Saturday, 8 October 2011

France Tourism | France Maps

France Tourism | France Maps

About France:

France is a country located in Western Europe. Clockwise from the north, France borders Belgium and Luxembourg to the northeast, Germany and Switzerland to the east, Italy to the south-east and Spain to the south-west, across the Pyrenees mountain range (the small country of Andorra lies in between the two countries). The Mediterranean Sea lies to the south of France, with the Principality of Monaco forming a small enclave. To the west, France has a long Atlantic Ocean coastline, while to the north lies the English Channel, across which lies the last of France's neighbours, England (part of the United Kingdom).

France has been the world's most popular tourist destination for over twenty years (81.9 million in 2007) and it's geographically one of the most diverse countries in Europe. Its cities contain some of the greatest treasures in Europe, its countryside is prosperous and well tended and it boasts dozens of major tourist attractions, like Paris, the French Riviera, the Atlantic beaches, the winter sport resorts of the French Alps, the castles of the Loire Valley, Brittany and Normandy. The country is renowned for its gastronomy (particularly wines and cheeses), history, culture and fashion.

Geography of France:

Metropolitan France is situated mostly between latitudes 41° and 51° N (Dunkirk is just north of 51°), and longitudes 6° W and 10° E, on the western edge of Europe, and thus lies within the northern temperate zone

While Metropolitan France is located in Western Europe, France also has a number of territories in North America, the Caribbean, South America, the southern Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and Antarctica.These territories have varying forms of government ranging from overseas department to overseas collectivity. France's overseas departments and collectivities share land borders with Brazil, and Suriname (bordering French Guiana), and the Netherlands Antilles (bordering Saint-Martin).

Metropolitan France covers 547,030 square kilometres (211,209 sq mi),having the largest area among European Union members. France possesses a wide variety of landscapes, from coastal plains in the north and west to mountain ranges of the Alps in the south-east, the Massif Central in the south-central and Pyrenees in the south-west.

At 4,810.45 metres (15,782 ft) above sea level, the highest point in Western Europe, Mont Blanc, is situated in the Alps on the border between France and Italy. Metropolitan France also has extensive river systems such as the Seine, the Loire, the Garonne, and the Rhone, which divides the Massif Central from the Alps and flows into the Mediterranean Sea at the Camargue. Corsica lies off the Mediterranean coast.

France's total land area, with its overseas departments and territories (excluding Adélie Land), is 674,843 km2 (260,558 sq mi), 0.45% of the total land area on Earth. However, France possesses the second-largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the world,covering 11,035,000 km2 (4,260,637 sq mi), approximately 8% of the total surface of all the EEZs of the world, just behind the United States (11,351,000 km2/4,382,646 sq mi) and ahead of Australia (8,232,000 km2/3,178,393 sq mi). The north and northwest have a temperate climate, while a combination of maritime influences, latitude and altitude produce a varied climate in the rest of Metropolitan France.

In the south-east a Mediterranean climate prevails. In the west, the climate is predominantly oceanic with a high level of rainfall, mild winters and cool to warm summers. Inland the climate becomes more continental with hot, stormy summers, colder winters and less rain. The climate of the Alps and other mountainous regions is mainly alpine, with the number of days with temperatures below freezing over 150 per year and snow cover lasting for up to six months.

France Weather:

Culture of France:

French culture is derived from an ancient civilization composed of a complex mix of Celtic, Greco-Roman, and Germanic elements. Monuments, especially from the period of Roman occupation, are numerous and include the amphitheatre at Arles, the arénes in Paris, and the aqueduct at Pont du Gard. During the Middle Ages a rich culture developed, fostered in particular by scholars in monasteries and in universities and encouraged well into the 18th century by a system of royal and aristocratic patronage. From the early 1700s and with the development of a middle class, the bourgeoisie, culture became more generally accessible. This period, extending into the 18th century, was the age of the Enlightenment, of inquiry and question. Cultural activity remained largely centred on Paris, though certain provincial cities such as Aix-les-Bains or Lyon had an active life of their own. With free primary education compulsory by the late 19th century, basic literacy ensured that the general cultural level was raised.

