The City of Love and The City of Lights are the nicknames of this country. The French are known for their joie de vivre, which is an exuberant enjoyment of life. With its geographical diversity, many famous landmarks in France are worth exploring.
In this post, we explore the famous landmarks in France, some famous landmarks in Paris, France’s national dish, and if France is worth visiting.
- Where is France?
- What are the four famous landmarks in France?
- Where are the three landmarks in Paris?
- Does France have a national dish?
- Is France worth visiting?
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- Where is France?
- What are the four famous landmarks in France?
- Where are the three landmarks in Paris?
- Does France have a national dish?
- Is France worth visiting?
Where is France?
French Republic, French France, or République Française are some of the names of this nation we know as France. The nation has several overseas territories: French Guiana, Guadeloupe, and Martinique, and several islands in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans.
France is one of the largest countries in Western Europe in terms of land size and the oldest country in Europe. For example, from the Renaissance to the industrialization of the 20th century, there has been a continuous migration of the population towards urban areas.
What are 3 interesting facts about France?
There are more than three interesting facts about France. Read on to know what the top 3 interesting facts about France are.
- The Tour de France bicycle race is more than 100 years old. The first race began in 1903 and has never skipped a year.
- There are more than 400 types of cheese in France. The French are the highest consumers of cheese as they eat them daily. You can learn about wine and cheese pairing in this lunch in Paris.
- In 2016, France became the first country to ban supermarkets from throwing away unused food. This law has not only improved the quantity of food donated to food banks, but it has also improved the quality of donated food.
Check out the 20 Facts About France and 21 Interesting Facts About France to know more.
Which popular historical figures were French?
King Louis XIV, Napoleon Bonaparte, Joan of Arc, Marie Antoinette are some of the familiar names in history. King Louis or Louis the Great reigned for 72 years and 110 days. His reign is the longest recorded monarch in history.
Read about Famous French People You Should Know: An A-Z List, the 10 Women Who Changed French History, and Famous People from France to know more.
Origins of Name
The earliest known name of France was Gaul which was given by the Romans to define the territories where Celtic Gauls lived. These territories in present times are France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy.
The Gauls were unique in that they were not a homogenous group of people, rather, they were a mixed group with varying religions and beliefs.
With the fall of the Roman Empire, the warring tribes of Franks, Vandals, and Visigoths began fighting for power. In the end, the Franks won. Under the leadership of King Clovis, the unified country was known as the ‘Land of the Franks’, and the Latin name Francia was given.
Check out The Real Story of How France Got Its Name and When Did France Become France.
France’s history dates to pre-historic times where stone tools were found in Southern France. These stone tools were carbon-dated to 1.57 million years ago. However, no pre-historic human remains were ever found. However, an ancient volcanic lava flow has kept the remains of well-preserved mammals intact.
The Carnac Stones and the Lascaux Cave Paintings are two remarkable prehistoric sites, each with its own stories.
The stones are a Roman army turned to stone by Merlin who was a wizard in King Arthur’s court, if local legends are to be believed. Another legend mentions that these stones were a religious site used by the Druids, for ceremonial purposes.
From 1st BC onwards, the Romans and Carthaginians established colonies throughout Gaul (France). The Romans annexed Southern Gaul and renamed it Gallia Narbonensis Province.
The remaining territories of Gaul were conquered by Julius Caesar during the Gallic Wars of 58-51 BC. By 486, King Clovis I had united the Northern and Central Gaul under his rule.
Does France have Independence Day?
France’s Independence Day is 14th July 1789 and is known as Bastille Day. It is remembered as a day when the people stormed the Bastille which was a prison at that time. In 1790, on this day, the Bastille was demolished. On that day, Parisians and officials celebrated the Fête de la Fédération (“The Feast of The Federation“), a short-lived constitutional monarchy.
This day also marks the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. Read Bastille Day Honors The Rebellion That Sparked The French Revolution, The Best Things To Do In Bastille, and 11 Remnants Of The Bastille You Can Still See Today to know more.
Why is France The Fifth Republic?
The Fifth Republic emerged after the collapse of the Fourth Republic. Here, a semi-presidential system replaces the Parliament and the executive powers are split between the prime minister and the president.
