Travel Guides: France
France has its place in Europe and in the world because of its cultural characteristics, which are expressed mainly by French language.
In media policy, its language is promoted through rates for video and music. France aims to urge the European Union, UNESCO and the UN policy of defense of cultural diversity: culture is not a commodity, merchandise, it can not move freely, without limits. Maintenance and care throughout the rich cultural material are considered mission of national importance. This view is known to the public through measures proposed or promoted by the French State, which participates in the formation of a national cultural consciousness. The annual cultural calendar, the days devoted to cultural heritage, music and national cinema enjoys a wide and enthusiastic audience. Cultural events are organized with great generosity in accordance with the image of Capital of Culture and the culture of Paris and France on a claim.
France, the biggest of the European countries, with a population of 60 million inhabitants, arouses interest even at first glance with the hexagonal shape of its territory. It has exit at four seas and it is among the most sought tourist destinations. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Andorra and Spain. France has extremely varied landscape, from the lowlands of the west to the eastern heights, providing ideal conditions for development of tourism and sport not only by the sea, but the snowy slopes of the Pyrenees Mountains, the Alps or the Massif Central. In the heart of the Paris Basin from the north of the country is one of the most exciting European capitals – Paris, known as a paradise for those who love life and cultural, economic and administrative framework of France.
Cultural monuments of Paris are, without doubt, among the most attractive and fascinating not only from all over the country but also across the European continent. It is worth visiting, for example, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Montmartre and others artists’ quarter near the river Loire which is a palace complex known evidence of time remaining to mark the past leaders of France. Millions of tourists visit France every year and are not only attracted to beauty but by its architectural monuments. Wine lovers will feel good in their element in the famous wine regions such as Burgundy and Bordeaux, in the bosom of nature, adventure enthusiasts will love the gaps in the Massif Central, and those who primarily want a luxury vacation at the shore shall have the wonderful sea Ivory Coast in the extreme south of the country that has already become a symbol of dream vacations.
You can also enjoy the waves of the sea also in Brittany or Normandy Peninsula. Children are awaited by the first European Disneyland, built on the river Marne valley. The south-east of the Loire and the Pyrenees, where there are a number of historic cities like Toulouse and Montpellier, is often described as “the heart of France”. The first human settlements appeared there in times very remote, whose testimonies are today many caves with walls decorated with cave paintings and remains of prehistoric villages and cemeteries in the area. French mentality: it appreciates the art of communication, which is still familiar to primary school. Also, in high esteem is democracy and civility, the latter being expected from foreigners and the relationships with locals. Therefore, do not forget to always have a civilized behavior, which will arouse positive reactions. Addressing issues of political or social commentary on the situation in France can lead to conflicts.
“The Country of the Gallic Rooster” was engraved in the history of the world as a realm of consciousness fashion, good wines, the cheeses, fine gastronomy and natural beauty. French grandeur and patriotism are well-known throughout the world and the people of this marvelous country have the right to be proud. France is the first place ranking of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, after no more than 78 million tourists chose to visit the country, a truly impressive figure even for specialists in the field. In time it had been overtaken by other countries, but France is the top choice, in large part due to its specific brightness and especially because of the charm of Paris, perhaps the most famous capital in the world. Over 78 million tourists visited France in a single year, in 2006, which is a spectacular increase, surpassing even the 60 million citizens of the country.
But the number who work in one way or another in the French tourist industry, from hotels to venues is impressive, about 2 million, which demonstrates the important role played by tourism in the French economy. But according to those who got there that makes the number of employees to be quality services. According to statistics compiled by the Ministry of Tourism of France, most of the tourists came from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain and Eastern Europe. Also, it increased the number of tourists from China, for example, about 600,000 visited France in 2006. This increase is explained by a promotion strategy: Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping has spent several years at Montargis, and authorities now take advantage of this historical legitimacy. Of all the regions of France, Languedoc-Roussilon, on the border with Spain and the Mediterranean Sea, has proven the most popular, but even Paris has not lost the slightest charm.
