There are a variety of reasons why France is so popular with visitors. It has long been known for art, architecture, literature, and love. TTie music is effervescent; so too is the champagne. Each region has something different to offer. To many, Paris is the center not only of France, but of the universe. For centuries French was the language of most European courts. Wine lovers have a choice of regions to explore, beginning with Bordeaux, moving on to Burgundy, on to the Champagne region and to a dozen other areas, each producing its own special wine. So, too, are there the regional cuisines to linger over.
The French Riviera has its own ambiance, sunshine, gambling and gamboling for all seasons. Normandy and Brittany represent other worlds.
Normandy and Brittany, once joined with England under one king, occupy the western coasts of France. Normandy, closest to England, was the scene of the Allied landings in World War II. Its sandy beaches and resorts are especially popular with French vacationers in the summer.
Normandy has the incomparable Mont St. Michel, the island monastery. It can be reached by land only when the tide is out. Then there are the Loire Valley and the French Alps, and so on.
France is easy to get around in. It has a few superhighways and some of the fastest trains. There are pleasure trips via barge-and-canal and for something different, balloon rides and lunch with a countess.
Wine lovers feel they must visit the chateaux wineries of Bordeaux, which extend south from the city of Bordeaux and along the Dordogne river. Burgundy is in Central France with Beaune as its wine capital.
The Rhone Valley, southeast from Lyon and south of Marseille on the Mediterranean, has numerous Roman ruins. The southern provinces of Languedoc and Provence are popular vacation areas with the French.