If you’ve never been to France, you are in for a treat. France literally has it all… cultural sophistication, refined architecture, and infectious romance. You could visit any corner of the country and find treasures worth visiting, and creating an itinerary could prove quite challenging. As you work on your itinerary, here are four places that you won’t want to forget to include. And if you are in the area already, you may also want to give Nice a visit.
Chateau de Chenonceau
Work on this spectacular complex began in 1515. One of its most notable features is the graceful arched bridge. Its fascinating history, and its glorious setting combine to make it a visit that it’s hard not to be moved by.
Today, its interior is adorned with rare furnishings and works of art by such greats as Correggio, Murillo, Van Dyck, Tintoretto, and Ribera. Diane de Poitiers, King Henri II’s mistress, is responsible for its distinctive arches and formal garden.
Following the death of Henri II, Catherine de Medicis, his widow, took possession of it and added the western rose garden and yew-tree maze.
Musee du Louvre
The Louvre is the most visited museum in the entire world, and even its entrance, a marvelous glass pyramid, is a work of art. When you’ve finished admiring the entrance to the building, you’ll find some of the most exquisite works of art imaginable including Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, Egyptian mummies, and the Code of Hammurabi, a Babylonian law code dating back to 1754 BC.
Somehow, the museum has managed to capture the magic of transformation, taking visitors all the way through the centuries, and navigating through every French political and social sphere.
The Eiffel Tower was built to commemorate the French Revolution at its centennial celebration in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel, who’s as renowned for his bridges as for the Eiffel Tower. It is visited by more people from across the world than any other paid monument. It is particularly popular as the site for marriage proposals, which happen most often at night under the millions of multicolored lights that are spread over the tower. It’s a source of great pride to the French people, who to this day get emotional when they visit the site.
Cathedrale de Chartres
The most notable things about the Cathedrale de Chartres are the two beautiful soaring spires and its elaborate porches that are adorned with detailed sculptures and stained-glass windows that date from the 12th century. It all serves as a reminder that the cathedral is the symbol of the echelon of French Gothic art. It’s a true masterpiece of French architecture. The cathedral barely survived, some say miraculously, a fire that destroyed the whole town of Chartres in 1134. It’s been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the late 1970s.
All four of these sites serve as a tribute to French architecture, which is unsurpassed in the entire world. People are drawn to the castles, cathedrals, and amphitheaters, where so much history is forever tied. If you can work these sites into your itinerary, you’ll never regret having done so.