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As world tourist figures go for sometime now, France is and has been the No1 tourist destination in the World, and as you are just about to read below, it is not hard to comprehend why this is so.

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Area of France:

674 843 km2 (260,558 sq mi) for mainland France With oversea territories.

551,500 km2 (212,935 sq mi) for mainland France Without oversea territories.

 

Population: 65.4 Million (Jan 2012)

 

 

General

 

The French Republic (as otherwise known) is not limited only on the French territory located on the European mainland but administrates and controls several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and surrounded by oceans such as the Indian, Pacific, and the Atlantic.

The French Overseas Departments and Territories include island territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, French Guiana on the South American coast, and several periantarctic islands as well as a claim in Antarctica. Close to 2.7 Million people lived in the French Overseas Departments and Territories as of of January 2011.

Source: Wikipedia 2012

Weather


If you want a better idea of French weather and the specific areas of your visit, the following 5 paragraphs are an essential breakdown of the typical weather conditions in France in each of these zones.

Weather in Northern and North-Western France

The north and north-west of France are areas both affected by the Atlantic ocean. Consequently, it has a constantly changing, maritime climate like that of neighboring BRITAIN. This area of France experiences relatively mild winters with very infrequent patches of frost and snow. Rainfall patterns also tend to be fairly evenly spread throughout the year. Summers in the north are only marginally warmer in regards to Southern England. Further down the western French coast, summers can be very hot and sunny with an average of 7 hours of sunshine when compared to only 2 hours in the winter months.

Weather in North-Eastern and Central France

The area running north-east and more specifically around Lille, Paris and Lyon as its defining borders, experiences a rather continental climate. This climate allows for winters to be rather cold with frequent snow and frost particularly along the eastern border. Rainfall seems to be even in the course of the year, but annual rainfall totals in general are low. Thunderstorms seem to be common during the warm summers, especially in the southern parts of the area in questions and more specifically towards the Jura mountains.

Weather in South-Western France

The south-west of the country is characterized by warm summers with long periods of sunshine interspersed with the occasional short heavy showers. These areas of France can get very warm so that summer temperatures may well last into early November. The winters are of short duration, with adequate sunrays going passed the patchy clouds providing for some comfort allowing the temperature to be around 12 C; winter temperatures in this region however can drop below zero, with temperatures sometimes reaching -15 C or below. The worst affected months are probably mid-December through to January, with the month of February usually being very wet and dull.

Weather along the Mediterranean Coast and Corsica

Along the Mediterranean coast and Corsica, a Mediterranean-style climate is more evident. The summers are always very warm and sunny and often extremely hot for long periods at a time, especially in the months of July-August. For the period of June through August this region experiences very little rain other than the occasional thunderstorm, which could be sudden and of short duration. Winters are also generally mild and sunny in the 15 C region, although they can get unseasonably cold and windy for some days to come, largely due to the northerly Mistral wind. The Mistral wind effects allow also for cool spring days.

Weather in the Mountainous Regions Of France

The mountainous regions of the Jura, the Vosges, the Pyrenees and the Alps, along with the Massif-Central area, offer a very localised Alpine-type climate. The Jura, the Vosges and the Northern Alps are characterized by very wet summers and autumns, all while the Pyrenees experience most of their rain in the course of the winter months. The Southern Alps, the Massif-Central and the Pyrenees, allow for warm summers with thunderstorms and many times experience covers of heavy clouds, usually at midday’s.

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Tourism

France seems to have it all. It has tourist sights for all tastes; it has some of the greatest beaches in Europe, as well as the highest mountains and some of the finest historic monuments depicting or honouring (amongst others) great battles and confrontations of the past, truly beautiful cities (largely modern combining many old styles and entwined from establishments of a glorious 18th & 19th centuries past), an idyllic countryside to dream of, the most magnificent castles, and plenty more, not to mention some of the best restaurants and the finest wines and more hotels than any other country in Europe.

You name it; France has something for everyone, which is one of the reasons why it remains the world's number one tourist destination. It has magnificent holiday opportunities for everything from a short weekend city break, in places such as Paris, Nice or Bordeaux, to a relaxed family holiday away in its countryside, a week’s relaxation by its beautiful seaside, or an energetic break of climbing, hiking, cycling in France's rural country roads or kayaking in one of its many outdoor rivers.

 

Source: AboutFrance.com

 

Cultural tourism in France

French museums and art galleries - which contrary to popular belief are not all located in Paris - offer a magnificent collection of works of art and artefacts; and for those for whom a holiday is an opportunity to discover Europe's historic heritage, France's great cathedrals, medieval castles, and thousands of other ancient monuments are a treasure trove waiting to be discovered. For themed breaks, the châteaux of the Loire (in the Centre region of France) are an obvious choice; among the many other historic sites, consider discovering the Roman remains of Provence , the medieval bastide towns of the southwest, or the castles and caves of the Dordogne. There are even some scenic steam railways for people who enjoy a trip down memory lane. Check out the regional guides for information on sights, monuments and tourist attractions in each area.

The French seaside

In July and August, France's Mediterranean beaches tend to be pretty packed; this is particularly the case in the famous resorts of Provence and the French Riviera. By contrast, the long sandy beaches of the Languedoc offer much more legroom. Away from the resorts, Brittany offers plenty of good beaches, with the added fun of tides and good waves; and France's Atlantic coast, south of the Loire, has plenty of long sandy beaches, in the regions of Poitou-Charentes and Aquitaine. South of Bordeaux, there are mile upon mile of fine beaches.

