The Ultimate France Bucket List: 150+ Must-do Activities in France

Are you heading to Europe soon and looking for the ultimate France Bucket List? We are here to help!

France is the most visited country in the world and if there is one thing you can be sure of, it’s that you will have plenty of things to do in France.

As a French person myself, I can promise you something: France is amazing and you will love travelling around my wonderful country.

Of course, Paris gets most of the credit but don’t stop your journey there. There is so much more to see! Castles, national parks, beautiful islands, hidden gems… the list is long!

In this article, you will discover over 150 bucket lists ideas for France.

In the first section, we will dive into the top 10 things to do in France and then you will find more specific ideas for each type of travellers.

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The ultimate France Bucket list

Top 10 Things to do in France: the ultimate Once in a lifetime experiences in France

Narrowing down the 10 best things to do in France was no small task but here it is! You will find below the top 10 activities to do during your trip to France.

1. Climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower

View of the Eiffel tower in Paris
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Eiffel Tower view
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The Eiffel Tower is, without the shadow of a doubt, the most famous landmark in Paris (if not the whole of France).

Located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, you can easily get there with public transport. There are several metro stops nearby (Champ de Mars, Bir-Hakeim and Passy).

There are several ways to experience the Eiffel Tower but no matter what, you should never leave Paris without having climbed up at least once.

Two types of tickets are available: stairs or lift.

The lift tickets are a bit more expensive but ideal for people who don’t feel like climbing up the 1,665 steps.

If you are up to the challenge though, it’s well worth taking the stairs. You will appreciate even more the experience!

PRO TIP: The Eiffel Tower is always very busy so it’s worth booking a skip-the-line ticket so you don’t spend time waiting around.

Once you get to the second and third floors, you will discover beautiful views of the City of Lights.

Unfortunately, you can’t go all the way to the top. This is solely used for broadcasting purposes.

If you want to take beautiful photos of the Eiffel Tower itself, you will need to walk a bit. Here are the best two spots:

  • From the beginning of the Champs de Mars, behind the Eiffel Tower
  • From the Trocadéro. Walk right behind the metro station to find the spot.

READ MORE: 14 Famous Landmarks in Paris You Must Visit

2. Exploring the Louvre Museum

Facade of the Louvre Museum in Paris
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The Louvre Museum in Paris
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Le Louvre is the most famous museum in the world and that is a must-do while in France.

Located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, Le Louvre used to be a royal palace until Louis XIV moved the residence of the King of France to Versailles.

This alone should give you an idea of how beautiful the palace is. It’s absolutely stunning and incredibly large.

Nowadays, Le Louvre is solely used as a museum and you will find some of the most famous pieces of art in the world.

The Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci is the most famous piece of the collection but that’s not the only thing to see.

Amongst the highlights, you’ll find: 

  •  Les Noces de Cana by Paolo Veronese
  • Le Sacre de l’Empereur Napoléon by Jacques-Louis David
  • La Liberté Guidant le Peuple 
  • Psyche Revived by the Kiss of Love by Antonio Canova

As previously mentioned, Le Louvre is insanely big so a day is more than necessary to explore it. It won’t even be enough to see it all but it should be fine to see the best parts.

PRO TIP: If you want to make the best of your time, consider joining a guided tour. The local guides know exactly where the pieces are located and they will save you time as well as telling you interesting stories.

The Louvre is also known for its glass pyramid located in the main court. You can easily access this part for free and it’s an excellent photo spot.

3. Discovering the beautiful lavender fields in Provence

Lavender fields in south of france
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Provence lavender fields in france

Let’s head to the south of France now. Welcome to Provence, France’s most flowery region!

Provence is famous for its beautiful lavender fields and if you are visiting between May and July, make sure to add this to your French bucket list!

There are hundreds of lavender farms in Provence and the Lubéron so you can be sure to find many of them.

Make sure to stop in a local farm that organises visits so you can walk in the fields and discover the local products.

