what is france famous for
Last Updated: September 11, 2019

What Is France Famous For? (20 Prominent Things)

What’s France famous for? Mostly Paris. Also wine, fashion, food, cars and Paris. And of course, let’s not forget about Paris.

Jokes aside, the capital of this stunning country is one of the hottest tourist destinations in the entire world, with several attractions that make this country famous worldwide. And we will go through them all.

But, we will also go through other attractions that really put this country on the map for international travellers – people, landmarks, festivals and all other things that are so thoroughly French. Keep reading to find out what France is famous for worldwide – other than Paris!

1. The Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is the symbol of the country, and one of the first things that pops into your head when you think of France.

The iconic iron-wrought tower was originally constructed to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution – another event that this country is well known for. It was also the main exhibition of World’s Fair 1889, and a glorious demonstration of the French industrial prowess.

The Eiffel Tower is probably the most popular sight in the entire country. The lines to get to the top of the tower are pretty long, and you can wait up to two hours in peak tourist season. But the view from the top makes the wait worth it.

Here’s a fun fact – there’s a reason why there aren’t any photos of the Eiffel Tower at nighttime online. It is because the copyright laws of the European Union – the lights were added in 1985, and are considered a work of art. Under EU’s laws, any work of art is protected during the artist’s lifetime, and then an additional 70 years. So, if you take photos of the twinkling lights, you’re technically breaking the law!

2. The Louvre

Louvre

The Louvre is the most popular museum in the entire world, and undoubtedly one of the most famous tourist attractions in France, with over 10 million visitors every year. It is known for the iconic glass pyramid, the Mona Lisa painting and insanely long queue times. If you don’t buy your tickets in advance, you will most likely have to wait in line for at least a couple hours – best case scenario, you will have to wait in line for almost an hour.

Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is without a doubt the most popular attraction in the museum, and something every single visitor wants to see. Which means huge crowds in front of the painting and a lot of people around you in your selfie.

3. Notre-Dame de Paris

Notre-Dame

Notre-Dame is another staple French sight which is located in Paris. The medieval Catholic cathedral is an iconic sight of the city’s 4th arrondissement, and it is one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Notre-Dame is also one of the top three tourist attractions in Paris, right after the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre.

In the evening of April 15, 2019, the cathedral caught on fire. The tragic event was documented on social media everywhere, and in a matter of minutes the entire world knew what was happening. Notre-Dame was heavily damaged during the 15-hour fire – the spire, the oak frame and the lead roof were destroyed.

Soon after this tragic event, celebrities from all over the world pledged to donate money to restore the iconic cathedral. There was some controversy surrounding the restoration, since many architects proposed to modernize the church. However, on 16 July the French Parliament passed a law that requires Notre-Dame to be rebuilt exactly as it was before the fire – thank God!

4. Palace Of Versailles

Versailles

Until the French Revolution, France used to be a monarchy. And it is famous for Palace of Versailles, the principal royal residence. The palace is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, particularly notable for the Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Opera and the enchanting gardens.

You can also visit the private apartment of Louis XIV, which features a Guard Room, two antechambers, a chamber and a cabinet. And beyond all those, there is the king’s private apartment, which could not be entered without an invitation.

The apartment is very grand, and consists of many rooms including a dog room and a mirror room. But you cannot visit it on your own – you can only enter the apartment as part of a guided tour, which is held most days around 10 AM.

5. Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge is a popular tourist attraction in Paris, and the most famous French cabaret. It was originally built in 1889, and it is well known for the red windmill on the roof. The original cabaret burned down in 1915, and it was closed for six years after that.

The iconic cabaret has been an inspiration for dozens of movies, plays, books and documentaries. Perhaps the most popular film about the Paris locale is the 2001 Moulin Rouge!, starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor.

In the 20th century, Moulin Rouge hosted performances by a number of French celebrities like Edith Piaf and Mistinguett. The latter was the highest-paid female entertainer in the entire world, and the most popular French entertainer of her time.

6. Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris is the only Disneyland in Europe, which makes it a pretty popular location. It is located in Marne-la-Vallée, some 32 kilometers east of the centre of Paris. And it was the second Disneyland to open outside the US, with the Tokyo one being the first.

Disneyland in France consists of two theme parks – Disneyland Paris is the original theme park, which was opened in 1992. A decade later, Walt Disney Studios Park opened.

The entire complex consists of so much more than just the theme parks. There are also numerous hotels and resorts, Disney Nature Resorts, a golf course and a shopping, dining and entertainment complex. On average, Disneyland Paris is visited by almost 15 million people each year.

7. Fashion

Louis Vuitton

France is famous for its influence in the fashion world. Paris is one of the four fashion capitals of the world – a city that hosts fashion weeks and other notable fashion events. The other three fashion capitals are New York, Milan and London.

And it’s not just the runways that make France famous for its fashion. It is also the designer labels that originate from this country, and that easily dominate the market. Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Chanel, Balmain, Louis Vuitton, Christian Louboutin, Thierry Mugler, Givenchy, Pierre Cardin – all of these brands are French, and they are some of the most prominent fashion brands that exist in our age.

