The most visited tourist sites in France
France remains the favourite destination for foreign tourists but also for French people. This is all the more true in the current economic climate, where local, less expensive destinations are widely favoured by the French. But what are the most visited monuments and tourist sites in France?
Every year, the DGCIS (Directorate General for Competitiveness, Industry and Services) publishes a ranking of the most popular tourist sites in France: the Tourism Memento. Paris undeniably dominates the top of the ranking in the cultural field…
The other big stars in the ranking are the amusement parks, with Disneyland Paris at the top, which records nearly 14 million admissions!
- 1 The most visited cultural monuments in France
- 2 The most visited tourist sites in France
- 3 Disneyland Paris
The most visited cultural monuments in France
The Louvre Museum
With its 7 million annual admissions (or nearly 20,000 visitors per day), France’s largest museum remains well ahead of other successful Parisian monuments. Its attendance is slightly down in 2016/2017 compared to 2013/2014. Could this immense popularity be due to the enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa? Or could it be the 445,000 works of art housed in the 210,000 m2 of galleries of the Parisian museum?
The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower, the greatest symbol of the city of light, is second on the podium of the most visited cultural sites in France. Indeed, the most elegant of the iron towers attracts nearly 6 million visitors every year, eager to climb the 1,665 steps that separate them from the top floor and discover the city of Paris at the top, the most romantic view in the world…
The Palace of Versailles
The famous Hall of Mirrors never ceases to dazzle the 7 million visitors who have come to discover the sublime royal residence of the kings of France at Versailles in the Yvelines (a figure which is even higher if you add to the castle the domain of Marie Antoinette and the garden shows). The Palace of Versailles, almost in the same place as the Eiffel Tower, is the third most visited cultural site in France. It must be said that the gardens and the park of the castle (715 hectares in total!) are in themselves a must-see tourist attraction for visitors.
The Centre Pompidou
The number of admissions has remained fairly stable for several years with just over 3 million visitors who have been seduced by the contemporary art collections of the Georges Pompidou National Centre for Art and Culture. World-famous for its original façade, the Pompidou Centre is located in the heart of Paris, in the 4th arrondissement. A flagship cultural institution, it houses collections of works of modern art and deals with the themes of art in the broadest sense, from cinema to music, design and literature.
The Musée d’Orsay
Another major Parisian museum is at the top of the list of the most visited French cultural sites: the Musée d’Orsay. With almost 3 million admissions per year, the Musée d’Orsay is a world-class centre for Impressionist painting, sculpture, photography and architecture in France. Housed in the former Orsay train station, the museum houses more than 4,000 permanent works.
Musée d’Orsay – ©guy_dugas CC0 Creative Common
The most visited tourist sites in France
Far ahead of the Mona Lisa, the French gardens of Versailles or the Eiffel Tower, Mickey is the undisputed star of French tourism and his park is the biggest tourist attraction in the country. Europe’s largest theme park, located in Marne-la-Vallée (town of Lognes) in Seine-et-Marne, attracts between 14 and 16 million visitors each year, spread over the park’s 2,230 hectares and 14 hotels. Attendance at Disneyland Paris has been declining in recent years, but is still far ahead of the top of the podium.
Le Puy du Fou
The famous historic theme park in the Vendée has seen a dizzying increase in recent years, reaching the position of 2nd largest French park in terms of attendance with 2.2 million visitors in 2017. With the help of more than 3,000 local volunteers, the Puy du Fou park offers its visitors 60 events and shows, designed to represent the reality of the Vendée over the centuries. A real economic, tourist and cultural driving force in the Vendée department, it has been awarded the title of best leisure park in the world by the association Themed Entertainment in the United States. The park is located in the town of Les Epesses (85).
France’s third largest amusement park receives almost 2 million visitors, with a strong increase between 2012 and 2017, attracted by the shows and “multimedia” experiences offered by Futuroscope and its famous sphere.
Located in Chasseneuil-du-Poitou in the Vienne department, this theme park – focused on audiovisual and film techniques – celebrated its 25th anniversary with its flagship attraction Arthur, recently voted best 4D animation in the world by amusement park professionals.
Another major theme park in the Paris region, the Parc Astérix is located in the commune of Plailly in the Oise. The amusement park also welcomes nearly 2 million visitors. To maintain its attractiveness and increase its attendance, the Asterix Park invested the modest sum of 20 million euros a few years ago to launch a new attraction: Oziris, a sort of Egyptian-style rollercoaster… The most Gallic of French theme parks won’t let itself be taken in!
A true ambassador of French know-how and high-tech, the Millau Viaduct has been recognised by the Midi-Pyrénées Regional Council as one of the 18 major sites in the region. The site has been a real craze since the beginning of its construction and has generated a large number of visitors in the Occitan region. The Millau Viaduct welcomes about 1 million visitors every year, who come to admire the complexity of the construction and the panorama of the Tarn Valley.