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Top 10 POPULATION Cities in FRANCE

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To speak of the ten most important cities in France is to speak of those with the largest number of inhabitants. But also of those who have more historical and monumental value and even those that receive a greater number of visitors.

Because the importance of a city is not only determined by its size or its economic power. There are cities which, even if they are smaller, have enormous importance in the history of the ancient Gallic land and which have architectural marvels which attract thousands of tourists every year. But, without further ado, we are going to show you the ten most important cities in France.

The ten most important cities in France by history and population

Our tour of the ten most interesting towns in France will begin, how could it be otherwise, with the incomparable Paris, the romantic “City of Love”. Later, it will continue through other outlying towns such as the populous Marseilles That is Pleasant capital of the Côte d’Azur.

Paris, one of the jewels of Europe

Paris

parisian view

We would need, not one, but several articles to tell you about all that you can find in Paris, so I will leave you more information about the city here. But, as you know, its great symbol is the Eiffel Tower built for the Universal Exhibition of 1889 and located in the magnificent gardens of the Field of Mars.

He’s not lagging behind in importance Notre-Dame cathedral or Notre-Dame, a Gothic-style marvel built in the 14th century. And, next to the two monuments, the marvelous Louvre Museum or the imposing building of invalids where Napoleon Bonaparte is buried.

The essentials of Paris are also the bohemian district of Montmartre, the Church of the Sacred Heart, the Royal Basilica of Saint-Denis and the Champs-Elysées. All this without forgetting to stroll along the banks of the Seine and taste French cuisine in its charming restaurants and cafés.

Marseille, economic power

Saint-Victor Abbey

Saint-Victor Abbey

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Located on the shores of the Mediterranean and already converted into a trading port by the Phoenicians, it is not only the second most populated city in France, but also the one that gave its name to the revolutionary song entitled The marselleathe country’s current national anthem.

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In the capital of the department of Bouches du Rhone you can visit the beautiful Cathedral of Santa Maria la Mayor, unique in France for its Roman-Byzantine style. And, next to her, keep seeing the abbey of saint victor built in the 11th century and perhaps the oldest place of Christian worship in the Gallic country.

But the most characteristic of Marseille are the country houses. These are beautiful stately homes that served as second homes for the city’s bourgeoisie. Among them, the Château de la Buzine stands out for its beauty, but there are currently around two hundred and fifty scattered around the Marseille countryside.

Finally, in the lfa island is the 16th century fortification famous for being the prison in which Count of Monte Cristo popular character of Alexandre Dumas.

Lyon, third of the ten most important cities in France

St. John's Cathedral

Lyon: Saint-Jean Cathedral

With nearly half a million inhabitants, Lyon, the former capital of Gaul, is the third largest city in France. It is famous for the manufacture of silk, but above all for its enormous monumental complex. In fact, much of it is listed as Patrimonium of mankind.

We advise you to visit the Old Lyon, name given to its medieval and Renaissance quarter. There you will find the St. John’s Cathedral, with its enormous frontal rose window and which combines Romanesque and Gothic. But also the church of San Jorge, the Torre Rosa, the buildings of the Stock Exchange and the Bullioud hotel or even the unique Plaza de la Trinidad.

However, perhaps the most typical of Lyon are the traboules, which are interior passages between the patios of the houses. The city has about five hundred, especially in its old town. Finally, on the hill of Fourvière, you will find the Roman theater and odeon, as well as the imposing Basilica of Our Lady of Fourvière.

Toulouse, capital of Occitania

Toulouse City Hall

Toulouse City Hall

Known for the “Pink City” Because this color predominates in its historic exposed brick buildings, Toulouse also has a lot to offer.

Among its religious monuments, we recommend you visit the saint stephen cathedral with its Southern Gothic style, and the impressive Basilica of Saint Sernin, which is one of the largest Romanesque churches in Europe. But also the Jacobin convent and the Basilica of the Dorada in Toulouse which houses the so-called Black Madonna.

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As for the civil buildings, they highlight their numerous gothic towers like those of Boysson, Bernuy, Serta or Olmières. And the same sound renaissance blankets. For example, those of the Hôtel Molinier, Assézat or the University.

Later are the impressive building of the Capitol, built in the 18th century and currently the seat of the Town Hall; the old grave hospital with its spectacular dome and the midi channel an extraordinary work of engineering which is a World Heritage Site.

Nice, the brilliance of the Côte d’Azur

english castle

Nice: castle of the English

Beautiful Nice is one of the ten most important cities in France for several reasons. In the first place, because of its number of inhabitants, since it reaches almost three hundred and fifty thousand. But, above all, because it is in the tourist area of ​​the Blue Coast and have eight kilometers of spectacular beaches. Among them, we can mention the Opera, Le Sporting or Castel.

