France is a country with several personalities rolled into one lovely package. One minute it’s all Parisian art and history, then it’s a magical winter wonderland in the Alps, then a bucolic, laidback countryside with rolling hills of vineyards and, finally, glitzy, glamorous and sun-kissed beaches of the French Riviera. It’s one of those places that really does have it all and it continues to delight its huge numbers of visitors every year.
A very popular tourist destination, the geography of France is very diverse but, thanks to a proud and highly successful economic history, also extremely accessible. Set in the northwest of Europe, it boasts coastlines of the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, and its mountainous interiors are defined by both the Alps and the Pyrenees.
Famous for its expansive industrial and agricultural industries, from a touristic point of view it is a highly favoured ski destination as well as being hailed for its priceless contributions to art, history and gastronomy.
What to Do
For lovers of art and architectural gems, the iconic Haussmann architecture and the galleries of priceless artworks in Paris are a dream come true, and the country’s capital is among the most visited cities in Europe. But as well as the culture of Paris, and other larger cities like Lyon, Nice, Marseille and Lille, the ‘other side’ of France is equally as engaging.
The vast ski areas of the Alps’ resorts including Courchevel, Morzine, Meribel, Avoriaz, Val d’Isere, and many more, entice hordes of outdoor sportspeople in the winter months. With some of the best skiing in the world, France has more opportunities for skiers and boarders than anywhere else in Europe.
The ‘high life’ and glamour of the French Riviera is a draw card for both French and international visitors. The magnificently blue waters of the Côte d’Azur lap the beaches and boardwalks of Cannes, Nice and Monaco, setting an idyllic scene for lovers of high-end shopping, dining and celebrity spotting.
Of course, we mustn’t forget one of France’s most famous products: its wine. It accounts for a great deal of the country’s tourism, with aficionados visiting the regions of Burgundy, Loire, Provence, Alsace, Bordeaux and the Rhone Valley to partake in their favourite tipple – or discover a new one.
French cuisine is celebrated throughout the world and food plays an important part in the wider culture. The gastronomic specialities vary from region to region, naturally, but there are definitely some traditional dishes that are national favourites.
With an emphasis on fresh locally grown produce, the cuisine is heavily based on vegetables, legumes, fruit and meats including beef, lamb, poultry and veal – as well as seasonal game.
While we associate French cookery with the rich, heavy flavours of butter, cream, garlic and truffles, the most traditional fare was hearty and relatively plain – and this is still evident in many of the rural areas.
Dishes not to miss include the myriad of cheeses, croissants (of course!), vichyssoise, crêpes, Moules Marinières, fondue and the iconic Coq au Vin.
The weather in France is fairly predictable, with mild summers and cool to cold winters in the continental regions. But, due to its geography, it is divided into three distinct climatic zones. On its Mediterranean coastline, the summers can be very hot and the winters usually mild. In the mountainous regions of the Alps, the winters are, of course, colder and there is increased rainfall. The coldest months are from November to March, while the warmest are from June to August.
How to Get There
France is a very accessible destination from the UK, with multiple airlines offering well-priced flights and a range of convenient times. A flight to Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport (CDG) takes about an hour and 10 minutes, on average. When you land, the easiest and most convenient way of getting to your final destination is to pre-book a transfer with Shuttle Direct and a driver will be there to get you to wherever you need to go!
Travelling to France? Don’t Miss…
- For anyone visiting France for the first time, Paris is a definite must-see. With its wealth of art, in famous museums and galleries like the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay, the magnificence of the River Seine, the Arc de Triomphe and, of course, one of the world’s most recognisable monuments, the Eiffel Tower, there’s no shortage of sightseeing at your fingertips.
- One of the country’s most evocative and notable landmarks, the abbey of Mont St. Michel, perched on its own island in Normandy, has more than a thousand years of history to back its spectacular appearance. The mind-blowing architecture of the abbey must be seen to be believed, and today the island can only be reached by foot via the adjoining tidal causeway, which adds to the drama of a visit.
- You’d be hard pressed to find something more relaxing and picturesque than cruising the Canal du Midi, the man made waterway that runs from Toulouse out to the Mediterranean Sea. After a few days and nights on board a canal boat, alighting to explore the charming villages, visit grand chateaux and sample wine at local vineyards, you’ll forget the rest of the world even exists.
About Shuttle Direct
Want to start your holiday off in the least stressful way? If you make a simple online booking with Shuttle Direct we’ll take care of all your onward travel arrangements, with a friendly local driver to meet you and take you to your final destination. We have a reputation as the best in the business, because our range of shared and private transfers encompasses something for every budget and style of travel.