France Holidays Guide - France Cheap Flights
FranceHolidays & Cheap Flights Guide. Browse travel information on France
France Holidays, France Holiday Packages Overview
Wherever you choose to begin or end a sojourn in Europe's largest country, and however long you spend exploring you'll simply be scratching the surface of this vast and varied land. France's geography stretches from rugged coastline to seemingly infinite beaches, from bustling cities to quaint countryside villages and from a sun-drenched isle to luxury mountain ski resorts.
A civilisation dating back to 50,000 BC and a history spanning Roman and Frankish invasion, wars of power and religion, a wealthy and powerful monarchy ultimately crushed by revolution, the rise of Napoleon and a new battle between monarchy and republic, and two world wars, has left the country brimming with a rich heritage. Cave paintings, castles, cathedrals and battle scars are scattered across the land, yet much of the French countryside remains untouched, and traditional rural life still flourishes.
This is a country that has inspired Monet's reinvention of colour, Toulouse Lautrec's dark underbelly of Paris society, and the haunting harmonies of Debussy. It has tantalised our taste buds with foie gras and frogs' legs, and captured the imagination of the world's jet-set with the resorts of St Tropez and Port Grimaud. Discover France, and rediscover the meaning of joie de vivre.
France Regions, Provinces & Travel Destinations
It is impossible not to fall in love with Paris. The city's people are stylish and flirtatious, its architecture seductive, its restaurants and nightlife devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and its streets are scattered with dreams.
Normandy has a proud and independent history and was one of the major powers of medieval Europe. Colonized by the Vikings from the 9th century, it was home to William the Conqueror who famously defeated King Harold at the Battle of Hastings and in 1066 established the great Norman aristocratic line that remains prominent in England today. This historic event is commemorated in the region's most popular attraction, the marvellous Bayeux Tapestry. It was here, too, in Rouen that valiant Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, and at the chic seaside resort of Deauville that Coco Chanel started a fashion renaissance opening her first boutique. The province is, however, probably best known for the Normandy landings of 1944 when Britain and America began their liberation of France and Europe from Hitler's Germany.
France's three Basque provinces are in the south-western corner of the country, near the Spanish border, steeped in folklore and ancient customs. Unlike their Spanish counterparts, the French Basque people do not harbour radical separatist views, but they do cling to their identity, their local unique languages and traditional way of life, offering an interesting diversion for tourists who visit the area. Men can still be seen in the traditional costume of a beret and cummerbund, towns and villages all have concrete courts for the playing of the national ball-game, pelota, and bull fighting is a popular spectator sport. Most visitors head for the Atlantic coast to the popular resort towns of Biarritz and St-Jean-de-Luz, or to explore the Basque capital, Bayonne. Hikers and nature lovers are drawn to the grand Pyrenees mountains to fish for fat trout, wander the trails, dunk in warm mineral pools, marvel at the glaciers or climb challenging peaks. Another great attraction in the Bigorre region, close to Basque country, is the Roman Catholic shrine at Lourdes, where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to a peasant girl in the mid-19th century. Millions of believers have since made a pilgrimage to the Lourdes grotto in the hope of miracle cures for ailments and afflictions.
The world's wine capital is disappointingly shabby, but is currently undergoing some renovation and clean-up projects which, while not adding to its aesthetic value at present, will ultimately make this large, wealthy metropole with its classical architecture easier on the eye. Bordeaux is sited on the Garonne River, 20 miles (32km) in from the Atlantic, and is France's fifth largest city with a population of 650,000. In days of yore it started out as a Roman trading post, and passed into the hands of the English who owned it for some 300 years, imparting a British frosting on the French flair of the city and surrounds. Many of the grand chateaux in and around the city are still in English hands and many are open to tourists. Visitors can also sample the wares at several wine exporters premises in the city, which chiefly serves tourists simply as a stopover and central transport hub useful for accessing France's famous wine-growing region.
Much of Brittany's history dates back to its Celtic roots. The landscape is littered with ancient and mysterious standing stones and the local language (sadly in danger of dying out) is based on Celtic, more closely resembling Welsh than French. The Celts came from Britain in around the 6th century with their culture, traditions and folklore that still reign supreme in the region today, particularly in the rather arid interior, lending Brittany a touch of mystery and enchantment. Keep your eyes open and you may even imagine you spy a Cornish pixie in the underbrush! The Bretons maintained an independent state until the 16th century in this northwest corner of France, which protrudes into the Atlantic with an irregular coastline featuring inlets, cliffs, offshore islands and stretches of white, sandy beach.
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