France is a country of warm, friendly and welcoming people where village life goes on much as it has done for decades. The pace of its cities may be frenetic, but life is maintained with a certain style. France is also a landscape of beauty and contrasts, punctuated with chateaux, vineyards and all the other aspects which identify it as a truly unique holiday destination.
Here are 10 good reasons to visit the country, to help you with your plans for a great French holiday experience.
Cities: Paris epitomises France. It oozes Gallic spirit and charm from its iconic attractions such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame to the street artists of Monmartre and the cafes and bars of Monparnasse. Also check out monument-filled Lyons, France’s largest seaport, Marseilles, and Nice – grande dame of the Cote d’Azur.
Nightlife: The French are night owls. They eat late and the night life often doesn’t get going until many other nations would be putting up the shutters. Even shopping malls stay open until well into the night, and there are many night markets.
Food: France’s gastronomy is a national treasure. It is the standard by which all other country’s cuisines are judged, culminating in the much-coveted Michelin stars for those who attain the highest levels. Even we Brits no longer joke about frog’s legs as we try to beef up our own cooking. Try searching out local food markets, wherever you are.
Wine: What better to wash down the best dishes with some of the world’s best wines? Its Champagne, Burgundy and Bordeaux wines are peerless, as are the products of many other wine regions – despite growing global competition. Take a leisurely tour of a vineyard, and savour the nectar.
Art: With the Louvre France’s biggest cultural attraction, it is no surprise that the French take art to their hearts. After all, cave paintings date back to Palaeolithic times, while the Impressionism movement was initiated in France after Monet painted Le Havre in the mist.
Nature: France has the most diverse natural environment of any country in Europe. It has six national parks, four of which are in Provence plus the Pyrenees and one in Languedoc, and 43 regional parks including the Auvergne volcanoes.
Beaches: A coastline of 2,000 miles bordering the English Channel, Atlantic and Mediterranean means that France has beaches on three sides. While many of its most famous ones along the Cote d’Azur are actually more shingle than sand, there are long stretches of glorious, sandy beaches in Normandy and Brittany, in the Vendee, along the Aquitaine coast and in Languedoc.
History: France’s chequered history has left it positively littered with vestiges of the past, going back to Roman times. The 30-plus UNESCO-listed world heritage sites include the historic centre of Avignon with the Palace of the Popes and the bridge from the song, with other treasures including Gothic cathedrals in the north and ornate chateaux the Loire and beyond.
Shopping: As the capital of haute couture, it goes without saying that Paris is also a shopper’s heaven. Its most well-known department store is Galaries Lafayette. Head to Lille’s Christmas market by Eurostar for some pre-Christmas gifts and local produce.
Touring: France is close enough to the UK to take your own car over by ferry or the Channel Tunnel and hit the roads. Popular touring areas include Brittany, the Loire, Normandy and Provence.
Cheap flights to France from the UK are always readily available, and the country is well served with flights from all over Europe (and of course, excellent rail links), and so a holiday in France remains affordable – and always possible whether as a planned longer stay, or an impulsive short break.
Jimi St. Pierre, in collaboration with travel correspondent Penny Church, writes for the map-based holiday destination and flight finder Travelwhere. With Travelwhere, you can find cheap flights to France along with a wealth of additional information – including the brochures of specialist tour operators to France.
Question by Jessica: Does anyone know the amount of miles in the “Tour De France” for 2007?
I have a math project that involves the tour de france, and I can’t seem to find the distance (miles)
can you help me?
Answer by M R
Just over 2218 miles.
EDIT: Actually it is just a little over @ 2218.233. This figure is arrived at using the same links below. Do not use preliminary 2006 announcements as an accurate figure. The final detailed official route map states 3569.9 km (2218.233 miles) I stand by this answer as correct.
