60 Second Geography – France

The largest country in Western Europe, France looms large in the mind of the traveler as well. It’s coastline takes in three seas and its interior hosts rich pastoral vineyards and the most sophisticated of urban centers. The Alps and Pyrenees for natural geographic barriers for the nation historically. French is one of the most widely spoken languages, heavily influencing the English language and culture. The French take their holiday time seriously, with more than 25 days of paid vacation time each year.
  • France’s large size and geographic diversity means that its climate is extremely varied from region to region. From the long summers and abundant sunshine of the Mediterranean coast to the temperate regions of the interior and the Atlantic to the cold winter playgrounds of the Alps, the climate in France makes for plenty of recreational opportunities year-round.
  • In both a historic context and in modern times, the impact of French culture is hard to over-state. Architecture in the middle ages was heavily influenced by French styles and early French literature gave rise to the ideals of courtly love and chivalry. Today, Paris holds sway over haute couture and haute cuisine.
  • A holiday in France can range from city visits to special interest travel in the wine country, river cruises, culinary tours and spa tourism. Tourism from North America in the World War II generation maintains a keen interest in Normandy and the sites of great battles from that war.
  • France maintains its ranking as one of the most popular destinations for inbound tourism. The completion of the Channel Tunnel enhanced the ease with with travelers could move from the United Kingdom to the continent and made Paris a hub for traveler transport for Western Europe.
  • The great museums of Paris remain some of the most popular attractions for visitors. Institutions like the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay host extraordinary collections of paintings, sculptures and antiquities.
  • The Côte d’Azur cities and beaches are popular with European and Canadian tourists, and increasingly so with a resurgence of travelers from the United States. Terrace cafés, quaint streets and blue oceans attract visitors looking for the essence of the French Mediterranean life and culture.
  • The wine country of France remains one of the most popular culinary and wine vacation theme locations in the world. Hosted tours and self-drive itineraries alike are available to travelers wishing to sample the fine wines, food, scenery and the grand chateaux of the wine regions.

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