What is France known for?

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France is a country of love, food and good wine. Visions of the Eiffel Tower, rolling fields of purple lavender and fashionable people sipping black coffee outside cosy cafes come to mind. France is one of the largest countries in Europe both in population and size. Beyond Paris, its other cities and charming towns have a lot to offer. French cuisine is famous around the world. From rustic baguettes and strong cheeses to delicately designed patisserie, France offers something for every palette. France’s love of good food is so great that they began the coveted Michelin Guide and Michelin Star program in 1926. Across the country are many Michelin-starred restaurants offering a variety of French fare.

France is known for its rich history, and in particular its historical towns. Spending a day meandering through narrow cobbled streets admiring buildings dating as far back as the medieval period is truly something special. France’s historical architecture is a key part of its identity, with historical monuments dotted across the country. France is also one of the most fashionable countries in the world. Not only is it the home of many high fashion design houses, the French are some of the best dressed. This makes a trip to France the perfect opportunity to shop and a fabulous European destination for a quick city break or longer. What is France famous for? Check it out.

What is France known for?

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Top Tours

1- Wine

Vineyards On The Wine Road, Alsace
Wine is what France is known for producing.

France is well known for its wine, with some of the best wines in the world coming form its vineyards.

France has made wine since Roman times and as a nation has worked hard to ensure the preservation of not only its many vineyards but its traditional techniques.

The country benefits from having both the ideal climate and the ideal soil for growing grapes.

Across the country wine makers have carefully considered the climate in their immediate area to select the best variety of grapes to grow.

This has allowed France to produce a wide range of wines from many different types of grape.

The most famous and important wine regions of France are in the south where the weather is warmer.

The regions of Bordeaux, Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence produce some of the best wines in the world.

2- Art

Paris, France Interior Photo Of Tall Pillars
Art is what France is best known for.

France is home to some of the best art galleries in Europe and Paris is the country’s home of art, with around 130 museums and galleries.

The most famous art gallery in France, and the most visited art gallery in the world, is the Louvre with its instantly recognisable glass pyramid.

The Louvre houses some of the most important art works in history including the Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa.

France was home to many famous artists including Paul Cèzanne, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet and Henri Rousseau.

France was also a temporary home to many of Europe’s leading artists including Van Gogh and Picasso whose time in the country inspired their work.

Those seeking to peruse art as a career often turn to France as they have more than 40 public art schools.

3- Tour de France

Tour de France is one of the largest sporting events in Europe and is viewed all over the world.

This annual cycling race began in 1903 as a cycling endurance race around France.

The first race covered 2428 kilometres (1508 miles).

Despite its name, the race does not always start in France, and has in the past began in Denmark, Germany, Spain and the UK.

Races typically last 23 days with two days designated for rest.

Throughout the race there are different competitions and prizes, with the winners of various stages and challenges sporting vivid jerseys.

The overall race leader cycles in a yellow jersey, and the person who scales the mountain sections of the race the fastest wears polka dots.

The Tour de France has been a male-only race since its inception, however 2022 saw the creation of a female race spanning eight days which begins at the close of the men’s race.

4- Fine dining

Lamb Chops With Various Vegetables
Fine dining is what France is famous for.

France is the home of the Michelin Star program, a coveted award for the best restaurants on Earth.

France has around 630 restaurants with Michelin Stars, 29 of which hold 3 stars.

Alain Ducasse, a French chef, runs three-Michelin Starred Plaza Athénée in Paris.

This restaurant provides diners with exquisite and natural dishes, favouring fish, vegetables and grains as main ingredients over heavier ones such as meat and dairy.

For a historical and luxurious dining experience reserve a table at 400 year old Tour D’Argent.

This spectacular restaurant is renowned for its fine dining and its famous pressed duck.

Frédéric Delair first put pressed duck on Tour D’Argent’s menu in the 1800s, where it has continued to excite and delight diners.

Pressed duck serves two at a price of €185 per person and includes Fontana potatoes, a range of sauces and a gravy made by pressing the duck at your table using their antique press.

5- The French Revolution

French Revolution
French Revolution is what France is most known for in history.

One of the most famous historical events in France was the French Revolution, from from 1787 until 1799.

The cause of the Revolution was money, as France was nearing bankruptcy at the end of the 18th century due to its involvement in the American Revolution.

King Louis XVI was also to blame as he spent recklessly, causing ordinary working people to outrage against the inequalities of their society.

To further add to France’s poor finances, the country had gone through many years of drought, disease among cattle, poor harvests and increasing prices for food.

During this period the monarchy fell and King Louis XVI, along with his wife Marie Antoinette, both were publicly executed.

