by Nicola Williams
France seduces travellers with its unfalteringly familiar culture woven around its cafe terraces, village-square markets and lace-curtained bistros with their plat du jour chalked on the board.
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France in Europe
A varied country
France is a large country by European standards. It straddles the continent from the English Channel to the Mediterranean. In culture, diet and language it has great variety, ranging from Brittany - strongly related to Cornwall and Wales - to the distinctive Corsicans separated from mainland France on their own Mediterranean island. Visiting France gives you a choice of 22 separate districts.
Northern France has an Atlantic/North Sea climate similar to neighbouring Belgium, southern Britain and the Netherlands.
Paris, the French capital is one of Europe's most popular destinations and provides some unique experiences. France is one of the most centralized countries in Europe - the capital dominates in culture and language.
Mediterranean France - Corsica
Corsica lies out in the Mediterranean sea near Sardinia, its Italian neighbour.