Four reasons to visit France

France is one of the world’s most popular destinations and there are many reasons why travellers choose to holiday in the country. One of the best adverts for France is that 80% of the French people who leave home for their holidays actually choose to holiday elsewhere in the nation, rather than going to another country. You can’t get a better advert for a country than the bulk of its population not wanting to holiday anywhere else!

So why does France attract so many visitors? Here are just a few good reasons.

Land of history and heritage

France is packed with amazing cathedrals and chateaux, as well as beautiful sites such as Mont St Michel. Where France can let the visitor down, though, is the way in which sites of special historical interest are sometimes presented. Some of the guided tours around magnificent buildings such as the Palais de Versailles can be dull, so make sure to read some Trip Advisor reviews before booking a particular tour. You may have more fun just paying for the entry and going round by yourself.

The great outdoors

There’s a wealth of different landscapes to enjoy in France and, in many of them, you can cycle, bike and hike your way through beautiful territories. A great example would be the wine route in areas such as the Route des Grands Crus in the Côte de Beaune in Burgundy, where the fields are covered in hectares and hectares of vines, dotted with beautiful villages. For the more adventurous, there’s canyoning to be done – whether you choose the Verdon Gorge in the South East, the Chamonix Valley or around Mont-Blanc or the French Riviera. Canyoning is a mix of different sports, including abseiling down waterfalls, caving, climbing and rafting and it is a great way to get an adrenalin rush in beautiful and dramatic scenery.

Sampling the different wines of Burgundy is all part of the fun
[By Philip Larson]

Be a part of something big

You can always tie in your French trip with a big sporting event. Every year, the Tour de France weaves a different route across the length and breadth of France, and it can be great to stay somewhere near the route so you can stand by the roadside and cheer on the cyclists. In the build-up to the leaders and the peloton passing through, there’s also the lively atmosphere of the caravan – a stream of different merchandising vehicles that travel the route ahead of the cyclists. Though the cyclists will pass in a blur of helmets and lycra, it’s a great spectacle.

Next year sees a massive sporting event being hosted in France, when the finals of Euro 2016 take place in June and July. Nine cities, including Marseille, across France will host different matches, with the opening game and the final taking place at the Stade de France in Paris. The French are hosting the event for the third time and international football betting odds at the time of writing have the host country at around 4/1 to win the tournament, behind the 2014 World Cup winners Germany. Even if you don’t get tickets to any of the games, the atmosphere is sure to be lively while Euro 2016 is on in la belle France.

Paris

Notre Dame on the Seine in Paris
[By  dalbera]

Need we say more! Paris is a city that seems to be on most people’s travel bucket lists. The city is one that has always been linked with romance, beauty, art and history, and always will be. Paris is easy to navigate on foot, or using the public transport systems, and the different quarters all have their own appealing features. Few would visit Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower (even if they don’t go up it), taking a trip along the River Seine and visiting museums such as The Louvre and churches such as Notre-Dame.

Whatever the main reasons for wanting to visit France, few people will be disappointed. As well as all the amazing places to visit and see in France, part of the fun of a French holiday is soaking up the culture – things like the croissants and pain au chocolat for breakfast, and the wonderful food you’ll be served in all types of restaurant. Then there are everyday things such as watching (or joining in) a game of boules with the old guys in the village square, settling into the slow pace of life in the countryside where you might have rented a gite, or people-watching on the beaches.
With generally clement summer weather, French holidays have a magical ambience to them. It’s no wonder people return again and again to this beautiful country.

3 Great Cycling Breaks in Europe

There are, perhaps, very few activities that are more adventurous, interesting and wholesome than exploring another country on a bike! Although each country in Europe offers fantastic environments for cycling breaks, there are a few – like these three great destinations – that can be compared to any of the best cycling destinations in the world…

Rome, Italy
With a bike, helmet and a local guide provided to you, discovering the history behind Rome is just a pedal away. If you choose to have a local guide accompany you on the cycle tour, you don’t have to keep guessing the story behind each monument. Moreover, you can discover Rome’s ancient structures; understand that every nook and cranny of Rome is brimming with an unexpected surprise. Explore the various churches and fountains, and cycle through Rome’s ancient secret passageways, and toast yourself to a gelato. When on a cycle tour around Rome, be sure not to miss the Colle Oppio garden, the Venezia Square, the Pantheon, the Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum, the Theatre of Marcelllus, and the Piazza Navona.

