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8 Underrated Attractions in France

If you’re looking to step away from the busiest Parisian tourist spots but still want a taste of the charm and elegance of France, you’ll want to make these eight underrated attractions part of your itinerary. 

These attractions vary from entire cities to specific sites and buildings. They deliver the beauty we associate with France’s best-known regions and the character and elegance we hope to immerse ourselves in when daydreaming about a French getaway.

1. Palace of Versailles, Versailles

This famous building can get lost in the list of things to see in France, but it’s worth visiting. From interior to exterior, there’s so much to see and take in. The gardens are alluring even to those who don’t have a green thumb, the architecture is stunning, and the art is skillfully made and displayed within the palace’s interior.

2. Èze

Eze Rock France

Èze is a seaside gem found less than an hour’s drive from Nice. It’s home to cobblestoned streets, a Chateau tucked into the side of a mountain, views of the Mediterranean Sea, and the Michelin-star restaurant, La Chèvre d’Or. These features make it a wonderful place to escape to. 

While you’re there, you can spend time at Èze beach, walk through the Èze village, and take in historic sites like Église Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption, all while staying in a lavish hotel like the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo. 

3. Musée Escoffier de l’Art Culinaire, Villeneuve-Loubet

Musée Escoffier de l’Art Culinaire, Villeneuve-Loubet

This museum is an absolute must-visit if you’re drawn to France for its renowned culinary scenes and skilled chefs. It’s the only culinary arts museum in the country, and given how core culinary prowess is to France, it will certainly wow and inspire. 

It’s found in Villeneuve-Loubet on the French Riviera, and it’s a village well worth strolling through while you’re in the area. The village is the birthplace of the celebrated chef Auguste Escoffier, who’s been called ‘the king of chefs and the chef of kings’. 

He is considered a culinary pioneer due to his innovative approach, which earned him chef positions at iconic destinations like the Ritz Hotel. He even opened his own casino cafe – though this casino was quite different from the modern ones you can find online that support your preferred banking method, as it opened its doors more than a century ago in 1884. 

The museum explores France’s culinary arts beyond Escoffier, but his influence in the gastronomic arts makes his story significant.

4. Monet’s Garden, Giverny

Monet’s Garden, Giverny

While France is undoubtedly rich in art museums and galleries, Monet’s Garden delivers an entirely different way of appreciating art and the artist. The site was home to the impressionist painter Claude Monet and has been maintained in much the way it was in his time there. The gardens are lush, green, and stunning, and you just might recognise them from the artist’s paintings.

5. Lille

Lille is another appealing city to visit. It is known for its museums, street markets, food, and nightlife. If you’re looking for an art experience that rivals the Louvre, Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille is a fantastic option. It’s earned the nickname of the ‘Louvre of Lille’ and is home to widely recognised artists like Courbet, Raphael, and Rembrandt. For natural history lovers, the Musée d’Histoire Naturelle de Lille is home to fascinating exhibits that captivate.

The Le Vieux Lille area has historic Baroque buildings like the Grand Place and the Vieille Bourse. While meandering through the city, you can also visit the Wazemmes Market, one of the most popular markets in the city.

Lille is also home to multiple Michelin-rated and countless other restaurants with glowing reviews. The city’s many clubs and bars come to life in the evenings and deliver a party atmosphere. 

6. Notre-Dame de Sénanque Abbey, Gordes

Gently rolling fields of lavender are the sight we dream of when we think of France’s Provence, and at the Notre-Dame de Sénanque in Gordes, you’ll find exactly that. It delivers row upon row of lavender alongside the historic abbey and surrounding greenery that will enchant you. The abbey is still home to practising Monks, so the times when you can visit are limited, and it’s recommended that you book a visit ahead of time.

7. Avignon

This entire city is a wildly underrated gem with all the makings for a perfect French getaway: it’s in the South of France along the Rhône River, has historic sites, cafes, and plenty of scenic bars to stop and enjoy a glass of wine.

If you’re one for leisurely days basking on a cruise or a patio, then taking a cruise along the Rhône River or finding a cafe along the waterfront will surely keep you content and at ease. The city is old, with buildings dating back to the 1300s, which makes for interesting places to stop for history buffs or, for those less enthused by a history lesson, beautiful sites to walk through. 

The most significant of these buildings, the Palais des Papes, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since it once was a papal residence. (Though, ‘fortress’ is a more apt description than ‘residence’, given the building’s grandiosity.) 

8. Bordeaux

Bordeaux Travel & Street Photography by Ben Holbrook from

What would a list of attractions in France be if it didn’t include wine country? Bordeaux is an alluring place to visit, particularly if you’re one to enjoy a good glass of wine (though you’ll find more than just wine there, too!). While there, you can visit La Cité du Vin to participate in wine tastings and workshops or go on a winery tour to one of the many in the region.

Once you’ve had your fill of wine (or skip it altogether), you can visit stunning sites like the National Opera of Bordeaux, walk through the Jardin Public, or take a gander through marketplaces.

More Bordeaux


France oozes beauty, fine dining, and many other elements that make travelling there appealing. As far as underrated attractions go, the eight sites and cities here are just the tip of the baguette. There are so many places that deliver the charm of France that you’d be hard-pressed to visit without enjoying your time there.

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