History Podcasts

Notre Dame La Major, Marseille

Notre Dame La Major, Marseille

Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhone). The Notre-Dame la Ma

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A Great Example of Neo-Byzantine Architecture

The Byzantine revival (called Neo-Byzantine) occurred in the late 19th century when buildings, like Notre-Dame, were built in the style of Roman architecture with complicated structures and lots of domes. Buildings in this style incorporated mosaics, multi-coloured stonework and ornate tiles, usually in gold. People also visit for its art Notre-Dame contains murals depicting the safe passage of sailors as well as religious paintings.

Cathedral de la Major Marseille France

The Cathedral de la Major Marseille France is one of the most important national monuments in France. Its full name in French is the Cathedrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure de Marseille. The cathedral received the designation of basilica minor from the Roman Catholic Church in 1896 and is currently the seat of the Archdiocese of Marseille. The Marseille Cathedral that we see today was constructed primarily between 1852 and 1896 on a site that had been used for various cathedrals in the city of Marseille as long ago as the fifth century.

The current cathedral is referred to as the Nouvelle Major, and for good reason. Today&rsquos Marseille Cathedral makes even the largest portion of the remaining old cathedral (the Vielle Major) look puny. Even as this is one of the most important churches and historical monuments in the country, it is not the most famous church in Marseille that distinction goes to the neo-Byzantine Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde, located in the Vieux Port.

The Cathedrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure de Marseille is the oldest church in the entire city. This is just one of the reasons that it remains one of the top attractions in Marseille year after year. A huge appeal of the church is quite obviously the breathtaking blend of the exterior of Byzantine and Romanesque architecture. When viewed alongside the remains of the old cathedral, you can really capture a sense of the progression and development of the architectural conventions of the day. The Cathedral de la Major Marseille France was considered to be among the finest examples of this kind of architecture at the time that it was built in the middle part of the nineteenth century. Its proportions are impressively comparable to those of St. Peter&rsquos Basilica in Rome. It is nearly 470 feet long and the front towers reach nearly 200 feet. The central dome is perhaps the most impressive and the most beautiful aspect of the entire Marseille Cathedral (it is 231-feet tall).

Marseille Map

There are a wide variety of things to do in Marseille, and it is tempting to spend all of your time at the amazing restaurants, cafes, clubs, and bars, not to mention the countless boutiques and markets. To get the most out of your vacation to Marseille, you should however consider giving yourself the full treatment, which includes sightseeing and checking out the top attractions in the city. In Marseille, this experience will certainly not disappoint. As the oldest city in France, Marseille has much to offer in the way of cultural heritage and history, and has had plenty of time to develop into the popular tourist destination that it is today. The Cathedrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure de Marseille is just one (albeit amazing) of the top attractions in Marseille. The aforementioned Notre Dame de la Garde, the Palais Longchamp, and the expansive Parc Borely are all sights well worth putting near the top of your list of attractions to visit.


Collège privé

ANNÉE Présents au DNB Taux de réussite Variation
Taux de mentions Variation
2017 30 80,00 % 56,67 % Non classé
2016 49 81,63 % 53,06 % Non classé
2015 35 82,86 % 42,86 % Non classé
2014 32 90,63 % 40,63 % Non classé
2013 30 70,00 % 26,67 % Non classé
2012 25 92,00 % 60,00 % Non classé

Légende Taux de mentions au DNB

  • : + de 80%
  • : entre 70 et 80%
  • : entre 60 et 70%
  • Sans distinction : - de 60%
  • Non classé : - de 50 présents

Analyse des résultats

Le collège privé Notre Dame De La Major a obtenu un taux de réussite de 80,00 % (contre 87,19 % au niveau départemental et 88,04 % au niveau académique) et un taux de mention de 56,67 % (contre 69,00 % pour le département et 70,08 % pour l’académie).

Cet établissement n’est pas classé dans le palmarès car il a présenté moins de 50 candidats au DNB en 2017.

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Marseille -France's oldest city

La Major cathedral, from the entrance to the Mucem museum.

Fort Saint Jean from the top of King René's tower.

