France is one of Europe’s largest countries. It is bordered by six countries: Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the southeast and Spain to the southwest. The United Kingdom borders France via the English Channel. The country is considered to be the gateway to Europe as there are several large international airports (two airports located in Paris), ferry terminals and the French rail service.There are 22 official regions in France. Each of these regions are subdivided into departments.The politics of France take place with the framework of a semi-presidential system determined by the French Constitution of theFrench Fifth Republic. The nation declares itself to be an “indivisible, secular, democratic, and social Republic”.It is interesting to know that 85% of all residents of the country are Roman Catholic. French and English are the two most commonly spoken languages. Euro is the currency.
What about the marvelous Paris? Paris, the “City of Light,” is one of the international MICE capitals, drawing millions of tourists from around the world every year. It is a magnificent city known for its café culture, fine dining, and high fashion and Art amongst other attractions. Paris is full of history. From the Romans and the Sun King to Napoleon and modern French presidents, each of France’s rulers has left their imprint on Paris. You see it in the architecture of the city, in the museums and in the cultureThe center of Paris contains the most visited monuments in the city, including the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Louvre as well as the Sainte-Chapelle; Les Invalides, where the tomb of Napoleon is located, and the Eiffel Tower are situated on the Left Bank south-west of the center.Paris has a population of more than 2 million people, of which around 20% are immigrants from all over the world making Paris one of the biggest multi-cultural hubs in Europe. Having this international vibe means a cutting edge in the world of food, Art, music and fashion.
The city is divided into 20 “arrondissements” (districts) which are numbered 1 to 20. Each neighborhood, or arrondissement, has its own story to tell about Paris. From the historical academia of the 5th arrondissement to the stylish and creative 6th and 7th; sleepy atmosphere of the 16th contrasted with the clash of cultures in the 18th, 19th and 20th arrondissements.
Paris night life is rich with the famous cabarets such as the Moulin Rouge, Lido and the Crazy Horse. For perfect Parisian dining experience you have to try out the Bristos.Every neighborhood is packed with Bristos and every Parisian has a favorite. Bistros may be less formal than other French restaurants but the food quality is at its best. At a good bistro you should expect excellent food, without the high price tag, perfect way to try some traditional French dishes while you are in Paris. Bristos can be found in all the areas but a general rule of thumb, avoid those on the main roads also menus written in English, you don’t want to fall into the tourist trap!
One of the best and most popular ways to get around the city of Paris is via Metro. Metros are frequent, rather cheap and very efficient. The Paris metronetwork connects at several points in Paris with the RER, the commuter trains that go from the city center to the suburbs. If you find the time for a bit of Parisian style of shopping, start with Boulevard Haussmann in the 8th arrondissement, it is home to the best known of Parisian shopping institutions. The architecture itself is a piece of Art. Au Printemps is another option with more affordable price range. And there is always the option of amazing flea markets.
The average yearly temperature comes in at just under 12°C (2°C in January, 19°C in July). Paris is a city that experiences all four seasons, mostly mild and wet.