Lavender is known for its health benefits and amazing smell. You will find loads of soaps, creams, candles and other products made from lavender.

If you hired a car, you can easily go on a road trip through the South of France and see them all around.

Alternatively, you can book a day trip from Avignon or Nice

4. Exploring the most beautiful villages in France

La rue noire in Collonges la rouge
Rue de la barriere in Collonges La rouge

France is full of picturesque and unique villages. From the Alsace to the South West, you will find many stunning villages that will make you feel like you’ve just stepped into a fairytale.

How can you know where the most beautiful villages in France are? Well that’s easy, there is a designation for that. 

It’s called Les Plus Beaux Villages de France. If you go on the official website, you will find the complete list as well as a map.

But as you ask, here are some recommendations:

  • Autoire. A beautiful village in the Lot, on the edge of the river Dordogne. It’s the perfect place to see the cliffs and discover the stunning waterfall of Autoire.
  • Collonges-La-Rouge. Located in Corrèze, Collonges is such a unique village. It’s entirely made of red stone! Absolutely stunning.
  • Rocamadour and St Cirq Lapopie. Two beautiful hilltop villages in the Lot.
  • Najac. A cute village in Aveyron with a stunning castle on top of a hill. There are also a lot of outdoor activities around here.
  • Gordes. A cute hilltop village in the heart of the Lubéron.
  • Conques. A beautiful gem on the Camino of Santiago.

5. Wine Tasting in the Bordeaux region

Vineyards near Bordeaux in France
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Bordeaux wines in france
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Located in South West France, Bordeaux is one of the most beautiful cities in France as well as the most famous wine region in the country.

Over 700 million bottles of wine are produced here every year so needless to say that you will be spoilt for choice!

There is a bit of everything here but if you wanted to discover some of the most expensive and prestigious wines in the world, you will definitely be able to do so.

Most wines produced in the Bordeaux region are red. As a matter of fact, when a French person says “un Bordeaux”, s/he is referring to red wine.

That having been said, you will also find some delicious sweet white wine such as the Sauternes.

If you are a foodie and want to learn more about the wine culture in France, take a day trip from Bordeaux to Saint-Emilion

It’s one of the best villages when it comes to wine. You’ll find many producers and can visit the vineyards. 

You will learn more about the traditional methods and will get to taste delicious wines.

Click here to see the prices.

6. Going to the Christmas market in Strasbourg

Christmas Markets in Strasbourg France

Located in the beautiful Alsace region, at the border with Germany, Strasbourg is known as the capital of Christmas.

Each year in December, the city becomes a life-size winter wonderland.

If you love everything Christmas-related, visiting Strasbourg in December should be at the top of your bucket list. It’s magical!

Strasbourg is home to the oldest Christmas market in France. It was founded in 1570 and has been running ever since. You will find over 300 wooden chalets all around the city.

Due to the proximity with Germany, Strasbourg Christmas market really has this strong traditional feel.

To make the best of your time, consider joining a food tour of the Christmas market. You will get to try 3 delicious Vins chauds (mulled wine) as well as local bakery treats, raclette cheese and many more things.

You will also love taking photos around the city. It’s full of Christmas lights and the giant Christmas tree is fabulous.

READ MORE: 23 Best Christmas Markets in Europe That You Must Visit

7. Skiing in the Alps

Skiing in Courchevel in the French Alps
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Skiing near the Mont Blanc in the Alps in France
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France is home to some of the best ski resorts in the world and if you are into winter sports, you will be in for a treat in the Alps!

You will even find the world’s largest alpine ski domain, Les Trois Vallées. There are hundreds of kilometres of alpine runs as well as activities for non-skiers. You can even find the longest ski run in Europe here (La Sarenne).

Although it’s a bit of an expensive activity, it is definitely a must-do in France.

The best ski resorts in the French Alps are Courchevel, Val d’Isere, Chamonix, Les Arcs and l’Alpe d’Huez.

