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Country guide France

France is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world - and it's easy to see why. Millions of people are pulled to the nation's laidback style, dazzling architecture and picturesque landscapes.

Things to do

Wherever you are considering moving to in this fantastic country, you will certainly find no shortage of things to do, sights to see and people to meet.

Wherever you are considering moving to in this fantastic country, you will certainly find no shortage of things to do, sights to see and people to meet.

Residents and visitors alike can partake in wine tasting sessions in regions like Champagne and Bordeaux, hit the slopes at some of the world's best ski spots, and relax with a couple of cocktails and a good book at the many beach resorts dotted all over the French Riviera.

The country is home to incredible architecture such as Normandy's Mont Saint-Michel and the Benedictine Abbey, and wonderful artwork like the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris. Visitors can even delve into the past by exploring places like Calvi Citadel. If you prefer watching live performances, Moulin Rouge's cabaret show in Paris is one not to miss. But be warned, tickets sell out quick!

Places to eat

France is revered for its exceptional cuisine and those who assume that croissants and steaks are all that France has to offer will be pleasantly surprised.

France is revered for its exceptional cuisine and those who assume that croissants and steaks are all that France has to offer will be pleasantly surprised.

There is an abundance of delicacies that should not be missed. Freshly made baguettes, crêpes and escargot - snails - should all be sampled at least once.

Apart from a number of wonderful restaurants that can be found around the country, France's exquisite food can also be sampled through one of its many markets. The regular food markets of Villefranche-de-Rouergue in Gascony and the Marché de la Pêche in Marseille allow you to try some superb homemade and fresh produce.

France is also known for its bountiful selection of fine wine. As mentioned above, there are dozens of vineyards all over the country, the vast majority of which offer visitors the chance to sample the fruits of their labour. Any opportunity to tour a vineyard should not be missed.

Shopping

As you would expect, Paris is a haven for shopaholics. In the City of Lights, you will be able to find all of the names regularly associated with the world of high fashion - from Gucci to Louis Vuitton, the list goes on.

As you would expect, Paris is a haven for shopaholics. In the City of Lights, you will be able to find all of the names regularly associated with the world of high fashion - from Gucci to Louis Vuitton, the list goes on.

For those who don't really fancy spending all of their hard-earned cash on designer goods, there are scores of more reasonably-priced fashion labels similar to those you would find on London's Oxford Street. From Topshop to Urban Outfitters and H&M - they are all here.

In addition to the number of mainstream stores that can be found across France, those with more adventurous tastes should make sure they check out the independent boutiques that line the streets of most cities. You never know what sort of hidden treasures you might stumble upon!

Getting there & around

France's location makes it incredibly easy to travel to and from other European countries. France also has a brilliant internal travel infrastructure in place that offers residents multiple ways of getting around.

France's location makes it incredibly easy to travel to and from other European countries. France also has a brilliant internal travel infrastructure in place that offers residents multiple ways of getting around.

One of the most popular ways of getting from A to B in France is the TGV train network. The TGV is capable of reaching speeds of up to 300kph making cross-country travel fast and efficient - although relatively pricey. For those looking to avoid expensive train tickets, a number of local transit systems and overnight trains also are available as a cheaper alternative.

If you are looking to head abroad, there are no shortage of airports offering international flights. Thanks to its proximity, one of the most popular destinations is the UK. Flights from France to London tend to take between 1 to 1.5hrs. If flying isn't really your thing, the Eurostar train can take you from the centre of Paris to the centre of London in just over two hours.

Those daring enough to take on the notoriously tricky French traffic will also find an extensive raod network at their disposal. Inner city driving is not for the faint of heart, however, and as always it pays to keep your wits about you at all times - especially if you plan on tackling the notorious Arc de Triomphe roundabout.