France is a country that draws millions of visitors every year. In fact, in 2012 it received 83 million visitors, according to a survey by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation – making it the most popular holiday destination in the world.
The attractions that people flock to see in France vary enormously but for many visitors there’s one thing that can’t be missed and that’s a trip up the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Since it was first constructed over 200,000,000 people have gone up to one of its levels – via elevator or by using the stairs.
Other popular attractions that draw visitors from all around the world include Mont St Michel in Normandy, an island medieval town that is separated from the mainland by the tide each day. People make the journey across the sands to visit the beautiful winding streets of Mont St Michel and see the beautiful Benedictine Abbey of St Michel at the top of the island.
On the Atlantic coast, there’s a natural wonder to visit – the Dune du Pyla. Found in the Arcachon Bay near Bordeaux, this is the tallest sand dune in Europe and climbing to the summit may take a lot of energy, but you will appreciate the breath-taking views at the top – out to the Atlantic one way and over acres of pine forest the other. Then there’s the Gorge du Verdon – a 15 mile canyon with cliffs rising 2,300 ft either side of the River Verdon. You can take part in water sports galore on this beautiful emerald green river, as well as doing climbing and canyoning activities in the gorge.
Of course, these are just a few of the highlights of this rich and varied country. There are cathedrals, palaces and museums galore to explore, then there are the different wine-growing regions and the sophisticated French Riviera towns to visit and ogle the lifestyles of the rich and famous.
In 2016, France will expect to receive an extra surge of visitors during the month-long 2016 UEFA European Championship – otherwise known as Euro 2016. Two years after the FIFA Cup in Brazil, this is the next big thing on the international footballing calendar and will see 24 nations battling it out for the Championship. The tournament will start off with a group stage and then there will be three round of knock-out games before the final on 10 July. The qualifier matches are taking place between September and November this year.
France has won the tournament twice, but current favourite with the bookies to win in 2016 is Germany. If you’re into sports betting you can check out the odds on Euro 2016 on sites like Bet365 and Paddy Power.
Nine cities will be providing the match venues for the tournament and these include Bordeaux, Lille, Lens, Marseilles, Nice, Lyon, Paris, St-Etienne and Toulouse. Any one of these cities will make an ideal base for a visitor who not only wants to see the football but also wants to spend a week or two discovering just why France is the world’s most popular tourist destination. Get the guide books out now and decide where you’ll be for Euro 2016.