Why visit France?

France
Eiffel Tower

Why visit France?

France is the most visited country in the world. It accounts for about 8% of all tourist visits every year! With 83.7 million tourists last year, people just love to go there!

France is the Brit’s favourite country after Spain. Proximity is of course one reason we like to visit France. Getting there has never been so easy since the opening of the Eurotunnel but we have always set off across the channel by sea or by air to the land of “Liberté, égalité, fraternité

Its capital Paris is one of the most glamorous cities in the world. With five times the land mass of the UK however, it is actually 80% countryside. French culture is famous. The Eiffel Tower continues to be the cultural symbol of France while the Champs Elysees remains the heart and soul of Paris.

France
Strawberry selection

French Food

France is famous for many things, especially its food. When we were still eating Mother’s Pride and Angel Delight dessert from a packet in the 1970’s, the French were creating delicious gastronomic cuisine which everyone had access to. Even just a baguette and cheese tastes so much better if you buy them in France. The incredible variety of cheeses on its own is a reason that many favour this foody destination.

France
The Big Cheese

France is also the home of champagne and produces some of the best wine in the world.  Although New World wines can now give French wine run for its money, wine is life blood of the French.

French markets

Whenever I travel I always like to try and visit a local market. Markets tell you about the place the people and the culture in a way that no guide book ever could. It really is all about the food. Nowhere else can you find such a mouth-watering display of fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, and seafood.

France
The Zulus are coming!

They even have a huge selection of exotic tomatoes including Zulu tomoatoes!  Of course in the UK you wouldn’t be allowed to call them Zulus. They would probably have to be South African ethnic minority tomatoes.The seafood is spectacular and the French devotion to cheese exceptional. There’s no point in being on a diet when holidaying en France..

France
Disabled lobsters

 Normandy attractions – the Bayeux Tapestry.

The Bayeux tapestry is a world famous Normandy attraction, and at 70 metres long, a great work of art. An 11th-century treasure, the Bayeux Tapestry is symbolic to both Britain and France as it depicts the Norman conquest of England. The intricate designs tell the story of how William the Conqueror invaded Britain in 1066 and defeated Harold in battle.

France
The Bayeux tapestry

The most exceptional thing about it for me is not so much the story it tells, although this is amazing in itself, but how detailed and seemingly modern, the style. It has a beautiful colour palette, and is an incredible artwork as well as a piece of history..

Who drew it and who sewed it? Although it was made to a Norman brief, it was designed in England and embroidered in England by English craftswomen

Someone who can draw a horse falling in battle and make it come to life with coloured wool is an Anglo Saxon artiste indeed.

It recently left its home in Bayeux for the first time to go on tour. I’m sure it will be a hit!

Normandy – home of Calvados

Normandy is a part of France famous for its produce. They grow a lot of apples here and from them, the French  make a selection of special alcoholic apple products. Normandy Cider, Calvados or Calva liqueur is the famous apple brandy which goes so well with your coffee.

The less well known but arguably the most delicious by-product of all is called Pommeau or apple port. Pommeau is made by mixing two-thirds apple must (unfermented apple juice) to one third of one-year-old Calvados. The proportions are chosen to ensure that the resulting mixture has 16–18% alcohol by volume. This is a smooth drink and is often served as an aperitif or with dessert.

France
Pommeau

Normandy cider is as far away from the Woodpecker/Strongbow beverage we are subjected to in the UK, as CAMP ever was from coffee.

Why not quaff your bottle of chilled cider and while away the afternoon with your savoury galette. A gallete is a substantial kind of brunch in a pancake, with a fried egg on top. Doze off in front of your log burner back in your Normandy cottage. Normandy in the North West of France is a lot wetter than the South of France however and when it rains here, it rains with a vengeance.

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French Galette

Of course France is enduringly chic, and even the most mundane conversation sounds great with a French accent. Most English people have a smattering of the language from school, and may want to stretch their linguistic muscles while here on holiday too. Formidable!

More about attractions in Normandy – the Mont St Michel