to possibly spot a star!
10. Be a Kid Again at The Museum of Carnival Arts
There is a good chance that while in Paris you will be visiting a fair share of museums. If you find yourself getting a little bored of the same old humdrum paintings, you should seriously check out the Le Musée des Arts Forains where you will be able to add a little whimsy to your vacation. Here you will be able to find a variety of stunning antique amusement park rides and other fairground attractions. Though the privately owned warehouse of old carnival rides is not open 365, you can easily check out their website where it will inform you of your next chance to take a spin on a carousel or play truly unique turn of the century carnival games.
11. Be WOW’ed at Woinic
Everybody needs a little kitsch in his or her life. When on a road trip in the United States it seems virtually impossible to avoid stopping at the World’s Largest Ball of Twine or seeing where the biggest pancake ever was cooked. Well, Europe and particularly France may lack in these fun gaudy detours, but we were able to find at least one for you! Woinic is a 9 meter high metal boar and is indeed, the largest boar in all of Europe. Located in the Ardennes region of France this giant brass pig took over 12,000 hours to construct out of individually welded metal plates. As a towering symbol of, “strength, courage, and solidarity,” you will find Wonic the perfect fun stop for kids or the secret swine lover.
12. Spend the Day at La Rochelle Aquarium
Experience a truly special underwater journey at the La Rochelle Aquarium in Western France. Start off by taking a quick ride in a faux submarine where you will descent to the depths of the ocean. From there you will have the opportunity to see jellyfish, sharks, and sea turtles. Marvel in the elegant beauty of the world’s differing sea life while also getting a top-notch crash course education in marine biology. This family friendly aquarium is one of the highest rated in all of Europe so be sure you can dedicate at least 2 hours to wandering around the La Rochelle Aquarium.
13. Eat Snails, You’ll Like Them
Ask anybody who has good taste in food if they like snail aka escargot. Bet you they say yes, because these slimy little goobers are oddly delicious and all of France is in on the secret. Those who have yet to try escargot may have a wide variety of excuses as to why and avoid them; snails are gooey, live in the dirt, and leave a trail of snot behind them. All of these things make escargot even more exciting and surprising to eat! Do as the French do and give them a whirl. You will be able to find snails on many menus and if you are daring enough to give them a try, you really will be stunned at what amazing little flavor packed morsels escargot turn out to be.
14. Enjoy the Mystical Mont Saint-Michel
This unique abbey is located on an island in the provence of Normandy. What makes Mont Saint Michel more than just another ancient religious site is it amazing location. In order to reach the isolated abbey one must cross black, muddy sands when the tide is fully out. To this day if you want to reach Mont Saint Michel sans car, you must ditch your kicks and scamper across the bay. Previously home to reclusive hermitic monks, this gothic French abbey now invites visitors and pilgrims from around the globe to marvel in the mystical wonderment of Mont Saint Michel.
15. Cheer on the Tour De France
You know it, you love it, so why not get “road side” seats for the biggest cycling event on the planet? Actually “witnessing” the Tour de France is difficult however because of the nature of the race. Due to the expansive course and high speeds in which the racers travel, you most likely will only be catching a glimpse of the cyclists. But, it is about the overall experience of being there, not being an idle spectator. If you really want to dedicate to the race, pack up your bike, pick a path that intersects the tour, and have fun as you peddle alongside a racer! Whether you cheer from the finish line at the Champs Elysees or try to match pace with the racers, cheering in person at the Tour de France is way more fun than just watching it on TV.
16. Be Hip at The Beat Hotel
The address, 9 Rue Gît-le-Coeur may seem inconsequential but this is where some of the greatest literary minds of the 20th century lived. The Beat Hotel is known for keeping a large circle of Beat Poets in its rooms during the late 50’s and early 60’s. It was in the dingy, cheap hotel that Naked Lunch by William Burroughs was written and where other notables such as Allen Ginesberg and Gregory Corso crashed. Back then, the rooms were without hot water and considered affordable even by starving artists standards. Run by kindhearted owners who allowed their boarders to paint and decorate their rooms, it is interesting to think what would have become of those great authors if they had not been able to stay at The Beat Hotel.
17. Say Je T’aime at The Love Wall
In the city of love, there of course is, the love wall. This beautiful monument dedicate to amour was designed as a rendezvous point for lovers by Frederic Baron and Claire Kito. The 40 square meters have the phrase, “I love you” inscribed on over 600 tiles in 300 languages. Visit the wall in the Abbesses Garden of Montmartre alone or with a sweetheart, or perhaps on the lookout for a new romance and you surely will be inspired by the love that surrounds.
18. See the Lights of Pigalle
All big cities have a “red light district” but Pigalle is more than just a neighborhood for sleaze and sex. Between the 9th and 18th arrondissements, you will find this glitzy and exciting area brimming with retail shops, music stores, cabarets, and the previous residences of such notables as Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and Pablo Picasso. The notorious neighborhood is a great way to see Paris by night and experience some sought after thrills.
19. Scale the Eiffel Tower
Sometimes you just don’t want to do the big touristy thing…it seems boring or overplayed, like seeing the Eiffel Tower. Everybody goes there; really…it is the most visited attraction in the world and sees nearly 7 million travelers a year. So if you yearn for a unique trip to the 990 foot iron monolith, you are in luck because there is a very special way to experience the Eiffel Tower—by climbing to the top! Now, you can cram in with everybody else into the tiny elevators and zip to the peak or you can walk the 1,665 stairs and do something really worth talking about. And hey, if you get hungry along the way you can stop at one of the world class restaurants that are actually inside of the Eiffel tower and fuel up.
20. Have a Bloody Mary at Harrys New York Bar
Harry’s New York Bar sounds like a tourists trap to lure in unsuspecting America’s while travelling abroad. Couldn’t be farther from the truth! Since 1911, this bar has been a Parisian institution when it was opened as an expat watering hole by Tod Sloan. Located at 5 Rue Daunou this bar is not only famous for its clientele which includes, Ernest Hemingway Sinclair Lewis, Humphrey Bogart, and Coco Chanel but also fame the fact it is the birthplace of the beloved Bloody Mary. So, if you are in the mood to drink and eat in a legendary spot, defiantly seek out Harrys New York Bar.
