150m passengers flew through France’s top twenty busiest airports last year and nearly 60% of them flew into the two main Paris airports, Charles de Gaulle
whilst the top five account for over 80% of the traffic. So what makes these airports so busy?
Paris is an easy one to draw conclusions from; it is one of Europe’s major air transport hubs with links across the Americas, Europe, north and central Africa, and the Middle East, it’s also a major European business centre but on top of that it’s probably the world’s most romantic city break destination.
Many people say that Paris isn’t so much about the sights but about the atmosphere. They don’t go for the star attractions but for the old streets, the street cafes and the Seine. Paris surprisingly has many fewer top attractions than say London but those it has are world class and instantly recognisable. The Eiffel Tower was considered an eyesore when it was built but is now the much loved icon of the city. It’s fabulous at night or at special times of the year such as Valentine’s Day when it’s illuminated.
The Cathedral de Notre Dame, epitomised in Hugo’s hunchback tale, is stately on the outside, possibly a little austere but inside consumes the visitor with its quiet elegance. For a huge helping of the atmosphere of the city, you can’t beat a walk through Montmartre and up to the Sacre Coeur, on the way pausing to study the street artists at work or to watch the world go by over ‘une bouteille du vin’.
Outside the city is the fabulous Palace of Versailles with its stunning architecture and art and don’t forget the art galleries displaying the work of Monet, the most popular of French artists, in the Musee d’Orsay or at Giverny.
A complete contrast is formed with the third busiest airport in France, Nice’s Cote d’Azur Airport
. Arriving passengers there come for the mild Mediterranean climate, the stunning views all along the coast, the peaceful villages of Provence inland and the timeless elegance of the resorts of Nice, Menton and Juan les Pins. There you’ll find the jet set, not the brash types that favour Marbella, but those who are wealthy and don’t need to show it.
Our journey through France’s busiest destinations stops next at Lyon
, the historic second city of France, renowned for its architecture, culture and food. Again it’s a city where the total is greater than the sum of its parts and whilst few places are distinctive enough for a ‘must-see’, locations such as the Fourviere Basilica, and the St Jean Cathedral are impressive. It’s in Vieux Lyon that the attraction for the 8.5m passengers to Lyon Airport is found. After Venice, the area is recognised as the largest Renaissance area in Europe and just to walk the streets during the day or illuminated at night will leave you open mouthed in awe.
weighs in with 7m travellers each year who come for the liveliness of the Mediterranean’s largest port, a historic area, and to revel in the huge multicultural influence on the city’s culture and gastronomy. It’s also a key hub for the region of Provence/Alpes/Cote d’Azur.
completes our list with just under seven million passengers. Toulouse has a historic attraction but its main draw these days is for its position in the space industry with many museums and exhibitions detailing the European Space Agency program.
Other top airport include Bordeaux where you can access much of the South West with the convenience of using car hire Bordeaux Airport
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