Welcome to France. A country that seduces travellers with its unfalteringly familiar culture woven around café terraces, village-square markets and lace-curtained bistros with their plat du jour (dish of the day) chalked on the board.
Cultural Savoir-Faire France is all about world-class art and architecture, Roman temples and Renaissance châteaux, iconic landmarks known the world over, and rising stars few yet know. Stroll the lily-clad gardens Monet painted and savour un café at the Parisian café where Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir met to philosophise. See glorious pasts blaze forth and imagine the life of a French king at bourgeois Versailles. View tomorrow’s art starts in squats secreted in abandoned 19th-century Haussmann mansions in Paris, or at new headline-grabbing museums up north. Drink cocktails in a shabby-chic Nantes warehouse. Listen to Marseille rap and Parisian jazz. Sense the subtle infusion of language, music and mythology in Brittany, brought by 5th-century Celtic invaders. Yes, French culture offers never-ending possibilities to fill any stay in France.
Gastronomic Art de Vivre Or perhaps it is the French feast of fine food and wine that woos so many travellers. (This is, after all, the country that entices more than any other: more than 80 million visitors a year, ranking it the world’s top tourist destination. But know that gastronomic France goes far deeper than Parisian bistro dining, long lunches outside, shopping for fruit and veg at the market and wolfing down croissants hot from the boulangerie (bakery) for breakfast. Learn how to make petits fours with the kids in Paris or flip crêpes in Brittany; taste wine with one of the world’s top sommeliers in Bordeaux; visit an Atlantic Coast oyster farm; drink Champagne in ancient cellars in Reims; tour a Provençal melon farm; harvest olives, peaches and cherries in the hot south… and understand that food is as much an art de vivre (art of living) for the French as an essential to survive.
Lyrical Landscape Then there is the terroir (land) and the startlingly varied journey it weaves from northern France’s cliff s and sand dunes to the bright-blue sea of the French Riviera and Corsica’s green oak forests. Outdoor action is what this lyrical landscape calls for, be it fast-paced and pulse-racing, slow and relaxed, solo or en famille. Walk barefoot across wave-rippled sand to Mont St-Michel; ride the cable car to mind-blowing glacial panoramas above mountaineering mecca Chamonix; cartwheel down Europe’s highest sand dune; surf in Biarritz; ski the Alps; hike from one extinct volcano to another in the Massif Central; float between locks or pedal the towpath along the Canal du Midi. The action is endless and the next adventure just begging to be had.
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Best places to stay in France
France's Best Trips
Discover the freedom of the open road with France’s Best Trips. We’ve selected 39 amazing road trips through France, from two-day escapes to week-long adventures, and packed them full of expert advice and inspirational suggestions. Whether you...
Flanders fields and beyond: France's essential WWI sites
During the First World War, the Western Front became a byword for mud, misery and suffering. From 1914 to 1918, hundreds of thousands of men on both sides were killed in a series of near-suicidal offensives in the area north of Amiens, but the situation on the ground remained deadlocked...
Best chateaux in France
Best places to eat in France
France travel guide
France is a country that seduces travellers with its unfalteringly familiar culture woven around cafe terraces, village-square markets and lace-curtained bistros with their plat du jour (dish of the day) chalked on the board.
Toulouse: la vie en rose in France's pink city
When it comes to French cities, there are a few that stand out as traveller favourites: Nice, Bordeaux, Lyon and, of course, Paris. Toulouse is all too often overlooked, but it’s one of France’s most historic and fascinating cities...
Best French mountains
Mediterranean Europe travel guide
Your journey to Mediterranean Europe starts here. You'll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go and when, how much to budget, plus info on the region's best festivals.
Moulin Rouge Show Paris
The Moulin Rouge is the number one show in Paris, if not the whole of Europe. No wonder it sells out quickly! Don't miss your chance to see the world-renowned showgirls and French Cancan dancers strut their stuff on the Moulin Rouge's historic stage. Moulin Rouge Paris sells out months in advance.
Moulin Rouge Paris Dinner and Show
Enjoy an evening dinner show at the Moulin Rouge the number one show in Paris. With a choice of three different dinner menus, don't miss your chance to see the world-renowned showgirls and French Cancan dancers strut their stuff on the Moulin Rouge's historic stage. Moulin Rouge Paris sells out months in advance, so book ahead to avoid disappointment.
The hidden charms of Languedoc-Roussillon
Unrelenting rain and an April chill greeted us as we navigated the cobbled streets and narrow roads in the hamlet of Gattigues, a petite village in France’s Languedoc-Roussillon. Several twists, turns and reverses later, we discovered our inn...
Discover France travel guide
The Louvre, Provence’s lavender fields, the Loire Valley’s Chateaux – we’ve selected the most iconic sights and incredible places so you can enjoy the real France with the minimum of fuss.
Best French villages
Art galleries in France
Sights in France
Activities in France
Tours in France
Restaurants in France
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
Paris has all but exhausted the superlatives that can reasonably be applied to any city. Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower have been described countless times, as have the Seine and the subtle (and not-so-subtle) differences between the Left and Right Banks. Yet, what writers have never been able to even slightly reflect is the grandness and magic.