France is, without a doubt, the most visited country on earth. As a result, France has some of the world’s most-visited and famous tourist attractions. From Disneyland to Museums, millions of people visit these attractions. The following list names them from most to the least number of annual visitors. Numbers for the full year of 2019.
Here Are The Most Visited Tourist Attractions in France
1. Forest of Fontainebleau and Castle – 13.3 Million Visitors in 2019
Forest of Fontainebleau – 13 Million Visitors in 2019
Only 40 minutes away by train from Gare de Lyon in Paris, this impressive forest may be one of the most popular destinations for tourists and locals looking for a getaway.
It is not only one of the largest Forests in France but also the perfect spot for rock climbing. As a matter of fact, this 280-square-kilometer forest is a favorite spot for alpinists that await the summer to get to the Alps.
You can get there by car through the A6 Freeway or by a tour bus from Paris. This forest is famous because of its variety of animals and plants like European Beech, Mushrooms, Oak, and Scot Pine.
Fontainebleau Castle – 300,000 Visitors in 2019
Since the Middle Ages, this beautiful castle has been the residence of Kings and Emperors like Napoleon, who was very fond of it. This spectacular building has a particular cultural importance because it was here that Renaissance early ideas were conceived, and it was also the home of the French Royal Court.
There are thousands of beautiful objects to see, besides the beautiful decoration and the architecture.
Feel free to connect this tour with the Vicomte Castle and the Barbizon village nearby.
>>Also Read: Visiting the Vaux le Vicomte Castle
2. Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris – 12 Million Visitors in 2018
Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Paris (Our Lady of Paris, in English) is one of the most important Cathedrals in France and one of the most popular Cathedrals in the world. It reflects the born of Gothic Architecture style by being one of the first Cathedrals built under this style.
Its conception comes from a social need, a need of a new symbol for a new social and political power and by1160 the church of Saint Stephen (where Notre Dame Cathedral is now located) was looked upon as obsolete since it could not really display the prestige of a fast-growing urban society.
It is precisely in the innate complex nature of Gothic Architecture that answers for all these requirements are found. With its flying buttresses, pointed arches and ribbed vaults the beauty of Notre Dame Church in Paris cannot easily be defined.
It is dedicated to Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ, and it is surrounded by Lake Sena since it is located in La Cité Island, and it is the official Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Paris.
On 15 April 2019, a fire broke out from some construction work out beneath the roof Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris. Still, millions of visitors visit this attraction from the outside to admire the cathedral.
A Number of Important Events Took Place in Notre Dame, The Most Remarkable Ones:
- The coronation of Napoleon (officiated by Pope Pius VII).
- The Crown of Thorns is put in the Cathedral.
- The Wolves of Paris are killed on the gates of the Cathedral.
- The coronation of Henry VI as King of France.
- The mother of Joan of Arc asks the Pope to overturn Joan’s conviction.
The construction of the Cathedral started in 1163, and it took around 182 years to complete it (1345); the place where the building is situated has a deep tradition of religion, being, in the beginning, an area for Celtic celebrations, then a Roman temple was built there and dedicated to Jupiter, later the Basilica of Saint Etienne was built followed by the Romanesque-designed Cathedral of Saint Stephen until its demolition.
Notre Dame has gone through different changes; for instance, many treasures were stolen from it, and many others destroyed during the French Revolution. It is a fact that the Cathedral’s history is full of many accidents and incidents, but it is also a fact that many interesting restorations took place, such as the 1844 Restoration Program.
Two interesting facts are that the World-Famous writer Victor Hugo situated one of his most famous novels: The Hunchback of Notre Dame in this Cathedral and that one of the most impressive organs in France is kept in the Cathedral.
>>Also Read: Must-See Cathedrals in France
3. Flea Market in Saint-Ouen, Paris – 11 Million Visitors in 2019
This two-century-old Market (officially opened in 1885) may be one of the most interesting and fun tourist attractions and the largest flea (antiques) market in the world (7 hectares).
