The 20 best places to visit in Northern France


Built in 1957 in the coastal town of Le Havre, as part of the re-construction after the British bombing during World War II, St. Joseph's Church is a memorial to those civilians who died in the conflict. Standing 107 metres (351 ft) high it can be seen from almost anywhere in the city, especially at night when illuminated. An impressive landmark from the outside, visitors should make the extra effort to enter the building and see the Neo Gothic interior with it's colourful sci-fi inspired atrium. Considered an outstanding example of post war urban planning, the entire city of Le Havre has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

20. St. Joseph's Church


Directly north of the countries capital, Paris, is the city of Amiens, at it's heart lies the Gothic Cathedral Basilica Of Our Lady Of Amiens, more simply referred to as Amiens Cathedral. Built in the 13th century, with a spire height of 112 metres (370 ft) it is the tallest completed cathedral in France, and the 19th largest church in the world. It's exterior is a masterpiece renowned for the quality and quantity of early 13th century Gothic sculptures in it's main steep facade, while it's interior still holds original Renaissance statues and stained glass windows. One of the finest in the country, Amiens Cathedral has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

19. Cathédrale Notre-Dame d'Amiens


Completed in 1755, east of the countries capital, Paris, in the city of Nancy is the large pedestrianised square of Place Stanislas. Built to connect the new town with the medieval old town, the square is flanked by some of the cities most impressive historical buildings, these include the City Hall, the Opera house and the fine arts museum. Considered a masterpiece of 18th century urban planning the square has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

18. Place Stanislas


In the north east of the country close to the border with Germany is the medieval village of Eguisheim, a member of Les Plus Beaux Villages De France (The Most Beautiful Villages Of France). It's old town is made up of narrow cobbled streets lined with many preserved half timbered houses that along with the nearby Chateau Saint-Leon dates back to the 13th century.

17. Eguisheim


North west of the countries capital, Paris, is the capital of the Normandy region, the city of Rouen, one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe. Despite destruction during the first and second world wars, the historic centre with it's picturesque cobbled streets still holds around 2,000 half timbered houses, many of which have been reconstructed to match their original look. The pride of the city is it's enormous 11th century cathedral and the Gros Horloge, a colourful and ornate 16th century Gothic astronomical clock that hangs above the street on a Renaissance arch.

16. Rouen


To the south west of the countries capital, Paris, is the town of Chartres, known worldwide for it's incredible cathedral, The Cathedral Of Our Lady Of Chartres. Completed around the year 1220 AD, standing 113 metres (377 ft) to it's tallest spire, the exterior is dominated by flying buttresses and is notable for it's three main facades adorned with hundreds of sculpted figures. Considered a high point in French Gothic art, Chartres Cathedral has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

15. Cathédrale Notre-Dame De Chartres


In the Normandy region, north from the city of Le Havre on the far north western coast is Etretat, famous for it's white chalk cliffs that can reach up to 90 metres (300 ft) above the sea below. The most famous portion of the cliffs include three natural arches and a pointed formation known as L'Aguille or the Needle, itself rising 70 metres (230 ft) above the sea.

14. Étretat Cliffs


North east of the countries capital, Paris, in the city of Reims is the incredible 'Our Lady Of Reims', more commonly known as Reims Cathedral. Completed in 1275 AD with a height of 81 metres (266 ft) to it's tallest tower it is another of the countries most incredible church buildings. The location where French Kings were crowned, this French Gothic cathedral attracts over one million visitors a year and is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

13. Notre-Dame De Reims


In the north east of the country close to the border with Germany on the Alsace Wine Route is the beautiful medieval town of Riquewihr. One of the few towns in the region not badly damaged during World War II, the cobbled streets and historical half timbered shops look more or less as they did in the 16th century. It certainly is deserving of it's place as a member of Les Plus Beaux Villages De France (The Most Beautiful Villages Of France).

12. Riquewihr


In the north east of the country close to the border with Germany on the Alsace Wine Route is the beautiful village of Kaysersberg. Surrounded by vineyards, forested hills and other picturesque towns such as Colmar, Riqewihr and Eguisheim, Kaysersberg is considered to be one of the most impressive towns of the Alsace region, particularly it's medieval centre of tall colourfully painted half timbered historical buildings among tight cobbled streets. It is another nominee on the list of Les Plus Beaux Villages De France (The Most Beautiful Villages Of France).

11. Kaysersberg


In the extreme north of the country along the Belgian border, closer to Brussels than it is to the French capital, Paris, is the city of Lille, the fifth largest city in the country. Once within the borders of Belgium it's easy to see the heavy Flemish influence within it's architectural styles, none more so than in the beautiful old town centre within the huge Grand Place. This enormous cobbled city square is surrounded by steep colourful and decorative buildings dating back to the 17th century.

Pictured is Lille Grand Place.

