France is one of the most well-known countries in all of Europe and the world in general. It holds the title as one of the oldest countries in the entire world, and has made its mark on the world stage when it comes to economics, politics, research, science, and of course its culture and history. While there is much you may already know about France, what makes this country so interesting is the fact that its history is long and vast, meaning there are plenty of gems still left to discover.
If France holds a special place in your heart, and you just can’t seem to get enough, then here are eight interesting facts that you may not have been aware of. This will just deepen your interest in all things France-related.
France could easily be described as the land of many departments, as there are 101 French departments. Over the years, these departments have grown in population size, with just a small handful seeing a decline in numbers. Not only do they range in population size, but they also range in area.
As of 2020, France has a population of just over 67 million people. The country's population has grown steadily in the past 20 years, but in the past few years it has started to level off somewhat and not grow as quickly. Germany is the only country with a larger population than France in Europe.
In terms of the population breakdown, a large portion of the country is aging like so many others around the world. The good news for seniors living in the country is that in terms of life expectancy, France is rated among the highest in all of Europe.
The country of France is made up of different administrative regions. There are 18 in total that range in size and population. Of these 18, five are found overseas, and the other 13 are on the European continent. What's interesting is that up until Jan. 1, 2016 there had been 22 metropolitan regions (on the continent of Europe), but then a new law was passed by the French parliament that dwindled it down to 13.
The 13 metropolitan regions are:
As for the five overseas regions, they are:
While some may travel to France for the history, beaches, cuisine, culture, architecture, and fashion, others are more interested in what nature has to offer - specifically the wildlife. There are huge portions of France's rural areas that are relatively untouched, which means you'll find plenty of wildlife and nature flourishing. This can make for some lovely hiking, biking, walking, and even driving tours, allowing you to take your time and explore the countryside.
Besides the reptiles and insects, there are plenty of mammals that call France home. Some of the more popular ones include:
One popular activity in France is birdwatching, as the country offers some wonderful opportunities to view a number of species. In fact, you can make an entire holiday out of your birdwatching travels. Thanks to the variety of topography and landscape, you get a real variety of birds here, with more than 460 to be exact. Keep in mind that the birds will depend on the time of year you visit, and where in the country you are doing your birdwatching.
Some of the interesting birds you may see include:
Just like with the animals you will see, the flora is dependent upon the region you visit and the time of year. You'll find everything from thick forests, to fruit trees and vines. It's truly a varied landscape in France.
France isn't just a popular tourist destination within Europe; it is one of the top travel destinations for tourists worldwide. The tourism industry is a giant, accounting for more than 2.8 billion jobs as of 2016, and adding 198.3 billion euros to the GDP of the country. As for the exact numbers, in 2018, the country saw a rise of 3% in terms of visitors and logged 89.4 million that year.
Some other interesting tourism stats include the fact that Paris ranks number three in terms of the most visited cities in the world, Notre Dame welcomes 13 million visitors each year, Euro Disney brings in massive amounts of tourists, and the tourism numbers only continue to climb.
As for its biggest source of tourism, that market belongs to the UK, as they can't seem to get enough of this destination.
One of the biggest draws for tourists heading to France is the abundance of stunning beaches to explore and enjoy. The French coastline is known around the world and features popular beaches as well as hidden spots that are less commonly talked about.
In terms of the best beaches the country has to offer, well that's all relative as it really depends on what you are looking for as a tourist. With that said, there are some standouts, which include:
Antibes, French Riviera: If you're looking for a sophisticated, elegant, and quite beach getaway then you will want to check out Antibes on the French Riviera. This one can be found in the middle of Nice and Cannes and therefore doesn't always have that same level of buzz as the other destinations. What's great about this beach is the amount of beachfront available which is perfect for a relaxing walk. Accommodation options are lush and elegant, so prepare for a really spectacular experience here.
Deauville Beach, Normandy: This particular beach is perfect for those who like the classic beach holiday, complete with a wide sandy stretch for sunbathing, a lively boardwalk, shops that line the beach, and of course, plenty of restaurants and cafes. Another standout feature with this beach is that it was home to the first Coco Chanel clothing store, which was back in 1913. Fashion buffs will definitely want to check this beach out.
Plage de Corz, Île d'Ouessant: If you like your beaches with a side of adventure and activity, then Plage de Corz could be perfect. This one is very popular with those who love to picnic, walk the beach and explore, hike, and who would enjoy a cycling adventure. The bike path is 28 miles long and follows the coast, making for a really beautiful adventure.
This is obviously a very small look at the many beaches in France, all of which have their own personality.
While the longest reigning monarchs are often spoken about and discussed throughout history, holding the title for the shortest reigning monarch in all of history is also a title worth noting. This title belongs to no other than Louis XIX who sat as the King of France for all of 20 minutes. This happened back in July 1830, and believe it or not, it's actually a shared title for the shortest reigning monarch.
