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All About France - Virtual Travel Guide

If you are interested in visiting what is the very cradle of European civilization, then France should be at the top of your list. It is a spectacular and diverse country, known for its beautiful landscapes, history, art, great cuisine and more.

The regions of France

One of the most compelling reasons to visit France is the assortment of different regions that each has their own distinct flavor, emphasis and character. For example, you might want to focus your visit on France's world famous wine regions such as Alsace, Burgundy, the Rhone Valley, Provence and Bordeaux, where you can tour the vineyards and meet the wine makers who carry on the traditions of fine French wines.

If you are looking for a beach holiday, focus on the extensive French coastline. There you will find everything from the rugged and wild Atlantic beaches to the warmth and glamor of Cote D'Azur. For a truly peaceful and quiet beach vacation, try Corsica with its scenic coves and intimate coastal destinations.

The rugged mountains of France are truly some of the grandest in the world. Skiing and winter sports take center stage in mountain regions such as the Vosges, Jura, Pyrenees and Alps. There you will find miles and miles of world-class ski runs and snow recreation facilities. In the summer months, these same mountain areas are terrific places to cycle, hike, and generally explore to your heart's content.

The history and culture of France

France has such a rich history and culture that it is hard to capture its true breadth in just a few sentences. The French heritage goes back hundreds of years and can be experienced in every region of the country. There are over 6,000 museums ranging from the large and famous (the Louvre Museum, for example) to the small, local facilities that offer an in depth and personal experience of discovery and learning.

The history and heritage of France is evident not only in museums, but also in the hundreds of chateaux, monuments, abbeys and other buildings that reflect the time and character from which they come. French festivals and community events are also an excellent way to experience the history and culture of the country, as a great number of them are rooted in historical events and traditions.

The magic of Paris

No discussion of France as a vacation destination would be complete without a close look at perhaps the most famous of French vacation spots – Paris. This city has a life of its own, filled with shopping, entertainment, romance and famous attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. Paris is a city that has lived through the best and the worst of the last several hundred years, so to get a better sense of its many attributes travelers should allow plenty of time to explore and simply observe. The architecture, the people, the traditions, and other characteristics of Paris are unique in the entire world.

Travel and access to France

France is a hub of international travel and activity, so of course visitors have many choices for easy and convenient travel to and from the country. There are many international airports that are easy gateways to the rest of the country, such as Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and Orly in Paris, and the airport facilities in Marseille, Lyon and Strasbourg.

France is a very large country, so many travelers choose to take an organized group tour as a way to get the most out of their time there. There are many reputable tour operators who offer a variety of choices, from the very structured tour to the more flexible and customizable personal itinerary. The choice of which option to pursue really depends on what you want to get out of your vacation and how comfortable you are with travel in a foreign country. Passenger rail transport is excellent in France as well as throughout continental Europe, so consider this option when planning your travel in and around the country.

 
 

All About Paris, France - Virtual Travel Guide

Paris is one of the world's premiere vacation destinations. It abounds with history, beautiful architecture and stunning museums, galleries, parks and gardens. Travelers who plan a visit to Paris should be prepared to be amazed, take many pictures, and go home with plenty of memories that few locations can beat

Popular Paris attractions

Paris, the capital city of France, is located on the mighty Seine River in central Europe. A wonderful way to take in and appreciate the city's many spectacular sights is to take a scenic river cruise. Whether you choose to cruise on a larger vessel or a smaller vessel, there is nothing like seeing Paris from the river. As you move along the water and enjoy the view, you will see some of the most famous attractions in the city such as the Eiffel Tower and the Ile de la Cite.

Within the city of Paris, there are literally hundreds of different buildings and attractions for travelers to visit and explore. For example, no visit to Paris is complete without spending time in and around the majestic Cathedral of Notre Dame. This most famous of Paris attractions dates back to the twelfth century and has been the source of romance, faith, and literary intrigue for hundreds of years.

Other “must see” attractions in and around Paris are the Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe. It is a thrill to walk along the historic street where some of the most famous photographs, films and videos have been shot, followed by a climb up the Arc itself. After your time is done there, take a break and relax with a stroll through the jardins de Tuileries. It is a perfect location for wandering, pondering, and generally letting your mind free itself of everyday stress and worries.

The arts

Some of the world's greatest pieces of art and greatest art museums are located in Paris. There are enough museums and galleries to keep you occupied for an entire vacation. Your first stop might be the Louvre, a treasure trove of classical European art including Leonardo DaVinci's well known Mona Lisa, Virgin of the Rocks, and The Virgin and Child with St. Anne, along with the immortal Venus de Milo thought to have been sculpted by Greek artist Alexandros of Antioch.