21. Wave to the OTHER Statue Of Liberty
It is common knowledge that the French gifted the Statue of Liberty to the Americans, but did you know that there is a second Lady Liberty still in Paris? Located on a man-made island in the river Sein called, Île aux Cygnes there is a mini-me version of the Statue of Liberty. Dedicated in 1889 this smaller statue faces west, in honor of her sister across the Atlantic in New York Harbour. If you find yourself floating down the Sein, be sure you stop by and maybe you’ll feel a twinge of homesickness or even better, a connection between the two long time Allies: France and the United States.
22. Feel Like Royalty at the Palace of Versailles
Luxury, opulence, extravagance, and all crystal, gold, and ostrich feathers you can stomach await you at the amazing Palace of Versailles. Originally built as a vacation-hunting lodge around 1624, the getaway quickly became to royal residence for French Kings and Queens. The Palace is located just outside of Paris city center and is a quick 30 minute train ride to the small village of Versailles. There you will be able to tour the famous Hall of Mirrors and its many gorgeous chandeliers as well as the modest yet still sumptuous bedroom of the most famous French Queen, Marie Antoinette. Though the interior of the palace and its adjacent structures are all very beautiful, it is the gardens and their many fountains, topiary, and man-made lakes that really stand out as the most breathtaking portion of the Palace.
23. Ponder the Megaliths of Carnac
In the inconspicuous town of Carnac in northern Brittany, there is a mysterious collection of stones whose origin and purposes have long been questioned. The megaliths vary in alignment, some in long rows that can stretch over hundreds of meters and some in unusual clusters but all seem to have been placed with intention. All of the 3,000 standing stones were carved from existing local stones in Brittany and many think that ancient Celtic peoples used the stones in religious rites. Marvel at the strangely organized standing stones and perhaps the less popular but interesting theory that they were placed there by extra-terrestrials will spark your imagination.
24. Enjoy the George Pompidou Center
In the 4th arrondissment of Paris stands a building whose design and architecture where so ground breaking that upon its completion it was considered an eye soar. Now the George Pompidou Center, know to the French as Centre Pompidou is thought of as one of the most revolutionary buildings in Paris. The center’s high tech architecture is composed of colored pipes, glass, and sleek metal, which adds to its modern appearance. Completed in 1977, it has been consistently drawing thousands of visitors to enjoy its many attractions. Inside of the beautiful building is a vast library, the largest European museum of modern art, and a musical research center. Even if you only observe the George Pompidou Center from the outside, be sure to make a stop to see the unique building.
25. Inhale the Lavender Fields of Provence
Prepare for a welcome sensory overload as you discover the breathtaking Lavender Fields of Provence. In the lush Rhone Valleys between the months of May to August, you can take in the various hues and scents of the many lavender fields that spot the countryside. Sign up with a tour group or rent your own vehicle and wander throughout the inviting landscape with your camera in hand, ready to capture the beauty of this region. Be careful though, before you step out into the mass of flowers, remember that bees enjoy lavender just as much as you so mind where you step!
26. Party with the Locals on Bastille Day
Take in France with a BANG and come during Bastille Day. Celebrated on July 14th this holiday is the equivalent of America’s Fourth of July where the French people celebrate the start of the French Revolution with the storming of the Bastille. Be sure to cop a good spot on the Canal so you can observe the massive firework show and also, take advantage of the holiday by attending many of the museums, including the Louvre, which are open free of charge on this day.
27. Take a Break in the Loire Valley
The hustle and bustle of smoggy city can get to you quickly. Thankfully, France’s diverse environment allows you take a step away from the suffocating metropolis and take in a breath of fresh air. Discover the serene and majestic countryside of the Loire Valley, one of the most naturally beautiful valleys in all of Europe. The Loire Valley is also known as The Garden of France thanks to the many fruit orchards, vineyards, flower nurseries, and vegetable fields. Be sure to make a stop to this land of milk and honey, or should we say wine and fruit.
28. Sip on REAL Champagne
Soooo that bubbly you drank at your friend’s party last week…well…it wasn’t champagne. In reality, a lot of the sparkling sweet stuff most of us have had isn’t actually what we think it is. This is because, like American bourbon, Champagne has very specific requirements it has to meet in order to be called champagne, for instance it must be crafted in the region of Champagne in northeastern France. Therefore, if you are a lover of champs you have a great opportunity in front of you while traveling in France to see where the magic happens. You can pop into wineries small and large throughout the region to taste and see how the oh-so-special drink is crafted. Whether you hop on a bike and peddler along the idyllic country roads or opt for a guided bus tour, do not pass up the chance to sip the finest champagne in the world.
29. Spend Your Money on the Champs Elysees
Acting as the main arterial street for Paris, the Champs Elysees is considered one of the most historic and beautiful avenues in the world. Home to a wide variety of annual celebrations and a deep military tradition the Champs Elysees has had everything from enemies march down its pavement to being featured in many a French and English motion pictures. And if you really want to have a fancy Parisian get-a-away break out the Amax card and go shopping at the copious amount of high end retailors that line the Champs Elysees.
30. See Everything at Mini France
So much to do in such little time! It feels like all vacations end up this way but that is the great perk of coming to Mini France. At this one of a kind theme park, you can visit the peaks of the Alpine mountains to the hustle and bustle of Paris all within a day. Wonderfully constructed in detailed miniature over 116 French monuments are ready for you to tower over as though you were in some wonderful fairytale. Don’t worry about not seeing it all, at Mini France you can see all sorts of landscapes and appreciate each one all within one days visit.
31.Sunbath in San Tropez
The once quiet fishing village of San Tropez was an unsuspecting sleepy town until sex kitten Bridgette Bardot was filmed in the infamous, And God Created Woman on its white sand beaches. Since the film’s release in 1956, San Tropez has become the go to spot for the rich and indulgent. Though it may seem difficult for the average Joe to enjoy a stay in the same international hot spot as famed celebrities, San Tropez still retains its small town charm and has plenty to offer families and visitors of all kinds.
32. Spot the Gargoyles at Notre Dame
Norte Dame is a masterpiece of gothic French architecture and also considered one of the most iconic monuments in all of France. 14 million people of all faiths flood into this Catholic Church yearly to appreciate the beauty of the cathedral’s many features. From the stunning stained glass windows, the inspired bell tower, to the eerie gargoyles, this FREE attraction will have something for any kind of person.