The paradox with Marseille is that although it stands proudly beside the Mediterranean, it is not a seaside resort. The gentler and flatter coast northwest of the city is occupied by the docks, and southwards from the "Old Port", the seashore is rocky, with no beaches until the Plage du Prado, 6 km further south. So it's not a place to visit if the aim of the trip is solely or mainly to enjoy the beach. The shoreline and the waterside ambiance, yes but the beach, no.
For a day-trip or a weekend break or short stay, Marseilles is an ideal destination, specially during those times of the year when it tends to be bathed in Mediterranean sunshine while much of France further north is still struggling with spring or dampened by autumn mists and showers. And getting to the tourist quarter of Marseille around the Old Port is remarkably easy.

Access to Old Marseilles

The area around the Old Port is the tourism heart of Marseilles, and very attractive too now that the 1970s motorway that formerly stood on stilts between the town and the shore has been put down into a tunnel.
The most interesting and attractive sites of Marseilles can all be reached on foot from a starting point at the Mucem, the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations.

Main central Marseilles tourist attractions

Central Marseilles, around the Old Port.

Le Vieux Port - the old port

The tourism mecca of Marseilles, the Old Port, the main port of Marseilles for over two thousand years, is now a large marina, flanked on three sides by restaurants bistros cafés and shops. At the inner end of the basin is the pleasure cruise terminal, from which visitors can take boat trips round the port, out to the Island of If, or along the coast to Cassis. for visitors staying more than a day in Marseilles, a boat trip is a must, to experience the views of Marseille from the sea, and the dramatic coastline to the southeast.
Sometimes there is a free ferry that operates across the Old Port, close to the entrance. In recent years, services have been sporadic, and there is talk about introducing a charge.
A short way to the south of the Old Port is the Abbaye St Victor , the current building dating from the 12th century church. The crypt contains a collection of sarcophagi tombstones and decoration dating from the 5th to the 12th centuries.

Marseilles Open Tour - hop-on hop-off tour bus

The Mucem

The Fort Saint Jean.

The Eglise Saint Laurent

La Major cathedral

Like the Sacré Coeur de Montmartre in Paris, the La Major cathedral is a fine example of French 19th century neo-romano-byzantine architecture, a sumptuous place of worship making fine decorative use of white marble and red and green stone. In architectural terms, it is a pastiche, incorporating elements of style from different historical periods and styles - towers and cupolas, decorative stonework and mosaics. It is the only cathedral in France built in the nineteenth century.

Le Quartier du Panier - la Butte

The St. Laurent church stands at the southeast top of "la butte", the hilly outcrop north of the Old Port. This is the oldest part of Marseilles, an area occupied for over two and a half thousand years. The old quarter here is known as the Quartier du Panier - a network of narrow streets with small shops and restaurants and street vendors. It is hardly 600 metres from end to end. Not to be missed in the quartier du Panier is La Vieille Charité , a former 17th century hospice, with colonnaded facades round a central courtyard. The complex contains several museums, including an archaeological museum and a museum of Africa. Entry to the site is free, but there is a charge for the museums and galleries.

La Canebière

The "Champs Elysées" of Marseilles, La Canebière is an avenue running northwest from the end of the Old Port. The Marseilles tourist office is on the Cannebière, just up from the port.

Le Musée Cantini

The best fine art museum in Marseilles is located in Rue Grignan, 400 metres southeast of the inner (eastern) end of the Old Port. The Cantini museum specialises in art of the first half and middle of the twentieth century, covering Pointillism, Fauvism, Cubism, Dada, abstract art, and Surrealism – and is one of the best in France for this period. There are plenty of major works by the most important artists of the period, including Matisse, Signac, Dufy, Marquet, Kandinsky, Kokoschka, Miró, Max Ernst, Arp, Picasso, Giacometti, Bacon and many many more. Entrance 5 €uros (2018).