EDIT: Here you are: go:http://www.letour.com/2007/TDF/COURSE/us/parcours_flash.swf
As I stated (and Tipper) a prelim estimate for 2007 (and 2008) does not constitute a correct answer. The OFFICIAL detailed route map states the correct answer that I supplied the 1st time. Don’t mind being wrong (have been, and will be again) but do mind be told I’m wrong when I’m right… especial from someone telling me I don’t have the source – then provide a rounded estimate as Tipper noted in more detail than I.
I again stand by my answer.
Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!
044008, 1960s, France14:30:02Cable car, shots from cable car, French Alps with cables foreground, cable cars14:32:14Flowers, various14:32:44La Rochelle town, establishing shot, milk truck with pails or cans of milk, unloading milk pails from conveyor belt, cheese factory14:33:56Large family picnic, people sitting around on ground eating sandwiches, dated cars background, shots without cars14:34:16Family on porch of apartment, pan across modern auditorium or building with dated traffic, tilt up grain silo turned into church, architecture, interior empty church (good)14:35:32Royan, port with fishing boats, sign, www.myfootage.com
Once it was the one thing to holiday in or at least tour France, and then holidays in other parts of the world became more popular. Now the pendulum is swinging back, with many people finding a holiday on the French Riviera the ultimate luxury. At least there are no actual wars being fought in France, so one feels relatively safe travelling in that country.
One exciting thing about taking a holiday in France – especially the tour French Riviera – is that many celebrities go there, so you are quite likely to catch a glimpse of a famous face. Even if you don’t, all those charming towns and places you have heard of from childhood will entrance and entertain you. You can find follow the footsteps of Bizet, Picasso and Matisse at St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, explore the treasures of St Tropez, Cannes or Nice and do a hundred other things.
There are art galleries, boutiques, museums and gardens to wander through and explore the delights of. If you are feeling more active you can climb the 100+ steps of the Colline du Chateau at Nice to enjoy the sweeping views of the city and the Mediterranean as the sun sets. Or meditate amongst the tropical plant paradise, Le Jardin d’Eze at Eze. If flea markets are more your thing then don’t miss the Cours Saleya at Nice for flowers, food, produce and many other interesting items.
Or if you are more into rugged locations, you could take a holiday in Brittany, France and explore the rugged coastline, amazing medieval towns, islands and inland woods. The fascinating customs and dress in the Western Peninsula particularly remain much as they were in years gone by, making it a journey into the past. You can visit ancient castles, amazing pink granite formations and churches adorned with fairies, elves and many other weird and wonderful creations. One thing is for sure, you could never be bored on a tour of France.
Crane Willa is an independent travel guide and an ardent traveler and has been exploring new places for the past 15 years.
Question by keverina: has anyone taken the “jewels of france ” tour offered by comos tours?impressions?
Answer by Barkley Hound
I have gone with Globus which is the parent company. Cosmos is a lower cost version. I have no complaints about the company. If you have never been on an escorted tour be sure that you understand the brochures. Skirt means see in distance, view means that they do not stop, perhaps and optional mean you pay extra. You will also pay for all of your lunches. Hotels will rarely be in the center of town and rooms will be very small.
Give your answer to this question below!
velo tour in the South of France in May 2011 – Day ride up Col d Allos
France is home to some quit stunning scenery and a wonderful country for enjoying the outdoors, Add onto that the French food and wines and you begin to see the attraction of France as a camping and outdoors destination Below a look at some of the top camping spots in the country.
1. Rhone Alps – Rhone Alps is one of the most stunning and breathtaking camping destinations in the world and is the best destination in France for campers looking to experience the beauty of nature. Campers can set out from the French city of Grenoble and then participate in a wide variety of activities including hiking, water sports, and mountain climbing. Visitors will also be able to enjoy the pine forests, fresh mountain air and scenic meadows.
2. La Brouquere – La Brouquere is located in Gondrin and its campsite’s motto is “Arrive as a guest and leave as a friend.” This camp site is situated near an old winery and guests can relax at a beautiful terraced patio, take a dip in the pool, or explore the vast grape plantations and sunflower fields. La Brouquere is a relaxing and peaceful place to be and a great escape for the digital world many of us work within.