33. Marvel at the Basilica of Sacre Couer
Constructed in 1875 atop a hill in what now is called the district of Montmartre, this gleaming white place of worship looks down on the cultural epicenter of Paris. From the steps of the Basilica which is located in the 18th arrondissement you can take in one of the most breathtaking view in all the city. And hey, the church isn’t too bad itself. It has managed to retain its wonderful white color even in one of the most polluted cities in the world thanks to the special travertine stones of which it is built.
34. Explore the Ruins of Lyon
When you think of France, Romans are not the first thing that pop into your head, right? Well if you want to brush up on your history make a stop in Lyon and learn about the might of the once great Roman empire. At the peak of their dominance the Romans ruled France, then called Gaul and left many traces of this behind. So, if you thought you had to go to Italy to see the remains of an amphitheater, think again because there is plenty to see in Lyon. The city is millennia old and has multiple ruin sites and in addition a Museum of Gallo-Roman history which is just north of the ruins. At the museum, you can expect to see textiles, statues and plenty of Roman artifacts.
35. Climb The Machines of the Isle of Nantes
There are strange mechanical creatures dwelling in the city of Nantes in Western France. Here you can discover the remarkable artistic project that has been developing interactive, massive, mechanical sculptures since 2007. In the former shipyards of the city you will find three large pieces, the Great Elephant, the Marine Worlds Carrousel, and the Heron Tree all of which host their own unique interactive features. The project itself is the brainchild of François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice who hoped to combine timeless pieces that merged the imagination of Jules Vern and the inventive realms of Leonardo da Vinci. The two have clearly succeeded in their vision, as The Machines are a site beyond description that one most witness to fully appreciate.
36. Chill Out in The Luxembourg Gardens
The Luxembourg Gardens or Jardin du Luxembourg, is the one of the biggest public parks in Paris. It is located in the 6th arrondissement and is more than just a nice patch of grass. There are many attractions for old and young alike to enjoy such as renting small boats to navigate through the pond, known as the Grand Bassin. In addition to this there is a large playground, puppet theater, a merry-go-round, and pony rides. Some of the most beautiful flower gardens in Paris call the Luxembourg Gardens home which are easy to sit and enjoy as the ground have many great spots of hanging out.
37. See the Greats at The D’Orsay
From some reason, The Louvre always outshines the D’Orsay. This is mind boggling to me since the D’Orsay is an overall better experience. Housed in a defunct railway station, this art museum located on the Left Bank is a piece of art in of itself. The masterful architecture wonderfully lends itself to compliment the huge collection of French work you can find inside. With the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings in France you will be sure to see some masterpieces up close and personal. Just a few artists you will be able to view are Cézanne, Renoir, Monet, Degas, Manet, Gauguin, and Van Gogh. One huge perk of the D’Orsay is unlike the Louvre, this museum is not going to be so packed that you will practically be unable to see the art. Here you can take your time, and really soak the work in, as it was meant to be.
38. Surf the Waves of Biarritz
Once upon a time, Biarritz was actually the hang out for such famous men Ernest Hemingway, Victor Hugo, and Emile Zola. Now it is considered to be one of the surfing hotspots of Europe. This southern coastal town draws in surfers from around the globe and is home to numerous competitions such as the World Female Longboard Championship. Biarritz has a great California vibe to it and you will find a multitude of lodgings to suit your mood. Hang out at the Natural Surf Lodge where you can rent a hammock for the night or step it up and spoil yourself at the luxurious Hotel du Palais.
39. Shop til’ You Drop at Royal Palais
Shopping while on vacation is one of the best ways to spend a day but often we find ourselves frequenting strip malls and other packed retail locations. We are here to let you in on a little secret call the Palais-Royal district where the incognito stores are perfect for a more peaceful day of shopping. Tucked away between the Opera House and the Louvre there is a walled in garden and it is here you will find the secretive shops that are just beneath the arcades. Whether you want something simple, something couture, or something vintage this area has it all. Such notable designers as Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs, and Christian Louboutin all have shops located this lesser known area. An additional perk to the Royal Palais is that once you have finish your rounds of retail therapy you can enjoy the beautiful garden that surrounds you and take a much needed break.
40. Taste Something New at Le Chateaubriand
You will most likely attend several traditional French cafes while in Paris and maybe, just maybe you will get tired of eating the same old thing. Then you must check out Le Chateaubriand. This uberhip restaurant tosses French cuisine tradition out the window and gets highly inventive with its plates. This world famous restaurant is not known for its décor or service, so don’t expect an AppleBees experience…this is boundary pushing cooking that will leave your tastes buds in awe. Have some dough saved up and some time to really enjoy Le Chateaubriand and you will take away more than just a full stomach.
41.Run Around at Disneyland Paris
You’ve been dragging your kids around, or you yourself have been dragged through museum after gallery after boring stuffy monuments and it is about damn time that you cut loose a little. Perhaps Americans are skeptical of what was once known as, Euro Disney but really shouldn’t be. Now Disneyland Paris, named after the city it is 32 km east of, is actually is a great place to take your family and be able to enjoy some much needed thrills. Modeled after the park in Florida, you will find plenty of rides that you find at the USA parks, such as The Pirates of The Caribbean. There are differences though, and not bad ones at that. This park is much smaller, so you will not have blistered feet by the end of the day!
42. High Five 4The Passer Through Walls
If you are wandering the charming streets of the Montmartre district in Paris, do not be alarmed if you run into a very peculiar piece of sculpture. The Le Passe-Muraille or Passer Through Walls is located in the 18th arrondissement on Rue Norvins and has quite a story behind his peek-a-boo appearance. Author Marcel Aymé wrote a beloved French story about a man who, well…could walk through walls and what adventures and disasters that came of his bizarre abilities. The fable was so cherished that this unique piece of public art was erected in honor of the cursed main character, Dutilleul and his creator, Ayme. Be sure to make a stop in Montmartre to take a picture with this quirky iconic of Paris.
