It’s no doubt that France has quite a few UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ranking after China, Italy and Spain. To discover these hidden gems, plan a trip to France and make sure you visit at least most of these if not all. To help you pick out a few places, here’s a peek into some of the spectacular sites that you can find in France.
Hailed as the favourite city of the French people, Bordeaux, or ‘the City of Art and History’ is a town close to the Atlantic coast of France and is brimming with striking yet historic buildings. UNESCO classified 1810 hectares of the city of Bordeaux as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. Entering this list made it the largest urban area to bear this tag. It is where 18th century sophistication bumps into contemporary French chic.
While in Bordeaux amble through the open-air large boulevards, gaze are the surroundings as you stroll through the narrow-cobbled stone medieval streets and enjoy some fun and frolic in the large squares bustling with lively crowds and quaint cafes. The riverside has renowned architect created by Dominique Perrault which is a key feature in the town’s list of attractions.
2. Seine River Banks, Paris (1991)
The iconic city of Paris is built along a bend in the River Seine, between the confluence of two rivers, Marne and the Oise. Paris’ history and evolution can be seen along the banks of the River Seine, from the Ile St Louis to the Pont Neuf to the Place de la Concorde to the Grand and Petit Palais and the Louvre to the Eiffel Tower.
Louvre is the world’s largest museum and is an icon of Paris. Located on the right bank of the River Seine within the 1st district or arrondissement, Louvre receives over 7 million visitors annually.
The Sainte Chapelle and the Cathedral of Notre-Dame are architectural works of art and became the source of the spread of Gothic architecture.
Place de la Concorde and the vista at the Invalide have had a tremendous influence on the urban development of European capitals.
3. Chartres Cathedral (1 hour from Paris)
This sight of pilgrimage is just a one hour train ride away from the capital city of Paris. It’s perfect for a day trip and has more than a million visitors every year! In was in 1979 that it was named as a heritage site. Over the years Chartres has also become a world-renowned centre for stained glass art and crafts. The International Stained Glass Centre on Cathedral square is a must-see for its permanent and temporary exhibits covering the Renaissance to modern times.
The hillsides, houses and wine cellars of Champagne was declared as a UNESCO world Heritage site a few ago in 2015. The wine-making region caught the attention of UNESCO as the produce from here was made and sold worldwide and hence, held cultural significance. Next time when you’re here, grab a bottle of champagne, pop it and enjoy it; but also think of its significance.
Along with visiting these iconic hills and vineyards, the city has some historic monuments which you must visit which also made it to UNESCO’s list in 1991 and they are the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Abbey of St-Remi and Tau Palace.
Explore Champagne with our Food Frenzy in France holiday!
5. Historic Centre of Dijon
The historic wine trading centre of Dijon has had its historic centre recorded as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015. Although an ancient small town, Dijon is the Burgundy’s capital and has preserved several characteristics from its rich past like the palaces, monuments, churches and townhouses. Few notable ones are Notre-Dame Church, St. Bénigne Cathedral, The Palace of the Dukes of Burgundy, etc. While in Dijon, make it a point to sight the Renaissance town-houses which have their own unique Burgundian-style roofs, they’re something else. Some streets such as re Verrerie have houses that date back to the 15th century! You can easily make Dijon a weekend getaway from Paris.
Explore Dijon with our culinary Food Frenzy in France holiday!
6. Gulf of Porto
You must think that heritage sites consist only of ancient cultural sites or to be made up of stone. But the Gulf of Porto in the island of Corsica begs to differ! A naturally spectacular location, it is made up of vast stretches of sea and land. Did you know this is where Napoleon was born? It is prevalently known as the ‘mountain in the Mediterranean’.
The island lies on the west coast of France and everything on the island is unique from the landmass to the wildlife and vegetation. It has dolphins, peregrine falcons, seals and cormorants. The vegetation known as maquis vegetation has all kinds of aromatic herbs like rosemary, myrtle and sage. Striking red cliffs, hidden marine caves, stacks of black volcanic rocks and azure waters speckled with islets make the gulf a truly stunning and wonder-worthy location.