Just the visits to the Louvre Museum in 2006 was a record number of amateur art, more than 8.3 million who have tried to find at least some of the unique treasures contained herein. Third place is situated in the new St Tropez, always a busy destination for those who want to relax in the summer. But not only have those interested in culture, history or French coast arrived in this special country. A significant percentage of the total number of tourists is the Catholic faithful, who come here to visit monasteries and cathedrals and the most frequently chosen destination is Lourdes, a place that played an important role in the history of the French Catholic Church. In recent years no more than 5 million tourists went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, and adding those who chose other holy sites to reach an impressive amount.
Even for the layman it is clear that it is impossible for France to lose ever tourist attractiveness and the number of people who come here will surely increase in coming years. After all, on the list of tourist attractions is located in France the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Notre Dame, to mention just the most popular. Those who want to discover music, film, culture, will find in France the Nice Carnival (February 16 to March 3) at the Cannes Film Festival (May 16 to 27) or “Girls de la Musique” (June 21). Among the most interesting tourist destinations, Spain ranks second and third place is China. But experts estimate that by 2010 China will reach the second position, and by 2020 France could exceed the number of tourists, as the most popular tourist destination in the world.
Location: Western Europe, adjacent to the Mediterranean Sea, Spain, Atlantic Ocean, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy. Area: Total: 674,843 sq km. Climate: Temperate oceanic, with high precipitation and high mountains in western and southern Mediterranean seaside. Extreme points: The deepest point: Rhone delta -2 m, Highest point: Mont Blanc 4807 m. Population: 65,447,374 (estimate of January 2010). Age structure: Between 0-14 years: 18.6% (male 5,725,170; female 5,449,991), 15-64 years: 65.1% (male 19,619,994; female 19,583,850), Over 65 years: 16.3% (male 4,006,857; female 5,794,667) (2003 estimate). Religion: Romano – Catholic 83% -88%, Protestant 2%, 1% Hebrew, Muslim 5% -10%, 4% atheist. Languages spoken:
French. Capital: Paris. National Day: July 14. Coin: Euro (EUR). Means of communication: Telephones: 34,860,000 (1998), Mobile: 11078000 (1998), TV stations: 584, Internet country code: .fr, Internet users: 16.97 million (1999 estimate), Airports: 477 (2002 estimate).
France, officially the French Republic is a country located in Western Europe, which also includes various islands and territories located in other parts of the world (France Overseas). Among major European countries, France is the oldest state built around a royal domain, originally organized around the Île-de-France region whose capital is Paris. France is a member of the Council of Europe, a founding member of the European Union, the Euro and the Schengen area. It is also one of the founding of the United Nations and one of the five permanent members of UN Security Council. It forms part of the Latin Union, the International Organization of Francophony and the G8. French Republic is a unitary state, democracy, organized as a semi-presidential republic. It is a developed nation with the fifth world economy in 2008.
Values which it protects and it feels much attached to are expressed in the Declaration of Human Rights and the Citizen. From a military perspective France is a member of NATO (in whose retired military structures in 1968 to partially return in 2002) and is one of the seven countries officially possessing the atomic bomb. It is considered one of the great powers after the Second World War. The name France comes from Latin Francia, which is the realm of the Franks. Francia referred to a region from northern Europe, inhabited, or rather Germanic warrior dominated by people who called themselves Franks. Thus, Francia originally had no geo-political connotation, but more than geographical or sociological terms similar to the current North Africa or the Balkans. The term most likely means francs a league or confederation of Germanic peoples installed on the right bank of the Rhine, beyond the borders of the Roman Empire who were not subject to any and any other important people.
Origin of name is not clear and there are several assumptions: most experts say that it comes from the Proto-Germanic language and Frank means free, the link being that because the Franks were the leading people, they were free people. However, it is likely that the term “frank” derives from the tribe and not vice versa, as the Latin variant of the term “Francusa” appeared 200 years later than the first appearance of the Franks; another possible origin is linked to Proto-Germanic language “frankon” term that defines a kind of ax or lance thrown as weapons used by the French, and seems to be similar to the name given to the Saxons after their traditional weapon called “seax”. The word is not very specific, because it is used by Julius Caesar to identify various Gallic tribes; Merovingian kings claimed to be descendants of a tribe that migrated from Eastern Europe and took the name around the year 11 BC named after a chief named Frankon or Francio.
