With an elegant and fiercely proud culture, enriched by centuries of fine art and good living, it's easy to see why France is the most popular destination in the world. France's broad and diverse landscape is teeming with architectural marvels, world-class museums, sublime art galleries, and a culinary heritage so rich it's long been the envy of the world.
The fragrant charms of rural lavender fields, the Loire's bountiful vineyards and sleepy medieval towns will leave you breathless. Meanwhile, the sophisticated cityscapes of Paris and Clermont, or Marseilles on the glittering Cote d'Azur, will have you captivated for life.
Whether you're seeking chic style and enlightenment in the French cities, the rustic easy-going lifestyle of the Gallic heartlands, or the sun-kissed luxuries of the south, you'll struggle resisting the glories of a culture dedicated to savouring the joys of life.
Flights to France from London take you into a number of major and regional airports including Charles de Gaulle Airport, which is close to the capital city of Paris. One of the world's great metropolises, Paris exudes graceful elegance. Walk the Seine and take in the sumptuous bridges, leafy boulevards and the Gothic splendour of Notre-Dame Cathedral.
Paris' excellent cultural scene is overflowing with artistic treasures. Spend a day in the vast galleries of The Louvre, or be spellbound by the modern exuberance of the Pompidou Centre. From Da Vinci to Warhol, you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to art in this beautiful city.
History and architecture
Unlike many European countries, France's dramatic history hasn't affected the majesty of its architectural wonders. Some were lost, but many survived scuffed yet defiant after the constant tide of conquests, revolutions, religious wars and world wars that typify France's epoch-shaking history.
Stand in awe before the Pont du Gard, an ancient aqueduct and mighty relic from the Roman Empire. The structure's sheer scale made it impossible for the barbarians to demolish it. Elsewhere, you can sit in quiet humility amid the joyous magnitude of Chartres Cathedral - a beautiful medieval symphony in Gothic stone.
Relive the drama of the French Revolution during a tour of the Palace of Versailles, a sprawling pleasure-land of decadence dedicated to the power of Louis XIV. Meanwhile, a walk around the drab confines of the Bastille Prison, birthplace of the French Republic, reveals the stark contrast in fortunes for the ill-fated royal court.
Food and drink
Much of the French way of life is rooted in its delicious cuisine. Wherever you visit, you will enjoy the finest wines and richest cheeses, with the aroma of freshly baked bread filling your nostrils. To eat in France is a sensory experience. Enjoy Michelin-starred dishes in Paris' boutique eateries, savour exquisite coffee in Parisian cafés, or be seduced by the simple rituals of rural life - where good wine and a fine view will suffice. It's no wonder the quality of life is so high. So relax, unwind and do as the French do.
|Food and drinks||Prices average|
|Beer (0.5 litre)||£1.00|
|Meal at McDonald's||£7.00|
|Water (0.33 litre)||£1.00|
|One way tube ticket||£1.00|
|Taxi starting price (normal tariff)||£4.00|
|1 summer dress in a chain store (Zara, H&M,...)||£32.00|
|1 pair of jeans (Levi's 501 or similar)||£70.00|
|Average monthly disposable salary (net)||£1,614.00|