Things to Do in France
Mais, oui! There is more to France than stopping by the Eiffel Tower. Don't limit a trip solely to Paris, worthy as it is, when the entire country has so much going for it. Geographically and demographically, France has great diversity to offer the intrepid soul who is willing to see more than what the average visitor might.
Shopping in Paris
C'est cher, non? The shopping capital of the world begs for the attention of tourists the world over. Avenue Montaigne displays all the major designers including Gucci, Hermes, Yves Saint-Laurent and Fauborg Saint-Honore. If you like to eat, there are two well-known stops to choose from in the midst of your shopping. The Place de Madeleine is the location for both Fauchon and Hediard in the 8th arrondissement. For scent shopping, head to the 9th arrondissement near the Opera House.
The Land of D'Artagnan
Southwest France was the birthplace of one of literature's most beloved heros: D'Artagnan, of The Three Musketeers. The character was very loosely based on a real person by the name of Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan. This man was born in the town of Lupiac, in the same region. The region of Gascony was a province before the French Revolution (and originally home to a Basque related people). This area is still the most rural and unpopulated in France and is bordered to the south by the Pyrennes Range. Historically, this land was once part of Gaul and nowadays is famous for its quaint medieval towns.
Though most people think of champagne solely as a drink, the name actually refers to a region of northeastern France. This region is where all the champagne from France is produced. Any sparkling wine produced outside this area of the country cannot legally share the name "champagne." When visiting wineries in this region, seek out labels that have the designation "RM" on the lower side of the label, usually in very small font. "RM" stands for "Recoltant-Manipulant" and means that champagne was grown, bottled and sold by the same grower. This often means a higher-quality bottle, though not necessarily at a high quality price.
Claire Taylor is a health, wellness and travel writer with credits in publications such as "Woman's Day," "Marie Claire," "Adirondack Life" and "Self." Taylor is also a seasoned independent traveler, as well as a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant.