France is the second most popular European destination for the US tourist. French wine and food are an attraction in their own right. Add the history, art and beauty of the country and it becomes a great vacation destination for all ages.
The three largest cities in France are Paris, Marseille and Lyon. Paris is also known as the “City of Lights” and has several identifiable landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Arc de Triomphe. Civilized culture is how Paris is defined, with art and history blending seamlessly with an abundance of shopping opportunities and wonderful restaurants. There is so much to do and see in Paris alone that it could be difficult to move out of the city. Marseille is in the French Riviera and is popular for its beaches, trendy hotels and seafood restaurants. There are also many theaters and museums serving the population and enhancing the tourism of the region. Lyon is known as the “gastronomic center” of France. Here, food is not just nourishment, it is an art. The fresh food markets in Lyon are second to none and offer both novice and professional chefs an abundance of choice from which to create their masterpieces.
There are seven wine regions in France, each with its own particular landscape, grape varieties and other cultural attractions. The Champagne and Alsace regions lie in the northeast of the country and are known for sparkling wine and Rieslings respectively. The Loire Valley is in the northwest, just below Normandy and is best known for its white wine production of Muscadet and Pouilly Fumé. Burgundy is in the central eastern portion of the country and produces both reds and whites. It is broken down into six smaller distinctive regions each specializing in its own variety. Burgundy reds are produced from 100% Pinot Noir OR 100% Gamay grapes for the Beaujolais wines. Burgundy whites are produced from 100% Chardonnay grapes. The Bordeaux region of France in the central western area is probably the most popular and well known region. This region produces rich and bold red wines with a blend of grape varietals. The Rhone Valley is in southeastern France and produces over 90% red wines from the Grenache and Syrah grapes. The last region is the Languedoc-Rousillon region in the southwestern portion of France. This region produces quite a bit of wine, but is not known for its “quality”. The region itself has an immense amount of history, dating back to the Roman age, and a lot of Spanish influence as it borders Spain.
The French Riviera is very popular, both for national and international tourism. Known for its five star resorts and star studded beaches, it boasts a long history of popularity with wealthy and famous people. This region is glamorous and trendy and a tourist destination in its own right.
There are so many different ways to vacation in France, it would be hard to list them all here. From city stays to wine tours, river cruises and escorted tours and even Disneyland Paris, there’s something for everyone!
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