France - The country you’ll fall in love with
It has often been said that the atmosphere of a place alone can bring you back time and time again. This holds true for the breath-taking country of France – alive with history, amazing culture and a language so beautiful it almost sounds like bird-song, you’ll lose yourself in the beauty of it all and find yourself never wanting to leave.
Bordered by the English Channel, France is relatively easy to get to from Europe, whether you choose the EuroStar train or the plane. The climate is very mild – whilst it is a little warmer than the UK, you won’t find yourself in a tropic climate in France. There is so much to do and see, from the shopping on Champs-Elysees, to visiting the Eiffel Tower (or Tour Eiffel as locals know it), the historical Arc de Triomphe and the honouring of the unknown soldier… there is simply too much to mention – keep reading to find out some of the best places to go in France.
1. Eiffel Tower
Situated on the Champs de Mars, the Eiffel Tower is the central attraction to all tourists that come to visit France. Built in 1889 as the entrance piece to the world fair and standing 324 metres tall, you can go up to the top and experience the best views of Paris. As well as seeing some amazing views, you can dine at one of the restaurants on the first and second floors. The Eiffel Tower is also a prime place for lovers to meet or even propose – so what are you waiting for? Pop the question to your lover at one of the most romantic places in the world.
2. The Louvre Museum
Originating as a fortress in the 12 century, the Louvre Museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, of which was home to King Louis XIV in 1682. The Museum, which was opened during the French Revolution, holds some of the most amazing royal collections and is separated into 8 different departments. Indulge yourself in the most exquisite art, such as the ‘Venus de Milo’, or Aphrodite statue which dates back to the 3-1 centuries BC and of course none other than the legendary Mona Lisa portrait, by Leonardo Da Vinci.
3. Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile
Standing in the centre of Place Charles de Gaulle, the Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile translates as the Arch of Triumph of the Star and honours the soldiers that died fighting in the revolutionary and Napoleon wars. Underneath the monument is the tomb of the unknown soldier from World War I and every year on Armistice Day, a ceremony is held to honour the unknown soldiers that passed away fighting in both World Wars. The tomb also holds an ‘eternal flame’ that is re-lit every evening at 6:30pm to honour the dead. The architecture of this arch is simply stunning and holds so much history that you cannot afford to miss it.
For a most wonderful experience, be sure to visit the world-renowned Champs-Elysees, of which is so famous that several songs have been written about it! A wide range of shops, theatres and cafes can be found on this 1.9 kilometre long road, of which runs from Place de la Concorde to Place Charles de Gaulle.
5. Palace of Versailles
In the Île-de-France region lies a most regal palace; the Palace of Versailles. Originally built to be a hunting lodge for Louis XIII, his successor Louis XIV ordered such grand alternations to the lodge that it was transformed through a series of building campaigns that took place from 1664-1710. Today you can take guided tours through the palace, or see some wonderful music shows in the grounds and experience first-hand the life of French royalty.
6. Le Panthéon
Constructed in the most wondrous neoclassical architectural style, the Pantheon is based on the original that is located in Rome and serves to be a mausoleum for distinguished French nationals as well as firstly being a church dedicated to St Genevieve. Take a tour around the inside of the building for a slightly chilling yet educational and wonderful experience.
7. Pont du Gard
Built in the 1 Century AD, the Pont Du Gard, or Gard Bridge boasts three intricately crafted tiers of arches and is 48.8 metres tall. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, this bridge was built to allow the Romans to transport water from a nearby spring to their colony. Noted as the highest Roman aqueduct bridge, it may no longer be in use as an aqueduct but continued to be a toll road, until renovations were performed in the 20 and 21 centuries and the Pont du Gard was re-opened as a place to visit for the public.