France is also very famous for a single piece of clothing – the beret. The flat-crowned hat was originally part of military uniforms, but nowadays it is more of a fashion statement. It is not worn as frequently today, but it is still heavily associated with French cultural identity.

8. Fine Wines

French Wine

France is one of the top two producers of wine in in the world, battling for the first place with Italy. The country is known for amazing vineyards in the countryside, with Champagne, Burgundy and Bordeaux being the three most popular wine regions in the country.

Champagne is a big reason for French wine being appreciated all over the world – the iconic sparkling wine is considered a luxury, and drank to commemorate some of the most important events in one’s life. Dom Pérignon is probably the best-known name in the industry, closely followed by Moët & Chandon, Veuve Cliquot and Taittinger.

Burgundy stretches from the north of Lyon to the south of Paris, and it is where some of the finest French wines come from. Beaune is a small town, which is considered to be the capital of this region – definitely visit it if you get the chance, and taste some of the best wines this region has to offer!

And let’s not forget about Bordeaux, a must-visit for any wine connoisseurs out there. This region produces some of the best and rarest wines in the world, most notably cabernet and merlot.

9. Football

Paris Saint Germain

Last year France reminded all of us that they are really good at playing football. They beat Croatia in the finals and were crowned as World Cup champions for the second time in history.

There are many popular football clubs in the country, but Paris Saint-Germain definitely takes the crown. Some of the best French football players of all times are Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry, Just Fontaine, Franck Ribéry, Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappé. That last one is wunderkind, who is the second teenager ever to score a goal in the finals of the World Cup. The only other player to do that was the iconic Pelé.

10. Cars

Renault

French cars are insanely popular in Europe. In fact, the Renault Clio was the second best selling car in 2018, preceded only by the VW Golf. And that was the third year in a row.

Even though there are a lot of jokes about the quality of French cars, there’s no denying that they are remarkably popular. In 2018, France was also the third largest car manufacturer in Europe.

The two largest automaking companies in the country are PSA Group and Renault. PSA Groups owns Citroen, Peugeot and Opel/Vauxhall while Renault also owns Dacia, Alpine and Renault Samsung Motors.

11. Gourmet Food

Bisque

The French have managed to convince the world that they are extraordinary cooks. Which is why you expect any restaurant in France to be extremely classy and serve delicious meals. And famous chefs like Alain Passard, Anne-Sophie Pic, Michel Guérard and the late Paul Bocuse are the reason why.

This is the country that brought us the Michelin guide, and the concept of Michelin-starred restaurants. Which are considered to be the best and most prestigious restaurants in the entire world.

France is also known for its gourmet and sometimes weird dishes. And also for french fries, which don’t really have anything to do with France. But Croque monsieur, Bisque, Foie Gras, Coq au vin, Bœuf bourguignon, Ratatouille and Bouillabaisse are all staples of French cuisine. Since they are always remarkably delicious, we can forgive them for eating things like frog’s legs and snails. 

12. Cheeses, Baguettes & Macarons

French Cheeses

France is famous worldwide for its cheeses. With over a thousand cheese varieties, you can make it your life’s mission to try them all and I doubt you would succeed. Some of the best-known cheese from the country are Camembert, Brie, Roquefort, Comté and Reblochon. And the reason why France is famous for cheeses is obvious – they are an integral part of any self-respecting wine tasting.

Baguettes are another remarkably French thing that’s popular all over the world. But the thin loaves of bread weren’t called baguettes until 1920, even though they’ve been around a for a century before that.

France is also famous for its delicious sweets – croissants, soufflés, mousses, crepes and macarons are all mouth-watering desserts that we all know and love.

13. Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc

France is famous for its luxurious ski resorts and excellent skiing tracks in the French Alps. And for the highest mountain in the Alps – Mont Blanc. The massif is popular not only for skiing but also for hiking, mountain climbing, trail running and snowboarding. The massif rises 4,808 meters above sea level, which makes it 11th topographically prominent summit in the world.

It lies along the French-Italian border, which is the reason for a lot of debates surrounding the ownership of the massif. In 2015 the Italian prime minister reclaimed the three tallest peaks of the mountain, even though they are entirely in France, according to Google Maps. And part of the mountain is also in Switzerland, but once again they remain neutral in these rows.

14. The French Riviera

French Riviera

France is popular for its gorgeous beaches and fancy resorts, which appeal to the rich. Côte d’Azur is the Mediterranean coast of southeastern France, and it is known as the French Riviera in the English-speaking world. Each year it hosts 50% of the world’s superyachts, which speaks volumes about the type of people that vacation here.

The French Riviera includes famous luxurious resorts like Cannes and Saint-Tropez, but also Monaco – the independent micro-state. Which is famous for Monte Carlo and its casinos. The main promenade in Cannes is lined with luxurious shops like Chanel and Louis Vuitton. On the other hand, Saint-Tropez is known worldwide for the wild and glitzy nightlife.

