Destination: France

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WHY VISIT FRANCE

Of France has many attractions both natural and cultural history. Open sea and ocean, animated by numerous mountain ranges, dotted with villages and preserved, it is not for nothing the most visited country in the world. Paris alone requires several days of excursion: its monuments, the Eiffel Tower to the Opera, the Arc de Triomphe and Notre-Dame, or the Sacred Heart, to name a few, museums, the Louvre in the City of Sciences and the Centre Georges Pompidou, its old neighborhoods, the Marais, Montmartre, its gardens of the Tuileries in Luxembourg, its luxury shops, department stores, will give you the opportunity to stroll and make exciting discoveries to suit your mood and your curiosity, never be disappointed.

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But many other cities in France worth visiting Toulouse in the south, the pink city, which extends its distinctive architecture and its relaxed lifestyle along the Garonne River in Marseilles on the Mediterranean, cosmopolitan and yet so authentic and Full of character, Strasbourg, east, whose historic center is a world heritage of mankind, Lyon and its famous alleyways, the capital of gastronomy, wine and surrounded by hills dotted with fountains, Lille in the north with its old streets and the warmth of its people…

Each French region has particular features that make it a miniature country. Brittany will seduce you with its wild coastline battered by the winds, cut into rocky coves or granite cliffs, moors, and fragrant mysterious islands.

A little lower, Aquitaine, between the Atlantic and foothills of the Massif Central, you will pass the caves of Lascaux, where you talk about prehistory, the beautiful beaches of the Landes with its giant waves, until its Béarn nestled in greenery foothills of the Pyrenees. Continuing east, Languedoc-Roussillon, between the Pyrenees and Rhone valleys and spreads her sweet life, among fountains and hills, beaches and cities in the shaded squares.

Then you arrive in Provence, bulls, and horses to admire, villages with Roman tiles, and you are lulled by the chirping of cicadas and the smell of pastis. Go back into the Alps to find the needles and glaciers, crossing the paths of the parks to achieve the altitude lakes shining in the sun and a halt in the picturesque hilltop villages.

History lovers are sure to visit the famous castles of the Loire, Sancerre, Chambord, Chenonceau, Blois, Amboise, wonders embedded in the lush landscapes peaceful and harmonious throughout the quiet river. Despite the limited area of its territory, France would probably not be discovered at once, and other routes will surprise you at your next visit: Basque Country, Alsace, Auvergne, Cevennes, Picardie, each region has its treasures, its cooking, and its accent!

Source: http://www.thebesttimetovisit.com/

WHAT TO SEE IN FRANCE

Top destinations in France are:

  • Paris
  • Nice
  • Versailles
  • Lyon
  • Avignon
  • Marseille
  • Strasbourg
  • Lille
  • Pau
  • Bordeaux
  • Cannes
  • Amiens

WHEN TO GO TO FRANCE

Weather in France

The best period to visit France is from May to September.

The single most important factor in deciding when to visit France is tourism itself. As most French people take their holidays in their own country, it’s as well to consider avoiding the main French holiday periods – mid-July to the end of August. At this time almost the entire country closes down, except for the tourist industry itself. Easter, too, is a bad time for Paris: half of Europe’s schoolchildren seem to descend on the city. For the same reasons, ski buffs should keep in mind the February school ski break. And no one who values life, limb, and sanity should ever be caught on the roads during the last weekend of July or August, and least of all on the weekend of August 15. The best time to visit France is therefore during the spring months, between April and June, or autumn, which runs from September to November.

Generally speaking, climate needn’t be a major consideration in planning when to go. Northern France, like nearby Britain, is wet and unpredictable. Paris has a marginally better climate than New York, rarely reaching the extremes of heat and cold of that city, but only south of the Loire does the weather become significantly warmer. West coast weather, even in the south, is tempered by the proximity of the Atlantic and is subject to violent storms and close thundery days even in summer. The center and east, as you leave the coasts behind, have a more continental climate, with colder winters and hotter summers. The most reliable weather is along and behind the Mediterranean coastline and on Corsica, where winter is short and summer long and hot.

Following a list of typical festival and celebrations of France

January/February

Nantes La Folle Journée (late Jan to early Feb; wfollejournee.fr).

February/April

Menton Fête du Citron (two weeks following Mardi Gras, forty days before Easter; wfeteducitron.com).

Nice Carnival (Feb–March; wnicecarnaval.com).