After leaving the Louvre, two other museums often visited by travelers are the Musee D'Orsay, home to 19th century masterpieces, and the unique Pompidou Centre, which houses a wonderful collection of modern art. If something more bohemian is to your liking, you may choose instead to stroll along Montmartre on the left bank of the Seine, an area frequented by artists, intellectuals and philosophers.

The Palace of Versailles

If you need a break from the city, think about traveling out into the countryside to take in the many chateaux in the area. The most spectacular of these, of course, is the Palace of Versailles. Built at great expense for King Louis XIV, this palace is filled to overflowing with golden staterooms, glittering crystal chandeliers, and the stunning Hall of Mirrors. Beyond the palace itself, visitors are astounded by the extensive grounds, featuring intricate gardens and elaborate fountains.

French cuisine

No vacation trip to Paris is complete without enjoying world famous French food and wine. Some of the best cuisine in the world can be found in France, and the restaurants serving the best of the best are located in Paris. Be prepared for a long, enjoyable dinner experience accompanied by fine French wines. After dinner, you will be ready to attend one of the fine theaters or operas that are easily found in Paris.

The French are known for being a bit cold or distant with foreigners, especially Americans, but a great way to overcome their wariness is through sharing a meal. Take the time to sample innovative French fare and let yourself be immersed in the flavors and attributes of French cooking. If you put just a bit of effort into embracing French cuisine and wine you may just quickly find yourself surrounded by many new friends with decidedly French accents.

Getting there, staying there, and getting around

Paris is easily accessible from Europe and the rest of the world. Most major international air carriers serve Paris via one of the two international airports, either Roissy-Charles de Gaulles or Orly Paris. Accommodations abound, with many choices ranging from five star luxury hotels to comfortable guesthouses or pensions. Transportation in and around Paris is easy to access, as are the high speed rail links that connect Paris with many other parts of Europe.

 




















 

All About Normandy, France - Virtual Travel Guide

Normandy is an area in Northern France, characterised by its rich, rolling countryside and miles of beaches strecthing along the English Channel, punctuated by granite and limestone cliffs. The river Seine meanders through Normandy, en route to meeting the sea in a large estuary.

Visitors are drawn to this alluring destination for the empty beaches and distinctive landscape, which is studded with Normanesque cathedrals and medieval forts, built to defend the North coast of France from the English centuries ago. Many travellers and pilgrims flock to the spectacular Mont St Michel, an island linked by a causeway to the mainland, topped by a church which can be seen from miles around.

Another popular tourist destination is Monet's famous waterlily garden at Giverny. Many of the impressionist painters came to this region, drawn by its light and accessibility from Paris.

However for many holiday makers, the highlight of any vacation in Normandy is the food. Normandy is famous as a gourmet's paradise. It is the home of brioches and many wonderful cheeses, such as Camembert, Pont l'Eveque and Boursin. Apples flourish in Normandy, and are made into the delicious local apple tart and the apply brandy, Calvados. Your visit will not be complete without sampling the fish and seafood which are are fresh and plentiful, and the oysters are said to be some of the best in the world.

Normandy's major centres include Le Harve, Cherbourg, Caen and Rouen, famous for its Cathedral. Normandy has a number of domestic airports, and is accessible from Paris by train. It is also easy to travel to the region from the UK by ferry and car.

 
 

All About Bordeaux, France - Virtual Travel Guide

Bordeaux is France's sixth largest city, and is situated on the banks of the river Garonne in the South West if the country. Capital of the Aquitaine region, Bordeaux is famous as the world's premier and largest wine region, with over 110,000 hectares of vineyards and 13,000 wine growers.

Bordeaux is also surrounded by hundreds of historic chateaux, many of which produce wine. Wine tours are popular with holiday makers, where you can visit these beautiful settings and sample some of the world's most famous wines, such as Meeoc, Sauternes and St-Emilion. Many travelers are also drawn to Bordeaux for its gourmet excellence and fabulous French cuisine.

The city of Bordeaux is a great destination for your vacation, as it also offers visitors many amazing sites and attractions, such as the Esplanade des Quincones, a large square built in the Restoration period. As you tour the city, you will also find many museums, such as the Musee de Arts Decoratifs de Bordeaux, housed in a converted 18 th century mansion, and the Porte de la Grosse Cloche, a 15 th century arched gateway.

Bordeaux is easily accessible by air, with its own international airport 8km from the city, the Aeroport de Bordeaux Merignac. Bordeaux is also linked to Paris by the high speed TGV train, and visitors can travel from the capital to Bordeaux in just 3 hours. There is a wide range of accommodation in the city, from luxurious hotels to simpler guest houses.

