Historical sites in France

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Start planning your historical tour of France

Civilization in France has existed for thousands of years. Across the country, there are tens of thousands of historical points of interest, from ancient monasteries to the old vineyards, and even Roman ruins. The country is also home to some of the world's most famous landmarks, including the Grand Palace of Versailles and the Sacré Coeur basilica. From coast to countryside, there is plenty to mesmerize travelers in France.

What makes France a great destination for history lovers? 

Home to 43 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, France has monuments that characterize every era of its past. Generally known for its cathedrals and palaces, France’s historical sites also include Roman ruins and prehistoric caves. Lesser-known places of interest include the episcopal city of Albi and Arles Roman monuments.

The best historical sites in France 

France is home to more than just the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Palace of Versailles. The country’s historical sites are spread throughout its landscape, so here are some of the best.

Enter prehistoric eras at the caves of Pont d'Arc 

These decorated caves of Pont d'Arc were discovered in 1994. Inside, the earliest known drawing in the world is scribbled on the cave walls, and it can be dated back to over 36,000 years. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2014.

Meet the Romans in Arles 

Once the capital of Roman Gaul, Spain, and Britain, Arles is home to some of France’s finest Roman architecture, the highlight of which is the enormous amphitheater. Its monuments have made it onto the UNESCO World Heritage list and provide a glimpse back to France's ancient past.

Walk to Mont Saint-Michel

The abbey of Mont Saint-Michel is found on top of a rocky island, cut off from the mainland during high tide. The abbey can be reached by foot along the bay while the tide is low. Mont Saint-Michel is characterized by its gothic architecture and dates back to the 8th century. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.

Admire the medieval walled city of Dinan 

Although Carcassonne is world-famous as the fortified medieval city of France, for travelers looking for a similar experience with fewer crowds, Dinan is the place to go. Located along the River Rance, is characterized by its magnificent medieval buildings and castles.

Enjoy the historic seaport of St Malo 

The town of Saint-Malo can trace its history back to a monastic settlement early in the 6th century. Moreover, the village has a long history of being self-governed too. You’ll find this town, filled with well-preserved medieval period architecture, utterly charming.

 Tips for planning a historical tour of France

Traveling around France is easy, whether you decide to take a road trip or even travel by train. The use of English-speaking guides will add to your trip and help you understand France’s complex history.

When to go in France?

France's temperate climate makes it a fairly pleasant country to visit all year round, though you do need to bear in mind that it can get very cold in winter, especially in the north and the east, and very hot in summer, particularly in the south. Many French people (and other Europeans) choose to holiday on the Mediterranean coast in August. This can make the price of accommodation particularly high at this time of year, and the most popular and well-known coastal resorts can get very busy. Shops more or less everywhere will be closed for the annual holidays too. So avoid August if you plan to go on a shopping spree!
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