France will steal your heart away and leave you spellbound. Whether the romance of Paris sweeps you off your feet, or the relaxed life of Provence seduces you gently, is a question that will only be resolved by a visit. France is a place for lovers, aesthetes and gourmets. Its gastronomic centre is Lyon, where the world's finest chefs create culinary masterpieces. Champagne is the most famous wine-producing region in the world and Bordeaux's rich reds are a true delight. The French gave the world champagne and camembert, de Beauvoir and Debussy, the Tour de France and the Tour Eiffel. There's a term for their seductive lifestyle - Douce France (Sweet France) and you'll find yourself using it often. And wherever you go, you'll find the French appetite for good things, whether wine, fashion or culture.
France's currency is the Euro. France is three and a half hours behind India in summer and four and a half in winter. French is the national language, although English is widely spoken.
Walking through the heart of Paris, you feel as though you've wandered onto a film set. Its inhabitants are the definition of style, its architecture includes some of the most spectacular buildings and monuments in Europe and the ambience is by turns exciting, alluring and effortlessly romantic. The creative spontaneity that inspired the great revolutionary minds still pulses through the city, you can feel it in the streets even today. Perhaps this is what gives Paris its reputation for romance: nowhere else feels quite so alive.
Cannes is the playground for Europe's rich and the site of the most prestigious of the world's film festivals. The town is inhabited through the year by the jet set, soaking up the Mediterranean sun and snapping up designer goods at Cannes's most exclusive boutiques. In May, the town goes into superstar overdrive - the world's most famous movie actors, producers and directors descend on this small part of the Riviera to celebrate their success.