France

France. Travel information

France has 45 sites inscribed in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List and features cities or sites of high cultural interest (Paris being the foremost, but also *Loire Valley (map), *Toulouse (map), Strasbourg (map), Bordeaux (map), Lyon (map)).

Small and picturesque French villages of quality heritage (such as *Collonges-la-Rouge (map), *Locronan (map), or *Montsoreau (map)) are promoted through the association *Les Plus Beaux Villages de France | FR www.les-plus-beaux-villages-de-france.org (literally “The Most Beautiful Villages of France”).

With its international reputation for fine dining, few people would be surprised to hear that *French cuisine can certainly be very good. As a testament to this, France is tied with Japan for first place as the country with the most Michelin star restaurants. French cuisine as a whole has been inscribed on the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage.

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France has many cities of cultural interest, some of them are classified as *Town of Art and History. Paris hosts some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower (map), which is the most-visited paid monument in the world, the Arc de Triomphe (map), the cathedral of Notre-Dame (map), or the Sacré-Cœur (map) on *Montmartre (map).

With no less than 3,800 national monuments in and around Paris, history is literally around every corner. Bordeaux is famous for its wine but is also a bustling city with lots of historic sights to discover. It is listed as a World Heritage Site for being “an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble”. Lyon, the country’s second largest city, is listed too, and boasts a beautiful old centre as well as a number of Roman ruins.

As the French have a real taste for art, the country has numerous art galleries and museums. Several of them are widely considered to be among the finest museums in the world of art, art-history, and culture. The grandeur and fame of the Musée du Louvre (map) in Paris can hardly be matched by any other museum in the world. At a 15-minute walk from there is the Musée d’Orsay (map), another world class museum that picks up roughly where the Louvre’s collections ends. The Musée National d’Art Moderne in Centre Pompidou (map), still in France’s capital, is the largest museum for modern art in Europe. In Lille you’ll find the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, one of the country’s largest museums. Its varied collection is the second largest after the Louvre and boasts everything from antiquities to modern art.

Regions & Sities

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The *French Riviera (Côte d’Azur, map), in southeastern France, is the second leading tourist destination in the country, after the Parisian region. Main cities on the French Riviera include Nice (map), Antibes (map) and Cannes (map); Cap Ferrat (map) is also a popular destination.

Provence – numerous famous natural sites can be found in the region, as the Gorges du Verdon (map), the Camargue (map), the Calanques National Park (map) and the typical landscape of *Luberon. Provence hosts dozens of renowned historical sites like the Pont du Gard (map), the Arles’ Roman Monuments (map) or the Palais des Papes (map) in Avignon. Several smaller cities also attracts a lot of tourists, like Aix-en-Provence (map), La Ciotat (map) or Cassis (map), on the Mediterranean Sea coastline.

Loire Valley – This World Heritage Site is noteworthy for the quality of its architectural heritage, in its historic towns such as Amboise (map), Angers (map), Blois (map), *Chinon (map), *Orléans (map), and Saumur (map), but in particular for its castles, such as the Châteaux d’Amboise (map), Château de Chambord (map), d’Ussé (map), de Villandry (map), de Chenonceau (map), and de Montsoreau (map), which illustrate to an exceptional degree the ideals of the French Renaissance. (*Châteaux of the Loire Valley)

French Alps are the portions of the Alps mountain range that stand within France, located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (map) and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regions. Notable towns in the French Alps include Grenoble (map), Chamonix (map), Annecy (map) is called “the Venice of Savoie”, Chambéry (map), Évian-les-Bains (map) and Albertville (map).

Corsica – is the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea after Sicily, Sardinia and Cyprus. It is a popular attraction for tourists with both cultural aspects (cities *Ajaccio and *Bastia) and geographical features (Parc naturel régional de Corse, map).

Public transport

www.sobus.travel — sells bus tickets for all the bus companies. *Intercity buses in France

www.parisaeroport.fr – Paris airport information.

Trains are a great way to get around in France. For regional trains, schedules can be found at ter.sncf.com. You can get from pretty much anywhere to anywhere else by train. For long distances, use the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse, or High-speed train) on which reservations are obligatory. But if you have time, take the slow train and enjoy the scenery. *Rail travel in France

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