Other sites

Notre Dame de la Garde

Another 19th century neo-byzantine church, N-D de la Garde is unmissable, as it can be seen from all over Marseilles. It stands at the highest point in the city, about 160 metres above sea level, to the south of the Old Port. Its domes and cupolas are abundantly decorated on the inside with gilt mosaics. The building uses a similar blend of white and coloured marble to that used in the building of La Major cathedral. It is another fine example of exuberant 19th century architecture. Most of the visitors who go up to the church do so to admire the spectacular views that it offers over Marseilles, the coast, and the surrounding landscape. It can be reached by taking bus line 60 form the old port. A visit to Notre Dame de la Garde is included in one of the "little tourist train" circuits. See below

The Chateau d'If

A must for the tourist in Marseilles. Boat trips to this island in Marseilles bay depart from the Old Port. The château is a fortress built in the 16th century by François I, which featured in the famous novel by Provençal writer Alexandre Dumas, the Count of Monte Cristo. It was also used in the movie the French Connection. Explore the old prison and enjoy the views of Marseilles from the sea.

Musée des Beaux Arts - Fine art museum

Not one of the great French privincial museums, the Marseille fine arts museum has mostly paintings by French artists, though few works by the great masters. It also includes four paintings by Rubens, one by Tintoretto and one by Perugino.

Plages du Prado

Rocky shorline, looking towards the Plages du Prado and the hills of the Calanques National Park beyond.

The coastline south of the Old Port is rocky with few proper access points to the water. The only real beach in Marseille itself is the Plages du Prado, a A three kilometre bus ride (line 83) from the Old Port, along the corniche to the south of the city. Very busy during sunny weekends and in the school holidays. The beach area is man-made, and was developed in the 1970s on a base of rock and stone excavated for the building of the Marseilles metro system.

The Little Train

And of course Marseilles has its "petits trains touristiques". Three circuits possible, departing from the north side of the Old Port. 174 Quai du Port, about in the middle of the quay.

Madragues de Montredon

A small harbour at the southern end of Marseilles, and the start of the Calanques national park. (See below). Take bus 19 from Rond Point du Prado station on Metro 2 line as far as the terminus at Madrague Mont Rose. Easy access from here to the harbour, then to trails / small roads along the rocky coast to Callelongue. Great views and opportunities for swimming off the rocks..

In the area - Around Marseilles

Marseilles' hinterland, Provence, is more popular as a tourist area than Marseilles itself. There are plenty of opportunities for day trips out from Marseilles, some accessible for visitors who do not have a vehicle.

Les Calanques

France's most recent National Park, created in 2012. The Calanques are narrow inlets at the foot of the steep, sometimes towering, limestone cliffs that characterise the coastline to the east of Marseilles. At the heart of the Calanques is is the little seaside town of Cassis.
The hills behind the coast are arid limestone. Hikers can access trails from the southern terminus of bus line 22 at "Les Baumettes" (recommended). Connect to bus line 22 from Metro 2 or Bus 83 lines at Rond Point du Prado.
They can also be reached from the terminus of Bus line 20 at Callelongue.
Take care if leaving your car in an open car park in this area. Lock all doors and do not leave valuables or bags visible to prying eyes.

Aix en Provence

Accessible by local train (do not take the TGV!) from Marseilles. A beautiful historic town that embodies the flavour of Provence.

The Camargue

Renowned wetland area and natural park to the west of Marseilles. An hour's drive. See Camargue guide. Not accessible by train.

Roman Nimes and Arles

Both towns are easily accessible by car or train from Marseille. See Roman France and Nimes guide.

Photo top of page:
The old port seen from Fort Saint Jean

A choice of carefully selected hotels and apartments in Marseilles.

These hotels are conveniently sited in or near the Old Port area, and all have good write-ups. Click links for details and to book at best rates

Hotel Intercontinental Hotel Dieu Five star luxury in a 17th century building 350 metres from the Old Port. Parking on site (daily charge).

Grand Hotel Beauvau vieux Port - A four-star boutique hotel located on the Old Port, close to the metro and bus. Rooms with view over the harbour. Private parking.

Hotel Radisson Blu Vieux Port Between the Abbaye Saint Victor and the Fort Saint Nicolas, on the south side of the Old Port. Outdoor swimming pool. Public car park close by.(daily charge).