Either if you are looking for something specific or if you just want to hang around and take a walk: the Flea Market will prove to be an ideal place to spend a day of the weekend.
It opens on Saturdays and Sundays from 9-10 in the morning until 6 in the afternoon and keep in mind that most places close for lunchtime. If you are really into shopping, then remember the market can get crowded after lunchtime, and if you want to have a coffee and a relaxing time, it is better to do the shopping early morning and then take the time to relax.
>>Also Read: Most Famous Monuments In France
4. Euro Disneyland, Paris – 9.9 Million Visitors in 2019
Disneyland Paris, often called Euro Disney, is the fourth location for the Disney Theme Park franchise and has is now the most visited attraction in Paris and France. Of course, a trip to France is not only about the museums and monument visits; if you’re traveling with kids you must visit this magnificent park, and what makes it more appealing is that it is very easy to go from Paris by car or public transportation like the metro or a bus tour. Also, if you want to stay there, you can book a hotel near or in a Disneyland Hotel; Euro Disney has not one but seven hotels.
Disneyland Paris is not only an amusement park, but it is also a combination of amusement park rides, hotels, restaurants, and more attractions. Disney offers visitors also restaurants and bars.
If you are wondering about which season to visit Disneyland Paris, maybe the main issue to consider is how to avoid the long queues. We recommend a weekday or an off-season day; also, your visit will be better if you arrive early.
>>Also Read: Is Disneyland Paris Worth It?
5. Basilica of Sacré-Cœur, Paris – 10 Million Visitors in 2019
Also known as the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Paris (Sacré-Cœur Basilica), since it is devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and 58 000 people that died during the war. It is a Roman Catholic minor Basilica that was built upon the time in which a division between Catholics and radicals was emerging.
It is located at the highest point of Paris, and the calcite (the material the building is made from) keeps its white color all the time. There is an organ pipe kept inside on display, which happens to be one of the most attractive features of this beautiful church.
>>Also Read: Most Famous Monuments in Paris
6. Louvre Museum, Paris – 9.9 Million Visitors in 2019
The Louvre, the biggest museum worldwide, is located on the bank of the Seine River. There are no words to describe the Louvre, and its significance cannot be understated, an amazing museum hosted by an impressive building; from its beginnings as a royal fortress to the public museum we see today.
Today the museum displays more than 6,000 European paintings dating from the 13th century to the 19th century. Its largest collection is of paintings and drawings with a list of 130,000 artworks. Other collections include Islamic art, Oriental Antiquities, Egyptian Antiquities, and Greek Antiquities with pieces that date back as far as the seventh millennium B.C. Reflects centuries of change in the political and social environment and is a symbol of art; the Louvre Museum is considered as a mecca for artists and art lovers alike.
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7. Palace of Versailles, Paris – 7.3 Million Visitors in 2019
A Unesco’s World Heritage Site recognized and respected all over the world through History because of its importance. The Palace of Versailles will always be a must as a destination for all tourists that visit France.
Some of the highlights of this Palace are the Gardens and the Park of the Palace, the Grand Trianon and Marie- Antoinette’s State. It is also possible to see the Grand Apartments, Hall of Mirrors, Museum of French History, and much more.
The best ticket you can get is the “Passport” which allows you to enter all attractions in the Palace and much more.
8. Paris Eiffel Tower – 7 Million Visitors in 2019
The Tower Eiffel, also famous as The Iron Lady and is a must-see for every traveler to Paris. You couldn’t possibly visit Paris without paying a visit to the Eiffel Tower. Due to its tall construction, the tip of the Tower can be seen from all over Paris.
The Eiffel Tower has a very impressive construction. Also, it is a symbol that represents the city of light anywhere in the world.
The Eiffel Tower was designed and built by Gustave Eiffel; it was involved in a few controversial opinions from some journalists, painters, and other artists, who considered the Eiffel tower as an enormous ugly building. However, it’s now broadly accepted by locals and famous in the whole world.