43. Be a Bookworm at Shakespeare and Company
Paris, specifically the Left Bank has a long tradition of fostering and taking care of its artists. There is no better mecca for the bookworm than the beloved institution that is The Shakespeare and Company bookstore. This store/boarding house/library/publisher/ was run by expat America Sylvia Beach who you can read about in Hemingways’ memoir of Paris, A Moveable Feast. Beach was an important character not just to Hemingway but to the many authors who frequented her store but had very little spending money. Of course, Sylvia just let them borrow whatever text they desired and took their word. Located at 8 rue Dupuytren you will still find this store packed to the ceiling with everything from rare 1st editions of poetry to second hand paperbacks. Relish in knowing as you take in the wonderful scent of ancient, dusty books that you can share in the long tradition of those who have stopped in to the famous Shakespeare and Company.
44.Peer into the Maison de Balzac
This attraction may not be not be for everyone sadly. If you are not a fan of French Literature or the man himself, Honoré de Balzac you may want to skip this site. However, you enjoy the world-renowned author, then you defiantly want to check out his home and the museum dedicated to him. The small house was rented by Balzac between the years of 1840-1847 under a false name in the residential area of Passy. It was here that he wrote many of his great works, including La Cousine Bette. As you peer into Balzac’s strange and eccentric world you will have the opportunity to see his writing desk and chair, his jewel studded walking stick and his teakettle. The irony of the Maison Balzac is its humble appearance in congruence with larger than life figure that was not often described as humble.
45. Get to Know Van Gough at Arles
France is known for their artists but none seem to be as mysterious or enigmatic as Vincent Van Gough. If you find yourself near the Southern port town of Arles, be sure you take time out of your itinerary to explore the quaint town. This town is where the complicated artists called home from February of 1888 to his death in 1890. Hear you will have the chance to walk in Van Gough’s footsteps and see the exact location that inspired such famed images as Starry Night.
46. See the Water Lilies at Musee de l’Orangerie
In the western corner of the Tuileries Gardens is the The Musée de l’Orangerie art gallery. This gallery is most known for being the home of the beloved Water Lilies murals painted by Claude Monet. His masterworks were donated to the French state under the guidelines that they only be displayed as they are seen today, in two oval rooms that seem to embrace the viewer in their expansiveness. This is an excellent museum to visit after you have pushed through the crowds of the larger art galleries and you will be pleasantly surprised that this petite museum also shows such great artists as Amedeo Modigliani, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
47. Go to the Home of the Tautavel Man
There are not many cities that have a human subspecies named after them. Well, Tautavel is the exception to this and very much is worth a visit. Discovered in 1969, the proposed missing link man was uncovered along with thousands of other fossilized plants and stone tools in the Arago cave near the town. The remains of these objects date back some 450,000 years and are some of the oldest recorded traces of man in history. The caves are still to this day being excavated and new discovers are being made. If you enjoy science or history be sure to stop by Tautavel Museum where you can learn about the unearthing of the Tautavel Man and what life was like when he walked the planet.
48. Get Lost in the Latin Quarter
On the left bank of the Seine is a bustling student neighborhood that is the perfect place to toss your map away and slowly amble down the cobblestone streets. Situated around the famous Sorbonne the name for the Quarter comes from the fact that during the middle ages, Latin was widely spoken in and around the universities. With numerous bistros and beautiful squares the Latin Quarter is the perfect neighborhood to spend a relaxing evening with friends without breaking your bank.
49. Tip Toe Through the Tuileries
There is nothing better than being able to grab your own little patch of green in the middle of city for free and relax for as long as you please. The Tuileries is just one of those great places and is located in the 1st arrondissment between the Place de laConcorde and the Louvre. The park has many sculptures, fountains, two museums, the Musée de l’Orangerie and the Nationale du Jeu de Paume. Made by Catherine de Medici for her then Tuileries Palace in 1565, the park remained private until 1667 when it was opened up to the public. Now the park is an excellent place for an afternoon stroll or if you happen to be in the Tuileries between June to August be sure to check out the rides and sweets at the annual Fête des Tuileries.
50. Get Old School at theMedieval City of Carcassonnes
The famous walled in City of Carcassonnes has been preserved in time to an period harkening back to fortified cities full of cobbled streets, castles, medieval structures and quaint dining halls. The narrow streets may be a little hard to navigate during the day due to the amount of tourists but if you want to truly be transported back in time, come here at twilight and enjoy a unique evening like you never thought you would.
51. Count all the Amélie Sites
In 2001 the French film, Amélie was released and the world feel in love with this unique romantic comedy and its equally unique star, but most of all…audiences fell in love with the beautiful backdrop for the movie, Paris. In particular, the Montmartre district is where the majority the film was shot and if you are a lover of Amelie, it is not hard at all to discover where these hidden gems are located. Either do it DIY and simply google Amelie filming locations and chart out places like Cafe des Deux Moulains where our heroine worked. Or you can have a little help and take an actual walking tour where a guide will be able to point out to you where the little market Amelie visits, “Au Marche de la butte” is located so you can relive in your imagination the wonderful exploits of everyone’s favorite sweet and mischievous Parisian.
52. Do the Can-Can at the Moulin Rouge
When travelling there is an internal battle you have with yourself…do the fun, but horribly touristy thing or forget about it? Well, if there is one touristy, cliché attraction to top them all in Paris it is the Moulin Rouge. This cabaret has long been drawing in visitors from across the globe to pack them in tightly to the small dance venue to ogle and marvel at the sparkly dancing girls and unique entertainment. But, there is a reason the Moulin Rouge is still selling out…because it is fun…and amazing! Located in the exciting Montmartre district, even if you decide not to book a table for the burlesque show you can explore the neon lights of the neighborhood and of course, snap a picture of the beautiful red windmill which adorns the exterior of the building.
53. Cycle Through the Countryside
There is something magical and romantic about crisscrossing the countryside by bicycle. If you are an experienced rider and desire to chart out your own course, go right ahead, France is filled with bike friendly highways. Perhaps you want to have a little help…well there are multitudes of tour companies that will assist you and guide you through different regions of France. Peddling along the lush Loire valley or along the windy beaches of Normandy there many options ready for you to explore. There is no better country to see by bike than the home of the world’s most renowned event in cycling.
54. See the beautiful Azay le Rideau
Located in the heart of the Loire Valley, the Château d’Azay-le-Rideau is one of the most famous and beautiful Chateaus of the whole region. Situated in the middle of the Indre river, this impressive example of French architecture was once called “a facetted diamond set in the Indre” by the legendary Honore Balzac. Constructed during the time of Francois I, its creator was Gilles Berthelot whose passion for innovation and sheer refinement are apparent in the lavish details throughout the Chateau.
