ruins of roman amphitheatres arles and nimes
Some of the most impressive Roman ruins can be found in the south of France.
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto / JJS-Pepite

10 Must-See French Attractions Outside of Paris

Roman Amphitheaters Arles and Nimes, Provence-Alpes Cotes d’Azur

Forget Rome; some of the most impressive Roman ruins can be found in the south of France. You might recognize the pretty town of Arles from the artwork of Van Gogh — many of the artist’s most famous paintings were completed there.

What Van Gogh never painted though, is the main tourist attraction in the town. Standing proudly in the center of Arles is a two-tiered Roman amphitheater, dating back to 90 AD. A slightly smaller, but equally well-preserved, arena can be found in neighboring Nimes.

You will be enchanted by the history, picture-perfect streets and generous sunshine of both towns. If Roman history is your thing, be sure to check out the nearby aqueduct Pont de Gard as well.

rocky shores and limestone cliffs in Calanques National ParkCalanques National Park is the most stunning national park you've never heard of.Photo Credit: iStockPhoto / legna69

Calanques National Park, Provence-Alpes Cote d’Azur

The most stunning national park you have never heard of, the calanques near Marseille are absolutely a must-do when it comes to the top things to do in France outside of Paris. The natural beauty of this area is astounding, with the dramatic limestone cliffs contrasting with the dazzling Mediterranean Sea.

A haven for climbers, hikers and sun-seekers, there are many different calanques to choose from, all connected by well-marked trails and easily accessible from both the culturally rich city of Marseille and Cassis.

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downhill skier in blue coat skiing in ChamonixChamonix is the place to be during the winter season.Photo Credit: iStockPhoto / mkallstrom

Skiing in Chamonix, Rhone-Alpes

In the winter season, when most other towns are deep in hibernation, Chamonix comes alive. The mountains are where you should go if you’re looking for adventurous things to do in France.

Get up close to the spectacular Mont Blanc in one of the oldest ski resorts in France. With unbelievable Alpine panoramas, skiing to suit all levels and a lively bar scene to warm you up in the evening, Chamonix is the place to be in the colder months.

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