Strolling along the Champs Elysees. Posing under the Eiffel Tower. Smiling at the Mona Lisa in The Louvre.
There’s no place quite like Paris, and it’s a bucket list destination that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.
But this incredible and iconic destination is best avoided by savvy travelers in 2024.
Too Many Tourists
This year Paris has been a victim of over-tourism.
So much so that in June French Tourism Minister Olivia Gregoire unveiled plans to encourage tourists to visit lesser-known parts of the country rather than its most popular spots such as Paris (of course), Mont-Saint-Michel, and Brehat.
Adding to this overcrowding, in 2024 Paris will be hosting the Olympic Games. New research has revealed that an extra 3 million are expected to visit Paris in 2024 as a result.
The Paris Olympic Games are expected to attract 15 million spectators, including overseas visitors, locals, and domestic daytrippers.
This will make navigating Paris as a tourist destination frankly unbearable. Many experts have expressed concerns about the readiness of Paris to host the Games and to welcome this huge number of visitors.
The public transport system alone will struggle to cope with the extra number of visitors during this peak period.
If you are a huge sports fan who already has tickets to see the games and is excited to throw yourself into the chaos and excitement of the event, then book your plane tickets and head to Paris.
But if you have no interest in the Olympics and want to see the City of Lights at its best, then 2024 might not be the best time to visit.
Many hotel rooms are already booked out and prices are inflated. The most popular tourist attractions are expected to be full to capacity and finding tickets will be difficult. And your overall experience of the most romantic place in the world will be substandard.
So where should you go instead?
The Best Destinations In France For 2024
There are very few destinations in France that are not touched by tourism, but not all French cities are as packed full of travelers as Paris.
If you want to spend some time in France in 2024 then try these 3 city destinations instead.
Art and nature lovers won’t be disappointed with a trip to Arles.
Vincent van Gogh fell in love with the city and painted some of his most famous masterpieces here. You can appreciate his art by stopping at the Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles in the city.
Other reasons to visit Arles include its abundance of Roman UNESCO heritage sites, its atmospheric medieval streets that are perfect for people watching and eating iconic French pastries, and its 300 days a year of sunshine.
Modern attractions in Arles include the Arles Arena, which has been modeled after Rome’s Coliseum.
You can watch spectacles and concerts here and during the summer months theatrical and sporting events in the arena pay homage to the chariot-racing, gladiatorial days that would have been enjoyed in the city in days gone by.
Dijon is the capital of Burgundy and boasts the perfect combination of history, culture, and cuisine. It is a city that is authentically French and well worth exploring.
Dijon is a beautiful cities. You will be in awe of its cobbled streets, medieval buildings, and beautiful cathedrals. These are so abundant because Dijon was a hub for art and culture in the 15th century.
Foodies won’t be disappointed by the bistros and Michelin-star institutions in the city that serve the best of Burgundy cuisine.
Perhaps the most iconic attraction in the city is the Place de La Liberation, which is flanked by the 14th-century Ducal Palace and the Musée des Beaux Arts.
Dijon is an iconic destination to explore French culture and French food, but without the manic pace of Paris.
Tours is the great capital of the Loire Valley, and the whole small city is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is considered the gateway to the Loire Valley wine region.
Tours boasts gothic architecture, café-lined squares, and manicured gardens which have earned it the nickname “the Garden of France”. Some of the Medieval buildings are so iconic that they have been nicknamed the French Diagon Alley.
Attractions worth exploring in the city include the grand Hotel de Ville, the Palais de Justice, and the more famous Basilica of St Martin. But the most important and beautiful building in Tours is Tours Cathedral.
This stunning cathedral is show-stopping and it is worth visiting Tours to see this architectural feat alone.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com