Andalucía, Spain
Explore the romantic landscape and the enchanting elegance of Andalucía in Spain on a cycle and take home beautiful memories. Start your cycle tour – independent or guided – from the beautiful Seville. Explore its mosque- cathedral of Mezquita, rustic city of Cordoba, dip into the history of the place before heading to Andalucía. You just need to bring your own helmet (even though you can choose to get one from the guide), and a lot of adrenaline to the tour. Take the White Village tour and enjoy cycling on dirt tracks and countryside roads, see the rivers and lakes pass by, and venture into the lush forests before taking a break at the Via Verde. From independent exploration to self-guided tours, leisure cycling tours to family cycling holidays, mountain biking to winter training camps, exploring Andalucía on two wheels is everything a cycle tour enthusiast would ask for.

Brittany, France
Ask any experienced cycle tourist who has explored Europe about their favorite cycling break destination and more often than not, they will sing the praises of Brittany. Brittany is a place that is perfect for a cycling holiday in France – you will see a nice cozy bar or a restaurant every 10 miles or so. A short cycling tour will help you explore tiny villages, lust green hillsides, and thick forests, cross moorland, marketplaces, coastlines and cliffs. No place in France will offer so much variety than Brittany. The climate of Brittany is perfect for both long and short cycle stints. The food is great, the people are perfect and the place is a cycle tour enthusiast paradise. The un-spoilt villages like Gouarec, rural landscape, pristine waterways, beautiful farms, ancient lanes and rolling landscape – Brittany is perhaps the best place to start your cycle tour.

Chosen by some of the most enthusiastic travelers, these three destinations – Rome, Brittany and Andalucía – have the best of nature, history and adventure packed into one, so hop onto 2 wheels and get yourself over there!

Achieving the Most out of Nice on a Budget

One of the most popular tourist cities to visit in France is definitely the quaint city of Nice. With its amazing Mediterranean climate, beautiful old-fashioned buildings with amazing histories, sunny pebbled beaches and bright blue oceans, there is no question as to why this city is so loved. The problem with exploring France, the most romantic place on earth, is that many people feel that their wallets are not thick enough to experience the best that the land has to offer. This, however, is not the case. If one is able to travel smartly, having a clear understanding of the best places to stay, the cheapest ways to move around and pinpointing the most economical attractions to visit, you will be surprised to discover that you can achieve the full Nice experience, without your wallet having to suffer.

Accommodation

Nice may be known as having world-class hotels, although one tends to lose that cosy, warm feeling of a home when staying in a hotel, besides having to fork over large amounts of money for a bed and bathroom. Thankfully, Nice has a large number of beautiful self-catering or bed and breakfast villas and apartments that are cheaper, and allow you to achieve the true Nice housetrip experience.

Transportation

Although Nice offers some great affordable public transportation, in the form of busses and trains, one of the best ways to view this romantic city is by bicycle. Along with many other progressive cities around the world, Nice has a top-class bike share system which provides an extremely cheap way to discover the city. The first 30 minutes are free, after which each additional hour costs one euro.

Exploring Museums

When it comes to learning about the rife history attached to France, and the lovely city of Nice, the best, and cheapest, places to do so is at the numerous museums spread around the city. These museums are completely free, making them the perfect attractions for a budget holiday. Nice is located in the area where some of the first evidence of human activity in Europe was discovered, and The Archaeological Museum in the Cimiez neighbourhood is the perfect place to discover more. For a more recent history though, the modern art museum MAMAC offers a collection of work from a massive number of artists. The museum’s roof terrace also offers visitors with some spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea and buildings below, which are almost as beautiful as the works of art hanging on the walls inside.

Hotel vs holiday apartment in Paris

Paris

Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, and for good reason – it’s a beautiful city. Seriously, it’s amazing. It is a place you have to see for yourself to understand why it is so popular. With such demand to visit you will notice once you start planning your trip how expensive hotels are compared to other capital cities in Europe. With such high prices and little value for money it is worth considering renting a apartment when staying in Paris.