55. Shop Flea Market Barbers in Lille
Buses may be a less glamour form of travel, but boy oh boy are they inexpensive. Services like BoltBus are incredibly cheap and not that terrible of a way to travel. Make the best of a situation and instead of dreading taking a long bus ride, bring a book, bring a friend, and enjoy the view. Once you arrive at your destination and are able to go out and have way more money to spend doing what you like because you saved by taking the bus, it won’t seem like a bad trade off in the slightest.
56. See the Attractions at Villette Park
In the north eastern portion of the 19th arrondissement is one of the largest parks in Paris. The Parc de la Vilette is home to a massive concentration of varying attractions and venues, some of which include The City of Science and Industry museum, (Europe’s biggest museum of science), Conservatoire de Paris, and three concert venues. Completed in 1987 this park has become a popular destination for local Parisians and world travelers alike. Nearly 10 million people come to visit the park each year for its wide assortment of activities. This is a great destination for families and will entertain young and old with its themed gardens, open plots for activities and exploration, theatres and museums.
57. Ski the Epic Run at Vallee Blanche
If you consider yourself a good skier and are looking for a once in a lifetime experience, then the Vallee Blanche is for you. A run down this challenging off piste slope is an unforgettable and thrilling challenge nestled high in the heart of the titanic Mont Blanc in the Alps. With a vertical descent of 2700 meters, this is not a beginner’s course. The views along the way in this high mountain landscape are breathtaking and give you a chance to see the wilderness of the Alps. Enjoy the luxurious accommodations of Chamonix Mont-Blanc where you can relax at the lodge or indulge at one of their many fine cafes.
58. Drive the Three Corniches
First you are going, what the hell is a cornice right? Loosely translated it means something like a cliff side road and these three panoramic motorways are exactly that. Between Menton and Nice, along the Cote D’Azure there is carved into the cliff side three roads: the Grande Cornice, the Moyenne Corniche, and the Basse Corniche. It doesn’t matter which road you choose to speed along, all three are going to make you feel like you are James Bond, (many of the old movies where actually shot along these highways). As you drive, hopefully with the top down of your convertible Jaguar, you will be transported into your own world of danger and sexy spies.
59. Take in the Scenery at Val d’Isere
At the farthest reaches of the Tarentaise Valley, close to the Italian border is scenic Val d’Isere. It is here where one can enjoy world class skiing or other winter sports surrounded by the breathtaking Alpine scenery. This international resort has a charming atmosphere that promotes ecofriendly tourisms alongside its award winning slopes. Populated with many restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars, this getaway location will have you relaxing and feeling and peace sooner than you thought possible.
60.Marvel at the Baccarat Church
Constructed on the grounds of a church destroyed after WWII, the Baccarat Church in Lorraine, France is a very unique place of worship. The city of Baccarat is known for their spectacular crystal and this modern church places the town’s artistic industry at the forefront. The stained glass is set within the concrete walls of the church in colorful and nontraditional patterns, which make it stand out from the many older cathedrals that populate France. The interior of the church may be dim, but when the sun sparkles through the gem like stained glass, the wash of wonderful colors give the Baccarat church an otherworldly, peaceful appearance.
61.Get Sandy at Dune du Pilat
The Dune du Pilat is a big ol’ pile of sand! No, really…it is the largest dune in all of Europe and is a wonder of the natural world. Over 2.7 km long this seaside dune hosts more than just sand. Whether you want to hike the surroundings, pitch your tent at one of the many camp sites, or are feeling brave and decide to give paragliding a try, anything is possible at this unique attraction. If you want to see the dune in a way very few do, try coming during the winter when the peaks of the Dune du Pilat have been known to be capped with snow.
62. Get to Know Claude Monet at Givevny
West of Paris is a small town where Claude Monet, one of the most famous painters in history called home. Giverny became Monet’s place of residency in 1883 after he longing viewed the village from a passing train. He quickly decided to transplant his family to this new charming place and he remained there until his death. Monet gradually developed the garden surrounding his home where he would work on his famous water lily pieces. When you visit Givevny be sure to see his former home as well as the Museum of Impressionism where his work along with his fellow Impressionists is housed.
63. Steam in a Hammams
A Hammams is a traditional North African Steam bath and Paris has plenty of them. Now…fair warning these are not places where you go for super fancy spa treatments, they are a working class version of that. Once you slip into your flip-flops and robe you can traverse different steam rooms and finish the experience off with some tea and a massage. Oh…did I mention a lot of these places also have free pastries for you to nom on? On a drizzling gray day, take a chance to check out a Hammams where the worries of travel will melt away.
64. Have aCappuccino at Café Delmas
Café Delmas is a treasure to the locals, a favorite for tourists, and a second home to many students. All in all, it is just one of those perfect cafes that ends up becoming one of your favorite place in all of the city. Located at the top of the tree-lined rue Mouffetard, it is an idyllic place for people watching over an espresso or getting cozy over cocktails beneath their heated patios.
65. Explore the Hidden Les Calanques
Along the tranquil Cote d’Azure you will find a surprising yet hidden natural delight that only those with excellent boots or a boat may visit. While in the southern region of Provence, many people will make a stop at Nice or Cannes hoping to spot a celebrity but if you are more of the adventurous type, you should certainly visit the quiet fishing village of Cassis instead. Here you can see the highest sea cliffs in all of France but also, carved into the white limestone of those rock sides are the Calanques, which are inlets similar to fjords. These stunning little slices of heaven loom high throughout the deep valleys and not only provide panoramic scenery but a rich ecosystem of wildlife and a wide variety of sporting activities as well.
66. Gaze up at the Bayeux Cathedral
Located in the Normandy region of France town is the small and charming town of Bayeux. It is here that the gothic style Bayeux Cathedral looms over the whole of the city. You will find the exterior of this remarkable structure just as fascinating as the interior, but it is well worth taking a peek inside. Learn about the medieval church’s construction and history and also take a chance while in Bayeux to see the famous Bayeux tapestry whose original home was in the cathedral.
