France Bucket List: 27 Best Things to do in France (2023)

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If France is your dream destination, you need this France bucket list to plan your trip!

France is a country of wine, romance, incredible monuments, and nature; it’s no wonder it’s one of the most visited countries in the world. 

Since France is one of the largest countries in Europe, you need a good plan to know what to see in France. From beaches in the south through vineyards in central France to Effiel Tower in Paris, you’re in for a treat!

If you’re ready to discover France, let’s jump right in!

Spend an afternoon strolling the grounds of Versailles

People walking around in front of a ig red brick palace.

The Palace of Versailles is one of the most impressive castles in Europe, and that says a lot since Europe is the continent of Castles. Today, you can stroll some of the most beautiful rooms of over 2300 throughout the castle and imagine what it was like to live in such a luxurious estate!

See the D-Day beaches in Normandy 

If you’re a history lover, you must visit the D-Day beaches in Normandy. When you see these endless sandy beaches, you might find it hard to believe they had a crucial role in World War II.

The best time to visit would be the 6th of June, the anniversary of D-Day, when many memorial activities are held to mark the occasion.

Take a day tour to Champagne

Four cups of wine on a table.

Champagne is basically a synonym for bubbly wine, so a visit to the Champagne region where it originated from is one of the must do things in France. 

The best way to visit is on a road trip or by joining a Champagne tour, where you’ll visit world-renowned wineries like Moët & Chandon.

Step back in time at the Reims Cathedral

Reims Cathedral is one of the most impressive roman catholic churches in France. The construction of this majestic cathedral started in the 13th century, and it took more than 100 years to finish!

The Cathedral is recognized by UNESCO as one of the most impressive pieces of gothic architecture in Europe.

Watch the Eiffel Tower light up at night

eiffel tower lit up at night

Seeing the Eiffel tower is on everybody’s French bucket list. However, you can make the experience even more special if you visit once the sun goes down. Remember to set an alarm for a full hour, as the Tower only sparkles for 5 minutes every full hour from dusk until 11:45 pm.

There are many great spots to take Eiffel Tower photos.

Marvel at Mont-Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel is a tidal island, meaning that it becomes an island when the tides are high. The walled island with an abbey on the top of the hill makes it one of the most fairytale-like places in France.

It is a UNESCO Heritage site, and you’ll feel like you stepped back in time as you stroll the cobblestone streets of this unique island. 

Hike & Explore Calanques National Park

Boats floating in the ocean near a rocky cliff.

Just outside the bustling city of Marseilles, you’ll find one of the most peaceful places along the Côte d’Azur.  In Calanques National Park, you’ll get to hike to three hidden coves with crystal-clear water. 

Make sure to bring enough water and wear proper footwear, as the descent to the third cove can get tricky!


Where should you travel next?

Road trip the Wine Route in Alsace

France is the country of wine! A road trip down France’s oldest wine route is one of the best things to do in France. The Alsace wine route takes you along winding, narrow roads through the vineyards of Alsace and hilltop villages, where you can relax and enjoy a glass of local wine. 

Enjoy a French macaron 

hands holding a strawberry and chocolate macaroon

If you are a desert lover, trying french macaroons should be on your France bucket list. This delectable, crunchy dessert is quintessentially french. The best place to try macaroons is the Ladurée, the original creators of macaroons.

Relax on the beaches in Cannes

Boats in the water by a seaside town.

The French Riviera or Côte d’Azur is where all the French people want to spend their summer. Relaxing on a beach in Cannes is the perfect way to spend your holiday. Plan your trip around Cannes Film Festival for a chance to see celebrities strolling the streets of Cannes.

Attend the Strasbourg Christmas Market

A square with a Christmas tree lit up.

Strasbourg is the self-proclaimed capital of Christmas, and they take that role very seriously! Every year, as December rolls around, the whole city transforms into a Christmas fairytale.

Everywhere you look, you’ll see decorated, half-timbered houses. The city will make you feel like you were accidentally transported into Santa’s village.

Visit the Notre Dame

Historic cathedral under construction.

Unfortunately, since the devastating fire in 2019, it isn’t possible to visit the interior of the majestic Notre Dame Cathedral. However, you can still stroll around and admire it from the outside as the renovations are happening. Hopefully, it will reopen to the public again in 2024!

Vacation in St Tropez

St Tropez is basically a synonym for an upscale summer holiday, and it should be on your France bucket list for summer. 

