Which Cities in France are Good to See? Insights from Avid Traveler Nate Nordvik

France, a country renowned for its art, culture, and gastronomy, boasts a diverse array of cities that offer unique experiences for travelers. Avid traveler Nate Nordvik, hailing from Saint Paul, Minnesota, shares his insights on some of the best cities to visit in France. Nate Nordvik, known for his global explorations, suggests that each city offers its own charm, from historical landmarks to vibrant cultural scenes and scenic landscapes.


Nate Nordvik begins with Paris, the capital city synonymous with romance, art, and fashion. Explore iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, and Notre-Dame Cathedral. Wander through charming neighborhoods like Montmartre and Le Marais, and indulge in world-class cuisine at Michelin-starred restaurants or cozy bistros.


The 2nd city recommended is Lyon, known for its culinary prowess as the gastronomic capital of France. Explore the Old Town (Vieux Lyon) with its Renaissance architecture and traboules (hidden passageways). Visit the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière for panoramic views and immerse yourself in Lyon’s vibrant food markets and traditional bouchons (local eateries).


For a taste of the French Riviera’s charm you should vist Nice. Stroll along the Promenade des Anglais overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, explore the historic Old Town (Vieux Nice), and visit the Marc Chagall National Museum and Matisse Museum to admire their collections. Don’t miss the vibrant Cours Saleya market for local produce and flowers.


Don’t forget Marseille, France’s oldest city and a bustling port on the Mediterranean coast. Explore the Vieux Port (Old Port), visit the historic Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde for panoramic city views, and wander through the multicultural neighborhood of Le Panier. Discover Marseille’s maritime history at the MuCEM (Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations).


Then there is Bordeaux, renowned for its wine production and neoclassical architecture. Explore the UNESCO-listed Bordeaux City Center with its elegant buildings, visit the Place de la Bourse reflecting in the Miroir d’eau (Water Mirror), and take a wine tour to discover the vineyards of the Bordeaux wine region.


We also have Strasbourg, a city known for its blend of French and German culture. Explore the UNESCO-listed Grande Île with its Gothic cathedral, stroll along the picturesque canals of La Petite France, and visit the European Parliament and Palais Rohan. Enjoy traditional Alsatian cuisine and explore the city’s Christmas markets if visiting during the holiday season.


Another highlight is Toulouse, known as the “Pink City” due to its distinctive terracotta-colored buildings. Explore the historic city center with its Renaissance mansions, visit the Basilica of Saint-Sernin, and stroll along the Garonne River. Discover Toulouse’s aerospace industry at the Cité de l’Espace (Space City) and enjoy regional dishes like cassoulet.


Nate Nordvik recommends Avignon, known for its Papal history and well-preserved medieval architecture. Visit the UNESCO-listed Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes), stroll across the Pont Saint-Bénézet (Bridge of Avignon), and explore the quaint streets of the Old Town. Attend the Avignon Festival if visiting in July for theater performances and cultural events.


Nate Nordvik suggests Nantes, a city on the Loire River known for its innovative art scene and cultural attractions. Visit the Château des Ducs de Bretagne (Castle of the Dukes of Brittany), explore the Machines of the Isle of Nantes with its fantastical mechanical creatures, and stroll through the Jardin des Plantes. Don’t miss the contemporary art exhibitions at the Musée d’Arts de Nantes.


We conclude with Aix-en-Provence, a charming Provencal town known for its artistic heritage and pleasant climate. Explore the Cours Mirabeau lined with plane trees and elegant mansions, visit the Cézanne Studio and Atelier, and wander through the Old Town’s narrow streets and vibrant markets. Enjoy Provencal cuisine at outdoor cafes and soak in the town’s artistic ambiance.