France acts as the global arbiter of style, gourmet cuisine, and all-around sophistication. The very word “Paris” evokes romance and beauty on France vacations, with the exquisite riches of the Louvre Museum and the latest fashions on Rue du Faubourg. From the mild seasons in Nice and Cannes, to the lavender fields of Provence. Indulge in the luxury French hotels and immerse yourself in the affairs of another culture.
Europe’s most glamorous cosmopolitan city is also one of the most romantic cities in the world. Few cities have the ability to excite and seduce its visitors as Paris does. The City of Lights may seem daunting but regardless, you will immediately become mesmerized and fall in love. Take a romantic stroll along the Champs-Elysees or the Seine River, spend a lazy afternoon in a Parisian cafe, or take a tour of The Louvre, the world’s largest palace and museum and home to the greatest art collections in the world. Other must-sees include the omnipresent Eiffel Tower, the elegant Jardin des Tuileries and the Jardin du Luxembourg, the sophisticated shops and the stylish residents.
A French star among the many resorts, Nice is one of the oldest cities in France. Its casinos and resort facilities give the capital of the Cote d’ Azur an air of sophistication, but also an old world charm that bears a strong Italian influence. Walk amid its open-air markets on small winding streets, particularly the flower market, if only to take in the lavender fragrances for which the region is known. Taste a beignet and hop a trolley that rolls past the pastel-colored buildings of Old Nice. You’ll understand why artists such as Matisse and Chagall chose to live and paint here.
Home of the International Film Festival, Cannes is synonymous with celebrity, sophistication and a joie de vivre. Cosmopolitan Cannes, however, is not just a pretty resort face. It has much more to offer; more than 60 museums, monuments and gardens to visit, and a wide array of watersports along its famous beaches. Even if you don’t buy anything, you’ll want to window-shop its ultra-chic stores, favored by the rich and famous. Do peruse the Forville fruit, vegetable and fish market if only to inhale its riches.
Aix-en-Provence is famous for its outdoor markets and handsome pedestrian lanes, as well as its cultivated residents and their ability to embrace the good life. Nowhere else in France is l’art de vivre (the art of living) so well on display. It was that way when the French king made the town his administrative capital of Provence, and it’s that way today. For a tourist, Aix-en-Provence is happily free of any obligatory turnstiles — there’s not a single ancient site to see. It’s just a wealthy town filled with 140,000 smartly dressed people, including 40,000 students who give the city a year-round youthful energy. And Aix’s numerous squares, lined with cafés and fine shops, allow everyone a comfortable place to pose.
General information on France
France has four distinct climatic zones.
Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters in the South of France;
Intermediate climate with hot summers and cold winters in the North, also including Paris and central regions;
Semi-continental climate with hot summers and harsh winters in the mountainous massifs (Massif Central, Pyrenees, Alps), Alsace, Lorraine, and the Rhone corridor;
Oceanic, humid climate with cool summers to the west of a line from Bayonne to Lille.
Local 7-day forecasts can be found at www.meteo.fr/meteonet and are updated three times a day. As the day approaches, you get a more detailed report.
Summer Time, Winter Time
Summer Time, where the French time changes from GMT +1 to GMT +2, starts the last Sunday in March at 02:00. Summer Time ends on the last Sunday in October at 03:00, when the time goes from GMT +2 back to GMT +1.
On these public holidays, most stores, businesses, government offices, and banks are closed. Most of the museums and monuments, as well as restaurants, remain open.
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