France is one of the world's great travel destinations. From Paris to Provence and Brittany to Burgundy, Alsace to Auvergne, there's something for everyone - and so it's little surprise that France consistently rates as one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. And from the UK it's right on our doorstep, a mere hop across the Channel - making it the perfect place for a short break or a longer self-drive or tailor-made tour.
Whether you're visiting the countless grand cathedrals and bastions of France's ancient cities or surfing the Atlantic breakers on the Côte d'Argent in Aquitaine, skiing the pure-white slopes of Chamonix or catching a glimpse of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris, France holidays are endlessly diverse and constantly inspiring.
Historically, France is one of Europe's most fascinating countries. Neanderthal civilisations are said to have been established here as long ago as 50,000 BC and, since then, empires have come and gone, kings have been crowned and some beheaded, and numerous wars have been won and lost - all of which have left behind landmarks and traditions that have shaped the French identity.
Today, her influence stretches way beyond her borders, whether through the country's leading role in the European Union or in former colonies in Africa, Asia and elsewhere, in which the French language and traditions remain. French food is one of the most familiar exports, the likes of tarte tartin, moules frites, duck confit and endless varieties of cheese enjoyed in many countries, but best enjoyed in France than anywhere else. And then of course there's the small matter of French wine - Bordeaux, Bourgueil, Burgundy and Champagne to name a few - each and every one iconic, distinct, and truly French.
The English playwright Charles Morgan once said ‘France is an idea necessary to civilisation'. Think of farmers' markets in the Loire Valley, artists working along the Seine in Paris, rowing boats in the La Venise Verte in Poitou-Charentes and the glamorous bars of the French Riviera and it'd be near impossible to disagree with him.
Click on a place name below to find out more. Alternatively, to start planning where to go in France, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0618.
The Practical information displayed here is taken from The Traveller's Handbook, published by WEXAS (2009). While all possible care was taken to ensure accuracy at the time of publication, we are aware that situations change, so for the latest information and up-to-date visa requirements, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0618.
Temperate and continental climate in the north, Mediterranean in the south, mountains are cooler with heavy snows in the winter.
Main national days off are May Day, on 1 May, and Bastille Day, on 14 July which includes fireworks and parades. The world-famous Cannes Film Festival takes place in mid-May. In August, the country goes on holiday and many places will be closed. Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in the Camargue is the venue for a colourful gypsy festival in late May, characterised by wild singing and dancing.
France boasts one of the most varied and developed cuisines in the world. Haute-cuisine, bistro-fare and family cooking all rely on quality produce, and each region is proud of its own specialities. The country is famous for producing fine wine and over 365 different types of cheese.
Kissing both cheeks is the usual form of greeting. Mealtimes are often long and leisurely with many courses. Topless sunbathing is tolerated on most beaches but naturism is restricted to certain beaches - check with the local tourist office.
(And distances from the nearest city) Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) 23 km, Paris-Orly (ORY) 14 km, Bordeaux (BOD) 12 km, Lille (LIL) 12 km, Lyon (LYS) 25 km, Marseille (MRS) 30 km, Nice (NCE) 6 km, Strasbourg (SXB) 12 km, Toulouse (TLS) 8 km.
All domestic networks (air, rail and road) are efficient. TGV is the fastest train service. The Metro is the most efficient way of navigating Paris.
The itinerary ideas listed below are designed to give you a flavour of the things to do in France. We can adjust any element and tailor-make your trip though, to suit your individual needs and available time. To start planning your trip, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0618.
The places to stay listed below only represent a handful of the accommodation options available in France. We can also recommend and arrange accommodation to suit your personal tastes and budget. To start planning where to stay in France, talk to one of our destination specialists on 020 7590 0618.
Siobhan Mercer - Europe Specialist
To make an enquiry or to start planning your trip talk to our team of specialists on 020 7590 0618