Guide to France

France is Europe's second biggest country and perhaps the most stylish.

By TTM on 10 October 2007 in Destination Guides

For many the pull of France is its gastronomy, wine, cheese or perhaps the fashion and the fashionable Le Mans 24 hour race. Its offerings are diverse from rustic small villages where the bakery is still the main shop to the glamour of Deauville, St Tropez and Monaco. This is after all the country that invented the word 'chic', where the traditional and the modern seem to co-exist intriguingly embuing everything French with a sense of je ne sais quoi.

From the romance of Paris, the sparkle of Champagne its brilliant beaches on its south coast and indeed its gorgeously landscaped undulating vineyards, France seems to have enough variety to keep you going back.

Name: French Republic

Location: Western Europe. France bordering Bay of Biscay and English Channel between Belgium and Spain. Also borders the Mediterranean Sea between Italy and Spain. Countries bordered: Andorra, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Spain, Switzerland

Population: 60.4 million (UN, 2004)

Capital: Paris Area: 543,965 sq km (210,026 sq miles)

Major language: French

Major religion: Christianity

Life expectancy: 75 years (men), 83 years (women) (UN)

Currency: 1 Euro = 100 cents

Internet domain: .fr

International dialling code: +33

Main Airport: Charles de Gaulle, Paris

Flying time: Approx 1 hour from Heathrow, London

Train journey time: London - Paris 2 hours 35 minutes

Time difference: GMT + 1 hour

Entry/Visa: A valid passport is required. UK/EU nationals do not need a visa.

Tipping: Service charges are included by law in France and you will see the words 'service compris' to show this. Rounding up your bill to the nearest euro is customery or if you are delighted with the service add a few more euros.

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