The Crown Prince Luis Filipe also reigned for just 20 minutes in Portugal. His father had been murdered, and then just 20 minutes later Crown Prince Luis Filipe also died, as he was also wounded.
It seems like every country has a list of notable inventions, and France is no exception. Over the years, it has been home to some very noteworthy inventions, many of which people still depend on.
Here is just a small look at some of the standout inventions:
The complete list of inventions that France has been responsible for is vast and impressive, making it clear that the French like to think outside the box and look for solutions.
France is indeed one of the most beautiful countries, not just in Europe, but the entire world, and features an intriguing history filled with incredible facts. And it’s not just its history that is intriguing; it is also the future that it is forging.
UK citizens who planned to relocate to France may have had their plans disrupted by Britain’s exit from the European Union. Now that the UK is no longer an EU member state, travel restrictions are in place for UK citizens travelling to EU countries, including limits on the amount of time that you can travel to the EU without a visa and more paperwork for those who are looking to live or work in an EU country. The good news is that while it may no longer be as easy as it once was to relocate to France now that the UK has left the EU, it is still possible to live in France in a post-Brexit world. Here’s everything that you need to know.
After Brexit, British people have automatically become ‘Third Country’ nationals in France. The good news is that the UK and the EU were able to agree that people from the UK will not be required to get a visa for a visit of up to 90 days to France or anywhere else in the EU, allowing you to travel back and forth as many times as you like as long as you do not stay for more than ninety days at a time. However, if you plan to stay for longer than 90 days at once, you may need to apply for a visa. Visiting France as a Third Country national should not be a difficult process, as other Third Country nationals including Americans and Australians do not need to get a visa to visit France and there are no reports of them being held up at customs.
The good news is that although the UK is no longer part of the EU, travel to France is still as easy as it was before Brexit as long as you are not planning to visit for longer than 90 days. You can also come back to the UK and return to France as many times in a year as you would like, without the need to apply for a visa if you are not planning to stay for more than 90 consecutive days. Travelling to France is set to continue as normal once travel restrictions from COVID-19 are lifted, with flights, Eurostar, and ferry services available.
Living in France after Brexit is entirely possible, although there may be more paperwork to fill out compared to back when the UK was an EU member state. If you want to relocate to France, you will likely need to apply for a suitable visa from the French embassy, which may involve showing evidence of a job offer in France or adequate savings or assets to support yourself while living in the country. You will need to apply for a residence permit in line with the Withdrawal Agreement. This includes UK nationals that are married to or in a civil partnership with a French citizen.
If you want to move to France and take your pet with you, you will need to visit your vet. Your pet must be microchipped, vaccinated against rabies, and have a valid Animal Health Certificate (AHC). You will need to wait for 21 days after your pet has been vaccinated against rabies to be able to travel with them to France. Your pet will also need all other necessary vaccinations before travelling. If you plan to travel between the UK and France with your pet, you will need to get a new AHC from your vet each time.
When the UK was a part of the EU, it was possible for any UK citizen to relocate to and find work in any EU country without the need to apply for a visa. However, as a country outside of the European Union, UK citizens that want to find work in France might be worried about how this will affect their future plans. If you want to work in France after Brexit, you will need to get a work visa from the French embassy, which will often require having a job offer from a French company in advance. However, this should not be an issue and many people who relocate to France for work have no problem finding a suitable job offer, especially if you are applying for a position that requires you to speak English.
The UK has also put a double taxation agreement in place with France to ensure that you do not pay tax on the same income in both countries, which has not changed as a result of Brexit. If you are either employed or self-employed in France and have a UK-issued A1/E101 form, you will pay tax in the UK until the end date on the form. As a French resident, you will also need to declare any assets that you hold outside of France including bank accounts, property, and insurance. It is worth getting professional advice on paying tax in France if you are planning to move to the country for work after Brexit.
If you plan to relocate to France, you will be glad to hear that British people still have the right to purchase property in France after Brexit. However, one of the major differences between now and before Brexit is that if you purchase a French property that you plan to live in permanently, you will need to get a visa to move there which may require you to show proof of an employment offer in France or savings that you will be using to support yourself while living in the country, for example, if you are planning to retire in France. You can also buy a home in France that you visit for ninety days at a time if you plan to move between France and the UK to avoid getting a temporary entry visa. Healthcare is also likely to be different for those moving to France after Brexit as you will no longer be entitled to the same healthcare rights as before and will need comprehensive insurance to ensure that you can access French healthcare.
However, if you are currently retired in France as a UK citizen, the good news is that your health insurance coverage will continue to be provided by the UK if you are in receipt of a UK state pension. If you have recently moved to France to retire, you will need to register for healthcare cover by requesting an S1 form from your UK pension fund.