On 14 July 1789 French citizens stormed the Bastille, an infamous prison in the heart of Paris, and this historic moment is celebrated yearly as Bastille Day across France.

Following the end of the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte named himself the first consul of France and went on to conquer much of Europe.

6- Cannes Film Festival

Woman With Paparazzi. Action
The Cannes Film Festival what France is famous for.

One of the most well-known festivals in France is the Cannes Film Festival held in the beautiful beach city of Cannes annually since 1946.

The festival holds exclusive previews of films from across the world in a range of categories including documentaries, dramas and foreign-language.

Cannes Film Festival began as a destination for artists and creatives to meet and enjoy the magic of cinema.

Since its inception the festival has inspired actors, writers and directors to produce some of the greatest works of film in history.

For the 77th Cannes Film Festival, renowned American director, actress and screenwriter Greta Gerwig will oversee the festival as Jury President.

Gerwig’s role at the festival makes her the first American female director in the role.

Gerwig and her team will evaluate around 20 films and award one the coveted Palme D’or.

This exclusive award is given to the best film, with further awards for best actor, best director and best screenplay also given out.

Recommended tour: From Cannes: Round-Trip Ferry to Ste. Marguerite Island

7- French Alps

Mont Blanc Massif Idyllic Alpine Landscape At Sunrise
The French Alps what is France is known for.

The French Alps run along the French-Italian border from the shores of Lake Geneva and out to the Mediterranean Sea at Nice, spanning a length of 180 kilometres (111 miles).

The alps stretch across seven countries including France, Italy and Switzerland, with the famous Mont Blanc shared between the three countries.

The French Alps are the ideal skiing destination, with many luxury resorts in the region.

For the best in skiing and snowboarding, visit ski resorts including Chamonix, Val-d’Isère and Val Thorens.

When visiting the French Alps it is possible to walk underneath glaciers, climb snow-covered mountains and of course relax and enjoy good food in its picturesque towns.

The French Alps are very popular with tourists during the winter season as many people arrive from Europe and beyond to make the most of the snow.

8- Fashion

France is one of the most fashionable destinations in Europe, with its capital city Paris being the home for all things designer.

France’s fashion history began with Louis XIV and his investment in the arts and fashion.

Since then, France’s fashionable royalty and rich continued to dress to impress, with early fashion icons including Marie Antoinette.

Each year, Paris Fashion Week draws thousands of designers, models, influencers and celebrities to the city in celebration of all things fashion, and to see the latest collections of some of its most influential designers.

Paris is the home of many powerful design houses including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent.

Parisians in particular are considered to be some of the best dressed people in the world with capsule wardrobes and low-key chic being key elements of their daily outfits.

For the best luxury shopping destination head to Rue Saint Honoré, a world-renowned shopping street has flagship stores for some of Paris’ most influential designers including Chanel, Hermès and Givenchy.

For lower budget shopping, check out this place.

9- Architecture

Town Of Colmar Colorful Architecture And Canal View
Architecture is what Nice, France, is known for.

Whether admiring the gothic giants of Paris or the quaint and cosy architecture of its medieval towns, France is well-known for its beautiful architecture.

France is an old country and as a result has been impacted by a variety of architectural styles including Gothic and Renaissance.

Some of the oldest buildings in France date to the Galo-Roman period of the 1st to 5th century.

There are some remarkably well-preserved examples of architecture from this time including the amphitheatre in Nîmes.

The 12th to 15th century saw some of the most impressive examples of Gothic architecture appear across the country, many of which took the form of cathedrals.

One of the best examples of Gothic architecture in France is Notre Dame, Paris’ iconic cathedral.

Examples of Renaissance architecture, which became popular in France towards the end of the 15th century, can also be seen across the country.

This lavish and elaborate architectural style can be seen in many of the countries most famous Chateaux.

10- Eiffel Tower

Young Woman Looks At The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is what France is most known for.

One of the most iconic sights in France is the Eiffel Tower, a Parisian landmark designed to be temporary as part of the World’s Fair in 1889.

The tower was highly controversial when it was built and designed, however after opening the city soon fell in love with this puddle iron tower.

Gustave Eiffel built the tower between 1887 and 1889 using puddle iron, a form of iron where excessive amounts of carbon are removed.

The tower was built in sections before being transported to the built site.

The Eiffel Tower is painted with a protective coating that must be reapplied every seven years, as per Eiffel’s original instructions, in order to prevent the iron from corroding.

In 1889, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest building in the world at 984ft (299m) tall, and its unique shape attracted visors from all over Europe.

Since its opening in 1889 the Eiffel Tower has seen more than 330 million visitors scale its elevator or climb its stairs.

The tower has three public levels with viewing platforms and its own Michelin-starred restaurant. Reserve your tickets here.

