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Places in France: decide where to visit

Almost every region in France has something interesting to discover - quiet villages, stunning scenery, historical buildings lost in the countryside, beaches...so before rushing to visit the most popular regions why not think about somewhere else for a change? You can avoid the crowds and still have a great time discovering the 'real' France!

Our France regional travel guides feature hundreds of the most scenic, interesting and picturesque places to visit in all parts of France to help you better plan your visit.

The most popular French regions with visitors include Brittany, the Dordogne and the Cote d'Azur (along with the rest of Provence), and of course and many tourists like to visit Paris.

Plan your visit

Explore Places in France

Select here from the 1000's of places we have reviewed

To help you better plan which part of the country you would like to visit there are several ways below to start exploring:

  • choose one of the regions below
  • select a place in the dropdown box
  • see the brief summary of each region further down
  • visit our French travel ideas...or simply browse the regions to explore further.

 

We do suggest you register with francethisway to create a personal travel plan so that you can store and remember all your ideas and plans in one place for easy reference - see trip planner

 

Explore the regions of France

Forgotten your French geography? See further down for a map of the regions

 

 

Summary of the regions of France

map of the regions of France

France This Way has a simple goal - to introduce the most picturesque, the most scenic, and the most interesting places to visit in France.

To start to explore simply choose a French region or place above or on the map of France further down, then visit the travel guide for that region. Each regional travel guide has its own detailed map to help you see locate and learn more about the places in France that interest you.

The regional information includes the best towns in France, favourite and famous places to visit in France, the most beautiful villages, the French heritage sites and historic monuments in France, the bastide towns of the south-west....and much more

Alsace

Alsace is found in eastern France, on the border with Germany to the east, and Switzerland to the south. The Lorraine region of France lies to the west of Alsace.  It is the smallest region in France, and lies between the Vosges mountains and the Rhine.  Strasbourg is the capital if this heavily forested region, and the climate is almost 'continental' - hot summers and dry, cold winters...

see Alsace Travel Guide to visit the Alsace.

 

Aquitaine and the Dordogne

Aquitaine is found in the south-west corner of France. It reaches Spain at its southern frontier, and the Atlantic Ocean runs along the western edge of the region. The extended Midi-Pyrenees region is found to the east. For visitors the region falls into two distinct regions - the coasts and forest along the western edge, and the Dordogne region further inland. Major cities in the region include Bordeaux, Biarritz and Perigueux....

see Aquitaine Travel Guide to visit Aquitaine and Dordogne Travel Guide for places to visit in the Dordogne region of France

 

Auvergne

The Auvergne is part of the central (non-coastal) part of France, in the centre of the Massif Central. It is largely an isolated region of mountains, and dramatically rugged countryside and rocky gorges. Clermont-Ferrand is the capital of the region...

see Auvergne Travel Guide to visit Auvergne.

 

Brittany

Brittany is found in the north-west of France, a large promontory jutting out into the Atlantic ocean. The English channel is to the north, and the Bay of Biscay to the south. The capital of the region is Rennes...

see Brittany Travel Guide and Brittany seaside and coast to visit Brittany.

 

Burgundy

Burgundy (Bourgogne) is found in the center of France, just north-east of the geographical center and south east of Paris. Historically, and still now, it is one of the richer parts of France, and has been since hundreds of years ago, when the Burgundians sided with the English during the Hundred Years War. Dijon is the capital of the region...

see Burgundy travel guide to visit Burgundy.

 

Centre

The Centre region is found in northern-central France. It is a department name little known (and little loved), but containing one of the most popular regions of France for visitors - the Loire Valley. It is here that many of the most famous chateaux of France are to be found. The capital of the region is Orléans...

see Loire Valley Travel Guide

 

Champagne-Ardenne

Champagne-Ardennes is found to the north-east of France, where it's north-eastern frontier borders Belgium. The capital of the region is Chalons-en-Champagne...

see Champagne Travel Guide to visit Champagne.

 

Corsica

Corsica is an island off the south-east of France, with perfect coastlines and a dramatically mountainous interior. Corsica has 1,000km of coastline and more than 200 beaches - reputedly the best beaches to be found anywhere on the Mediterranean. Perfect weather, and perfect beaches, sand and water. Perhaps the best beaches are at the south of the island, but there are beautiful beaches all over...

see Corsica Travel Guide to visit Corsica.

