France

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” — Antoine de Saint Exupéry, from The Little Prince

France has been the world’s most popular tourist destination for over twenty years (81.9 million in 2007) and it’s geographically one of the most diverse countries in Europe. Its cities contain some of the greatest treasures in Europe, its countryside is prosperous and well tended and it boasts dozens of major tourist attractions, like Paris, the French Riviera, the Atlantic beaches, the winter sport resorts of the French Alps, the castles of the Loire Valley, Brittany and Normandy. The country is renowned for its gastronomy (particularly wines and cheeses), history, culture and fashion

Thinking of France, you might imagine the iconic EiffelTower, the Arc de Triomphe or the famous smile of Mona Lisa. You might think of drinking coffee in the lively Paris cafés where great intellectuals lingered in past times, or of eating croissants in a local bistro of a sleepy but gorgeous village in the countryside. Probably, images of splendid châteaux will spring to your mind, of lavender fields or perhaps of vineyards as far as the eye can see. Or perhaps, you’d envisage the chic resorts of the Cote D’Azur. And you wouldn’t be wrong. However, they are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to France’s many sights and attractions.

Paris.

The “City of Light” and the capital of romance has been a travellers’ magnet for centuries and a real must-see. Of course, no visit would be complete without a glance at its world famous landmarks. The EiffelTower is hard to miss, especially when it is lit beautifully at night, but the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame and Sacré Coeur are both famous and stunning sights too. With no less than 3,800 national monuments in and around Paris, history is literally around every corner. Stroll through the city’s spacious green parks, with the LuxembourgGardens as one of the favourites, and make sure to spend some time on the famous banks of the river Seine. Also, don’t miss the magnificent Palace of Versailles, the grandest reminder of the Ancient Regime located just 20 km away from the capital.

You haven’t seen the best of France if you haven’t had at least a taste of its amazing countryside, dotted with wonderful medieval villages and castles

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