France is a fascinating country of surprising contrasts. From the glittering lights of Paris to the quaint architecture of Cherbourg, there’s so much to explore in this pays belle. 

Celebrity Cruises is thrilled to visit seven French ports. Read onto find out why each port made our hand-picked list, as well as the highlights to look out for in each destination. 

1.

Cannes

Home to the Cannes Film Festival, Cannes isn’t short on glamour. Sitting pretty on the French Riviera, it’s well-known for its elegant, palm-lined promenades and beaches fringed with sophisticated hotels.

Take a sunny, scenic walk along the Promenade de la Croisette. This is where the film festival is held, so keep your eyes peeled for celebrities. Stop for a break at Croisette Beach, where you can laze on the warm sand with a good book, or paddle in the surf. Get your culture fix at the Musée de la Mer, where you can find view artefacts fished from underwater. 

2.

Nice (Villefranche)

Next up is Nice, a jewel in the Côte d’Azur. We’ll take you sailing to Villefranche, which is just a 20-minute taxi ride from Nice. This unique city has a history of drawing in visitors – in fact, it has been considered a popular tourist destination since the belle-époque of the 1700s. We reckon it has something to do with the sun-soaked climate, its iconic promenades or distinctive Italian influence.

During your time in Nice, make sure to visit the Musée Matisse, which houses one of the largest collections of the artist’s work in the world. Next, visit the Castle of Nice, which was once a military citadel. Today, it offers park and garden on top of a hill, offering spectacular views of the city. 

3.

Paris (Le Havre)

The City of Light is incomparable in every way. Home to world-famous architecture such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame as well as museums like the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, it has earned its place on the world stage.

Whether it’s your first visit to Paris or you’re returning to the city, you’ll always find something new to do. Get your culture fix by admiring Monet’s Lilies at L’Orangerie, take a peaceful stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens or see the real Moulin Rouge up close.  

4.

Provence (Marseilles)

It’s a short hop from Marseilles to Provence – but we think you should take some time to explore this bustling port town first. Marseilles enchants with its old port area, where you can feast on freshly caught seafood at rustic restaurants or explore historic buildings such as the Romanesque Saint-Laurent Church.

It’s around an hour and a half in the car to Provence – but it feels like a different world. Provence is a land of gently swaying lavender fields, idyllic olive groves and villages which are seemingly untouched by time.

5.

Provence (Toulon)

Our second Provence port is laidback Toulon, which enjoys a relaxed beachy vibe. If you can bear to leave the warm sand, take the Mount Faron cableway to the top of the mountain to enjoy stunning panoramic views of the city and sea beyond.

It’s a two-hour journey to Provence. Visit the quaint village of Cassis, a fishing port which is overlooked by an atmospheric château. The charming harbour is packed full of colourful pastel houses and rocky trails you can follow to viewpoints. Make sure to sip a glass of crisp Cassis wine by the sea as the sun goes down. 

6.

Sete

Finally, we have Sete – France’s best-kept secret, in our opinion. This city is unique, in that it’s completely bordered by Étang de Thau, a natural saltwater lagoon. It combines a relaxed coastal feel with plenty of historic attractions and a modern centre.

Ascend the 183cm Mount Clair to get the best views of the city, or head to Corniche Beach to laze the day away. Complete your visit by checking out the Regional Centre for Contemporary Art, which is housed within a refurbished fish storage facility.

7.

Cherbourg

The lively port city of Cherbourg has a rich seafaring history, which you can learn more about at the Cité de la Mer. This museum is located right in the cruise terminal, so you won’t have to look far to find it. The museum is housed within a former transatlantic liner terminal, dating all the way back to the 1930s.

It hosts a number of exhibitions, including the history of the Titanic which had a stopover in Cherbourg, and a virtual adventure called “Walking into the Depths”. There are also an impressive 17 aquariums here full of marine species. 

Idyllic landscapes, mouth-watering cuisine and world-class museums await. Find your perfect itinerary with our French and Mediterranean cruises.