Whenever we think of France, the first name that comes into our minds is its capital, Paris (courtesy: Bollywood). Undoubtedly, Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world but there are some other less popular cities in France which are equally pretty and scenic and some are even more beautiful than Paris itself!! Here is a list of cities you must definitely visit when in France.
One of the Europe’s ancient cities and France’s second largest city, Marseille serves as a major Mediterranean seaport located off the south east coast of France. The city has a pleasant Mediterranean climate, ancient roman architectural ruins, medieval landscapes and intriguing cultural venues. It is also a modern, busy metropolis with several academic institutions and industries. At the core of the city is an old port, surrounded by two historic forts. This thriving harbor is alive with water from cafes, shops and bars. One of the unique features of Marseille’s best natural attractions is the Clanques. Clanques is a series of small inlets with turquoise blue water and magnificent limestone cliffs.
Located in the east-central region of France, Lyon is the capital city of the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Region and is celebrated as the food capital of not only France but world. The city proudly features 2000 years old history of Roman Empire in fusion with medieval and renaissance architecture in Vieux (old Lyon). For this reason Lyon is a UNESCO world heritage site.
One of the best things about Lyon is the Bouchon. It is a localized restaurant which serves traditional lyonnaise cuisine such as meat sausages, duck pate or roasted pork. Thus, if you are a big foodie and want to experience scenic views having delicious food, then Lyon is the best place to visit in France.
Situated right on the border of France and Germany, it is the capital city of the Grand Est region, formerly Alsace, in northeastern part of France. The city reserves a seat in the European parliament and numerous other important European institutions such as the European court of human rights and the council of Europe. It is a living historic wonder and it’s the sheer grandeur of the place which makes Strasbourg one of the best places to visit in France. Here, you’ll find the blend of both French and German architecture. Visitors can find many museums, shops, cafes and striking attractions such as the age old gothic cathedral which features complex carvings and a 300 year old astronomical working clock.
Once the home of Genius artist, Vincent van Gogh, Arles is the city where you can find remote tranquility and peace. The city’s most famous attraction is the majestic remains of the sophisticated roman architecture. This includes the all-time famous roman amphitheater. This humungous arena now serves as the venue for bull fights, festivals and other special events.
A few other important roman structures are the classical theater and Les Alyscamps. Other than the historical landmarks you can also go for shopping at the open air market where you can savor the delicious street food of Arles.
Just a few miles away from Spain, Biarritz is a tranquil yet elegant sea-side town located on southwestern France’s Basque coast. The town is praised for its lovely beaches which offer excellent swimming and world class surfing experience. The town is known as the major surfing hub and has plenty of surfing schools who are willing to teach to trick to ride the wave.
The main beach, Grande Plage, gets very crowded in summers but there is a long surfers’ beach on the boulevard which is equally good for water sports or just chilling on the golden sand and sipping your favorite Mediterranean drink.
Along the central bay of the town’s notable rock formation, the rock of the virgin which is connected to the mainland via an old iron bridge is a buzzing tourist place which provides picturesque view of the Bay of Biscay. If you are looking to have the best surfing experience in France, then Biarritz is the right place for you.
These five cities are some the best but yet underrated cities in France which will give you a holistic travel experience in terms of everything a major travel destination has to offer. Therefore, do make sure to visit these places and make the best out of you trip to France. Bon Voyage!!