French World Heritage Sites
Here are 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in France worthwhile visiting, due to their unparalleled beauty and historical cultural wealth.
1. Mont Saint-Michel and its Bay
One of France’s most recognizable landmarks, visited by more than 3 million people each year, Mont Saint-Michel and its bay are on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Over There are so many marvels and museums to see here, it is best to spend the night.
On 22 July 2014 the new bridge by architect Dietmar Feichtinger was opened to the public, allowing the waters to flow freely around the island and improve the efficiency of the now operational dam. The project which cost €209m was officially opened by President Francois Hollande.
Located in the south of France, little Arles in Provence has a wealth of classical antiquities and Romanesque stonework, most of which have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1981. They include:
The Arles Amphitheatre; Roman theatre; Roman forum; Thermal Baths of Constantine; Ramparts of the Roman castrum; Alyscamps; the Church of St. Trophime and the Arlaten Museum. Old town streets and squares; festivals, cutting-edge arts events, atmospheric restaurants and picturesque small hotels, make of Arles it a charming town to visit.
3. The Seine
While it’s common knowledge that the Notre Dame Cathedral is the technical epicenter of Paris, the river Seine captures the real essence of the city.
In 1991 UNESCO added the banks of the Seine in Paris to its list of World Heritage Sites in Europe. The Seine flows right through the heart of Paris dividing it in right bank and left bank—the Rive Gauche and Rive Droite.
Left Bank. Here you can visit Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Musee d’ Monnaie de Paris, the National Library of France, uxemburg Gardens, orbonne University, the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres and Tour Montparnasse, among other architectural masterpieces.
Right Bank. Paris’ Right Bank, to the north of the river, is the larger “bank” and also the more traditionally upper crust. Attractions include: Champs-Elysees, the Louvre Museum, Arc the Triomphe, Montmartre neighborhood, Centre Pompidou, Moulin Rouge and Galleries Lafayette flagship store.
Taking a cruise down the river is the best way to appreciate Paris’ architectural gems. Day or night, the Seine is one of the most mesmerizing rivers you’ll ever see.
Of all the cathedrals, châteaux, fortresses and monuments in France, the ancient city of Avignon is one of the most dramatic. Surrounded by a crenellated wall punctuated by towers and Gothic slit windows, its old center has a 14th-century fortress-castle that’s nothing short of spectacular.
In the early 1300s, Avignon served as the center of the Roman Catholic world, and though the seat of papal power only lasted a few decades, it holds an impressive legacy of ecclesiastical architecture, most notably the soaring, UNESCO World Heritage–listed fortress-cum-palace known as the Palais des Papes.