The French Republic
France is one of the most attractive countries in Western Europe. It has its own charm and elegance, which you can notice in its culture and traditions. Everybody knows that it’s a fashionable country, which sets the canons of beauty. France is a good choice for people, who like exhibitions, festivals, as well as romantic and ancient cities.
Travelling throughout the territory of France, you’ll notice that this country abounds in unique places. Many of them are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The buildings have got different architectural styles, which reflect the history of France and the whole Western Europe. There you can see examples of Gallo-Roman, Gothic, Classic and Neoclassic styles. The well-known Eiffel Tower is the main symbol of France.
Paris is a centre of France. When you are there, you enjoy luxurious royal palaces, romantic music from little cafes, delicious French cuisine and the charming view of the city from the Eiffel Tower. Paris is one of the most beautiful European cities. Its beauty is simple and elegant. If you are there, you have to visit one of the most ancient museums – the Louvre, where gorgeous collections of art from different centuries are kept. But not only Paris is so popular, other cities have their own features. The south of the country has got some similarities with Italian culture, coastal cities – with England, eastern provinces – with Germany, western region – with Spain.
In the end of summer and in the early autumn many tourists like to visit Provence, the famous historical district in the south-east of France. It has been named after the Charles’s Kingdom. The province is famous for its rich history, so you can find many ancient monuments there. The main city of Provence is Marseille. At the entrance of the harbour, two ancient towers – Saint-Jacques Tower and Saint-Nicolas – are located. Ancient cities Arles and Orange offer you to visit Roman and Romanesque monuments. The historical part of Avignon displays the Medieval French architecture. Cannes is famous for an annual film festival, the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès and the Avenue of Stars. The Promenade des Anglais is the most popular place in Nice.
Provence is also one of the most romantic parts of France. There are many fascinating mountain and sea views, small medieval cobblestone streets, a lot of cosy cafes, which are round-the-clock, and the golden shores of the Mediterranean Sea in Provence. Many painters have been inspired by the beauty of the shore. Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Jean Cocteau, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cézanne lived and worked there.
France is also famous for its gardens and parks, which greatly complete castles, palaces, museums and architectural monuments. The gardens in the medieval style decorate the famous castle in Angers. Château de Cheverny is surrounded by the gardens of the Renaissance. The well-defined lines are typical for French parks, they make the spaces of The Palace of Versailles, The Palace of Fontainebleau and such luxurious castles as Chantilly and Vaux-le-Vicomte more organised.
Corsica, the southernmost part of the country, belongs to France. Beach rest is famous in Porto-Vecchio, Bonifacio and Calvi. In the centre of the island there are massifs and protected areas of primordial nature. Among them, Scandola Nature Reserve is the most famous, it’s located in Corsica. The beauty of the underwater world has caused developing of numerous diving centres in the island’s bays.
Beach rest is also famous in Western France – on the Atlantic coast. In summer, you won’t find many tourists here, so the French prefer rest in Aquitaine, Normandy and Brittany. By contrast with the Mediterranean coast, the Atlantic has a wide sandy coastline and lots of wild beaches, quite coves and bays, which are located far away from the hustle and bustle. It is comfortably to rest there from June to September. During the low tide, the coastline can widen to several hundreds of meters. Huge tidal waves are appropriate for surfing, sailing and touring kayak.
Either the rest on the beach in summer or winter alpine skiing can’t be separated from France. Rhône-Alpes, a central part of the mountain range, is the main ski region in the country. There are about 200 ski resorts in this region. Popular ski areas in the Alps are Les Trois Vallees, The Portes du Soleil and Paradiski. On the French ski resorts, people usually rest from November to the middle of May and you can ski on the glaciers even in summer. There is a very soft mountain climate, and the temperature doesn’t drop below −10 °C in the middle of February. Furthermore, the pure mountain air will favourably influence your vacation.
You are well advised to taste masterpieces of the French cuisine. France is a country of gourmets and cookery for the French is the art. Among the first courses, the onion soup is a traditional one. Steak with deep fried potatoes, entrecote, bavette, beef stroganoff and miroton are usually made of meet. Talking about seafood, the French prefer baked cod, scomber in sauce, oysters, lobsters, scallops. In France, there are only two edible types of snails, one is for making sauces, and burgundy snails are served in their shells in butter, seasoned with garlic, onion and herbs. In France, it’s impossible to imagine any meal without wine which is used in cooking or just as a drink. Croissants, mousses, soufflés, creme brulée, éclairs, meringue, blancmange, parfait etc are very popular among the desserts. Cheese can be served instead of dessert, it has hundreds of varieties.
France is a country of the century-old history and traditions. Different events in honour of Bastille Day are arranged there. One of the most famous festivals is the Cannes International Film Festival, which is held in May. Lots of actors, directors, producers compete for the most prestigious award – Golden Palm. Many admirers of good music come to Nice in order to visit Jazz Festival in summer. In the streets of Paris, you can see funny musicians, thoughtful painters or sad memes, who are representatives of the traditional street art in France.
France is often referred to as the queen of perfumery art. The important peculiarity of French perfumery is its rich history. Exactly so, in the 17th century, the production of perfume began in the small town of Grasse. The town is surrounded by numerous flower plantations, which are fragrant for the whole neighbourhood. Walk along narrow streets, where perfume and beautiful flower shops are located closely. In Grasse, you can find the Musée du Parfum (National museum of perfume), and big perfume factories, each of them has got a small museum of history, a production department and a shop with finished goods. When you visit a factory, you will see a magical birth of fragrance. Since long ago, Grasse has been traditionally organising different perfume fests. At the end of August, Jasmine Festival is held there. It attracts not only the French, but also people from other countries.
A trip to France will present you unforgettable impressions. There you can walk along the street where Edith Piaf, Sophia Loren, Coco Chanel, Debussy, Victor Hugo, Jean-Paul Sartre, Picasso, and many other world-famous French people went before.
Administrative division — France
Paris Population: 2138551
- Bordeaux Population: 235178
- Cannes Population: 70829
- Lyon Population: 480778
- Marseille Population: 847084
- Montpellier Population: 253712
- Nice Population: 348721
- Orléans Population: 113234
- Toulouse Population: 439453
- Alsace Population: 1827248
- Aquitaine Population: 3150890
- Auvergne Population: 1339247
- Basse-Normandie Population: 1461429
- Bourgogne Population: 1633891
- Bretagne Population: 3120288
- Centre Population: 2526919
- Champagne-Ardenne Population: 1339487
- Corsica Population: 299209
- Franche-Comté Population: 1158671
- Haute-Normandie Population: 1816716
- Île-de-France Population: 11598866
- Languedoc-Roussillon Population: 2560870
- Limousin Population: 737001
- Lorraine Population: 2339881
- Midi-Pyrénées Population: 2810247
- Nord-Pas-de-Calais Population: 4021676
- Pays de la Loire Population: 3482594
- Picardie Population: 1900354
- Poitou-Charentes Population: 1739780
- Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Population: 4864015
- Rhône-Alpes Population: 6065959