France, the most visited country in the world, is unique unto itself.
After covering Eurasia and Scandinavia, in this article on the best cities in the world, we will look at some of the most beautiful cities in France.
The city, best known for the Roman Catholic Papacy from 1309 to 1377 has much to offer. The Pope established base here after escaping Rome.
The city is full of cultural treasures and the areas of nature that surround it are numerous. Many of the places within the city are on the UNESCO world heritage list and the place has been designated as having outstanding universal value.
Most especially the Papal Palace that was built way back in the 14 century, is a manmade structure to be seen to be believed.
The poorer part of the city was cleared off in the 15th century so that the palace could dominate the landscape with its extraordinary presence.
The city itself is magnificent, but once you are in the city square you will appreciate the scale of the Gothic architecture.
This jewel of the Atlantic coast in France was built as a fishing village. Once European royalty began visiting, this Basque town took on different proportions.
Tucked away in the corner of the south-west of France, Biarritz, in addition to being a gateway to the Basque Country, is one of the most beautiful cities you will see in France. Not only is it known for the beaches and surf spots where the waves reach as high as 4 meters, the city is also famous for its cuisine and the hospitality of the Basque people who have surprised most economists with their economic progress based entirely on their work ethic.
The breathtaking beauty of the Bay of Biscay will especially take you by surprise once you reach the rocky area of Rocher de la Vierge.
This small city surely is one of the gems of France.
You will not see the rich and famous swaggering around in this town. This resort town situated between Nice and Cannnes on the French Riviera (Côte d’Azur) is different and is best known for the pebbled beach, Fort Carre, the marina, the forested areas, the jazz music festival and the throngs of people at the La Marche Provencal where they go for fresh fruit, cheeses and all kinds of fresh farm produce.
After spending your days at the beach, the evenings are good for walks around the old town with its ramparts.
The marine land is another place that deserves a visit and a day and evening will be well spent here.
The people of this town are very down to the earth and welcoming.
This city, just an hour by train from Paris is the capital of Hauts-de-France and is close to the border with Belgium. One of the major cultural centres of the country, to this day Lille has some Flemish influence from whom it was taken away during the 17th century.
Many of the shopping areas and the narrow, charming, cobblestone streets are for pedestrians only and this allows you to explore this historic city at your own pace. After you’ve enjoyed the Grand Place and all that LIlle has to offer, a visit to the old stock exchange where they sell antique books is well worth it.
The Citadel of Lille, more commonly known as the “Queen of citadels” is just a little over 1 kilometre from the city centre and makes for a pleasant walk.
As for the cuisine, while all else is to be had, the city is famous for its mussels and fries as one of the remaining Flemish influences.
Grande Braderie de LIlle is the annual flea market in Europe and is held during the first weekend of September. This is when antique enthusiasts, foodies and just about everyone descends on to this city – estimatedly over a million people from many parts of Europe. Clearly, vehicles are not allowed at this time and the entire city is “pedestrians only”.
These cities, each one entirely different from Paris and distinctive from each other give you a greater flavour of France.
Picture: Shutterstock / Luboslav Tiles
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