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Cultural sightseeing in France. What to visit - museums, temples, castles and palaces

France is the most popular and visited country, and Paris the most toured city in the world. This is not surprising because the country has an incredibly rich cultural history. Millions of people go to France to get acquainted with its architecture, castles, amazing museums and enjoy the spirit of its historic streets. In France, there are also museums with unique collections of old art pieces, exhibitions of ultra-modern popular authors and monuments of architecture of different times. One of the most ancient cultural constructions of the country is the Mezon Carre ("square house"), located in Provence. It was founded in the 1st century BC and is a temple of ancient Roman temple. Even the orthodox Catholics did not destroy the majestic structure. They converted it into a temple.
France is a country with an incredibly rich culture and a huge number of castles and historic buildings. In some of them, hotels are located in which …
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One of the most visited places in France is the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, a symbol of the French capital, sung about in the novel by Victor Hugo. The building was founded in the 12th century and represents a unique example of the Gothic style. In the cathedral, there is a crown of Christ, one of the most important Christian relics. The Cathedral of Our Lady of Paris is located in the historical center of the capital, on the island of Cite. Nearby, is another important place in the city - the cathedral of Saint-Chapelle of the 13th century. On Montmartre is another unique structure - the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur ("Basilica of the Sacred Heart") of the 19th century. The temple was built in memory of the victims of the Franco-Prussian war in the Byzantine style. It towers over the most famous hill in Paris and houses the biggest bell of the city.
In the suburbs of Paris, there are two legendary places where the history of the country was created and the destinies of its kings were made. In Versailles, is the famous Versailles palace built by one of the most famous French kings - Louis XIV, the sun king. In the palace is the Museum of France, where you can fill in the gaps of history and get acquainted with the exciting history of the royal court and the whole country. Around the palace is a picturesque park, decorated with statues and fountains. Another palace is located in Fontainebleau. In it four French monarchs were born and in its halls, Napoleon Bonaparte was abdicated. The Palace of Fontainebleau has uniquely luxurious interiors in the Empire style. Several picturesque parks are broken on its territory. It has its own theater. Copyright
France is not a deeply religious country; almost half of its inhabitants do not belong to any religion. However Christmas is celebrated in its cities …
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In the valley of the Loire are unique monuments of European architecture - the famous castles. The complex consists of more than 70 castles and fortresses, built mainly in the middle ages and preserved to our days. The largest castle in the region is the castle of Blois, built in the 13th century. The residence in Blois was of great political importance. Here Louis XIII sent his mother, Marie de Medici after being removed from court. The castle is one of the main attractions of the region and is depicted on many postcards. Another famous castle of the Loire is Amboise. It was in it that Leonardo da Vinci created the "Gioconda". His grave is also on the territory of the castle. Chateau de Chaumont-sur-Loire till date is one of the extraordinary castles of the Loire. It was founded in the 10th century.
The main museum of France and the most famous museum in the world is the Louvre. Annually it is visited by nearly 10 million people. It is located in the ancient royal palace and is one of the oldest museums in the world. In it there are collections of Ancient Iran, Rome, Egypt, priceless sculptures and canvases as well as art objects. The most famous exhibits are the "Mona Lisa" by Leonardo da Vinci, "The beautiful gardener" by Raphael, "Venus de Milo". In Paris is another major museum of fine art - the Museum of Orsay. It contains the famous canvases of Van Gogh, Pissarro, Monet, Manet, Degas, Gauguin, Renoir, and Sisley. Also in Paris, it is worth visiting the National Museum of Natural History open to visitors as far back as the 18th century. It features a garden of plants, a paleontological museum, an evolution gallery and a human museum.
France is rich not only with cultural attractions. On its territory, there are 10 picturesque national parks carefully protected by the state. The …
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The main cultural center of the French capital is the Center Georges Pompidou, founded by the former president of France. It is a center for the study and preservation of contemporary art in all its directions. In Marseilles on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, there is an interesting Museum of the Civilization of Europe and the Mediterranean. In Lyon is a fascinating museum of the Gallo-Roman civilization, whose exhibition helps shed light on the origin of the French state. It contains unique antique artifacts. In Clermont-Ferrand in a very beautiful historical building, is located the Bargouin Museum, where exhibits of fine art, a collection of antique coins and archaeological exhibits are displayed.
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Fantastic City Tours and Excursions in France