Another origin is that the word “Francus” comes from a Latin word “frangere” which means “to break”. Link to the Franks is: in proto-French language there is the “wrakjo” term who had little sense of being the diminutive soldier “wraker” term which means soldier. The translation of it from the Latin is from the verb “francus” – who broke, destroyer, killer. It is assumed that this was the time which they used to describe the elite soldiers of Germanic origin of certain Roman cohort stationed in the northern tip of the Empire. They, after retirement installed on the right bank of the Rhine where they were organized and where they kept the Latin name, being linked to the Franks. The French people were mainly a nation of warriors and elected a chief named “Rex Francorum” (King of Franks). From the reign of Hugo Capet this term is used strictly to refer to the United Francia. In 1190 the King began to bear the name of Rex Francie what later becomes Roi de France (king of France).
Although large parts of France is in Western Europe, France has territories in North America, Caribbean, South America, western and southern Indian Ocean, northern and southern Pacific Ocean, and Antarctica, but this sovereignty is exercised under the Antarctic Treaty. Metropolitan France extends from the Mediterranean to the English Channel and North Sea and the Alps and the Rhine River to the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the geometric shape of the territory of continental France, the country is referred to colloquially as a hexagon. It is bordered by Belgium (620 km), Luxembourg (73 km), Germany (450 km), Switzerland (572 km), Italy (515 km), Monaco (4.5 km), Andorra (57 km) and Spain (650 km). France shares borders with Brazil (700 km), Suriname (520 km) and embodied a border with the Netherlands Antilles (10.2 km), Saint Martin.
France possesses a wide variety of terrain, from plains of northern and western country to the south mountain ranges (Pyrenees) and southeast (the Alps), the latter having the highest point in Western Europe, Mont Blanc (4810 meters). There are mountainous regions such as the Massif Central or the Vosges Mountains and basins of large rivers such as Loire, Rhone, Garonne and the Seine. The total area of metropolitan France is 551,659 square km; France is ranked as the 47th state as surface. Total area, which includes all regions, local and overseas territories, is 674,843 km ², representing 0.45% of total land area on Earth. The Exclusive Economic Zone of France ranks it in second place after the United States and ahead of Australia with a total area of 11,035,000 km², which represents 8% of Exclusive Economic Zones.
France is divided in 26 regions: 22 are in metropolitan France (21 located in the mainland plus Corsica), and four overseas regions. These 26 regions are subdivided into 100 departments, each with an associated code that performs a series of administrative functions, such as the first digit zip code, part numbers, registration, and others. Four of these departments, overseas departments and overseas regions are simultaneously but are an integral part of France and the European Union. Departments are also subdivided into 342 districts made up of 4035 and 36,682 common cantons. Three communes, Paris, Lyon and Marseille are subdivided into municipal districts. Regions, departments, and municipalities are known as “territorial collectivity” (collectivités territoriales), holding the executive council and as such, while counties and cantons are merely administrative divisions.
In addition to the 26 regions and 100 departments, the French Republic is made up of five communities and overseas, including New Caledonia that has a special status, and three special territories inhabited. Local and overseas territories are part of the French Republic, but are not part of the EU. Pacific territories continue to use the CFP franc, whose value is reported in euros. In contrast, the four regions and overseas departments used the French franc and now use the euro. France has under control a number of uninhabited islands in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean: Bassas da India, Clipperton, Europe, Glorioso, Juan de Nova, Tromelin. France’s economy is a combination of several private companies (over 2.5 million companies registered) and important (but declining) government intervention to keep a strong influence on certain economic sectors is the main shareholder in many companies considered strategic (railway, electricity, aircraft construction). However the government began to relax its control over certain areas and began to sell some of its shares in certain companies such as France Télécom, Air France, and numerous insurance companies, finance and defense industries.
