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Just a short hop across the water is the fantastic country of France, there may only be a small channel divide us from them but the culture is a million miles apart; you could visit this country time and time again and yet feel that you still hadn’t scratched the surface, France is the world’s favourite tourist destination and once you’ve visited you’ll understand exactly why.
Whilst there are numerous beautiful places in France to choose from many visitors head to Paris, not only the capital but the centre of all that is chic, combining romance, art, and a touch of the bohemian to create somewhere quite magical. Other popular destinations include Lille in the north, the medieval city with beautifully restored cobbled streets and architecture, Nice with its cosmopolitan beach vibe, and Cannes with glamour and glitz that sees year round festivities as the international jet set sun themselves in their destination of choice.
Paris itself has lots of great areas, each with a spectacular range of hotels, Hotel George V is perhaps one of the most spectacular hotels in Paris, with unbeatable luxury just a short walk from the Champs Elysee, whilst the Mandarin Oriental Palace offers sophistication in an unrivalled location on Saint-Honore; those looking for a great location without the high cost of the more opulent hotels will appreciate the simplicity of Jardins de Montmatre and Des Arts in arty Montmatre, whilst Paris is not an expensive place to stay, both these hotels demonstrate that value can always be found.Lille has less hotel choice but still manages to pack plenty into all price ranges, try the Comfort Hotel Alize Opera or Des Tours Lille for budget options whilst the Carlton and Hotel Barriere offer plenty of luxury that will please even the most discerning traveller. Budget options in Nice are a little harder to find, but the Gounod and Hotel Vendome both offer great value for money, likewise the Belle Plage and Novotel Cannes Montfleury demonstrate that you can stay in Cannes without breaking the bank.
France is famous for its excellent cuisine, whether it is in a Michelin starred restaurant or a pavement cafe serving the famed Croque Monsieur, if you’re dining in Paris the choices are vast, but The Atelier de Joel Robuchon in St Germain stands out for it amazing food, as does the Terminus Nord with brasserie style food served in authentic Art deco surroundings.If you’ve opted for Nice as your destination of choice, be sure to head to the Old Town, its location close to the port making it perfect for fish and seafood, with many peaceful restaurants serving the freshest of the days catch cooked perfectly. Cannes offers a similar experience but with the added bonus of those Provencal herbs, and amazing wines that are rarely found outside the French Riviera.
Paris has so much to offer that it is little wonder that a short city break is never enough, must see sights include the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur, all famous in their own right and all iconic across the city. Organised events are also big business in Paris and offer experiences ranging from wine tasting to walking tours; there truly is something for everyone, with most tour operators and hotel offering discounts when you book in advance.If you only see one sight in Cannes make sure that it is La Croisette, the seafront boulevard where all those famous hotels and luxury boutiques stand, overlooking private beaches and marinas, likewise in Nice Promenade des Anglais is the place to be with its famous beach and beautiful architecture.
France has huge geographical diversity, if sunshine is your thing then head to the French Riviera, the Mediterranean climate offering sizzling summers and mild winters, whereas if winter sports are more to your taste, the fantastic French alps in the south offer a glamorous winter ski destination; wine buffs will love the Dordogne where the temperate climate sees little in the way of extremes, whilst Paris and the north of France have a similar climate to the one experienced on the British South coast, warm summers and cool winters with perhaps just a little more va va voom, which is after all the French way.