Best Fashion People To Follow For Minimalist Fashion Ideas Reasons to Visit France – 5 Things You Might Not Have Thought About

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Reasons to Visit France – 5 Things You Might Not Have Thought About

Americans have long loved traveling to France, especially Paris. Millions visit there every year. Many of those who visit once plan to return. Some return many times. Why? Paris is fascinating. Elegant. Historic. Sophisticated. Stylish. Memorable. Cultural. Artistic. To quote Henry Miller: “When spring comes to Paris, the humblest mortal alive must feel that he lives in paradise.” Quoting Thomas Jefferson, “a walk about Paris will give lessons in history, beauty, and the point of life.”

Many of the reasons to visit France in general, and Paris in particular, are ones you already know. Friends and family who have traveled to France may have brought home stories that ignited your curiosity and desire to visit for yourself. You have seen the pictures and the movies. You’ve heard of the wonders of the Eiffel Tower, which rises like a giant construction set with an elevator that takes you to the top for views over the Seine and the city. You know the exceptional art museums, the Louvre and the Orsay, which house amazing collections within buildings that are historic, architectural treasures in themselves, one a former palace and the other an elegant turn-of-the-century train station built for the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle.

You have probably also heard about the food and wine, and the supreme pleasures of eating well, optimally at an outdoor table, in charming restaurants that carefully attend to every detail of your experience. Perhaps you’ve heard of the beauty of the countryside, with lavender fields and hillside towns, immaculate farms and spectacular mountains and coastlines. You have certainly heard about the history and the architecture, the fashion and the style.

So what more can be said that would add to these and other motivations you already have in mind for visiting France? These five reasons are ones you may not have thought about yet. Possibly they could tip the balance in favor of you taking your own turn and rushing on your way.

The French are people you will love to experience and get to know

Put aside what you may have heard about the French being unfriendly. This is simply not the case. However, the French are extreme polite, and have stricter and more formal social codes than Americans. This can make them seem a bit aloof and distant. But it is possible to get past this apparent social caution by simply knowing a little about how French communication and interaction works. When travelers approach them with the same courtesy, the French respond in kind with kindness, warmth, curiosity and charm.

Even a minimal effort to speak the basics of French – hello and goodbye, thank you and excuse me and how are you – has a high return. And yes, the French will try to speak English with you once you’ve broken the ice by trying to speak a little French with them. Experiences of connecting with the French can become lasting and treasured memories.

French cities are in themselves living museums and living art

A visit to France offers many opportunities to wander through excellent museums. But remarkable remains of French history are by no means confined to the museums. As you explore the streets of the old town, walk through a park, visit a city market or pass through the great stone gates of a walled city, you will be surrounded by the life, history, architecture and art of bygone times.

And what living history it is. In Avignon, you will sit on a bench in the courtyard before the pope’s palace, where seven successive popes resided, beginning with a French pope who declined to move to Rome, preferring to continue living in France. In Arles, you will follow in Van Gogh’s footsteps and visit the actual sites, now marked with easels and depicted on a walking tour map, where the unbalanced genius stood to create his celebrated Starry night and Café terrace at night.

In Amboise, you will visit the elegant palace of Françoise I, then walk across the street and up the hill to the lovely villa Françoise gave to her beloved friend, inventor and artist Leonardo da Vinci, with a secret tunnel connecting the palace and the villa so the two could visit back and forth at will.

In Paris you will stand in the courtyard of the Louvre, under the small Arc de Triomphe built by Napoleon, and look out along his grand boulevard, over five miles long, to the much larger Arc de Triomphe at the other end. You want to go Grande Alleoh through the splendid The Tuileriescreated by Catherine de Medici, modeled after the palatial gardens of her native Florence, which she missed so much.

Leaving the gardens, you arrive at the historic public square where the guillotine was erected during the French Revolution to behead the King, Queen and other French nobility. In this place now stands the ancient obelisk from the entrance to the Luxor Temple in Egypt, given by the self-styled Khedive of the Ottoman Empire in exchange for France’s latest technological marvel, a clock that was touted to be highly accurate but never worked .

Living museums and living art.

The French lifestyle of walking everywhere will make you a healthier, livelier person

During your visit to France, you will walk more than you could imagine, but you will hardly notice the effort. Walking in France is not the least bit boring, so you will find yourself doing it with pleasure. Goodbye treadmill.