France is a member of the G8 group of leading industrialized nations, is regarded in 2005 as the sixth global economy after the United States, Japan, Germany, China and the United Kingdom. France is one of 11 European Union countries that launched the euro on 1 January 1999, completely replacing the French franc in early 2002. According to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in 2004 France was the 5th leading exporter and the fourth importer of manufactured goods. In 2003 France was the second recipient of foreign direct investment in OECD countries by 47 billion dollars before the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom or Germany, and French companies invested 57.3 billion U.S. dollars in the same year, France is thus the second-largest direct investor among OECD countries after the United States. In 2005 OECD report on the G7 countries France first class in terms of productivity (measured as GDP per hour worked).
In 2004, GDP per hour worked in France was $ 47.7, more than in the U.S. ($ 46.3), Germany ($ 42.1), United Kingdom ($ 39.6) or Japan ($ 32.5). Despite these figures, GDP per capita in France is significantly lower than in other OECD countries, is comparable to that of developed countries in the EU, at approx 30% of that of the United States. The reason is that the percentage of French people is less active than in other countries for GDP per capita is lower, despite higher productivity. Among OECD countries, France has one of the lowest percentages of people working with the age between 15 and 64, only 68.8% in 2004, compared to 80% in Japan, 78.9% in the United Kingdom, 77.2% in U.S. and 71% in Germany. This phenomenon is due to relatively high unemployment of 9% of active population, the possibility to prolong study ease and aid from the government, increasingly rare in recent times, because employees in some areas may retire soon.
Many economists believe that the main problem of the French economy is not productive, but the lack of economic reforms that would allow a more important percentage of the working population to work. The views from the right argue that shorter working hours and the weight of reforming the labor market are the weaknesses and points of view on the left refer to the absence of government policies to create social justice. Recent government attempts to change the labor market to combat youth unemployment were struck in 2006 by an important resistance manifested by large protests. With over 75 million foreign tourists in 2003, France is ranked as the first tourist destination in the world. In addition to this significant percentage of French who spend their vacations in different parts of the country. Tourist attractiveness is explained by the wide variety of points of interest and great number plus the diversity of landscapes, rich heritage and a temperate climate and ease of access and tourism and transport infrastructure well developed.
Paris and its surroundings are the most important destinations, followed by the castles of the Loire Valley, Mont Saint-Michel, Côte d’Azur and the Alps ski resorts, to name only the most prestigious destinations. In 2003 tourism accounted for 6.6% of GDP and employed about 700,000 people in activities directly related thereto. France has an important aerospace industry represented by the European corporation Airbus and is the only European power (excluding Russia) which has its own space-based missile launch (Centre Spatial Guyanais). France is also the most independent country in terms of Western Europe ennergy due to significant investments in nuclear energy, which makes France one of the smallest producers of greenhouse gases of most industrialized nations in the world. Over 80% of the country’s electricity needs are produced by nuclear power plants (86.9% in 2005).
The large percentage of fertile land, combined with modern technologies and important European subsidies (about $ 14 billion) in France were the main agricultural producer and exporter in Europe and the second leading exporter of agro-food products after the United States. However, due to the high level of technology, the primary sector of industry occupies only 4% of active population. The main export products are grain, birds, dairy products, beef and pork as well as the famous French wines. Transport infrastructure is well developed with a mileage of railway, highways and national roads and 400 airports. Railway network has over 30,000 km standard gauge 1,435 mm of which 14,000 km are electrified. In France is the famous TGV train system that can run on dedicated lines, with commercial speeds of up to 320 km / h. There are connections with all its neighbors (with the exception of Andorra, which has no railway system), including the United Kingdom via the Channel Tunnel.
Many cities have suburban train system (RER and Transilien in Paris) and the underground, some of which type automatic VAL. The tram also in major cities began to grow more and more present, after the 1960s most of the lines were abolished. The road network has over 890,000 km of public roads, paved most of the motorway network has over 10,000 km, most of them with the charge and some are operated by private companies. There is also a well-developed network of highways, 30,000 km, linking the main cities. Car market is dominated by domestic manufacturers such as Renault (27% of car market in 2003), Peugeot (20.1%) and Citroën (13.5%). In addition, 70% of new cars sold in 2004 the use of diesel engines are the preferred choice, before petrol or LPG. Of the 478 French airports, 176 airports with paved runways are the largest, Charles de Gaulle International Airport near Paris being the largest. Air France is the national carrier, under privatization, a division of Air France-KLM, which is the third global company transport aircraft.
