It is nigh impossible not to like France. As the late French president Charles de Gaulle once remarked, ‘How could one describe a country which has 365 kinds of cheese?' There are myriad attractions in this deeply compelling and multifaceted land that draw millions of visitors back year after year.
France's charms are manifest, whether it is the chic boulevards of Paris, the sparkling ski slopes of the Alps, sunlit vineyards and sun-baked beaches, a dusty game of boules, or coffee and croissants in an undiscovered village. Or perhaps a tour of the majestic chateaux of the Loire, the glamorous jet-set lifestyle of the Mediterranean, or a relaxing picnic in Provence, where the air is fragrant with wild herbs and lavender?
France is the most visited country in the world. It has everything that you could ever want to see on your holidays: a great city like Paris, good beaches, more monuments than any other country, lovely nature, incredible mountain scenery; need I go on? France is also a very pleasant place to stay. It has good food, great wines and people enjoy their lives. And the best thing is, maybe apart from Paris, living in France does not have to be expensive. The North of France consists of the flatlands around the town of Lille and the Channel. The area will remind visitors in many ways of Belgium and the Netherlands. The Grand' Place in Lille for example is a lot like that of Brussels.
Paris, the city of light and its surroundings are one of the most visited areas. Paris is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities on the planet.
West of France is turned towards the Atlantic Coast. In the north Normandy & Brittany have rolling hills, sandy beaches and quiet little harbour towns. Normandy & Brittany have a more rugged coast and many neolithic sites. It has quite a distinct atmosphere from the rest of the country; you can still sense the Celtic origin of the region and its inhabitants.
The eastern part of France consists of the Alsace, Lorraine, Franche Comté and Burgundy regions. The landscape has rolling hills and many beautiful cities, such as Metz, Strasbourg, Nancy and Dijon. This region produces many famous wines, including magnificent pinot noirs and chardonnays valued the world over, as well as the famous "Yellow wine" from the Jura mountain vineyard.
Consider also the delights of other lesser-known regions such as Franche-Comté, Gascony or Berry, deep in the green heart of France - regions firmly rooted to the land, whose sleepy villages offer visitors a chance to sample life in provincial France, and the unspoilt and rugged atmosphere of the island of Corsica, described as ‘a mountain in the sea'.
Eager to avoid a repeat of the destruction caused by two world wars, France was a founding member of the European Union. It continues to be a driving force behind the EU's progress towards economic and political harmonisation and is still active in almost every other part of the world. This arises from a combination of historical reasons (its colonies and self-image as a nuclear and world power), coupled with a desire to confront America-centric global dominance. France also proudly covets its title of the world's number one tourist destination, and this uniquely appealing country has little trouble in tempting first timers back for numerous repeat visits.
The Center of France is in many ways the most quiet part of France. But the great treasure of this region is the Loire valley , with many great castles and beautiful towns. Chartres with its famous cathedral and Tours rate among the most beautiful French cities.
The Alps are great for skiing in winter and hiking in summer. Albertville, Grenoble and Chamonix have all hosted the Olympic games. But the Alps also have nice towns to visit, such as Chambéry, Annecy or Grenoble .
The South with its lovely nature, good food, roman ruins and of course the Riviera draws a lot of visitors every year. Towns like Orange, and Arles but also big cities like Marseille and Toulon are must sees. The Provence is dotted with pleasant small villages. In the South west of France the Dordogne is one of the most quintessential French regions. The valley is so pretty, the towns are so cute and the food is so good, that it is hard to believe that the people who live here go somewhere else for their holidays. The Languedoc has its own language and culture. In the south of the Languedoc you find the Pyrenees, a great mountain range separating France from Spain, where you can hike and ski. The towns of Toulouse and Montpellier are nice and the medieval town of Carcassone is a top destination.