Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Destinations in France

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Regions in France

Metropolitan France

Metropolitan France” comprises the 12 administrative regions (French: régions) of the continent plus Corsica, i.e. the entire French territory in Europe. They are distinct from the country’s overseas territories on the other continents, which are discussed below. For travel purposes, the 12 regions are best understood by grouping them into the seven cultural regions below, which are also used by much of the tourism industry. The 96 departments form the lower administrative level, two-thirds of which are named after a river and most of the others after another natural feature, such as a mountain or forest.

  • Île-de-France
    The region around the French capital Paris.
  • Northern France (Nord-Pas de Calais, Picardy, Normandy).
    A region where the world wars have left many scars.
  • North-East France (Alsace, Lorraine, Champagne-Ardenne, Franche-Comté).
    A region where European (and especially Germanic) culture has mixed with French, with interesting results.
  • Great West (Brittany, Pays de la Loire)
    An oceanic region with an agricultural vocation whose culture is strongly influenced by the ancient Celtic peoples.
  • Central France (Centre-Val de Loire, Poitou-Charentes, Burgundy, Limousin, Auvergne).
    An essentially agricultural and viticultural region with river valleys, castles and historic towns.
  • South-East France (Rhône-Alpes, Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Corsica).
    The country’s first tourist region outside Paris, with a warm climate and an azure sea contrasting with the mountainous French Alps.
  • Southwest France (Aquitaine, Midi-Pyrénées)
    A region of sea and wine, with beautiful beaches on the Atlantic and the high mountains of the Pyrenees near Spain.

Overseas France

In addition to mainland France, which is also called France because of its shape, there are five overseas departments (DOM) that belong to France like any other department: French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte and Reunion.

In addition, France has six organised overseas territories (OCTs) – French Polynesia, New Caledonia, St Barthélemy, St Martin, St Pierre and Miquelon, and Wallis and Futuna – and some isolated, uninhabited islands in nature reserves, including Clipperton Island and the French Southern and Antarctic Territories. Although administratively part of France, these entities are not covered here but in separate articles.

Because of its many overseas departments and territories scattered around the world, France actually spans twelve time zones – more than any other country. However, the whole of metropolitan France uses Central European Time (UTC+01:00).

Cities in France

France has many cities that are interesting for travellers. Below is a list of nine of the most notable:

  • Paris – the “City of Light”, Romanticism and the Eiffel Tower
  • Bordeaux – city of wine, traditional stone houses and elegant terraces
  • Nice – the gateway to the French Riviera with a world-famous beach promenade
  • Lille – a dynamic city in the north, known for its beautiful centre and active cultural life
  • Lyon – Third city in France with a history that stretches from Roman times to the Résistance
  • Marseille – on the Provençal coast is the second largest cosmopolitan city in France, known for its large port, bays and seafood.
  • Nantes – the “greenest city” and, according to some, the best place to live in Europe
  • Strasbourg – famous for its historic centre and seat of many European institutions
  • Toulouse – the “pink city”, for its characteristic brick architecture and lively “terroir”.

Other destinations in France

  • The Camargue – one of the largest river deltas and wetlands in Europe, with a strong and well-preserved Provençal bullfighting culture, the Camargue race.
  • Corsica – the birthplace of Napoleon, a unique island with its own culture and language (but everyone also speaks French).
  • Disneyland Paris – the most visited attraction in Europe. It even has its own TGV stop.
  • The French Alps – home to the highest mountain in Western Europe, Mont Blanc.
  • Côte d’Azur (French Riviera) – France’s Mediterranean coast with many seaside resorts, yachts and first-class golf courses.
  • Loire Valley – the world famous Loire Valley, especially for its wines and castles.
  • Luberon – the clichéd Provence of picturesque villages, joie de vivre and wine.
  • Mont Saint Michel – the second most visited sight in France, a monastery and town built on a tiny rocky outcrop in the sand, cut off from the mainland at high tide.
  • The Gorges du Verdon – a beautiful turquoise-green river gorge, ideal for kayaking, hiking, climbing or just cruising around the limestone cliffs.

How To Travel To France

By planeFlights to/from ParisThe main international airport, Roissy - Charles de Gaulle (IATA: CDG), is probably your point of entry if you arrive in France by plane from outside Europe. CDG is the headquarters of Air France (AF), the national airline, for most intercontinental flights. AF and the SkyTeam...

