The largest country in Europe, France is bordered to the north by the English Channel, by Belgium and Luxembourg in the northeast, Germany, Switzerland and Italy in the east, the Mediterranean in the south, Spain and Andorra in the southwest and the Atlantic Ocean in the west. So, while quite a large part of it is bordered by water – it has just under three thousand kilometres of coastline - there are more than enough land borders to make travelling into France very easy for all you fortunate enough to be ‘doing Europe’ at the moment.
Because the country is so vast it is helpful to know what the major regions are and the principal town or city in that region is before visiting. And, as we aim to make your trip as straightforward as possible, here you are!
In the north you will find the Nord Pas de Calais (Lille) and Picardie (Amiens). The Ile de France with Paris as its capital is also located in the north of the country. Moving westwards you will find Normandy (Caen and Rouen), Brittany (Rennes), Western Loire (Nantes), Poitou-Charentes (La Rochelle) and the Loire Valley (Orleans). Aquitaine (Bordeaux) and Midi-Pyrenées (Toulouse) are in the southwest and in the southeast you will find Languedoc-Roussilon (Montpellier), the Riviera (Nice), Provence (Marseille) and the Rhône Alps (Lyon). Corsica is also regarded as being in the southeast and its capital is Ajaccio. In the centre of the country the regions are Limousin (Limoges) and Auvergne (Clermont Ferrand). And, finally in the northeast are Burgundy (Dijon), Franche-Comte (Besancon), Champagne (Reims), Alsace (Strasbourg) and Lorraine (Metz and Nancy).
Of course, each region and city has a large variety of diverse natural attractions to be explored. The mountain ranges of the Alps and the Pyrenées, the river valleys of the Loire, Rhône and Dordogne, the beaches along the Mediterranean and the Atlantic and the vineyards of Burgundy and Champagne ensure that it doesn’t matter which part of the country you visit – you are always guaranteed to find something to fill your days.
But, as well as the natural appeal of the country as a destination, there are also a host of man made attractions on offer. From majestic palaces to gothic cathedrals and ancient chateaux to some of the most famous museums in the world you are certainly spoiled for choice. And, as if all of that wasn’t enough, you have the wonderful French gastronomy with its four hundred different types of cheese, its extensive variety of wines and the rest. So, for things to see, to do and of course to eat, France certainly isn’t lacking. All you have to do is decide on an itinerary so you get to sample a little of everything.