france

Introduction


If you are planning a trip to France, then you are in for a real treat. France is a country of great diversity and has the potential to provide the trip of a lifetime no matter what you are interested in. Although France is an industrialised and urbanised country, one thing that the UK visitor to France will notice is the importance of the countryside and the geographic features of the country.

Field of Sunflowers in the Loire Valley
Field of Sunflowers in the Loire Valley


The landscape of France is breath taking. It ranges from rugged coastlines in Brittany, to rolling hills in Provence, and from Pyrenees canyons to sandy Corsican Corsican bays. You also have the Dordogne woodlands, the picturesque fields of the Loire valley and the world famous sky slopes of the Alps.

As well as France’s geographic diversity, you will also notice a distinctly individual feel in each of the French regions. The architecture, food and even language varies a great deal as you travel around this country.

As far as culture is concerned, France provides a feast that will satisfy any appetite. France’s past and culture are everywhere you look and whether you want to see the prehistoric cave paintings of the Dordogne, the relics of the Roman Empire to the South, or the vast Gothic cathedrals in the North, you can’t help but be impressed the sense of pride and history that permeates this great country. Any mention of culture would be incomplete without mentioning the grand architecture of Paris, the museums, and of course, the art galleries.

Twilight view of the Beaugrenelle quarter and the Seine river - Paris
Twilight view of the Beaugrenelle quarter and the Seine river - Paris

France is Europe’s second largest country, with a land area of 547,000 square kilometres and a population of over 60 million. From 1789, France has prided itself on its secular and republican form of government which is now in its Fifth Republic. Despite this secular tradition, around 85 percent of the country holds itself out as Roman Catholic and there is a substantial Muslim minority of between 5 and 10 percent.

France is a very wealthy country, with GDP per capita at around $25,000. However, unemployment, at 9 percent is high, and taxes, at about 45 percent of GDP are equally high. Despite these figures, France has long prided itself on its high social justice with about 30 percent of spending being in the are of social policy.

If you are considering a trip from the UK to France, you would also do well to remember that with over 80 million visitors a year, France is also the world’s most popular tourist destination. While this means that as a tourist you will be well catered for, it also means that you may have to plan your trip well if you wish to avoid being engulfed in a throng of tourists for your entire stay.