Aaaaahhh, France. Just say the name aloud and the sound of the accordion will begin to play in the background while visions of the Eiffel Tower, Mona Lisa, and Notre Dame slide across your mind. It is a place that we all dream of visiting, but so many of us never seem to have the time.
But the time for dreaming is over. It is time to book your ticket, make your dreams come true, and see all there is to see in France. And if you are still on the fence about it, here are some reasons to visit France.
It may be a surprise to first-time visitors to Europe, but the skylines of Europe are, generally speaking, much less substantial than what we are used to across the pond. For that reason, standing at 81 stories, the Eiffel Tower looms magnificently and majestically over Paris. A great tip for first time Paris travelers is to take one day to just absorb all of the tourist attraction this city has to offer.
And if you do decide to visit Paris and climb the tower, you'd be in good company. With nearly 7 million annual visitors, the Eiffel Tower is the most visited paid monument in the world. Paris hardly does anything second best. So why would the Eiffel Tower be the exception?
And if its notoriety and popularity weren't worthy enough reasons to visit France, just wait until nightfall when the tower lights up the City of Lights for five minutes every hour until the early morning. There are few things in life more spectacular than that. Go see for yourself!
Now, while most people can boast that they've visited either Disneyland or Disney World, fewer can say that they've been to both. And fewer still can say that they've been to Disneyland Paris. You should be one of those people.
After 25 years, Disneyland Paris has become the second most visited tourist attraction in Europe. It hosts all of the rides and attractions that you know and love including (Hyper)Space Mountain, It's A Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Where else in the world can you take a photo in front of a Disney Castle and then visit an actual castle? There is no one who will be as happy and cultured as you. And if you don't have a fortune to spend, it's not the end of your trip planning. There are plenty of tips available to get to Disneyland Paris on a budget.
World Class Everything
For nearly all of Western history, France has been associated with luxury, high quality, and excellence. It is almost impossible to understate the impact that French culture has had on the world. From the French cuisine and wine to clothing and even art, France has long been the epicenter for the creation and storage for all things excellent. And why shouldn't you experience that?
So, along with your ticket, be sure to grab tickets to the Louvre, reservations to Restaurant Mumi or L'Arcane, or even a few days stay in Hotel Sezz Saint-Tropez in St Tropez. You deserve it.
Let's step outside of Paris for a little while to see what else this remarkable country has to offer. In southern France in the Alps, on the border with Italy, stands the highest peak in all of Western Europe—Mont Blanc. Whether you want to climb the peak, or just view it, take the trip down there. The Alps truly give credit to the word breath-taking.
Surrounding the, or perhaps surrounded by, the Alps on the French side is the beautiful mountain town of Chamonix. If skiing the slopes of Val d’Isère wasn't on your list of reasons to visit France, there's plenty to do off the slopes. There you'll find ski resorts, bars, restaurants, spas and cultural attractions. There are also cheese shops, wine cellars and yoga studios to keep you busy. In the course of one's lifetime, a trip to Chamonix and Mont Blanc cannot be missed.
Now let's take a trip west to the region of Bordeaux. Famed for its namesake wine that the city has produced since the 8th century, it holds the record for the highest level of historical buildings outside of Paris.
Classified as a city of art and history, there is no shortage of wonders to explore as you traverse through town. A few must-sees, however, are the Place des Quinconces (the largest square in Paris), the Place de la Bourse (Palace Royal), and the Musée des Beaux-Arts.
The Palace Royal, which was commissioned by Louis XV, possesses the largest reflection pool in the world. (Did we mention that France never does anything second best?) This gives the palace a heavenly feel with the skies reflected in it during the day and the illuminated palace itself reflected in the night.
A little further north in the center of the country, you'll find Loire Valley, which may be, incidentally, the Frenchiest part of France. And we mean that in the best way possible. A Unesco World Heritage site since 2000, the valley is famed for its picturesque and historic towns and villages and the incredible architecture of the numerous chateaux that dot the region. A trip here feels like stepping into the pages of a storybook.
Loire Valley was also home to one of France's most famous and favorite saints—Joan of Arc. Whether you take a tour of Orleans, her hometown, or visit the tower where she was held as a prisoner in Rouen, her presence is as integral a part of this region as the soil itself. Soaking up of a bit of her rebellious spirit is one of the reasons to visit France.
Back in Paris, there is the most famous Catholic cathedral outside of the Vatican. Notre Dame is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture which sits in the literal heart of the city.
There is so much that can be said about the cathedral, nearly all of which has already been written and fills many libraries. But instead of listing all the historical facts, colorful descriptions and interesting tidbits, we are going to take another approach. And that is to invite you to see what all the fuss is about for yourself.
da Vinci painted her, Nat King Cole sang about her, and in 1911, Vincenzo Peruggia stole her off the wall of the Louvre. Why? To return the dear lady to her rightful home in Italy. Suffice it to say, she is one popular lady. But why? Who's to say really? Or "who hasn't said already?" may be the better question.
After all these years, we still don't know much about her. We don't know who she is, where she is from, or why she smiles. We don't know why the horizon behind her is uneven or if she is even worth the hype. But while we can't say that visiting her would answer all questions, never seeing her wouldn't answer any.
Known in that times as Gaul, the Romans ruled the land for nearly four centuries. Along the way, they left a legacy that can still be recognized today.
The first is the romantic roots of the language and the second is a series of cities and artifacts that litter the country to this day. Some of the best-preserved antiquities are the Roman amphitheater in the Roman city of Orange in the Vaucluse in Provence, the Pond du Gard aqueduct in Languedoc and the nearly Roman temple located in Vienne, Isere, Rhone Valley. Be one of the select group of tourists who experience a deeper understanding of what this country has to offer.
This former palace turned art museum is, like almost everything else in France, one of the most famous sites in the world. Home to some of the most significant works of art in Western history, the cultural value of this museum cannot be understated.
Stop by to see the Winged Victory of Samothrace, Venus De Milo, Liberty leading the people and, of course, the lady herself, the Mona Lisa. And while you're at it, take time to take in as much or as little of the other exhibitions in the museum. For a place like this, it is enough just to say that you made the trip.
The reasons to visit France span many landscapes, eras, and interests. The wine, ruins, and mountains will all be waiting to show you the time of your life. Maybe that's why Mona Lisa is smiling. She knows well what this wonderful country has in store for you. And she is waiting for you to come and see it for yourself. Don't keep her waiting too long.