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French Cities

France is famous for its culture and history. With French cities having so much to offer, there is no shortage of interesting places to go.

Paris
Undoubtedly the most famous French city, Paris is the capital of France and also serves as the centre of business, culture, and fashion for the country. The population within the metropolitan area is 12 million which makes the city one of the largest in Europe. With a wealth of attractions like the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and the River Seine, Paris is one of the major tourist destinations in the world.

Marseilles
Marseilles was founded in 600 B.C. and is the oldest French city. Sitting on the Mediterranean Sea in south-eastern France, the city boasts a population of almost 3 million and is France’s second largest city. Marseilles is home to Château d’If, a fortress prison in the Bay of Marseilles which was featured in the Alexandre Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo. This French author who also wrote ‘The Three Musketeers’

Lyon
Lyon, the third largest city in France, is situated in the east central area of the country roughly halfway between Marseilles and Paris. It is a major European banking centre and is home to the headquarters of Interpol. Lyon was the site of the infamous St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacres in 1572, in which Protestant Huguenots were targeted by deadly mob violence.

Toulouse
Toulouse is in the south-western part of France in the Pyrenees Mountains. It is the fourth largest of the French cities and is the centre of the European aerospace industry. Founded in 1229, the University of Toulouse is one of the oldest universities in Europe and is home to 120,000 students. Lyon also has two UNESCO World Heritages sites, the Basilica of St. Sernin and the Canal Du Midi.

Nice
Like Marseilles, Nice is nestled along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in south-eastern France. A hub of the French Riviera, Nice hosts 4 million tourists annually, making it the second-most visited city in France. The city is home to the Nice Observatory, situated at the summit of Mont Gros. At one time, the observatory held the world’s largest telescope.

Nantes
Nantes is located in the central western part of the country and is the sixth largest city in France. The city’s motto is “Neptune favours the traveller,” which reflects Nantes’s unique geography. It sits at the juncture of three rivers: the Loire, the Erdre, and the Sevre. Nantes may have had the first form of public transportation in the industrialized world. In 1826, an omnibus service was established in the city.

Strasbourg
Strasbourg is situated in the Alsace region of France and is close to the German border. Not surprisingly, the city possesses a unique blend of French and German cultures. The city centre, Grand Island, is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Strasbourg is home to the European Parliament and Court of Human Rights. The major sight in the city is the Cathedral of Our Lady, a sandstone high Gothic cathedral which was once the world’s tallest building.

Bordeaux
Bordeaux is in the Aquitaine region of France, located in the south western part of the country. Bordeaux gives its name to its famous wine and is the world capital of wine production. The city hosts Vinexpo, the world’s most important wine fair. The city port, the Port of the Moon, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The main language spoken in these cities is French but, particularly at the borders, you can find other languages. The main foreign languages of France are English, Spanish, German and Italian.

France also had immigrant communities where the foreign languages also include Arabic and Turkish.