When it comes to renting a holiday apartment many people may just assume that this type of accommodation is limited to beach resorts, but apartment rental is a common form of holiday accommodation in Europe. Apartment types can range from studio apartments, to homes with multiple bedrooms. You will find that you can get a much bigger place for the same money you would have spent on a hotel room.

One of the biggest benefits of renting an apartment is that you have a kitchen, which will mean you will be able to save money on food costs, especially if you are staying over a longer period of time. And obviously the more in your family/party, the more you will save.

Another benefit of staying in an apartment is the feeling of “living like a local”. Your apartment will most likely be in a residential street so you will not stand out like a tourist. You will be coming and going just like the locals do, going shopping at the local supermarket and getting to know the corner cafe.

Apartments are most suitable for longer stays. If you are just staying for the night then a hotel is probably more convenient. Chances are you wont have time to shop for food, and you wont have to pick up the keys.

When looking for an apartment it is best to go through a website that has pre-screened apartments for you. Sites like Housetrip offer holiday apartments in Paris. And if you don’t know which neighbourhood to stay in (or Arrondissement as they say in Paris), they also have a useful guide of where to stay in Paris. Going through a website agency you can read reviews by other guests of the apartment (by people who have actually stayed there, so no fake reviews) and they will have a clearly written process on how to get to the apartment.

Unlocking the history in Europe

Whether visiting just one European city or region, or taking an extended tour of England, Italy, Germany and France, there is so much history to discover that a single trip will only allow the traveler to scratch the surface. While each country has its own distinct culture and history, each has waged war and been conquered by one another, and/or shared kings and queens, sometimes on more than one occasion. The result is an often bewilderingly complex and colorful history that can be traced back for many thousands of years.

Although it is almost impossible to list everything a visitor to Europe should see and do, here are just a few suggestions to whet the appetite.

England

Most visitors to the UK will arrive in London, which has countless historic sites and museums. There is the Tower of London, which William the Conqueror had built in the 1080s; 11th century Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, the British Museum and the Natural History Museum… the list is endless.

Outside the capital, one of the country’s most popular and ancient monuments is Stonehenge, which is thought to have been constructed between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago. There are dozens more ancient stone circles and monoliths dotted around the country. Dating from more recent times, 1775 to be precise, the world’s first cast iron bridge is located in Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire, some 158 miles northwest of London. A World Heritage Site, featuring a number of museums and craft centers, it is widely accepted as being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution.

Italy

Rome has so many museums and ruins it seems there is something to see around every corner. There is the Coliseum, the Circus Maximus and the Palatine Hill, while in the Vatican City there is the 15th century St Peter’s Basilica.

Florence is home to the Uffizi Gallery, with its sculptures and paintings by artists such as Michelangelo, Rubens and Rembrandt. Construction of Florence’s cathedral, The Duomo, started in the 13th century and the cathedral is dominated by a magnificent dome, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. Also not to be missed are the Leonardo da Vinci museum and the Accademia Gallery, which houses Michelangelo’s David.

During the Battle of Cannae Hannibal of Carthage, outnumbered more than two to one, defeated an 80,000-strong Roman army led by Consuls Varro and Paullus II. Fought on August 2, 216BC, it is claimed to be the bloodiest battle in history. The site of the battle is near the town of Barletta, some 250 miles south-east of Rome.

Germany

Germany has been at the center of Europe for many centuries, from its early tribal beginnings, through invasion by the Romans, to the 20th century when it was epicenter of two world wars. After the Second World War the country was divided into East and West by the Iron Curtain, before finally being reunified in October 1990.

Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, which was constructed between 1788 and 1791, was originally the entrance to King Frederick William II of Prussia’s Palace. It became the symbol of the reunification of both the city and the country following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Short sections of the Wall, which was erected in 1961, have been preserved throughout the city. A 1.3-km length is visible at the open-air East Side Gallery.

Going back much further in time, the Imperial Baths of Trier were constructed in the 4th century AD by the Romans, who fought numerous skirmishes and battles with Germanic tribes between the 2nd century BC and the 5th century AD. The Baths are the largest outside Rome and significant sections remain standing. Visitors are also able to see and explore the Baths’ underground tunnels.

