The French wrote the book on la vie en rose and gave the world champagne and camembert, de Beauvoir and Debussy, the Tour de France and the Tour Eiffel. There's a term for their seductive lifestyle - Douce France (Sweet France) and you'll find yourself using it often.
Although the ubiquity of Levis and Le Big Mac flusters the country's cultural purists, anything from a year in Provence to a weekend in Paris will explain why half the world grows dreamy over stalking Cyrano's streets or picnicking Manet-style sur l'herbe.
This country has been synonymous with romance for longer than your grandmother cares to remember, so whether you visit Paris or the Pyrenees, the Côte d'Azur or the auberge de jeunesse, be sure to keep your fantasies in check, your expectations in line and your joie in your vivre.
Facts for the traveller
Money & Costs
Off the beaten track