The culture of France has profoundly influenced that of the entire Western world, particularly in the areas of art and letters, and Paris has long been regarded as the fountainhead of French culture. France first attained cultural preeminence in Europe during the Middle Ages; later, the wealth of the French crown in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries provided a subsidization of art on a scale comparable to that of the papacy in Rome, attracting to Paris many of Europe’s most talented artists and artisans. Wealth also created a leisure class, which had both the time and the means for developing elegance in dress, manners, furnishings, and architecture. French styles still pervade much of Western culture. In the 20th century French cinema assumed a leading world position, particularly in the 1960s with the nouvelle vague (“new wave”) group of film directors, such as Jean-Luc Godard, Alain Resnais, and François Truffaut.

French literature has a long and rich history. Traditionally it is held to have begun in 842 with the Oath of Strasbourg, sworn to by Louis the German and Charles the Bald. The Middle Ages are noted in particular for epic poems such as La Chanson de Roland (The Song of Roland), the Arthurian romances of Chrétien de Troyes, and lyric poetry expressing romantic love. In the 16th century the Renaissance flourished, and figures such as the poet Pierre de Ronsard, the satirist and humorist Rabelais, and Michel de Montaigne, credited with inventing the essay, were to become internationally acknowledged. French Neoclassical drama reached its apotheosis during the next hundred years in the tragedies of Pierre Corneille and Racine. During the same period, Molière displayed his vast and varied talents in the theatre, particularly as a writer of comedies; Jean de La Fontaine produced moralistic verse in his Fables; and Mme de La Fayette created the classic La Princesse de Clèves, generally considered the first French psychological novel. Voltaire, Denis Diderot, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau dominated the 18th century, especially with their philosophical writings, but they contributed in a major way to all genres, Voltaire's novel Candide being singularly notable. Other authors of the period included the playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, for works such as Le Mariage de Figaro, and Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, for his epistolary novel Les Liaisons dangereuses.

France Cuisine:

French cuisine is a style of food preparation originating from France that has developed from centuries of social change. In the Middle Ages, Guillaume Tirel (a.k.a. Taillevent), a court chef, authored Le Viandier, one of the earliest recipe collections of Medieval France. In the 17th century, La Varenne and the notable chef of Napoleon and other dignitaries, Marie-Antoine Carême, moved toward fewer spices and more liberal usage of herbs and creamy ingredients, signaling the beginning of modern cuisine. Cheese and wine are a major part of the cuisine, playing different roles regionally and nationally, with many variations and appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) (regulated appellation) laws.

French cuisine was codified in the 20th century by Escoffier to become the modern version of haute cuisine; Escoffier, however, left out much of the regional culinary character to be found in the regions of France. Gastro-tourism and the Guide Michelin helped to acquaint people with the rich bourgeois and peasant cuisine of the French countryside starting in the 20th century. Gascon cuisine has also had great influence over the cuisine in the southwest of France. Many dishes that were once regional have proliferated in variations across the country.

Knowledge of French cooking has contributed significantly to Western cuisines and its criteria are used widely in Western cookery school boards and culinary education. In November 2010 the French gastronomy was added by UNESCO to its lists of the world's "intangible cultural heritage".

Tourism in France:


Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region (or Paris Region, French: Région parisienne). The city of Paris, within its administrative limits largely unchanged since 1860, has an estimated population of 2,211,297 (January 2008), but the Paris metropolitan area has a population of 11,899,544 (January 2008), and is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe. Paris was the largest city in the Western world for about 1,000 years, prior to the 19th century, and the largest in the entire world between the 16th and 19th centuries.

