France – centre of the fashion, cultural and gastronomic world. France simply has to be experienced. As well as stunning cities, amazing landscape and a fantastic coastline, French is one of the most beautiful languages in the world. France is also the fourth most popular place to study in Europe. Why? Take a look.
One of the largest countries in the EU, France shares its borders with Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.
What’s not to love about France? It’s known as the fashion centre of the world with a history of cultural and gastronomic achievement unsurpassed across Europe. Yet France is a country of absolute variety. It has huge towns and cities full of history, style and culture, and at the same time some of the most glorious countryside and coastlines. France really is a country of huge possibilities.
Consider the historical heritage. First, there’s Versailles, home of the last French King and his doomed Queen Marie Antoinette. And, of course, Paris, centre of the bloody French Revolution, but a place with world-class art and a style and vibrancy all of its own. Think about the Cote d’Azur – Cannes, Nice, Marseille and the endless golden beaches. What about the wilds of Normandy and Brittany, invaded by the Celts and with a language and mythology (not to say food) all of its own? And then there’s the Midi and Provence, with their rolling countryside and wide-open spaces.
And then we come to the food. French cuisine is famous the world over and there are amazing restaurants all over France. But you can also get a fantastic and great value meal in almost any street restaurant. Check out the plat du jour (dish of the day) and see what the locals eat. A simple fish or meat dish can be turned into something truly amazing in the hands of a skilled French chef. Why not try something new? How about a crepe sale (savoury pancake), or some huitres (oysters) fresh from the sea, or simply a delicious chocolat chaud (hot chocolate)? And for the best (and easiest) student lunch around, simply buy a fresh baguette (French bread) and select from the infinite variety of local cheeses and patés.
France is a vast country, so the temperatures can vary quite considerably. If you’re a warm weather person, the south of France is famed for its endless beaches and fabulous weather (most of the time), while the North of France (Brittany, Normandy) can also be pleasant and sunny. The vast areas in between vary but almost all of them are considerably warmer than the UK.
France is also an amazing place for winter sports. Some of the world’s best ski resorts can be found in France – think Val D’isere, les Trois Valees and Chamonix. So whether you’re skiing, sunbathing or just sauntering in the countryside, France really does have it all.
Emmanuel Macron was elected as President in May 2017 – the youngest head of state since Napoleon. He beat Marine le Pen of the National Front party by a decisive margin.
Oh, and let’s not forget that France also has a world class educational ranking with many universities in the Times Top 200 Ranked Universities in the world.
At a glance facts
- Population: 65,233,271 (2018)
- Official language: French
- International dialling code: 33
- Time zone: GMT + 1
Europe, member of the EU