France

One of the first structures travelers arriving in Paris are likely to spot is the Eiffel Tower. This iconic landmark was opened in 1889 and, along with Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Palace of Versailles and the Arc de Triomphe, is sure to be high on any tourist’s list of essential sights.

Another major attraction in the city is the Louvre Museum, which contains over 35,000 objects in an area that covers over 652,000 square feet. The museum’s exhibits date from modern to prehistoric times, though it is most famous for Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, which the artist is thought to have completed while at the court of Francis I.

France has seen numerous battles over the centuries but those fought during the First and Second World Wars are likely to be of most interest to today’s visitors. The First World War saw some particularly bloody encounters and, at the site of the Battle of Belleau Wood, which took place between June 1 and 26, 1918, 2,289 US soldiers are buried in the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery. At Bayeux in Normandy, where thousands of Allied troops landed on D-Day, August 29, 1944, the conflict is remembered at the Battle of Normandy Memorial Museum. Many other museums and memorials can be found all along this part of the French coast. Bayeux is also where the famous tapestry depicting a much earlier battle; the Battle of Hastings, in 1066, is displayed.

Europe offers something for everyone and each country has its own language, though English is also widely spoken. Whether traveling on a budget or staying in five star hotels, there are comfortable accommodations to be found in almost every town and city. What’s more, by checking out websites such as Flights.com, getting there need not cost a fortune.

Visiting Disneyland Paris from UK? Some Information about Disneyland Paris Tickets

Disneyland Paris is one travel destination that has remained top on the list of many holiday makers who always come back. For a place to be visited repeatedly, it has to be very attractive. This means that Disneyland Paris tickets are always on demand. There are some families who go there every holiday. This can be attributed to the fact that there is always something new with every visit.

Disneyland Paris constitutes of two parks: Walt Disney Studio Park and Disney Park. It is recommended that you use a park map to choose which among the two would offer you a better experience. Your choice should also be guided by your budget. AttractionTix are budget-friendly if booked in advance.

Since this is a popular destination, long queues are sometimes inevitable. To fully utilize your time and have maximum fun, you can get Fastpass tickets from fastpass systems which are installed in machines around the park. The tickets are free of charge and allow you to enjoy other attractions as you wait for your time slot for popular rides such as Buzz Lightyear’s Blast and Pans Dream Flight.

This holiday destination can be used for celebrations such as birthdays, short or long holidays. There are so many activities such as sight-seeing in Disneyland Paris so you can be sure to get total value for your money as you purchase a ticket. If you live in UK, this is a perfect family weekend getaway. Before booking your travels be sure to familiarize yourself with the ticket options. One ticket offer includes unlimited admission for 4 days to the two parks for the ticket price of three days. You should regularly check for new and better offers as well during the year.

In most cases, short breaks do not exceed five days. You will find tickets for 1-5 days which will match the family weekend trip period. The cost of the ticket depends on the number of days, whether you are interested in one or the two parks and the number of adults and children in your holiday group. Children range from 0-11 years.
For example, if your visit is one day and you prefer to visit the two parks for celebrations, the ticket costs £49 for adults and £44 for children. For total calculation, put the quantity of the tickets you want before you add to basket. These are details for one of the tickets but when you visit the website you will access more ticketing information. There are more Disneyland Paris tickets on the website.

Top Dream Wedding Venues

Okay, so these wedding venues may be a tad out of our price range, but we can always dream. Although your wedding budget may not cover these exclusive venues, they may just give you the inspiration you need to arrange your big day. Here are the most luxurious and magical locations from across the world.

Claridge’s, London

The crème de la crème of London’s rich and famous visit Claridge’s for premium luxury. Booking a wedding in this decadent hotel will mean your every whim is taken care of, including the organisation of your big day. A complimentary event co-ordinator is thrown in for good measure.

Whether you’re looking for grandeur or intimate chic, Claridge’s has got something for everyone’s taste…as long as that taste is expensive. You’ll even get your own beautiful dressing room for the bridal party.