Hotel Escale Oceania Vieux Port Located at the foot of the Canebière, 100 metres from the Old Port. Couldn't be more central. Bus, metro and leisure boats right close by. Public car park nearby.
Best-Western - Mucem - Vieux Port - In the old city close to the cathedral, the quayside, the Vieux . Port Good central location at reasonable prices.

Lots more three-star hotels
Click here for a large selection of three star hotels in Marseille

Recommended .
Hotel Hermes - Small two-star hotel right on the Old Port, some with view. Roof terrace with chairs and tables and harbour view.

Hotel Ibis Budget Vieux Port - 500 metres from the Old Port, a modern budget hotel housed in a 16th century sea captain's residence. Parking on site.

More two-star hotels
Click here for a good list of two star budget hotels in Marseilles.

2. Apartments - gites
Follow this link for short-stay apartments and click here for classic city gites

Key tourist information for Marseilles :

Access - getting to Marseilles

By plane - Nearest airports: Marseille Provence, Avignon

By road : Marseilles is 9 hours drive from Calais, 7 hours from Paris, and 5h from Barcelona.

By train: direct TGV services from Paris (3 hours 45), Lille (5 hours) Lyon (1h 45) Nice and Strasbourg. Regular International train services to Italy, Belgium and Spain. For timetables and online tickets, see Trainline.com .

Marseilles train stations :

The Marseilles city pass :

The Marseilles City Pass provides free entry to museums, a boat trip to the Chateau d'If, a trip on the little tourist train, free use of Marseille city transport (bus and metro) and discounts on other attractions. It can be purchased online from the Tourist office for 1, 2 or 3 days. Adult one day rate 24 € (2016) For more information and to buy online click here.

Urban area Population 1.6 million
Main sites : The area round the Old Port, the Chateau d'If, the Canebière, the Mucem and Cantini museums, la Major cathedral and Notre Dame de la Garde.

Nearby attractions : The Calanques National Park, The Camargue, the Rhone Delta and its historic sites, Aix en Provence.

What to do in Marseille

1. Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde: For Those Who Believe in Preserving Beauty

At the top of a hill and south of the Old Port, keeping watch from the city's highest point is Marseille's most well-known icon, the Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde or "The Basilica of Our Lady of the Guard". Consistently restored over years of tumult, revolution, conflict and change, this incredible church was the crowning jewel of the Romano-Byzantine architecture. Besides its stunning exterior and hushed, intricate interiors, those who make the steep climb (or take the tourist train to the mountain top) will be rewarded with memorable views of the surrounding mountains and the vast Mediterranean Sea.

2. Vieux-Port: Something Old, Something New

Even in 600 B.C. the "Old Port" was the center of commerce and city life. Today, this mostly pedestrian area is alive and well, with picturesque little ferry houseboats puttering about the marina, fish and farmers' markets setting up on the quay and the impressive Sainte Marie lighthouse on the esplanade de la Joliette. Grab a camera and bring your appetite because there are plenty of photo opps for when you're sampling incredible dishes in the bars and restaurants that line the port.

3. Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations: Muses of the Past at MuCEM

The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations charts the historical and cross-cultural exchange between peoples of the Mediterranean geographical region. Since Marseille was marked as one of Europe's "Capitals of Culture", the MuCEM has spent considerable time and money enhancing the architecture, adding new buildings, exhibits and facades that literally glitter in the night sky. Inside, visitors can track the mélange of beauty, art, stories and physical artifacts that span the earth from Beirut to the Gibraltar. Not only does MuCEM promise an "exchange of perspectives", it's also unafraid to experiment with various media, from digital installations, videos, 8mm film and audio that accompanies the more traditional paintings, letters and artifacts.

4. Cathédrale la Major: A Major Marvel

Yet another Roman Catholic marvel is the Marseille Church, a designated national monument that features beautiful murals, mosaics and tiled artwork offered in memory of major religious and historical figures. The atmosphere is one of sacred beauty and it's recommended that visitors spend time walking around the cathedral to really be able to soak in its significance and imposing architectural beauty. The best part? The chance to contemplate the sojourns of the day by the water next to where the church is located.

