Must See

Paris

Captivating and full of romance, this cultural centre is one of the world's great cities. Lining the banks of the River Seine, cosmopolitan Paris is characterised by breezy boulevards, charming cafes and restaurants selling French gastronomic fare. It is also brimming with world-renowned landmarks, including Notre Dame Cathedral, the dizzying Eiffel Tower, the Louvre's Pyramid, the Sacré Coeur in the heart of Montmartre and the Arc de Triomphe leading to Champs Elysées.

Paris has 200 art galleries and 80 museums, which include the Palais du Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay (located in a beautifully restored railway station),the Musée Rodin and the Georges Pompidou Centre of Modern Art.

Normandy

This region in northwestern France extends from the Ile de France, between Picardy (to the north) and Brittany (to the west), to the English Channel Rolling countryside on the Channel coast. Many people go to Normandy to visit the beaches where the Allied forces landed on D-Day in World War II. However, Normandy has much more to offer the visitor: the architectural treasures of its old capital of Rouen; varied and beautiful scenery, ranging from the charms of the 'Norman Switzerland' to the steep and rugged Channel coast; the pretty abbey island of Mont St-Michel; and some of France's finest seaside resorts like Deauville, Trouville and Dieppe.

There are a number of specially signposted routes for visitors. The 'Route du Fromage' runs through such famous cheese-producing villages as Camembert, Pont- l'Evêque and Livarot. The 'Route of Ivory and Spices' follows the ancient route (centred on Dieppe) over which spices and ivory were conveyed, with visits to associated monuments and sites. The 'Route du Cidre' runs through the apple-growing country round Cambremer, in the Pays d'Auge. Visitors can take a look around the cellars of the local producers and sample their calvados and cider. The 'Route des Ducs de Normandie' guides visitors round a series of medieval (and later) churches, abbeys, châteaux, manor-houses and castles.

Cote D'Azur

The Côte d'Azur ('Azure Coast'), as the French Riviera is known in France, extends along the Ligurian Sea from Marseilles to the Italian frontier at Menton. Chic seaside resorts line this Mediterranean coast, including Nice, Monaco, Cannes, St-Tropez, all of which have long been playgrounds of the rich and famous. Here you'll find fine beaches, bronzed bodies, warm waters and cultural events such as the Cannes Film Festival. The area is packed with visitors during the main holiday season, and some may to prefer to visit at the less busy times of year: in spring, autumn or during the mild winter.

The Alps

Fun on the slopes and equally active après-ski are the hallmarks of this spectacular mountain area on the border with Italy and Switzerland. In summer, trails through green valleys and soaring peaks make for wonderful hiking. Mont Blanc is the highest peak.

The Loire

The beauty of the Loire valley, the former importance of the river as a navigable waterway and its mild climate led many French noble families and kings to build fortified castles and magnificent châteaux in this area, particularly in the most beautiful middle section of the valley. As a result, this World Heritage region is now one of the most popular tourist regions in France, with visitors flocking to see the lavish chateaux, set in picturesque towns such as Blois, Tours and Amboise.

Many of the chateaux have beautiful parks and gardens in the French style, which in some cases, such as Villandry, are the chateau's principal attraction.