France Travel Facts

By | April 15, 2022

Based on map by DigoPaul, France is the second largest country in Europe and borders on Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Spain, among others. The beautiful country is a popular travel destination – not least because of its diverse and varied landscapes and good cuisine.

Capital City Paris
Size 643.801 km²
Resident 66.991.000
Official Language French
Currency Euro
Time Zone UTC+1/+2
Telephone Area Code +33

Fast facts to know

  • Largest country in Europe by area.
  • The landscape is very diverse and varied.
  • France was the first modern European republic.
  • Once owned the second largest colonial empire.
  • Overseas territories belonging to France: Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion, Mayotte, Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, French Southern and Antarctic Territories.
  • The French are very proud of their culinary skills.
  • It is common to arrive 15 minutes late for non-business appointments.
  • 10 billion baguettes are sold in France every year.
  • France is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
  • There are more than 40,000 castles in France.

Exciting cities in France

  • Bordeaux
  • Paris
  • Nice
  • Strasbourg
  • Issigeac
  • Toulouse
  • Marseille
  • Little
  • Mont Saint Michel
  • Colmar
  • Nantes
  • Lyon
  • Aigues Mortes

history of France

  • First settlement about 48,000 years ago.
  • From 600 BC Founding of Phoenician and Greek merchant bases on the Mediterranean coast.
  • Settlement by the Celts in the northwest.
  • Celtic Gauls, with their Druidic religion, are considered the ancestors of the French.
  • From the 5th century, increasing numbers of Germanic peoples immigrated to Gaul.
  • French Middle Ages marked by the rise of royalty.
  • Under Louis VII, a long series of armed conflicts with England began.
  • 1337 Hundred Years War
  • 1348 the plague wipes out a third of the population.
  • 1572 Hundreds of thousands of Huguenots emigrate after St. Bartholomew’s Night.
  • 1635 France actively intervenes in the Thirty Years’ War, leading to war with Spain.
  • Beginning of the era of French dominance in Europe.
  • Under the Sun King Louis XIV, absolutism reached its peak.
  • 1793 First Republic is proclaimed.
  • 1789 French Revolution.
  • 1799 Napoleon Bonaparte seized power with a coup d’état and subsequently brought almost all of Europe under his control.
  • After the defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon is exiled.
  • 1848 Proclamation of the Second Republic after the bourgeois revolution.
  • 1871 to 1940 Third Republic.
  • late 19th century France and the UK fight for supremacy in Africa.
  • 1946 Fourth Republic by referendum.
  • Post-war period characterized by the collapse of the colonial empire.
  • 1958 Fifth Republic.
  • 1981, the seizure of power by the Socialist Party and the presidency of François Mitterrand, which lasts until May 1995.

Climate & travel weather in France

  • North: moderate maritime climate (mild, rainy winters, moderately warm, rainy summers)
  • Northeast: continental climate (winter with snow, summer quite warm but unstable)
  • Atlantic coast: oceanic temperate climate (humid and cool winters, humid and warm summers)
  • South coast: Mediterranean climate (hot summer with little precipitation, very mild winter, autumn with lots of rain)
  • Alps: mountain climate (snowy, cold winters, dry summer)
  • Recommended travel time:
    • Attractive to travel all year round
    • City tours: spring, autumn
    • Bathing: Mediterranean (May-Oct), Atlantic (June-Sep), North Coast (June-July)
    • Winter Sports: Dec-April

Ideas for trips in France

  • Paris
    • eiffel tower
    • Louvre
    • Palace of Versailles
    • triumphal arch
    • Sacred Heart
    • Our Lady
  • Strasbourg Cathedral
  • Disneyland Paris
  • Mont Saint Michel
  • Chartres Cathedral
  • Avignon Papal Palace
  • Loire Valley with its castles
  • Marseille Cathedral
  • Lascaux Cave
  • Castle of the Dukes of Brittany
  • Pont d’Arc

Eating & drinking in France

  • For the French, eating does not mean eating, but enjoyment.
  • Quality, taste and variety always come first.
  • Simple breakfast: café au lait, baguette with jam, croissons.
  • Lunch often consists of 3 courses, and business lunches are common.
  • Most important meal: Dinner, usually 3-5 courses, often a little lighter than lunch.
  • Baguette bread is often served with the meal.
  • Red wine and water are usually drunk.
  • After the meal, often strong coffee with some chocolate and a cognac or something similar.
  • France is famous for its sauces: béchamel, béarnaise, hollandaise, velouté, vinaigrette.
  • Land of wines, cheese and delicacies.
  • Cooked mostly Mediterranean in the south, hearty dishes with cream sauces common in the interior and in the north.
  • Many inns and restaurants are closed on Sundays, as this is a traditional day for family meals.
  • Bistros and brasseries offer good alternatives (mostly home-style restaurants with home cooking).
  • Typical dishes:
    • Tarte.
    • Nicoise salad.
    • Chocolate mousse.
    • Bouillabaisse (fish soup).
    • Barquette d’Huîtres à la Normande (gratinated puff pastry boats filled with oysters, shrimp and mushrooms in butter sauce).
    • Cassoulet (white bean stew with pickled goose, duck and other meats).
    • Confit de canard (duck cooked and canned in its own fat).
    • Coq au vin (chicken in a thick red wine sauce enriched with bacon, onions and herbs).
    • Provençal-style scallops (gedünstete Jakobsmuscheln in Knoblauchbutter).
    • Croque-monsieur (toast with ham and cheese).
    • Sautéed Lamb (Lammragout).
    • Beef Bourguignon (Rindergulasch).

Particularly scenic

  • Dune of Pilat
  • Padirac chasm
  • Chalk cliffs of Étretat in Normandy
  • French Alps
  • Pyrenees
  • French Riviera
  • Provence
  • Brittany
  • Mont-Blanc
  • Pink Granite Coast

France Travel Facts