Picture a black-and-white image of a well-dressed woman strutting the cobblestoned streets of Paris in the 1950s, or celebrities cavorting on the beach at a French Riviera resort — or the countless colorful selfies of smiling travelers in front of the Sacre Coeur today.
France holds a cherished place in many hearts and minds thanks to these iconic images. And if you’re planning to visit this stunning country, your trip won’t feel complete unless you take some of your own.
Here are a few of the most Instagrammable spots in Paris and the South of France; seek them out, snap them and share them with the world to inspire future generations of travelers and documentarians.
1. Cannes Waterfront + Mougins
World-renowned for the Cannes Film Festival — which attracts a flurry of directors, stars and press every year in May — this coastal town radiates glamour all year long. Take a walk along the crescent-shaped bay La Croisette, sticking close to the beach to capture its resort-style architecture in full. End your walk at La Vieux Port, the 1950s-era harbor filled with grand yachts, and pose for some glam seaside selfies.
Just fifteen minutes from Cannes, you can find yet more local and laid-back charm in Mougins. Mosey along the meandering streets, charming cafes and bustling boutiques proximate to Diamond’s Le Club Mougins, a beautiful property neatly nestled into this picturesque medieval village.
2. Quaint Streets in Valbonne
This charming town is right near La Pitchoune, the quaint farmhouse where legendary American chef Julia Child spent many happy years with her husband. Although La Pitchoune is now privately owned, you can get a taste of her time in France by visiting Valbonne. For the best pictures, head to the grid of streets surrounding the main square, Place des Arcades, where houses overflowing with flowers set the stage for perfect photos.
3. Flower Fields Near Grasse
Grasse is a sensory town that’s home to an international perfume museum and the Fragonard factory. The city blossoms in May and August, when the annual Rose Expo and Jasmine Festival celebrate these two fragrant flowers. Both blooms are grown quite close to town, and the perfume museum also has its own gardens just a short drive away in Mouans-Sartoux. With the aid of a rental car, you can drive right up to fields of rose, jasmine and lavender for selfies set against a breathtaking Provençal backdrop.
4. Cours Saleya Market in Nice
Nice is renowned for its beautiful beach, which is backed by a grand boulevard of historic French Riviera buildings. But you’ll get the liveliest shots at Cours Saleya, a long street hosting a daily food and flower market. Here, vendors sell colorful blossoms and lush potted plants, dried fruits, spices, candies and pastries, as well as typical Niçoise delicacies, all under classic striped awnings. No one seems to mind if you strike a pose while the friendly vendors let you sample their wares.
5. The Picasso Museum in Antibes
The resort town of Antibes is all about Pablo Picasso, and the city has created a walking trail along the windswept, rocky coast and into the mountains, marked with specific places that inspired his paintings. For an unforgettable photo backdrop, head to the Picasso museum in the Château Grimaldi, where the artist briefly lived. The stone castle houses over 200 of his works. You’ll get the best shots from its terrace, which is adorned with sculptures and plants and has epic views of the Mediterranean.
6. Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
The French Riviera would be nothing without its glamorous homes, and the Villa Eprhussi de Rothschild is among its most iconic, with a memorable pink façade, nine themed gardens and views of the Mediterranean from the narrow Cap Ferrat isthmus. Wander the Japanese, Florentine and Provençal gardens for some beautifully composed Instagram backdrops.
7. Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco
This tiny city-state is the epitome of Riviera glam, and any trip there should include its famed casino complex, Monte Carlo. Built in the mid-19thcentury as a grand palace of excess, it includes an opera house and extensive gardens. Wander the Belle Époque building and pay a visit to the plush interior, where several James Bond scenes have been filmed. The building is particularly attractive at dusk when the Mediterranean light grows soft and the façade is illuminated so that you can imagine yourself back in Monaco’s 1950s heyday.
A tiny mountain village clinging to a rocky outcrop, Gourdon is accessible via a steep road through an impressive gorge. Once there, you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views of the mountains, especially from the terrace of the Château de Gourdon with its manicured gardens and trim shrubbery.
9. The Eiffel Tower in Paris
Rarely has a city’s number one sight been so photogenic from so many angles. The Eiffel Tower looks good from above, below, up close and far away, especially when you catch an unexpected glimpse of it between two buildings. Approach it from the leafy Rue de l’Université, or from across the Seine in the gardens of the Trocadero, but make sure to get a photo standing directly underneath it as well; that’s where you’ll see its intricate, masterful lattice ironwork and gain an understanding as to why this tower is so enduring.
10. Montmartre in Paris
The options for photographing street scenes in Montmartre are endless, but there are a few favorites for Instagram backgrounds that are worth seeking out. These include La Maison Rose, a pink building with green shutters that looks like something out of an Art Nouveau film, and Le Consulat, one of Paris’s oldest cafes, situated in a quaint, narrow, standalone building near Sacre Coeur. To get a perfect new profile picture of yourself sipping a café allongé, make sure to come early before the crowds arrive.
A hop, skip and a jump away in Vincennes, Diamond’s Royal Regency makes an ideal home base for enjoying your sightseeing adventures in Paris. Grab your camera (or your smartphone) and head to the city’s only zoo, or pack a picnic for the scenic Le Bois de Vincennes park.
France is such a photogenic country, you can’t go wrong — no matter where you’re snapping. But following these tips can help maximize your time and make sure you aren’t missing the endless photo-ops around every corner. Your eyes and your heart are still better than any camera, though, so don’t forget to simply relish the moment — that’s when you’ll really experience “La Vie en Rose!”
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