Paris leads the list of the most beautiful cities in France, but it is not the only one that steals the attention of national and international tourists.
The French can boast of other cities as beautiful as their capital, towns with beautiful monuments, landscapes and interesting history.
Let’s know in this article the 15 most beautiful cities in France.
The idyllic and charming Paris, City of Light and Love, is the capital of France crossed by the Seine River.
Paris is glamour, romance and history, because within it lie traces and scars of humanity, aspects that have made it diverse, controversial and a reference in the world, something that contributes to its beauty.
Its monuments, infrastructures, streets, gastronomy and many other tourist places, each one so interesting and emblematic, make it an irresistible destination.
The Eiffel Tower is the emblem of the city and the most visited monument. Other sites of interest are the Moulin Rouge, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe and the symbolic Champs-Elysées avenue.
Also read our guide on what to do in Paris in 7 days: definitive guide
2. Saint Malo
A small port city in northwestern France, in the Brittany region, surrounded by a dense granite wall that served as a defense against attacks by pirates and corsairs.
Its inhabitants do not consider themselves Bretons or French, rather Malouines de Saint Malo.
Among the attractions of the corsair city are the wall, the German fort La Cité and the Fort National built by order of King Louis XIV.
Its beaches are very beautiful, as is the emblematic Gothic-Roman Saint Vincent Cathedral, whose stained glass windows show part of the city’s history.
Saint Malo is small. You can tour it on the tourist train in just 30 minutes inside or outside the mural.
The beautiful Toulouse is also known as the pink city. It is to the south between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, in the Haute-Garonne department, in the heart of France.
The color of its rooms and the delicate facades, added to the lighting of its spaces, make Toulouse a very beautiful city always chosen by tourists and travelers, for the peace it offers.
The covered and open-air markets and its typical gastronomy invite you to try a little of each dish.
You can stroll along the Canal du Midi (Canal du Midi), a French waterway declared a World Heritage Site. Also visit its charming squares, terraces and the Japanese Garden of the city.
As part of the Great Wine Route, Dijon is the capital city of the Burgundy-Franco region, county of the legendary Dukes of Burgundy. It is in the east of France, near the headwaters of the Seine River, on the banks of the Ouche River.
It is the most populous city in the country after Paris and the second center in terms of cultural importance, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2017. It stands out for its impressive architecture, historical bastion of the nation and for its cultural display of museums and churches.
Another of its symbols is the Tower of Philip the Good (Philippe Le Bon), with spectacular views of the city as its highest point is 46 meters high.
Its private and public natural parks make it even warmer and one of the most beautiful cities in the country.
Dijon also stands out for the height and quality of its gastronomy, seen in the eyes of the world as a gastronomic capital with delicacies such as mustard, spiced bread and many other dishes.
The city is also recognized as a territory of vineyards where you can taste up to 24 types of wines.
Nice combines a mixture of eras that are manifested in its streets and architecture, with a clear influence of Italian culture immersed in French culture.
It borders the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and the Paillon River, at the southeastern end of mainland France. It is a cosmopolitan city accustomed to the passage of foreigners and coexistence among immigrants, whose development and history have modified and preserved it to what it is today.
Its colorful streets between ocher and reddish tones, the variety of religious architecture, palaces and the walkway, give it an inspiring touch and that beauty that stands out from other French cities.
In Nice you can admire the buildings of the unforgettable golden age, the Belle Epoque, now converted into houses of the privileged class.
The blue coast of the Mediterranean is one of the places to enjoy its beaches and the “Paseo de los Ingleses”, one of the favorite destinations for tourists.
Nantes, nicknamed the Venice of the Western Continent for its waterways and canals, is a city with an important artistic and cultural movement in the region. It is considered the “historical” capital of Brittany.
It is one of the most important cities in France economically through biotechnology, financial development, industry and its territorial wealth.
Located 55 km from the Atlantic Ocean to the south of Brittany and to the northwest of the country, it is located as the capital of the Loire-Atlantique department, where part of the Loire Valley, a World Heritage Site (Unesco), lies.
The Châteaux de Loire route is fascinating, especially with the beauty of Château Chenonceau or the vastness of Chambord, a route to impress.
The diversity of the architectural heritage of Nantes gives it that air of medieval and modern beauty, adorned with its landscapes. A postcard city to discover and enjoy.
Marseille is one of the oldest cities in Europe, dating back to 600 BC. C. It is in a cove in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-Azur Region of the Mediterranean.
It is “envied” worldwide for its impressive coastline, where there are more sunny days during the year, a complement to the spectacular Mediterranean climate.
Marsella falls in love with its glamor and subtle style. It has many natural parks, monuments, museums and medieval, colonial and modern architecture. It is not for nothing that it is the second most important city in the country after Paris.
Bordeaux is a port city in southwestern France that belongs to the Metropolitan region of Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne, being flanked by the Garonne River.
It is listed as the world capital of wine for its development and contribution to the wine industry, which makes it the venue for the main wine fair held in the world.
The city has been noted on the list before UNESCO to opt for the declaration of World Heritage, a request that points to its invaluable architectural and urban sample of the 18th century. It is the second with more monuments after Paris.
Its character and beauty arouses great interest in tourists and in the cinematographic world, due to the quality of its settings and infrastructures. Examples of this are the Roman Amphitheater (3rd century), the Saint Michel Basilica, the Grand Théâtre, with its neo-classical design, and the gothic Saint André Cathedral.
The Puerta de la Luna, a sector of the city, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
In addition to monuments, Bordeaux also has natural parks, museums, cinemas and other attractions that make the city a valuable and special place to enjoy.