 
 

All About Cannes, France - Virtual Travel Guide

Cannes is situated on the French Riviera in the South of France, and has a beautiful Mediterranean coastline with miles of sandy beach. The climate is typically Mediterranean, hot and dry in the summer, and still pleasantly mild in winter.

Cannes is world renowned for its annual film festival in May, when the world's film makers descend on the town en masse. However, Cannes has much more to offer the holiday maker and independent traveller than just a film festival. Visit the old port and Le Suquet (old town) for a taste of the history and heritage of this destination which has developed from an old fishing village, or the Lerin Islands, a fifteen minute boat ride from the port.

One of Cannes' most striking features, which attracts many visitors, is La Croisette, a palm tree lined boulevard which runs along the sea front and separates the many glamorous hotels and designer shops from the beach. The Palaias des Festivals, which stands at one end of the promenae, is the main venue for large cultural and arts events in Cannes, which run throughout the year.

If your budget doesn't stretch to a hotel on the Croisette, complete with private beach, there are many other budget hotels, holiday apartments and villas to choose from. Cannes does not have its own international airport, but is easily accessible to visitors from Nice, which has a large international airport and is only 25km away.

 
 

All About Corsica, France - Virtual Travel Guide

Although politically part of France and only 112 miles off its south coast, the unspoilt Mediterranean island of Corsica is world's apart.

Characterized by neolithic monuments, grandiose mountains, a thousand kilometres of coastline, perfect sandy beaches and dramatic coastal rock formations, Corsica's unique landscape also takes in inland lakes, forests, gorges and desert.

The island's most famous son, Napoleon Bonaparte, was born on Corsica's west coast in the capital, Ajaccio, and the Maison Bonaparte - where the former emperor spent the first nine years of his life - is now a popular museum. Aljaccio itself is filled with cafe-lined boulevards and summer hoards buying big in the boutique clothes shops.

Corsica's other main tourist centres include the commercial hub of Bastia, the seaside resort of Porto-Vecchio and the stunning citadel city of Bonifacio with its ancient buildings perched precariously on limestone cliffs.

Despite its increasing popularity, Corsica has remained relatively untainted by tourism and still offers visitors something of a wilderness experience. Scuba diving and sailing in the azure waters are favourite pastimes, while the island offers some of Europe's most challenging long-distance hikes, including the 170km-long GR20, which involves some hairy scrambles up sheer mountainsides. For those with extensive leg-stretching in mind, the fortified town of Corte makes an ideal base for hiking in the surrounding mountains.

Accommodation in Corsica ranges from remote converted shepherds' huts in the mountains to luxury hotels in towns such as Propriano.

Corsica experiences hot, dry summers. It is serviced by four airports, including the Campo dell Oro airport near Ajaccio, and Poretta airport in Bastia.

 
 

All About Lourdes, France

With its striking medieval castle towering over the charming town, the holy miracle centre of Lourdes has been pulling in the faithful for nearly 150 years.

Located in the southwest of France at the foothills of the Pyrenees, Lourdes became a pilgrimage hotspot in 1858 after a peasant girl saw the Virgin Mary in a series of 18 visions in the Grotto Massabielle and the Virgin apparently directed her to the location of healing springs. Nowadays, over five million people flock here annually to bathe in the curative waters and the town is home to more than 230 hotels to cope with the constant stream of visitors.

The grotto is now part of a larger area known as the ‘Domain', which also includes a chapel built in honour of the Virgin Mary.

If you're not here to be healed, Lourdes makes a good base for exploring the Pyrenees. Some 50km south of Lourdes, one of the easier peaks in the region is the imposing Cirque de Troumouse, offering stunning views of the area. Many people also make a point of visiting the town of Tarbes, with its lovely botanical gardens created by Versailles garden designer Placide Massey.

The Lourdes-Tarbes-Pyrenees Airport is situated about 10km out of Lourdes.

 
 

All About Marseille, France

Marseille is a feisty, cosmpolitan port town on France's Mediterranean coast.

The coastline boasts craggy islands, beaches and chalk fjords, while the town itself has many historic buildings.

The hub of life in Marseille is the busy Old Port, bustling with fishermen and shoppers snapping up the catch of the day at the morning fish market. The old Le Panier quarter lies to the north of the Old Port, while standing above the town and visible in every direction is the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde. Standing on top of Marseille's tallest hill, this church is said to offer protection to sailors, and is a popular place for holiday makers to visit.

Marseille is renowned for its wealth of cheap accommodation, but the more discerning traveller can find more upmarket hotels to the north of Le Canebiere, Marseille's main drag. With the opening of the high-speed rail between Paris and Marseille, the 780km journey has been reduced to just three hours.