10. Lille


Completed in 1552 to the south of the countries capital, Paris, and close to the town of Bourges is the Chateau De Chenonceau. Spanning the River Cher, this Gothic Renaissance styled castle is today a national historical monument, the best known castle of the Loire Valley and the second most visited Chateau in the country after the Royal Palace Of Versailles.​ This picturesque castle with the river running under it's arched foundations is certainly one of the most unique in France, if not all of Europe.

9. Château De Chenonceau


Completed in 1547 directly south of the countries capital, Paris, close to the Chateau De Chenonceau is the enormous Chateau De Chambord, the single largest castle of the Loire Valley and one of the largest castles in Europe. Surrounded by 13,000 acres of wooded park land, home to wild red deer, enclosed by a 31 kilometre (20 mile) wall, it's distinctive French Renaissance architecture has made it one of the most recognisable and revered castles in Europe, with Leonardo Da Vinci believed to have played a part in it's design. The Chateau De Chambord and surrounding lands have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

8. Château De Chambord


In the far north east of the country, a stones throw from the German border is the city of Strasbourg, the 9th largest in France. At it's centre is the Grand Île, meaning 'Grand Island', where cobbled streets lead between steep colourful ancient buildings along crisscrossing canals. The jewel of the city is the 15th century Strasbourg Cathedral, standing 142 metres (466 ft) high it is among the tallest churches in the world today, offering visitors the most incredible views over the centre of the city. Considered among the finest examples of late Gothic architecture, this mammoth church is the tallest existing structure built entirely within the middle ages, and was between 1647 and 1874 the tallest building on the planet. The Grand Île is an exemplary example of a medieval city, with the entire historical centre of Strasbourg being declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

7. Strasbourg


Dating back to the 12th century, to the south east of the capital, Paris, is the enormous and opulent Palace Of Fontainebleau, with 1,500 rooms it is one of the largest Royal Chateaus in France. Sitting within a 130 hectare park of historic gardens, the giant building wraps itself around four main courtyards. It's interior is considered the most decorative in Europe, with Renaissance masterpieces throughout, artworks and decoration inspired by none other than Marie Antoinette, Napoleon Bonaparte, among the thirty four kings and two emperors that once lived within it's wall. Today the Palace Of Fontainebleau is a national museum and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

6. Château De Fontainebleau


Completed in 1230 AD in the central French city of Bourges, directly south of the capital, Paris, is the hugely impressive French Gothic and Romanesque Bourges Cathedral. Dominated by it's flying buttresses, this most incredible landmark has also retained many of it's original stained glass windows. Standing within immaculately maintained gardens it's easy to marvel at the grandeur of this magnificent church building, which unsurprisingly has been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

5. Cathédrale Saint-Étienne De Bourges


In the north east of the country close to the border with Germany is the town of Colmar, one of the most picturesque in all of France. It's old town is a place of cobbled streets lined with colourful half timbered medieval and early Renaissance buildings. Having survived the French Revolution and the great wars that followed, the centre of Colmar has remained extremely well preserved, holding architectural landmarks reflecting eight centuries of Germanic and French architecture. Renowned in the region by tourists and locals alike, a particular beauty spot crossed by canals, adorned with flowers and colourful facades is an area known as La Petite Venise, or Little Venice. Colmar is also the birthplace of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the designer of the Statue Of Liberty. In 2004 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death a 12 metre (39 ft) high replica was built in his honour.

Pictured is La Petite Venise (Little Venice).

4. Colmar


To the south west of the capital, Paris, is one of the countries most visited and well known landmarks, the incredible Palace Of Versailles. Built in 1623 this enormous building has 700 rooms, over 2,000 windows, 1,250 fireplaces and 67 staircases. The detail, the scale, the statues, fountains and immaculately kept Gardens Of Versailles are the epitome of French style and opulence. Grand and spectacular inside and out, the Palace Of Versailles is one of the most visited locations in France, one of the most well known palaces in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

3. Château De Versailles


Standing approximately 1 kilometre (0.6 miles) off the north western coast of Normandy, perched upon a rocky islet is the fortified island commune of Mont Saint-Michel, one of the countries most impressive and recognisable landmarks. Built between the 11th and 16th centuries, the Gothic styled Benedictine abbey dedicated to the archangel St. Michael is considered a wonder of the west. Unconquered, unique and iconic, it attracts over 3 million tourists a year, a protected French historical monument, Mont Saint-Michel has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

2. Le Mont Saint-Michel


The capital of France, Paris, a major world city famed for it's art, fashion, gastronomy and culture. Crisscrossed by the River Seine, the French capital is the largest city in Europe in both area and population. Home to some of the finest museums on Earth, UNESCO World Heritage Sites along with monuments and landmarks recognisable around the globe, it remains one of the most visited destinations on the planet.

With so much on offer, click here for the Must See Locations In Paris...

1. Paris

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