The country of France is officially known as the French Republic, it extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel, the North Sea and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Monaco, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Andorra and Spain. France is a well traveled country and received over 82 million international tourists each year, which ranks it as number one in the world ahead of Spain and the United States.
France is home to many cities that are deeply immersed in culture and has beaches, seaside resorts, ski resorts, and rural regions where many people enjoy their peace and tranquility. Aside from just casual tourism, France is also the home of Lourdes and Our Lady of Lourdes Sanctuary, located in the southwest part of France. Every year between March and October, Lourdes is the spot of millions of visitors who make the trip in religious homage. Lourdes has a grotto and many believe the water has healing properties and miracles, the Catholic Church has documented 67 actual miracle healing that have occurred here. The city of Lourdes also has 270 hotels, making it second behind Paris in having the largest number of hotels in France.
The are other tourist locations. such as the Eiffel Tower which is built beside the Seine River in Paris. The tower is one of the most recognized symbols in all the world and has become an international icon. Since it was first constructed in 1889, there have been over 200 billion visitors to the tower. The tower is 1063 feet high and weighs 10,000 tons and it is the tallest structure in France. The tower was originally designed and built as an entrance arch for the Exposition Universelle, at the worlds fair marking the festival to celebrate the French Revolution. There is also an ice skating rink, radio broadcasting equipment and a cafeteria on the grounds of the tower, tourists still flock here every year to enjoy this massive landmark.
The Louvre Museum is located in Paris and is the most visited art museum in the world. It is also a historical monument and central landmark located right bank of the Seine River. The museum is actually inside the Louvre Palace, which was the home of Philip II. The doors were opened to the public on August 10th, 1793, with 537 paintings on exhibit. The size and number of pieces the museum has, has grown steadily over the years. As of 2008, the museum has some 50,000 pieces of Egyptian artifact, more than 6,000 paintings from the 13th century, and 8,600 prints and drawings. The Louvre is also home to one of the most famous paintings in the world, the “Mona Lisa”, by Michaelangelo.
France is also the home of some of the oldest and most beautiful botanical gardens in the world. Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of Alsace region in northern France. Strasbourg has a number of prominent parks which represent the history and culture of this area. The Parc de l'Orangerie, was designed by Andre de Notre and is a lovely example of French Gardens and has a small zoo and neo-classical castle on the grounds. Strasbourg also has the Musee Zoologique, which is the oldest zoo in France and is noted for its large collection of birds.
French cuisine denotes the style of cooking in France and there are over 5,000 restaurants in Paris alone. Food has always played an integral part in French culture and it experienced a new trend in the 20th century when chef Georges Auguste Escoffier brought about modern haute cuisine. Cheeses and wines play a major role in the food of this country and France has some of the best vineyards in the world. Each region of France offers some of the finest cuisines in the world.
The hotels in France are some of the finest in the world. The Grand Hotel du Palais Royal is in the heart of Paris, it is a four-star hotel, located in between Louvre Museum and the Palais Royal Gardens. It is located in an area where history, culture, dining and fashion come together. It has 85 total rooms and is a charming hotel that has been classified as a historical monument. There is also the Napoleon Paris, which is very close to the Champs-Elysees and the Avenue de Friedland. It provides four-star accommodations and is done in the Art Deco style.
The climate of France has varying degrees. Depending on which area is being visited, whether it be the mountains or cities, or areas along the coast, very strong winds can occur throughout the entire country. Travel time is best during the months of May through July, when temperatures are mild and pleasant.