Until the nineteenth century was highly developed river transportation, there are still over 14,000 km of canals and navigable rivers, of which 6,000 km are very dense to navigate. There are many ports, Le Havre, Saint-Nazaire, Bordeaux and Marseille are among the most important. France had a population of 62,998,773 inhabitants on 1 January 2006, of which 61,166,822 were in metropolitan France, which corresponds to about 1% of world population. Since 1801 was organized at regular intervals by a general national census, in 2004 it became permanent. Demographic growth registered by France is one of the most dynamic in Europe and is due to a higher average level of European birth and a positive migration balance (approximately 100,000 annually). As regards the fecundity, it ranks among the best in Europe, with 2.01 children per woman in 2006, only Albania, Montenegro and Iceland having higher fertility indices.
In addition, due to increasing life expectancy, there is an increase in the proportion of elderly people, a phenomenon known as pappy boom and is due to reach the third age of the 1950s baby boom generation. French is the only official language in 1992, that France is the only country in Western Europe (except micro-state) which has only one officially recognized language. However, in France 77 regional languages are spoken which have no official status, but lately have started to be taught in some schools. Other languages such as Portuguese, Italian, Arabic and other languages are spoken by different immigrant communities.
Main attractions: fall in love with Paris and its famous Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc de Triumph, Champs Elysees, Montmartre Sacre Coeur in the heart of the Louvre and the pyramid. Take a step back in time at the Versailles Castle and enjoy the fireworks show during the summer. Visit one of the many castles of the Loire valley, which include Blois, Chambord, Chenonceau, Azay to Rideau and Chinon. Make sure you visit the sea in Brittany Mont St Michel. Admire the rough atmosphere of Corsica, the island that consists of two French departments, with the picturesque towns of Bastia and Ajaccio, famous thanks to Napoleon. Discover the Millau Bridge, designed by British architect Norman Foster. Visit Pont du Grand of 2,000 year old. Roman aqueduct is one of the greatest architectural achievements of humanity. In the south you can admire the ruins of Roman and Gallic Languedos-Roussillon region. Maison Carre, Temple of Diana and Roman Arena of Nimes, Rome Gauls are among the finest examples of Greek-Roman architecture.
Visit the Papal Palace in Avignon and nearby are the ruins of the Roman amphitheater in Orange. Visit Marseilles, the most important commercial port of France on the Mediterranean. Other places of interest include the Old Port, Notre Dame de La Garde church on the hill, several museums, the Vieille Charité asylum and Chateau d’If. Visit the many cathedrals of France, among who was one in Reims, where the first French king, Clovis, was baptized, Chartres and Tours. Relax in the 80 museums and 200 art galleries in Paris – visit the Orsay Museum housed in a beautiful restored train station, Louvre Palace, Modern Art Centre George Pampidou or Rodin Museum. Relax in the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, near the perimeter of the Latin (boulevards St. Michel and St. Germain), student activity center. Discover the future of the city of Villette Science and Technology or the Futuroscope in Poitiers.
Visit Mickey Mouse in Disneyland Resort Paris in Marne la Vallee. Enjoy a wide range of water sports on the 3.000 km coast of France. Among the famous resorts include St and St Enogat Emerald Coast Jacut in Brittany and Cannes, Nice, St Tropez, Antibes and Menton on the south coast. Admire the luxurious life on the Cote d’Azur – Wander the promenade des Anglais in Nice, famous for its Flower Carnival in January, or spend some time among celebrities at the Cannes Film Festival, held in May. Browse to and from La Rochelle, a port located in the popular area of Charente Maritime. Nearby, the islands of Oleron and Re are linked to the mainland by bridges. Discover winter sports in the French Alps and Pyrenees. Let yourself be pampered at a spa in Biarritz, Contrexéville or Vittel. Make a pilgrimage to Lourdes, located in south-west, a place made famous by the visions of Bernadette Soubirous in the mid nineteenth century.
