France


A Visitor’s Guide To France

As one of the most important countries in Europe, France has long played an important role in European and world politics, and is also the largest country in Western Europe. However, while many people consider themselves French the history of imperial conquest in France means that around twenty per cent of the country’s territory lies outside Europe, and also means that France is quite a varied country in terms of its ethnic diversity. As well as exploring the history of the country, many people who visit France do so because of its reputation for excellent cuisine and wine, and is the home of many of the world’s most popular wines and Champagne.

Like many important western countries, France is a major target for terrorism, although there have been relatively few successful attacks in the country. The US State Department does advise visitors to be cautious and also to avoid any public demonstrations, which are a fairly common occurrence, although only a small minority of these do result in violence or trouble erupting.

Top Sights And Attractions In France

Paris – The capital city of France has a reputation for being a wonderful place to visit, with excellent architecture including the Eiffel Tower, museums such as The Louvre and a fantastic range of top class restaurants and bars.

Amiens Cathedral – This spectacular Gothic cathedral dating from the thirteenth century is the tallest in France, with a grand front that is truly spectacular with beautiful ornate carvings, while also having lovely high ceilings and superb stained glass windows.

Monaco – This small nation is entirely surrounded by France and is famous for the lovely marina area, luxury hotels and the annual Formula 1 Grand Prix which is held around the twisty streets of the principality.

Mont Blanc – At just over 4,800 meters above sea level Mont Blanc is among the highest mountains in Europe, and is popular among climbers who ascend to the peak, while many visitors take one of the hiking paths around the foot of the mountain which offers spectacular views of the Alps.

Avignon – Once the home of a rival to the pope in the Vatican, this historic city is home to the Papal Palace where these rivals lived during the fourteenth century, while the city itself is a beautiful place to visit and explore.

Corsica – Located in the Mediterranean off the south east coast of France, this island is famous for its welcoming climate and attractive beaches, while the mountainous inland areas offer some attractive scenery and popular hiking and climbing routes

The Cathedral of St Etienne, Bourges – There are three cathedrals in France dedicated to St Etienne, but the one in Bourges is the most famous, boasting a stunning interior with large windows allowing plenty of light in, while the support structure is attractive as well as functional.

Carcassone – The historic hilltop fortified city was once the home of the Catholic Inquisition, but visitors today can still climb the narrow road to gain access to the old fortress, while the town on the valley floor below has some beautiful buildings that also shows the long history of the city.

The Loire Valley – Famous for its historic chateaus and superb wineries, this charming part of France is a very popular place to visit, with much of the fertile soil of the valley used to grow grapes, cherries and other fruits, along with asparagus and artichokes.

Verdon Gorge – The turquoise waters of the Verdon River have carved this fifteen mile gorge which is a beautiful part of the country, offering visitors plenty of outdoor activities including hiking, kayaking and rock climbing.

Where To Stay In France

Paris

Le Relais Monceau – Offering stylish accommodation with pleasant communal areas and lovely rooms with large modern bathrooms, guests can enjoy exploring the city from this central location that is just a short walk from many of the main sights of the city

Hotel Les Chansonniers – Located in the Bastille district of the city, this hotel has good transport links to the city center and provides guests with competitively priced rooms that offer nice bathrooms and comfortable beds, along with wi-fi internet.

Marseille

Grand Tonic Marseille Hotel – Offering guests a superb location overlooking the marina of the city, the modern stylish bathrooms and comfortable rooms are a great retreat after a day exploring the sights, many of which are just a short walk away.

Hotel Du Petit Paris – A good choice for those who are looking for a simple and affordable hotel in this attractive Mediterranean city, with comfortable rooms and a great location that is right in the city center.

Avignon

Hotel Roques – This beautiful hotel has recently been renovated to offer stylish and comfortable rooms with beautiful bathrooms, and access to a lovely outdoor swimming pool with a good central location.

Hotel Mistral – Just a short walk outside the city center, this hotel offers visitors modern and spacious rooms that are comfortable and well priced, although the artistic chairs in the lobby shaped as a cradling hand may not be to everyone’s taste.

Lyon

La Residence – A stylish option that offers guests comfortable rooms and modern luxuries such as flat screen televisions, air conditioning and wi-fi internet, the excellent location of the hotel is ideal for seeing the sights.

Dubost Hotel – Situated in a pleasant location near the river and the city center, guests can enjoy simple and comfortable rooms, and is housed in an attractive and impressive building in the old city.

French Cuisine

French food is frequently lauded around the world for its quality, and places a great emphasis on the use of wine and cheese in cooking, along with an emphasis on showing off the best that French produce can offer. The country can also boast having the second highest number of restaurants with Michelin stars in the world. One dish which is typical of French cuisine is French Onion Soup, which has been exported around the world and is often served as a starter. The great French wines are often used in preparing sauces, and this is seen in two of the most common and famous French dishes, Beef Bourguignon and Coq au Vin.

Currency And Visa

France was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Euro, and has been using the currency ever since its inception, which can usually be exchanged at a rate of around 1.37 US dollars per Euro. France is also a part of the Schengen Agreement that includes many countries in Europe, and means that anyone staying in these countries travelling from the United States for under ninety days will not require a visa.

Further Reading

For many people who visit France, as the capital city Paris is the first point of call, and this article looks at a variety of activities and places to visit in the country. Another of the popular destinations in France is Monaco, the country within a country, and this article looks at some of the stranger aspects of the city.