And we also offer it for monuments like the Fort of Mont Alban and the palace of the Dukes of Savoy, the Prefecture or the Senate without forgetting the popular Promenade des Anglais. To them it is possible to add in our recommendation, the buildings constructed during the Belle Epoque. For example, the castles of the English, Valrose, Santa Helena and Gairaut or the Hotel Excelsior.

Nantes, birthplace of Jules Verne

The castle of the Dukes of Brittany

Nantes: Castle of the Dukes of Brittany

We are now leaving for the west of France to discover the birthplace of the writer Julio Verne. This Breton town also has many monuments. Stand out from others the spectacular medieval castle of the Dukes of Brittany and the Saint Peter and Saint Paul Cathedral a synthesis of different architectural styles.

And, next to them, the precious saint nicholas basilica, neo-Gothic and classified as a Historic Monument of France; the Gallo-Roman Saint-Pierre gate; the buildings of the Hôtel de Ville and the Stock Exchange or the Graslin theatre. All without forgetting, precisely, the Jules Verne Museum a must visit for fans of the writer in particular and for lovers of literature in general.

Strasbourg, European capital

Strasbourg

Strasbourg: Little France

Considered as the capital of Europe with Brussels and Luxembourg, this Alsatian city which borders the German border has a historic center declared a World Heritage Site.

This is sitting on the call Great Island of Strasbourg where you must visit the spectacular Notre-Dame cathedral, Gothic in style and considered the fourth tallest religious building in the world. You should also see the churches of Santo Tomas, San Pedro el Viejo and San Esteban.

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Alongside these monuments, you will find others in Strasbourg such as the Petite France district with its streets and medieval buildings, the rohans palace or the Kammerzell or customs. Finally, don’t forget to go through the place-kleber in the middle of the commercial area, and see the Museum of Fine Arts, with its important collection of paintings.

Montpellier, a city that belonged to the Crown of Aragon

Saint-Pedro Cathedral

Montpellier: Saint-Pierre Cathedral

It is a young city compared to most of the previous ones, since it was founded in the 8th century. However, there is no shortage of interesting places worth your visit.

The first is the Saint-Pedro Cathedral, with its particular portico framed by two free pillars and its canopy. And, in addition, we advise you to see the San Clemente Aqueduct built in the 18th century, the Peyrou gate, in Doric style, and the beautiful building of the Faculty of Medicine where personalities such as Nostradamus, Rabelais or Ramón Llul studied.

For his part, the Garden of plants He is the oldest botanist in France, since he was created in 1523 and the Tour des Pins dates from the 12th century and responds to the Norman Gothic style.

Bordeaux, the land of wines

Bordeaux

Place de la Bourse in Bordeaux

Capital of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, Bordeaux was called “Sleeping Beauty” for having lived a long time without promoting its monuments. However, in recent years, it has awakened tourism. In fact, the area of ​​the city known as Port of the Moon It has been declared a World Heritage Site.

In “the Pearl of Aquitaine”as it is also called, you must visit the St. Andrew’s Cathedral built in the 11th century, its medieval gates like that of Cailhau and the spectacular saint michael’s basilica of Flamboyant Gothic style and endowed with an arrow-shaped bell tower more than one hundred meters high.

But we must also see Basilica of San Severino the imposing Sainte-Croix Abbey the magnificent Grand Theater and the Neighborhood Lescure, all built in an art deco style. All this without forgetting the Place de la Bourse an impressive architectural ensemble of classicist constructions.

Lille, “City of Art and History”

Lille Opera

Lille Opera

To end our tour of the ten most important cities in France, we will stop in Lille, called “City of Art and History” since it was European Capital of Culture in 2004.

Very close to the border with Belgium, in Lille its large Vauban Citadel, currently transformed into a park. You must also see its spectacular Cathedral of Our Lady of the Treille, neogothic style and built in the 19th century. Like the neighbor saint mauritius church holds the category of Historic Monuments of France.

But even more beautiful is the Palace of Fine Arts, built by order of Napoleon and which houses a spectacular collection of paintings and sculptures. And we can tell you the same about the construction of the Opera. But the great symbol of Lille is Charles de Gaulle who has a museum installed in his birthplace.

In conclusion, we have introduced you to the ten most important cities in France. However, we have many more in the works. For example, the tourist rods, to which we have already devoted a post on our blog, the medieval Carcassonne history Avignon or the people Aix en Provence. You don’t want to meet them?

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