Who wouldn’t want to go to France? To discover its famous art, to walk along the River Seine, to try its delicious cheeses, or simply go up the Eiffel Tower to see the wonderful sights of Paris.
All tourists who have visited France have fallen in love with the charm of this country and with the distinctive accent of its romantic language that leaves an unforgettable impression on those who hear it.
It is not only Paris but also a number of tourist sites in France that show you the beauty of this beautiful place in Western Europe. By the way, it is a big world tourist power.
While its southern coasts offer Mediterranean bathing, more specifically this country is bathed by the Atlantic Ocean and the English Channel.
Nobody who has visited France can ever forget their feeling on hearing the official language, French. This beautiful language is not so difficult so maybe one day you can try to speak a little French.
Regions of France
France is divided into 27 administrative regions, 22 of which are in the mainland of the country, if we include Corsica.
From 2016, 22 will be changed to 13 regions under a new law. The other five regions, which are located overseas, are Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Mayotte, Martinique and Reunion.
The capital of France is Paris and we could say it is the greatest jewel in the country, although of course the country has many other attractions. In Paris, if you do not know where to start we can help you. Basically, the Eiffel Tower is the most visited monument in France − and in Europe. Also, Sacré-Cœur, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Montmartre, with its huge dimensions helps you to contemplate, pray and generally think about life. In addition, it has hidden art treasures of great value. But, you cannot go to Paris without visiting the Palace of Versailles, a mere 20 kilometres from the capital.
Other major interesting cities in France are Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse and Nice.
Member of the European Union
France has been part of the European Union since 1 January 1958; it is one of its main founders. Its currency is the euro − since 1 January 1999, the date on which the country entered into the euro area.
The weather in France
Mild and Mediterranean are the most characteristic words relating to the French climate. That's right, not too hot or too cold. The weather in France is very pleasant during summer with temperatures ranging between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius. In the autumn there is usually abundant rain and temperatures are low. In winter, the mountains are the first to experience the snowfalls and in the capital, temperatures can drop to 2 degrees minimum.
According to statistics, in France the majority of the population is Catholic, although as in other countries not all practise their faith actively. Catholics are still more than 50% of the population. The rest comprises atheists, Protestants and believers of other religions.
France is a country with many famous people. In its history are the famous names of, for example, Louis Pasteur, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Edith Piaf, famous in their own right but equally all spread France’s renown throughout the world by their actions.
There is also the great cycling competition − the Tour de France. Since 1903, except in the period of the two World Wars when it was held back, the participating teams compete from around the world and the winner gets to wear the famous yellow jersey (‘maillot jaune’).
Gastronomy in France
All regions of France enjoy their own cuisine. Some of them consume more meat, cheese or fish while others use more vegetables, herbs and fruits.
The meals are always, of course, accompanied by a rich French wine. It's important too that we mention its famous cheeses, and the typical bread, baguettes and pastries. And to follow, un café au lait!
Among the dishes we highlight is Vichyssoise − a soup or cold cream made with potatoes, onions, leeks, cream and milk.
On tracks and French roads there are numerous radars, cameras to monitor the speed. Respect the speed and beware!
The best time to travel to France is in spring and summer. From May to September you can spend a very pleasant holiday.
Do not forget to take an umbrella, summer rain is not uncommon.
In most restaurants the tip is already included in the bill. If not, it is customary to leave 10% of the total bill.
Shopping centres, stores and offices are usually open until 7 pm. with a short closure around midday.
Editing by: Catherine Parker