67. Imbibe with Alsace Wine
France is a wine lover’s paradise and one place of interest to the vino enthusiast should be of Alsace. This region of France is on the border of Germany and thusly has been highly influenced by the culture of its neighbor. The overlap for the two superpowers is observable in their architecture and even in the language, but most importantly, you can enjoy this combination in the Alsace wine and food. One of the only regions of France to produce primarily white wine, Alsace has developed its own wonderful palate of Riesling and Gewurztraminer wines. Stop by this unique corner of France and enjoy the pleasures this rich region has to offer.
68. Spot Wild Creatures at Refuge de l’Arche
re you the type of person who finds zoos…well…just depressing? Refuge de l’Arche is the answer for you then! Located near Chateau Gontier in the northern region of Mayenne, this 15 hectare animal sanctuary is a far cry, (or roar) from a zoo. Over 1,500 exotic and local animals call this place home for a while, or some for good. Only when animals are too injured or dependent on humans are they kept at the park. Started in 1974 the park has dedicated itself to helping out any injured, mistreated, or abandoned animal until it can live a happy and hopefully wild life again. Open year round, Refuge de l’Arche has plenty of observation decks and discovery trails were you can see creatures like foxes, lion cubs, monkeys and llamas.
69. See the Basilique St Denis
This huge medieval church is in the city of Saint Denis, a suburb of Paris. A quick hop out of town is well worth it to see this marvel of ancient architecture. The Basilica of Saint Denis is of great importance historically because it is considered to be the first ever Gothic Church. This monumental building also houses the Royal Memorial park where you can see over 70 reclining statues of the deceased as well as the beautiful stained glass window art which dates back all the way to the 12th century.
70. Take a Thrill Ride at Futuroscope
Are you over rollercoasters and bumper cars? Like gadgets, gizmos, and all things hi-tech? Futuroscope is the theme park of your dreams then. The park’s theme is based around multimedia, virtual reality, and 3d and 4d films. With tons of different attractions you can spend an entire day inside the sleek, futuristic looking glass building. Check out robots, 4d motion pictures where the seats move along with the picture and a wide variety of other exciting techy fun
71. Try Frog Legs
Sometimes doing something cliché is just fun! While in Paris you will have plenty of chances to act tres chic so when you have the opportunity to do something kind of goofy…just go for it. Frog legs are actually not eaten very often by the French, they are more commonly eaten in South East Asian countries. But…they are available at many fine restaurants and if you have never nibbled on the gam of a toad, you should just give it a try so you can say you did it. Besides, everybody says they taste like chicken, so it can’t be that bad, right?
72.Spoil Yourself at L’Hôtel
If you are able to afford some pampering while vacationing in Paris, L’Hôtel is THE place to do so. You will find this enchanting boutique hotel on rue des Beaux-Arts, just a few blocks from the Louvre and the d’Orsay. It was in the infamous Left Bank hotel that legendary author and dandy Oscar Wilde uttered his famous last words, “either this wallpaper goes or I do.” Have a look for yourself by staying in their Oscar Wilde suite to see if they still have wallpaper worth croaking over. Probably not though because this hotel’s reputation has been pretty spotless over the years which includes having a Michelin star winning chef, Julien Monbabut. It’s okay to spoil yourself to a romantic treat every once in a while, and if you are in Paris, there is no better place to do it.
73. Splash Around at Aquaboulevard
Who doesn’t love a water slide? There is something about hurling yourself down a vertical plastic slope and into a giant pool of water that just makes you feel really alive! And you can experience this like you never have before at Aquabooulevard, a massive indoor waterpark located in the heart of Paris. After spending all that time in stuffy museums, you need to let loose and have some fun. Aquaboulevard has water games, hot tubs, mini-beaches wave pools, 11 water slides, and a life-size reproduction of a whale named Jonas.
74. Eat Some Sweets at the Haribo Museum
You may not know it, but you love Haribo. Perhaps the brand name doesn’t ring a bell but more likely than not you have enjoyed a bag, (or several) of their fun gummy candies. Whether it be gummy bears, gummy worms, or even gummy feet, this brand is beloved throughout the world and houses its museum in the small southern town of Uzès. Opened in 1966 the facility shares with its visitors a wealth of knowledge about how their candy is made and the story behind the brand. With lots of interactive displays, old and young alike can enjoy indulging their sweet tooth for the day.
75. See the Hôtel des Invalides
Who wants to go to a place called L’Hôtel national des Invalides, which translated means the National Residence of the Invalids? Sounds like a bummer right? Well, the name is slightly deceiving. In 1670, the Sun King wanted to build a “hotel” for wounded soliders and so gave the building its bizarre moniker. Now, this complex is less known for housing injured men but is known for its collection of military artifacts, including the man himself… Napoleon Bonaparte. Visit the military museum where there is a seriously impressive collection of suits of armor, swords, paintings of battles and many other items. While at the “hotel” also be sure to see Napoleon’s tombs and just as you expected, it larger than life… just like he was
76. Make Your Own Perfume at Grasse Galimund
France is the world capital for perfumes and where better to create your own customized scent than at one of the oldest perfume factories? At the famous Galimard studio, you will have a trained hostess guide you along as you mix fragrances to develop your own signature perfume. Enjoy the magical experience of perfume creation and return from your trip abroad with a smell all you own that will also remind you of your time in Paris.
77. Get Cozy in Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and largest city in the Alsace region of France. This area borders Germany and in thanks to its proximity has many wonderful unique qualities. As the ninth largest city in France and with a booming student population, you will never be short on activities to do while in this quaint city. Amble down the twisting cobblestone streets of the old city and stare up at the many stunning Gothic buildings. Be transported to another time as you nestle in for a glass of wine at one of the many taverns whose exterior look as though they were lifted from a Brother’s Grimm tale. The city is so lovely in fact, that the EU headquarters is based here. Strasbourg’s quirks and quaintness make it a must see city if you are traveling throughout France.
78.Stay Weird at the Salvador Dali Museum
For the love of all that is weird, you must visit The Espace Dali near Place du Tertre in Montmartre. It is in this basement museum that you will have a chance to witness the supremely unique pieces of artwork created by the Catalan surrealists artist. With over 300 pieces, you will have a chance to see Dali’s surrealists form in a new way. One of the most beloved installations is the Mae West room where furniture is arranged to mimic her iconic pouting face. There is so much more to see in the Espace Dali, but it really is a place beyond description that one must experience to enjoy thoroughly.
