According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, France has been the world’s most popular tourist destination for over 25 years. Let’s explore some of the most visited sites in France that attract millions of tourists each year, making France the worlds most popular tourist destination.
Some people visit France simply because they consider it one of the most beautiful places in the world, with excellent food and hundreds of cheeses.
Others visit France for the shopping, the tourist attractions, the beaches or specific seasonal events such as Strasbourg and its famous Christmas market.
It’s no wonder France has held the number one position for 25 years.
These are the 9 most popular places in France that attract part of the 86 million tourists that visit France each year.
1. Disneyland Paris
Hands down, the most visited site in France is Disneyland Paris.
Since 1992, Disneyland Paris, originally called Euro Disney resort, has been drawing crowds worldwide. It is currently the number one tourist attraction in France and Europe, even beating out the
Hate the idea of Disneyland? Here are 10 Reasons why you should go to Disneyland Paris (even haters)
Originally constructed as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair to celebrate the French Revolution’s 100th anniversary, today, it’s what people think of first when they think of France. Measuring 321 metres tall, the equivalent to 81 stories, the
It is the second most visited attraction in France after Disneyland Paris, but as far as monuments go, it is the most visited-paid monument in the world. In 2015, almost 7 million people ascended this French treasure. Some by elevator, others climbed the 1664 steps by foot from bottom to top. (source)
3. The Louvre and art
The Louvre has a long and sorted history. The Louvre, which we know today, is not only one of the largest museums in the world, housing over 460,000 pieces of art and artifacts; it’s also one of the most visited galleries on the planet. in 2014 alone, it received over 9.3 million visitors.
Initially built as a fortress in the late 12th century, it was converted to the primary residence for French kings in the 16th century. In 1682, Louis XIV relocated the imperial home to Versailles, leaving the Louvre primarily to display the royal collection. One hundred years later, during the French revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum to display the nation’s masterpieces to the masses.
Some of the more notable treasures housed at the Louvre include La Jaconde, known in English as The Mona Lisa. Winged Victory of Samothrace, Vénus de Milo, Eugène Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People, Great Sphinx of Tanis, Aphrodite of Milos and the list goes on.
4. Palace Versailles The king’s palace
The Palace Versailles was transformed from a humble hunting lodge by Louis XIV into the now famous Versailles Palace, which epitomizes royal elegance.
Every year over 3 million people travel to Versailles to see how former French royalty lived. Everywhere you look is an amazing delight. It’s embellished by generations of lavish gardens, landscape, architecture, sculptures, decorations, art and more! Some of the more popular things to see at the palace include the State Apartments, the incredible Hall of Mirrors, the Versailles Gardens and The Trianons.
5. The Tour De France
For over 100 years since 1903, the tour de France has been attracting spectators worldwide. Not only is the Tour de France the globe’s biggest bike race, but it’s also the largest sporting event on the planet. For three weeks during part of June and July, people from all over the globe flock to France to watch bicyclists race some 3,200 kilometres (2,000 miles) mostly around France in a collection of phases. In a typical year’s race, the Tour de France can attract roughly 12 million spectators along the route of the race.
See also: 15 Bizarre Tour De France Facts YOU Didn’t Know But Should
6. French cheese
Photo source: Vinepair
You’ve heard of
Master cheesemaker, Pierre Androuët once said, “Un Fromage pour chaque jour,” which means “there exists a different cheese for each day. Officially, France produces roughly 350 to 450 different varieties of cheese. Some say the number is closer to 1,000. Whatever the number, cheese-making in France is an old art:
France is also famous for it’s stinky, smelly cheeses. Here are 17 Famous French stinky cheeses adored in France, feared by others
7.The French Alps
Europe’s greatest mountain range system is, without a doubt, the Alps, stretching 1,200 km across eight Alpine countries, including Italy, Swiss and the French French Alps.
There is a wide range of winter and summer activities available to visitors in the French Alps, attracting roughly 60-80 million visitors each year. Some activities include skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, biking and rock climbing, to name a few.
Every year, approximately 30,000 mountain climbers from all over the planet set their sites on making the treacherous two days, 4,810 metres (15,780 feet) climb up the highest point of the French Alps -Mont Blanc. Although beautiful, climbing Mont Blanc is also dangerous, claiming the lives of almost 100 people each year, making it Europe’s’ deadliest mountain.
For those visitors who would rather not risk their lives and climber Europe’s most dangerous mountain, there is always the cable car which will take you up to Aiguille du midi where you”ll have a dazzling 360° view over Mont Blanc-the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. Every summer, an astounding 5,000 people a day take the cable cars.
And then there’s always French raclette from the Alps. A delicious Alpine meal based on cheese and potatoes that you roast at the table.
8. French food and the French mealtime tradition
In addition to all the attractions, French food is also a major draw for tourists. In 2010, the Gastronomic tradition of the French meal- wine pairing, social rituals, beautiful table settings and associated skills the French are renowned for was granted UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2010 when it was added to the representative list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.”
- Here’s how to explain the French gastronomic meal to your mom
- And here is a breakdown of the formal French Multi-Course Meal
9. The French train transportation
France is also a popular destination for other European countries that reach France easily by train.
The Gare du Nord railway station in the heart of Paris, France, handles approximately 190 million passengers per year alone. It’s considered the busiest station in Europe and the third largest and busiest in the world. With over 29,000 km of railway, visitors to France can easily travel from one end of France to the other quickly without the need for a car, making it even more appealing and easy for tourists to visit every corner of France.
Interested in learning more about French culture? Check out 99 Crazy Interesting Facts About France That’ll Blow Your Mind