It's hard not to have a love affair with France. It seduces with its intricate culture, architecture, fashion scenes, and stunning landscapes. Romantic cafe terraces where excellent coffee and wines are enjoyed all day, and then there is the food. Breakfast on warm fresh croissants from the boulangerie (bakery), and if you are ever invited to a lunch with a French family, accept. Be prepared for a very, very long lunch, much laughter, food, and plenty of clinking of glasses as the French love to toast almost anything.
France welcomes more than 89 million people each year from around the globe. Paris, with its iconic landmark, the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, and Palace Of Versailles, is where most sightseeing starts. Take in the sunset at the Eiffel Tower, maybe dining at one of its restaurants. A hop-on hop-off boat cruise along the French Rivera or the double-decker bus is a great way to take in all cultural sites. Wander along the Champs-Élysées, a majestic avenue running almost two kilometres in length with monuments, plenty of shopping, dining options and a vibrant nightlife with some of the most exclusive nightclubs in the city. Paris Élysées Club, Paris's only casino, is also along this fun-filled avenue. Pigalle, once the central sex district of Paris, is now an eclectic mix of bars and restaurants, and yes, there are still strip shows but also great thrift stores.
Step out of Paris, and the love affair continues. Stroll through picturesque lily-clad gardens once painted by Monet, walk on a beach in Brittany or swim in the creeks of Marseille. Surf the beaches of Biarritz, escape to Champagne in the northeast, and taste the golden bubbles.
Take a hike, ride a bike or watch as the Tour de France passes your county-side farmhouse. Les Vieilles Charrues is the biggest music festival in France where more than 200,00 music-loving fans descend to Carhaix. Abbaye du Mont St-Michel, where Benedictine monks still hold age-old services, is worthy of a day out. Mont Blanc, towering at 4,808m, is the highest mountain in the Alps and lies near the Italian border, and this is the region for skiers. Learn to cook classic French cuisine in Burgundy: escargots with white wine, local cheese, and garlic are delicious.
There is much more in this delightful Western European country to enjoy. You'll find yourself saying "merci" (thank you) time and time again.
Spring (April to June) is magical, and love is in the air, and so is fall (September to November). Summer months may be hot, busy, and expensive, while winters are often grey, wet, and cold though with fewer visitors and perfect for not so long lines waiting to enter some of Paris's major attractions. The temperatures vary significantly from the seaside to the alps.
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