The international Marseilles-Provence airport lies 28km from the city centre. Air France is the major carrier, and Paris is only an hour an a quarter away by air.

 
 

All About Nice, France - Virtual Travel Guide

Nice is France's fifth largest city and its second most popular tourist destination after Paris. It is situated in the South East corner of France, not far from the border with Italy, on the French Riviera. It has a beautiful Mediterranean coastline with 5 miles of beach, but is also sheltered by wooded hills. Visitors have travelled to Nice for many years, attracted by its natural beauty and great climate, which is pleasantly mild in winter, and hot with sea breezes in summer.

Travellers can tour the pedestrianised old town, and enjoy its rich architectural and cultural heritage. There are also numerous parks and gardens to visit, and the second highest number of museums and art galleries outside Paris – 19 in all. Nice is a wonderful destination for an art-lover's vacation, with the Asian Arts Museum, Fine Arts Museum and Church and Monatery of Cimiez to name but a few.

For the more active traveller, enjoy all the pursuits offered by this Mediterranean playground, such as sailing, water skiing and windsurfing. If you want to fit some skiing into your vacation, there are skifield in the Alpine foothills less than 70km away.

At the end of an active day, relax in a range of accommodation, from holiday gites and apartments, to luxury hotels offering the best Riveria comforts. Nice is very accessible to holiday makers, with France's second largest airport, the Nice-Cote D'Azur airport, which is serviced by over 45 airlines.

 
 

Sailing Holidays in France

France is a beautiful country with hundreds of miles of stunning coast, from the Eastern coastline fronting the Atlantic Ocean, to the Mediterranean in the South, and the popular coastline of Brittany and Normandy in the North. What better way to appreciate the beauty of France than by embarking on a sailing holiday around its shores?

The ultimate in relaxation and getting away from it all, a sailing holiday offers you the chance to sample life on board a luxurious yacht, explore hidden coves and bays, or just cruise along the coast. If you are already an experienced sailor, then hire a yacht and take to the high seas for a voyage of discovery. But if you don't have any sailing experience, don't worry, you can charter a yacht complete with skipper and crew to guide you and your family or friends around the waters off France, and cater to your every need!.

Choose from high quality yachts and boats with a range of accommodation and on board features, such as entertainment systems. Discover beautiful marine wildlife up close, go swimming or snorkelling off the boat, jump on your jetski, or just bask on the deck in the sun.

If hiring your own boat sounds too expensive, many operators offer adventure sailing holidays, where you book your berth on a boat and share with other holiday makers, and at the same time get some hands-on experience helping to crew the ship.

Or you could opt for a practical sailing course and off shore boating holiday based in locations such as Brittany, during which you can work towards a skipper qualification.
 
 

Skiing Holidays in France

Skiing in the French Alps is a wonderful way to spend your vacation. The Alps are one of the most spectacular regions of France, with stunning mountains streching from south of Lake Genevea almost to the Mediterranean, and including Europe's highest peak, Mont Blanc

The ski season in Frances runs usually starts just before Christmas, and runs up until the end of April. There are more than 100 French Alpine resorts, most of which offer both cross country and down hill skiing, and have some of the highest cable cars in the world.

Some of the most popular resorts include Chamonix-Mont Blanc, a ‘grand domain' resort and site of the first Winter Olympics in 1924, the three Alps which includes Courchevel and Meribel, Morzine, a year round resort on the Swiss border which is great for families, and Val d'Isere, frequented by the rich and famous. There is a great choice of different types of resorts, whether you are looking for a family-friendly ski holiday, traditional ski village or spa resort, and whatever your preferred type of skiing – downhill, cross country or snowboarding – there are runs to suit you.

The French Alps also offer great summer activities such as hiking, mountain biking and rafting, and are easily accessible through airports at Lyon, Chambery and Annecy. Choose from a great range of alpine accommodation, from luxurious hotels with spas and roaring log fires, to cosy cabins.
 
 

Cycling Holidays and Biking Tours in France

Cycling is an excellent way to discover France on holiday, as it offers the opportunity to explore the countryside at your own pace and close up – while getting some invigorating exercise! There is an extensive network of good quality, quiet back roads, plus for the more adventurous, more than 60,000km of Grandes Randonees, or long-distance tracks.

France has so much to offer and explore, from the gentle rolling countryside and beaches of the North, to the rugged Atlantic coastline, and the sun and sea of the southern Meditteranean. In between, you can find miles and miles of beautiful landscapes, forests and rivers, studded with picturesque villages, chateaux and vineyards. The Alps and Pyrenees also provide plenty of opportunities for challenging mountain biking. And then there's the fabulous French wine and gourmet food, to re-fuel on at the end of a hard day's biking!

