The Best Cities in France for the Luxury Traveler

Chateau Margaux Bordeaux

There are travelers who love to backpack around the world, experiencing the culture like you’re one of the locals and spending all your money on new experiences. But you’re not one of those travelers. You like to live it up, staying in luxury, seeing stunning sites while staying in comfort.

If France is on your list of places to visit, you won’t want to stay in a small hotel room in a dingy neighborhood. But in order to find luxury homes in France, you have to decide where you want to go first.

There are particular destinations that are perfect for those of us who love to live it up. Paris is a must-see for any first time visitors. But if you’ve seen Paris and are ready to move on, consider visiting the following cities.


The ideal place for wine-lovers, Bordeaux is a truly stunning city. Aside from its vineyards, this region in southwestern France is quite quaint. From the top of the Pey-Berland Tower, you can look over the small houses that make up the city. The Garonne River is also very picturesque, and the perfect place to take an evening walk.


Nice is a very popular destination and for good reason. It is located on the Côte d’Azur, and has some unmissable pebble beaches. If you love the sea, this one is for you. Even if you don’t, Nice will make you love the sea. Its beauty is so intense that you will want to be a part of it, partaking of everything it has to offer. Plus, its pebble beaches are the perfect antidote for those who usually dislike the discomfort of the beach. I know how strange that sounds, and yes, you’ll need to wear some sort of footwear. But the stones are comfortable to sit on and you can picnic without having to worry about sand getting in everything. You’ll get back to your lodgings without the scratchy sandy sensation, and your floor will appreciate the lack of sandy feet.


It takes one look at a view of Saint-Malo to convince the fussiest traveler that it’s a must-see. It is located in Brittany, and is one of the lesser-known names, at least in popular culture. But with its quaint feel, unbelievable views, and quintessential delicacies like kouign-amanns, it is at the top of many lists for luxury travelers. A ferry ride to Dinard is a must. Not only is that particular town incredibly charming, but you’ll also get the best views of Saint-Malo from the boat.


Sticking with the Saints, Mont Saint-Michel is another famous city in the Normandy regions. The Mont Saint-Michel Abbey is a magnificent piece of history that is fascinating to visit. Yes, it’s part of what kept the feudal society in the region strong, but now it is simply a wonderful tourist destination.


Versailles is best known for its palace – the Château de Versailles – and the palace gardens. These are definitely must-sees, although it is highly advised to go in Spring or Summer, when the scenery is green instead of grey. The palace has a wonderful hall of mirrors, and is in general a history buff’s dream.

The town itself is breathtaking, and a wonderful place to stay for the discerning traveler looking for something a bit different. It’s only 40 minutes away from Paris, as well, so those who’d like to travel between the two have it easy.


Another place that is known for its magnificent palace – the Château de Chambord – Chambord is good for a lot more than its main attraction. Fine dining and shopping are big draws, but ultimately, its wonderful lodgings are what may convince you to stay there.


Lille is a wonderful tourist destination, especially in September when the two day Grande Braderie de Lille market takes place. It is right near the Belgium border, and has some noticeable cultural differences to other areas of France. If you’re an art lover, the museum of fine arts – Palais des Beaux-Arts – is located in Lille. Even if you’re not, it may prove interesting, as a showcase of some of France’s finest.


Of course, we could not fail to mention Provence, whose Provencal nature will wow you. Not only is it a stunning place to stay, with beautiful sites everywhere you look, but there is also plenty to do. Spend a day kayaking, another day hiking up mountains, and yet another cycling. If you would rather relax, that’s fine too. Provence does relaxation in its own quaint way, with its local farming families and villages, and regular festivities.


You may not have heard of Cannes outside of its film festival, but it is a perfect getaway even for those who have nothing to do with the film industry. Its beaches are, of course, stunning (it’s a theme in France!) and the architecture is likely to excite even the most aesthetically blind. Just a short ferry ride away you’ll find the Sainte-Marguerite and Saint-Honorat islands. The perfect way to spend a day or two of your trip.


Finally, we absolutely must recommend Lyon, especially for lovers of fashion, shopping, and particularly excellent cuisine. It is known as the capital of gastronomy, so if you love to cook or just love to eat, it’s a must. It’s picturesque too, of course. The buildings and culture within will charm you until you’re ready to drop everything and stay in France for good.

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Paul Tomaszewski is a science & tech writer as well as a programmer and entrepreneur. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of CosmoBC. He has a degree in computer science from John Abbott College, a bachelor's degree in technology from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and completed some business and economics classes at Concordia University in Montreal. While in college he was the vice-president of the Astronomy Club. In his spare time he is an amateur astronomer and enjoys reading or watching science-fiction. You can follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

One Comment

  • Tim

    Particularly love Bordeaux but La Rochelle also has a lot of charm. The historic buildings and beautiful streets are well worth visiting. The old harbour which dates from the 10th Century has lots of shops and bars and the towers at the entrance to the harbour are fantastic.

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