The Fifth Republic began in 1958 after Charles de Gaulle returned to power to stop an attempted coup. Read Why France Is In Its Fifth Republic and France: The Fifth Republic? to know more.
The official visa website for visas to France is France-Visas. A Visa Wizard guides in determining if you need a visa, the necessary supporting documents, and the fees involved in the visa process.
A Tourist Visa allows you to stay in France for stays of less than 3 months. A Tourist Visa can not engage in any professional activity during the 3 months stay in France.
France is part of the Schengen Area which refers to the European Union passport-free zone that allows freedom of travel for tourism and business purposes. If you are planning to visit any other country in this area, it is best to apply for a Uniform Schengen Visa.
This visa allows visa holders to either transit or reside for a maximum of 90 days every six months beginning from the date of entry. To know if you require a visa to visit France, check out the application requirements, fees, and guidelines depending on your purpose of entry.
Do note that not all foreign nationals require a Schengen Visa to enter France. Some countries are eligible for a Visa Waiver.
European Travel Information and Authorization System
The European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) is an electronic authorization that allows for visa-free travel within European Union and the Schengen Area.
This system will begin in 2021. The map determines whether you require an ETIAS before entry into the Schengen Area.
For example, a Malaysian citizen traveling to France would need a Schengen Visa if the stays are more than 90 days. To know more about ETIAS and how it affects travel, check out ETIAS Visa Application Explained.
What are the four famous landmarks in France?
With 41 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, visiting these places isn’t an easy task. We have listed the top four famous landmarks in France that are worth visiting.
Read the 10 Best UNESCO World Heritage Sites In France and the Best UNESCO World Heritage Sites In France to know more.
In this post, we explore the Top 5 Famous Landmarks in France that are worth visiting. Check out the map below for specific locations of these landmarks.
Mont St Michel
The first of our famous landmarks in France is Mont St Michel. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is beautiful as it is spiritual. Mont St Michel is the ‘Wonder of the West’ as it sits on a tidal island off the coasts of Normandy and Britanny.
The Benedictine Abbey dedicated to Archangel St Michael is at the center of this rocky islet. The Bishop of Avranches built a monastery here. He had apparently received a direct command from Archangel Michael on three separate occasions to build a monastery there.
On 21st March 2015, a rare “super tide” turned this rocky islet into an island. This event happens once in 18 years. The four-story-high tide cut off the abbey which delighted tourists who had flocked the abbey in anticipation of the event.
What is Mont Saint Michel famous for?
This place has a colorful history, from being a military stronghold to a pilgrimage site. Access to the island is free. However, there is an entrance fee to enter the abbey and museums on the island.
You can opt for a family-friendly private tour or take the guided walking tour with the optional abbey ticket where you can explore the village of St Michel, walk the narrow cobblestone streets, and enjoy a guided tour of the Abbey at your own pace.
How far is Mont Saint Michel from Paris?
Mont St Michel is 362 km (225 miles) from Paris which is an approximate 4-hour drive. There are several options to get there which are through a guided tour, self-drive, or take the public transportation of either a bus or train.
From Paris, you can either take the Full Day Mont St Michel Tour, a 2 day Mont St Michel, and Loire Valley Tour, or a Day Trip to Mont St Michel.
How much time do you need at Mont Saint Michel?
As the journey from Paris takes about 4 hours, it is best to spend two days at Mont St Michel. This gives you time to explore the abbey and its surrounding at your own pace. You can even stay for sunset.
Check out 8 Things To Know Before You Visit Mont St Michel, How To Visit Mont St Michel, and the Top 5 Restaurants in Le Mont St Michel to dine in.
Pont Du Gard
The second of our famous landmarks in France is Pont du Gard or “Bridge of the Gard”. Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa built the aqueduct to transfer water to the nearby Roman town of Nemasus. This aqueduct is 48 meters in height and 275 meters in length and has 52 precision-built arches. This bridge was the highest during the Roman Empire.
Can you walk on the Pont Du Gard?
Yes, you can walk and cycle across all levels for magnificent views of the valley. You can check out the Pont du Gard Uzès to Nîmes Half-Day Tour which takes you on a historical journey through the Roman Era in France.
Where is the largest Roman aqueduct still in use?