This coastal town has attracted “jet-setters” since the 1960s! If you want to see where French and global celebrities spend their summers and enjoy nightlife and beach parties, head straight to St Tropez.

Explore Monet’s Garden

Serene lake surrounded by greenery.

A visit to Monet’s Garden is one of the unique things to do in France, as not many people know about the serene house and park where Claude Monet used to live. If you are an art lover, you’ll want to see the blossoming garden that inspired many of his most prominent art pieces. 

Visit a perfume factory

Contrary to the popular belief, the French didn’t invent perfumes. However, they made it an integral part of their culture, and some of the most well-known perfumes today are from french perfume houses. 

While there are many perfume factories in France, the historic factory in Grasse is the one where you can learn all about the art of perfume making. 

Go to a French cooking class

French cuisine is often named one of the best cuisines in the world, and you can learn how to prepare food like French too! While French cuisine doesn’t rely as much on spices as in some other popular cuisines, they manage to bring out the best of the dish by using fresh, locally grown vegetables. 

Explore the town of Chamonix

Wintery town at night with a river running through it.

Located in the mountains near the junction of France, Switzerland, and Italy, Chamonix is a winter resort town known as the mountain capital of the world. It is the place to go for everything winter sports-related, from skiing to snowboarding.

At the same time, it is lovely to visit in summer to enjoy hiking.

Ski or snowboard in the French Alps

France is home to some of the best ski resorts in Europe, and most are in the Alps. If you are a winter sports lover, plan at least a couple of days skiing down picturesque slopes.

Take in the View from the Sacre Coeur Basilica

View of a historic city from above as people walk in the foreground.

Paris is the most romantic city in the world, but even the most romantic city needs to have the most romantic spot. In Paris, that is Montmartre with its Sacre Coeur Basilica.

The steps in front of the Basilica are the best place to watch the sunset over Paris. It is also a lovely spot to observe the city at any time of the day. 

Attend a Bastille Day parade

Bastille Day takes place on the 14th of July, and it is known as the French National Day. A large military parade takes place along Champs-Élysées from the Arc de Triomphe to Place de la Concord and lasts an hour. It is a fun event to witness if you’re in Paris!

Visit the castles in Loire Valley

White castle reflecting on a lake.

 Loire Valley region is listed as a UNESCO heritage site, and it is the place to go if you want to see the most french castles in one place. The region is home to picturesque vineyards, and you can taste wines in a castle directly from the producers.

Snap a photo at Etretat

The Northern Coast of France is where you’ll find some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the country. So, a visit to the stunning Etretat cliffs should be on your France bucket list. These tall cliffs lining the coast are one of the most unique spots to visit in France.

Take the cable car up Aiguille du Midi

Red cable car in the mountains.

If you’re looking for unique things to do in France, how about taking a cable car to Aiguille du Midi? Thanks to the panoramic cable car connecting the town of Chamonix and the 3,842-m high mountain top, you don’t need to be an experienced hiker to cross this one off of your French bucket list!

See the Provence lavender fields

Purple lavender fields at sunset.

Endless fields of purple lavender flowers in Provance are worth the trip to the South of France. The best time to enjoy these purple fields is from June to July, when most of the region’s lavender will be flowering.

Spend a day at Disneyland Paris

A visit to Disneyland Paris is one of the top France bucket list items! You don’t need to travel with kids to enjoy Disneyland and take a photo in front of its recognizable pink castle. Plan to spend an entire day at this theme park, as there are numerous rides to try and Disney characters to meet!

Dine at a French Cafe

Enjoying a meal on a terrace of a typical French cafe is one of the must do things in France. You’ll see that terraces are always busy for after-work apéro. The meal usually consists of cheese, sausages, bread, or other light food you can snack on while talking to your friends about your day. 

Click here to learn about cafes in Paris!

Kayak in Gorges du Verdon

People boating on a bright green body of water.

Gorges du Verdon looks like it belongs somewhere in SE Asia. It is out of this world beautiful, with crystal clear water, and the best way to explore it is on a kayak tour.

Now that you know what to see in France, where are you going first? Your France bucket list must be long with all the amazing experiences in France!

Admire the Eiffel Tower, or discover fairytale-like villages along the Alsace wine route. From skiing in world-class resorts to swimming in crystal clear sea, there is something in France for every type of traveler!

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