France off the beaten track


If you want the life, culture and bustle of the big city, go to Paris. But  France is a lot more than Paris. There are plenty of places in deepest rural France that are still very much off the beaten track; and for camping holidays, gite holidays, or for those who are content to put up in small rural inns, several regions in France offer wonderful holiday opportunities away from it all. Five French departments (counties) that are particularly worth checking out are the Aveyron (Midi Pyrenees region), the Haute Loire (Auvergne), the Corrèze (Limousin), the Jura (Franche Comté) and the Vosges (Lorraine): all these departments include sparsely populated areas, attractive scenery, and plenty of leisure opportunities - or just some great places to sit back with a glass of wine, relax, and enjoy the peace and quiet.

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Tourism in Numbers

France received around 76 Million overseas visitors in 2005 and attracted 3 million more (78.95 million) in 2010, a truly staggering number, given it’s the most visited country in the world (Source: Wikipedia-World Tourism Rankings). The nationalities of visitors to France vary greatly, but the top 11 countries providing tourists in France were:

 

 

1.    UK & Ireland                    – 14.97 million                            (19.7%)  
2.    Germany                           – 13.22 million                            (17.4%)
3.    Holland                             – 11.63 million                             (15.3%)
4.    Belgium & Luxembourg –   8.97 million                             (11.8%)
5.    Italy                                    –   7.22 million                             ( 9.5%)
6.    Spain                                 –   3.19 million                             ( 4.2%)
7.    Switzerland                      –   3.04 million                             ( 4.0%)
8.    USA                                   –   2.74 million                             ( 3.6%)
9.    Japan                                –   0.68 million                             ( 0.9%)

(2005 arrivals by country estimate-Source: Tourism Directorate )

Car Hire in France with MisterHire.Com

Renting a car is probably the best way to explore France in total freedom. From motorways to departmental roads and country lanes, the French road network is very dense. As a general rule, tolls are levied on motorways.

Hiring a self drive car from MisterHire.Com in this magnet of a country is an exciting way to visit and explore historic sites and most idyllic locations around it. As the driving pace is set entirely by you, you may pause at historic sites of interest or simply unwind at its various location on its famous seaside, enjoying the exquisite mouth-watering culinary delights and of course, sampling some of the best of wines France has to offer.

As we continuously aim to provide the lowest of prices and best all inclusive car hire deals to our leisurely customers and most frequent business travelers to France, your support is most valuable as apart from empowering us to grow, it further allows us to show impressive booking results to our Car Rental partners and hence, push for even lower prices (despite inflationary pressures) that guarantee you car rental value each and every time you choose to book a car with us.

 

Driving in France

France has an extensive network of motorways, and many of them offer relatively relaxed driving conditions, except at peak periods. Off the motorways, driving on France's backroads can be a way to discover motoring as it used to be, a pleasurable experience and a way to discover the country. For more information click for our guide -  driving tips and advice. and our checklist of things not to forget before you leave.

A valid driver’s license (permis de conduire) and passport are required to operate a motor vehicle. Minimum age for drivers is 18. Proof of insurance is necessary. Carry your identification, license, insurance certificate and vehicle registration (carte grise) with you. Seat belts must be worn in both the front and back seats of all automobiles. Children under 10 may not ride in the front seat. If you are on a motorcycle, scooter or moped, you are required to wear a helmet. All cars must also carry a safety jacket or warning triangle at all times.

 

Speed limits and other rules

Here are the normal speed limits for driving in France:
•    The normal speed limit on French motorways is 130 km/h (just over 80 mph), or 110 km/h (68 mph) in rain.
•    The normal speed limit on dual carriageways (divided highways) is 110 km/h (68 mph).
•    The normal speed limit on main roads (outside built-up areas) is 90 km/h (56 mph).
•    The normal speed limit in built-up areas is 50 km/h (30 mph) – unless otherwise indicated.

Please also Note: there is not necessarily a specific speed-restriction sign at the entrance to a built-up area, particularly at the entrance to small villages. The | name-board | at the entrance to a village or town ( dark blue letters on an off-white background) automatically indicates a built-up area with a speed limit of 50 km/h (30 mph), unless otherwise indicated. Police speed cameras are often set up in villages where traffic too often forgets to slow down.

Renting a Car in France with MisterHire.Com

Reserving your rental car before you leave can mean substantial savings; most international car-rental agencies discount standard rates if you reserve ahead for a minimum number of days and pay in advance. Petrol or Gas station charges and highway tolls are about twice as expensive when compared to the United States and Canada.
 
2012 Motorway tolls in France  - Updated with new tolls valid from  1st Feb. 2012
The cost of motorway travel for a car without caravan or trailer is about 1 €uro for 10 miles. For example, in February 2012, motorway tolls on the 1060 km trip from Calais to Marseille, via Reims, almost all of it on toll motorways, cost 82.40 €uros, USD 110.20 (1 EUR = 1.33540 USD, correct as of March 2012, source: Xe.Com) and about GBP £68.92 (1 EUR = 0.836429 GBP, correct as of March 2012, source: XE.Com).

Distances between principal cities, listed in both miles and kilometers:

 

K

 

 

 

MILES

 

 

 

 

I

L

 

Paris

Lyon

Marseille

Bordeaux

Lille

Nantes

Nancy

O

Paris

X

289

483

362

137

237

191

M

Lyon

465

X

195

334

424

407

252

E

Marseille

777

314

X

400

621

597

445

T

Bordeaux

583

538

644

X

497

199

526

E

Lille

220

683

1000

801

X

373

261

R

Nantes

382

655

961

321

600

X

420

S

Nancy

308

406

717

847

420

676

X

 

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