Your comprehensive travel guide to France - All in one place!
Famous for its wines and cheeses, France is the world’s most popular tourist destination receiving 82 million foreign tourists annual. Visitors are attracted by historic cities, a beautiful countryside, the castles of the Loire Valley, and Brittany and Normandy. In addition, France offers an agreeable climate, some excellent beaches on the French Riviera, the Atlantic coast and the island of Corsica, wide possibilities for winter sports, most notably in the Alps and the Pyrenees, and a rich culture with food and wines that are among the most celebrated in the world.
The largest country in Western Europe, France has long been a gateway between the continent’s northern and southern regions. Its lengthy borders touch Germany and Belgium in the north, the Atlantic Ocean in the west, and the Pyrenees Mountains and Spain in the south. It also borders the Mediterranean Sea in the southeast, and the Alps, Switzerland and Italy in the east.
France has a very diverse landscape. There are beautiful beaches on the southeast coast, home to the French Riviera, and towering mountains in the south and east, where the snow-capped French Alps rise to the sky. Europe’s tallest peak, Monte Blanc, is found in the French Alps, standing at a massive 4,810m tall!
Wide, fertile plains dominate most of the north and west, making France the agricultural epicentre of Europe.
Most people associate French culture with Paris, which is a center of fashion, cuisine, art and architecture, but life outside of the City of Lights is very different and varies by region. One very important part of French culture is visual arts, like paintings. One of the most famous art museums in the world is the Louvre, located in Paris. There are some pretty well-known pieces located in the Louvre, including the Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo da Vinci. A very special type of artistic technique originated in Paris in the mid-1800s. Painters, like Claude Monet, used small brush strokes in a type of painting called “impressionism”. Many paintings by Monet and other impressionists, such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Mary Cassatt, are on display at the Louvre Museum.
During the Middle Ages, France was home to a quarter of the entire European population. This changed in the later centuries, more because of the growth of surrounding nations than a population decline in France. By the 1700s, France was home to 20% of European people, and by the 20th century, they were overtaken by other countries like Germany and Russia. The French population increased significantly during the baby boom following World War II and has experienced fairly steady growth in the years since.