9 Attractions That Make France The Worlds Most Popular Tourist Destination

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9 Attractions That Make France The Worlds Most Popular Tourist Destination

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 places that attract millions of tourists each year.

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

Disneyland Paris is the number one attraction in France and EuropeSince 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 Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. It is also the 16th most popular tourist attraction in the world.  14.8 million people visited Disney Paris in 2015, according to their annual report.

2.The Eiffel Tower

Eiffel tower was build in 1889to be the entrance to the worlds fairOriginally 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 Eiffel tower serves as a national monument, a major tourist attraction and an observation and radio broadcast tower.

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

Louvre in Paris

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

palace of versailles in France draws hoards of tourists every yearIt was transformed from a humble hunting lodge by Louis XIV into the now-familiar 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

tour de France vintage poster

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

illustrated map of French cheeses

photoicon.50xpng.pngPhoto source: Vinepair

You’ve heard of Brie, Camembert and Blue cheese? In terms of types of French cheeses, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As a 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: goat cheese goes back to at the very least 500 AD, the blue-veined Roquefort was discussed in documents of an ancient abbey as very early as 1070, and tough ranch cheeses like Emmental began to show up in the 13th century.

7.The French Alps

French alps tram on Mont Blanc

Europe’s greatest mountain range system is, without a doubt, the Alps, stretching 1,200 km across eight Alpine countries, including France’s 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.

8. French food and the French mealtime tradition

French gastronomy granted UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2010In 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.”

9. The French train transportation

French railway considered to be the best in the world makes it easy for tourists

The Gare du Nord railway station in the heart of Paris, France, handles approximately 190 million passengers per year and is 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 50 Crazy Interesting Facts About France That’ll Blow Your Mind

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