(The French Republic)
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Population: 67 million
Size of Country: 248,573 sq miles
Popular Destinations in France
France: The most visited country in the world
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, France has around 85 million visitors each year. That is by far the most in the world with the USA coming second with (around) 75 million and Britain with just 35 million visitors.
So how is it that a nation – not always renowned for the warmth of its welcome, and where English, the world language, is far from guaranteed to be spoken – manage to attract so many visitors.
As Henry Ford suggested, statistics can’t be relied upon. The French figures include all visitors; business, leisure and those just passing through. Given France’s geographical location, it is a nation which Europeans often have to cross to get from one country to another. For example, Calais is the main port of entry to Europe for Brits and, of course, Calais is in France.
The same applies in Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.
Still there must be something that France is doing right. Their biggest attraction, their jewel in the crown, is Paris.
No doubt Walt Disney knew what they were doing when they chose this city for the site of their European Disneyland.
And as Audrey Hepburn said in the 1954 movie, Sabrina, “Paris is always a good idea”. Her character intimated that Paris was the most romantic destination in the world as has been depicted in popular imagination for centuries, a perception reinforced by films such as Amelie in more recent years.
French weather is clearly preferable to British weather especially for the holidaymaker.
Climatically, the north of France has weather quite similar to the southern part of the UK but as Frances stretches all the way down to the Mediterranean there is correspondingly ‘better’ weather.
The climate is relatively mild in the spring and autumn months and then, the lovely, warm summers, attract waves of sun-seekers every year!
French TV’s weather map looks more inviting than the UK’s!
France was the first nation to have its food recognised by UNESCO as “intangible cultural heritage”, reinforcing the imperious reputation of French cuisine.
But does France deserve this reputation when, for example, Luxembourg has more Michelin stars per capita than France? And San Sebastian in Spain is now considered by many to be the fine dining capital of the world.
And the opening of a Burger King in Paris caused much less of a fuss than you would credit for a nation so proud of its own culinary heritage.
The New World may be giving France a run for its money on the wine-making front, but will sparkling wines from other parts of the world ever have the same prestige, as Champagne?
Whatever, France remains one of the great wine-producing countries in the world.
The mountain ranges are varied and make France one of the world’s biggest destinations for excellent skiing especially in the Alps.
France, the United States and Spain are the countries with the most foreign tourists, but it is only in France that they derive a noticeable tourist benefit from ski resorts
Good Transport Links
The French TGVs have been the envy of the world, whisking passengers from one end of the country to the other in a fraction of the time it takes in the UK (that’s when there are no strikes in France, of course).
And if you’re not on the train, the roads outside Paris are more often emptier and freer flowing than they are in the UK. Having two-and-a-half times the space of Britain counts for something. Some even believe that French road manners are much improved these days.