Wherever you choose to begin or end a sojourn in Europe's
largest country, and however long you spend exploring you'll simply
be scratching the surface of this vast and varied land. France's
geography stretches from rugged coastline to seemingly infinite
beaches, from bustling cities to quaint countryside villages and
from a sun-drenched isle to luxury mountain ski resorts.
A civilisation dating back to 50,000 BC and a history spanning
Roman and Frankish invasion, wars of power and religion, a wealthy
and powerful monarchy ultimately crushed by revolution, the rise of
Napoleon and a new battle between monarchy and republic, and two
world wars, has left the country brimming with a rich heritage.
Cave paintings, castles, cathedrals and battle scars are scattered
across the land, yet much of the French countryside remains
untouched, and traditional rural life still flourishes.
This is a country that has inspired Monet's reinvention of
colour, Toulouse Lautrec's dark underbelly of Paris society, and
the haunting harmonies of Debussy. It has tantalised our taste buds
with foie gras and frogs' legs, and captured the imagination of the
world's jet-set with the resorts of St Tropez and Port Grimaud.
Millions discover its wonders each year with a holiday in France,
and rediscover the meaning of