UNESCO, an arm of the United Nations, has established a list of the World Heritage Sites, the Earth’s most significant places, based on historical, cultural, and aesthetic considerations. These places should be preserved so that all mankind can appreciate their legacy, their significance, and their beauty.
France sports at least thirty (30) UNESCO World Heritage Sites, more than most nations of the world. Although I have only visited seven of these, the ones I have seen are spectacular.
Mont-Saint-Michel — This is one of the world’s most impressive sights; seeing this village and church, which occupy a huge rock offshore, rise from the bay as one approaches from the mainland is positively awe-inspiring. Just the thought of how difficult it was to build makes this an unbelievable place.
Chartres Cathedral — Here is the paragon of Gothic cathedrals. Only about an hour from Paris, this immense and classical example of medieval architecture is known far and wide for its lovely stained glass.
Versailles — Just as Chartres is the epitome of Gothic cathedrals, Versailles is the grandiose palace against which all other palaces are compared. This former hunting lodge was transformed by Louis XIV into the world’s most opulent and extravagant chateau.
Paris and the Banks of the Seine — The lovely city of Paris, especially the area along the Seine, is replete with attractions which are important to world culture. Places like the Louvre Museum, the Arc d’Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Eiffel Tower are significant landmarks and hallmarks of the history of Western Civilization (Walking Tour available for $1.49 on website).
Historic Site of Lyon — This gastronomic capital of France sits about 300 miles south of Paris, at the junction of two important rivers, the Rhone and the Saone (Walking Tour available for $1.49 on website).
The Loire Valley — Probably the greatest concentration of elegant palaces in the world awaits the visitor to this lush valley southwest of Paris. Plan to be overwhelmed by visits to Chambord,
and the other elaborate mansions of this region.