May

Cannes Festival de Cannes (wfestival-cannes.com); international film festival.

Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer Fête de Ste Sarah (May 24–25); Romany festival.

Nîmes La Féria de Nîmes (Pentecost, seven weeks after Easter); bullfights.

June

Annecy Festival International du Film d’Animation (early June; wannecy.org); animated films.

Bordeaux Fête le Vin (late June in even-numbered years; wbordeaux-fete-le-vin.com).

Châlons-en-Campagne Festival Furies (early June; wfestival-furies.com); circus and street theatre.

Lyon Les Nuits de Fourvière (June and July; wnuitsdefourviere.fr); performance arts.

Montpellier Montpellier Danse (mid-June to early July; wmontpellierdanse.com).

Paris La Marche des Fiertés Lesbienne, Gai, Bi & Trans (late June; winter-lgbt.org).

Samois-sur-Seine Festival Django Reinhardt (late June; wfestivaldjangoreinhardt.com); jazz.

Paris Festival de St-Denis (May–June; wfestival-saint-denis.com); classical and world music festival.

Strasbourg Festival de Musique de Strasbourg (wfestival-strasbourg.com); classical music.

Uzès Uzès Danse (wuzesdanse.fr); contemporary dance.

Vienne Jazz à Vienne (late June to early July; wjazzavienne.com).

July

Aix-en-Provence Festival International d’Art Lyrique (wfestival-aix.com); classical music and opera.

Alès Cratère/Surfaces (early July; wlecratere.fr); street theatre.

Arles Les Suds à Arles (mid-July; wsuds-arles.com); world music.

Avignon Festival d’Avignon (wfestival-avignon.com); contemporary dance and theatre.

Beaune Festival International d’Opéra Baroque (wfestivalbeaune.com).

Belfort Eurockéennes (late June to early July; weurockeennes.fr); rock and indie music.

Carhaix Festival des Vieilles Charrues (mid-July; wvieillescharrues.asso.fr); rock music festival.

Chalon-sur-Saône Chalon dans la Rue (third week July; wchalondanslarue.com); street theatre.

Colmar Festival International de Colmar (early July; wfestival-colmar.com); classical music.

Gannat (near Vichy) Les Cultures du Monde (late July; wgannat.com).

Grenoble Rencontres du Jeune Théâtre Européen (early July; wcrearc.fr); contemporary theatre.

Juan-les-Pins Jazz à Juan (mid-July; wjazzajuan.com).

La Rochelle Festival International du Film (late June to early July; wfestival-larochelle.org); Francofolies (mid-July; wwww.francofolies.fr); contemporary French music.

La Roque d’Anthéron Festival International de Piano (mid-July to mid-Aug; wfestival-piano.com).

Nice Jazz Festival (late July; wnicejazzfestival.fr).

Orange Chorégies d’Orange (July; wchoregies.asso.fr); opera.

Prades Festival Pablo Casals (late July to mid-Aug; wprades-festival-casals.com); chamber music.

Reims Flâneries Musicales d’Été (late June to mid-July: wflaneriesreims.com); open-air concerts.

Rennes Les Tombées de la Nuit (early July; wlestombeesdelanuit.com); concerts, cinema and performance arts.

Saintes Festival de Saintes (mid-July; wabbayeauxdames.org); classical music.

Vaison-la-Romaine Vaison Danse (mid- to late July; wvaison-danses.com); contemporary dance.

August

Aurillac Festival International de Théâtre de Rue (waurillac.net); street theatre.

Lorient Festival Interceltique (early Aug; wfestival-interceltique.com); Celtic folk festival.

Menton Festival de Musique (late July to early Aug: wmusique-menton.fr); chamber music.

Mulhouse Festival Météo (mid- to late Aug; wfestival-meteo.fr); jazz.

Paris Rock en Seine (late Aug; wrockenseine.com).

Périgueux Mimos (late July to early Aug; wmimos.fr); international mime festival.

Quimper Semaines Musicales (wsemaines-musicales-quimper.org); baroque, classical and contemporary music.

St-Malo La Route du Rock (mid-Aug; wlaroutedurock.com).

September

Limoges Les Francophonies en Limousin (late Sept to early Oct; wlesfrancophonies.com); contemporary francophone theatre, dance and music.

Lyon Bienniale de la Dance (next in 2014; wbiennaledeladanse.com).

