Travel Lens

These Are The 3 Most Popular Tourist Destinations In The World’s Most Visited Country

  • Published 2024/02/10

In the latest testament to its enduring appeal, France has reaffirmed its position as the premier global tourist destination. The country welcomed an astonishing 100 million visitors in 2023, setting a new benchmark not just for itself but for the world.

This figure not only surpasses its nearest competitor, Spain, by a significant margin of 20 million but also eclipses other popular destinations like Mexico by an even more staggering 69 million.

This influx of visitors underscores the universal desire to partake in the quintessentially French experience, from the crunch of a fresh croissant to the sights and sounds of its bustling cities and tranquil countryside.

The Top Three Rising Stars of French Tourism

As we peel back the layers of France’s tourist appeal, it becomes clear that the country’s charm extends far beyond the well-trodden paths of its capital.

The following destinations are rapidly gaining momentum, drawing visitors in with their unique blend of natural beauty, historical richness, and cultural vibrancy.

Here’s a closer look at the regions that are shaping up to be France’s favorites:

Discovering Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty

Auvergne Rhone Alpes
Irina Crick /

In the heart of France lies a region where history and nature converge in spectacular fashion. The Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, with its astounding annual growth rate of 23.9%, has firmly established itself as a cornerstone of France’s tourism triumph in 2023.

This area, a harmonious blend of Auvergne’s historical depth and the majestic French Alps’ natural grandeur, beckons travelers with a variety of attractions.

Lyon, the region’s crowning glory, is not only France’s third-largest city but also a treasure trove of Renaissance heritage. Its Old Town and the La Croix-Rousse district, both recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, offer a glimpse into a past where history is etched into every cobblestone.


The imposing Cathedral of St. John and the remnants of ancient Roman theaters add layers of historical intrigue to the city’s vibrant cultural scene.

Beyond Lyon, the region boasts other gems. Grenoble serves as a gateway to the Alps, offering both historical insights and access to breathtaking natural landscapes.


Annecy, with its crystal-clear lake, presents one of Europe’s most pristine natural settings, while Chambéry captivates visitors with its well-preserved medieval architecture, inviting travelers to step back in time.

2. Île-de-France: More Than Just Paris


The Île-de-France region, achieving a remarkable 28.5% growth in 2023, encapsulates the essence of French allure, with Paris at its heart. The capital city, drawing 36.9 million tourists last year alone, continues to outshine entire countries with its magnetic charm.

Home to some of France’s most iconic landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame, and the Louvre, Paris remains a subject of global fascination, celebrated and critiqued in equal measure for its unique place in the world’s imagination.


Yet, Île-de-France’s appeal extends beyond the City of Lights. The region is also home to Versailles, where the grandeur of the Sun King’s palace stands as a testament to France’s royal history.

Disneyland Paris, meanwhile, offers a different kind of magic, making the region a versatile destination that appeals to a wide range of interests and ages.

3. The French Riviera: A Magnet for Sun Seekers and Culture Enthusiasts


Eclipsing even Paris in terms of growth, the French Riviera, or Côte d’Azur, has emerged as France’s star performer with a year-on-year increase of 31.9%. Renowned as a favored summer and fall retreat, this region blends luxurious resort living with rich cultural heritage.

From the bustling Mediterranean ports of Nice and Marseille to the exclusive beaches of Saint-Tropez and the cinematic glamour of Cannes, the Riviera offers a multifaceted experience that caters to both the jet set and culture seekers alike.


Quaint towns like Menton, with its celebrated lemon gelato, add a unique flavor to the region’s diverse offerings, making it a must-visit destination for those looking to experience the breadth of France’s coastal charm.

France’s enduring appeal as the pinnacle of cultural richness, historical depth, and natural beauty is undeniably reinforced by the dynamism of its lesser-known regions alongside the famed allure of its capital. The emergence of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Île-de-France beyond Paris, and the sun-drenched French Riviera as top destinations reflects a broader trend towards exploring the diverse experiences this country has to offer.

These regions, each with their unique characteristics and attractions, invite visitors to delve deeper into the French way of life, beyond the iconic landmarks and into the heart of France’s vibrant regional cultures.

© All rights reserved.