France, in Western Europe, encompasses medieval cities, alpine villages and Mediterranean beaches.

Paris, its capital, is famed for its fashion houses, classical art museums including the Louvre and monuments like the Eiffel Tower.

The country is also renowned for its wines and sophisticated cuisine.

Lascaux’s ancient cave drawings, Lyon’s Roman theater and the vast Palace of Versailles attest to its rich history.

1. Bordeaux


Bordeaux, hub of the famed wine-growing region, is a port city on the Garonne River in southwestern France.

It is known for its Gothic Cathedrale Saint-Andre, 18th to 19th century mansions and notable art museums such as the Musee des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux.

Public gardens line the curving river quays. The grand Place de la Bourse, centered on the Three Graces fountain, overlooks the Miroir d’Eau reflecting pool

2. Lyon


Lyon, a city in France’s historical Rhone-Alpes region, sits at the junction of the Rhone and Saone rivers.

Its center reflects 2000 years of history, with the Roman Amphitheatre des Trois Gaules, medieval and Renaissance architecture in Vieux Lyon (Old Lyon), and the modern Confluence district on the Presquile Peninsula, Traboules, covered passageways between buildings, connect Vieux Lyon and La Croix-Rousse hill

3. Nice


Nice, capital of the Alpes-Martimes department on the French Riviera, sits on the pebbly shores of the Bale des Anges.

Founded by the Greeks and later a retreat for 19-century European elite, the city has also long attracted artists.

Former resident Henri Matisse is honored with a career-spanning collection of paintings at Musee Matisse.

Musee Marc Chagall features some of its namesake’s major religious works.

4. Paris


Paris, France’s capital, is a major European city and a global center for art, fashion, gastronomy and culture.

Its 19-century cityscape is crisscrossed by wide boulevards and the River Seine.

Beyond such landmarks as the Eiffel Tower and the 12-century, Gothric Notre-Dame cathdral, the city is known for its cafe culture and designer boutiques along the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore.

5. Tours


Tours is a university town between France’s Cher and Loire rivers.

Once a Gallic-Roman settlement, today it is a university town and a traditional gateway for exploring the chateaux of the Loire Valley region.

Major landmarks include the cathedral, Saint-Gatien, whose flamboyant Gothic facade is flanked by towers with 12-century bases and Renaissance tops.

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