Due to its large size, there’s so much to see and do in The Eiffel Tower; you can enjoy the view of Paris by night and enjoy breathtaking views of the Lights of the City. Also, you can enjoy a glass of champagne at the top of the Tower, you can also take a tour of the Eiffel Tower and see the fabulous history of the Tower through pictures, virtual images, and even a cinema at the Cineiffel. Children may enjoy the visit more if they meet Gus, a character designed for children up to 10 years old.
The Eiffel Tower is Made Up Of 4 Sections:
- The Top: This level offers the best panoramic views with maps of Paris and its monuments, it includes Gustave Eiffel’s office (with the history of the construction), and a Bar with Champagne for visitors (each glass may cost around 15 Euros).
- The 2nd Floor: This level offers beautiful round views of Paris, and from here you can get to the top of the Tower. This place includes: Gift shops, a Restaurant (Jules Verne), a buffet with a broad choice of dishes and drinks to choose from, the story windows with the history of the construction of the Eiffel Tower.
- The First Floor: This level offers a large visiting space and great views of Paris and its monuments. It also offers: The buffet, panoramic tables, observatory to the top of the Tower, a gift shop, the Cineiffel, Gus, and more.
- Ground Level has the information desk, a few gift shops, ATMs, sculptures, and more.
9. Musée d’Orsay, Paris – 3.6 Million Visitors in 2019
The museum has three levels, it acts as a time bridge because it covers different times (from 1848 to 1914) between the collections of the museum of the Louvre and those of the Museum of Modern art of the Center George Pompidou; Orsay features all the arts (painting, sculpture, architecture, artworks, furniture, cinema, photography, music, decoration even opera.
Orsay also offers concerts with the repertory of the period 1848-1914 in the auditorium and the restaurant. The auditorium also accommodates film projections, in particular an annual festival devoted to the cinema of the origins.
10. Pompidou Centre, Paris – 3.3 Million Visitors in 2019
The National Centre for Art and Culture Georges Pompidou called Center Pompidou was promoted and created by President Georges Pompidou is one of the most original cultural institutions in the center of Paris which houses one of the most important museums in the world, features the most important collection of modern and contemporary art in Europe and the building includes:
- Extensive public reference library.
- Music research institute.
- Educational activity areas, bookshops.
- Children Activities.
- Shows and concerts.
- Restaurant and a café.
The Center Pompidou is not famous only by its galleries and the art that displays inside, but it’s also famous for its building, selected after a competition which was won by two young architects: the Italian Renzo Piano and British designer Richard Rogers who proposed a constraint-free architecture in the spirit of the 1960s. Finally, in 1997 it opened its doors to the public, and after some renovation work, it opened to the public again on 1 January 2000 and became one of the most visited attractions in France.
>>Also Read: Visiting Centre Pompidou: The Art Center Of Paris
11. City of Science and Industry, Paris – 2.3 Million Visitors in 2019
There is too much to say about this incredible museum: As a science museum, it is the biggest in the whole of Europe, it served and the meeting center for the International Salon for Peace Initiatives in 2008.
This museum displays a submarine, a planetarium, and an impressive IMAX theatre. It was officially opened in 1986, and Adrien Fainsilber and Peter Rice were in charge of the design. The City of Science and Industry is the biggest science museum in Europe; millions of people visit each year. It also displays three greenhouses.
The City of Science and Industry (Cité des sciences et de l’industrie) is considered to be the Cultural Centre for Sciences in France.
12. Rock of Monaco and Monte Carlo – 2.1 Million Visitors in 2019
A beautiful Principality that works as a City-State surrounded by France and fairly close to Italy; it is the home of wealthy people and a very tempting destination for many travelers.
The Jardin Exotique is one of the many attractions that Monaco displays, together with the Monaco Cathedral, the Musèe Oceanographique, the Museum of the Chapel of the Visitation, the Fontvieille, Moneguetti, the Wax Museum, and many others.
It must not be forgotten that Monaco is particularly famous for the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix that annually takes place in the streets of Monaco. It is, perhaps, the most demanding and prestigious race in the world.