79.Take the Pilgrimage to Lourdes
Before 1858, very few people knew about the small market town of Lourdes that is settled in the vast Pyreness mountains. Now it sees nearly 5 million Catholic devotees and tourists each year. Why do you ask? Because it is said to be the site of a miracle. A long time ago, a young girl named Bernadette Soubirous saw a vision of the Virgin Mary in her home of Lourdes and since that time people have been flocking to the sight to pay respect and perhaps witness something remarkable too. As the largest Catholic pilgrimage spot in France, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes spreads over 52 hectares, and has a beautiful grotto with over 20 places for individual worship. Another stop you can make while visiting Lourdes, is to the home of the young witness to the Virgin Mary who was later canonized as Saint Bernadette.
80. Skate in the Pari Roller Friday Night Skate
Strap on your skates and get ready to bomb down the boulevards of Paris along with 35,000 friends! Started in 1994, the weekly Pari Roller is one of the biggest street skating experiences in Europe. Each Friday night, experienced skaters are invited to the city center to stride down the wide streets for over 18 miles. This fast-paced event is great for the roller skating enthusiast or for the spectator too, as there is nothing more surreal than watching thousands of people speed along the ancient streets of Paris. Bring your blades, or bring your camera, either way the Friday Night Skate is something you simply have to see.
81.Be a Smarty-Pants at Les Deux Magots
It seems like you can’t walk one block in Paris without seeing a café where somebody famous used to hang out. This is indeed true but if there is a 1st place prize when it comes to famous cafes, Le Deux Magots is it. This place is so well known for its elite literary clientele that each year there is a Deux Magots prize awarded to a French novel. Writers such as Jean-Paul Sartre, James Joyce, Albert Camus, and Simone de Beauvoir all at one point sat in a corner of this café to sip espresso. Due to its haughty reputation, if you visit today you may end up paying a little more than you’d expect for a coffee but remember that you are experiencing more than just libation, you are participating in intellectual history.
82. Explore the Labouiche Underground
Either caves scare the pants off your, or…you find them fascinating wonders of the natural world. If you fall into the latter category you must check out the remarkable Labouiche Underground river in Ariege. This is the longest underground river, open to the public in Europe and if you feel adventurous, you can take a boat ride down 1.5km of it. You will have a chance to check out stalagmites, rock formations, stalactites, and even a waterfall. However, do not forget to bring a sweater along because it is underground and tends to get chilly down there.
83. Visit the Home of Victor Hugo
From 1832 to 1848 the famous playwright of Les Misérables, Victor Hugo called the second floor of the Hotel Rohan Guéménée his home. Inside of this museum, you will find some of Hugo’s furniture, inkwell, first editions of his plays, and over 400 illustrated scenes from his work. Though this museum is newer than some others it is quickly becoming a must see location for Parisians and tourists alike because if there is one writer who encompasses everything French, it most certainly is Victor Hugo.
84. Buy Fresh Fruit in the Markets of Rue Mouffetard
“Wonderful, narrow crowded market street” were the words used by Parisian expat and famous author Ernest Hemingway to describe Rue Mouffetard. As one of the oldest streets in Paris this charming cobblestone avenue is home to bustling shops, cafes, and most importantly a wide array of fresh market goods. Organic fruits and vegetables line the streets everyday along with fresh fish and aromatic fresh breads. Make sure you take time out of your trip to see, smell, and shop in this delightful old world marketplace.
85. Stroll Along Canal St. Martin
Canal St. Martin is an offshoot of the large river Seine which cuts Paris into its two banks…Left and Right. It is this smaller body of water that attracts more locals and tourists however to take a stroll, go for a boat ride, or have a picnic on the tranquil banks. This is a great destination for those on a tight budget while traveling since it is completely free for you to enjoy. If you do feel like spending a little bit though, there are many excellent restaurants, bars, and cafes along the Canal.
86. Look Up in La Defense
When wandering about Paris you might ask yourself, “where are all the tall buildings? Where are all the skyscrapers?” Well, they are tucked into the far western corner of the city which is called La Defense. It is the high-rise office district and home to the Grande Arche. The Grande Arche should not be confused with the other Arc de Triomphe in Paris, as the one in the business district is far more stark and imposing than the older version. Constructed in the 60’s, one can visit and quickly notice the evolution of the skyscraper from the boxy 70’s buildings to the more creative types of the 1990’s.
87. Pose with the Stars at the Musée Grévin
It seems for some reason that every major city MUST have a wax museum, and Musee Grevin is the answer for Paris. Located in the 9th arrondissement this building holds some of the most important political figures of the centuries…just…in wax form of course. At the Musee Grevin you will see scenes for French History including bloody battle scenes of revolution down to more modern representations such as former prime minister Charles de Gaulle. The figures are not only those of historical importance, you can also snap a few shots off with famed actors such as Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe. A great place for families, or if you just want to goof around, the Musee Grevin is a great spot for all types.
88. Go Back in Time at Le Puy de Fou
Located in Les Epesses, in the middle of Western France is the fourth most visited site in all of the country, the historical theme park of Puy de Fou. Attracting over 1.5 million guests per year this award winning, yes they give out awards for theme parks, destination is indeed a special palce. Puy de Fou replicates in great accuracy four different time period in four different villages throughout the grounds. There is a Roman amphitheater where you can witness gladiator battles, or you can visit the 18th century town where Vikings might attack at any moment. With fourteen different shows for you and your family to enjoy, Puy de Fou is an easy winner when stacked against perhaps more…banal theme park options.
89. Discover the Roman Baths in Cluny
It may be hard to spot but France was once ruled by Rome and there is evidence of this hiding all about. One example of the reminisce left behind by the Romans is the Romans Baths of Cluny located in the 5th arrondissement. The ruins of these thermal baths are housed partially in hotel and partially in the Cluny Museum where you can view what intact elements of the baths still remain.
90. Be Blown Away by Ferdinand Cheval’s Ideal Palace
Ferdinand Cheval was just a simple postal worker who seemingly achieved nothing too grand in his lifetime yet his “home” is one of the most popular attractions in all of France. It is Cheval’s wonderfully quirky, naïve, and inspired “Palace” that he built over the course of 33 years that draws people in so. With no architectural training whatsoever, he decided one day to begin construction of his home by laying one stone after another into mortar and limestone. This unique form of outsider art is marvelous and inspirational and if you have the chance to peak at this humble man’s fantastic accomplishment you surely will not regret it.