Cycling is hugely popular in France, and arguably the bicycle (or velo) was born and developed in France. France is of course also home to the world's most famous and popular cycle race, the annual Tour de France. First staged in 2003, le Tour now holds the entire nation transfixed for three weeks in July, and draws many international visitors. Today, it is possible for amateurs to cycle entire stages of the Tour after the professionals have been through.

There are hundreds of options for your biking holiday in France, with itineraries ranging for a couple of days, to a week, to up to 2 months! However, bear in mind that many long distance train services do not carry bikes, so it is better to plan your cycling around the same area. Bikes can be hired from many local cycle shops, and when travelling by train, it is possible to pre-book a bike at your end destination, when you buy your ticket.

 
 

Wine tasting in France

As important a part of the French gastronomic experience as what's on the plate, is what's in the glass that accompanies it.

Proud of its history and status as the world's leading wine producer, France promotes wine tourism with the determination that you won't go home without a bottle or 10.

Hiring a car and following a sign-posted wine route gives visitors the chance to explore some of France's most beautiful rural heartland at leisure, stopping off in rustic villages to sample the fruits of the local people's labour.

Bordeaux, Burgundy and Alsace are perhaps the best-known of the wine regions, but also worth seeking at their source are the elegant whites of the Loire Valley and the sun-drenched, increasingly impressive southern reds of Languedoc-Roussillon.

 
 

All About Strasborg, France

Strasbourg – often referred to as ‘the crossroads of Europe'– is located near the German border in the northeast Alsace region of France. Strasbourg is well known to visitors as the seat of the European Court of Human Rights, and also hosts the European Parliament along with Brussels.

Travelers are drawn to this lovely destination for its historic architecture and cultural heritage. Visit the famous Cathedral de Notre Dame in the main square, crafted in the gothic style from sandstone, and marvel at the historic centre, declared a UNESCO world heritage site, with its many medieval churches.

Strasbourg also offers holidaymakers many beautiful parks and bridges, of which the Pont Couverts, with its four towers spanning the bridge, is perhaps the most stunning. An excellent way to see the best of Strasbourg's architecture is to take a boat tour of the city's waterways. For vacationing art-lovers, Strasbourg has a number of museums and galleries housing modern and classical works.

Strasbourg has an international airport. There are also plans afoot to extend the high speed rail line to Strasbourg.

 
 

All About Toulouse, France - Virtual Travel Guide

Toulouse is an historic city in the South West corner of France, and is the capital of the Midi Pyrenees area. The city is situated on the banks of the Midi canal and Garonne river. Toulouse has a lively atmosphere, thanks to having the second largest student population outside Paris.

Also known as ‘Ville Rose' due to its striking pink brick buildings, Toulouse has many wonderful landmarks to visit. A popular spot for locals and travellers alike is the busy Place du Capitole, which is dominated by the Capitole building, the seat of local government. Other notable attractions to see on your vacation are the newly restored Theatre du Capitole, the Basilique St Servin and Les Abattoirs, an old abattoir now converted into a modern art gallery.

Toulouse is famous as a centre for the high tech and aerospace industries, and as the centre of the European space programme. A short distance from Toulouse visitors can tour the Cite de l'Espace, Toulouse's celebration of its role in the space programme, with exhibits, a planetarium and cinema.

Toulouse has hotels to suit the budgets of most holiday makers, with hotels in traditional French buildings, guest houses and motels. Toulouse is very accessible for travellers, with a railway station, and an international airport, Toulouse-Blagnac airport.

Once you have toured the sights of Toulouse, this exciting city provides the perfect gateway to the rest of this enchanting French region, and you can continue your holiday to towns such as Albi, Mountauban and Gascogne.

 
 

All About Monaco, France - Virtual Travel Guide

Monaco is the second smallest independent state in the world, and is a constitutional monarchy ruled by the Grimaldi family. It is located on the French Riveria, tucked behind the Maritime Alps, and is surrounded on three sides by France with a beautiful Mediterranean coastline. Monaco is tiny, with an area of less than 2 square kilometres.

Visitors are attracted to Monaco by its climate and beautiful setting, and it makes a glamorous holiday destination due to the many wealthy residents who live there due to its beneficial tax regime. The famous Casino in Monte carlo draw travellers from far and wide, while others come to visit the marina with its millionaire yachts, or just to enjoy the Grand Prix held every May. Boats tours of Monaco's coastline in a glass bottomed catamaran are also popular.

Other visitor attractions include le Palais de Monaco and its state apartments, Monaco's Cathedral, the Jardin Exotique de Monaco and the Musee Oceanographique and Aquarium, a research institute founded by Jacques Cousteau.

