The country of France is about eighty per cent of the size of Texas. France is a metropolitan area and it is located within the western part of Europe. The metropolitan area of France covers an area of five hundred and forty seven thousand square kilometers, and this makes it the largest member of the European Union.
France is home to a number of different landscapes. In the west and north of France there are coastal landscapes and to the southeast is the mountain range that is known as the Alps. In the south and central region of France is the area that is known as Massif Central and then in the southwest are the Pyrenees.
Mont Blanc is located within the Alps and it has a height of fifteen thousand seven hundred and eighty two feet above sea level, which makes it the highest point in Western Europe. Mont Blanc is located on the border between France and Italy.
The culture of the French people has been shaped by historical events and geography. France and especially the city of Paris have an important part to play in terms of culture and decorative arts and this has been the case since the seventeenth century. This importance was first in Europe; however, nowadays it has developed to be important all across the world.
Since the later part of the nineteenth century France has played an important part in terms of cuisine, cinema and fashion. Over the years the culture of France has changed depending on the importance of political, economic and military influences.
Nowadays the culture in France has been marked by both socio-economic and regional differences and also by the unified tendencies.
History of France
The country of France has a rich history and this can be seen in a number of different features throughout the various areas. The country of France is in Western Europe and it is an independent nation. This country is the administration center for overseas. During the ancient times France was part of the Celtic territory.
The name France comes from the Latin word of Francia, which actually means country of the Franks. The Germanic people that conquered this area during the fifth century gave this name to the area. France became a separate area during the ninth century.
Since the seventeenth century France has played a major role within Europe and it hosts a number of world events. During the twentieth century France experienced a number of crises and this included two world wars. Despite the various crises that have affected this area it has survived and emerged from the ruins that were left by the Second World War. After the Second World War France became an important supplier in terms of agriculture and other industrial supplies.
The history of France dates back to the arrival of the first humans in the country that is now known as France. This area was visited by members of the genus known as Homo and this took place thousands of years ago. There are a number of important archaeological sites that are located in various locations throughout France and this reflects the habitations of the modern humans.
During the Bronze Age France was part of the maritime culture and trading network and this was known as the Atlantic Bronze Age. The Atlantic Bronze Age also included Portugal, Spain, Ireland and Britain and this led to the development of the Celtic language.
The Iron Age was the time that the first historical records appear and this showed that there were a number of regions that were developing across the country. During this time the Romans and Greek occupied the area. The records from this time also showed that there were three main groups, and these were the Belgae, Gauls and Aquitani.
During world war one the country of France was one of the powers known as Triple Entente. France fought world war one alongside Russia, the United Kingdom and other allies. France was also one of the allied powers during the Second World War; however, this was conquered within two months by Nazi Germany. Since the Second World War France has become a leading member within the United Nations, NATO and the European Union.
During the twenty first century France continued to be strong within the sector of economics, military, politics and culture. Nowadays the France metropolitan area is used to refer to the mainland departments and also Corsica, which is a large island that is located within the Mediterranean Sea just a little distance from the Italian coast.
Since 1768 the island of Corsica has been part of France. France consists of six different departments for overseas. For many years France has been at the forefront of the European Union for member states that are looking to exploit the momentum for monetary union.
Tipping in France
The law in France demands that a service charge must be included in all of the prices that are displayed within restaurants and bars. This fee is an amount that is levied on the table and this is normally for bread. The bill will not indicate tipping, as it is not expected or welcome in return for the good service.
When the service received is good it is generally the tradition to round the bill up and leave a little extra. Within a bar it would be traditional to round the bill up to the next euro, and in a restaurant slightly more is left and this is normally about ten per cent of the bill. Although these amounts are the tradition it is acceptable to leave more than this.
The main thing that you should bear in mind about tipping is that it is designed to reflect the service that was received therefore the amount left should reflect this. In France tipping is not obligatory. However, it is normal unless the level of service was unacceptable.
