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Thursday, January 15, 2009


The world's number one tourist destination, France is a country of contrasts with a multitude of landscapes, offering holidays to suit all tastes and budgets.Whether you fancy a spot of shopping on the chic boulevards of Paris or a winter sport break on the sparkling ski slopes of the Alps, a relaxing beach weekend on the sun-baked Riviera or a holiday exploring the fairy tale castles of the Loire Valley on a bike, the choice is vast.Indeed it's the many attractions of this compelling country that draw millions of visitors back year after year, an increasing number of whom (not least Brits) purchase property there.Undiscovered FrancePerenially popular Provence, with its lavender fields and warm climate, and Paris, arguably the most romantic city in the world, top the list in terms of visitor numbers, but other less well-known regions are also well worth exploring.Delightful Franche-Comté, Gascony or Berry, deep in the green heart of France, are firmly rooted in the land, with sleepy villages typical of provincial France, while unspoilt and rugged Corsica, also known as ‘l'île de beauté' ('the island of beauty'), offers all the charm of the Mediterranean without the crowds.Gastro FranceFrance is also famous for its culinary traditions, and the French take pride in their food. From freshly baked bread and croissants for breakfast, to a five course dinner in a gourmet restaurant (at a fraction of the price you'd pay back home), this savoir-faire is a way of life. A trip to France is also a trip for the tastebuds.