Monaco has plenty of accommodation, and offers some truly luxurious hotels. Monaco does not have a major international airport, but it does have a heliport which is linked to Nice Airport bu a helicopter shuttle service. The official language spoken in Monaco is French, and the currency is the Euro.

 
 

All About Provence

Provence is an area in the southeast of France, famous for its landscapes of gorges, salt flats, lavender fields and sun-drenched countryside. Visitors are drawn to Provence for its beautiful Mediterranean climate and light, plus it natural beauty and historic towns.

Avignon is a popular destination for holiday makers, with the 14th century Palais des Papes and rich Roman history. Not far away is the town of Arles, known for its Roman remains and as one of the places captured in the work of the artist Van Gogh. Arles is also the gateway to the Camargue region, and many visitors tour the wetlands, pastures and salt flats of this unique area, rich in wildlife.

Travel to Mont Ventoux, a peak in the north west of Provence, and enjoy mountain biking and hiking in the mountain plateaux and river gorges. Visit the dramatic deserted citadel of Les Baux, tour the world famous Chateua-Neuf-De-Pape vineyard, or enjoy the artistic town of Aix-en-Provence and visit the atelier of Paul Cezanne.

Provence has a great range of accommodation for holiday makers, from top hotels in the major centres, to rustic farms, chateaux and guest houses.

 
 

All About Chamonix, France - Virtual Travel Guide

Chamonix is a great place for a skiing or outdoor holiday. This world famous destination in the French Alps is one of the globe's premier spots for winter and adventure sports. Chamonix is located in the south east corner of France, near the French, Swiss and Italian borders and is only a one hour 15 minute drive from Mont Blanc, Europe's highest mountain.

Chamonix offers a range of accommodation from luxury chalets with panoramic mountain views, to resort hotels and cabins.

In the winter, visitors can enjoy a full range of winter sports including skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, sledging and snowshoeing. In summer months, activities for your outdoor vacation are trekking, mountain biking, golf and climbing. Adventurous travellers can even paraglide off the top of a mountain anytime of the year, or take the cable car up the Aiguille du Midi.

Chamonix is an accessible destination, and can be reached by car from Italy via the Mont Blanc tunnel, or by air from several nearby airports. The best time to visit Chamonix is between November and April. The currency is the Euro and French is the official language.

 
 

All About The French Riviera - Virtual Travel Guide

The French Riviera is a great holiday destination. Also known as the Cote D'Azur, this region of France is famous as the playground of the rich and famous. The region stretches along the south east coast of France, from St Tropez to the Italian border, and is lapped by the waters of the Mediterranean, giving the regions its French name 'blue coast'.

Visitors flock to the French Riviera's glamorous towns such as St Tropez, Antibes, Cannes, Nice and Monaco. Accommodation includes luxurious hotels and apartments, but also more humble alternatives such as gites and campsites. If you want a truly exotic holiday, try hiring a yacht and cruising the Mediterannean!

If you want lively nightlife on your vacation, there is plenty of glitz and glamour available in the many nightclubs and casinos along the Cote D'Azur. For the holiday maker in search of culture, this part of Provence has a wealth of art and culture, with over 100 museums and more than 150 art galleries, plus many historic and ancient sites of interest. Visitors can also sample traditional Mediterannean cuisine cooked to a high standard, and tour local wineries producing Cotes du Provence wines and local speciality Pastis.

Watersports are a popular activity with holiday makers; other adventurous pursuits on land are mountain biking and rock climbing, with the motor sport Grand Prix being an annual sporting attraction through the narrow streets of Monaco.

The French Riviera has a very warm climate, with 300 sunny days per year. June to August are the hottest months and a popular time to visit, but even in winter the temperature seldom drops below 70C. The Rivieria is a very accessible part of France to travel to. The high speed train link from Paris has reduced travelling time to about 3 hours by train, but there are also regular flights into the busy Marseille-Provence and Nice International Airports.
 
 

French Riviera

From Bardot to the Beckhams, the French Riviera has long been the fashionable summer resort of choice among the rich, famous and famously rich.

Also known as the Côte d'Azur (Azure Coast), this glitzy strech of Mediterranean coast takes in the towns of Cannes, Nice, Monaco and St-Tropez.

Prime time for celebrity-spotting is during the prestigious Cannes film festival in May, when the global film industry elite descends in a whirlwind of publicity and photo opportunity.

The wealth sparkles year-round however — mega-yachts bob offshore in the harbours of one-time fishing villages — while inland is an equally glittering world of luxury villas, chic restaurants and exclusive nightclubs.

