There's so much to do in France compiling a list of top things to do is difficult. From outdoor activities, to historic monuments, to great wine and food in France, Paris is a historic and cultural center, with hundreds of top things to do and see. Normandy is a picturesque coastline, with the solemn D-Day beaches. Versailles was the political center of Paris for over a century. The French Riviera has some of the best beaches in the world. These are just a sprinkling of all the wonders France holds.
Climb the Eiffel Tower
Ascend the Eiffel Tower for spectacular views of Paris. At over 1,000 feet, the massive structure has two restaurants, a souvenir shop, viewing area, and more. Return at night with a bottle of Merlot and lie in the grass at the Champs de mars, gazing up at the spectacular light display. The Eiffel Tower faced early criticism, especially from the artistic community of Paris, calling the structure a "truly tragic street lamp." The critics were slowly silenced as 2 million visitors ascended the tower in 1889.
Experience art at the Louvre
The Louvre, Paris" world famous museum, was built in the 12th century, and is divided into eight collections. The Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, also called the Mona Lisa, is on display (First Floor/denon/room 13), behind a glass case, roped stanchions, and a throng of museumgoers. Stop by for a look, and then head off to another section to become engulfed in the 35,000 pieces of art on display at the Louvre.
Visit the Palace at Versailles
Located 13 miles southwest of Paris, Versailles was the political capital of France for over a century. Now, a popular tourist destination, visitors come to see the lavish palace, the abundant gardens, and the surrounding sights. Louis XIV built the Chateau de Versailles in the 17th century. No luxury or extravagance was spared. Every corner, ceiling, and wall is detailed with carvings, woodwork, marble, or another exquisite covering. Versailles makes an outstanding side trip from Paris.
Climb the bell tower at the Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame Cathedral is an impressive marvel of medieval architecture. Started in 1163 and completed in 1330, Notre Dame Cathedral has a striking gothic exterior, two broad towers, and plenty of sweeping arches. From the front, the arches above the three entryways, feature stone carvings of royal persona. Inside a 7800-pipe organ and a magnificent rose window from the 13th century, as well as carvings, statues, and saints. Climb the towers and see stone gargoyles, as well as a spectacular view of Paris. The south tower holds the great bell of Notre Dame, as tolled by Victor Hugo"s fictional hunchback.
Ride the Matterhorn at Disneyland Paris
Okay, they don't actually have a matterhorn, but Disneyland Paris is a full-featured vacation paradise with Disneyland Park, Walt Disney Studios, fantastic rides, a golf course, hotels, and the magic of Disneyland. With areas like Fronteirland, Fantasyland, and Adventureland, every member of the family is bound to find something to enjoy.
Attend an A-list Party on the French Rivera
The French Rivera, known in France as the Cote dAzur, is a great destination for a holiday. It has a plethora of jet set towns including Nice, Cannes, and Saint Tropez. France Riviera beaches are known throughout Europe as the hottest and most glamorous places to tan, and as the sun goes down, the Cote dAzur is known for wild all night parties. The coastline features stunning cliffs and sweeping beaches.
Amble through Normandy
Normandy is a historic and picturesque region, with stunning architecture, sweeping sea vistas, and rolling green fields dotted with farmhouse and cows. Famous for the D-Day landings of June 1944, Normandy France is home to a large history of invasions and battles, dating back to the Vikings in the 9th century. Rouen is an ancient town with superb medieval buildings and museums. Nineteen-year-old Joan of Arc was burned here in 1431. Honfleur is a fishing port with excellent seafood. Hollywood likes to vacation in Deauville, and Monet frequently painted the flower fields. Lastly, don"t miss the beautiful seascape at Mont-St-Michel bay.
Walk through the Arc de Triomphe in Paris
Commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to honor the French military, Parisians refer to the Arc de Triomphe as L'Etoile, and revere it as a patriotic symbol of France's history. Located in the center of the world"s largest traffic roundabout, the Arc de Triomphe towers 164 feet above the ground. Visitors may climb to the top for an outstanding view of Pairs, and the 12 streets radiating from the roundabout. There's also a museum inside, detailing the history of the monument. The Arc de Triomphe has served as a symbol of victory for France, as well as for the Germans and the Allies, both of which have marched through the arch after victories as they enter Paris.
Ski, Snowboard, Hike, and Bike in the French Alps
Inspiring craggy peaks and snowcapped mountains rise up from the French Alps, which are popular year round. There are fantastic opportunities for skiers and snowboarders in the winter, with over 200 resorts. Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Europe, is in the Alps. In the summer, hiking, as well as rafting, mountain biking, and canoeing are popular and there are three national parks and four regional parks within the Alps.
Tour Wine Country in Bordeaux
Bordeaux is famed throughout the world for its wine and countryside vineyards. Rent a car and drive north to the vineyards and find out why Bordeaux wine is some of the best in the world. For some exotic relaxation, take a red wine bath at the Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa, which is also a hotel and vineyard. For an education in wine, the Ecole du Vin offers lessons about wine in English. At the end of June Bordeaux France has a 4 day wine festival.