Currency in France
The national currency in France is the Euro; however, there are a few places that will still accept United States of America dollars. The prices for restaurants, hotels, goods and services within France tend to be reasonable and the most expensive area is Paris. Most of the places in France offer good discounts for students, senior citizens and children under the age of eighteen years.
Best of France
The Eiffel Tower is located in the city of Paris and was built during 1889. Over the years since this attraction was built it has became a popular landmark for Paris and is one of the most recognized structures anywhere in the world. This tower is the tallest structure in Paris.
Every year this tower attracts millions of visitors. The engineer who was known as Gustave Eiffel designed the Eiffel Tower. It was built for the entrance hall to the World’s Fair, which took place during 1889. The Eiffel Tower has a height of three hundred and twenty four meters and is the best attraction in France.
The Louvre Museum is commonly referred to as the Louvre. This museum is one of the biggest museums anywhere in the world. The Louvre Museum is a central landmark within the city of Paris and it is situated on the banks of the river Seine. This museum is home to more than thirty five thousand objects which date back to the nineteenth century.
This museum is located within the Louvre Palace which first started out as a fortress during the late part of the twelfth century. There are still remains of the fortress, which can be seen by people visiting this area. The Palace of Versailles was chosen by Louis XIV to be the residential home for his family.
Disneyland Paris is a popular recreation and holiday resort and it is located within the area that is known as Marne-la-Vallee. This resort is located about twenty miles from the center of Paris. Disneyland Paris consists of two main theme parks, an entertainment district, a dining district and a retail district. There are also seven different hotels within the resort. This resort has been operational since April 1992 and it is one of the best place to bring your kids in France.
Fontainebleau is a commune that is located within the city of Paris. It is located about fifty-five kilometers to the south east of the city center. This commune covers the biggest area of land within the region known as Ile- de- France. There is a scenic forest within this area. The area is home to a historic chateau which belongs to one of the French kings and it is also home to INSTEAD which is one of the most elite schools for business.
Arc De Triomphe
The Arc De Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments within the city of Paris and is a very popular tourist attraction. This monument is located within the western part of Champs-Elysees. There is a small archway which is known as the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. This is located at the western side of the Louvre.
This monument has been erected in memory of the people that were killed during the French revolution and also during the Napoleonic Wars. This is another one of the best attractions in France.
The French Alps are part of the mountain range which is known as the Alps and is located within France. This mountain range is located within the French area that is known as Rhone-Alpes and it spreads into the area that is known as Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur.
Mont Blanc is part of the French Alpes and is located on the border between France and Italy. Mont Blanc is one of the highest mountains within the Alpes and is also one of the highest mountains in Europe.
Things to Do in France…
The city of Lyon is one of the biggest cities within France. It is a beautiful city which is the capital for culture within the region known as Rhone-Alpes. This area of France is very popular with tourists as they are totally overwhelmed with the spectacular architecture and superb gastronomy, which is all offered within a natural setting that is unique.
This city is very proud of its ability to attract tourists and it does this through a range of quality tourist attractions and activities. This aspect is also popular with the local people of this area. Here is a list of things you can do in France.
Enjoy the Downtown Scene of Lyon
There is a vast array of different things to see and do within all regions of France. The cities in France such as Lyon are able to offer people a good shopping experience. The city of Lyon is able to enjoy a downtown scene which is thriving, and this area is at the heart of the area that is known as the Rue de la Republique.
The downtown stretch of this town features long cobbled streets, and these are free from cars. These streets are packed full of outdoor cafes, boutiques and other shops. There are a lot of attractions within this area as well and these include several fountains that are impressive and also the opera house.
Enjoy Panoramic Views From the Basilica Notre Dame
A lot of the cities within France are similar to the European cities in that they have an abundance of churches. The city of Lyon is home to two churches which are famous, and these are known as St John’s cathedral and Basillique. The attraction that is known as Basilica Notre Dame is often mistaken by tourists as being a church that has been featured in a storybook.
