Posted on May 5th, 2009 No comments
Over the millennium and a half since France came into being, its global contributions have been immeasurable. From gastronomy (and of course, viniculture) to architecture, literature to fashion, politics to art and science to philosophy, France’s influence on modern cultures and societies around the world runs as deep as any other civilisation in history and deeper than most. Moreover, the country manages to retain a mystique as a land of romance and love, a place where everything from the language to the lifestyle and the setting brings immediate associations in the minds of travellers. The intangible aspects of so favourable an association serve to transform the country from simply a geographical landmass between borders into an ideal whose abstract qualities prove more alluring than the draw of any site of interest; of which France has more than its fair share.
France’s natural environment encompasses virtually every topographical form, thereby simultaneously lending itself to a multitude of activities and satisfying many diverse tastes. The mountainous regions of the Alps and Pyrenees in the southeast and south respectively are of perpetual interest to hikers and skiers alike; the over-3,000 km coastline provides ample opportunity for beachgoers and sun-worshippers to bronze themselves in quiet relaxation or among fellow, active travellers; the lush, plunging valleys of the Loire or the Dordogne offer the most picturesque setting for ramblers and explorers to discover the wealth of flora and fauna; and the lapping waters of the Mediterranean Sea off the south coast or the more raucous Atlantic Ocean off the west allow seafarers and water-enthusiasts to get their feet wet. It is little wonder that France is often described as a microcosm of Europe for its spectrum of landscapes.
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