France Panorama Photo

Paris, Panoramic View with Eiffel Tower

Guide to France

Where is France?

France is a large country in mainland Europe which is bordered by Spain and Andorra to the south and Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Monaco from the north east going clockwise. To the north France is bordered by the Channel, to the northwest and west by the Atlantic Ocean and to the south east by the Mediterranean Sea. France also has a number of overseas territories in the Pacific Ocean, South America, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean.

What is France?

France is a secular and democratic Republic which is run by a President and a Prime Minister. The country has influenced the world greatly in terms of politics, culture and economy. During the 19th and 20th centuries France had the second largest empire in the world with many colonies in North Africa and Asia. Today France is highly developed with one of the highest standards of living and levels of education in the world.

Why go to France?

There are too many reasons for visiting France to list them all and that is why France has been the most frequented tourist destination for the last two decades. In addition France has the second largest economy in the world and so attracts numerous business travellers to its cities and agricultural areas. Its capital Paris is considered one of the world’s great cities and has a reputation for romance attracting couples and honeymooners from all over the world. The country also has a very varied terrain with numerous climates. That means there are seaside resorts in France for great beach holidays and some of the best mountains in Europe for winter skiing. Furthermore France is considered the premiere country in the world for food and wine and it is the home of Bordeaux, Champagne and over 700 different types of cheese.

Who lives in France?

French people have a Celtic, Latin and Teutonic heritage and most of them are Roman Catholic. The country has a large number of immigrants including populations of North Africans and Indochinese people. 10% of the population is Muslim, 2% Protestant, 1% Jewish and 4% unaffiliated.

How do you get into France

All EU members can get into France. It is also a member of the Schengen agreement that allows countries which have signed the agreement to pass freely between borders. There are a number of visa requirements which may apply to other countries which should be investigated before travel.
1) By Air
 Paris Charles de Gaulle is the largest airport in the country and was the 6th busiest airport in the world in 2010. France is well served by 20 main airports including Marseille airport, Nice airport and Toulouse airport, and hundreds of regional airports. The national air carrier is Air France.
2) By Land 
France has more than 140 kilometres of excellent roads and hundreds of miles of rail lines. You can cross all the land borders of France by train or car and there is also the Eurostar service which goes under La Manche with St Pancras London as the final destination.
3) By Sea
France has a massive number of ships and ports including Brest, Le Havre and Strasbourg. The most popular route is to Britain by ferry usually leaving from Calais towards Dover.


What to do in France

Paris is among the greatest cities on earth and everyone should see it before they die. The French capital leads the way in fashion and food worldwide and it has incredible history, art and architecture.
Visit the Louvre, one of the world’s biggest and most prestigious art museums, where many famous artworks are held including the Mona Lisa. The Louvre Palace building itself is a historic monument which is lit up beautifully at night.
Go wine tasting in the Loire Valley. Not only are some of the world’s best wines made here but the stunning chateaux in the Chalones and Sully Sur Loire area have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

What to do in France

Next travel to the world wine capital Bordeaux to compare the two types of wine. Bordeaux is also UNESCO listed for its incredible architecture and this port city of more than one million inhabitants is very atmospheric. 
Travel down to the south west coast where Biarritz overlooks the Bay of Biscay and enjoy some of the best surfing conditions in Europe. This stylish town has a young and fresh feel.
Make your way around to Cannes where the annual film festival is held and hang out with the rich and famous in French Riviera cities such as Nice and St Tropez.
Head up to the magnificent French Alps for world class skiing. There are high vertical slopes in places like Chamonix while the Three Valleys has an exciting range of challenges for all skiers.

Louvre Art Museum

Louvre Art Museum

The French Alps

The French Alps

Quick facts
Government  Unitary semi-presidential republic
Prime Minister  François Fillon
Population  65,821,885
Date Format  
Drives on the  Right
Internet TLD  .fr
Dialling Code  33
Time Zone  CET
Currency  EUR - €

France Public Holidays

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