The inside of this attraction is also able to create a similar reaction as the walls are lined with paintings that shimmer and staircases that are full of statues that are made from marble. There is a room within this building that features bejeweled items from the past. From this building it is easy to enjoy spectacular panoramic views across the city.
Combining Roman and Gothic Architecture at the St Jean Cathedral
Another popular attraction in France is the St Jean cathedral, which is located within the city of Lyon. This cathedral combines Roman architecture and gothic architecture and this is because the cathedral was built between the twelfth century and the fifteenth century. This cathedral features stained glass windows which are high, and they offer a soft glow to the craftsmanship stone.
Spiral Down From the Top of the Gallo Roman
The museum and ruins that are known as Gallo Roman are located within the city of Lyon and they are not far from the Basilica. This museum is open to the public and it is free of charge to get in and wander around. This museum offers people the perfect place to wander around and enjoy artifacts and other elements of history. This museum is home to the normal cracked bowls, Roman artworks and old mosaics and all of these can be enjoyed as you spiral down from the top.
Travel Back Several Centuries On the Cobbled Streets
The area that is known as Vieux Lyon is the older part of the city of Lyon. This part is home to cobbled streets that are narrow and this allows people to travel back several centuries. This area is also home to a large amount of historic architecture, which can be seen in the form of buildings and the spiral staircases.
The capital of France is the city of Paris and this is one of the most iconic and beautiful cities anywhere in the world. This city offers a vast amount of things for people to see and do. One of the most prominent attraction within this city is the Eiffel Tower.
There are a lot of attractions within the city of Paris and this includes museums and art galleries that can be classed as award winning. There are also a number of spectacular gardens and parks within this city. This city is romantic and it is possible to enjoy a boat trip down the Seine River.
If you love to shop, you can enjoy buying luxury items at all the branded shopping outlets. One of the other attraction within this city is Disneyland Paris, which is a fun filled resort. It is true to say that the city of Paris has something available to suit everyone.
The city that is known as Marseilles is situated on the southeastern coast of France. This city is home to one of the largest ports anywhere in France. This city is a popular tourist destination and it is located on the Mediterranean coast.
There are a lot of interesting attractions within this city and this includes landmarks and museums. The area in this city that is known as Vieux Port is home to a number of places of interest and historical buildings. This city has a lot of good hotels and a lot of these are located close to the city center.
The city of Nice is located within the area that is known as the French Riviera in the area that is known as Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur. This city is very popular with tourists as it is home to luxurious golden beaches, convivial atmosphere and also sparkling seas. Due to the location of this city it is able to benefit from a temperate climate and this helps to attract visitors from all across the world.
This city is a major hub for air transportation within Europe. There are a lot of low cost airlines that fly regular flights in and out of this city. There is a rail service which is high speed and it operates between this city and Paris.
The French city of Lille is the capital of the region that is known as Nord Pas de Calais. This city is located within the northern part of France. Lille is one of the biggest metropolitan areas within France. This city has a population of two hundred and twenty six thousand and fourteen. The city can be described as having a climate that is temperate and oceanic.
During the summer months the temperatures do not go very high; however, the winter months tend to be very cold and it is often below freezing point. The main sectors within this city are textile manufacturing, food industry and mechanical. There is an increasing trend within this city for finance and retail.
There are a lot of foods that people should try when they are on holiday in France. France is the second biggest country within Europe and mountains cover a lot of the surrounding area. The highest mountain within this area is Mount Blanc. This mountain is located close to the border between France and Italy. Both the soil and the climate within France create the perfect conditions for farming.
However, only about four per cent of the population makes their money from farming. France is self-sufficient when it comes to food as it grows all of its own food. Most of the French food that really should be tried is available within other European countries. However, these foods are traditionally from France.
One of the foods that you should try when on holiday in France is steak tartare. This dish consists of raw steak; however, this dish is also available with raw horsemeat and this is considered to be a refined dish. This food is a favorite amongst French people, and it is really only the more adventurous tourists that give it a go.