How To Travel Around France

By planeThe following airlines offer domestic flights in France:Air France has the largest domestic network in FranceHOP!, a subsidiary of Air France, operates domestic flights with smaller aircraft than Air France.easyJet, a low-cost airline, has the second largest domestic network in FranceRyanair, another low-cost airline, mainly serves secondary airports.Volotea...

Visa & Passport Requirements for France

Minimum validity of travel documents• EU, EEA and Swiss nationals, as well as third-country nationals who are exempt from the visa requirement (e.g. New Zealanders and Australians), only need to present a passport valid for the entire stay in France.• However, other nationals subject to visa requirements (e.g. South...

Tourism in France

France was visited by 84.7 million foreign tourists in 2013, making it the most popular destination in the world. Thanks to shorter stays, it ranks third in tourism receipts. 20% more tourists spent less than half of what they spent in the United States.France has 37 sites inscribed on...

Weather & Climate in France

The climate in France is generally favourable to cultivation. Most of France is located in the southern part of the temperate zone, although the subtropical zone includes its southern edge. The whole of France is under the influence of oceanic influences, tempered by the North Atlantic drift in the...

Accommodation & Hotels in France

France is a diverse and colourful country and you will find everything from beautiful wooden chalets in the Alps to castles in the countryside to seaside villas on the Côte d'Azur - and everything in between!Hotels in FranceThe hotels are divided into 5 categories from 1 to 5 stars....

Things To See in France

When you think of France, you may picture the emblematic Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe or the famous smile of the Mona Lisa. You may think of drinking coffee in the lively Parisian cafés where great intellectuals once lingered, or eating croissants in a local bistro in a...

Things To Do in France

Going to the top of the Eiffel Tower in ParisStrolling the great Parisian boulevardsThe climb from Montmartre to ParisSee the Gothic buildings on the Île de la Cité, in particular the Sainte-Chapelle and Notre-DameYou can admire world-famous works of art at the Louvre or visit the equally impressive Musée...

Food & Drinks in France

Food in FranceWith its international reputation for gastronomy, few would be surprised to learn that French cuisine can be quite good. To prove it, France is joint first with Japan in the ranking of countries with the most Michelin-starred restaurants. Unfortunately, it can also be quite disappointing; many restaurants...

Money & Shopping in France

VacationsMany French people take their holidays in August. Therefore, outside the tourist areas, many small shops (butchers, bakeries...) will be closed for part of August. This applies to many businesses as well as doctors. In tourist areas, shops are naturally more likely to be open when tourists come, especially...

Festivals & Holidays in France

Holidays in FranceFrench public holidays are based on the major Catholic holidays, with the exception of Good Friday, which is only celebrated in the prefecture of Alsace. Although most of them are movable, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary always falls on 15 August, All Saints' Day on 1...

Internet & Communications in France

Phone numbersTo call a French number from abroad, dial: international dialling code + 33 + local number without the leading 0, for example: +33 2 47 66 41 18.All French numbers have 10 digits. The first two digits are:01 for Paris Region02 for the North West03 for the North-East04...

Language & Phrasebook in France

French is the official language of France as well as some of its neighbouring countries, is a working language of the United Nations and is the official language of some 270 million people worldwide. Any tourist who does not make a little effort to speak French is missing out...

Traditions & Customs in France

In the restaurantIn French restaurants, as in other parts of Europe, it is considered rude to put your elbows on the table, but it is also considered rude to leave food on your plate or to put your hand on your lap while eating. When consuming drinks such as...

Culture Of France

France has been a centre of Western cultural development for centuries. Many French artists were among the most famous of their time, and France is still known worldwide for its rich cultural tradition.Successive political regimes have always encouraged artistic creation, and the creation of the Ministry of Culture in...

History Of France

Prehistory (before the 6th century BC)The oldest traces of human life in what is now France date back about 1.8 million years, when humans were confronted with a harsh and changeable climate marked by several ice ages. The first homonids led a life as nomadic hunter-gatherers. In France there...

Stay Safe & Healthy in France

Stay safe in FranceCrimeCrime-related emergencies can be reported by calling the toll-free number 17 or 112 (European emergency number). The law enforcement agencies are the National Police in urban areas and the National Gendarmerie in rural areas, although some towns and villages also have a municipal police (Police Municipale)...

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