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Top Landmarks in France

When it comes to landmarks France has some of the most varied and recognisable in the world.

Top Landmarks in France Experiences

France is one of the top sightseeing destinations in the world

Grab your camera, get on the road, and don't forget our top landmarks guide!

Both manmade and natural, there is no lack of breath-taking sights for you to visit and explore. And what holiday would be complete without snapping a few pictures of you standing in front of them?

But with a country as vast and varied as France where should you head to find the best on offer? To help you out Eurotunnel Le Shuttle has compiled this handy guide to the top landmarks which can be found just a short train ride away.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel-Tower

Think France, think landmarks, and chances are you'll find yourself picturing the Eiffel Tower; an iconic structure which is recognised around the world as a symbol of Parisien style.
Originally designed to be a temporary structure, the Eiffel Tower was derided by many as an eyesore when it was first constructed in 1889 as a gateway to the Exposition Universelle, a World's Fair, and due to licensing restrictions it was due to be torn down in 1909. Luckily for French tourism and architecture fans the government found the structure useful for communication purposes, such as sending out radio signals, and it was allowed to stand.

At 324m tall the tower is the tallest building in Paris and has dominated the city's skyline for more than 100 years; today it is a must for any visitors, who can climb its hundreds of steps (or take the elevator) for an unparalleled view.

Find it:

GPS coordinates:
Lattitude: 48.85825, Longitude: 2.29449

Location:
Central Paris, 296km (2hr 50min drive) from Calais.

Arc De Triomphe

Landmarks-Arc-De-Triomphe

A short drive (or even walk) from the Eiffel Tower brings you to another of France's most recognisable landmarks. The Arc De Triomphe stands as an impressive memorial to those who fought and died for France during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars.

Commissioned by Napoleon himself construction began on the Arch in 1808, but due to the scale of the project it wasn't completed until 28 years later. Today the monument stands in the centre of a busy (and notoriously dangerous) roundabout, with visitors advised to park elsewhere and use the pedestrian underpass to get to the entrance.

Underneath the Arc De Triomphe lies the Tomb of the Forgotten Soldier, commemorating the fallen of the First World War, on which an eternal flame burns. For a fee you can climb to the top of the arch and enjoy a view straight down the Champs-Élysées to the palace of the Louvre.

Find it:

GPS coordinates:
Lattitude: 48.87378, Longitude: 2.29502

Location:
Central Paris, 296km (2hr 50min drive) from Calais.

Dune of Pyla

Dune-of-Pyla

From two great human constructions to one incredible work of nature; at 107m high the Dune of Pyla, also known as the dune of Pilat, easily secures the title of Europe's tallest sand dune. It stretches 3km along France's west coast and is surrounded by dense woodland littered with campsites.

The monstrous sand structure has an estimated volume of 60,000,000 m³, which is 60,000,000,000,000,000 grains of sand, or enough sand to fill 338,142,471,000 teacups. Such huge numbersstill cannot prepare visitors for the sensation of witnessing the dune first hand, and after struggling through sand avalanches to reach the top a breathtaking view of the might of nature awaits. Once you've scaled the summit the journey back is a lot more fun, as visitors regularly fling themselves down the steep inland side of the dune, comfortably cushioned by the soft sand.

Find it:

GPS coordinates:
Lattitude: 44.61693, Longitude: 1.20077

Location:
Near the town of Pyla-sur-Mer, 933km (8hr 30min drive) from Calais.

Cité de Carcassonne

Cite-de-Carcassonne

The Cité de Carcassonne, situated in the southern Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, can boast the unique selling point of being both a landmark and an entire area of a city.

The impressive medieval fortifications surrounding the city are reminiscent of a Disney castle, with 52 towers, many topped with fairytale conical roofs. The walls are so well preserved that visitors are quickly swept back in time as they wander through the cobbled streets, and it's easy to see why Carcassonne was picked as the backdrop for several scenes in the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

The fortified walls have stood through 2,500 years of history, with several attempts to tear them down, some warlike, others more bureaucratic, and since 1997 they have been protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As well as marvelling at the medieval architecture, tourists can regularly witness jousting tournaments and a stunning Son et lumière light projection during Summer.

Find it:

GPS coordinates:
Lattitude: 48.85825, Longitude: 2.29449

Location:
Carcassonne city, 1,056km (9hr 30min drive) from Calais.

Mont Blanc

Mont-Blanc

With the Alps in the East and the Pyrenees in the south France has no shortage of scenic mountains, and probably the most famous of all is Mont Blanc.

Half in France, half in Italy, Mont Blanc's 4,810m high peak makes it the tallest mountain in the EU and a hugely impressive natural landmark. Several thousand people conquer the summit every year, though proper equipment and guides are highly recommended. For those looking for less of a challenge, spectacular views can be seen from the series of cable cars which traverse the mountain, crossing the border.

The nearby French countryside offers some scenic campsites, with a wide range of outdoor activities in the surrounding area, including horse trekking, hiking and white water rafting.

Find it:

Near Chamonix, 896km (8hrs drive) from Calais.

Château de Chambord

Top-Landmarks-in-France-top-image

The Loire Valley boasts a wealth of picturesque Châteaux, but Chambord is arguably the most famous and impressive of the lot.

Building started in 1519, but it was never fully completed, although you wouldn't guess it to look at it, and historians have speculated that Leonardo Da Vinci may have had a hand in the design. The spectacular palace served as a hunting lodge for King François I in the 16th Century, and was left unfurnished, with furnishings brought in especially every time the king visited. It was subsequently handed down through French royalty and has fallen into disrepair, only to be restored, several times over the years.

Today visitors can marvel at the Renaissance architecture, explore the carefully landscaped gardens with moat and witness a twice-daily horse show during peak season.

Find it:

Chambord, 466km (4hrs 30min drive) from Calais.

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Photo Credits: Eiffel Tower by Guillaume Cattiaux, Arc de Triomphe by Angel T, Dune of Pyla by Ryan Gsell, Carcassonne by Nelson Minar, Mont Blanc by r-z, Chambord by diogene.chiendesinope
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