A guide to France

the France information and tourism portal . A discovery of France, its people, and the French way of life.

Paris, the Pont Neuf over the Seine
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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 third place. 
La Baguette

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  Holidays in France in 2011 
As 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.

Seaside holidays: 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 quiet.

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 bidler.ru is a wide-ranging guide to modern France, for tourists, visitors and students.

Use the site search function to look for information by keyword, or follow the hyperlinks from page to related page, to discover a wealth of information about France, French life and customs, tourism in France and the ways and life of the most visited country in Europe.
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Left: Baguettes - France's emblematic bread. The delicious baguette is an icon of this country famed for its gourmet cuisine and good food......