French cities

If France is the country of your expat dreams but you’re not sure where to settle then read all about the country’s top three cities!


The iconic city of Paris is possibly the most famous city in the world. Paris is the city of love with many honeymooners or couples heading there for a romantic getaway. The city is home to some of the world’s greatest art galleries, museums and landmarks making the French capital a buzzing vibrant place to visit.


Paris is the capital of France, the population of the metropolitan area is 12 million.

It has existed in one form or another for 2000 years!

44 million tourists visit Paris every year

Paris is the political, cultural, and intellectual capital of France

Twenty percent of the French population live within the cities metropolitan area.

Main attractions

Paris is home to some of the globe’s most famous landmarks and amazing attractions. The Eiffel tower is known the world over and no trip to Paris would be complete without a tour of the tower. The tower is over 1000 feet tall and offers spectacular views of the French capital.

The Arc de Triomphe was originally commissioned by Napoleon and is one of the most eye-catching sites in the city. The Arc de Triomphe stands at the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, also known as the “Place de l’Étoile”. It’s located at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. The arches whole decorative style is entirely of the tradition of sculpture from the first half of the nineteenth century.

The Louvre is one of the best museums in Europe and is home to famous art pieces including the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. The building was originally designed as a fortress before becoming a palace.

Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most spectacular cathedrals in the world and the embodiment of the Gothic architectural style. It took centuries to be built and is now one of the must see sites in Paris.


The Southern coastal city of Marseille is the second most populated city in France and is one of the oldest cities in Europe. The city is a far cry from the sleepy villages and towns of rural France; instead the city boasts an exciting cosmopolitan feel, boasting a melting pot of differing cultures.

The city is full of colourful markets with an African feel and a mixture of Italian and Spanish influences.


Marseille is the second largest city in France after Paris boasting a population of one and a half million people.

The first buildings of the city are thought to have been built by Neolithic man in 6000BC, was officially founded 2,600 years ago.

Over one third of the population of Marseille can trace their roots back to Italy.

The city is France’s leading cruise port seeing over 700,000 passengers pass through every year.

January and November are the months, when Marseille receives maximum rainfall. It rains in almost all the months in Marseille.

Main attractions

Marseille is set to become the European capital of culture in 2013 and it’s not hard to see why. The Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde is the large church perched high above the city and is well worth the trip thanks to the stunning views and the memorable bus journey up to the summit.

The Vieux Port is the natural inlet, locally called a calanque, which the Phoenician navigators found so attractive as a harbour and built up to become one of the Mediterranean’s major ports, has through the years become known as the Vieux Port, undisputed jewel in Marseilles’ crown.


Most French people find themselves in Lyon for business rather than for recreation: it’s a get-up-and-go place, not a lie-back-and-rest one, with an almost Swiss sense of cleanliness, order and efficiency. The city is home to the culinary skill of gastronomy and before the rise of France was once the capital of Gaul.


It is the 3rd biggest city in France.

It was historically known as silk capital of the world and is now known as culinary capital of world.

It is home to the International headquarters of Interpol, Euro news and International Agency for Research on Cancer are situated here.

The city was founded in 43BC as the Roman military colony of Lugdunum.

Vieux Lyon is without doubt the most famous and most visited area of the town, honoured in 1998 with classification as a world heritage centre by UNESCO.

Main attractions

The Musée Gadagne – which incorporates the Musée Historique de Lyon and Musée des Marionettes du Monde (a puppet museum) – is located in the Renaissance area of old Lyon, within one of the most prized examples of 16th century Renaissance architecture the World Heritage zone has to offer. The Musée Historique de Lyon offers visitors an artefact aided trip (audio assisted in English) through Lyon’s history, while the Musee des Marionette du Monde exhibits a collection of puppets from around the world, including – of course – the Guignol and the Madelon puppets; France’s versions of Punch and Judy.