France Travel Facts

By | April 15, 2022

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

Source: Destination Explorer

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