A country with a relatively small population when compared to its size of approximately 600,000 square meters, of just over 64 million people. France is the largest western European country 3 times as large as the United Kingdom and slightly smaller than the State of Texas in the USA. Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the West and the Mediterranean Sea on the East, it also borders Andorra, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Monaco. With a cool winter and a mild summer apart from the Mediterranean coast where winters are usual mild and summers hot. The North consists mainly of flat plains or gently rolling hills whilst the remainder of the country is mountainous with the Pyrenees in the South and the Alps in the East. No reference to France can be made without mentioning food and wine. Many of the regions of France have their own speciality dishes and their geography often dictates what they are, the Atlantic Coast being famous for seafood, the South West famous for foie gras and most regions have a speciality cheese. The climate and terroir decide on grape type and the resultant wine that is produced. Some of the wine regions are internationally famous such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, Loire and the Rhône, but whilst travelling in France there are many hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. The currency as in most of Europe excluding the UK and Switzerland is the Euro.
The architecture of France is eclectic, from medieval hilltop villages to the most modern of architecture as demonstrated in the La Defense business district in Paris. Many of the hilltop villages and medieval towns are protected under the “Beau Village” classification. The Châteaux of France have to be seen and experienced as no description can convey their magnificence and beauty. Whilst the Mediterranean coast is densely populated and developed from the Italian to Spanish borders you do not have to venture very far inland to find a slower pace of life. Whatever sport you are interested you will find an outlet in France as this vast and varied country covers most sporting activities. You could be swimming in the morning on the Côte d’Azur and skiing in the afternoon in one of the many French ski resorts in the Alps.