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest Roman aqueduct still in use is in Segovia, Spain. Interestingly, Puente del Diablo’s nickname for this engineering marvel is “Devil’s Bridge”.
Local legend has it that a girl would climb to the top of the mountain and return with a pitcher full of water every day. One day, she became tired and made a pact with the devil that she would sell her soul to the devil if he could finish the aqueduct before dawn.
In the end, the devil lost and the girl kept her soul as a cockerel crowed at the break of dawn before the devil placed the last stone to the aqueduct.
It can’t be denied that Roman buildings were built to last. For example, the Segovia aqueduct is still in use, after 20 centuries! Read What The Ancient Romans Can Teach Us About Eco-Friendly Materials, Quenching Rome’s Thirst, and How Ancient Rome Brought Water To Its People to know more.
The third of our famous landmarks in France is Mont Blanc or the “White Mountains”. With a height of 4,808 meters above sea level, Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps and the second highest mountain in Europe.
The Mont Blanc Massif borders France, Italy, and Switzerland. The massif has a granite core formed between 500 to 250 million years ago. Its summit was formed about 30 million years ago and is a result of the push and pull between the African and Asian tectonic plates about 30 million years ago.
What is Mont Blanc famous for?
Mont Blanc is famous for its:-
- Altitude. The summit of Mont Blanc varies in height as its summit made of ice and snow. This means that there is no exact or permanent summit height. For example, in 2002, the recorded height was 4,810 meters. And, in 2017, it was 4,808.72 meters.
- Extreme Temperatures. At the summit, wind speed can reach 150 kph and temperatures reach -40°C.
- The Tour du Mont Blanc Trail. This 170 km walking trail takes 11 days and crosses France, Italy, and Switzerland. Check out The World’s Most Luxurious Hiking Trip to know more.
- Chamonix village. This village in the shadows of Mont Blanc is a must-visit. Although Chamonix is a popular tourist destination, it became popular after it was English aristocrats in 1741. Check out the Top Things To See And Do In Chamonix to know more.
- Aiguille du Midi. This cable car is the “Gateway to the Alps”. This two-part cable car ride gives you scenic views of the French, Italian, and Swiss Alps. Check out the Chamonix, Aiguille du Midi & Mer de Glace Full Day Trip while you feast on dramatic landscapes.
Who climbed Mont Blanc first?
Jacques Balmat and Michel Paccard were the first to ascent Mont Blanc on 8th August 1786.
Where in France is Mont Blanc?
Mont Blanc is in Haute-Savoie 74 which borders Italy and Switzerland. This commune constitutes Upper Savoy and is famous for its ski resorts, breathtaking lakes, and pristine lakes.
Do you know that France has 101 Departments?
The fourth of our famous landmarks in France is Verdon Gorge or Gorges du Verdon. This gorge is in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region in Southeast France. The gorge is the ‘Grand Canyon of Europe’ as it slices through 16 miles of limestone hills to reach the foothills of the Alps.
How do I get to Verdon Gorge?
The town closest to the entrance is Moustiers Sainte-Marie at the Northern Rim of the gorge. Check out Road Trip: Gorges du Verdon to know more.
Why is the Verdon Gorge important?
The Verdon Gorge is important as it is the deepest in Europe at a depth between 250 to 700 meters. Verdon Gorge was formed during the Quaternary Era. Erosion from the Verdon River during the Jurassic era further contributed to its formation.
In August 1905, Edouard Alfred Martel completed exploring the gorge during a 3-day expedition. His trail is between Point Sublime and La Maline. The gorges famous feature is the Styx du Verdon river. The area where the gorge disappears is Imbut.
This area is famous for its hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, and road-tripping along the rims of the gorge. Check out the Verdon Canyon and Moustiers-Sante-Marie Day Trip to explore the canyons.
Do you know that the river is green is because of the combination of microalgae and fluoride?
BONUS: Dunes of Pilat
The fifth and last of our famous landmarks in France is Dune du Pilat or Grande Dune du Pilat. This dune is the largest in Europe. The dunes are at Arcachon Bay which is 37 miles southwest of Bordeaux.