If you choose to stay in Chamonix, you will also get to discover Europe’s highest mountain, the Mont Blanc.

To enjoy your time, rent a chalet in one of the ski resorts and stay near the slopes. It will save you time.

You can also opt for a hotel with a spa. There is something pretty magical about being in a hot tub while looking at the snowy mountains.

Here are some recommendations: 

8. Learning about the French Royalty at Versailles Palace

Gardens of Versailles in France
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Visiting the palace of Versailles in France
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Located about 1 hour from Paris city centre, Versailles Palace is the most famous Royal Palace in France.

It was built by King Louis XIII but then expanded by King Louis XIV who made it his royal residence.

Louis XIV was nicknamed the Sun King. He is the most famous King of France. He became king at the age of 5 and lived until the age of 77, which was extraordinary at this time.

He decided to make Versailles the official Royal Palace so he could control his nobles better.

Loads of money was invested into the palace and gardens. The goal at the time (17th century) was to make the best palace in the world.

This part was pretty successful as there is one thing that we all know, Versailles is gorgeous.

Gold, gems, crystal, marble, Italian gardens… it truly has it all.

As a traveller, you can visit both the palace and the gardens. Tickets can be bought here.

Although the Palace only ticket is a bit cheaper, you shouldn’t take this one. Make sure to visit the gardens as well. They are stunning and you would be missing out!

As Versailles can get incredibly busy, it’s also recommended to buy a skip-the-line ticket or to book a guided tour.

For an even more magical experience, book a ticket for the musical fountains show in the gardens.

9. Walking on D-Day landing beaches in Normandy

D-day beach in Normandy France
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D-day statue in Normandy France
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Normandy became world-famous at the end of WWII as it’s the place where the allies landed.

If you are a bit of a history buff, a trip to Normandy to discover the D-day landing beaches is a must-do.

There are five of them and they were code-named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.

D-Day was on the 6th of June 1944. About 3,000 Allied men lost their lives on D-Day and the beaches have since become a place of remembrance.

If you have your own car (or are renting one), opt for a road trip on the coast of Normandy and stop at the various beaches and museums.

Alternatively, you can opt for a guided tour. This is particularly interesting as you will learn plenty about D-Day and what really happened there.

If you’d rather trying something different, you can also book a scenic flight above the beaches. See prices here.

10. Visiting the stunning Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint Michel in Normandy France
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Mont Saint Michel in Normandy
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Here is another unique site in Normandy: the Mont Saint-Michel.

This beautiful tidal island is home to a beautiful village and a stunning abbey. 

It is only accessible at low tide. When the water is low, it uncovers a path where you can walk. It is a popular pilgrimage place due to the abbey.

Fun fact: The Mont Saint-Michel is one of the rare places that wasn’t conquered during the 100 years’ war.

The site and its bay were added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1979 and welcomes over 3 million visitors each year.

To visit it, you will need to buy a ticket online. It’s very affordable knowing how much you will get to see.

You can also choose to book a walking tour if you want to learn more about the place. See prices here.

Finally, if you are staying in Paris, you can opt for an organised day tour.

French Food bucket list

Best french foods to eat in France
French dishes to eat in France

French cuisine is known in the entire world. From cheese to desserts and sauces, the French have it all. 

Here are some items to add to your French food bucket list.

  1. Eating crepes like there is no tomorrow
  2. Getting croissants and pains au chocolat for breakfast
  3. Ordering a Cassoulet in Toulouse or Carcassonne
  4. Going on a food tour in Lyon, the birthplace of French cuisine.
  5. Taking a cooking class in Paris
  6. Trying a bouillabaisse in Marseille
  7. Eating as much cheese as you can in Auvergne
  8. Eating a traditional “salade niçoise” in Nice
  9. Getting as many traditional patisseries as you can (éclairs, choux, millefeuilles…)
  10. Learn how to make Macarons at the Galeries Lafayette
  11. Eating some snails and frog legs
  12. Trying some Espelette pepper in the Basque country
  13. Eating some canelés in Bordeaux

READ MORE: Ultimate France Food Guide: What do people eat in France, Traditional Dishes & tips

French Drinks bucket list

Best drinks from France
Best french drinks

Food is important in France but so are drinks. In this section, you’ll discover the best activities in France for those who want to discover traditional drinks.