Everyone can look like a star in this golden Mediterranean light — if you don't fancy your chances as a blagger, just don your largest sunglasses and soak up the glamour.

The French Riviera enjoys approximately 300 sunny days a year. June to August are the hottest months but even in winter the temperature hovers around 20°C. The Rivieria is less than three hours from Paris by high-speed rail. There are also regular flights into the busy international airport in Nice.

 
 

Learn French

Why learn French ?

Whether you're looking to pick up a few useful phrases before you go on holiday or want to become more than just another tourist. To get more out of your travel it helps to know a few phrases.
 

But doesn't everyone speaks English?

No! Especailly if you're going off the beaten track. A winning smile and hand gestures will usually get you by, but if you were never very good at charades it always helps to be prepared.

Rocket Languages

Rocket French offers a free six part trial introducting you to basic French. We've tried it, and particularly like this program because it has been designed to be effective and easy-to-follow. It's interactive and useful for complete beginners and those who want to improve their existing skills. It's completely free, all you need to do is register your email address!

You won't get spammed and your information be passed on to any third parties. If you find that the Rocket French free trial has worked for you and want to learn more, then you can always upgrade to the complete course. >> Go to Rocket French

Here's what one of their users said:

"I moved from England to France in June 2004... I tried Rocket French and found that its structure was exactly what I was looking for, I have now been using Rocket French for nearly a year and have been involved, as a user, in its progress. Now through this course my French has improved rapidly and I'm able to hold conversation with the local people. I have no hesitation in recommending Rocket French to any person, at any level of French, as an excellent way to learn and improve their French." Keith Ross BERSON, FRANCE

Michel Thomas

Vacation Essentials

Hello Bonjour
Goodbye Au revoir
Please S'il vous plaît  
Thank you Merci
Where is C'est où
My name is... Je m'appelle...
Do you speak English? Vous parlez Anglais?
Excuse me Excusez-moi
I would like Je voudrais
How much? C'est combien?
Yes Oui
No Non
Go away Partez
I don't understand Je ne comprends pas

We also like Michel Thomas for his unconventional teaching style, no books or homework and hypnotic voice. Listen to him teaching other people and pick it up from there. Michel Thomas believes "there's no such thing as a bad student--just a bad teacher".

It's a little on the pricey side and there's no free trial to see if this type of learning style suits you. He does however, have cheaper introductory courses, but if you want to go any further you're going to have to shell out. >>Go to Michel Thomas at Amazon.com
 

Rosetta Stone

A well-known name in the the world of language learning. The main difference with this product is that it immerses you in the language, no explanations and no definitions. We found jumping at the deep end a little disconcerting but got used to the style after a few tries.

This is not a quick vacation fix, and should probably be for someone who is serious about spending both time and money on learning a language. This is reflected in the very expensive price tag. >> Go to Rosetta Stone  

 

Top 5 reasons to learn French

  1. Over 130 million people speak French.
  2. Looks good on job applications.
  3. It will be a lot easier to get directions to Johnny Depp's holiday home in France.
  4. It's the language of love (and may increase your chances of getting a date).
  5. Sing along Serge Gainsbourg songs.
 
 

Honeymoons in France

Can you think of a more romantic destination for your honeymoon than France? Renowned as a country of beautiful scenery, warm weather, history, art and fine wine and food, France offers a wide choice of cities and regions for a memorable honeymoon.

When thinking about your honeymoon, consider what kind of break you will want after the excitement of your wedding. Would you like to spend some time in a city like Paris, one of the most romantic places in the world, seeing the sights, dining on wonderful cuisine and immersing yourself in the fascinating history, culture and art offered by the City of Lights?

Would you prefer to relax in a beach resort on the rugged Atlantic coast or in the glamorous Cote d'Azur, where you can bask in the Mediterranean climate and rub shoulders with the jet set? Perhaps you would rather escape to rural France, and enjoy the rolling countryside, vineyards, and chateaux; perhaps hire a villa or farmhouse in Provence to escape from it all and sample life in rustic France.

Whatever you choose, France is a wonderful destintation for your honeymoon. It has a great choice of accommodation, from luxury hotels and chateaux, to simple but charming gites and guest houses. It is also very accessible, with many international airports and great high speed rail links to many parts of the country from Paris.

Can I get married in France?

If you are not just content with honeymooning in France, then it is possible to get married in France, although it is not as easy to have your wedding ceremony in Frances as in some other countries.

As France is a secular state, only civil marriages are legally recognised, and they must be carried out by a French civil authority such as the major, deputy major or city councillor. A religious ceremony is optional, but must be held after the legal civil ceremony.