91. Toss Some Boules in Park
Whether you call it lawn bowling or bocce, ‘boules’ is played all across the world but its roots are in France. So why not learn to play their version of this fun and relaxing game? Called, Petanque it works in a very similar fashions to lawn bowling where you toss metal balls from a specific position towards a centrally located wooden ball. Enjoy this sport in one of the many parks throughout Paris and if you really want to fit in, sip a glass of wine with friends as you attempt to knock their balls out of the way!
92.Take in the Flowers in Eyne
The small town of Eyne is romantic on its own. There is a distinct absence of tourists, advertisements, and most things modern all in all. Nestled into the charming Cerdanya valley you will find that this city one of the best preserved slices of the past in all of France. What makes this place even more special is the scenery surrounding it. With the climates of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic combining the Reserve Naturelle d’Eyne is a marvelous splendor. The flowers of Eyne bloom in unison around late June and is a perfect time to visit so you may take in their beauty along with the other flora and wildlife.
93. Be Well Read in the Montolieu Book Town
Book town? You heard right, these are what they sound like and there are several of them in France. Any bibliophile in their right mind must visit these wonderful little towns to see their splendors for themselves. A brief definition of what exactly a book town is, “a small rural area, usually town or village, with a concentration of booksellers, mainly secondhand and antiquarian, bookshops.” There is not enough space here to go into the details of each book village in France, so we will just choose one. The city of Montolieu is located in the South and is one of the largest Book Towns in Europe. It began promoting its industry of book selling around 1989 and now contains dozens of shop and markets. In addition, if you make it to Montolieu be sure to check out their large cactus garden as well.
94. Commit to your Sweetheart at the Love locks on Pont des Arts
The love locks of the Pont de Arts Bridge are one of the sweetest, most endearing sights in all of the Paris. That is quite an achievement for the City of Love and Lights but the little padlocks amassed along the railing of this small bridge show just how many lovers come to Paris to show their passion and commitment to one another. The tradition goes that you obtain a padlock with your significant other, lock it onto the bridge and toss the key into the river below as a symbol of your undying love. Recently however, a portion of the Pont des Arts bridge actually collapsed under the weight of the locks and the tradition of love locks may have to be curbed in order to keep the bridge safe. Either way…make a trip to see the locks and if you are wanting and able, clip one on with your sweetheart too.
95. Buy a Trinket on Rue du Rivoli
If the Champs Elysees had a little sister, it would be the Rue du Rivoli. This important avenue runs along the Sein and links up the Saint-Jacques bell tower, the Tuileries and the Lourvre connection these vital sections of Paris. The street in of itself is known for its high fashion shopping and huge collection of small vendors and bodegas. This is the street you want to visit if you are in need of some fun souvenirs to bring back home for your friends and family.
96. Relax in the Place des Vosges
Like most European cities, Paris is full of beautiful squares, but the Place des Vosges is not only one of the finest but also the oldest within the city. Located within the Marais district between the 3rd and 4th arrondissements the square has a lovely park, many fine cafes, shops, and the Hôtel de Rohan-Guéménée where Victor Hugo lived. Within this hotel, you find the small museum dedicated to the author and you will easily be able to see how this famous author wrote such beautiful work when you are able to look as he once did out onto the magnificently beautiful Place de Vosges.
97. Stare Skyward at Le Bourget Air Show
One of the oldest and best displays of aviation advancements is just 6 miles outside of Paris and if you find yourself in France during the biyearly aerospace event…you should really make a stop by Le Bourget. The earliest incarnation of the Paris Air Show was in 1909 and was actually held at the Grand Palais showing the elite spectators the latest in aviation technologies. Now if you are able to see the Salon International de l’Aeronautique et de l’Espace or SIAE for short you will see marvelous displays of military and commercial planes diving, spinning, and performing dare devil stunts. In addition to the show, be sure to check out the free Air and Space Museum in Le Bourget as well.
98. Take a Boat Ride Along The Seine
There is just something so…European about travelling through a city down a body of water by boat. The Seine offers you the perfect opportunity to see the City of Lights as it perfectly bisect the Right and Left bank of Paris. Take a river tour and slowly glide along what many consider the lifeblood of the city, and see the sights in a new perspective. Many of these boat tour companies will have varying drop off points but you can be sure to see the iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Nortre Dame and the many charming bridges that cross the Seine as well. Rest your feet and your worried mind for a peaceful afternoon and let the beautiful Seine take you through the City and all you need do is open your eyes and enjoy..
99. Catch a Fish in Houat, Brittany
The quaint island village of Houat off the coast of Morbihan, Brittany is a great place for the fisherman, outdoorsmen, or anybody looking to travel off the beaten path. You can reach the small island by ferry but will have to leave your car behind. No worries though, the island is small and best explored on foot along the beautiful coastal path that encircles the island. Enjoy the whitewashed fisherman cottages, a few high quality restaurants, and many wonderful rocky beaches. Whether you just want to take in the serene quietude of beautiful Brittany or embark on an adventurous fishing trip, the island of Houat in Brittnay is the perfect place to do these things and much more.
100.See the Impressive Panthéon
Located in the heart of Paris’ Left Bank district near the intellectual hub of the Sorbonne Univertisy is the 83 meter high Panthéon with its gleaming, impressive dome. Built in 1764 and not completed until1790, this church has been through many manifestations but originally was an abbey dedicated to Saint Genevieve. After the French Revolution the religious building was turned into a secular home to memorialize great Frenchmen and women of the past. Upon visiting the Patheon now you can have the chance to see the final resting place of such greats as: Marie Curie, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Voltaire.
101. Walk, Watch, and Eat in Chantilly
Chantilly may only remind you the Big Bopper song about a pretty girl, but this elegant town has MUCH MUCH more to offer you. Just 50km outside of Paris this beautiful town has a wide selection of activities for you to enjoy. Stop by the remarkably restored The Chantilly Château which was burnt to the ground during the French Revolution. After a stroll about the grounds you can stop and enjoy one of the most notable race tracks in all of Europe where many world class horses train and race. Last but not least, make a final stop at one of the many divine small restaurants where you can top off you visit with Chantilly’s most delicious claim to fame, the sweet thick crème that adorns many a fine desert.