  1. Wine tasting in Burgundy
  2. Champagne tasting near Reims
  3. Discovering a Beaujolais village and taste an authentic local wine
  4. Trying the Pastis in Marseille
  5. Ordering a Gentiane liquor in a bar in Auvergne
  6. Trying France’s most famous fortified wine, the Pineau des Charentes
  7. Ordering a Monaco in a bar
  8. Going to La Cité du Vin in Bordeaux
  9. Going on a road trip on the Normandy cider route
  10. Visit the Château Royal de Cognac and go Cognac Tasting
  11. Opting for France’s favourite apéritif, the Kir Royal
  12. Discovering some of the best sweet white wines, Montbazillac and Sauternes
  13. Visiting the Veuve Clicquot winery.
  14. Going on a road trip on the Alsace wine route

READ MORE: 32 Authentic French Drinks You Must Try When Visiting France

Historical & Cultural activities in France

Cultural activities in France
France bucket list cultural activities

If you are a history buff, you will love discovering the most beautiful historical sites in France. Here is a list of the best cultural activities in France.

  1. Visiting the beautiful castles in the Loire Valley
  2. Visiting the Chateau de Chenonceau.
  3. Discovering wonderful masterpieces by famous impressionists at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris
  4. Visiting the unique Lascaux Cave in Dordogne
  5. ​​Dancing amongst Monet’s Water Lilies at the Orangerie
  6. Discovering the beautiful stained glass in Sainte-Chappelle
  7. Visiting the cité de Carcassonne, one of the best examples of medieval castles in France.
  8. Discovering the stunning Pont du Gard, near Nîmes.
  9. Discovering the Cathar castles in the South of France
  10. Visiting Chambord Castle, the most famous castle in the Loire Valley.
  11. Visiting the Château de Chantilly
  12. Visiting the Jacobins Convent in Toulouse
  13. Going to Verdun and the rench of the Bayonets (Tranchée des Baionnettes) to learn more about WWI
  14. Visiting the Reims Cathedral of Notre Dame
  15. Climbing the stairs to the Rooftop of the Arc de Triomphe and enjoy the breathtaking views over the Champs Elysées
  16. Visiting the Dijon Ducal Palace
  17. Strolling around the Old Town of Colmar in Alsace
  18. Visiting the Château de Fontainebleau, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  19. Discovering the Popes’ Palace in Avignon

READ MORE: 15 Famous Landmarks in France That You Must Visit

France Activities for music lovers

You may not think of France as a music destination. Yet, it has a lot to offer when it comes to that. Here are some ideas.

  1. Experiencing Lollapalooza Festival in Paris
  2. Doing a Music and Edith Piaf City Scavenger hunt in Paris
  3. Going to Garorock festival
  4. Experiencing the Fête de la Musique on the 21st of June
  5. Taking an Art of Music Walking tour in Paris and discover everything about the famous artists who lived in Paris (Mozart, Stravinsky, Edith Piaf, Maurice Chevalier, George Gershwin and Cole Porter)
  6. Going to La Route du Rock Festival in Saint-Malo, Brittany
  7. Visiting the beautiful Opera Garnier in Paris
  8. Going to Les Eurockéennes Festival in Belfort
  9. Going to Rock En Seine Festival in Paris in August
  10. Discovering amazing French-speaking artists at La Francofolies Festival in La Rochelle

Best experiences in the France theme parks

France is home to fantastic theme parks. Here are the best ones to check out.

