France is the UK’s closest European neighbour, but despite being only a few miles away a trip there can feel like a visit far away. Here’s just a few reasons to fall in love with France.
France is a nation that prides itself on its outstanding cuisine. From wine-tinged dishes like coq-au-vin and beef bourguignon to fresh sea food plates such as moules à la marinière or bisque, and world-famous deserts such as sweet filled crepes and Crème brûlée – the food throughout France is phenomenal.
Eating clean is a must and the way that food is prepared and enjoyed is integral to the French culture. The French people enjoy elaborate spreads, eating together and taking time to appreciate the food and ambience.
Whether shopping for croissants from the local boulangerie, taking a long lunch at a corner bistro or eating newly caught fish at a seafront restaurant, visitors to France will experience the pride and passion that is poured into creating memorable dishes.
Food specialities vary depending on the region but diners are always guaranteed to find something adventurous and appetising to try wherever they are.
France is one of the world’s greatest producers and exporters of exceptional, fine wines. The country is home to thousands of vineyards that are the source of many different varieties of grapes.
Wine production in France has been considered an art form for over 2000 years. The thorough regulation and the ‘Appelation d’origine controlee’ system help to distinguish wine varieties and production practices throughout the Country.
If white wine is your tipple of choice try Chablis, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauternes or Sancerre but if taking a bottle of red then Beaujolais, Chambolle-Musigny, Burgundy, Bordeaux, La Tâche and Volnay come highly recommended. Rosé from the Provence region is a famous speciality and, of course, the champagne region close to Paris is where the real magic is made.
The French produce wines specifically to accompany different dishes of food, so it’s always a good idea to ask the expert waiters for advice when making a wine selection.
France is home to some great beaches and welcoming seaside towns, and with over 2000 kilometres of coastline you can be spoilt for choice.
The Northern French beaches around Calais are characterised by long, open stretches of sand and whispering dunes, and some of the best beaches are Baie d’Aurdiene in Brittany, the Normandy landing beaches or Plage de Bon Secours in St-Malo.
On the Atlantic coast in places such as La Rochelle you can expect bigger waves but the beaches spread far, backed by pine forests and are often secluded even in the height of summer. La Baule has the longest stretch of beach in Europe with 8 miles of sandy terrain and Bretignolles sur Mer is a popular surfing beach.
In the South of the Country where the land meets the warm, calm Mediterranean sea many stretches of pristine sand can be found in Montpelier, St Tropez, Cannes and Juan Les Pins. Along the French Riviera are stunning small inlets and bays which are more pebbly but the beautiful and quaint resort towns make them worth a visit, places such as Cap-de’Antibes, Ville-Franche sur Mer and Cap-d’Ail offer stunning views and rugged out-crops.
It is said that there is over 1,000 varieties of French cheese.
The most popular are Brie and Camembert from the North of France, Roquefort from the South, Reblochon from the South East and Comté from Eastern France. Cheese is added to many famous French dishes like melted raclette or tartiflette but it is most often served as a desert course like cheese and biscuits.
After a special dinner and to round off an evening, it’s custom to indulge in some different types from a cheese-board meal (accompanied with wine, of course!). But be warned some of the cheeses can be pretty potent and can cause a stink if you’re bringing them home in your luggage!
France has it all.
The industrial North notorious for its rugged coastline, port towns and historic War memorials. The supreme capital of Paris is a City thriving with culture, iconic architecture, art and romance. The flourishing Loire Valley region is where you’ll find rustic country side, magnificent, antique châteaux’s and vast vineyards. Further south the picturesque villages along the banks of the Dordogne river offer a glimpse into quintessential France.
Skiing in the Alps, family fun at Disneyland, hiking in the Pyrenees, shopping in Saint Trope, kayaking or caving in the Gorges du Verdon or sipping cocktails whilst gazing at super-yachts from the beachfronts of the Cote D’Azur – whatever you want from a vacation, France has the perfect place to accommodate you.
Italy, Switzerland, Corsica and Monaco are all easily accessible from France. A short train or boat ride can show you these beautiful neighbours of France.
The allure of France is deeply ensconced in its rich and colourful history, its iconic architecture, famous fashion and thought-provoking, emotive artists. It’s a country with an astounding identity of romantic streets, shuttered windows and the unmistakeable musical sounds of the accordion and harp.
The French culture is relaxed and about a work and life balance. From the espresso-sipping cafe goers to the groups playing boules in the park, everywhere that you go people are enjoying their leisure time and socialising in the characteristic way.
The French people love to gather around performers and their instruments to sing and dance into the night. Air-kisses, bijou bars, atmospheric restaurants, passion and food pervade all parts of the country and whether you are stepping from a Ferry to arrive in the North of the country or jetting into the South – you will instantly recognise the unforgettable French identity.
The country is unique and to be embraced, and once experienced, you’ll fall in love with France.
Have you visited France? Tell us about your favourite places in the comments!