France is seen as the most romantic country in the world because it is home to Paris, the city of love but France has so much more to offer. In 2014 France had 83.7 million visitors (of which some were Disneyland Paris guests) and the majority enjoyed the rest of what France has to offer.
France has a large number of UNESCO world Heritage Sites and is generally viewed as a pretty affluent country.
People are known to visit this country because of its diversity of areas; chic Paris, the French Riviera and the Alps. Plus the historical background France is so richly bestowed with is also a big tourism factor.
What to do/see in France
Okay we all know about The Eiffel Tower and its popularity for tourists worldwide, but Paris has so much more to offer than the atypical touristy things to do. For example did you know that there are millions of bones buried under the city? Go to The Catacombes de Paris, which is a narrowly guided route through floor to ceiling walls made from the real bones and skulls of the dead. If you are claustrophobic think about skipping this though as it is really very narrow. Instead of putting a love locket on one of the many railings in Paris, why not go to the ‘I Love You’ Wall which spans 416 square feet and says ‘I Love You’ in 311 different languages.
In Nantes you can go to see the massive puppet creations at the Machines of the Isle of Nantes. It is for all fantasy lovers worldwide and is reminiscent of Jules Verne, Leonardo da Vinci’s mechanical universe and is an art project to stretch your imagination.
For more outdoor, historical sites you must go to Le Puy-en-Velay which has a shrine to the Virgin Mary on the top of the steep small mountain Mons Anicius. The Notre Dame Cathedral is also in Le Puy-en-Velay.
Lastly, for the wine lovers and film buffs; head to the French Riviera for the International Film Festival where you can wine and dine on the stunning beaches and try to spot a film star or two while sipping champagne.
Where to stay in France
With many travellers opting for a chalet in France it is not hard to find some amazing options. However, for those wanting something a little more unique why not try a Yurt. The Midsummer Retreat in Tarn-et-Garonne is a cool little utopia next to a medieval village. It feels like you are going to rent a tiny house on stilts and is perfect for all outdoorsy people.
For a more luxurious resting place you could head to Brittany and opt for a place at the beach. Hotel Ty Mad is home to sauna and steam facilities and a hop, skip and a jump from the coastal path leading to a sandy beach.
For those family vacationers you might want to consider renting an apartment. Endeus has a wide variety of vacation rentals in France, or you could opt for a safari camping experience. Camping le Vieux Port in Aquitaine has a plethora of family friendly options and you can create your all inclusive vacation experience here.
- If you are a seasoned European traveller you will know that there are many ways to greet people. In France it gets a bit more complicated as you have many ways to greet; a wave, a handshake, one kiss, two kisses and two double kisses. All of which mean different things. If in doubt I would stick to a handshake or a wave or simply follow the rule of ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’, or in this case the French.
- When in a restaurant think about how you are going to approach your meal. In France food is often slowly bought to the table, it is calmly eaten and you have quiet/ subdued long conversations. So don’t expect to be able to have a ‘quick’ bite to eat here because in a restaurant or a café it is virtually impossible. Please remember to keep your voice at a decent volume too; nobody likes a loud person ruining their calm atmosphere.
- When travelling in France, unless absolutely necessary, avoid the RER train which is renowned for pickpocketing and bag theft. Try to get another train as they tend to be manned by security guards.
- Finally, Dress to impress; Parisians particularly love fashion and they always dress up and put on some make-up. They don’t like it when you go for ‘bling’ or over-accessorise, so don’t go too crazy, but they do enjoy dressing-up to go out.
Paris is not just for lovers! It is a magnificent city which impresses even the most cynical tourist. With its clockwork spiral of 20 districts and its cosmopolitan lifestyle you will fall in love with the city. An obvious pit-stop is The Eiffel Tower but make sure you visit other places too, like the Pantheon where heroes lay buried inside and outside you have city views to swoon over. For the more gory aspect of burials visit the Catacombs where you have tunnels adorned with real human skulls and bones which dwindle below the city streets, then reel in your day with an old classic film.
The capital of the Alsace region has quaint cobbled streets but in reality its bounty lies in its archaeological masterpieces. Notre-Dame, with its red sandstone exterior allows you to scan over the hundreds of carved sculptures which cloak the cathedral. The equally stunning Palais Rohan is where you can binge on three art museums with a plethora of famous paintings, ceramic sculptures and archaeological antiques. Before you do anything however attend the noon clock change at the Astrometric Clock in the Cathedral for a briefly beautiful moment you can capture quite literally in time.
Savour some of the most palatable wines in Bordeaux. Unmistakably renowned for being a tasters paradise, enter one of several vineyards where you can sample the most delectable flavours. Compliment the finest gastronomy ‘artists’ the city has to offer and eat delicacies which will more than soak up the alcohol. Go to Café du Port with views of the Left Bank and the Pont de Pierre and the chef promises not to disappoint with the menu. Bordeaux is a UNESCO world heritage site and you mustn’t miss the Port of the Moon at nightfall to capture all its essence in its stunning illuminated reflections.