  1. Experiencing the magic of Disneyland Paris
  2. Discovering the comical characters of the Parc Asterix
  3. Going back in history at the Puy du Fou
  4. Experiencing futuristic attractions at the Futuroscope
  5. Learning about volcanoes at Vulcania
  6. Visiting the Zoo of Beauval, one of the largest in the world
  7. Going on a tree top adventure at Tepacap near Toulouse
  8. Discover everything Space-related at the Cité de l’Espace in Toulouse
  9. Going on an adventure at Cap’Decouverte near Albi
  10. Sliding down the water slides at Aqualand Cap D’Agde

France Outdoor Bucket List

Do you love outdoor activities? Perfect! You will be in for a treat here. 

France is home to beautiful chains of mountains, lakes, beaches… which makes it a paradise for people who love to explore the outdoors.

Here are 15 items to add to your French outdoor bucket list.

  1. Hiking up the Puy Mary and walking on the ridges of the Monts du Cantal
  2. Bird-watching in the Camargue
  3. Going on one of France’s most famous hiking trail: the GR20 in Corsica
  4. Taking a bicycle around the Ile de Ré
  5. Bird-watching in the Bay de Somme
  6. Discovering some of the WWI Somme Battlefields while walking the Remembrance Circuit 
  7. Going on a hot air balloon ride above the Loire Valley
  8. Walking up to the Pic Saint-Loup, near Montpellier
  9. Mountain biking in the Cevennes National Park
  10. Taking the cable car to the Aiguille du Midi in Chamonix (French Alps)
  11. Hiking up one of the trails of the Tour du Mont Blanc
  12. Doing some mountain bike on the Plomb du Cantal, at Le Lioran
  13. Discovering the beautiful UNESCO site of the Cirque de Gavarnie in the Pyrenees
  14. Admiring the stunning cliffs of Etretat in Normandy
  15. Walking part of the Camino de Santiago from ​​Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port
  16. Walking up to the top of the Dune du Pilat, Europe’s highest sand dune

Best Water Activities in France

With so many lakes, rivers and beaches, France has a lot to offer in terms of water activities. Here are some of the best things to do in France for water lovers.

  1. Scuba diving in Ajaccio in Corsica.
  2. Canyoning in the Gorges du Verdon
  3. Discovering the beautiful Calanques de Marseille and Cassis.
  4. Canoeing on the river Dordogne and discovering the Château de Beynac, Château de Castelnaud-la-Chapelle and Château des Milandes (Josephine Baker’s castle)
  5. Kayaking in the Gorges de l’Ardèche
  6. Kayaking on the Gorges du Tarn
  7. Taking a cruise on Lake Annecy
  8. Kayaking on the Lot and discovering Saint-Cirq Lapopie from there
  9. Going on a speleology adventure in the Ardèche
  10. Snorkelling in Port Cros National Park near Hyères
  11. Kayaking in the Gorges de l’Averyon
  12. Going sailing in Cannes
  13. Scuba diving at le tombant des americains in Nice
  14. Learning how to surf in Hossegor
  15. Discovering the most beautiful beaches of Toulon
  16. Kayaking in Porticcio, Corsica
  17. ​​Going sailing in Saint-Tropez
  18. Going on a cruise to Fort Boyard near La Rochelle 

Fun activities in France to add to your bucket list

Looking for some fun things to do in France? Here you go!

  1. Visiting the wax museum, le musée Grevin.
  2. Discovering the beautiful landscapes of the Cantal while cycling on the Vélorail du Cézallier
  3. Discovering the stunning Christmas lights at the Château Vaux-le-Vicomte (or a candlelit evening if you are visiting in summer)
  4. Walk along the Croisette in Cannes and discover all the stars who came here
  5. Discovering the filming locations of Emily in Paris

France Activities for adrenaline junkies

If you want to push your limits while visiting France, here are some activities you’ll love.