Another French dish that should be tried is Escargot. Escargot is traditionally served in the shell. The diner is given a small fork that they can use to easily remove the slimy food from the shell. The small fork makes it possible for the food to be removed and eaten without any of the herb or butter being spilt. When you are trying this dish it is very important to be careful as it is served at a very hot temperature. Therefore, be careful that you do not burn your tongue on the butter.
People that come from the city of Paris do not usually eat much for breakfast. When in France why not do as the French do and just pop into a café and get a croissant with butter. Another popular breakfast item in France is a croissant with plain chocolate. The most popular drink to have for breakfast is an espresso along with a cube of brown sugar. If you find an espresso too strong then you could opt for a latte. Regardless of your food preferences whilst in France you should at least try a patisserie.
There is a large Arabic population within the French city of Paris and this has led to a lot of Arabic restaurants. One of the most popular Arabic restaurants within the city of Paris is Mansouria. This restaurant tends to get a lot of return customers, and one of the most popular foods in this restaurant is couscous.
It is a good idea to eat as much French food as possible when you are on holiday in France as this is a good way to get a real feel for all things French. Even if you are staying in a posh hotel it is a good idea to venture out and try some of the other cafes and restaurants which serve a wide range of French cuisine.
Shopping in France
There is a lot of good shopping that is available within France. There are a number of things that people should bear in mind when it comes to shopping in France, and the first thing that people should bear in mind is that people should take one euro with them for use in the trolley.
In France the large stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets rarely open on a Sunday. However, most of the garden centers are open on Sundays. There is an increasing trend for people to be more conscious with regards to the environment, and the supermarkets are starting to get rid of the plastic carrier bags.
They are trying to get people to switch to using heavy-duty reusable bags. A lot of the bigger supermarkets in France have fuel stations which operate alongside them, and they have facilities that allow customers to purchase diesel and petrol using credit cards.
Supermarkets and Hypermarkets
There are a number of supermarkets, mini markets and hypermarkets that are available in France. Some of these stores are large name corporations that are recognized all across the world such as Aldi and Lidl. As well as these big name supermarkets there are a lot of smaller stores. A lot of the supermarkets and hypermarkets allow people to purchase items online.
Shopping for Clothes in France
One of the main stores for clothes shopping in France is Decathlon. This store is a sports supermarket. Decathlon supplies equipment and clothing for a wide range of leisure and sporting activities that include skiing, riding and swimming. This store is popular with people that own ponies and horses as they sell a wide range of tack and clothing.
Furniture, Furnishing, Decorating and Home Accessories
There are a vast number of different stores that sell furniture, decorating equipment and home accessories. A lot of these stores stock a fantastic range of goods; therefore, on a lot of occasions it is possible to get everything within one store. The store that is known as Ambiance and Style offers an array of attractive items which include cushions, glasses, cutlery and candlesticks to name a few of the items. This store is great for people that love cats as they have a wide range of items that feature cats. There are also collectable miniature cats.
There are a lot of garden centers within various areas of France. The garden center that is known as Baobab sells decorative household items such as plant holders and candlesticks. This store sells things at low cost prices. This company has fifty different stores that are located across France. This company also sells a range of garden plants and interior and exterior items.
Another popular garden center within France is Botanic, and these stores are located throughout the eastern part of France. These stores are a fantastic place for gardeners as they sell everything that a gardener could possibly want. The garden center that is known as Gamm Vert sells a wide range of gardening equipment, plants and also regional foods. Despite this being a garden center it also sells toys and books.
France’s Climate and Weather
The weather in France can be split into five different climate zones and these zones vary in terms of the weather. The five climates zones for France are northern and northwestern, northeastern and central, Mediterranean coast and Corsica, and the fifth zone is the mountainous regions.
The weather within the northern and northwestern climate is controlled by the Atlantic. Areas that are within this zone tend to have a changeable climate that can be classed as maritime. This part of France is able to enjoy a mild winter with very little snow or frost. The rainfall within this part of France is spread evenly over the year.
