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|An introduction to France - 2016|
Plan a holiday in France, a business trip, or just discover the country through the pages of this online guide, packed with clear and practical information about France.
|News brief: France looks with angst to 2012|
The French have begun looking seriously forwards towards
2012; and it's not in expectation of the London Olympics. Next year
President Sarkozy's first four year term as head of state comes to an
end, and the French will be called to elect a new president. And the
event is already concentrating minds. France has still not got
over the embarrassment of the 2002 presidential election, when extreme
right-wing contender Jean-Marie le Pen secured a place in the runoff by
beating the socialist candidate Lionel Jospin into second place in the
first round of voting. Le Pen was soundly beaten in the second round,
where the mainstream conservative candidate Jacques Chirac polled some
80% of votes.
Now, a Harris poll is suggesting
something even more disconcerting for 2012; that the new far right
candidate, Marine le Pen (daughter of Jean Marie) could actually top
the poll in the first round, eliminating either the main left wing
candidate, or the mainstream conservative candidate from the runoff.
And with both the Socialists and the conservatives unsure about their
candidates, the stage seems set for some bitter in-fighting in the
months to come. Sarkozy will almost certainly run for reelection,
but he is deeply unpopular and stands a good chance of being knocked
out in the first round; or of just beating the Socialist candidate into
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| Holidays in France in 2011 |
a tourist destination, France has it all - or more or less. It has hot
places, cold places, dry places and wet places, and everything between;
it has some of the greatest beaches in Europe, as well as the highest mountains, some of the finest historic monuments, the most beautiful cities, the most idyllic countryside, the most splendid castles, the finest rivers, the most interesting caves, and plenty more, not to mention some of the best restaurants and the finest wines and more hotels than any other country in Europe.|
France has something for everyone, which is one of the reasons why it
remains the world's number one tourist destination. It has magnificent
holiday opportunities for everything from a short weekend city break,
in places such as Paris, Nice or Bordeaux, to a relaxed family holiday in a gite
in the countryside, a week or two's relaxation by the seaside, or an
energetic break hiking, climbing, kayaking or cycling in France's great outdoors.
Heritage breaks: French museums and art galleries
- which contrary to popular belief are not all located in Paris - offer
a magnificent collection of works of art and artefacts; and for those
for whom a holiday is an opportunity to plunge into Europe's great
historic heritage, France's great cathedrals, medieval castles, and
thousands of other ancient monuments are a treasure trove waiting to be
discovered. For themed breaks, the châteaux of the Loire (in the Centre region of France) are an obvious choice; among the many other possibilites, consider discovering the Roman remains of Provence , the medieval bastide towns of the southwest, or the castles and caves of the Dordogne. There are even some scenic steam railways for people who enjoy a trip down memory lane.
in July and August, France's Mediterranean beaches tend to be pretty
packed; this is particularly the case in the famous resorts of Provence and the French Riviera. By contrast, the long sandy beaches of the Languedoc offer much more legroom. Away from the resorts, Brittany
offers plenty of good beaches, with the added fun of tides and good
waves; and France's Atlantic coast, south of the Loire, has plenty of
long sandy beaches, in the regions of Poitou-Charentes and Aquitaine. South of Bordeaux, there are mile upon mile of fine sandy beaches.
Holidays away from it all: there are plenty of places in deepest rural France that are still very much off the beaten track; and for camping holidays, gite
holidays, or for those who are content to put up in small rural inns,
several areas in France offer wonderful holiday opportunities away from
it all. Five French departments (counties) that are particularly worth
checking out are the Aveyron (Midi Pyrenees region), the Haute Loire (Auvergne), the Corrèze (Limousin), the Jura (Franche Comté) and the Vosges (Lorraine):
all these departments include sparsely populated areas, attractive
scenery, and plenty of leisure opportunities - or just some great
places to sit back with a glass of wine, relax, and enjoy the peace and
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- France's emblematic bread. The delicious baguette is an icon of this
country famed for its gourmet cuisine and good food......