It almost goes without saying, but the French capital is a huge draw for foreign visitors – over 30 million of them a year in fact, more than any other city in the world. What makes Paris it so popular? Where to start. There’s the city’s romantic image, the stunning architecture, the Louvre museum, the iconic Eiffel Tower as well as the simple pleasure of sitting at a café terrace and watching the world go by. European and US visitors have flocked here from all the world for many years, and they keep coming back and in recent years the appeal of Paris has gripped the far east, with more and more Chinese nationals coming to get a glimpse of the Champs Elysées and its array of boutiques.
France is extremely proud of its long and often tumultuous history, from the French revolution to Napoleon and the two world wars, and historical sites are often on the itinerary for visitors. France has some 39 sites on Unesco's World Heritage list, putting it fourth in the global rankings. Museums and art galleries are also a major pull for tourists. The Louvre alone, home to the Mona Lisa among around 35,000 other artefacts and artworks, attracts 9.7 million visitors a year, more than any other museum in the world. France is, of course, inseparable from its famed gastronomical traditions and the chance to dine on French specialities, even the clichéd snails or steak tartare is no doubt a major part of what attracts visitors to the country. No proper French meal is complete without a few glasses of ‘vin’ and the country’s vast array of home-produced wines is another draw for tourists. Each year, around 24 million foreign tourists visit Bordeaux, Burgundy and France’s other wine regions.
Côte d'azur / provence
Alps - Mont Blanc
PARIS Orly & CDG
Nice International Airport
Lyon International Airport Lyon-Saint Exupéry
Bordeaux International Airport Bordeaux-Mérignac
Geneve (Swiss) access to French Alps
Marseille Provence Airport
GMT +1 (winter and summer)
French | (English is widely spoken at touristic sites, hotels and restaurants)
Weather & Seasons
Temperatures in France remain pleasant and mild throughout the year with a balanced mix of sunshine and rainfall although as you would expect, each region has its own variation on the climate with the weather colder and wetter in the north and west and warmer and drier conditions in the Mediterranean.
On a general note, the peak travel season falls in summer, with spring and autumn being the shoulder seasons. As the winter season is predominantly wet, people looking to experience outdoor activities wouldn’t really enjoy visiting during this season. However, where there’s rain, there’s always a rainbow, and the silver lining that comes with visiting in the winter season is that you can explore all the art museums at leisure without worrying about crowds.
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