Archive for January, 2015

7 World Heritage Sites that You Should Visit on Your Trip to France

Posted on January 26th, 2015 by Dusty Fox in Uncategorized | No Comments »

To many, France is the land of chic cafes, world-class art, and an undeniable presence of love in the air. But what lots of people don’t realize is that it is full of World Heritage Sites as well. In fact, there are some 39 World Heritage Sites, and nearly the same number of properties that have been submitted to the tentative list. Of these, there are 35 cultural attractions, 3 natural attractions, and 1 mixed. You can’t go wrong with visiting any of these incredible destinations, but here are 7 of my top picks for France’s most impressive World Heritage Sites:

Lascaux Cave Painting [Photo Credit: HTO, Public Domain]

Lascaux Cave Painting [Photo Credit: HTO, Public Domain]

Prehistoric Sites and Decorated Caves of the Vézère Valley – The valley is home to 25 caves and nearly 150 total sites that have been recorded for their archeological importance. The noteworthy Lascaux Cave has a brightly colored hunting mural that depicts over 100 animals in great detail.

Palace and Park of Versailles – Lavish gardens and water fountains are just two of the features at this grandiose property that was home to France’s royal families for many years. The Palace is open to visitors daily and hosts rotating exhibitions, like the current one titled, “The 18h Century, the Origins of Design.”

Lagoons of New Caledonia – The world’s third largest population of manatees resides in the waters off New Caledonia, along with turtles, whales, and other threatened marine species. The coral reefs and ecosystems here are considered some of the most extensive on the planet.

Amiens Cathedral [Photo Credit: Dag Nilsen, Creative Commons 3.0]

Amiens Cathedral [Photo Credit: Dag Nilsen, Creative Commons 3.0]

Amiens Cathedral – Dating back some 700+ years, the Amiens Cathedral has a distinguishable Gothic design that makes an immediate impact on visitors. The original building was destroyed by a fire in 1218, and a rivalry among neighboring cities led to the creation of this stunning cathedral in Picardy.

The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes – The river Loire is in itself a beautiful attraction, and it adds noticeable charm to the historical towns it runs along, like Chinon, Saumur, and Blois. The Château de Chambord may be the area’s most famous attraction.

Lyon [Photo Credit: Jack, Creative Commons 3.0]

Lyon [Photo Credit: Jack, Creative Commons 3.0]

Historic Site of Lyon – Since being founded in 1 B.C., Lyon has continued to be relevant in European affairs, which means the city is rich with architectural designs that reflect the changing trends of the last 2,000 years. It is a visual feast for anyone who enjoys architecture.

Gulf of Port: Calanche of Piana, Gulf of Girolata, Scandola Reserve – This nature reserve is located on the island of Corsica, within the Regional Natural Park of Corsica. The scrubland vegetation and dramatic white- and red-colored rock cliffs are set against clear ocean waters that is home to abundant wildlife.

If you’re planning a trip to France, don’t forget to study the language before you go. It will help you immensely as you travel around the country, exploring its many centuries-old attractions like those listed here. Contact us to learn more about small group lessons, online courses, and even self study options. We look forward to hearing from you!

10 Interesting Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About France and the French Language

Posted on January 12th, 2015 by Dusty Fox in Uncategorized | No Comments »

If someone were to ask you what you know about France, you might have no trouble listing off a slew of facts and data. Some would be based on its geography, others on its cuisine, others related to the country’s famous landmarks. But despite being the most visited country in the world, there are lots of lesser known facts related to its cultural attractions, customs, and language. Here are just 10 interesting facts you may not have known about France:

1) Five overseas departments and regions are part of France. These include French Guiana, located in South America; Guadeloupe, a cluster of Caribbean islands; Réunion, a small island in the Indian Ocean; Martinique, a Caribbean island; and Mayotte, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean.

2) Mainland France borders eight other European countries, including Spain, Monaco, Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Andorra.

3) French people kiss each other on the cheeks up to 4 or 5 times as a greeting! This varies greatly depending on where you are in France.

Mona Lisa (Public Domain)

Mona Lisa (Public Domain)

4) The Louvre is home to one of the world’s most famous paintings, the Mona Lisa, and is the most visited art museum on the planet.

5)  France is home to 39 World Heritage Sites, including 3 that are natural attractions, 35 cultural attractions, and 1 mixed.

6) The French that is spoken in Quebec, Canada is a different dialect than that spoken in mainland French and can be confusing to French people.

7) France follows daylight savings time, just like the U.S. They shift the time one hour forward on the last Sunday in March each year and shift it back on the last Sunday in October.

8) Starting in the late 1800s, seaside destinations throughout France were renamed with romantic and exotic sounding names. Ruby Coast, Azure Coast, Opal Coast, and Emerald Coast are a few of these popular destinations.

9) France is home to Europe’s largest canyon, Verdon Gorge.

Réunion [Photo Credit: B.navez, GNU Free Documentation]

Réunion [Photo Credit: B.navez, GNU Free Documentation]

10) France has the record for most precipitation in a 24-hour period–but, not mainland France. The island of Réunion received over 73 inches of rainfall in a 24-hour period in 1966 and holds this record.

And did you know that French is the second most studied language in the world? If you’re ready to join the estimated 400 million people who study or speak French as an adopted language, be sure to contact us!