France is the largest country in Western Europe, with a population of approximately 66 million. As one of only three countries to have both a Mediterranean and Atlantic coastline, visitors can experience both the delights of the Mediterranean with its laid back lifestyle and flavoursome food, or get a sense of history in Brittany and explore the wine region of Bordeaux on the Atlantic coast.
France has been a major power in Europe since the late Middle Ages, and during the 18th and 19th centuries, it possessed the second largest colonial empire in the world. This fact means that France has both a wealth of history and a mixture of cultures for you to discover.
Whether it is learning about William the Conqueror and his Norman conquest of England or lounging about in the luxury of the French Riviera there is certainly something for everyone. If you're a flourishing fashionista then you would do well to head to the capital, Paris. As a global hub of fashion, Paris has been dubbed the International Capital of Style, and rightly so. Home to the likes of Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior & Christian Louboutin, it has some of the world's finest fashion houses within its confines.
Whilst in Paris you can immerse yourself in the Parisian culture that surrounds you. One of the most prominent features of the Paris skyline is The Eiffel Tower. Named after Gustav Eiffel and built in 1889 to mark 100 years since the French Revolution, the tower stands at 324 metres tall. There are lifts taking you to the second floor, or if you're feeling adventurous you can avoid the queues and climb the many steps to the top. The extra effort is worth it. When you reach the top you are greeted by a spectacular view over the whole of Paris that is not to be missed.
Of course, there are many more fantastic places to discover in France. Bordeaux offers visitors a unique look at some of the finest wine production in the world. Famed for its reds and whites, you can take a tour around some of the 115,000 hectares of vineyards and take home a couple of cases for those at home!
If you are heading to France in the depths of winter, then you will more than likely be venturing to the French Alps to ski down some of the best peaks in Europe. Famed for the superb slopes and crisp snow, mountains such as Mont Blanc are filled with off-piste partisans.
Last updated: 14 March 2014