Watch a bullfight in arenas in Arles in the south-west. Try your luck at the casino in Monaco or at Deauville, also famous for golf course and racetrack. If you have the opportunity to take part in a grape harvest – there are 10 main wine regions, which include Alsace, Burgundy, Champagne and the Rhone Valley, each with its own identity based on grape varieties and soil. Watch Tour de France cyclist, witnessed a performance of opera at Roland Garros, near Paris, and bet on a horse at the Prix de l Arc de Triumph. French cuisine has a long tradition, based both on local-regional specificities, as well as culture, originally influenced by the nobility of what is called the Grande Cuisine. Even today, “eating well” has great value and is essential for the French people a symbol of national identity.
Besides great shopping areas, small and often specialized plays an important role in terms of fresh produce. France is typical meal with a variety of ways; the simplest example is a menu consisting of appetizers, a main course and dessert, accompanied by wine, especially red and water. The real secret of French cuisine is the choice of quality products for great cooking. French cuisine has evolved from a rich banquet of the aristocrats of the Middle Ages to the French Revolution when using more refined techniques and spices, and kitchen twentieth century, when Georges Auguste Escoffier to become the modern version of haute cuisine. Escoffier has kept regional character in the provinces of France. Dishes and ingredients vary in each region, but cheese and wine, with numerous varieties, is a very important part of French cuisine.
The most representative symbol of Paris and even France is the Eiffel Tower. It rises on the banks of the Seine, reaching a height of 324 m. From the top, the tower offers a splendid panorama over the city. From 21 and up to 01 hours, it is lighted, and at fixed hours, 10 minutes there is an impressive light show. Arc de Triomphe, is located at the end of Champs Elyzee. Inside, it houses a museum, but the most impressive place is represented by its top, which can be reached by climbing the circular stairs. Louvre Museum is one of the largest museums in the world, hosting such famous works by Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa, the statue of the goddess Venus, full km of galleries and the famous Tuileries gardens. Notre Dame is the most famous in Paris, its reputation and because due to the novel by Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
The complex architecture and gardens of Versailles are renowned for their beauty and required nearly 50 years to be built. The interior impresses with its great works carried out, the rooms are beautiful Warrior Hall, Exhibition Gallery of Mirrors and Peace. The park is divided into more confined spaces, hosting numerous fountains and statues, many of which are dedicated to gods or mythological characters. Little and Grand Trianon, located inside the park are two buildings in the XVII, XVIII respectively, centuries the second housing the apartments where lived for a period Napoleon. The city lies at the confluence of Lyon Rhone and Saone rivers, the capital of Rhone-Alps region. It has an important cultural heritage, relics from the era before the construction of .XX century Roman Vieux Lyon district, choline Fourviere Croix-Rousse hill and part of UNESCO world heritage.
National Opera housed in a dome of 300 years and is situated between City Hall and the Rhone River. Bellacour square is the largest in Europe and the Tete d’Park is a complex that includes a zoo and a botanical garden. Attractions not to be missed are the Fourviere Theatres Romains, Basle Fourviere, Beautiful Art Museums, Resistance, printing, Natural History, and Contemporary Art Hauters Park. Strasbourg is the seat of the Council of Europe, the European Commission for Human Rights and the European Science Foundation and venue of the European Parliament. The city still preserves the atmosphere of a city in the Roman Empire, and many houses date from XVI and XVII centuries. On the other hand, elegant buildings and mansard roofs are typically French. Grande Ile is located in the center, surrounded by a river and a canal. The Old Town is Notre Dame Cathedral, which remained unchanged since the Middle Ages and many museums. Toulouse is the fourth largest city in France, representing the center of cultural, economic, academic, French aviation and space industry in southern France.
Not to miss to visit the town Red, Chapter, located in downtown, Pont Neuf, where the most beautiful buildings in the city, Couvent des Jacobins, the church became a museum now, Monument aux Combattants from Haute-Garonne, which is Arch of Triumph of Toulouse’s and Chapelle des Carmelites, chapel and artwork dating from the XVII century. The city of Marseille, founded by the Greeks 2,000 years ago, is located on the Mediterranean Sea coast, currently representing a major industrial port. Notre Dame de La Garde, the Cathedral Museum of Roman docks, and street sculptures from the Town Hall are built in the fifth century tourist attractions worth visiting. Lourdes, originally a small market town, has now become the largest pilgrimage place in the world, the Virgin Mary.