Carcassonne is a city divided between the modern present and the medieval past in the south of France, between the cities of Toulouse and Perpignan, in the new Occitania Region. It is the capital of the Aude department, a few kilometers from Spain (Catalonia).
Its old town is on a hill behind the imposing and famous wall of ancient stones of three kilometers, a World Heritage Site since 1997.
In Carcassonne is located the citadel with more than 2,500 years that welcomed the Celtic settlements in the sixth century. Since then it has remained occupied with beautiful, well-preserved and still inhabited farmhouses from medieval times.
The other part of Carcassonne is the lower city known as Bastida de San Luis. It has a more lively, colorful trend that benefits from the benefits of modernity.
Something interesting is that vehicular traffic is not allowed in the old town. Every summer, the walled city celebrates the “Festival of the Citadel” in one of its theaters. In itself it is its main center of tourist attraction.
Montpellier is considered an urban renewal icon, aiming for simplicity but without forgetting its thousand years of history. It is in the south of the country, in the Occitania Region of the Hérault department, near the Mediterranean.
It is a World Heritage Site for its outstanding ancient and contemporary architecture, which is added to the various green spaces with an ecotourism sense between ancient alleys. A seductive mix.
Another feature that makes it one of the most beautiful cities in France is its colorful and exceptional trams, unique in the country. Its squares, such as the Place de la Canourgue or the Place de la Comédie, are beautiful, almost enviable.
You are invited to stroll along the street where the emblematic Jean-Jacques Rousseau lived, near one of the best pastry shops in the city.
Montpellier celebrates several festivals a year with themes such as dance, wine tasting and local food, cinema and music.
Versailles is the capital of the Yvelines department belonging to the Ile-de-France Region. It is internationally known for the emblematic Palace of Versailles and is located to the west of Paris.
In part of the 17th century and almost all of the 18th century it became the official and unofficial capital of the Kingdom of France. Now his role is more administrative and judicial.
Versailles is a charming and inspiring city, as it served as a model in the design of the capital of the United States of America, Washington DC
In the vicinity of the Palace are the Saint Louis and Notre Dame de Versailles Quarters, each colourful, pleasant with remarkable architecture and soft colours.
Its variety of museums, monuments, theaters, squares, galleries and others, make the city an important and historical place.
Aix-en-Provence is subject to Provence and part of the urban cone of Marseille. It is considered by its natives as “the city with the highest quality of life” due to its architecture and the excellent level of attention and services it has.
It is known as a university city that combines bohemian airs with the academic.
Aix is one of the most beautiful cities in France for its purple lavender fields, the gallery of olive groves, the vineyards and the magnificent mostly sunny climate, elements that collaborate to enhance its beauty.
Despite not having monuments or destinations declared a World Heritage Site, it has museums, theaters, art galleries, boulevards with shops and stores, terraces, gardens, colorful markets and bars.
The streets steeped in history, its Gothic Saint-Sauveur cathedral, its gastronomic varieties, in short, a wide range of options to enjoy the pleasant atmosphere.
The city of the north, as many call it. Lille is the capital of the so-called Upper France Region, among its peers Brussels, Paris and London, very close to Belgium and on the banks of the Deûle river.
It is a city with an air of beauty and authenticity, especially in its historic quarter, recognized worldwide for its La Braderie market, considered the most important in Europe.
Part of its charm lies in the memories that the Deûle river reserves, where Celtic peoples of the Roman Gaul transculturation process settled. In addition to the multiple transformations over time due to wars.
It is a city with economic potential in the region and technological advances, such as the start-up of high-speed trains and universities.
One of its distinctions is having been the “European Capital of Culture” in 2004. It has incredible monuments and infrastructures such as the Palace of Fine Arts, the Compisse Hospice, the Lille Cathedral, the Natural History Museum and the Republic Square .
Bordering Germany, to the east of France, Strasbourg is part of the Alsace Region as its capital. Due to the present and marked German influence on the city, the mixture of both cultures (French and German) can be noticed in its architecture and spaces.
The combination of cultures makes Strasbourg a colorful and dreamy city, with farmhouses and details of its infrastructure that include flowers around the canals and bridges.
Its characteristics inspired settings for the famous Disney children’s film, “Beauty and the Beast”.
The city contains a variety of significant historical monuments such as the Palace of Rohan, the Mansion of the Bishops-princes, among others.
There are those who consider it the capital of Christmas, because its Christmas market is beautiful.
The beautiful Lyon, in the central east of France between the mountains of the Massif Central and the Alps, is the third most important city in the country after Marseille and Paris, even in territorial extension. It is crossed by the Saône and Rhône rivers.
It was founded by the Romans in the 1st century BC at that time as the capital of the Three Gauls; throughout its history it has been important in the region for its economic contribution (silk market).
Considered the “International Capital of Gastronomy” for its famous and delicious dishes (Onion Soup, Andouillette, others). It is also recognized as a university city with public universities and higher education study centers.
UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1998, valuing its medieval architecture and other significant structures such as the Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière, Fourvière Hill and the imposing Roman Theater.
Lyon is history, culture and modernity between the city and its old facade with landscapes that, day or night, make it one of the 15 most beautiful cities in France.
It has been a fantastic journey. 15 most beautiful cities in France that make anyone want to visit them. You dare?
- Read our guide on the 56 best tourist places in France that you have to visit
- We leave you our guide on the 27 things to do in Paris at night
- Check out our guide to the 30 most beautiful villages in France