France in a Snail Shell
- Eat! – Croissants! Layers of flaky pastry, best enjoyed with a cup of chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) to dunk them in. Yum!
- Drink! – Vin Rouge. As one of the largest wine producers in the world, it’s the best place for a lovely glass of local red wine. And great value too!
- Wear! – A striped Breton top, a beret and a string of onions around your neck… only joking!
- Beware! – Pick pocketing is rife in Paris, so keep your eye on your valuables.
The Capital – Paris
Famous for the imposing Eiffel Tower, Paris is often called ‘The City of Lights’ and it’s not hard to see why. Take to the streets and wander your way around this colourful city – from beautiful gardens to charming squares lined with cafes and the street markets on the banks of the Seine. There’s plenty to keep you busy here and don’t miss a visit to the Laduree store for a beautiful box of candy-coloured macarons.
Not many tourists venture further north than Paris when they visit France (other than those travelling in or out via Calais). For those history buffs amongst us, visit the immaculately preserved WWI trenches of Vimy Ridge, and the famous war museum at St-Omer. There’s a lot to be missed if you skip this historic region.
If you’re a fan of the bubbly stuff, then head East to the streets of Reims, which are lined with champagne houses and cellars packed tight with bottles. Travel even further East to the regions of Alsace and Lorraine for an interesting mix of French and German in both architecture and cuisine (expect generous portions of pork served up with cabbage – ja!).
Home to the Riviera and the Provence’s Côte d’Azur, the South of France is famous for sunshine, swathes of Mediterranean vegetation and plenty of food and wine. Don’t miss the Gorges du Verdon (Europe’s biggest canyon). You’ll also find the Pyrenees in France’s south, walker’s paradise with streams, hills and wildlife a plenty.
Famous for being the site of the Normandy landing, the West’s beaches are seeped in history from D-Day and World War II. The area is also home to Brittany and the lush green vineyards and historic towns of the Loire Valley.
- Currency: Euros
- Capital City: Paris
- Main Religion: Roman Catholicism
- Main Language: French
- Telephone Code: +33
- Time: GMT +2
- Emergency Numbers: 112
France Visa Information:
EU visitors are free to enter France. Other nationalities may need to apply for a ‘Schengen Visa’ in advance (a short stay tourist visa). Find out the latest requirements here.
The climate in France varies greatly from region to region:
- Paris/North: Variable climate, with mild and fairly dry spring and autumn. Summer reaches its peak in July, while Winter can be wet and wild.
- Mediterranean Coast: The driest area of France, expect summers of sunshine with a refreshing sea breeze.
- The Alps: The weather here varies from north to south. In the north expect cold temperatures and plenty of snow, whereas the south gets the best of the med weather, with warmer temperatures and clearer skies.
5 Random Facts about France:
- In 1915 during World War I, the French Army were the first to use camouflage.
- The French Alps are home to Europe’s tallest mountain, Mont Blanc, which stands at 4,810m tall and takes 10-12 hours to climb.
- The French eat almost 30,000 tonnes of snails every single year…
- Almost 82,000 tourists visit France every year, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world!
- The French drink 11.2 billion glasses of wine each and every year. Wow!