France is recognised as the world's most visited country with almost 84 million international tourists in 2014. The French themselves also love to travel in their own country contributing 70% of the total tourist spend*.
Renowned for its gastronomy (particularly wine and cheese), history, culture and fashion there is something to tickle everyone's fancy. Culture buffs can enjoy the 42 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 40,000 chateaus*. Beautiful mountains, picturesque villages, bustling cities and attractive beaches ensure an endless supply of travel options.
- French people cheek kiss to greet each other between family and friends, even between men. The number of kisses varies according to the region, from 1 (e.g. in the tip of Brittany) to 4 (e.g. Paris and most of the North), and occasionally up to 5 in Corsica*.
- At 547,000 square metres, France is the largest country in the European Union. The extensive rail network is the cheapest and easiest way to get around the country*.
- France is synonymous with great wine and champagne. The country produces 8 billion bottles a year. However French consumption has dropped dramatically from 160 litres per capita in 1965 to just 43 litres in 2014*.
When to Go
As with other European countries, peak holiday season can be a nightmare for overseas visitors as this is when the locals holiday themselves. Most of the country closes down between mid-July to the end of August. Easter in Paris and February on the ski slopes should also be avoided unless you enjoy maurauding French families and overpriced accommodation. Weekend travel in July and August can be hellish with traffic jams as long as 160km!
Spring (April-June) or autumn (September-November) are by far the best time to visit. The weather can changeable but shouldn't impact most travel plans. Temperate winters and mild summers are experienced in most of France with hotter summers along the Mediterranean coast.
- Read French Delight: Love at First Sight in Delightful Dinan to find out why we fell head over heels in love with this medieval town.