Paris is today one of the world's leading business and cultural centres, and its influences in politics, education, entertainment, media, fashion, science, and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the world's major global cities. In 2009 and 2010 Paris was ranked among the three most important and influential cities in the world, among the first three "European cities of the future" – according to research published by the Financial Times — and among the top ten most liveable cities in the world, according to the British review Monocle. Paris also ranked among the ten greenest European cities in 2010. Paris hosts the headquarters of many international organizations such as UNESCO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the informal Paris Club.

Paris and the Paris Region, with €552.1 billion in 2009, produce more than a quarter of the gross domestic product of France. According to 2008 estimates, the Paris agglomeration is, scantily after London, Europe's second biggest city economy and the sixth largest in the world. The Paris Region hosts 37 of the Fortune Global 500 companies in several business districts, notably La Défense, the largest dedicated business district in Europe. According to the latest survey from Economist Intelligence Unit in 2010, Paris is the world's most expensive city in which to live. With about 28 million tourists per year (42 in the whole Paris Region), of which 17 million are foreign visitors, Paris is the most visited city in the world. The city and its region contain 3,800 historical monuments and four UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Musée d'Orsay:

The Musée d'Orsay is a museum in Paris, France, on the left bank of the Seine. It is housed in the former Gare d'Orsay, an impressive Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1915, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. It is probably best known for its extensive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces (the largest in the world) by such painters such as Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin and Van Gogh. Many of these works were held at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume prior to the museum's opening in 1986.

Musée du Louvre:

The Musée du Louvre – in English, the Louvre Museum or simply the Louvre – is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement (district). Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 19th century are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square metres (652,300 square feet).

The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace (Palais du Louvre) which began as a fortress built in the late 12th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of antique sculpture. In 1692, the building was occupied by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which in 1699 held the first of a series of salons. The Académie remained at the Louvre for 100 years. During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum, to display the nation's masterpieces.

The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and confiscated church property. Because of structural problems with the building, the museum was closed in 1796 until 1801. The size of the collection increased under Napoleon and the museum was renamed the Musée Napoléon. After the defeat of Napoléon at Waterloo, many works seized by his armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, and during the Second French Empire the museum gained 20,000 pieces. Holdings have grown steadily through donations and gifts since the Third Republic. As of 2008, the collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan, and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings.

Eiffel Tower:

The Eiffel Tower is a puddle iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris. Built in 1889, it has become both a global icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world. The tower is the tallest building in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; millions of people ascend it every year. Named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, the tower was built as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair.

The tower stands 324 metres (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-storey building. During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to assume the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930. However, due to the addition, in 1957, of the antenna atop the Eiffel Tower, it is now taller than the Chrysler Building. Not including broadcast antennas, it is the second-tallest structure in France, after the Millau Viaduct.

The tower has three levels for visitors. Tickets can be purchased to ascend, by stairs or lift, to the first and second levels. The walk from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level. The third and highest level is accessible only by elevator. Both the first and second levels feature restaurants.

The tower has become the most prominent symbol of both Paris and France, often in the establishing shot of films set in the city.

Arc de Triomphe:

The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle, at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. There is a smaller arch, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which stands west of the Louvre. The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for France in the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars, with the names of all French victories and generals inscribed on its inner and outer surfaces. Beneath its vault lies the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.

The Arc de Triomphe is the linchpin of the historic axis (Axe historique) – a sequence of monuments and grand thoroughfares on a route which goes from the courtyard of the Louvre, to the Grande Arche de la Défense. The monument was designed by Jean Chalgrin in 1806, and its iconographic program pitted heroically nude French youths against bearded Germanic warriors in chain mail. It set the tone for public monuments, with triumphant patriotic messages.

The monument stands 50 metres (164 ft) in height, 45 m (148 ft) wide and 22 m (72 ft) deep. The large vault is 29.19 m (95.8 ft) high and 14.62 m (48.0 ft) wide. The small vault is 18.68 m (61.3 ft) high and 8.44 m (27.7 ft) wide. It is the second largest triumphal arch in existence (after Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang).Its design was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus. The Arc de Triomphe is so colossal that three weeks after the Paris victory parade in 1919, (marking the end of hostilities in World War I), Charles Godefroy flew his Nieuport biplane through it, with the event captured on newsreel.