Pine forests and an ocean surround the dunes. These dunes are The Moving Desert as it pushes the forests back every year. The Great Dune Migration has covered at least 20 private properties and about 8000 square meters of forests on its eastern side every year.
How was the Dune of Pilat formed?
An interplay of waves, wind, and sand formed these dunes millions of years ago. These factors are what make the dunes move further inland, every year. The dunes are 1.6 miles long, 500 meters wide, and 106.6 meters in height.
- There is no entrance fee to visit the dunes.
- The best time to visit is between April to mid-November when temporary staircases are built to make the climb up easier.
- Don’t forget your camera and take plenty of photos. Remember, take your memories and leave only your footprints behind.
Do you know that archaeologists have discovered an ancient salt production workshop at the base of the dunes?
Where are the three landmarks in Paris?
The three famous landmarks found in Paris are Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, and Arc de Triomphe. As a bonus, we explore the Sacre Coeur Cathedral.
The next of our famous landmarks in France and Paris is Eiffel Tower. The tower was named Eiffel Tower after its designer, Gustave Eiffel. The tower’s nickname is La Dame de Fer which means “Iron Lady” in French.
The tower was the highlight of the World Fair of 1889. The expo featured 61,000 exhibitors and its notable visitors include Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Antoni Gaudi, and José Rizal.
The tower has three levels with restaurants on its first two levels. The original design of the third floor was a laboratory and an apartment for Gustave Eiffel to entertain guests. The apartment is now a museum and is now open to the public.
Get your Direct Access Second Floor Tour tickets and enjoy the guided tour of this spectacular structure.
What is the story behind Eiffel Tower?
A wager was made to mark the centennial celebrations of the French Revolution. The design by Gustave Eiffel was chosen as the winner. The purpose of the tower was to showcase French technological prowess, and a mark of technology and innovation. The tower was the world’s highest tower in 1889, upon its completion.
Do you know that the tower was completed in 2 years?
Despite its remarkable feat, the tower was subject to criticism by artists such as Alexandre Dumas, Guy de Maupassant, Émile Zola, Charles Garnier who sent the “Artists Against The Eiffel Tower” petition on 14th February 1887.
With 7 million visitors a year, the tower is a symbol of France and Paris just as the Great Pyramids are a symbol of Egypt.
What are some cool facts about the Eiffel Tower?
Let’s check some cool facts about the tower which you may not know.
- The tower initially had a life span of twenty years.
- The tower was the tallest man-made structure for 41 years until the Chrysler Building took the lead in 1930.
- You can climb to the top. There are 1,665 steps to the top.
- The names of the engineers, scientists, and mathematicians who built the tower are engraved at the side of the structure.
- In 1944, Hitler ordered the military governor of Paris to demolish the tower. He refused.
Do you know that Gustave Eiffel was instructed to build a large statue of an elephant where the Eiffel Tower currently stands?
Are you curious to know more cool and fun facts about the tower? Check out the 40 Fascinating Facts About Eiffel Tower, Eiffel Tower Fast Facts, and 15 Monumental Facts About Eiffel Tower to know more.
The next of our famous landmarks in France and Paris is the Louvre Museum or The Louvre. It is the largest art museum and historical monument in Paris and the world. The museum is within Louvre Palace which is the royal residence of Philip II who was the King of France.
Louvre Museum opened on 10 August 1793 with 537 paintings and currently contains 380,000 objects and 35,000 works of art. The museum is home to Mona Lisa, the painting by Leonardo da Vinci which can be described as the most visited, most written about, most sung about, most parodied work of art in the world.
Is Mona Lisa still in the Louvre?
Yes, Mona Lisa is still in the Louvre. The Louvre is undergoing refurbishment and beautification works as the museum prepares to welcome the public back.
Check out the 13 Things You Didn’t Know The Louvre, the 12 Interesting Facts About The Louvre Museum, and History and Most Important Masterpieces of The Louvre to know more.
Arc de Triomphe
The next in our famous landmarks in France and Paris is Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile or “Triumphal Arch of the Star” as it represents the center from which 12 avenues radiate out in a circular motion. The Arc was built to honor those who died during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. This monument was built over 30 years.
Who is buried at Arc de Triomphe?
