Visit the Louvre Museum
Art connoisseur or not, you can’t – mustn’t – go to France without visiting the Louvre Museum in Paris; it is practically an obligatory part of your itinerary in the capital.
The Louvre Museum’s collection of French sculpture and paintings remains unrivalled. More importantly, the exhibitions contain rare items never seen in other museums, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and other works from the Italian Renaissance genre.
The ancient art collection is a widely praised part of the museum.
There are sound tactics to follow in order to enter the historic museum successfully and be able to feast your eyes on the 35,000 works of art it holds: Aside from booking your ticket way in advance, consider making your way through the Porte des Lions entrance near the river at the southeastern wing, where there is a lower volume of people.
Plan a schedule that allows you to visit the Louvre on separate hours of the day. With your ticket, you can allot separate re-entries for separate departments or collections.
Lastly, avoid visiting the Louvre during summer and on special days when entrance fees are waived because it can get very busy inside, leaving you with an uncomfortable viewing experience.
Embark on a culinary tour
Sitting down to eat an authentic French meal in a Paris restaurant is merely scratching the surface of a veritable goldmine of gustatory delights. French cuisine, after all, is not just about food; it’s about the culture and lifestyle of the people.
Each region in France is famous for its culinary contributions on a global scale. Cuisine from Provence and the French Riviera is recognized for its use of olives, either in fruit or in oil form. The famous dish ratatouille, for instance – this stew with ingredients such as tomatoes, garlic, herbs, eggplant and green peppers – is from Provence.
Alsace and Lorraine specialties have German influences, as observed through the use of sausages and sauerkraut.
The high altitudes in the Alpine provinces are conducive to cheese-making using the milk of goats and sheep, in addition to cows.
Let’s not forget the vineyards of France, which produce the fine Burgundy and Bordeaux wines.
The best way to experience food ecstasy in France is to join culinary tours in specific regions. This approach allows you to gain further appreciation of the traditional dishes of France.
Visit Europe’s capital in France
The city of Strasbourg joins Geneva and New York in providing a base for several international cooperation organizations, showing that even regular cities can be just as significant as state capitals.
Strasbourg is home to the Council of Europe, its Parliamentary Assembly, as well as the different departments that are governed by the European Union. Its location near the border of Germany has given Strasbourg a rich Franco-German heritage, fusing the best of both cultures in one inspiring cosmopolitan city.
Around Strasbourg, there are interesting highlights that depict the diversity of this city in the northeastern region of France: Strasbourg’s Notre-Dame Cathedral is a daunting example of Gothic architecture with its tall spire and sandstone façade. The University of Strasbourg, one the largest universities in France, recognizes both Protestant and Catholic faiths, which is another influence of the German culture.
But what is perhaps Strasbourg’s finest landmark is the neighborhood called La Petite France, which is characterized by bridges and streets alongside the Ill River. The quaint rows of timbered buildings have also attracted many tourists to this area of Strasbourg.
Take a hike in the Pyrénées
The long stretch of the Pyrénées encompasses 250 miles, starting from the Atlantic and extending to the Mediterranean. It also serves as border between Spain and France. Without a doubt, it is one of the most majestic mountain ranges of Western Europe.
To nature-lovers, the French Pyrénées is a hiker’s dream. The National Park has marked trails that pass by glaciers, verdant valleys and lush basins.
Over at the Spanish side, the Ordesa-Monte Perdido National Park boasts jaw-dropping canyons that could rival its American counterpart, the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
Many holiday tour operators offer guided walking and hiking tours of the French Pyrenees. Anyone who is fond of exploring this type of territory is promised an extraordinary adventure in one of the last wilderness sections of the continent.
Go diving in Corsica
Turquoise bays, crystalline waters and the warm Mediterranean climate afford Corsica a full load of diving opportunities. Corsica is located some 150 miles southeast from the French Riviera.
Gear up and explore the depths during August when the waters offer clear visibility. Dive sites in Reserve Naturelle des Bouches de Bonifacio are the most visited spots in Corsica. Divers are amazed at large colonies of grouper fish grazing against colorful sponges and corals.
More creatures such as barracudas, scorpion fish, lobsters, moray eels, and even logger-head turtles come into full view. You may also chance upon sunken war ships and submarines within the depths.
Corsica’s other popular diving sites are in Golfe de Porto, Calvi, Bastia and Valinco.