Reference information
Map of all art museums
Art galleries in France
♥   Art museum 'Centre Pompidou' Paris. On the map   Photos
♥   Art museum 'Centre Pompidou-Metz; The Golden Courtyard Museums' Metz. On the map   Photos
♥   Art museum 'Contemporary and Outsider Art' Villeneuve-d’Ascq. On the map   Photos
♥   Art museum 'Fondation Bemberg' Toulouse. On the map   Photos
♥   Art museum 'Fondation Calvet' Avignon. On the map   Photos
Map of all churches
Cathedrals and basilicas in France
♥   Ancienne cathédrale Sainte-Eulalie-et-Sainte-Julie, Elne. On the map   Photos
♥   Ancienne cathédrale Santa-Maria-Assunta, Saint-Florent. On the map   Photos
♥   Basilique-Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Perpignan. On the map   Photos
♥   Ancienne cathédrale Saint-Lizier, Saint-Lizier. On the map   Photos
♥   Église Saint-Martin, Limoux. On the map   Photos
♥   Basilique Notre-Dame de Marceille, Limoux. On the map   Photos
♥   Basilique Saint-Pie X, Lourdes. On the map   Photos
Map of all palaces
Palaces in France
♥   Palace 'Château d’Amboise' . On the map   Photos
♥   Palace 'Château d’Anet' . On the map   Photos
♥   Palace 'Château d’Angers' . On the map   Photos
♥   Palace 'Château d’Azay-le-Rideau' . On the map   Photos
♥   Palace 'Château d’Ussé' . On the map   Photos

Extreme Guinness-type places in France

Historic city of Lyon

From the series “The Most Interesting UNESCO Sites in France”
The historic district of Old Lyon is also rich in unique architectural and religious attractions. It is a landmark of world significance thanks to them today. The most active development of the historic district took place during the Renaissance. Most of the historical buildings managed to survive in their original form to this day thanks to the strict policy of the city authorities.

St. Paul's Cathedral is one of the most beautiful architectural monuments of these places. It is considered one of the oldest churches in Lyon. The very first church was built in its place in the 6th century. The cathedral building was used by local merchants as a chamber of commerce for some time during the Middle Ages. La Rue Juiverie is considered the most beautiful and interesting street in the historic … Read all

Fortified city of Carcassonne

From the series “The Most Interesting UNESCO Sites in France”
The medieval city of Carcassonne is also sure to impress those who like to walk through interesting historical places. The city is located on the banks of the River Aude. The very first fortification was built in this place in the Gallo-Roman period. The territory of the medieval city is surrounded by two rows of defensive walls today. Their length is about 3,000 meters. The structure of the fortress wall has 52 towers. Many interesting buildings from the Middle Ages are located behind the wall.

The Count's Castle and the beautiful Basilica of Saints Nazarius are preserved here. The last major reconstruction of the citadel took place in the 19th century. The opening of the historical museum took place on the territory of the fortress in 1961. The territory of the fortress is available … Read all
All unique sightseeing France
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Map of sights Map of sights in France

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Top cultural sites of France: monuments, theaters and churches

Abbey of Saint Victor, Marseille

Location on the map:   Interesting facts: » According to the chronicles, the building was constructed in the 5th century. Later, militant nomads destroyed it. The Catholic monastery was rebuilt in the 11th century.
»  The dwelling is named after the warrior and martyr St. Victor who lived in the 3rd century. It was executed upon the order of the nobles for his refusal to participate in the rite of sacrificing to gods.
»  In the abbey, there is a preserved crypt with bishops’ relics dating back approximately to the 4th century.
»  There is the Black Madonna in the form of the ebony statuette. It is displayed to celebrate the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Parishioners light green candles symbolizing hope.
»  Today, the monastery is not working. However, its church still welcomes visitors.
»  The building is fenced with the notched protective wall. The Abbey of Saint Victor resembles a fortification with its exterior: it has thick walls with loopholes and rectangular towers. There is a bell on one of it. The exterior is plain.
»  During the French Revolution, the halls of the abbey were turned into a barn where prisoners were detained. There were also barracks for soldiers.
»  There is the altar of white marble (the 5th century), the sculpture of the Great Martyr, and the organ.
»  You need to go through the arched stone doorway to get inside.

Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere, Lyon

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere is a landmark of Lyon that is under the protection of UNESCO. It is located on top of the Fourviere hill and seen from any parts of the city.
»  The basilica was built in 1168 at the site of an old church. When it was destroyed, the chapel remained undamaged and has survived to this day.
»  The magnificent church with four towers and a belfry has two naves. The upper one is decorated with stained glass windows, sculptures, and mosaics. In the basement, there is the crypt of St. Joseph. The basilica was completed only in 1964.
»  The chapel preserved since ancient times was restored in 1845. Its top is decorated with the huge golden statue of the Virgin Mary. Exactly in this chapel, Anne of Austria prayed for the birth of a son in 1630.

