France – the world’s most popular tourist destination (and that’s official, folks) – can confidently claim to offer it all, from glam beaches and storybook castles to widescreen countryside and city chic. It’s a country of dramatic juxtapositions – the modish boulevards of Paris, the timeless greenery of the Loire Valley, the wide slopes of the Alps, the lavender fields of Provence, the gourmet restaurants of Lyon, the rugged charm of Corsica – and one which, when taken as a whole, presents a near-perfect visitor package.
Paris itself is one of the globe’s truly great cities: a multi-layered realm of high fashion, historical riches and haute cuisine. But seen in a wider context, it’s just one of many world-class tourist destinations that France has to offer. “How could one describe a country which has 365 kinds of cheese?” once asked former French president Charles De Gaulle. It’s a good question.