These Durable Metal Fridge Magnets Show Off the Elegance of France

France has a magic appeal for visitors from around the world, and while some only stop in Paris, the luck ones are able to travel outside the capital and visit some of the spectacular towns and smaller cities in the French provinces. This expanded line of metal fridge magnets aims to serve the fans of these lesser-known parts of France. Each design features an important building or site in provincial France and depicts it in high-quality, high-detail metal design. Each of these designs are available in three colors: silver, brass and bronze. The new collection features images from the island and abbey of le Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, the French-German city of Strasbourg on the Rhine with its famous cathedral, the walled town of Carcassone in the southern region of Provence and the city of Nice, the jewel of the French Riviera and the famous Negresco Hotel. Fridge magnets make ideal souvenirs due to the portability, durability and ease of display – no need to put up nails or hangers.

Sometimes an Island, Sometimes a Peninsula, le Mont Saint Michel Always Captures the Imagination

This first magnet set depicts le Mont Saint Michel, a remarkable location on the coastal border between Brittany and Normandy. During high tide, the settlement is an island, but at low tide it is surrounded by a wide plain of mud and quicksand. After allegedly seeing the Archangel Michael on the summit of this coastal rock/island, a medieval monk (who would eventually become St. Aubert) founded a monastery on its summit in 708 AD. Eventually it grew into a fortified settlement, including an impressive set of sea walls and a well-guarded causeway to the mainland. This metal fridge magnet set – available in three colors – shows the abbey church set on top of the rock with the surrounding town and walls leading down to the water.

Mont St. Michel Was the Wonder of the Medieval World and Is Still Bringing In Visitors Today

While Mont Saint Michel is an impressive sight even today, for medieval visitors it was a spectacular, even astonishing building. The main abbey church was particularly famed in the era because of the high level of skill required to build a church of such size and height on top of an uneven rock outcropping. While the technological skill may no longer be so ground-breaking today, the Mount still brings in three million visitors a year. Many also visit the nearby town of Bayeux to view the famous Bayeux Tapestry which depicts the exploits of the Norman Kings – especially involving the conquest of England in 1066. This second magnet set depicts the island abbey and surrounding bay on a stylish plate-shaped background. Above and to the left of the church is an image of the Archangel Michael blessing the rock and to the right is the crest, or “blazon” of the abbey in pre-Revolutionary days.

These Magnets Continue Our Exploration of le Mont Saint Michel on the Norman Coast

This magnet set, also available in three colors, features an image of the abbey in the background. In the foreground is a herd of grazing sheep, a typical pastoral activity in rural Normandy and actually common around the Mont, which is not built up but still has a rural air. In the air alongside the archangel is the Blazon (a heraldic design) of the old Abbey: on the top are three fleur-de-lis, a stylized lily representing the French royal family and marking the fact that the abbey had been named by Louis XI as the Chapel of his Order of St. Michael in 1469. Below the fleur-de-lis are ten scallop shells, which are emblems of St. James and convey a connection to the great medieval pilgrimage routes leading to James' remains in Santiago de Compostella in northwestern Spain. Overall, this extra level of detail makes this an excellent gift for the history buff.

Strasbourg is a City That is Both German and French at The Same Time

Sitting on the banks of the Rhine, the city of Strasbourg is simultaneously in France and part of the German world. The city is the largest in the German-speaking region of Alsace, and therefore is culturally very German – at the same time, the area has been part of France since 1639 and is therefore thoroughly part of France! Even today, most of the population speaks German at home and knows French for official business. This means that Strasbourg is a meeting ground of cultures and peoples and the city is richer for it. The mixture can be seen in the architecture of the buildings, such as in this first magnet, where the common buildings have a strong German flavor, but the city's famed cathedral behind them is built in a French Gothic style.

Straddling Two Worlds, Strasbourg Has Seen the Best and Worst of The European Spirit

While Strasbourg's position between France and Germany is today a source of pride and cultural diversity, for much of its history it has meant that the city was a prize traded back and forth between Germany and France in their many wars. Most recently, it was seized by the Nazis and returned after World War II. However, this history of strife has given way to one of European integration as today the city is home to the European Union Parliament. This magnet, available in three colors, depicts the city's rectilinear cathedral and bell tower, with a scroll below that reads “Strasbourg.” The cathedral is one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in the world and was the world's tallest building from 1647 to 1874. Due to its construction in sandstone from the nearby Vosges Mountains, it has a distinctive pink hue on the outside.

Carcassone is the Finest Walled Town in Southern France and a Marvel to Behold

In the southern French region of Provence is the town of Carcassone, famed throughout the world for its incredible and well-preserved Medieval fortifications. Located on a hill above the Aude river, the entire town was walled in the 13th century when it served as a frontier fortification between the Kingdom of France and the Kingdom of Aragon (in today's eastern Spain). The fortifications were restored in the late 19th century and are today in excellent condition. This first magnet shows the primary castle of the citadel on a plate-shaped background with a scroll that reads “Carcassonne.” Impressive today, these walls were considered impregnable in their heyday and stood up to a prolonged siege during the Hundred Years' War in 1355.

These Scroll-Shaped Fridge Magnets Show the Medieval Town of Carcassonne

This magnet also shows the fortifications of the Medieval town of Carcassonne in the south of France. The detail of this magnet, which is available in silver, brass and bronze colors, is excellent, showing a side view of the citadel. Above the image of the walls is the town's crest which, fittingly, shows a two-towered stone fortress. Above the door is a shield that bears three fleur-de-lis, a stylized lily flower that was the icon of the French royal family for centuries and shows that this stronghold had royal patronage in the form of King Louis IX who founded the lower (non-fortified) town and Phillip III who ordered the outer walls built.

Nice is the Jewel of The French Riviera, and These Magnets Capture its Beauty

The Riviera is one of the most famous coastal regions in the world and is synonymous with style, elegance and sunshine. The city of Nice is nestled in the heart of the French portion of this famous seaside, near to the city-state and gambling mecca of Monaco. This magnet, which is available in silver, brass and bronze colors, depicts the famed waterfront of the city. The beauty of this landscape and the quality of the light in the vicinity attracted many late-19th century painters including Matisse and Chagall. The image on the magnet shows the famed Hotel Negresco which overlooks the Promenade des Anglais, the city's popular beach and boardwalk. The Hotel, opened in 1913, is today a city landmark and has a spectacular chandelier originally designed for Czar Nicholas II (but undeliverable due to the Russian Revolution). Today it is a member of the elite “Leading Hotels of the World” company.