Escape for the Weekend

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What to see in France? Provence; Brittany; Loire; Nice; the wrecks of German submarines in Northern France; the Graillon Marine Park, the Donator wreck, The Rubis wreck, The Togo in Southern France; Lavezzi Marine Reserve.

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What comes to your mind when you hear the word “France”? Love and romance; the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower; lavender fields of Provence and castles of Loire; sunny luxury of Nice and severe beauty of Brittany; vine and cheese; perfumes and haute couture – this bouquet of images, colours, aromas and tastes is France. This country is dream destination for many and many tourists all over the world (total amount of tourists, visited France in 2012, was 83 millions), and it deserves such a great attention. France has 37 sites inscribed in UNESCO's World Heritage List, not counting beautiful nature, world-known health resorts, hospitable sea coasts and charming villages.

France (officially the French Republic) consists of 27 regions and 101 departments. Moreover, it has five overseas collectivities (French Polynesia, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, and Wallis and Futuna), one sui generis collectivity (New Caledonia), one overseas territory (French Southern and Antarctic Lands), and one island possession in the Pacific Ocean (Clipperton Island).

France has temperate maritime climate, changing into continental inland and into subtropical in Mediterranean region. In the Alps the climate is mainly alpine.

The capital of France is Paris.

The official language is French.

The national currency is Euro and CFP franc (in the French overseas collectivities). You can exchange currency in banks, which work from 10 am to 5 pm, or in exchange offices, working till midnight. The most profitable exchange rate is in Bank de France and in exchange offices with the sign «No commission».

Transport in France

The most popular and the most convenient way of intercity communication is going by train. If you travel for a great distance, you’d better use high-speed train, such as TGV – the tickets are not cheap, but comfort and time economy are obvious. There are also suburban trains TER, Intercités and Lunea (night trains). It is better to buy train tickets in advance, especially in peak season.

Flight connection in France is highly developed. There are airports in nearly all big and medium cities. Moreover, low-cost air companies give opportunity to save money at travelling.

Diving in France

Coastal waters of France are good diving place not only for beginners, but also for experienced divers. This country offers three unique, different coasts, plenty of islands and unforgettable underwater world. France has good diving schools. Moreover, the first dive center was founded in this very country in the 1930s. All diving areas in France can be divided into three main categories:

Northern France: this region has 360-mile coastline. Diving in these areas are specifically wrecks dives. Here, at a depth of 40 meters you can see the wrecks of German submarines, and deeper, at about 60 meters there are wrecks of old-time ships. The best time for diving here is from May to September. The visibility is 5-20 meters.

Southern France

Cote d'-Azur offers pleasant pastime to all categories of divers. The underwater world will strike you by lots of beautiful corals and bright fish, sunken ships and underwater rocks. The fauna is varied – you can see moray eels, groupers, rays and octopuses, but there are no big predators. There are a lot of good dive sites here, though the best of them are situated rather deep. Many dive spots (about 150) are located near Marcel and Cassis, including the supposable place of sinking of Saint-Exupery’s airplane. The most popular dive sites are the Graillon Marine Park, the Donator wreck, The Rubis wreck, The Togo, the Liban, Aritay and Le Rela. You can dive here from May to November. The visibility is about 30 meters.


This island has about 80 dive centers and diving schools.

The most popular dive sites are

  • Lavezzi Marine Reserve
  • Near Calvi Island, where you can meet big shoals of eels and explore the wrecks of the US plane
  • Along the east coast, where you can explore an Italian ship at a depth of 34 meters
  • Near Bastia Island – here you can see the wrecks of an American fighter
  • In the bay of Porto-Vecchio divers can explore a sunken cruiser
  • Near Sagone Island there are the wrecks of a sunken fire-fighting plane.

The best time for diving lasts here from May to September. The visibility is about 30 meters.