Ice Hotel, Jukkasjarvi, Sweden

The famous Ice Hotel is the ultimate winter wedding venue. If a festive, snowy landscape charms your socks off, you’ll be enamoured with the reindeer-drawn sleigh, packed with fur blankets. Obviously, you’ll have to adjust your wedding dress for the cold climate.

Everyone can fall asleep in one of the five star ice rooms after a glimmering celebration in the ice bar. Even the church is made of ice!

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England

A more old school approach to weddings: a friggin’ palace. Blenheim Palace is a gorgeous stately home that was built in the 1760’s. Now its resplendent rooms are open to wedding parties and will make you feel like a true prince or princess. Have your photos snapped in the 2,100 acres of parkland and even enjoy a firework display over the lake.

Hotel Plaza Athenée, Paris

Die-hard romantics, you’ve got to have your wedding in Paris…it’s the rule. The quintessentially French Hotel Plaza Athenée is every Francophile’s dream venue. Drool over showstopping chandeliers and ornate mirrors. Alternatively, have an outdoor wedding in the charming courtyard garden.

Finish off the day with a night in the Eiffel Suite, offering floor-to-ceiling views of – you guessed it – France’s trademark building. Parfait!

The Plaza, New York

You’ll feel an affinity with the city that never sleeps, in the run-up to your wedding day. For an exciting and stylish ceremony, you really can’t top The Plaza. This is grandeur, turn of the century style.

Have a classic, champagne reception in the bar and get your very own butler to wait on you hand-and-foot in one of the luxury suites, with a private terrace and views of central park.

Nunsmere Hall, Cheshire, England

Now for a more affordable destination, Nunsmere Hall is a stunning Edwardian house that stands alone on an island, surrounded by lakes. This wedding venue in Cheshire has everything you could want from a location.

The immaculate gardens are picture-perfect and you can enjoy a flute of champagne with your guests, on the south-facing terrace. This venue is perfect for small weddings, but if you still want to invite all the extended family, you can take the festivities to Nunsmere’s glorious marquee, beautifully furnished with Chinese lanterns.

Paris versus London: Which city is the fairest city?

Two countries separated by a minute stretch of water, England and France are almost side-by-side. Despite a chequered history between the two countries, each is as rich and diverse as the other. Two capitals joined by a single train line, but which is the fairer of the two?

While Paris has the baguette, London has the doorstop sandwich. Where London has Big Ben, Paris has the Eiffel Tower.

Paris is known as the City of Light and is officially recognised as the world’s most romantic city.

Start your trip to this beautiful area with some pre-booked AttractionTix, where you will find all the magic of the USA’s premium theme park waiting for you in Paris. Wild rides, your favourite characters and so on – a trip to Paris without seeing Eurodisney would be like a trip to the beach without dipping your toe in.

Listing Paris’s great museums and galleries is like creating a world-leading group of cultural institutions – the Musee D’Orsay, the Louvre, Notre Dame… But often the essence of a city is to be found in exploring the streets. And from the alleyways along the banks of the Seine to the winding paths of Montmartre, Paris is certainly picturesque.

Why not try the climb up to Sacré Coeur and enjoy the beautiful views of the city? At 130 metres high, the sights are spectacular. But if you’re more interested in boutique views than city panoramas, head down to Les Halles. From there you can explore some of the best shopping streets Paris has to offer before making your way onto the grand boulevard of the Champs Élysées where designer stores meet macaroon shops and the famous Parisian café culture.

If you decide to visit London, you should buy some London Eye tickets for the views, head to Bond Street for the designer stores, and take a trip down to the South Bank for refined riverside culture and entertainment.

If possible, it seems London has grown even more diverse in the past five years. There really is something for everybody in England’s capital. The food market at Borough, the antiques of Bermondsey and the new pop-up dining scene are major attractions that bring tourists in their thousands to London every day.

It has cultural institutions of its own to shout about, too. Take the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, all within a stone’s throw of each other in the heart of South Kensington. Each is a day out in itself.

And yet again, there is much to be said for exploring a city, and the quiet streets and mews of Mayfair and Chelsea are the perfect places to get lost for an hour or two.

Both London and Paris have their qualities, foibles and mysteries that make them unique. Despite French officials themselves claiming that London was a superior city as reported in the Evening Standard in 2010, you and I know that each has its own appealing je ne sais quoi.