Top 10 Magical Places to Visit in France That Aren’t Paris

//Top 10 Magical Places to Visit in France That Aren’t Paris
  • places to visit in france

So you’re planning a vacation to France?

You’re going to have an excellent time!

Paris is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world. The City of Lights welcomes nearly 83 million visitors per year.

But what if the hustle and bustle of Paris isn’t your thing? Or you’re looking for some down time somewhere else?

In this article, we’ll go over a few places to visit in France that aren’t Paris. You’ll still enjoy the language, the food, and the culture, but you won’t have to be in Paris to do so!


Remember the opening scene in Beauty and the Beast where Belle walks through her little village? Strasbourg looks a little bit like that, loaded with rustic French charm.

Strasbourg sits on the German border, so you can see the Germanic influence in the architecture. The charming little city looks like something out of a medieval fairy tale.

With the cathedral and the market as the city’s major attractions, there is still enough shopping and other fun things to enjoy to keep any tourist busy.

And if you’re in town for a short while, it’s just a short train ride away to neighboring Germany.


One of the largest cities in France, Lyon gives you the cosmopolitan feel of Paris without the crowded hustle and bustle. It is the third most populated city in France, with about half a million inhabitants.

The city itself is home to both medieval and Renaissance-era architecture, but if you’re a major history buff, the history goes back even further. You can visit the Roman amphitheater at Fourvieve Hill. The beautiful Notre-Dame de Fourviere sits on the city’s hilltop, a jewel in the city’s crown.

With a bustling student population, you’ll never be devoid of things to do on the weekends and won’t want for an active nightlife.


Fancy a beach getaway? Cannes is the perfect place for you. Located on the French Riveria next to Italy, it’s a fantastic place to sunbathe, sail, or participate in water sports. It’s also home to a host of museums, some of whom even house antiquities dating back to prehistoric France.

The climate is mild, and not as harsh as some of the colder regions of France. This means even if you visit in the winter, you’ll still be able to enjoy the city without having to bundle up too tightly.

Northern France: Camping in Normandy

If you’re more of an outdoorsy person and less about beaches and museums, you’ll find serenity camping in France. Normandy is a fantastic location for camping, especially during the summer. Nestled next to the country’s northernmost beaches, your family will have an amazing time communing with nature.

You can rent cabins in Normandy, or you can pitch a tent yourself and strike out on your own.

The beach is just a few miles away if you can’t resist. You can pay your respects to the fallen men at Normandy during World War II. And, you can have a great time sunbathing during the summer months.


Marseille is the second biggest city in France, with a population of about 850,000. This makes it about half the size of Paris, giving you all of the amenities of a bigger city without feeling too stifled.

Located in Provence (which we recommend you visit, and hope you sample the famous French countryside), Marseille boasts stunning coastlines and an incredibly unique French accent. If you’re fluent in French or know French to a high level, you may just catch it in everyday conversations.

Marseille has it all: museums, stunning coastlines, and delicious food. It’s well-known for its culture and plays host to a resident French opera company. It’s also the birth of the French hip-hop scene.

It also has its unique style of food, with a heavy emphasis on les fruits de la mer, or seafood.

Along with Cannes, Marseille is a must-see destination for those who love both culture and can’t resist the call of the ocean.


If you’re a Van Gogh fan or into ancient artifacts, this is the city for you.

Arles was once a provincial capital during the Roman occupation, and its still steeped in history. You won’t need to go all the way to Rome to see a still-standing amphitheater: Arles has its own. You can take a tour of it or watch one of the bullfights that still happen on a daily basis.

There’s a Gallo-Roman theater still standing, and part of Arles’ ancient Roman history is one of Rome’s most famous necropolises: The Alyscamps, which still stands outside of the city. You can also find an ancient Roman aqueduct and watermill that is still standing, just outside of Arles.

Many of Van Gogh’s paintings were influenced by his time in Arles. If you’re a fan of his work, you’ll most definitely spot some of the locations of his most famous paintings.

Places to Visit in France

France is an incredibly diverse country loaded with a regional flare. Of all of the places to visit in France, you should at least spend some time outside of Paris. Steeped in history and beauty, you’ll be glad you ventured outside of one of the most visited cities in the world.

Of course, Paris has its place and you shouldn’t miss all it has to offer. Do yourself a favor and take a train somewhere special outside of France for at least one night away.

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By | 2021-02-28T11:59:40+02:00 October 21st, 2018|Travel|

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