What to Do in France: 5 Tips to Help You Skip the Lines & See the Sights

Confused about what to do in France? Here’s a super helpful guide to help you avoid the crowds of France and make the most of your trip!
Eiffel Tower

So here you are booking the French vacation of lifetime, but you have no idea where to start.

You want to fill your itinerary with experiences you’ll never forget, of course. But you’re not sure what to do in France!

Luckily for you, you’ve come to the right place.

Check out this helpful guide that’ll have you navigating through the country like a pro!

The Must-See List:

1. Paris

If you’re planning on visiting France, it’s almost a guarantee that you will spend some time in Paris. This also means you’ll be spending time standing in line waiting to see some important attractions unless you plan ahead and be strategic about your visit.

Your best bet for seeing most of the sites is to arrive at your destination early, before opening, and join in with the early morning crowd. There might already be a line forming, but since you’ll be there so early there should only be a short queue.

When attending the Louvre, avoid the entrance at the glass pyramid and head over to the Carrousel du Louvre or Porte des Lions for an easy access points and avoid the crowds. A visit to the Eiffel Tower is also a must, so bypass the crowd getting on the elevator at the base and climb the steps to the first level, then get on the elevator from there.

Another great tip is to pre-book your tickets online to avoid the lines for these Paris attractions, plus the Palace of Versailles and another can’t miss historic site, the Catacombs.

2. Lyon

Lyon, France is one of the largest renaissance era cities in all of Europe. The region was known for it’s thriving silk industry between the 15th and 17th centuries and was home to many well-to-do merchant families.

This is the perfect city to get away from the large crowds and there are many things to do if you love history and architecture. The Traboules, renaissance era passageways below the city, are unique to Lyon. They were constructed to give silk workers access to the riverbank with the textiles while protecting them from theft or the elements.

The Fourviere Basilica was constructed in the late 19th century on a hill-top and is in the oldest part of the city. This pilgrimage site is a must-see for its splendid architecture and magnificent interior. For a great view of the city, head to the top of the north tower and be sure to bring your camera.

There are also many ancient Roman sites of interest to see during your trip, such as the Ancient Theatre of Fourviere. This ancient theatre is roughly 2,000 years old and was built to entertain around 10,000 people but only the middle and lower sections still remain.

Artifacts from the Ancient Theatre of Fourviere, as well as from other ancient Roman sites around Lyon, can be viewed at the Gallo-Roman Museum of Lyon-Fourviere. There are many exhibits to see including the Lyon Tablet which is a transcription of the speech made in the 1st century by the Roman Emperor Claudius.

3. St. Tropez

Located along the French Riviera, St. Tropez was a military stronghold and fishing village and was the first town along that coast to be liberated during World War II. Afterward, it became popular for artists and musicians and became a popular seaside resort.

This is a beautiful place to slow down and take a stroll along the French Riviera while getting a chance to view the picturesque architecture along the waterway or head to the Plage de Pampelonne for a dip in the Mediterranean waters. This is also a popular place to rub elbows with the rich and famous while hanging out at one of the many beach clubs located along the shore.

There are some stunning historical sites to see as well in St. Tropez, such as the Chapelle Saint-Anne which was finished being built in 1618 and is located in a picturesque location on Mont Pecoulet. No visit would be complete without a visit to the Citadelle de Saint-Tropez, a fortress built to defend France during the early 17th century and now is the location of the Maritime Museum, perfect for anyone interested in historical accounts from officers and sailors as well as antique globes, maps, and cannons.

4. Annecy

Annecy is located in the French Alps and is practically out of a storybook. It is located near a peaceful lake, with white swans that swim along the canals of the Thiou River, and is surrounded by snowcapped mountains. You will want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city so that you can take your time wandering these cobblestone streets and taking in all of the quaint medieval architecture.

While in Annecy, there are two medieval churches, the Church of Saint-Maurice, built in the 15th century, and the Cathedral of Saint-Pierre, built in the 16th century, that is a must-see. Located along the Thiou River is the Palais de l’Isle, originally a prison and now houses a collection of exhibits about the local architecture.

Of course, while you are in the French Alps you have to spend some time hitting the slopes and enjoy some skiing. There are several different resorts located just outside of Annecy so be sure to plan some time at one of the local ski resorts.

5. Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a fortified city located towards the south of France. The walls have protected the city for centuries and these days it has become a popular location for tourists to wander around the dreamlike passageways and meandering alleys.

The double line of fortifications surrounding the city is great to walk along and see the battlements as well as learning how the walls were built in the 15th century and then later restored in the 1800s. The Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus will stun you with its romanesque and gothic architecture, stained glass windows and stonework.

Start your day at Carcassonne early to avoid the crowds and enjoy the restaurants before the usual lunch crowds, then head down to the lower part of the city for some shopping and other French amenities.

Learn More About What to Do in France Today!

There is so much to do and see during your visit and hopefully this shortlist of what to do in France will help get you started planning your next adventure. So pack your bags, grab your passport, and get ready for a trip of a lifetime!




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