Côte d’Azur is also famous for the stunning beaches, azure sea, gorgeous views and all the yachts. And for Nice – one of the most beautiful cities in this part of the country. The city is known for Musée Matisse, the Castle of Nice and Palais Lascaris, among other things.

15. Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Festival

The Cannes Film Festival was founded in 1946, and since then it has been one of the most prestigious events in the film industry. It is an invitation-only film festival held annually, usually sometime in May.

Previously known as the International Film Festival, it gathers celebrities from all over the world for previewing of new films from all genres. The highest prize that can be awarded at the festival is Palme d’Or, and it is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the film industry.

In recent years, there was a lot of controversy surrounding this famous event. There was the scandal with high heels – women were not allowed to walk on the red carpet in flats, which caused public outrage. Many famous celebrities took off their shoes on the red carpet, to show support for women who were not allowed to enter because of “inappropriate” footwear.

16. Monet & Matisse

Claude Monet

Paris is unofficially considered the culture-capital of the world. It has always attracted artists from all over the world – there is something so inspiring about this gorgeous city. And so it makes sense that France is pretty famous for its artists. Even Picasso spent most of his life here!

The two most notable artists from this country were Claude Monet and Henri Matisse. Monet is considered to have been the founder of Impressionism, and one of the most prolific painters of the movement. His most famous work is Impression, Sunrise, which is actually how the entire movement was named. Monet is also known for painting lily ponds, and painting the same scene over and over again, in order to capture different lightings and seasons.

Henri Matisse is another prominent artist from France. He was a sculptor, a painter, a draughtsman and a printmaker, but he is mostly remembered for his paintings. And he is considered to have had a significant influence on the developments in painting and sculpture. His most famous works are Woman with a Hat, The Joy of Life and Blue Nude.

17. French Grand Prix

Grand Prix

France is one of the countries that has the honor of hosting Formula 1 races, and it is famous for the French Grand Prix. It is one of the oldest motor races in the world, and also the first Grand Prix.

Thousands of motorsport fans flock to this event each year, to witness some of the best racers in the world battling for the title of the world champion. And they technically flock to France twice – Monaco is another country that hosts the (Monte Carlo) Grand Prix. And even though it is a sovereign state, there are actually no border formalities when crossing to and from France.

In the current (2019) Formula 1 season, there are only two French drivers – Romain Grosjean and Pierre Gasly. One of the greatest Formula 1 drivers of all time is from France – Alain Prost. He held the record for most wins for a long time until Schumacher finally beat him. He is currently the fourth driver with most wins, preceded by Schumacher, Hamilton, and Vettel.

18. French Revolution

French Revolution

The French Revolution is one of the most important events in the country’s history and something that is taught in schools even today. It lasted for some 10 years, and it had a far-reaching impact on the course of modern history.

The Revolution began when a number of people stormed the Bastille (prison), and eventually, they managed to overthrow the monarchy and take control of the government. Which ended when Napoleon overthrew the revolutionary government and established himself as the leader.

The French Revolution changed the entire social and political landscape of the country at the time. It ended monarchy, feudalism and took away power from the Catholic church. It also influenced people in countries all over Europe and brought them new ideas such as liberty, freedom, the abolishment of slavery and women’s rights.

19. La Manche & The Chunnel

English Channel

Even though it is the English Channel, it is still something that France is famous for. The body of water that separates France and England is the busiest shipping area in the world, and known worldwide for the iconic underwater tunnel.

Or the Chunnel, as it is usually called. It is a 50.45-kilometer rail tunnel which links Folkestone, Kent in England with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais in Northern France. It carries Eurostar passenger trains, as well as Eurotunnel Shuttle for the transport of vehicles, which is the largest transport of its kind in the world.

The English Channel is also pretty famous for people that try to swim it. Just a couple weeks ago, Franky Zapata, a French inventor, managed to cross the Channel on a hoverboard. His success was reported by media worldwide, and there’s even a sped-up video of him flying over the Channel.   

20. Proust, Camus, Balzac, Sartre & Zola

Sartre Book

I’ve told you that France is very famous for its artists, and that includes writers. Some of the most influential novelists and philosophers from all times were French – Albert Camus, Emile Zola, Jean-Paul Sartre, Honore de Balzac, Victor Hugo, Marcel Proust, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Jules Verne, Gustave Flaubert, and many others.

Their works had a great impact on literature and its development, which can still be felt today. In fact, the books written by these amazing writers are taught in schools even today, as magnificent examples of literature of their times.

Hugo’s most famous work is Les Miserables, which inspired a very popular play and an Oscar-winning movie. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is one of the most translated and best-selling books of all time, and the greatest work of this French artist.

Pin It For Later

Wondering what France is famous for? Delicious foods, huge yachts, amazing artists and so much more. Comes visit to read everything France is known for!Wondering what France is famous for? Delicious foods, huge yachts, amazing artists and so much more. Comes visit to read everything France is known for!

About the Author Anna Timbrook

Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.

Leave a Comment: