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FRANCE

France makes for one of the best cultural destinations. It is also a great place to go if you are looking for a reasonable level of rugby, soccer and tennis. A 12 hour flight away, lies the beautiful sights of the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triumph, the Louvre Museum and the spectacular Notre Dame Cathedral. One thing you need to take into consideration when travelling to France is the language barrier. France is a beautiful and culturally rich country.

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VISA REQUIREMENTS

Schengen Visa is required by non-EEA nationals wishing to enter the EU for short-term stays. In general, a visa application takes about 5 – 15 working days but it should be remembered that timing and acceptance or rejection is at the discretion of the particular Schengen consulate or embassy. It is always good advice to apply well in advance.

Visa Cost: €80 plus a visa service fee of approximately R504

Compulsory Vaccinations Required: No.

Please note: Visa and vaccination information is correct at time of publish and are subject to change

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL

We recommend September – early June as the best time for sport tours. Try NOT to tour during Tour de France in June and July as it is expensive. France’s school holidays are in April, July, September and December.

AREAS TO VISIT AND THEIR MAIN ATTRACTIONS

PARIS

Paris is the world’s most popular tourist destination. Dubbed various nicknames like the City of Lights, City of Love and Capital of Fashion. The Louvre , The world’s largest and most visited art museum has more than enough material for an article of its own. Eiffel Tower, Built in time for the 1889 World’s Fair, the tower stands at 324 metres and was the tallest structure in the country until the Millau Viaduct was completed in 2004. As an attraction it hardly needs introduction.

Notre-Dame de Paris

Hands-down the most famous and beloved Gothic monument in the world, the Notre-Dame’s unmistakeable towers rise from the eastern point of the Île de la Cité in the Seine. In Paris’s Medieval core, the cathedral was begun in 1163 and completed just under 200 years later. There are many reasons to brave the crowds and see the Notre-Dame, from the peerless sculpture on the facades (including the famous gargoyles), to the rose windows, stained glass, bell (enshrined in literature by Victor Hugo) and the view that can be had from its towers.

Palace of Versailles

The largest and maybe the most famous palace in the world isn’t something to take lightly. And the main palace is only one element, along with the bewilderingly large grounds, the Royal Opera House, Grand Canal, Neptune Basin, Grand and Petit Trianon, and not to forget Marie Antoinette’s own idyllic village, the Hameau de la Reine.

Musée National d’Art Moderne, Europe’s largest modern art museum and one of the 10 most visited art museums in the world.

Arc de Triomphe

On Place de l’Etoile at the western end of the Champs-Elysées is the monumental astylar arch erected to celebrate the victories and remember the war dead of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The Arc de Triomphe is also at the centre point of the Axe Historique, a long, straight line linking monuments from La Défense in the west to the Louvre in the east.

Sacre-Coeur

At the highest point of the Butte Montmartre hill is a monument born out of a catastrophe.

Designed as a Romano-Byzantine basilica, the Sacré-Coeur is known the world over and was started in 1875 as penance for France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian War.

MONTPELLIER

Every neighbourhood is unique, illustrating 1,000 years of history.

A mix of modern and ancient architecture taking you from medieval streets to architectural feats designed by Ricardo Bofill, Jean Nouvel and Zaha Hadid…everything, in one of the 4 haute couture tram lines. Your trip to Montpellier is not complete without tickling your taste buds! The city has a total of 3 Michelin star restaurants in addition to other simpler, but equally thrilling delights; strolls through the sweet-smelling markets, Languedoc and Grés de Montpellier wines to enjoy in different restaurants or wine cellars in Montpellier, estates and follies such as the Château de Flaugergues and the Château de l’Engarran.

LYON

Lyon is France’s second city, one of France’s oldest cities, and is reputed as the gourmet capital of France. It’s large historic centre, Le Vieux Lyon, is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is the largest ensemble of Renaissance buildings in Europe.

Perhaps the best way to begin a trip to Lyon is to start at Place Bellecour, the great piazza in the city centre between the Rhône and the Saône.

The basilica Notre Dame de Fourvièrea late 19th century basilica built in shimmering white stone in the neo-Byzantine style, and very similar in this respect to the Sacré-Coeur basilica at Montmartre, in Paris.

As for the new Confluences museum of science and anthropology, it lies at the southern end of the Presqu’ile, at the point where the rivers meet – two miles as the crow flies from , or a ten minute bus ride (lines C10 or C15) from Place Bellecour.

Other interesting Lyon museums include the Textile Museum (near Place Bellecour), one of the best of its kind, the Modern Art Museum, the Lyon Cinema museum, and the Electricity museum.

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