Famous for its wines and cheeses, France is the world’s most popular tourist destination receiving 82 million foreign tourists annual. Visitors are attracted by historic cities, a beautiful countryside, the castles of the Loire Valley, and Brittany and Normandy. In addition, France offers an agreeable climate, some excellent beaches on the French Riviera, the Atlantic coast and the island of Corsica, wide possibilities for winter sports , most notably in the Alps and the Pyrenees, and a rich culture with food and wines that are among the most celebrated in the world.
The top tourist attractions in France:
The almost perfectly preserved Chartres Cathedral in the city of Chartres is one of the finest examples of the French High Gothic style. The majority of the original stained glass windows survive intact, while the architecture has seen only minor changes since the early 13th century.
Dune of Pyla
Located in the Arcachon Bay area, the Dune of Pyla is the tallest sand dune in Europe. At the summit of the dune the view is spectacular with the Atlantic coast and the inlet of the bay on one side and a large pine forest on another.
Palais des Papes
One of the largest and most important Gothic buildings in the world, the Palais des Papes (Pope’s Palace) was built when Pope Clement V abandoned Rome in 1309 and settled in Avignon. The 3 meter (10 feet) thick walls, portcullises and watchtowers emphasize the castle-like look of the palace.
Chateau de Chambord
This second most visited château in France (after Versailles), is a masterpiece of the French Renaissance. Construction of the Chateau de Chambord started in 1519 by King François I so he could hunt in the nearby forests. The cold and massive 440 rooms of the Château made it unpopular as an actual residence and François I himself stayed here for less than 40 days in total.
Gorge du Verdon
The Gorge du Verdon is a 25 kilometer (15 miles) long canyon and rises a spectacular 700 meters (2,300 feet) from the Verdon river below. The river, which is named after its startling green emerald color, is one of the Gorge du Verdon’s most beautiful features. Water sport opportunities here include rafting, kayaking, sailing and water skiing.
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