Notre Dame de Paris:

Notre Dame de Paris; French for Our Lady of Paris), also known as Notre Dame Cathedral, is a Gothic, Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. It is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris: that is, it is the church that contains the cathedra of the Archbishop of Paris, currently André Vingt-Trois. The cathedral treasury houses a reliquary with the purported Crown of Thorns.

Notre Dame de Paris is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in France and in Europe, and the naturalism of its sculptures and stained glass are in contrast with earlier Romanesque architecture. The first period of construction from 1163 into 1240s coincided with the musical experiments of the Notre Dame school.

Jean de Jandun recognized the cathedral as one of Paris's three most important buildings in his 1323 "Treatise on the Praises of Paris"

Disneyland Paris:

Disneyland Paris is a holiday and recreation resort in Marne-la-Vallée, a new town in the eastern suburbs of Paris, France. The complex is located 32 km (20 mi) from the centre of Paris and lies for the most part within the commune of Chessy, Seine-et-Marne.

Disneyland Paris comprises two theme parks, a retail, dining and entertainment district, and seven Disney-owned hotels. Operating since 12 April 1992, it was the second Disney resort to open outside the United States (following Tokyo Disney Resort) and the first to be owned and operated by Disney.

Disneyland Paris is owned and operated by French company Euro Disney S.C.A., a public company of which 39.78 percent of its stock is held by The Walt Disney Company, 10 percent by the Saudi Prince Alwaleed and 50.22 percent by other shareholders. The senior leader at the resort is chairman and CEO Philippe Gas.

The complex was a subject of controversy during the periods of negotiation and construction in the late 1980s and early '90s, when a number of prominent French figures voiced their opposition and protests were held by French labour unions and others. A further setback followed the opening of the resort as park attendance, hotel occupancy and revenues fell below projections. The complex was renamed from Euro Disney Resort to Disneyland Paris in 1994. In July 1995, the company saw its first quarterly profit.

A second theme park, Walt Disney Studios Park, opened to the public 16 March 2002.

With 15,405,000 combined visitors to the resort's Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park in the fiscal year of 2009, it is France's and Europe's most visited tourist site.


Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in southwest France, with an estimated (2008) population of 250,082. The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes the sixth-largest urban area in France. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture of the Gironde department. Its inhabitants are called Bordelais.

Bordeaux is the world's major wine industry capital. It is home to the world's main wine fair, Vinexpo, while the wine economy in the metro area moves 14.5 billion euros each year. Bordeaux wine has been produced in the region since the 8th century. The historic part of the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble" of the 18th century.


The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west.

The highest mountain in the Alps is Mont Blanc, at 4,810.45 metres (15,782 ft), on the Italian–French border. All the main peaks of the Alps can be found in the list of mountains of the Alps and list of Alpine peaks by prominence.


Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the egion of Alsace are historically German-speaking, explaining the city's Germanic name. In 2006, the city proper had 272,975 inhabitants and its urban community 467,375 inhabitants. With 638,670 inhabitants in 2006, Strasbourg's metropolitan area (aire urbaine) (only the part of the metropolitan area on French territory) is the ninth largest in France. The transnational Eurodistrict Strasbourg-Ortenau has a population of 884,988 inhabitants.

Strasbourg is the seat of several European institutions, such as the Council of Europe (with its European Court of Human Rights, its European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and its European Audiovisual Observatory) and the Eurocorps, as well as the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman of the European Union. The city is the seat of the Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine.

Strasbourg's historic city centre, the Grande Île (Grand Island), was classified a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988, the first time such an honour was placed on an entire city centre. Strasbourg is fused into the Franco-German culture and although violently disputed throughout history, has been a bridge of unity between France and Germany for centuries, especially through the University of Strasbourg, currently the largest in France, and the coexistence of Catholic and Protestant culture.

