The regions of France are shaped by its past, along with its varied climate and geography. Heritage and art are carefully preserved. Architecture and food have been affected by a diverse landscape—from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea, from the Alps to the Pyrenees Mountains—as well as by the neighboring countries sharing its borders that France has been both influenced by and at odds with over the centuries.
A variety of styles and examples of architecture—stone palaces and cathedrals, half-timbered cottages, iron towers, clay-tiled roofs—fill the cities and dot the landscape. With an extensive history, the influence of its neighbors—British along the North Sea, Dutch and German to the east, Basque and Spanish along the Pyrenees, Swiss along the Alps, Italians along the eastern Mediterranean, and an historical Roman presence—has created culturally enriched diversity felt within each distinct region in France.
French gastronomy is integral to the culture. Appreciation for food and wine is a national pastime. Quality is the standard. Fresh, local ingredients are essential to the recipes derived from farmers, fishermen, grandmothers and chefs alike, then are prepared with heart. The terroir, complete natural environment, contributes to the taste and flavor, further elevating French cuisine.
Departments and Regions of France
Paris, Versailles, Vaux-le-Vicompte, Fontainebleau, fashion, gastronomy, Eiffel Tower, Sacre Cœur, Giverny
♦ Northeastern France
Grand Est (Champagne-Ardenne – Lorraine – Alsace) – Franche-Comté:
Reims, Strasbourg, canal center, cheese, wine, champagne
♦ Great West
Pays de la Loire – Bretagne (Brittany):
Nantes, Loire-Atlantique, Saint-Nazaire, Le Mans, Rennes, Brest, seafarers, crêpes, Breton culture, Saint-Malo
♦ Southwestern France
Aquitaine – Midi-Pyrénées:
Bordeaux, Toulouse, Bayonne, Basque Region, wine, Roman history, terracotta brick
♦ Northern France
Haut-de-France (Nord-Pas de Calais – Picardie) – Normandie:
Lille, Rouen, Caen, Le Havre, Côte d’Opale, Mont Saint-Michel
♦ Central France
Centre-Val de Loire – Bourgogne (Burgundy) – Poitou-Charentes – Limousin – Auvergne:
Dijon, Tours, Orléans, Loire Valley, Bourges, Clermont-Ferrand, Limoges, Châteaux de la Loire
♦ Southeastern France
Rhône-Alpes – Languedoc-Roussillon – Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur – Corse (Corsica):
Lyon, Vienne, Chambery, Grenoble, Nîmes, Montpellier, Avignon, Arles, Aix-en-Provence, Nice, Cannes, Marseille, Avignon, French Riviera, Mediterranean Sea, Roman history, gastronomy, French Alps, Gorges de l’Ardèche