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Reasons to love France – from A to Z

French 2cv drawing

A is for Art and Artists – Monet, Cezanne, Rodin, Renoir, Gaugin, Matisse –okay I’m going to stop there because I think I might have to do an A to Z just for French artists! Even today art in France is thriving and fabulous like the work of Perry Taylor, an expat inspired by every day life. Arc de Triomphe, the French Alps, Andre Le Notre

B is for Bread. I probably don’t need to say much more… baguettes! Monsieur BibendumBeynac, Burgundy, Brittany, berets, Bastille Day

French bread

C is for Chocolate. Enough said… oh not it’s not… cheese, though it does come up again under R… Cannes, Champagne, the drink and the region, Corsica, cakes like Charles Quint’s Fingers, Charles Trenet, cafés, Colmar, Christmas markets, Coco Chanel, croissants…

D is for Disneyland Paris. It’s the most popular tourist destination in France – more than 15 million people a year visit and there’s a reason for that – its great! Dordogne, Dijon and Alexander Dumas, denim and beautiful doors…

Chateau Gudanes

E is for Eiffel Tower – iconic Paris landmark that nearly never got made and nearly got destroyed. Eze, Edith Piaf, Escoffier and expats who buy abandoned chateaux and restore them

F is for Flea markets, a way of life in France – brocantes, vide greniers, marche au puces and the biggest flea market in Europe – the 10,000 stall Braderie of Lille! French Riviera and Fabergé

G is for Gastronomy – with the most Michelin starred restaurants of any country in the world, France gave us French cuisine. Gerard Depardieu, garlic and Galette des Rois cakes…

H is for History – oozes from the pores of Paris, from Chateau walls, from Mediterranean sea ports, from towns and villages throughout France – inescapable and fascinating. Hermès and Honoré de Balzac

I is for Ile de Re – gorgeous little island of mellow colours, chic shops and wonderful restaurants.

J is for Je T’aime… a song, a phrase and a feeling and joie de vivre

K is for Kiosque – those wonderful little Parisian towers that you would recognise anywhere in the world and the world Kite Festival in tiny Berck-sur-Mer!

L is for Louvre – the most visited museum in the world and a former Royal Palace… and now there are two – yes, a new wing has opened in Lens, northern France. Lille, lavender fields

markets in france

M is for Mont st Michel – an amazing church atop a pointed island filled with medieval streets, buildings and tourist shops – but it’s awesome. Montmartre, markets, macarons, the Mona Lisa…

N is for Napoleon, one of the most legendary figures of French history whose influence is still keenly felt almost two centuries after his death. Napoleonic law still stands in many areas from inheritance to property laws. Nice, Narbonne…

French onion soup

O is for Onion soup – one of the most famous soups from France – allegedly invented in the 17th Century in Paris. The Opal Coast

P is for Provence and Paris of course. Picardie and peculiar rules like a law requiring men to wear skinny briefs in public pools!

Q is for Queen Marie Antoinette – the most legendary Queen of France who came from Austria!

R is for Rouquefort and other great cheeses, General de Gaulle famously said “how can one rule a country that has so many cheeses?”

French snails in garlic

S is for snails – 40,000 tonnes of escargot are consumed in France every year. Strasbourg, Séte, sunflowers, style – its everywhere from 2CVs to the Renault Estafette van

T is for Tour de France – the greatest sporting event on the planet (according to most people in France!). Le Train Bleu station restaurant (Gare de Lyon)…

U is for Unrealistic dreams but having them anyway – expats in France! We buy old houses and do them up while our French neighbours chuckle at our crazy exploits…

trains decorated in Versailles style

V is for Versailles – one of the most beautiful chateaux ever to be built and trains decorated in the style of Versailles! Vaux le Vicomte, Valencay, Louis Vuitton, Victor Hugo and Jules Verne

W is for Wine – red, white, rosé and yellow. Windows

X is for Xmas – French Christmas markets are fabulous…

Y is for yellow mimosa – okay I know it’s a bit tenuous – but it is yellow and we do love it – it heralds the arrival of spring in the south…

Z is for Zoos in chateaux – what a perfect pairing – like this one at Chateau Thoiry

If you can think of any more reasons to love France – pop your suggestions on our Timeline at Facebook and the list will be updated!

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