While the American lifestyle is based on cars, the French are oriented around walking. As you arrive in each town or city, your explorations will begin with a walk around your neighborhood. Here you will discover what will be your regularly visited shops – wine shop, delicatessen, bakery, fresh market. You will go back to these stores regularly, possibly daily.

You go down to the river to catch the boat, to look out from the bridges, to watch the sunset, to sit on a bench. You’ll go to the outdoor markets, then browse them for goodies, and from there head to the park for a nice picnic of your purchases – delicious strawberries, freshly baked baguettes, sausages and pâté, cheeses and olives, and, of course, a lovely bottle of wine.

You’ll wander along the pedestrian streets, explore the shops and then choose an outdoor table at a café from which you can people-watch to your heart’s content. In the afternoon you go to the cathedral to hear a concert on the mighty organ or to attend a church service. Later in the evening, you’ll be back to stroll for dinner at a charming nearby restaurant, followed by a visit to a piano bar for an evening of jazz. And then back to the river, glowing with light, to watch the boats go by.

From the Montmartre metro stop, go to the funicular and take it to the top of the Basilica steps, then over to Place Tetre to see the sidewalk artists. Later, you will walk back past the basilica and down steep steps for lunch under one of the colorful umbrellas at the charming l’Été en Pente Douce.

As your journey continues, you will feel progressively healthier and more alive. Your energy level will increase. Over time, walking everywhere will start to seem normal. And what you pass by will be captivating all the time.

The French way of engaging will bring out a more captivating version of you

You will find another way of interpersonal interaction in France. As Americans, many of us barely notice how isolated and driven we have become. We work too much. We connect too little. We take ourselves too seriously and we can be self-interested. Unfortunately, we take too little notice and spend too little time on the people in our lives.

Not so in France. The French culture of interaction will be evident from the moment you set foot in the country. This is a culture that takes two-hour lunches and spends that time in animated conversations with friends and colleagues. When the working day ends, they all flock back to the cafés faster than one might expect, to sit at tables and discuss philosophy and life. At the table next to you, you’ll notice a couple sharing a carafe of wine, each listening to what the other is saying and looking intently into each other’s eyes as if their companion were the center of the universe.

When shopping at the outdoor market, the greengrocer will listen carefully to understand what you want and then carefully select just the right items for you to enjoy. At the clothing stalls in the market, the stylish madrons will get an instant and intuitive sense of your style and personality, with amazing perceptiveness, and then make serious efforts to ensure that your choices are designs and colors that best suit you and enhance your see.

In restaurants, you will experience the rapt attention of your waiter, always ready to offer his expert recommendations for your dining pleasure. When you walk into a store looking for a gift for your beloved mother-in-law, the proprietors will help you with excellent suggestions, then eagerly offer to wrap the perfect gift beautifully in paper and bows.

While in France, you will experience very few sterile transactionsbut many engaging interactions. Over time, the satisfaction of this difference will begin to affect you and how you relate to others. If you allow yourself to take it all in, you will find yourself listening more attentively, contributing your ideas more seriously, and viewing the people around you with more attention and curiosity. And after a few visits to the vibrant French outdoor markets and exciting boutiques, your view of shopping will be changed forever.

You will bring home a changed view of how to live the good life

Much of what you experience during your travels in France will likely continue to affect you long after you return home. You will return with a different, more vibrant view of how life can be lived. And this new outlook can lead you to significant improvements in your quality of life on the home front.

You will now know how enriching it can be to reach out and communicate with people who do things differently than you and fully understand that you can relate to them, learn from them and enjoy them.

You will understand how healthy you will feel when you walk more. This may encourage you to find opportunities to do this at home, hopefully to destinations as interesting as those you experienced in France, although first you need to drive to an area where walking around can be a pleasure in itself.

And you will know the satisfaction of interacting more intensely and attentively with the people in your life. You will understand the benefits and value of taking time to eat together and talk, eye to eye and mind to mind. Instead of a cafe on a corner, you may need to set up a cafe on your front porch. But with a little creativity, you will be able to carry on this more engaged way of relating – sharing your thoughts and observations and philosophies and musings.

The sum of these unexpected reasons to visit France depends on the effect your travels will have on you as well as on your travel partner. Your trip in France will enrich you. It will refresh you. And it will change you. And all this will be for the good. Nice trip!

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