why travel to France?


If you're thinking about a European holiday why travel to France?  Where do we start? There are so many reasons for visiting this amazing country.

There really is something for everyone in France, something that will delight and enthral each visitor. Whether you come in search of wonderful towns and villages, good food and fine wines, or simply to enjoy a relaxing holiday on golden-sand beaches (with or without your clothes). 

culture and heritage

There's so many ways to answer the question - why travel to France? The unique culture and heritage is probably one of the most compelling.

Here you can absorb the culture and outstanding architectural heritage, from amazing chateaux to World Heritage Sites, from beautiful villages where a game of boules is about as energetic as it gets, to the vibrant scenes of Paris, Lyon and Strasbourg...and many more.

For those with energy to burn the winters offer excellent skiing and hard mountain climbs, while the warm breezes of summer are perfect for rambling, cycling, horse riding and the tendencies of those who like to launch themselves into the air attached to little more than an over-sized item of ladies' underclothing...they call it parapente.

With such a large country, the geology is diverse, and that means constantly changing countryside as you pass through, from the agricultural plains of the north to the river- and volcano-fashioned landscapes farther south, and the high mountains – the Alps and the Pyrenees – that frame the country east and south.

So now you know why travel to France. But how do you make the most of your trip? Don't worry we've got your back...


5 tips on getting the most out of your visit to France


1: Paris is not France. Paris is Paris, a capital city in every sense of the word, a unique place, and somewhere everyone should experience…for a while. But if you want to experience the real France, you need to move on.

Sure, make the most of the museums, the fabulous architecture, the luxurious restaurants and hotels; indulge yourself, see the principal sites…but then move on. Three days is plenty.

2: You can’t see France in just a couple of weeks; it’s far too large and diverse a country for that. So, focus. Pick a region, and get to know France region by region. More to the point, choose regions that are neighbours, so you don’t spend too much time just travelling. And, come to think of it, there’s no better way of grouping regions than to use the new, larger regions that came into force on 1 January 2016.

You’ll get so much more for your money if you focus…not only the distinct characteristics of each region, but its cuisine, its wine, its culture. These elements really do differ from region to region. When you think Somme and Picardie, you’re thinking battlefields, war associations, military cemeteries.

When you think Pays de la Loire, you’re thinking wine, chateaux, gardens, architecture. When you think Pyrenees, you’re thinking mountains, adventure, marvellous scenery and the history of the Cathars.

3: If you are fascinated by the French cities, then get to them by rail, and explore on foot or local transport after that. There’s no better way of getting to know Strasbourg (the best Christmas markets in France), Lyon (great museums and restaurants), or Marseille (for that Mediterranean tang).

Let the train take the strain; the TGV service is outstanding, and very fast…and you can book all your tickets before you go by using Voyages-SNCF.

4: Slow down; relax. Don't be in a hurry. You can see and learn a huge amount about France and the French by the simple expedient of taking coffee – or whatever – sitting at one of the street cafés. If necessary, have two coffees, and just watch the world go by. If you find someone playing boules, stop and watch them for a while; they won’t mind.

5: Challenge yourself. Determine in advance to try at least one French delicacy – snails, frog’s legs, foie gras, truffle, riz de veau – or something more calorific, like macarons, Far Bretonne, Iles Flottantes, crème brulée, Madeleines, or alcoholic, like pastis, Pineau des Charentes, marc, calvados, Armagnac…but not all at once! The last three of those are great for settling the stomach after a large meal…a digestif.


why travel to france?
Facts, info, stats

Some things you need to know, others you may never have thought about and some trivia you never realised you needed to know.

geographical information

Ttraditionally, the country has been divided into 22 administrative regions: Alsace, Aquitaine, Auvergne, Basse-Normandie, Bourgogne, Bretagne, Centre, Champagne-Ardenne, Corse, Franche-Comte, Haute-Normandie, Ile-de-France, Languedoc-RoussillonLimousin, Lorraine, Midi-Pyrénées, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Pays de la LoirePicardie, Poitou-Charente, Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, Rhone-Alpes.

In 2014, however, the French Parliament (the National Assembly and the Senate) passed a law that reduced the number of regions in Metropolitan France from 22 to 13. The new regions took effect on 1 January 2016.

Each region is divided into départements, with a total of 96. There are 38,851 cities, towns and villages, across a land area of 551,695 sq km. The highest point is Mont Blanc (4,810m/15,780 feet), and the coastline is 5,500km (3,438 miles) long.

Mountains

  • Mont Blanc (Alps) 4,810m
  • La Barre des Écrins (Alps) 4,102m
  • Pic d'Aneto (Pyrenees) 3,404m
  • Vignemale (Pyrenees) 3,298m
  • Crêt de la Neige (Jura) 1,718m
  • Puy de Sancy (Massif Central) 1,885m
  • Plomb du Cantal (Massif Central) 1,855m
  • Ballon de Guebwiller (Vosges) 1,424m

Rivers

  • The Loire runs for 1,020km from its source on Mont Gerbier-de-Jonc in Ardèche, at an altitude of 1,408m
  • The Seine (776km) rises on the plateau de Langres in Côte d'Or, at an altitude of 471m
  • The Garonne (575m, of which 524km are in France) has its source in Spain in the massif de la Maladeta
  • The Rhône (812km, of which 522km is in France) rises in the massif du Saint-Gothard in Switzerland

Traditional regions

New regions from 2016


Currency

Until 2 January 2002, the currency was the Franc. It has since changed to European currency, and now the Euro is the legal tender. 1 Euro (€) = 100 Euro centimes.


Population

On January 1, 2012 there were 65.35 million people in the country, with more of them living for longer, and more of them being over 65 years old.

Some political stuff

The country is a republic with a written constitution (5th Republic).

The President is Emmanuel Macron (who has a 5-year mandate, from 2017).

The Prime Minister is Edouard Philippe.

Religion

France is a secular republic, although about two-thirds of the population say they are Catholic, and only 2% Protestant. But fewer than 10% of the Catholics are regular church-goers, and the incidence of those admitting to being atheist or agnostic is on the increase.

Education

1. Formal schooling starts at six years in France, although in reality little children are learning from four years old

2. No school uniform in French schools

3. Greater emphasis in France on the core subjects, i.e. French and Maths, and less time given to imaginative/creative subjects (story-writing, drama) in primary school, but paradoxically more time given to learning poems and texts by heart

4. Repeating a year is more common in France, should the child be consistently under-achieving

5. No headmaster or headmistress in French schools – teachers are answerable direct to the regional education authority and a teacher is designated ‘director’ for administrative tasks each year. Secondary schools have a non-teaching, full-time director at the helm

6. No packed lunch in most French schools – it’s either the canteen or home for lunch

7. No celebration of religious festivals, so no nativity play: schools are strictly secular except for the private Catholic schools

8. France still operates what is effectively a primary, middle and upper school system, with pupils entering secondary middle school (collège) aged 11, before going to sixth-form college or high school (lycée) at 15 years old

9. Parents must take out annual insurance – called assurance scolaire – for their children attending school in France, but on the upside, parents receive an annual allowance per child for the ‘rentrée’ to help pay for school essentials

10. Private education is far less prevalent in France – Catholic schools are deemed ‘private’, but teachers are paid by the state as in secular schools, and fees are around €100 per term. there is also a relatively small network of high fee-paying private schools




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