 

Franche-Comte

Franche-Comte is found to the east of France - the region borders onto Switzerland. As you head towards the east of the region you start to leave the rolling countryside and smaller peaks of the Jura mountains, cross the high plateaux, and enter the Alps 'proper'  Much of the countryside is an unspoiled mix of forests and open country, interspersed with lakes and rivers...

see Franche-Comte travel guide

 

Languedoc-Roussillon

Languedoc-Roussillon is found on the southern edge of France, on the Mediterranean coast. It reaches Spain at its southernmost border. It acts perhaps as poor relation to Provence, further to the east. But unfairly, because it has its own share of dramatic landscapes, divided by dramatic gorges, and plenty of great medieval architecture...

see Languedoc Travel Guide to visit Languedoc (the part of Languedoc to the north is covered by the Massif Central travel guide

 

Limousin

Limousin is found in the centre of France, around the town of Limoges. It is high - much of the region is at an altitude of more than 350 metres - and is mostly hills covered with woodland. The climate is not especially inviting - rain is frequent, and winters are very cold, so it is not (yet) usually on the tourist circuit. An area to discover!...

see Limousin Travel Guide to visit Limousin.

 

Lorraine

Lorraine is a 'frontier department' in north-east France that shares borders with three European countries - Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. The department has the unenviable distinction of being the main invasion route for France, and many a hostile invasion has crossed the region in the last 1200 years...

see Lorraine Travel Guide to visit Lorraine.

 

Normandy

Lower Normandy is on the coast of north-west France, where it faces the English Channel. It is a common arrival point for visitors from the UK (ferries arrive at Cherbourg and Caen). Caen is also the capital of the region. It is also a very popular destination...

see Normandy Travel Guide to visit Normandy

 

Midi-Pyrenees

The Pyrenees are found along the border between France and Spain, and the Midi-Pyrenees region covers the middle section of the area. The Midi-Pyrenees region also spreads north into areas that are quite remote from the Pyrenees mountains themselves eg Rocamadour in the Lot Department, just east of the Dordogne ie the 'Midi' region. See Midi-Pyrenees Travel Guide

 

North Calais

There is one large attraction in the Calais region - the battlefields and cemeteries of the WWI battles. Between Amiens and Lille, the Somme battlefields are still a major pilgrimage destination, and some of the Somme trenches are kept intact to help the visitor better understand the battles and conditions that were faced...

see Calais Travel Guide

 

Provence

This region covers the south-east corner of France. It is perhaps the most visited and most loved region of France, and includes beautiful Mediterranean coastline, medieval villages clustered among the olive groves in sun-baked countryside, and mountainous regions...

see Provence Travel Guide to visit Provence or Cote d'Azur travel guide for the coastal region

 

Paris / Ile de France

Île-de-France is the most populated region of France, and includes Paris - it is often referred to as the Paris region. Many of the most famous places in France are found in Paris, and everyone who visits falls in love with the capital of France, as much for its shady boulevards, street side cafes and general atmosphere as for the famous sites...

see Paris Travel Guide

 

Pays de la Loire

Pays de la Loire is found between southern Brittany and northern Poitou Charentes, on the western side of France. Often you will be in this region, when you think you are in the Loire Valley or Brittany so see also those areas. Note that Nantes, formerly the capital of Brittany, is in this region...

see Loire Travel Guide

 

Picardy

Picardy is a large flat area of open fields, with a fame arising from the WWI Battle of the Somme in the north of the region...

see Picardy Travel Guide

 

Poitou-Charentes

Poitou-Charentes is found half way up the western side of France, fronting the Atlantic Ocean / bay of Biscay. The capital of the region is Poitiers. The coastal region is said to be the second sunniest region of France (after Provence)...

see Poitou-Charentes Travel Guide to visit Poitou-Charentes.

 

Rhone Alps

Rhône-Alpes is found in the south-east of France, where it borders Italy and Switzerland to the east, Provence to the south, and Burgundy to the north. It is a wild and very beautiful part of France...

see Rhone-Alps Travel Guide

 

How to use this guide

There are hundreds of pages of information about France and places in France in this section, and various ways to access them:

1) Select a region to see various information about many of the places to visit in France. These include for each region the villages that have received the accolade 'most beautiful villages in France', the sites listed as world heritage sites by UNESCO, and many of the other places and highlights.

2) If you know what department you want to visit, but not which region it falls in (eg Dordogne is a department, not a region), see the departments of France which lists the departments and shows which region they fall in.

3) If you know the name of a place in France you want to visit, but not the department or region it falls in, use the index! (see bottom of each page) - to find it within the site as a whole.

4) for a complete searchable index of all 36,000 places in France see French communes

Please do spend some time exploring the different places in France in this section - there are more than 1000 towns, castles and villages listed, and much more, most with photos.

Somewhere we've missed? Let us know, so that our France Travel Guide is as complete as possible!