The in-destination market is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the travel and tourism industry, with museums and cultural attractions offering a diverse range of experiences to suit every type of traveller. The increased competition means higher standards across the board, and today, there are some truly award-worthy venues taking visitor experiences to the next level.
That’s why every year, Tiqets’ Remarkable Venue Awards series spotlights the museums and attractions that are pushing the travel and tourism industry forward in exciting ways and providing five-star visitor experiences.
The annual winners are based on reviews by over 850,000 customers as well as industry expert judges, like Dominique de La Tour, president of Association des Journalistes du Tourisme, and Laurent Queige, Director of Welcome City Lab. Read on to find out more about this year’s RVA winners in France across five different categories, and what makes these venues truly remarkable.
Most Remarkable Venue: Musée de l’Orangerie
“The collection is vast and varied and the building is an experience as such. Truly wonderful.”
– Christina, Belgium”
The prestigious ‘Most Remarkable Venue’ award goes to the venue that is the most popular and highest-rated among visitors, based on customer reviews on Tiqets.com.
It may not have the instant name recognition that some other Paris art museums have, but the Musée de l’Orangerie is a gallery of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings that rivals any art institution in the world.
The location was chosen specifically to house a number of Monet’s works, which the great Impressionist donated to the French state as World War I drew to a close. Located inside an old orangerie in the heart of Paris, this museum is notable for having an impressive amount of Monet paintings in a decadent, yet light and airy setting.
Monet’s larger-than-life Water Lilies are definitely the star attraction that you’ll have seen in films and Instagram feeds, but they’re far from the only reason to visit. There’s an impressive collection of works by Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Renoir, and Rousseau, among others to see as well.
With close to a thousand 5-star reviews on Tiqets.com, this relatively small treasure trove of modern art wonders punches well above its weight. With world-class curation, amazing exhibitions, and a relaxing friendly atmosphere, Musée de l’Orangerie is setting the standard for visitor experiences in Paris.
Best Museum: Musée Marmottan Monet
“So great to see these magnificent paintings. Seeing pictures in art books doesn’t do these paintings justice.”
– Robert, USA
The Best Museum award recognises the best museum or art gallery in the country, based on customer reviews on Tiqets.com.
While the Musée de l’Orangerie is home to some seriously impressive Monet works, no museum in the world boasts as many Monet paintings as Musée Marmottan Monet. If that wasn’t reason enough to go, then its enormous collection of work by other Impressionist icons should be enough to seal the deal!
Visitors can admire around 100 of Monet’s masterworks, including ‘Impression, Sunrise’, which gave rise to the Impressionist movement, and his much-loved ‘Water lilies’. Also on display are pieces by the likes of Gauguin, Renoir, and Degas, taken from Monet’s personal collection.
The Musée Marmottan Monet offers the perfect balance between an elite museum and a boutique art gallery, with its relatively intimate setting belying the treasure trove of artistic riches within.
There are always fascinating temporary exhibitions on show at the Musée Marmottan Monet too, which are also included with regular admission. With hundreds of five-star reviews on Tiqets.com, this little museum of many Monets is a Paris must.
Best Attraction: La Cité de la Mer
“Very good experience. Lots to see. Titanic exhibition was fantastic as was the Redoubtable experience. The aquarium was amazing. Got to touch rays. This was good value for money. British museums could learn a lot…“
– David, UK
The Best Attraction award honors the best attraction, from theme parks and zoos to guided visits of cultural locations. It recognises venues that stand out for their appeal to all types of visitors.
This year’s Best Attraction winner, La Cité de la Mer, is located in the former Gare Maritime Transatlantique in Normandy, and is dedicated to humanity’s maritime adventures and the depth of emotions and stories that have come from voyages across the oceans.
Inside, there are three floors of spectacular multimedia spaces and dazzling aquariums to explore, with a number of unique exhibits that will take your breath away.
Relive the fateful final hours of the Titanic and soak up the atmosphere onboard the world’s most famous ocean liner. You can also step aboard the largest visitable submarine in the world. le Redoutable, discover the Ocean of the Future and explore the last wilderness on the planet.
Make sure to visit the Art Deco auditorium for a film screening where you can discover the Normandy coast, or hear about Cherbourg’s importance during the liberation of Europe with a film that covers the first 20 days following the Battle of Normandy in 1944.
Best Landmark: Château de Villandry
“Infinitely tasteful castle, grandiose view from the tower over the gardens and the diversity of the extremely well-kept gardens is a dream! An absolute highlight !!!!
