France is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. It has everything that you could ever want to see on your holidays: an unforgettable city like Paris, good beaches, more monuments than any other country, lovely nature, incredible mountain scenery, and let's not forget amazing food and great wines.
France is divided into 7 main cultural regions:
The Ile de France is the region surrounding the Paris.
Northern France consists of the flatlands and includes the cities of Nord-Pas de Calais, Picardie, and Haute-Normandie.
Northeast France produces many famous wines. It includes Alsace, Lorraine, and Franche-Comté.
The Great West is an oceanic region, with a culture greatly influenced by the ancient Celtic peoples. It includes Normandy, Brittany, Pays de la Loire, Bordeaux, Pays Basque, and Biarritz.
Central France is a largely agricultural and vinicultural region. It includes Centre-Val de Loire, Poitou-Charentes, Burgundy, and Auvergne.
Southwestern France is a region of sea and wine, with nice beaches at the Atlantic Ocean. It includes Aquitaine and Midi-Pyrenees.
Southeastern France has a warm climate and azure sea. It includes Rhône-Alpes, Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and the Mediterranean island of Corsica.
Things to know about France Vacations
Electricity: 220 V, 50Hz.
Time Zone: GMT +1 hr. Daylight savings time is applied.
Government: Unitary semi-presidential republic.
Land size: 547,030 km2 approx in metropolitan France.
Population: 60,000,000 approx.
Religion: Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%.
A valid passport and a return or onward ticket required.
A valid driver's license is accepted for rental periods of less then 90 days. An International Driving Permit is recommended.
France Vacation Tips
The value-added tax (TVA in French) on most goods and services is 19.6%. Refunds are made for the tax on certain goods and merchandise if you spend a minimum of 175 Euros in the same store on the same day, and if you are not a resident of the European Union. You must then get the Retail Export Form from the store, have customs stamp your form when leaving (have purchases with you) and then mail it in for your refund when back home.
And of course one cannot leave France with at least two bottles of wine. From big names to the unusual vintages, wine shops and vineyard abound all over the country. Try a wine from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Provence, Languedoc, Alsace, the Rhône Valley, or a Champagne from Epernay and Reims. Keep in mind that big surface wine stores are not always offering the best deal. Shop around and taste as much as you can.
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