It is situated on both banks of the river Gave de Pau, as the summer residence of the bishops of Tarbes and Lourdes. Market town’s main attraction is Peyramale, Sacre Coeur Church, and former prison Cachot castle on the hill that houses the Museum of the Pyrenees, where it can be seen throughout the city panorama. In “l’Hexagone” you will find different landscapes, from coastal plains to mountain ranges near the Pyrenees and Alps in the center is higher elsewhere, such as the Vosges Mountains, and river basins of the Loire and the Seine. Of course, a simple visit is not enough, many trips and excursions are necessary in order to know France and admire its treasures, both natural and cultural. From a tour by car or bike up to a week at sea – France offers something for all tastes.
Atlantic Coast: One of the most long and beautiful coastline of France is located in the southwest of the country. Atlantic coastline is known for its beaches with fine sand and waves – thus became Europe’s surfing paradise. Another major attraction is the interior lakes and forests that are right behind the great dunes. Côte d’Azur and interiors: The Mediterranean coast west of Marseilles and Menton on the Italian border. This name is synonymous with sun, sea, and beach and generally relaxing. But no less attractive for travelers in this region are numerous small towns and picturesque village in the interior. “Département Bouches-du-Rhône” in several locations await you here very welcoming and diverse landscapes. French Alps: Trois Vallées – The Three Valleys – are known as the largest ski area in the world with direct links.
France now boasts over 400 varieties of cheese, this is suggesting the country’s cultural variety. Much of the original French is because of its territories are found in all major regions of the continent, each with its own personality. Both the diversity of landscape and tumultuous history of political leadership, have formed habits, language and attitude of residents. Stereotypes die hard, so the French are still represented in white striped shirt, black and Basque, Gauloise smoking a cigarette and having on their neck a string of onions. Another view is that the typical Frenchman drives a Citroen 2CV. Of course it is very unlikely to encounter such a thing in France, but still retains the rural traditions and lifestyle of centuries old.
The old France can be found in villages markets, traditions and regional specialties. Its charm is shown is chic boulevards of Paris, the sparkling ski slopes of the Alps, sunny vineyards and golden beaches, a game of boules, or coffee and croisant in a hidden village. If you have all the time in the world, you can ride through France after will, living an unforgettable experience, but if you have a limited time, you should not miss the most important attractions. Each century has added a new architectural facade to France. The Romans, who occupied Gaul for the first time in 120 BC, built beautiful arenas, villas, aqueducts, thermal baths and other structures that still exist today in southern France. The Romans were succeeded by the medieval religious orders who built the baptizer in fourth-century, St John of Poitiers, Chapel of the Holy Trinity in the Bay of Cannes and hundreds of monasteries across the country.
Medieval towns were surrounded by walls for protection such as Carcasone, still exist today. In the early twelfth century was eclipsed Romanian style of Gothic architecture in the cathedrals of Reims, Amiens, Chartres, Vezelay, Mont Sant Michel and many others. Renaissance or rebirth architecture was introduced today that you can admire in the castles of the Loire Valley. Twentieth-century French architecture, such as Le Corbusier chapel in Ronchamp, Centre Pompidou and the Louvre glass pyramid, influenced architectural thinking beyond the borders of France. French influence permeated in art, literature and philosophy. In the past 30 years France has become a mixture of immigrants from all over Europe, Africa and the Middle East, who came to France to find a better life. This gave birth to conflicts, but local color – almost every town in France is now a mosque, and classic cuisine has been altered and adapted to the exotic flavors.
To meet someone French use a handshake or a kiss on both cheeks. The salutation is simply Monsieur or Madame. At formal dinners, the most important guest or host is first to set the tone for the start of the meal. Topless beach attire is tolerated on most beaches, but nudity is restricted to designated areas. Smoking is banned in all public spaces and institutions. Spring is the most beautiful season when you can visit France, even if sometimes it rains. Summer is hot and the winters are mild. Local time is GMT +1 and the electricity is 220V.11