– Britta, Germany
The Best Landmark category recognises venues such as cathedrals, churches (or any place of worship), castles, natural landmarks, historical or iconic buildings, and observation decks. In this case, the award has gone to one of the most spectacular aristocratic residences in the world, Château de Villandry, located in the Loire Valley region, roughly three hours drive from Paris.
The Loire Valley is home to a number of magnificent chateaus, but the Château de Villandry with its jaw-dropping formal gardens might just be the most breathtaking of the lot! And that’s really saying something.
You could spend a whole day meandering the immaculately arranged variety of plants, herbs, vegetables and water features, which contrast beautifully with the sober elegance of the château’s architecture. Stately is an understatement!
Full of history, the site of the château was once a 14th-century keep where a truce between France and England was discussed, as well as a gift once acquired by Napoleon Bonaparte for his brother.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Château de Villandry is a timeless landmark that will draw you into the past with a unique charm and romance that few places possess.
Best Onsite Experience: Bioparc de Doué-la-Fontaine
“Very beautiful park with spaces for each species large enough so that each animal does not feel too cramped in a setting reminiscent of their natural environment.”
– Julie, France
This category is focused on recognising the venue that offers – you guessed it – the best onsite experience. The selection for this award is based on customer reviews on Tiqets.com relating to the onsite experience, including staff interaction and information available at the venue.
With its themed zones based on the Himalayan mountains, Asian rainforest, Madagascar’s jungles, African savannah, and more, Bioparc de Doué-la-Fontaine creates incredible wildlife safari experiences for families and animal fanatics of every age.
Its outstanding facilities and sprawling habitats elevate Bioparc de Doué-la-Fontaine high above your typical zoo or wildlife park. There are multiple aviaries, an outdoor reptile vivarium, and enclosures for some of the rarest animals on the planet.
See rarely spotted creatures like Javan and Sri Lankan leopards, snow leopards, lions Tigers, lemurs, zebras vultures, and over 1,400 animals in spacious natural settings. Walk through tunnels dug into the rock to get from one environment to the next and explore a labyrinth made by mother nature.
During your visit to Bioparc de Doué-la-Fontaine, you’ll get to see the animals living at their own pace in extra-large spaces that mimic their natural habitats. Enjoy the spectacle of nature as they engage in their natural behavior.
Best Hidden Gem: How to Become a Parisian in One Hour
“Excellent show!!! Hilarious!!!.”
– Magdalena, Netherlands
The Best Hidden Gem award highlights the lesser-known venues and attractions that consistently provide outstanding experiences despite their smaller size and marketing reach.
This year’s Best Hidden Gem award goes to the always-hilarious How to become a Parisian in one hour Tour. In this sidesplitting English-language show, Parisian comedian Olivier Giraud will teach you how to dress, act and talk like a Parisian in a little over an hour.
All stereotypes are joyfully embraced and explored in this evening of jovial jokes and audience interaction. Afterward, you’ll dress cooler and be more aloof and attractive, but while watching, you’ll be laughing your face off!
Presented as a series of lessons to help you learn how to behave like a real Parisian in a number of different situations – while shopping, on the metro, in a restaurant… this show takes aim at residents of the City of Light, while poking fun at other cultures along the way.
Most Innovative Venue: Paris Montparnasse Top of the City
“It was very smooth as there were no queues. The view from the tower is very impressive.”
– Zvi, Israel
When it was first built for the World Fair in 1889, the Eiffel Tower was met with a somewhat icy response from the Parisian public. The emblematic monument eventually won people over and became the beloved icon of the city. But it’s not the only tower providing epic views over the City of Light.
While it may buck the trend of typical Parisian architecture, the Montparnasse Tower offers some seriously spectacular 360° views of Paris, which you can enjoy after a ride on one of Europe’s fastest elevators that whisks you up to the 56th-floor observatory in just 38 seconds! In addition to the spellbinding views, there are viewpoint indicators, films, touchscreens, and exhibitions on the French capital to get immersed in too.
The 56th floor also houses the highest restaurant in Paris, Le Ciel de Paris, so you can tuck into fine dining with equally fine views. If 56 floors isn’t quite enough for you, you can continue on up to the outdoor observatory on the 59th floor. Located 210 meters above street level, this is the place to cast your gaze across the city, hum a little Edith Piaf, and hold the hand of whoever you’re with.
It really is one of the top things to do in Paris!