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Travel Guide France

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France - Travel Guide

France – is “savoir vivre”, knowing how to live! 

Measuring one thousand square kilometers (over 386,000 square miles) France is the “Grande Nation”, the largest country of Western Europe. From Alsace to the Pyrenees, from Brittany to the Cote d’Azur: France offers enchanting scenery, impressive castles, for example along the Loire river, and off the beaten path there is always a pretty town or village worth stopping for.

The Atlantic region with its endlessly long coastline is a Mecca for fans of water sports.   Biarritz has lost nothing of its Charm and is a particular favorite among surfers.  Nearby is the “Dune de Pilat” in Arcachon, one of the largest shifting sand dunes of Europe.  Its slopes are a stomping ground for sun-bathers, guitar players, summer-snowboarders, and paragliders.   

Age old towns make up the scenery of the western Mediterranean coast line on the “Golfe du Lion”.  The proud city of Narbonne and busy Marseille are worth a visit as well as the tiny fishing villages along the coast.

West of Marseille, the Rhone Delta frames a most exotic area: the Camargue with its wide plains, countless lakes, serene farms, and much wildlife. White egrets, flamingos, purple egrets, the famous wild horse of the Camargue, and many other rare animals and plants share their habitat here. 

Mundane and luxurious is the way of life on the Cote d’Azur.  Its greatest feature:  the area’s naturally diverse beauty.  The Cote d’Azur features the most southern climate of the entire country.  The who’s who of the movie making world celebrates each year during the Film Festival of Cannes.

VIP vacations are also in style with Prince Albert II of tiny Monaco.  Unforgettable is a visit of the Casino or a ride across the “Moyene Corniche” or the “Grande Corniche”, two panoramic roads which lead from Nice to Monaco and offer gorgeous views of the ocean, the resort towns, and the entire beauty of the coast line. 

Traveling inland, vacationers will find the Provence, featuring sceneries taken right out of the paintings of van Gogh or Cezanne.  Rich, calmly settled southern land nestled between the Mediterranean Sea, the Rhone Delta, and the Alps.  The old Romans were so enthused with the region they gave the people of the area an amphitheatre in Nimes and one in Arles, which is very nicely preserved to this day.

Well worth visiting is the “Pond du Guard”, a mighty aqueduct.  It funneled water to Nimes and can still be walked and explored today. 

The pontific palace of Avignon offers a little piece of the Vatican and of course is home to the famous song “Sur le pont d’Avignon”…”.  During the Theatre Festival in the summertime the city is booming with street artist from all parts of the world.

Brittany and Normandy infatuate with their jagged-edged coves, rough stone formations, and hidden beaches. Here, France is still in its most native form. Many Parisians own vacation homes here to escape the stress of the city. 

Despite the masses of tourists and the tacky knick-knack shops, Mont-Saint-Michel is still a spectacular sight to see, and no visitor should miss it. Visitors during the winter time can rent a room in one of the small hotels and wander along the city walls almost alone, enjoying the view of the ocean at night.

Rouen is one of the most beautiful cities in France and only a little less rich in art than Florence. Gothic (particularly the cathedral of Notre-Dame) and Renaissance are dominant here. Countless museums harbor sights to behold. 

Of course when traveling through France, a pit-stop in the metropolitan capitol on the Seine River, Paris, is a must.  Its charm is made up primarily-aside from the spectacular cultural offerings- by its people.  Liberal social interaction featuring tolerance, zest for life, and bonhomie, that is what makes the city’s appeal.

A distinctive feature is offered by French winter sports:  there are so-called “annexed ski-areas” – a merger of several towns, whose ski-lifts and slopes are artfully connected, allowing skiers to go from one local ski area to another without ever taking off their skis. Nevertheless, France is most definitely worth a visit during the winter time.  With its ski areas “Les Trois Vallees” and “Les Portes du Soleils” it features two of the largest and “snow-proof” ski areas in Europe.

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