5. Parc Longchamp: How the French Do Parks

The majestic gardens surrounding the Palais Longchamp, that are made up of the chateau d'eau, Musée des Beaux-Arts and Museum d'Histoire Naturelle, have been luring visitors and locals alike since 1869. The gardens themselves house picturesque fountains, sculptures, pavilions and beautiful rock-work carved into the buildings. The central garden behind the palace is the Jardin du plateau, which keeps its secrets alive through winding alleyways and old, knotty trees that are between 100 and 120 years old.

Notre Dame La Major, Marseille - History

Cities and Regions of Provence

A ix-en-Provence is a city in the Bouches-du-Rhone department of Provence in southeastern France. It lies on the principal routes to Italy and the Alps. Aix has a population of 124,000 (1990) and is an agricultural center, producing almonds, olives, and wine. Founded by the Romans in 123 BC near mineral springs, it is the site of Marius's defeat of the Teutons (102 BC). In succession, Visigoths, Franks, Lombards, and Moors invaded and plundered the town. In the Middle Ages it was a center for the arts and Provençal literature, fostered by rulers such as René of Anjou. After René's death (1480), Aix was annexed (1486) by France.

T he city has long been a favorite spot for artists, including Paul Cézanne, who was born here. In fact, you'll notice that much has been named for him, including streets, cafés, and even a health clinic -- though his major works are more likely to be viewed in Paris, London, or New York. Although the city's most famous son was not appreciated here during his life, he is now immortalized through many pictures, postcards and prints available at mercantile establishments throughout the city.

A vignon is the capital of Vaucluse department, southeastern France, on the Rhône River. Located about 80 km (50 mi) northwest of Marseille, it is a commercial and industrial center that manufactures wine, oil, flour, and textiles. Tourism is also important. The population is 86,939 (1990). Several historic landmarks draw tourists to the city. They include the Palace of the Popes (14th century), which suffered heavy damage during the French raids (1791) on the city and later served (1822-1906) as a barracks for French troops. Also of interest is a remnant of the Pont d'Avignon (1177-85), a bridge built by St. Bénezet and made popular by the song "Sur le Pont d'Avignon."

A vignon was held successively by the Romans, Germanic tribes, and Burgundian kings until it was purchased by Pope Clement VI (1348) as the site of the papal see. Several popes resided here until 1377, when Pope GREGORY XI returned to Rome. Two antipopes resided in Avignon during the Great SCHISM (1378-1417). The city was annexed to France in 1791.

B etween Montpellier and Marseille, from Arles to the Mediterranean, lies the haunting, desolate, marshy wilderness of the Camargue, with its vast pools, low flat plains, and innumerable species of migrating birds. It is an area extending over 330 square miles, formerly covered by the Mediterranean, which has since receded to reveal the sprawling delta between the Grand and petit Rhône rivers. The area's frail and important ecology is now protected by Camargue Regional Park.

S ince World War II, rice production has flourished here, and salt extraction takes place in the southeastern corner. The farmers never had much success growing the red wild rice indigenous to this region (the stalk sheds its grains when ripe, making it difficult to harvest), until in 1980 René Griotto discovered a single stalk which was a cross between the native rice and a short grain variety he had been growing since 1992, this Camargue red rice has become commercially successful, possessing a sweet, earthy flavor and a chewy texture popular as a base for pilafs and stuffing mixtures.

I n October 1993 and January 1994, the swollen Rhône burst its banks and flooded large parts of the Camargue, disturbing the area's gradual change in salinity (from fresh to seawater) and endangering some of its unique flora.

T he two animals for which the Camargue is perhaps best known are its flamingos and its horses. The sight of a flock of these graceful pink and white birds are a delight to visitors. Camargue horses are born brown, but gradually turn white they tend to be smallish in stature. The area's most famous residents are the cowboys who herd these horses, as well as sheep and the bulls -- small, black and long-horned -- which are raised to fight in the cocardes at Nîmes, Arles and other places.

