France - Holidays, Flights and Hotels
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While the main territory of France (metropolitan France; French: la Métropole, France métropolitaine or informally l'hexagone) is located in Western Europe, France is also constituted from a number of territories in North America, the Caribbean, South America, the southern Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and Antarctica (sovereignty claims in Antarctica are governed by the Antarctic Treaty System). These territories have varying forms of government ranging from overseas département to "overseas country".
Metropolitan France possesses a wide variety of landscapes, from coastal plains in the north and west to mountain ranges in the south-east (the Alps) and the south-west (the Pyrenees). The French Alps contain the highest point in western Europe, Mont Blanc at 4,810 metres (15,781 ft). There are several other elevated regions such as the Massif Central, the Jura, the Vosges, and the Ardennes which are quite rocky and forested. France also has extensive river systems such as the Loire, the Rhône, the Garonne and the Seine.
Due to its overseas departments and territories scattered on all oceans of the planet, France possesses the second-largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the world, covering 11,035,000 km² (4,260,000 mi²), just behind the EEZ of the United States (11,351,000 km² / 4,383,000 mi²), but ahead of the EEZ of Australia (8,232,000 km² / 3,178,000 mi²). The EEZ of France covers approximately 8% of the total surface of all the EEZs of the world, whereas the land area of the French Republic is only 0.45% of the total land area on Earth.
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Aix-en-Provence, Ajaccio, Albi, Amiens, Angers, Angoulême, Annecy, Antibes, Arles, Avignon, Bastia, Beauvais, Belfort, Besançon, Béziers, Blois, Bordeaux, Bourges, Brest, Brive-la-Gaillarde, Caen, Calais, Cannes, Carcassonne, Chalon-sur-Saône, Châlons-en-Champagne, Chambéry, Charleville-Mézières, Châteauroux, Cholet, Clermont-Ferrand, Colmar, Dijon, Dunkerque, Évreux, Fréjus, Grenoble, Hyères, La Rochelle, La Roche-sur-Yon, Le Havre, Le Mans, Lille, Limoges, Lorient, Lyon, Marseille, Metz, Montauban, Montpellier, Mulhouse, Nancy, Nantes, Narbonne, Nice, Nîmes, Niort, Orléans, Paris, Pau, Perpignan, Poitiers, Quimper, Reims, Rennes, Roubaix, Rouen, Saint-Brieuc, Saint-Étienne, Saint-Malo, Saint-Nazaire, Saint-Quentin, Strasbourg, Tarbes, Toulon, Toulouse, Tourcoing, Tours, Troyes, Valence, Vannes, Villeneuve-d'Ascq, and Villeurbanne.
France is not exactly the same country that one sees portrayed on American television. Its people have a wide variety of opinions about many subjects. Unless you really follow French news closely, you should probably steer clear of discussing internal French politics, especially sensitive issues such as immigration - you probably don't know much about them and will come across as judgmental and uninformed. Reading French newspapers to get a feel for the wide spectrum of political opinions in France - from the revolutionary Communist left to the nationalistic right - would help.
The French seldom advertise their religious feelings, however, and expect you to do so as well. It is also generally considered nosey to inquire about religious or other personal issues.
Anti-French feelings, especially popular amongst the British and Americans, can be fueled by the inadvertent reduction of France to Paris, that is, that all French people act like Parisians, when this is quite far from the truth. Many rural people say that France is a blessed country, the inference drawn that it is cursed by Paris (or the Government. This also included the Germans, but is rare since the 50s). Paris is a fairly unusual city by French standards and life there is, in some respects, closer to life in London or New York City than in the rest of France. A traveler's experiences with French culture in Paris should be treated as one would treat an experience in the traveler's own country's largest cities; that is, the locals are hurried and "have seen it all". No doubt an American would not consider a trip to New York City as a typical American experience. Reserve judgement until having traveled far afield of Paris.