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La belle France! Our neighbour, some might say our nemesis, but none can dispute the fact that France boasts some of the most beautiful countryside, glorious beaches, iconic sights and amazing cuisine that the world has to offer. Being so close makes it the perfect destination for those with only a few days to spare as much as for people with the freedom of a long summer holiday. What's more, most of us can get by with a little school-learned French.
While it's a giant and contrasting country, here are a few quick suggestions for places to go and things to do:
Things to do
Recommended for families, Argeles Plage in Languedoc-Rousillon in the Pyrenees is a long ribbon of sandy beach and blue waters that are frequented by French families; many tourists remain unaware of this gem. Paloma Plage on the French Rivera is the place to go for some celebrity spotting, according to 'The Guardian', on which sandy shores the likes of Brad and Angelina have been seen. Divers might like to head to L'lle de Riou in Marseilles, a small but carefully preserved beach from which many scuba divers begin their aquatic explorations of the Parc National des Calanques, which has been described as an 'undersea forest'. Alternatively, those that might not want to travel too far south can always enjoy the waters in the Dordogne. The eponymous river allows for all manner of water sports which can occupy young children and grandparents alike.
Provence remains a firm favourite with holiday-makers seeking beautiful surroundings - and with good reason. It comprises lots of charming little villages, undulating hills and the dramatic Gorges du Verdon - a huge canyon along which it's possible to take walking tours, or voyage downstream in a pedalo. Those dreaming of snow-capped mountains might prefer the Savoy Alps region, which is home to Mont Blanc on the Italian border, the beautiful town of Annecy and Lake Geneva.