There are many cities in France that will be interesting to visit for tourists. What cities should you visit? You will find useful information in our guidebook to help you prepare for your trip to France. The largest and most interesting cities in France: short description, basic information, transportation and accommodation tips.
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Paris is the most famous city in France and one of the most visited by tourist’s city in the world. The population of Paris is about 2.4 million people. There live more than 12 million people in Paris and suburbs. A large number of attractions are situated in Paris. There are held many interesting events too. Number of tourists in Paris is so great that to book hotels and plan visits to museums and tourist attractions recommended in advance.
How to get to Paris? The fastest and convenient mode of transport is airplane. The railway connects Paris with many European cities.
Learn more about Paris.
Marseille is the second largest (number of residents) city in France. The population of Marseille is about 850,000 people (about 1.5 million along with suburbs). Marseille is located in the southeastern part of France, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Close to the city on the seashore, there are many beaches and resort villages. The most popular resort region of France, Cote d'Azur, is located east of Marseille.
Many museums and art galleries are situated in the city. Most of the attractions of Marseille (as well as shopping centers) are located in districts 1, 2, 6 and 7. This area is the best for tourists to stay too (unless you prefer to live near the beach).
- The Old Port or Vieux-Port is the main harbour and marina of the city.
- The Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) is a baroque building dating from the 17th century.
- The Centre Bourse and the adjacent Rue St Ferreol district is the main shopping area in central Marseille.
How to get to Marseille? Gare de Marseille Saint-Charles is the main railway station of the city. Tourists can get to Marseille from Paris by high-speed TGV train. (Travel time is approximately 4 hours and a distance about 750 km.) The train departs from Paris Gare de Lyon station.
Marseille Provence Airport (Aéroport de Marseille Provence) is located 27 kilometers north-west of Marseille.
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Lille is the fourth largest by number of residents city in France. It is situated in northern France, near the Belgium border. Lille is the center of the textile industry of France. The city's population is approximately 227,000 people (and more than 1 million people with suburbs).
- Lille Cathedral (Basilique-cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille de Lille) is a Roman Catholic church and a national monument.
- The Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille is a municipal museum dedicated to fine arts, modern art, and antiquities.
- The Jardin botanique de la Faculté de Pharmacie is one of three botanical gardens in Lille.
Lille is an important transportation hub of European high-speed rail network. The trip by rail to London takes about 1.5 hours, to Paris - 1 hour, and 35 minutes to Brussels.
The International airport of Lille (Lille-Lesquin Airport) is located approximately 10 kilometers from the city.
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Bordeaux is situated in the south-west of France near the Atlantic coast, on the banks of the river Garonne. Bordeaux is sometimes named as "City of Art and History". The city is home to 362 monuments with some buildings dating back to Roman times. The historical part of town is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as "an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble of the 18th century."
Bordeaux is an important world center for the wine industry. One of the most famous wine exhibition Vinexpo is held annualy at the Bordeaux Exhibition Centre.
Saint-Jean is the main railway station of Bordeaux (Gare de Bordeaux Saint-Jean). It is located near the city center and serves 4 million passengers per year. You can get to Bordeaux from Paris by the TGV train in just four hour.
Bordeaux Airport (Aéroport de Bordeaux) is located 8 kilometers from the city center in a Mérignac suburb.
Lyon (also known as Lyons ) is the third largest by number of residents city in France. The city's population is about 506,000 people. The city is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
There are some historical sites in the city (a Roman amphitheater and monuments of medieval architecture). The city is also famous for the fact that the cinema was invented in Lyon by Lumiere brothers.
Musée des beaux-arts de Lyon (Fine Arts Museum) is main museum of the city and one of the largest art galleries in France.
Distance from Lyon is: about 470 kilometers to Paris, 320 kilometers to Marseilles and 160 kilometers to Geneva.
Lyon–Saint Exupéry Airport is located 13 miles (20 km) southeast of Lyon's city centre.
Lyon has two major railway stations: Lyon Part-Dieu (TGV) and Lyon Perrache (provides mostly regional service).
Learn more about Lion.
Strasbourg is significantly different from other major cities in France. The city may be considered as the center of Europe parliamentary. There are, for example, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights located in Strasbourg. The city is located near the border between France and Germany.
There are many medieval architectural landmarks in the city. The central part of Strasbourg included in the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage. Strasbourg Cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic art and one of the architectural landmark of the city.
Gare de Strasbourg train station is located in the city centre. There is also intermational airport near Strasbourg.
Nice is one of the most famous cities on the French Riviera. It is the second most popular tourist destination city in France. Distance from Nice to the Italian border is about 30 kilometers, to Paris - 960 kilometers and to to Genoa (Italy) - 200 kilometers. The city's population is about 344,000 people.
The city was founded in the middle of the 4th century BC. Currently, it is one of the most popular resorts on the Mediterranean coast of France.
The Promenade des Anglais (La Prom) is a promenade along the Mediterranean at Nice. It can be considered as the main street of Nice (especially for tourists).
The Nice Carnival is one of the world's major carnival events ( alongside the Brazilian Carnival and Venice Carnival). It is held annually in February. Flower Parades (battle of flowers) Carnival Parade of Lights (On Saturdays and Tuesdays) are are the most colorful carnival events.
“Nice Côte d'Azur» airport is the third busiest airport in France (after Charles de Gaulle Airport and Orly Airport).
The main railway station is Nice-Ville, served by high speed TGV trains connecting Paris and Nice. Travel time by train to Paris is about 6 hours. Railways connect Nice with other coastal cities too, as well as the Principality of Monaco.
Learn more about Nice.
Railway tickets can be purchased on the internet. You can at least find out the train schedule and train travel prices online and buy a ticket later at the station.
Cannes is one of the popular cities of the French Riviera. The history of the city has more than two thousand years. The city became famous in the late 19th century, when aristocrats from the UK began to build their homes here. Rich and famous people from other European countries started arriving here later. The city population is about 73.6 thousand people. The Promenade de la Croisette is the waterfront avenue with palm trees and the most famous street in Cannes.
Some world-famous events are held in Cannes:
- The Cannes Film Festival is held annually, usually in May.
- Cannes international festival for working in advertising and related fields held annually in June
- Cannes Yachting Festival (September).
- The International Luxury Travel Market.
The nearest major airport «Nice Côte d'Azur Airport» is located at a distance of 24 kilometers from the city. Rail link connects Cannes to the major cities of France and Europe.
Learn more about Cannes.