France is a country where you will find more than 65 million people who speak French. The country is huge and has a lot of diversity. It will take you about 15 hours to drive nonstop at 120 kilometers per hour to drive from the North to the South of France. Most people travelling from the north of Europe in search of the sun will often use the motorway called the "autoroute du soleil". That when translated means, the "sunshine motorway". By the way for those from North America, motorway is the English term for highway. This is just a side note. This road is jammed and packed during the summer months when people from Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Denmark and Sweden descend for a bit of sun, sea and relaxation. A lot of them stay in France others just drive to cheaper location like Spain or Portugal. The sunshine motorway is not free, which implies you will have to pay toll. There is more to France than just the sunshine motorway.
Accents: Contrary to popular belief, everyone speaks French in France but not with the same accent. People from Paris are thought to speak with the accent that characterizes the country. All journalists will have an accent that is linked to Paris. You will never get a news reader in Paris with regional accent. It will just be too funny for people to concentrate on what he is saying. Why the difference in accents? You will have to go back in time when France was divided along tribal lines. That is to say, people from the south, east, north and west had a separate language. The kings who ruled the country from Paris spoke French whilst the others spoke regional languages. Those from the regions had to learn French hence, the regional French accents. If you were to travel to the south of France, you might find it hard to understand people if your French is not up to par. In that part of the country, certain words are pronounced differently. In Marseille (the largest port in France), the accent is like singing. It is beautiful to listen to. However, if you were to come to Paris with such a strong accent, you will at times get the occasional laughter.
Food: It is amazing the amount of variety there is in France when it comes to food. If you can think of it, you can find it in the country. Ironically the number one favorite food of the French people is "CousCous" What is it?
"Couscous (pronounced /ËˆkÊŠskÊŠs/ or /ËˆkuËskuËs/) is a dish of spherical granules made by rolling and shaping moistened semolina wheat and then coating them with finely ground wheat flour. The finished granules are about one millimetre in diameter before cooking. Different cereals may be used. ... Couscous is traditionally served under a meat or vegetable stew. It can also be eaten alone, flavored or plain, warm or cold (e.g., mixed with tabouli), or as a side dish." Wikipedia
What else would you expect to eat in France? Baguette, Fish, Cheese and of course Wine. If you ever get the chance, you should visit wine exhibitions/caves. These exhibitions are held all over the country but the caves are located where the vineyards are located. This is a good time go wine tasting. You have to be careful when you go wine tasting. The idea is to sip a little and spit it out. You then let the aroma permeate you taste buds. You could also swallow but you might not be able to find your way back home. Moderation is the key that is why it is called wine tasting and not wine drinking.
Have you ever tried frog legs? Sounds disgusting? Welcome to France! What about smelly Camembert cheese? If you want to enjoy Camembert, you should buy a hot Baguette and put your smelly Camembert cheese in it, then wash it all down with a glass of wine. You can't get better than that.
Like most western countries, you have a mixture of cultures and diversity with regards to food. In Paris alone, you can eat dishes from almost anywhere in the world. You could have your sushi or kebab, from FuFu to fish and chips. If you live outside of most major cities like Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Lille and Bordeaux, your main backup will be to eat kebab. It is available almost everywhere is France. If a town doesn't have a Kebab shop, it is not worth visiting.
You've certainly heard about the mustard from Dijon. Dijon is a location in France that is well known for its mustard. There is no need to visit because you will not see much. However, you could visit Nancy, where the Place Stanislas is located. This is a beautiful square dedicated to the memory of a former king of Poland-Lithuania
Demography: France has a population that is diverse as you would expect from a country that big. You have People of Afro-Caribbean descent, North African Arabic origin, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, Polish, and recently people from Eastern Europe. Everyone is mixed up in France and there are very few people who could boast being really native French.
What to visit: If you think France is synonymous to Paris then you are wrong but at the same time you are right. How can you visit France without visiting Paris? Eiffel tower, MontMarte, Sacre Coeur, Le Louvre, Les Champs Elysees, etc. However, there is life and more to see outside of Paris. You should head down south. In the winter most of the ski resorts are located in the mountains (Alps). If you don't like the cold and it is summer, you could go camping and enjoy walking in the mountains. It is often said in France; if you want hot sunny weather go the south. If you want friendly people, visit the north.
If you live in the US and you can't afford to go all the way to France, you could still technically visit by going to the following destinations in the Caribbean, Guadeloupe and Martinique. You could also visit the French Guiana which is located in South America. Yes that is also part of France. That is where the European Space Agency launch vehicle is located. If you are into space travel, the French territory located in South America will be a good place to visit. You need to visit with your pockets lined with Euros. These French territories might be in the Caribbean or in South America but they don't come cheap. You would imagine that being that far from the European continent, you could get away with paying in pesos.
There are other French territories you might want to visit. The French Polynesia is a group of islands in the pacific with Tahiti as the best known of these islands. If you love the sea and beautiful beaches, then you will not be disappointed. This is really the place to be. You do not have the Eiffel tower or the Louvre museum but you have something only Mother Nature could offer.