If you already own property in France, your rights as a French resident will be protected if you were living in the country before January 1st, 2021. However, you will need to secure these rights by applying for a French Residency Card before the deadline of July 1st, 2021. If you have been living in France for over five years or are already a permanent resident of France, you will not need to meet any minimum requirements in order to stay. However, if you have relocated to France within the past five years, you will need to show evidence of sufficient assets or funds to support yourself. You can apply for permanent residence via France’s online residence permit application website.
If you have a UK driving license and spend a lot of time at a second home in France, you will need to get extra documentation in order to continue driving with your license in France. However, the French government have stated that they will not require you to get an international driving permit as long as you have a translation of your UK driving license when staying in France for short periods. If you plan to permanently relocate to France, you will be able to use your UK driving license for the first year but must exchange it for a French license during that time.
The Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU was good news for retirees who want to live in France, with little changing in terms of how you receive your British pension while living in France. British pensioners residing in France will continue to benefit from the present uprating system that allows anybody who retires to a country within the EEA (European Economic Area) to see their UK state pension rise in line with inflation, earnings, or by 2.5% depending on which is highest. British retirees who have previously been employed or self-employed in various EU states and paid into different pensions in each country of work will also continue to have this taken into account when their state pension is calculated. If you are a resident in France for your retirement, you will also continue to be able to transfer your UK private pension funds into a QROPS (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme).
While Brexit may have placed some restrictions on moving to, living in and working in France, the good news is that UK citizens looking to relocate to this country can still easily do so.
France is a great destination for those looking to enjoy a holiday on a budget. One of the most affordable places to visit in France is Nice, with cheaper accommodation and restaurants than other cities like Paris. There are also plenty of budget accomodations to choose from, so you don't have to worry about expensive hotel rooms. For those looking for something more unique, Vence offers some of the highest numbers of budget accommodation in France.
The cheapest city in France is Vence Properties near Vence, with a variety of day trips and activities to keep tourists entertained. The fabled French Riviera is often thought of as a very expensive place to visit; however, Nice offers some great deals and experiences that are worth considering. There are also the resort towns of Saint Tropez, Monte Carlo and La Croisette that offer excellent value for money. For those looking to explore the Loire Valley further inland there's plenty to do including visiting the châteaux and wine tasting in Bordeaux. Travelers can find excellent prices for accommodation throughout the valley from Tours to Angers making it perfect for a budget holiday destination in France.
One of the cheapest places to visit in France is Marseille Properties near Marseille, with its stunning Mediterranean scenery and sparkling coastline. This vibrant city also serves as a great base for exploring the rest of Provence. From there, travelers can easily access other big French cities like Bordeaux and Nice by air via airports like Nice Cote d'Azur Airport. Additionally, there are many regional connections that allow visitors to explore more remote parts of the country at a much lower cost than an airline ticket would cost them. For those looking for something different from France’s major cities, they should consider making their way to some of the best Italian cities in proximity such as Marseille Saint-Tropez or Pisa. These locations offer travelers an opportunity to experience both French and Italian culture without having to break the bank on expensive flights between countries. Plus, they make for a perfect stopping point when travelling throughout Europe as they are well connected by train, bus and car services allowing much easier access between regions than air travel would provide.
France Properties in France is the ideal destination for an affordable holiday, boasting numerous public and private beaches, beautiful beach towns, numerous tourist attractions, green spaces and a cultural richness that can be experienced in all major French cities. Whether you're an active traveler looking to explore the outdoors or a relaxed vacationer looking to lounge on the beach with a good book in hand, France has something for everyone. A great way to save money when travelling around France is to purchase a city pass which offers discounts on attractions and activities as well as discounts at select hotels and restaurants. Additionally, many cities have their own websites dedicated to showcasing what they have on offer such as events and tours which are often free or heavily discounted - perfect for those who want to experience more without breaking the bank!
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Here are some ideas for where to go on holiday in France this year:
1. The French Riviera: Located in the southeast of France, the French Riviera is known for its Mediterranean climate, beautiful beaches, and luxury resorts. Popular destinations in the French Riviera include Cannes, Nice, and Saint-Tropez.
2. The Loire Valley: Located in central France, the Loire Valley is known for its beautiful castles and stunning landscape. The region is home to many wineries and is known for its production of white wines.
3. Provence: Located in the southeast of France, Provence is known for its charming villages, beautiful countryside, and delicious food and wine. Popular destinations in Provence include Avignon, Marseille, and Aix-en-Provence.
4. The Alps: Located in the east of France, the French Alps are known for their stunning mountain scenery and outdoor activities. Popular destinations in the French Alps include Chamonix, Grenoble, and Annecy.
5. The Dordogne: Located in the southwest of France, the Dordogne is known for its beautiful countryside, picturesque villages, and delicious food and wine. Popular destinations in the Dordogne include Sarlat-la-Canéda, Bergerac, and Périgueux.
We hope this brief suggestions help you plan your holiday in France! Please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team should you require more assistance.