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is buried at the Arc de Triomphe. The identity of the unnamed soldier is unknown. The tomb symbolizes the appreciation for unnamed soldiers who died during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. An eternal flame, burning since 1923 illuminates the importance of honoring anonymous soldiers.
Check out the 5 Arc de Triomphe Facts, the 10 Fast Facts About Arc de Triomphe, and The Story of How Arc de Triomphe Was Nearly An Elephant to know more.
How many Arc de Triomphe are there?
There are 12 Monumental Triumphal Arches throughout the world, each inspired by Roman architecture. Check out the 8 Famous Arches In France and Arches of Triumph From Around The World to know more.
BONUS: Sacre Coeur Cathedral
The last in our famous landmarks in France and Paris is Sacre Coeur Basilica or the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris. This cathedral is at the top of Montmarte hill which is the highest point in the city.
The site is Montmartre or “The Mount of Martyrs”. From ancient temples dedicated to Mars and Mercury to the Church of St Peter built in the 12th century, to Sacre Coeur; it would seem that God is well and present here.
Why is Sacre Coeur famous?
Sacre Coeur is famous for several things which are:-
- Apse Mosaic. The Mosaic of Christ in Glory is one of the largest in the world. The mosaic shows a risen Christ, draped in white revealing a golden heart.
- La Savoyarde. This bell in the tower next to the cathedral and is one of the heaviest bells in the world weighing 19,685 kilograms.
- The Dome. The dome is the second-highest point in Paris and offers spectacular views of the city. It is a 300-step walk to the top, there are no elevators.
The cathedral remains a place of worship and is open every day from 6 am to 10.30 pm. There is no entrance fee.
Read Sacre Coeur: Where To Avoid The Tourist Traps and Sacre Coeur: A Complete Visitors Guide to know more.
Check out 17 Things About Paris No One Tells You, 33 Reasons Why You Must Keep Visiting Paris, and 15 Things Not To Do In Paris to know more.
For hotels in Paris, check out:-
Does France have a national dish?
Pot-au-Feu or “pot on the fire” as it means is a warm, fragrant dish of stewing steak, root vegetables, and spices.
The main ingredients of this dish are inexpensive cuts of beef or meat that is suitable for long periods of cooking, either oxtail or marrowbone, root vegetables such as carrots, turnips, white cabbage, and leeks. Finally, seasonings such as salt, pepper, and cloves.
The Québecois still make this dish and other French dishes and pastries. Quebec has the oldest French community in Canada with 95% of its population speaking French.
The classic recipe can be found at The Seattle Times while a Japanese-inspired recipe can be found at GoodFood. For vegetarians, a vegetable pot-au-feu recipe can be found at The Press Democrat.
This dish is one of the Top 10 National Dishes that form a country’s identity and is a must-have experience for visitors.
Macaron is made using egg whites, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond meal, and food coloring. These luscious desserts came to France when Italian Catherine de Medici’s brought them to France upon her marriage to Henry II of France.
During the French Revolution, two nuns baked and sold macarons to support themselves. They were the ‘Macaron Sisters’. The classic French macaron recipe by Le Cordon Bleu has a delightful chewy crunch. Read How the French Macaron Became American and Who Invented Macarons and 10 Other Iconic Cookie Origins to know more.
Do you know the difference between Macarons and Macaroons?
A baguette is a thin and long bread that has French origins. In May, France submitted an application to include the Baguette as part of the UN’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Register. This Register protects the knowledge, skills, and traditions to make baguettes that may be lost over time.
In 1793, a post-Revolution decreed that “richness and poverty must both disappear from the government of equality. There will no longer be the bread of wheat for the rich and bread of bran for the poor. All bakers will only make one type of bread: The Bread of Equality.” The bread was the baguette.
If you want to bake this bread, the recipe is available at All Recipes.
Do you know that there are strict laws around what qualifies as a baguette?
Check out World’s Best Bread You’ll Want To Try Once Borders Open and 10 Ways To Eat A Baguette to know more.
Is France worth visiting?
Yes! In 2019, a record of 90 million international tourists visited France. With a diverse landscape, stunning natural beauty, and the French Riviera, France has everything, all within reach from Paris.
Check out 6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going To France, the 15 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions In France, and the 17 Reasons Why France Is So Popular to know more.
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