Paris Biennial des Antiquaires (next in 2014; wwww.sna-france.com) antiques fair; Jazz à la Villette (late Aug to early Sept; wcitedelamusique.fr); Festival d’Automne (mid-Sept to mid-Dec; wfestival-automne.com); theatre, concerts, dance, films, and exhibitions.

Perpignan Visa pour l’Image (early to mid-Sept; wvisapourlimage.com); international photojournalism.

Puy-en-Velay Fête Renaissance du Roi de l’Oiseau (mid-Sept; wroideloiseau.com); historical pageants, fireworks and re-creations.

Strasbourg Musica (late Sept to early Oct; wfestival-musica.org); contemporary music.

October

Bastia Les Musicales (wmusicales-de-bastia.com); chanson and world music.

Nancy Jazz Pulsations (wnancyjazzpulsations.com).

Paris Foire International d’Art Contemporain (mid- to late Oct; wfiac.com).

November/December

Rennes Rencontres Transmusicales (early Dec; wlestrans.com); contemporary music.

Strasbourg Jazz d’Or (Nov; wwww.jazzdor.com).

Source: http://www.roughguides.com/

HOW TO REACH AND TRAVEL THROUGH FRANCE

Travel within the country may be in the process, but the car is recommended to access all the wonders hidden corners of the countryside served only by road. In large cities, metro and tram are very convenient and the bus systems and style Vélib ‘are increasingly in place, very pleasant and inexpensive to go to discover the city to its pace.

by plane, the main airports are_

by train

by car

GENERAL INFORMATION ON FRANCE

health tips & vaccination: none

local currency: European euro

local time zone: GMT+1 (+2)

electricity: type C and type E (230 V – 50 Hz)

mobile phone operators:

WHAT TO DO IN FRANCE

typical food in France

  • Baguette, french bread;
  • Soupe à l’Oignon, onion soup with a thick, golden cheese crust;
  • Coquilles Saint-Jacques, scallops with mushrooms in cream sauce;
  • Sole Meunière, crispy, flavourful sole fish battered in flour and pan-fried with lemon;
  • Blanquette de Veau, a creamy veal ragout;
  • Moules Marinières, mussels cooked in a white wine broth with shallots and parsley;
  • Soufflé, cheese soufflé;
  • Steak Tartare, raw, finely chopped meat;
  • Ratatouille, stewed mixed vegetables (tomatoes, garlic, onions, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers) and spices (marjoram, fennel and basil, bay leaf, thyme, or a mix of green herbs);
  • Piperade, ratatouille-like dish made of mixed stewed vegetables, mostly onions, and pepper, served with some baked eggs;
  • Magret de Canard, duck breast;
  • Cassoulet, duck and beans stew;
  • Foie Gras, fat and creamy duck liver paste;
  • Bouillabaisse, saffron-flavored stew made of different types of fish and a variety of shellfish and vegetables;
  • Aligot, mashed potatoes with melted cheese and garlic;
  • Fondue Savoyarde, melted cheese with white wine and garlic served in a communal pot where everyone dips their bread;
  • Tartiflette, potato dish made with melted cheese, lardons (French bacon), and onions;
  • Coq au Vin, a dish of chicken or rooster braised with wine, lardons, mushrooms, and garlic;
  • Raclette, baked potatoes, ham and salami covered with melted cheese;
  • Boeuf Bourguignon, a delicious and flavourful red wine beef stew;
  • Escargots, snails with butter, garlic, and parsley.
  • Gougères, chesse puffs;
  • Mousse au Chocolat, chocolate mousse;
  • Crêpes, thin pancake;
  • Cheese, Langres, Fromage de Meaux, Comté, Camembert, Oussau-Iraty, Roquefort, Chèvre, Pont l’Evêque, Tomme de Savoie, Brie…
  • Oysters
  • Cognac
  • Wine
  • Bier

souvenirs from France

  • Limoges ceramics
  • Britany’s pottery
  • Lorraine crystals
  • Provence’s perfumes
  • French brands of high-street-fashion.
  • Chocolate
  • Cheese
  • Cider
  • Calvados or Pastis alcoholic drink
  • Olive oil
  • Truffles
  • Cognac
  • Wine
  • Champagne

SIMPLE DICTIONARY

Hello: Bonjour

Goodbye: Au Revoir

How are you?: Comment allez-vous?

Thank you: Merci

What is your name?: Comment vous appelez-vous?

How much is it?: Combien ça coûte?

Sorry: Pardon

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