Paris, world capital of art and culture, gathers some of the most famous museums and monuments in the world. Like all the world's great capitals, Paris lives at a fast pace, by day, by night and especially at rush hours. Bear in mind that museums and monuments are often less crowded during the week. Sights that should not be missed include: The Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay. Visit any of the many others according to your tastes and interests: the Musee Picasso, Musee Rodin, Musee Carnavalet, Musee Marmottan and the Arab Institute are just a few. Essential Paris monuments are the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe or the Grande Arche de la Defense.
Surrounding Bordeaux are world-renowned vineyards and châteaux. Visitors from all over the globe come here to learn about the winemaking process - from growing grapes to harvesting, fermenting and bottling these top-quality wines. Here in the wine region the title of château can mean anything from a palatial residence to a basic winery. There are thousands of châteaux that rank from very modest family establishments to large famous properties where grapes are raised, fermented and then matured to produce the area’s famous wines. Visit Rue Ste. Cathérine - a half-mile-long pedestrian street leading through the Old Town’s major shopping area and marking the beginning of the elegant 18th-century city. - and Musée des Beaux Arts -- a museum with a large collection of 17th-century paintings by Flemish, Dutch and Italian masters as well as works by Delacroix.
Saint Malo is a prime tourist destination in Brittany. Visitors flock to Saint Malo to experience the unique "intra-muros" (meaning within the walls) streets of the old citadel. Visit Saint Vincent Cathedral, noted for its medieval and modern stained glass windows. The museum in Château de Saint Malo has exhibits illustrating the city's prosperous time during its heydays of piracy, colonialism and slave trading. The ramparts afford great views over the roof tops and harbor. Saint Malo also serves as a gateway for excursions to legendary Mont Saint Michel - with the Abbey of Mont Saint Michel and its ensemble of buildings soaring high above the sea. As amazing as the abbey itself are extraordinary tide variations that leave the mount to look out on stretches of bare sand at low tide, while the same expanse of land is submerged during high tide. South of Saint Malo is the medieval town of Dinan. Once totally surrounded by ramparts, 14 towers and a good part of the walls are still standing, encircling beautiful 15th-century timbered houses.
Lyon, the natural crossroads between northern Europe and the Mediterranean coast, is located in the heart of the Rhone-Alpes region. 2,000 years of history have left their mark on the city landscape. Lyon's rich heritage, passed down through the ages, tells the story of a great city. Lyon's rich historical heritage and its creative initiatives of all kinds find their expression in a multitude of establishments and prestigious events. The arts are represented in Lyon; from fine arts to performing arts, everyone will find their hearts' content. Every year finds sport increasing in popularity in Lyon. Lyon offers impressive facilities: some fifty sports fields and forty gymnasiums provide 550 clubs and associations with optimal training amenities. The City also knows how to make sport spectacular; every year it hosts events -like the Lyon Tennis Grand Prix and the Lyon Marathon - that draw top athletes. Though the mention of the word "Lyon" may conjure up images of fine dining, this is only the tip of the iceberg in a city proud of its diversity and quality image.
Dijon, a city in Romantic France, has numerous sights. Tour Philippe le Bon offers outstanding views. The Palace of Dukes of Burgundy now houses the Town Hall and Fine Arts Museum. Charming squares and streets lead past half-timbered houses and elegant mansions beneath church spires. Notre-Dame, the Gothic church dating from the 13th century, is a stone work of art with a unique facade of gargoyles and slender columns topped by the Jacquemart Clock which has struck each hour for townspeople since 1383. The Cathedral of Saint-Benigne has a crypt containing fascinating sculptures from around the year 1000. Near the cathedral are old churches of Saint Philibert and Saint Jean. The Archaeological Museum houses fascinating treasures. The Perrin de Puycousin Museum of Burgundian Life reconstructs the life of past Dijonnais and Burgundians, while the Museum of Sacred Art is housed in the former chapel. Dijon boasts parks and gardens, as well as the Port on Burgundy Canal where boats leave for cruises to the countryside.
Bayeux, one of Normandy's many great places, has retained its own history separate from the mystique of D-Day. Visit Bayeux's canal-laden downtown. Admire Bayeux Cathedral, a beautiful church modified to include a number of memorials from World War II. Most of Bayeux's war memorials are outside town. Other points of interest include museums dedicated to two very famous people: The museum of William the Conqueror contains Tapisserie - which depicts the region's history. The other museum is for Charles de Gaulle, who was the French leader during the German occupation. Outside town are two very significant war memorials - one of which is the Museum of the Battle of Normandy. Bayeux is within reach of a number of Normandy's other attraction, and has plenty of character of its own for those wishing to take a moment away from touring battlefields.
The Loire Valley is rich with meandering streams, majestic oaks, quiet roads, and lush green countryside. Its royal châteaux and pastoral villages grace its overwhelming natural beauty. Easy access from Paris, breathtaking architectural masterpieces, tiny discoveries hidden in the gentle folds of the landscape, accommodations from delightful to sumptuous, the excitement of great food and wine, and sports and leisure activities make this an ideal spot for an unforgettable holiday. Visitors can delight in picturesque cobblestone streets and take day tours to many points of interest just minutes from every major Loire Valley town. The patchwork fields, cool forests and lazy rivers of the Loire Valley invite active vacationers to walk, cycle, windsurf, sail and canoe in the gentle countryside. Visitors can drift leisurely over the châteaux and countryside in a hot air balloon or enjoy spectacular sights while floating along on a houseboat or barge.
From the elegant city of Cannes, home of the famous film festival, it's an easy drive to the other star attractions along the French Riviera. Enjoy the plunging cliffside scenery on one of the corniche roads to Monte Carlo. Or visit Antibes with its lush, bougainvillea-draped villas, or the medieval walled town of St. Paul de Vence.
Nimes may have been one of the richest and finest Roman cities of Gaul. Several important remains of the Roman Empire can still be seen in and around Nîmes. The elliptical Roman amphitheatre, of 1st or 2nd century AD, is the best-preserved Roman arena in France. It is used today as a bull fighting and concert arena. The Maison Carrée (Square House), a small Roman temple dedicated to sons of Agrippa, was built in 19 BC. and is one of the best-preserved Roman temples anywhere. Nearby Pont du Gard is a well-preserved aqueduct across the Gardon river valley. Nearby Mont Cavalier is crowned by Tour Magne ("Great Tower"), a ruined Roman tower. The cathedral (Saint Castor), which is partly Romanesque and Gothic in style, is believed to be the site of the temple of Augustus.
In the heart of the Pyrenees, Lourdes receives more than 5 million visitors from all over the world every year. Spirituality, whether belonging to history or legends, is part of the present through the depth and beauty of the sight, the marks of the past, the serenity of the Sanctuaries. Lourdes was just a small market town in 1858, when Bernadette Soubirous met, along the River Gave, the “Lady” that made the town a Marian city. Bernadette saw many more of these apparitions. Many now come on religious pilgrimages. Today Lourdes has the second greatest number of hotels in France with 270 establishments. Its geographical position, at the foot of the mountains, makes it an ideal starting-point of excursions to the Pyrenees. The Fortified Castle rises at the middle of the city, leaning on the escarpment. Visit the Sanctuaries, Fortified Castle, Pyrenan Museum and more while visiting Lourdes.