Trip to France
France is truly a global beacon of culture. Besides a center-stage role in world history, its impacts in the culinary, film, and fashion departments can’t be overstated. You’ll fall in love with its distinctive cities, from Paris, Marseille, and Lyon to Nice and Bordeaux. Whether you are an epicurean at heart or just love to try new flavors, French cuisine is sinfully delicious. Each region has its own specialties—from Burgundy’s coq au vin to the south’s meat-and-bean cassoulet. These delicacies reward a lifetime’s worth of visits. You’ll also surely swoon over the rich variety of native wines: From Riesling and Chardonnay to Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, these glories of the grape are as justly renowned as the masterpieces of the French kitchen. Among France’s leading attractions are the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the beaches of Normandy, and the farms, vineyards, and restaurants of timeless Provence.
Throughout its many years of existence, France’s culture has undoubtedly spread its wings and impacted Western civilization as we know it today. France is a powerhouse of fashion, music, perfume, literature, fine art, cinema, cuisine and opera. Its great writers, musicians, culinary chefs, philosophers and artists have truly made it one of the great cultural centers of the world. We’re talking about Victor Hugo and Voltaire, Claude Monet, Serge Gainsbourg and Paul Cezanne. Gustave Flaubert, Georges Bizet and Edgar Degas. Moliere, Matisse, Renoir, Dumas, Debussy. Jules Verne, Josephine Baker, Emile Zola, Daft Punk and Edith Piaf.
France’s museums are some of the finest in the world including the Musee du Louvre, the Musee d’Orsay, the Bayeux Tapestry Museum, the Centre Pompidou and Provence’s Fondation Maeght. It is home to an impressive 38 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 85 official moments managed by the Centre des monuments nationaux and hundreds of astonishingly- beautiful gardens.
And don’t make the mistake of confusing Paris with the rest of France; it isn’t quite tres chic everywhere! The different regions that compose France boast their own interesting cultural elements. Visitors to France find that Alsace for example shares many cultural similarities with its nearby German neighbor. Picturesque Provence and its quaint villages are very slow- paced. Some isolated destinations, like Lourdes, are sacred pilgrimage sites, and some areas have preserved their ancient cultural heritages; Brittany’s Celtic traditions are still very much present as are the Basques and the Catalans of Languedoc-Roussillon.
France is about as gourmet as it gets. Its culinary techniques are revered as some of the finest in the world. Its sophisticated baking or patisserie is world-renown, and its long-established Michelin-star system is recognized as the global standard for a restaurant’s excellence.
France has an ancient tradition of winemaking, and year after year, its vintages are rated as some of the world’s best. Its top wine regions include Bordeaux, Burgundy, Cote du Rhone, and Rheims (for champagne).
When vacationing in France, part of the joy simply comes from eating, so incorporate it into your sightseeing! Take a cooking class, go on a chocolate tour, try truffle hunting, visit a cheese farm, or visit a neighborhood market to create a tasty picnic lunch.
Every region has its own specialties so be sure to try a few of the local dishes like cassoulet in Carcassonne, bouillabaisse in Marseille, fondue in Savoie, camembert in Normandy and choucroute garnie in Alsace.