Convinced that their own way of life is the best, the French believe that their country is one of the most civilised on earth; more than 75 million visitors a year agree with them. French food and wine is justly celebrated and French culture, literature, architecture, art and cinema can be both profound and provocative. Why go anywhere else? France boasts some of the most beautiful countryside, dramatic mountains and stunning coastlines in Europe.
The landscapes of France range from mountain plateaux to lush farmland, traditional villages to chic boulevards. Regional identities are equally diverse. France encompasses both northern and southern Europe – Brittany with its celtic maritime heritage, the Mediterranean sunbelt, Germanic Alsace-Lorraine, and the hardy mountain regions of the Pyrenees and the Auvergne. Paris remains at its very core.
French winemaking dates back to pre-Roman times, although it was the Romans who spread the culture of the vine and practice of winemaking throughout the country. The range, quality and reputation of the fine wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône and Champagne in particular have made them role models throughout the world.
Rich in medieval architecture, ranging from small Romanesque churches to great Gothic cathedrals, as France emerged from the Dark Ages in the 11th Century, there was a surge in Romanesque building, based on the Roman model of thick walls, round arches and heavy vaults. French architects built upon this basic structure, leading to a flowering in Gothic in the 13th Century. Pointed arches and flying buttresses were the key inventions that permitted the construction of much taller buildings with larger windows.
The beauty, diversity and sheer wealth of experiences makes France one of the most seductive countries to visit in Europe, as indeed the world.
Key to the Map Markers
You may click on the check boxes below to show or hide the different markers on the map.