Basilica of St. Michael, Bordeaux

Location on the map:   Interesting facts: » In the basilica, services visited by worshipers living outside the city. Industrialists donated to its construction.
»  It started to be built in the 14th century. The construction lasted over 2 centuries. The bell tower is 114 m high.
»  When it was reconstructed in 1791, 70 graves were found in the basement of the basilica. The bodies were well preserved in the clay soil. Mummies were deposited in the crypt of the cathedral. In 1990, the remains were buried at the city cemetery.
»  Its exterior is decorated with multiple prolonged stone arches. You can see openwork patterns on them. Above the entrance, there is a decorative element in the form of the outlet with floral ornaments.
»  The inner space is divided into 17 sectors. Each one is dedicated to particular craftsmen. Here, you can see old items and canvasses telling about past epochs. In one of the rooms, you can see the wooden altar of the 17th century. In the anglers’ sector, there is the statue of St. Catherin, the patroness of sailors.
»  The central room is 75 m long, 38 m wide, and 23 m high. The hallway leads to the open gallery with an organ in it.
»  22 bells proclaim the beginning of the service.

Cathedrale Notre-Dame, Grenoble

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The cathedral was first mentioned in the chronicles of 902. It was recognized as the Church of the Virgin Mary.
»  During the excavations in 1989, it was found out that there had already been a religious building at the site of the modern cathedral. It was constructed in the 3rd century. A room where people were baptized was found here.
»  In the 4th century, there was a clergymen’s residence.
»  In the 13th century, the complex of several constructions (a parish church, a cathedral, and a courtyard) was built.
»  The church was completed and rebuilt of different materials in different periods of history.
»  The lower level dates back to the 12th century. It is limestone. The upper level is brick. There is also a quadrangular belfry. The spire of the tower is 17 m high. There are arched windows at all the levels. Higher levels have more windows.
»  At the side of the building, there are sarcophagi with the remains of heirs to the throne.
»  In the hall, there is a 14-meter altar that dates back to the 15th century. A wooden carved table in the middle of the altar was made in the 18th century.
»  Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Grenoble is located on the Square of the Mother of God.

Cathedrale Saint-Andre, Grenoble

Location on the map:   Interesting facts: » The Prince of Grenoble dreamed of showing his superiority over the head of the religious community. The Cathedral of Saint Andrew was built upon his order.
»  So, the church was consecrated in honor of the apostle, intercessor, and patron of Guigues VI.
»  The building was much more important and bigger than the modern one. It belonged to clergymen and did not formally obey the bishop.
»  Here, the heir to the king found burial places for himself and his successors. There was a sarcophagus with remains until the shrine had been looted by militant Protestant Huguenots in the 16th century.
»  The foundation is supported by limestone blocks. Upper walls are brick. The octagonal spire of the bell tower is 56 m high. Four small bells are covered with silver tuff.
»  In the 14th century, a clock was mounted to the tower. At that time, it was the first tower clock in the city. Its hands resemble dolphins.
»  Bordeaux Cathedral is built in the Gothic style that features narrow lancet vaults, a unique structure, and high windows.
»  The house is unusual and resembles a magical palace but not a religious building.

Eglise Saint Georges, Lyon

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The Church of St. George is a traditional building. It was erected in the neo-Gothic style (the movement dates back to the Middle Ages), which is reflected in the facing of the building.
»  It was originally named the Church of Eulalia in honour of a 13-year-old girl ranked among the Christian martyrs in the Roman Empire.
»  The invasion by Saracens, nomadic robbers, damaged the building.
»  In the 14th century, it became the main house of the Hospitallers. This Christian organization took care of the poor, but parishioners could attend the temple.
»  Restoration works began in 802. It is mentioned as a divine place in Bishop Leidrad’s letter.
»  The church was restored in the 9th century. The temple was reconstructed in 1844.
»  French architect Pierre Bossan created a through stone pattern around the perimeter of the building. The interior of the elongated room is partly decorated with 19th-century drawings and sculptures by renowned craftsman Charles Dufraine.
»  The building is made of red brick. It consists of the main hall. A two-level rectangular tower was built onto it. The exterior of the church is not replete with stucco decorations, which makes the building look strict.

Eglise Saint Paul, Strasbourg

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The 76-meter church is distinguished by two thin spires. They are thin not by accident and emphasize the height and significance of the construction.
»  It also features 16 entrances. Originally, the building served as the house of worship for German military units in the city. There are 16 entrance doors, just like garrisons.
»  During the service, the building can accommodate up to 3 000 worshipers.
»  There are two lodges on both sides of the pedestal for the choir. One of them is used by the Emperor’s family and the other one - by the city authorities.
»  There are separation hallways inside. Between them, there are wooden seats for worshipers.
»  Wall panels are decorated with religious paintings.
»  The picture created by stained glass windows depicts Christ and his followers. The original windows have not been preserved. Some of them were broken by airstrikes during the Second World War. The heavy hail broke the extant ones. All the stained glass windows of the church are new.
»  The sonority of the organ (1897) was not enough for St. Paul Cathedral. It had been restored for 6 months.
»  It started to be built in 1892.
»  The construction lasted 5 years.