Economically, Strasbourg is an important centre of manufacturing and engineering, as well as of road, rail, and river communications. The port of Strasbourg is the second largest on the Rhine after Duisburg, Germany. In terms of city rankings, Strasbourg has been ranked third in France and 18th globally for innovation.

Loire Valley:

An area of outstanding natural beauty, the Loire Valley is also affectionately known as the garden of France. The valley is filled with culturally and historically important architecture which has earned it a world heritage site status- unsurprisingly it’s one of the most visited places in the country. Renowned for its large collection of fairytale-esque chateaux and mansions, exceptionally beautiful landscapes and one of the most striking rivers in Europe the Loire Valley is a gentle but most definitely bourgeois paradise.

Mont Saint-Michel:

Second only to the Eiffel Tower as France’s best-loved landmark, Mont St-Michel is rocky, peaked island which is connected by a causeway to northwest France. An imposing sight sitting amid sandbanks and powerful tides, the heritage site is most celebrated for its Gothic-style Benedictine abbey. Directly below the grand monastery is a medieval village complete with winding streets, small houses and souvenir shops. The island is accessible at all times except when the tide is very high.

The Gorges du Verdon:

Europe’s answer to the grand canyon, this deep cliff gorge located in the Provence region is a visitor hot spot. Here you’ll find bright turquoise green waters, outstanding scenery and an abundance of wildlife – it’s not difficult to see why this gorge is so popular. Easily accessible from the French Riviera, the national park is a great spot to climb, hike, kayak or just go for a scenic drive.




Marseille is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of 240.62 km2 (93 sq mi). The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of 1,204 km2 (465 sq mi). 1,530,000 or 1,601,095 people live in the Marseille metropolitan area, ranking it 3rd among French metropolitan areas after Paris and Lyon. Located on the southeast coast of France, Marseille is France's largest city on the Mediterranean coast and largest commercial port. Marseille is the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, as well as the capital of the Bouches-du-Rhône department. Its inhabitants are called Marseillais.




France Transport:

The railway network of France, which as of 2008 stretches 29,473 kilometres (18,314 mi) is the second most extensive in Western Europe after the German one. It is operated by the SNCF, and high-speed trains include the Thalys, the Eurostar and TGV, which travels at 320 km/h (199 mph) in commercial use. The Eurostar, along with the Eurotunnel Shuttle, connects with the United Kingdom through the Channel Tunnel. Rail connections exist to all other neighbouring countries in Europe, except Andorra. Intra-urban connections are also well developed with both underground services and tramway services complementing bus services.

There are approximately 1,027,183 kilometres (638,262 mi) of serviceable roadway in France, ranking it the most extensive network of the European continent. The Paris region is enveloped with the most dense network of roads and highways that connect it with virtually all parts of the country. French roads also handle substantial international traffic, connecting with cities in neighboring Belgium, Spain, Andorra, Monaco, Switzerland, Germany and Italy. There is no annual registration fee or road tax; however, motorway usage is through tolls except in the vicinity of large communes. The new car market is dominated by domestic brands such as Renault (27% of cars sold in France in 2003), Peugeot (20.1%) and Citroën (13.5%). Over 70% of new cars sold in 2004 had diesel engines, far more than contained petrol or LPG engines. France possesses the Millau Viaduct, the world's tallest bridge, and has built many important bridges such as the Pont de Normandie.

There are 475 airports in France. Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport located in the vicinity of Paris is the largest and busiest airport in the country, handling the vast majority of popular and commercial traffic and connecting Paris with virtually all major cities across the world. Air France is the national carrier airline, although numerous private airline companies provide domestic and international travel services. There are ten major ports in France, the largest of which is in Marseille, which also is the largest bordering the Mediterranean Sea. 12,261 kilometres (7,619 mi) of waterways traverse France including the Canal du Midi which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean through the Garonne river.

Pictures of France:

France Maps:

France Tourism,Tourism in France,France Maps,Pictures of France,Information About France,France cuisine,Culture of France,France Weather