Americans may not be traveling to Europe anytime soon, but a virtual tour of France is just a few clicks away. Take a bottle of champagne, put on your favorite striped shirt and slip a baguette into your bag, because you are going digitally to France!
From Normandy to the French Riviera, fulfill your desire to travel digital with this tour of France that you can enjoy from home. Let’s go!
Located in north-western France, Normandy is home to a group of picturesque little towns, such as Giverny, where Claude Monet’s house and gardens are located. It’s hard to get a solo selfie at the popular destination in the summer, so enjoy your digital exploration. Fans of the Impressionists can all explore the galleries of the MuMa in Le Havre or the Rouen Museum of Fine Arts. Normandy is also known for its excellent hard ciders, so buy a few bottles to sip while you click.
In the regional capital of Rennes, visit the medieval half-timbered houses and the rose gardens in the Parc du Thabor. Travel to Saint Malo, the popular walled city along the coast. For Americans, Brittany is known as the “Maine” of France, thanks to the region’s excellent oysters, so be sure to stop by the ’Atelier de L’Huitre oyster farm to witness the harvest process. Take a break for a moment of reflection in the Gardens of Peace in Quimper and plan your next trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Mont Saint-Michel.
A picnic at the Champs de Mars at the foot of the Eiffel Tower may not be physically possible, but you can take a virtual tour of the iconic monument for one of the best views in the city.
Discover the dazzling stained glass windows of the Sainte-Chapelle, the glamorous interior of the Palais Garnier-Opéra de Paris and the emblematic Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. Skip the lines at the Louvre, which also offers virtual tours. Many other sites have virtual tours accessible via the Paris Tourist Office website.
Loire Valley Center
The majestic Châteaux de la Loire are certainly worth a virtual visit. The Loire Valley has a dedicated page via Google Arts & Culture which allows visitors to virtually explore some of the emblematic sites and castles of the region. Virtual visitors can explore the Château de Chambord, the Château du Clos Lucé (Leonardo da Vinci’s last home), the Château du Rivau, the Château de Chenonceau and much more. In addition, nature lovers can discover the magnificent gardens of the Château de Villandry.
Lyon, capital of the region and the third largest city in France, is home to more than 2,000 years of history in the Vieux Lyon district. Stroll through the more modern Confluences district and everywhere else in the gastronomic capital of France.
Are you looking for something more pastoral? Travel to Boucieu-Le-Roi in Ardèche. This medieval village dates back to 1291 and was elected one of the “villages of character” in France.
South region and Côte d’Azur
A visit to Marseille is not complete without checking MuCEM. The exhibits on Europe and Mediterranean culture are fascinating, as is the striking architecture with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea.
Fancy beach views and culture? Head to Nice for soothing photos of the sunset while listening to the opera. For a more practical virtual visit, print copies of the coloring book by local artist Sylvie Tumorticci from Nice.
This southwest region is home to cities like Montpellier, which is popular with visitors for its historic pedestrianized old town and Place de la Comédie. The Tarn vineyards and mountains are another highlight of the southernmost region of France. Discover the cave La Grotte des Demoiselles, the castle of Flaugergues or the old Roman aqueduct of Pont du Gard.
Bordeaux is home to 350 historic buildings and monuments, including the Museum of Fine Arts. Open a bottle of wine from the wine capital of the world while exploring the rich cultural and agricultural history of Bordeaux.
Outdoor enthusiasts can also admire the Pilat Dune, the highest sand dune in Europe. And no visit to the region is complete without seeing the caves of Lascaux in the Dordogne, where more than 600 prehistoric cave drawings are preserved.
And more national historic monuments
Travel in person does not allow visitors to see all the sites at once, but viewing the sites by screen allows you to discover the many well-preserved monuments and historic sites of France thanks to the Center des monuments nationaux.
For a breathtaking dose of Art Deco architecture, visit La Villa Cavrois outside the northern city of Lille. Are you looking for more medieval architecture? Discover the Château de Vincennes, which protected Paris, or the Château d’Angers, which houses the magnificent medieval tapestry of the Apocalypse.