Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ten + One Reasons to Visit France in 2016

France is blessed with a profusion of natural beauty, historical and cultural landmarks as well as a variety of gastronomical delights making it a "must destination" on your bucket list if you are a  first time visitor and one to revisit time and time again.  Here are ten plus one reasons to make France your destination of choice in 2016 and Enchanted France 's offer custom packages to meet all travel tastes and interests.

1. Natural Beauty
Eze Viewpoint- Enchanted France
 France's landscape is quite varied for a  land the size of Texas.  It counts 5,500 km of coastline with access to the Channel, Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.  There are seven mountainous regions: the Alps, Massif Central, Pyrenees, Vosges, Jura, Morvan  and Corsica. Its rivers and canal network is also quite extensive - the Loire, the Seine, the Rhone and the Garonne are its major rivers.

2. Authentic Villages
Saint Remy de Provence
Courtesy Enchanted France
The French countryside is dotted with thousand of medieval villages unspoiled by time and each with its own authenticity and charm. Visitors are delighted when discovering  their  well-preserved history, traditions, culture and art de vivre. Bastides of the Southwest, perched villages of Provence, geranium adorned timber-framed houses of Alsace, thatched cottage of Normandy they all invite visitors to linger and explore their century old cobblestone alleys.

3. Monuments
Mont Saint Michel-
Courtesy Atout France
France's history is long and colorful tracing it back to prehistoric times.  You can visit the cave paintings of Lascaux,  Roman's architectural imprint at the Pont du Gard and Maison Carre in Nimes, medieval fortresses like Carcassonne, Gothic churches, abbeys and monasteries as the Mont Saint Michel, Renaissance chateaux in the Loire Valley, the grandiose Versailles Palace and much more.  In all there are 32 cultural sites in France designated as UNESCO World Heritage.

4. Art
Musee des Beaux Arts Rouen
BF Lange
France is a mecca for those interested in art.  There are thousands of museums to visit located not just in Paris but throughout France.  Of course, when in Paris the Louvre and the Orsay are de riggeur, but other museums worth a visit can be the renovated Musee Unterlunden in Colmar to view the Isenheim Altapiece, Dijon museum des Beaux Arts to see the Tombs of the Dukes of Burgundy, Musee de l'Anonciade in Saint Tropez to view paintings by Fauvist artists like Seurat,  Musee Toulouse Lautrec in Albi for a full collection of the artists works and Fondation Maeght for contemporary art in Saint Paul de Vence.  You can also follow the footsteps of many artists by visiting the locales they lived in and where they found their inspiration like van Gogh in Provence, Picasso in the South of France, Matisse in Nice.

5. Festivals and Sporting Events
Nice Festival
Courtesy- OT Nice
Every year France is a host to numerous festivals and sporting events that attract visitors from around the world such as the ever popular Tour de France, Tennis Tournament in Roland Garros and 24 hours in le Mans car race.  In 2016 the Euro Championship Cup in football (soccer)  is hosted by France - in Paris, Bordeaux and other cities.  Besides sporting events, France attract large crowd of visitors to many popular yearly festivals including the  Nice Carnival,  Lyon Festival of Lights, Jazz in Juan les Pins, theater and performance art in Avignon and Aix en Provence, Celtic music in Lorient and so much more.

6. Food
Courtesy Enchanted France
French cuisine is distinctive and renowned the world over.  There are more Michelin starred restaurants in France than anywhere else in the world. Each region of France has its own specialities.
From Brittany comes the versatile crepe; foie gras is from the southwest, Bouillabaisse is dear to Marseille, Ratatouille hails from Provence, Beef Bourguignon comes from Burgundy and Tarte Tatin was invented by an absent-mided cook from the Sologne. By the way, France boasts more than 500 different cheeses.  Whether you eat in a gastronomic restaurant, a Parisian bistrot or country inn the food is always presented with class.

7. Wine

Courtesy D. Gallagher
France is one of the world's major wine producing nation dating back to when the Greek's first settled around marseille.  They are today 17 distinct wine regions in France - most notably Bordeaux, Alsace, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Champagne, Rhone Valley, Languedoc -Roussillon. Did you know that Cognac comes from the Charente, Armagnac from the Gers, Cointreau is produced in Angers and Benedictine liquor is from Normandy?

8.  Shopping and Savoir Faire
Courtesy Enchanted France
France is renowned for its savoir faire, in fact it is a leading exporter of luxury items from crystal to couture, perfumes and wines.  Paris is a mecca for shop-haholics with its wide selection of specialty boutiques and large department stores like Galleries Lafayette, Printemps and Bon Marche.  Luxury boutiques with brand names like Hermes, Chanel, Cartier can be found in Paris as well as in Bordeaux, Cannes, Lyon and other French cities.  For local crafts, food specialities and unique antique finds it is so much fun to head to the flea markets or the countryside outdoor farmers markets.  

9.  Looking for a little bit of adventure?

Courtesy Atout France
France is an amazing destination for active adventure.  It offers an assortments of sports from surfing on the Atlantic Coast,  biking along the country roads, hiking the pilgrimage road leading to St. James of Compostella,  skiing in the Alps, Vosges mountains or Pyrenees, river rafting in the Gorges du Verdon and horseback riding in the Camargue.  There are so many possibilities to suit everyone looking for an activity packed vacation.

10. Diverse and Unique Accommodations
Chateau de la Tortiniere
Where you stay can make a break a vacation.  France has a large selection of diverse lodgings.  From small boutique urban hotels to chateaux, monasteries, canal barges, apartment and villa rentals and even treehouses and gypsy-style caravan.  Enchanted France places a special emphasis on the selection of unique and comfortable vacation abodes to make your stay memorable.

11. Paris
Montmartre- Courtesy Enchanted France
Finally, leaving the best for last.  Paris is a destination to visit over and over again for its incomparable art, architecture, shopping and gastronomy. Whether you are traveling with your significant other, family get together, or a girl-friend getaway Paris has something for everyone and is exciting anytime of the year.

Make France your destination of choice in 2016.  For custom itineraries contact Enchanted France.  

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