11- Royal Palaces

Head (Main) Entrance Of Versailles Palace
Royal Palaces are what France is known for.

France is known for its dramatic royal palaces that are scattered across the country.

These former royal residencies are largely open to the public to allow keen visitors to see how the French royals lived prior to the French Revolution.

France no longer has a reigning monarch, however its royal palaces have been preserved in exquisite condition.

The most famous royal palace in France is the Royal Palace of Versailles.

Château de Versaille is a masterpiece of classical architecture, with some of the most lavish and intricate architecture in France.

Constructed in the early 17th century, the palace saw life as a home, hunting lodge, seat of power and finally a museum.

Another of France’s iconic palaces is Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, a Renaissance castle formerly used by James II Stuart of England.

The palace is now the National Archaeology Museum.

An often overlooked palace in France due to its current guise as the most famous art museum in the country is the Louvre.

King François I had the palace built more than 800 years ago during the Renaissance as a stately home.

Its architecture was added to over the centuries giving it its unique blend of Renaissance, Classical and Neoclassical styles.

Recommended tour: From Paris: Versailles Guided Tour with Skip-the-Line Entry

12- French Riviera

Colorful Old Town Menton On French Riviera
The French Riviera is what France is known for.

The French Riviera, or Côte d’Azure, is one of the most beautiful and luxurious regions in France, and one that has made the country a world famous and must-visit luxury vacation destination.

The French Riviera includes Nice, Cannes, St Tropez, Monaco and more.

This area of France is is seen as the epitome of glamour and beauty all bathed in Mediterranean sunshine.

Expect to find quaint cobblestone streets lined with medieval houses, brightly painted doors, overflowing hanging baskets and Michelin-starred restaurants.

Many visitors to the French Riviera arrive in spring and summer to make the most of the festivals held here.

The famous Cannes Film Festival and the Monaco Grand Prix are held annually in June seeing many of the worlds rich and famous descend on the pristine beaches of the area.

13- D-Day Landings

Juno Beach Normandy France
D-Day Landings are what France is known for during WWII.

One of the most important historical events of the Second World War.

Often referred to as the Normandy Landings due to the point of contact with France, these infamous landings saw the largest amphibious invasion in wartime history.

6th June 1944 saw allied nations use more than 5000 ships to land more than 150,000 troops across Normandy’s beaches.

The D-Day landings saw the start of ‘Operation Overlord’, a large scale attack designed to establish a stronghold in Nazi occupied areas and drive them out.

The entire operation was meticulously planned across the allied nations, with factories in Britain dramatically increasing their production of Armes and supplies to enable the allies to successfully cross the channel.

Allied forces departing from Britain on D-Day included troops from America, Canada, Australia, France, New Zealand and Poland.

When allied forces arrived on the beach, the first waves of soldiers were killed in their droves due to German-placed landmines and artillery fire aimed at the beach.

The landings were key in allowing the Allies success in the war with troops successfully progressing across Normandy and towards the River Seine. Find out more here.

14- Provence

Female Hand With White Wine Glass On A Lavender Fields
Provence is a region that France is known for.

France is known for Provence, a beautiful region in the south of the country that borders the Mediterranean Sea.

The region is famous for its varied landscape, but in particular its vineyards and its bright purple lavender fields.

The region is particularly poplar with hikers and cyclists who arrive in the area in spring and summer to make the most of the pleasant climate and the natural beauty.

Across the region are many charming small towns and village, many of which are surrounded by lavender fields, vineyards or olive groves.

15- Cheese

rench Cheese Of Differents Color
Cheese is what France is known for food.

When thinking of France it is almost impossible not to think of delicious foods, and in particular, cheese.

Cheese in France is diverse and flavoursome, with many exciting and delicious regional varieties available.

Cheese is an important part of French diets, with 40% of the nation eating cheese daily.

It is estimated that there are between 200 and 400 varieties of cheese in France.

Cheese is typically eaten in France on its own or as an ingredient as part of a meal.

Some of the most famous cheese recipes from France include quiche, le croquet monsieur or madame, and of course fondue.

Cheese in France is typically paired with red or dry white wines, and is often consumed at the end of a meal. You may like this tour.

World Map With Magnified France

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sarah holmes travel writer
Sarah Holmes is a travel and fashion writer living in the heart of England. From family adventures in numerous parts of the UK and Europe to exploring cities as an adult, Sarah has a wide knowledge of the best areas, sights and local tips that the UK and the neighbouring continent can offer. Sarah grew up in the North East of England, with incredible sights and landmarks only a short drive away. Her favourite places to visit include Seaham Beach, the Lake District and Alnwick Castle. Sarah has written for a range of fashion and travel blogs and print publications.