The summer months in the northern part of France are a little warmer compared to those in the southern part of England. Further down the west coast in France however, the summer months can be sunny and very warm and this area is able to enjoy between seven and eight hours sunshine. During the winter months it will only have about two hours of sunshine.
The weather within the central and northeastern part of France tends to have cold winters with regular frost and snow and this is especially the case along the eastern border. The separation of France into the different zones has a line that runs between Lille, Lyon and Paris. The areas to the east of this imaginary line are able to enjoy a climate known as mid latitude which can be classed as continental.
The rainfall within this area is spread evenly over the year; however, the annual rainfall within this area is low. It is common for this part of France to experience thunderstorms during the hot summer months and this is especially the case in areas leading towards the area of the Jura Mountains.
In the southwestern part of France the summer months tend to feature long spells of sunshine, which are broken up by heavy showers of rain. However, these only last for a short space of time. This part of France can be very hot during the summer months and the summer temperatures tend to last in October and sometimes November.
The winter season in this part of France is very short and there is still a good volume of sunshine. The winter months in this area tend to be very cold and it is often minus fifteen degree centigrade or even colder. The worst winter months in this area are from the middle of December until the end of January; however, February is a very wet month.
Along the coast of the Mediterranean in France and in Corsica the climate can be classed as a Mediterranean climate. The summer months in this area tend to be very hot with a lot of sunshine. Between June and August this area tends to have only a small amount of rain. However, there are occasional thunderstorms during these months. The winter months in this area tend to be mild with a reasonable amount of sunshine. It is not uncommon for this area to have a couple of days that are very cold during the summer months.
The mountainous parts of Vosges, northern Alps and Jura tend to have summer months that are very wet. The Pyrenees region tends to have most of the rain during the winter. The Pyrenees, Southern Alps and Massif Central tend to have warm summer months and there are regular thunderstorms within these areas.
Getting Around In France
There are a number of different ways that people can get around whilst visiting France as there is a good network of public transport. One of the best and easiest ways to get around France is to have your own set of wheels whether this is a motorcycle or a car.
Having your own set of wheels in France will allow you to have a vast amount of freedom and it makes it possible to visit the areas of France that are more remote. There are also disadvantages of using your own wheels in France and these disadvantages are that it can be rather expensive and parking within the cities can be a bit of a nightmare.
Motorcyclists will find France a fabulous area for touring as there are a lot of good quality winding roads and there is a lot of spectacular scenery to enjoy. People that are planning to tour France on a motorcycle should ensure that they have good quality waterproofs.
France has one of the densest networks of highways anywhere in Europe apart from Belgium. There are really four main types of roads that can be found in France. These are known as multilane highways which are referred to as Autoroutes, national highways which are referred to as Routes Nationales, local roads that are referred to as Routes Departmentales, and minor rural roads that are referred to as routes communales.
During peak holiday times and long weekends the roads throughout France tend to block up. All cars within France must be insured, and the numbers of suitable roadside assistance companies are written on the insurance papers which must be kept in the car. These are usually stuck to the inside of the windscreen.
Drivers that are renting a motor vehicle in France should contact the rental company if they require assistance. It is very important to make sure that the car has all season tires or winter tires as it is possible that you may have to drive through snow.
Rental of mopeds and motorcycles is very popular within the southern part of France, and this is especially the case within beach resorts. However, sadly there are a lot of accidents by people that hire this mode of transport. There are a lot of city and town listings that feature relevant details on rental options that are available.
People that want to hire a moped or motorcycle in this area will normally have to leave a large deposit due to the risks that are associated with this mode of transport. If the vehicle is damaged the deposit would be forfeited up to the value of the damage or if it is stolen all of the deposit would be forfeited.
It is possible for people from the United Kingdom to take their motor vehicle to France. However, right hand drive motor vehicles will have to be fitted with deflectors in order to prevent problems caused by bright headlights as these will dazzle the oncoming vehicles.