There are warm, friendly, welcoming people in France, and village life continues much as it has for decades, while the pace of the cities is frenetic, but maintained with panache. In addition to its beauty and contrast, France’s landscape is also dotted with chateaux, vineyards, and other unique features. Here are 10 reasons to visit France that will give you ideas on how to plan and enjoy your French vacation.
Paris is the epitome of France. It radiates Gallic spirit and charm with its iconic attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame, the street artists of Montmartre, and the cafes and bars of Montparnasse. In addition, make sure to check out Lyon, France’s largest seaport, Marseilles, and Nice, the grand dame of the Cote d’Azur.
French people are night owls. Unlike many other nations, they eat late and the nightlife doesn’t begin until many other nations have shuttered their doors. Shopping malls stay open late, and there are many night markets.
French gastronomy is a national treasure. It is the standard by which all other cuisines are judged, culminating in the much-coveted Michelin stars for those who achieve the highest levels. Frog’s legs are no longer a joke among Brits who try to beef up their own cooking. Look for local food markets wherever you are.
There’s no better way to wash down the best dishes than with some of the world’s best wines. Many other wine regions produce peerless wines, including Champagne, Burgundy, and Bordeaux - despite increasing competition from around the world. Savour the nectar while touring a vineyard.
The Louvre is France’s biggest cultural attraction, so it comes as no surprise that the French love art. As a matter of fact, cave paintings date back to Paleolithic times, and the Impressionism movement originated in France after Monet painted Le Havre in the mist.
In Europe, France has the most diverse natural environment. There are six national parks in the region, including four in Provence and one in Languedoc, as well as 43 regional parks, including the volcanoes of Auvergne.
There are beaches on all three sides of France, as it borders the English Channel, the Atlantic, and the Mediterranean. The beaches on the Cote d’Azur are often sunnier than the sand, though Normandy and Brittany, the Vendee, the coast of Aquitaine, and Languedoc have long stretches of glorious sand.
With its chequered history, France is positively littered with vestiges of the past, dating back to Roman times. Avignon’s UNESCO-listed world heritage sites include the Pope’s Palace and the bridge from the song, along with Gothic cathedrals and opulent chateaux in the Loire Valley.
Paris is the capital of haute couture as well as a shopper’s paradise. The most famous department store in the city is Galeries Lafayette. Get some local produce and pre-Christmas gifts at Lille’s Christmas market.
By ferry or through the Channel Tunnel, you can drive your own car over to France. Touring areas in Brittany, the Loire, Normandy, and Provence are among the most popular.
France is always accessible from the UK by cheap flights, and the country is well connected to all parts of Europe (along with excellent rail links), so a holiday in France remains affordable - whether you are planning a longer stay or taking a short break on an impulsive basis.