Eglise Saint-Pierre, Bordeaux

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» There was the Apostle Peter’s Sanctuary at the site of the modern cathedral. It was mentioned in the chronicles of the 6th century.
»  In the 12th century, the chapel was built here. There are preserved medieval gravestones found at the church cemetery. Nowadays, they are transferred to the museum for storage. It turns out that the English nationals were buried here when the region was a part of England.
»  The western wall with Gothic windows has been preserved.
»  The building you can see today was built in the 14th-15th centuries. There are a preserved altar and the sculpture of the 17th century. It represents the Mother of God mourning Jesus (the Virgin Mary with dead Christ on her knees).
»  One of the canvasses (1664) is situated in the niche to the left of the bell tower. The painting depicts St. Peter taking the keys of the gate of heaven.
»  Other interior elements date back to the 19th century.
»  Stained glass windows are very interesting. On the glass, you can see scenes from Apostle Peter’s life. He patronizes the cathedral.
»  The city cathedral has been the historic monument of the French cultural heritage.

Culture and monuments in popular cities of France

The legendary Moulin Rouge cabaret is famous far beyond the borders of the country. The cabaret has frequently become the inspiration for filmmakers, who have devoted many movies to it. Nowadays this is not just a nighttime entertainment, but a real museum. The halls of the cabaret are decorated with antique furniture, and on its walls you will see photos and newspaper clippings, some of which are more than one hundred years old. Every tourist should definitely see this wonderful show at least … Read more
The old bell tower, which was built in the 16th century, is located nearby. The attractive building has almost not changed its look over the centuries. The bell tower even still has the astronomic clock that was installed in 1661. A beautiful fountain is located in the center of the main square. Several attractive old streets start here. Many streets in the historic city center are pedestrian-only, and this makes it even more comfortable to explore Aix-en-Provence on foot. Cathédrale … Read more
The amphitheater was transformed into a fortress at the end of the 6th century and more than 200 homes were built inside it. This is when the former arena turned into the central city square. The first global reconstruction of the landmark started in the 16th century. It was decided to cancel all changes and turn the arena into a venue for celebrations and other events, just like centuries ago. It was regularly hosting corrida bullfighting in the 19th century. Today, the ancient amphitheater … Read more
For many years, the medieval castle was the residence of rich citizens of Annecy. Each new owner was adding something new to the look of the building. In the 17th century, a prison was opened in Le Palais de I’lle. Later, the castle was turned into a military warehouse. Nowadays, the gorgeous historical building houses an interesting museum dedicated to the historic heritage of Annecy. Visit an excursion to Le Palais de I’lle to be able to admire the rich collection and explore the most … Read more
Not far away from the square are located beautiful historic buildings, which are also important sightseeing objects. Russian quarter is home to various religious sites and attractions of Nice. Here you will find Cathedral of St. Nicholas, a memorial chapel and a beautiful church located nearby. You should definitely not forget to walk along the boulevard of Nicholas II, which is also home to a beautiful church and several mansions. Among the cultural institutions that are worth visiting is Le … Read more
Tourists will be interested to see the beautiful orthodox Church of Archangel Michael, which was built in the 19th century by order of Russian Empress Maria Alexandrovna. Cannes was the favorite holiday destination of the aristocracy, so the local monuments were visited by numerous noble and famous visitors. Today the high bell tower of the church is visible from almost any part of the city. The church houses a large collection of ancient icons and other religious artifacts. Prosper Merimee … Read more
In front of the Sanctuary is a vast square, which is never empty. Located on the banks of the Gave de Pau River, it is connected to a beautiful park area by a small pedestrian bridge. These places are sure to please those who prefer healthy outdoor recreation and walks in the fresh air. Lourdes has another interesting religious monument - the Church of the Sacred Heart. Despite the fact that it is often left without the attention of tourists, the picturesque church is one of the tallest and … Read more
Amphitheatre Gallo-Romain is located on the hill of Fourvière. Its construction took place during the reign of Tiberius Emperor. In ancient times there were large-scale entertainment and other community events on that site. The Museum of history is an important attraction that can’t be ignored. The collection represented in the museum covers the large-scale period from the early Middle Ages to the 19th century. During the tour, visitors will learn about the most important events that have … Read more

France map of cultural and historical sites

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