To be eligible to get married in France, one of you must have been resident in a commune of France for at least 40 consecutive days prior to the wedding ceremony. This information was correct at the time of writing but we would advise you to check with the relevant authorities.

 
 

Weddings in France

Can I get married in France?

If you are not just content with honeymooning in France, then it is possible to get married in France, although it is not as easy to have your wedding ceremony in Frances as in some other countries.

As France is a secular state, only civil marriages are legally recognised, and they must be carried out by a French civil authority such as the major, deputy major or city councillor. A religious ceremony is optional, but must be held after the legal civil ceremony.

To be eligible to get married in France, one of you must have been resident in a commune of France for at least 40 consecutive days prior to the wedding ceremony. This information was correct at the time of writing but we would advise you to check with the relevant authorities.

Honeymoons in France

Can you think of a more romantic destination for your honeymoon than France? Renowned as a country of beautiful scenery, warm weather, history, art and fine wine and food, France offers a wide choice of cities and regions for a memorable honeymoon.

When thinking about your honeymoon, consider what kind of break you will want after the excitement of your wedding. Would you like to spend some time in a city like Paris, one of the most romantic places in the world, seeing the sights, dining on wonderful cuisine and immersing yourself in the fascinating history, culture and art offered by the City of Lights?

Would you prefer to relax in a beach resort on the rugged Atlantic coast or in the glamorous Cote d'Azur, where you can bask in the Mediterranean climate and rub shoulders with the jet set? Perhaps you would rather escape to rural France, and enjoy the rolling countryside, vineyards, and chateaux; perhaps hire a villa or farmhouse in Provence to escape from it all and sample life in rustic France.

Whatever you choose, France is a wonderful destintation for your honeymoon and possibly even your wedding. It has a great choice of accommodation, from luxury hotels and chateaux, to simple but charming gites and guest houses. It is also very accessible, with many international airports and great high speed rail links to many parts of the country from Paris.

 
 

Buy Real Estate Property in France

There are many different types of property available in France, and many beautiful locations to choose from, such as the capital Paris, the picturesque region of Provence the glamorous coastal area of the French Riviera. Many English people have bought holiday properties in Normandy and Brittany in the North, which are easily accessible from the UK.

It is important to decide on the purpose and type of property purchase you want to make. For example, are you looking to buy a house in France to live in permanently perhaps for work or retirement, to use as a holiday home, or as an investment with a view to renting it out to other people? Do you want to buy a commercial interest, such as house with a gite attached that you can rent out, or a restaurant, bar or boutique? For many, the situation is often a combination of a couple of these reasons.

You should also consider what type and location of property will suit your purpose and lifestyle. Do you want a chic apartment in central Paris to enjoy city living, or would you prefer a rustic farmhouse in the South of France for a more laid back lifestyle? Is your chosen property accessible by air or rail, close to public transport links, or only reachable by car?

There are so many different factors to consider, that it is vital to enlist the services of a reputable expert and listen carefully to their advice. Make sure your guide has the specialist knowledge of both the type of property and location that you are interested in. Where buying property is concerned, top legal and financial advice are also important, more so when buying overseas. You don't want to get lost in bureaucracy or lose your dream home because of technical considerations.

 
 

Posters of France

 

Buy Beautiful Posters, Prints & Calendars

This page is dedicated to posters, prints and calendars of France. We are offering these in affiliation with AllPosters.com. As always, we only recommend products to you that we are entirely happy with ourselves. We have already ordered a collection of panoramic detination posters and prints from AllPosters.com which will be adorning Travel Scrappa's office walls very soon!

These products are beautiful and of a very high quality. Although we don't produce and distribute them ourselves, we do take our user feedback very seriously. So if you've purchased products from this supplier, we'd love to hear your feedback — good or bad.

See our favorite posters, calendars and art prints below. These feature images of France's beautiful scenes and landscapes including, Paris, Normandy, Nice and the South of France. Click on the images below to see larger versions and hundreds more.

 
 

Car Rentals in France

Renting a car in France in easy, and gives you the freedom to explore this wonderful holiday destination at your own leisure!

You can rent a car in major cities and smaller towns around France. Most of the big car rental offices can be found in airports and train stations in the larger tourist centres, such as Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Nice, or in the holiday resort area of the French Riveria, Provence and Normandy.

If you would like to start and end your holiday in France at different destinations, many car rental companies offer packages where you can pick up your car in one place, then drop it elsewhere at the end of your vacation.

Car rentals are usually quoted for by the day or week, but deals and discounts are often available if you want to rent a car for a longer period.

Some of the major car rental companies operating in France are Avis, Budget and Europcar, but there are many others. You might also want to check out online car rental companies and book in advance, as this can often work out cheaper.

 
     
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