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France is known for its fine wines, sunny south, beautiful countryside and snowy peaks. This hexagonally-shaped country, one of the largest in Europe, has much to offer the adventurous traveller. Follow the miles of coast for water sports or relaxation on the beaches; reach for the summits of the southern highland areas; or soak up the cultural atmosphere of a city. Be as classical or as extreme as you can imagine; France has it all.

In the west of Europe, France is bordered by three bodies of water: the English Channel to the north, Atlantic Ocean to the west and Mediterranean Sea to the south. There are four main geographical regions in this country: the coastal plains to the north and west, a plateau of lowlands at the northern interior, the highlands of the south and a second low-lying area snugly curving the southern coast and running the length of the Rhone river valley. The highlands include the Pyrenees bordering Spain, the Alps bordering Italy and Switzerland and the Massif Central covering the land in between.

The north of France has a temperate climate experiencing a moderate temperature range across the seasons. The western side of the country is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and has a much more rain. Inland it is drier, with colder winters and hotter stormier summers. The mountainous regions can have snow for up to six months of the year and thanks to higher altitudes, have lower temperatures

As a developed country France is easy to travel around. The motorways and service stops are well maintained by private companies, making driving your own car straightforward. Travellers can plan their journeys in advance as trains, buses, trams and the underground are efficient and well-linked. The Channel Tunnel links France to the United Kingdom as an alternative to the many ferry crossings scheduled. Flying to and from France is simple, as there are modern airports in all of the major cities.

Paris makes for a seductive and exciting capital in the north. In the east, Lyonês food and wine draws you in. The coastal city of Marseille is the oldest in France and has plenty of sites keeping you captive for days. Toulouse, Lille and Nantes are also among the largest cities in France and make for ideal landing points along your tour of this energy-filled destination.

Classic Itineraries

A trip to France would not be complete without a tour of some of the wine regions, such as Champagne or Bordeaux. To enjoy the tasting, take a bike and cycle through the countryside. For a city break it must be Paris with the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral and Champs Elysees. The northern coast of Normandy and Brittany is steeped in wartime memories, and the Mont St Michel is a fantastic sight, only accessible at low tide. In the south the Cote DêAzur with beautiful beaches, warm Mediterranean waters and the celebrity hot-spots of St Tropez and Monaco can be enjoyed from a yacht. If more adventures are needed then visit Mont Blanc, Europeês highest peak.

Laid-back site-seeing, wonders for the taste buds, extreme sports on water and in mountains, France has adventures for all seasons and all travellers.

Other Activities

In the snow try skiing or snow-shoeing. In the warmer months take a cycle tour through the countryside or along mountain routes. The water (fresh and sea) is ideal in the summer for scuba-diving or wind-surfing. Once the winter snow melts it reveals the French mountains' other side, one that allows for canyoning and white-water rafting.

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