  1. Driving a 4×4 on the beach near Calvi, Corsica
  2. Discovering Via Ferrata in Millau, Aveyron
  3. Parasailing in Villefranche sur Mer and enjoy the views of the French Riviera
  4. Trying paragliding from Chamonix, in the Alps
  5. Trying rafting in the ​​Ubaye Valley
  6. Rock climbing in the Vercors
  7. Paragliding in the Mercantour
  8. Skydiving in the Pyrenees
  9. Going on a rock climbing adventure in the Calanques National Park.
  10. Rock climbing in the Ecrins National Park
  11. Going tree climbing in Corsica
  12. Rock Climbing in La Ciotat
  13. Going on a ULM flight in the Alps
  14. Bungee jumping in Ardèche

France Bucket List for couples

France is a paradise for couples. Everything about this country is romantic and here are some items to add to your couples’ bucket list.

  1. Going on an evening cruise on the River Seine in Paris
  2. Going on a sunset cruise in the Sanguinaires Islands in Corsica
  3. Watching the sunset from the Eiffel Tower
  4. Doing a couple’s photoshoot in Paris
  5. Strolling around the beautiful village of Collonges-La-Rouge in the Corrèze
  6. Going for a romantic meal at the Le Jules Verne Restaurant on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower
  7. Buying a padlock and lock it on the Pont des Arts, Paris’ most famous Love Bridge
  8. Enjoying a picnic at sunset at La Daurade in Toulouse
  9. Walking along the canal in Annecy
  10. Discovering the medieval town of Sarlat-la-Canèda in Dordogne and eat delicious food in one of the local restaurant
  11. Booking a stay in the beautiful castle hotel, Château de l’Epinay in Saint-Georges-sur-Loire
  12. Enjoying the view over the French Riviera from the hilltop village of Èze

Partying and experiencing the nightlife in France

Want to party all night? Check these out!

  1. Discovering the French Can-Can at the Moulin Rouge in Paris
  2. Sipping a drink at Chez Tonton or La couleur de la culotte on the Place St Pierre in Toulouse
  3. Watching a show at the Lido (famous cabaret in Paris)
  4. Bar hopping at the Vieux Port in Marseille
  5. Going out at Presquile and Croix Rousse in Lyon

Shopping in France

Calling all the shopaholics for this one! France is a paradise when it comes to shopping and here are the best places to go.

  1. Going window-shopping on the Champs Elysées
  2. Exploring the Galeries Lafayette in Paris
  3. Going shopping in the shopping mall of Les Halles in Paris
  4. Discovering the shops of the Rue de la République in Lyon
  5. Discovering the small local shops in quartier St Georges in Toulouse
  6. Window-shopping on the Boulevard de la Croisette in Cannes
  7. Wandering around the narrow streets full of shops near the Place de la Comédie in Montpellier
  8. Walking up the Rue Saint-Catherine in Bordeaux

Amazing sports experiences in France

Do you love sports? Here are some activities for you!

  1. Visiting the Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris (where the Paris Saint Germain plays)
  2. Skiing in the French Alps
  3. Watching the Grand Prix of Monte Carlo in Monaco
  4. Going to see a tennis game at Roland Garros (French Open)
  5. Watching the arrival of the Tour de France on the Champs Elysées

Unusual and Unique Bucket List experiences in France

If you are looking for unique things to do in France, this list is for you.

  1. Visiting the catacombs in Paris.
  2. Discovering the Gorges de la Jordanne near Aurillac
  3. Visiting the factory of L’Occitane en Provence.
  4. Walking under the rocks, on the banks of the river Lot, in the chemin de halage in Bouziès
  5. Creating your own perfume in Grasse.
  6. Going to French Comedy Show in English (yes! That exists!).
  7. Discovering the pink lakes in the Camargue
  8. Discovering the French Colorado in Roussillon
  9. Visiting the Ravin de Corboeuf in France, one of the most beautiful hidden gems in France
  10. Visiting the unique Gouffre de Padirac in the Lot