- By John
- On Nov 4, 2018
- Travel Tips
Here is the list of the most popular cities which might surprise you...in alphabetical order with one exception. Paris is the most popular French city, so we have to start there.
Paris is one of the world’s most romantic and beautiful capital cities and with a population of around 2,250 is by far the largest city in France. Its iconic buildings are known the world over: the soaring Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the famous Latin Quarter on the Left Bank, the Champs-Elysées, and Montmartre.
The capital's museums are among the best in the world, with the Louvre leading the way. And don’t forget the Centre Pompidou with its exciting contemporary art exhibitions, the fabulous collections of Impressionists and Post-Impressionists in the Musée d’Orsay, converted from a former railway station, and the less well known but superb Cluny Museum where medieval treasures like the 15th-century Lady and the Unicorn Tapestry are to be discovered. Then there are the small quartiers with their street markets and restaurants and bars where the locals hang out.
Paris may be the capital but France is very regionally minded, and for a true taste of the country you need to explore other regions and cities.
If you’re staying in Paris, make time for some visits to nearby attractions, like Fontainebleau, Vaux le Vicomte which was the inspiration for much of Versaille, and Alexandre Dumas’ Chateau de Monte Christo.
Aix-en-Provence in the Bouches-du-Rhône
The old capital of Provence is one of the south of France’s most charming cities. It has everything you would expect: architecture that takes you back to the 17th and 18th centuries, elegant patrician houses, and long tree-lined avenues where bubbling fountains keep the summer temperature cool.
Old Aix is a great place to stroll through, centered around the famous Cours Mirabeau where the plane trees meet over the avenue lined with cafés and restaurants that spill out onto the pavements. Artists and writers who flocked to Aix met at the Café des Deux Garçons at no. 53.
The cathedral St-Sauveur, the Quartier Mazarin, the Fondation Vasarely and the Tapestry Museum are good places to step into. Then sit in a café or restaurant surrounded by locals and the students that make Aix such a lively city. The final great bonus is the famous open-air markets that fill the streets daily.
Above all, Aix is the city of Paul Cézanne who was born and lived here. You can follow his life in Aix, then drive out to La Ste-Victoire, the mountain that the artist painted 60 times.