'An enlightened way of life'
It's hard to generalise about
France - as Charles de Gaulle once remarked, 'how could one describe a
country which has 265 kinds of cheese?' Yet there is something about
this magnificent land which draws millions of francophiles back year
after year for a taste of la vie française.
Could it be the chic boulevards of Paris, the sparkling ski slopes of
the Alps, sunlit vineyards and sun-baked beaches, a dusty game of boules,
or coffee and croissants in an undiscovered village? Or perhaps it's a
tour of the majestic châteaux of the Loire that appeals, the glamorous
jet-set lifestyle of the Mediterranean, or a relaxing picnic in Provence,
where the air is fragrant with wild herbs and lavender? Consider also
the delights of other lesser-known regions such as Franche-Comté,
Gascony or Berry, deep in the green heart of France - regions firmly
rooted to the land, whose snoozing villages offer visitors a chance to
sample the true douceur de vivre of provincial France.
There is no denying that France is a land of great contrasts, offering
an endless choice of enticing destinations, a rich diversity of
landscapes, cuisines, climates and peoples, with an exceptional cultural
heritage. It's easy to see why the French stay at home for their
holidays and why they so felicitously call their country La Belle