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The Republic of France has many regions such as the popular holiday destination of Brittany and the ancient and mysterious Basque country where they have different local languages although French is the official language. The visitor may surf in the waters of the Atlantic, Ski in the Alps, swim in the Mediterranean Sea or sail in the waters of the English Channel.

You may not imagine France as a country with canals but barge holidays are available on the Canal du Midi to name but one waterway.

Try bed and breakfast in family homes where fresh brioche and coffee may be served for breakfast or self catering in a gite (you get your own brioche!). Visit the bustling markets in every region where you will get to try local fare and see what goes on in the countryside.

If you prefer cities there is, of course Paris, where there are two airports and a metro system which will enable you to keep off the roads. Originally a small settlement on the Seine, Paris has seen many events and changes. Gastronomically speaking it is probably the tops. A centre of fashion, Paris, along with its cultural and historical background creates the impression that here, people know how to dress, speak, eat, drink and live in the best possible manner.

Places to visit in Paris include, Notre Dame, The Louvre, Versailles, Sacre Coeur, the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. Some museums are the Musee d’Orsay, Musee de Cluny and the Cite des Sciences. A few places around Paris you may want to visit are the Ave. des Champs Elysees, Montmartre and St Germain.

France has a modern infrastructure and it is very easy to get to most places via air, rail and road. Some small villages such as little Laguepie on the rivers Aveyron and Viaur are connected by rail which makes it easy to get right into the heart of the country in comfort. This area, by the way, is linked to the Cathars who were accused of heresy in the middle ages. Visit Najac and Cordes sur Ciel to get an idea of the medieval times.

Copyright 2006 Rona Nicholls

Peace and quiet in South West France

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