M arseille (or Marseilles) is the principal port city of France, situated in the southeastern part of the country on the Mediterranean Sea near the mouth of the Rhone River. With 800,550 (1990) inhabitants in the city proper, it is the second most populous city in France. Its metropolitan area population is 1,225,000 (1990). One of the oldest cities in the country, Marseille was founded more than 2,500 years ago along the well-protected bay now called Vieux-Port (Old Harbor). The city grew from the harbor area to the limestone hills in the east, which reach about 760 m (2,500 ft) above sea level.

T he center of the city has grown up on either side of its main thoroughfare, La Canebiere and Boulevard de la Liberation, where cafes, restaurants, and hotels are located. The rocky coast is paralleled by the Promenade de la Corniche, which has a beautiful view of the harbor. Few buildings from Marseille's long history still stand. A 19th-century basilica and cathedral, the Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde church, and the University of Aix-Marseille are the best-known landmarks. The city has several museums, including the Archaeology and Fine Arts museums, and theaters.

T rade continues to be the economic mainstay of Marseille. The most important port on the Mediterranean, it handles millions of tons of freight annually. Major imports include petroleum, wine, fruits, olive oil, hides and skins, and tropical agricultural products. Exports are dominated by wines, liqueurs, processed foods, cement, and metal products. Petroleum refining and shipbuilding are the principal industries, but chemicals, soap, glass, sugar, building materials, plastics, textiles, olive oil, and processed foods are also important products. Marseille is connected with the Rhone via a canal and thus has access to the extensive waterway network of France. Petroleum is shipped northward to the Paris basin by pipeline.

A bout 600 BC, Greek mariners founded a settlement there called Massalia. It grew quickly and its residents colonized much of present-day southern France. In 49 BC it fell to Rome. From the 13th to the 15th century Marseille was a free republic, but became part of France in 1481. During the 18th and 19th centuries the city grew considerably as the major port serving the French colonies in the West Indies and North Africa. Marseille suffered severe damage during World War II, and much of the city has since been rebuilt. Since the war, Marseille's economy has expanded, and the city's significance in southern France has greatly increased.

(For details on Arles, Nîmes, and Orange, refer to Chapter 3 - Traces of Roman Civilization .)

Bibliography: 1997 Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia v9.0.1. A Year In Provence , Peter Mayle, 1991, Vintage Books, division of Random House, Inc., New York. The Road from the Past - Traveling Through History In France , Ina Caro, 1994, Doubleday, division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc., New York. The Riches of France (A Shopping and Touring Guide to the French Provinces) , Maribeth Clemente, 1997, St. Martin's Griffin, New York. Fodor's 97 France , Fodor's Travel Publications, New York. Provence & Côte d'Azur Visitor's Guide , Richard Sale, 1996, Hunter Publishing Inc., Edison, NJ. Edible France - A Traveler's Guide , Glynn Christian, Jenni Muir, 1997, Interlink Publishing Group Inc., Brooklyn, NY.
Images: Cézanne's Mont Sainte-Victoire , from Courtauld Institute, London/Syndication International.

La Maison Blanche, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, 1912.

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French Landmarks: 30 Must-See Famous Landmarks in France

Europe draws in millions of tourists from around the world each year thanks to its vibrant culture, delicious food, friendly people and a myriad of famous European landmarks to visit.

This is especially true in the summer months and even for warmer destinations in Europe during the winter. According to the World Tourism Organization, a record number of over 700 million tourists visited Europe in 2019.

France itself manages to attract over 70 million tourists every year, which makes it one of the most-visited countries in the world. This is due to the many famous landmarks in France that there are to visit.

Even though this might seem like a large figure, plans are being made by the French government to increase the number of visitors to 100 million. From this, you might be wondering, what makes France so unique? Well, there are several reasons why tourists love France so much!

The country is proud of its long history, ranging from the French Revolution to the two world wars. As such, there are loads of historic sites and hidden gems dotted around the country to explore. France has 39 sites included on the Unesco World Heritage Site list!

To learn what some of these sites, attractions and monuments are, I have put together this list of the most famous French landmarks that you should consider adding to your France itinerary when planning your trip to the country.

Disclosure: Destguides may receive commission for purchases made through links in this article at no cost to you.

Watch the video: Cathédrale de La Major - Marseille - Léon Boëllmann - Prière à Notre-Dame (January 2022).