The most visited country in the world, welcoming an average of 80 million tourists a year, is divided into two parts: Paris, and the rest of France. The capital of a highly centralised nation, Paris’s beauty and grandeur is sure to take anyone’s breath away. Impressive monuments, such as the Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Coeur Basilica, along with wide boulevards and 19th century gardens designed by Haussman, reflect the scale of its power.
Nightlife is at its best in charming central neighbourhoods, such as the Latin Quarter and the Marais. Montmartre (the old Bohemian Quarter, which was home to Toulouse Lautrec) and museums, including the Louvre and D’Orsay, are must-sees for lovers of art. But life goes on outside of Paris. For picture-perfect, fairytale views, head to the Loire region. Its many stunning castles, surrounded by lakes and forests, were declared UNESCO World Heritage sites. The same goes for the beautiful Medieval fortress in Carcassonne, located on the banks of the Aude River, in the south of France.
If you are looking for impressive natural landscapes, don’t miss the cliffs of the northern region of Normandy, as well as those in the town of Étretat. The cliffs next to the beach have served as inspiration for the likes of Courbet and Monet. For more sophisticated beaches, head straight for the Cote D’Azure and its exclusive towns, such as Nice and Saint Tropez.
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