France is well on the way to get the number of yearly tourists to above the 100 million mark. What is it that makes France so attractive for tourists? The answer is in the following six reasons:
With over 30 million tourists, France’s capital tops the list of all popular cities in the world. There’s the city’s romantic image, the stunning architecture, the Louvre museum, the iconic Eiffel Tower as well as the simple pleasure of sitting at a sidewalk café sipping a cup of coffee, eating a piece of French pastry and watching people go by. For many years, European and US visitors have come here, and they keep coming back. In recent years, the appeal of Paris has taken over the Far East, with more and more Chinese nationals coming to get a glimpse of the glamour of the French capital.
And not to forget Disneyland, which is a destination in itself for foreign visitors. With around 15 million visitors each year, the theme park just to the east of the French capital is Europe’s top tourist destination.
2. Sun, sea and mountains
The French often choose to travel within their country. Why? Well, as they will be keen to tell you, it’s because France has everything, from great cities such as Paris, Lyon or Marseille, to sandy beaches, snow-covered mountains and a beautiful countryside. France has been blessed by Mother Nature. It offers something for every tourist. While the Germans may come for the beaches, British tourists usually favor the lovely countryside, and Americans enjoy the history-laden chateaux and French culture. On top of it, France tends to have really pleasant weather in summer; it’s hot but not as baking hot as in Spain or Italy.
3. Strategic location
Part of France’s appeal, however, could just be a sheer coincidence of geography. For example, British tourists are looking to escape their homeland’s unreliable summers; France is just a short trip across the Channel, a journey more than 13 million make every year. Travelers from another of France’s neighbors, Germany, make up 13 million visitors to France, more than any other country.
Not all of these visitors come to see France itself however. Because of France’s geographical location, many tourists have to pass through the country on their way to other destinations such as Italy and Spain.
4. Escape to the countryside
Around 80 percent of France is countryside, and most of it is stunning and tranquil. The Loire Valley and the Provence are the two most famous, beautiful regions of France. The countryside is particularly popular among tourists from the UK who have a romanticized vision of rural life in France compared to the hustle and bustle of the towns and cities they live in.
There are plenty of places in deepest rural France that are still very much off the beaten track; and for camping vacations or for those who are content to put up in small rural inns, several regions in France offer wonderful vacation opportunities away from it all.
5. Food and wine
One thing we can be sure of: when a restaurant in the western world is famous for its cooking, it is the tricolor flag that hangs above the stove, wrote one French magazine. Why are the French recognized by themselves and others all over the world as the great gourmets? Why did the passion for food originate in France? The key is France itself. You can find the roots of France’s food fame in its climate, diversity of soils, abundant resources, and varied topography.
The country has some six hundred regions, or microclimates, that allow different agricultures to flourish. A system of fully navigable rivers leads from the farmlands directly to markets in the great culinary centers of Paris and Lyon. Yet for all the shaping influence of earth and climate, haute cuisine, like so much that is great about France, can be traced back to the court of Louis XIV. It was the Sun King’s regal gourmandize–he enacted a nightly theater of eating, dining alone but in full view of the court–that made food and fine dining a central affair of state. The Catholic Church figures prominently as well: gluttony was regarded as a “benign sin” in France, and eating well was associated with praising God, fraternal conviviality, and a respect for the body. These cultural ingredients, in combination with the bounties of the land, contributed to the full flowering of French cuisine.
No proper French meal is complete without a glass of wine. The style of French wine echoes that of the French themselves—elegant, well-dressed, showing an appreciation for the good things of life but never to excess. French wines go best with food, never overpowering either in flavor or in alcohol, always well-mannered, often beautiful.
In summary, French Gastronomy is a delightful celebration of what makes France unique and a call to everyone who loves French food and wine to rediscover its full flavor.
6. French art, history and culture
France is extremely proud of its long and often tumultuous history, from the French Revolution to Napoleon and the two world wars, and its historical sites that are often on the itinerary for visitors. There are the famous battle sites of the Somme and the D-Day landings, as well as the stunning chateaux, churches and cathedrals that decorate the landscape.
In fact, France has some 39 sites on the UNESCO World Heritage list, putting it fourth in the global rankings. French museums and art galleries are another major attraction for visitors. The Louvre alone, home to the Mona Lisa, attracts 9.7 million visitors each year, more than any other museum in the world.
Courtesy of International TEFL Training Institute Paris, France