3. Luxury Eco Yurt – The French are known for their luxurious accommodations and as a result many camp sites offer guests a true camping experience coupled with luxury and sophistication. The Luxury Eco Yurt located in North Dordogne provides visitors with typical camping activities like bird watching and hiking while spoiling them with luxurious amenities and facilities.
4. North Brittany – Camping in North Brittany near Paris allows visitors to take in France’s stunning and rugged coastlines. Visitors to the area can also sample the French seafood dishes made according to local cuisine tradition; they can also visit the Oceanopolis, a giant aquarium shaped like a crab. An excellent day trip worth considering whilst is St Malo, a lovelt coastal town with markets and many stylish boutique shops and a beach.
5. Romarins – Romarins is located in close proximity to Monaco and camping in the area will offer travellers with an unforgettable view of the French countryside. Guests can also visit the Jardin Exotique, which houses a wide variety of exotic and interesting plants. This area is more expensive than some parts of France but is worth the value, such is the beauty of this area.
Paul loves to travel, watch movies and learn new things daily.
Come summer time, camping in France is one of the most popular holiday options for families in the UK. Thousands of families flock across the channel each year, taking advantage of the sunny weather, regional attractions and the many well provisioned campsites in France.
There’s nothing better than a family holiday when it everything goes well but when the children squabble and become bored, the parents start to get stressed, and everyone returns home far less relaxed than when they started! If you want to enjoy a fun and (almost!) stress free French camping holiday, here are a few tips on how to plan your trip…
Choose Your Region
There are attractions to be found in every part of France, but it is best to choose one that ties in with your mutual interests as a family. If your children are fans of the great outdoors, a camping holiday in the French Alps or the Jura will place you in amongst some of the most spectacular woods and mountains in France. Beach lovers should head to the Cote d’Azur or to the Vendee, the two best stretches of coast in the country. While if fine food and high culture are what keep you entertained, Brittany and the Loire may be the best choices, or perhaps a campsite near Paris. Each region has its own individual character – make sure you choose the right one for you (and your kids!)
Pick Your Campsite Carefully
It pays to choose your campsite in France with care – different campsites offer very different facilities and holiday experiences. More lively campsites can be perfect if you’ve got older children and like a few late nights out, but can be too loud and crowded for smaller children. Equally, a quieter campsite may leave older kids bored stiff!
Having the right facilities can make or break a holiday, especially when it comes to kid’s clubs – many of the larger campsites in France have dedicated children’s clubs that can be great for keeping the kids entertained (and out of your hair for a few hours!) Read up on any prospective campsites carefully, and make sure it has everything you and your family needs.
Research the Local Attractions
Once you’ve selected a specific region and an individual campsite in France, research the attractions in the local area. Children’s interests can change from day to day, and it is good to have a range of options researched and available – if the family is in the mood for some fun family entertainment, a theme park like Disneyland Paris can be ideal. If it is culture you are after, a visit to Mont St Michel or the Loire Chateaux may be in order. For a great family day trip you can suggest a visit to fun resort towns such as Nice and Les Sables d’Olonne.
Of course, it is essential that you read up on the finer details of opening times or prices – it is no fun driving for hours to reach an attraction only to discover that it is closed, booked out, or prohibitively expensive! But so long as you have a good range of days out and local attractions thoroughly researched before you go, you’ll never want for something to do whilst camping in France.
All very basic advice, but the key to a really great French camping holiday amounts to little more than thorough research and careful preparation – follow these simple steps, and you’ll be all set for a truly outstanding holiday experience!
Lorraine Waddell is the brand and advertising manager of Canvas Holidays, one of the leading European camping and mobile home holiday operators in the UK. With over 40 years of experience, Canvas offer superb options for camping in France as well as trips to Italy, Spain and a total of 9 European countries.