A Guide to France

France is a country rich with history. From the caves of Lascaux to the Loire Valley châteaux, in each region you'll witness the depths of France's past.

In France, there are three meals a day. Breakfast, generally served from around 7:00 am to 9:00 am, consists of a hot drink (coffee, tea, or chocolate), croissants and/or bread, butter and jam.

Lunch, between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm, is typically a real feast, usually consisting of a starter, main course and (often) a dessert. It is usually finished off with an espresso coffee.

A snack (around 4:00 pm) is traditionally reserved for children, although some adults take this as an opportunity to enjoy tea and cakes.

Finally, dinner starts around 8:00 pm. It usually lasts longer than in the US, (1-2 hours), and consists of an appetizer, an entree and a dessert.

In France you will find all sorts of restaurants, from simple and cozy to fancy and gourmet, and of course everything in between: brasseries, inns and tearooms.

In restaurants, bread and carafes of water are included in the price shown, as are all service charges. However, it is customary to leave a small tip on the table.

France has the benefit of a temperate, agreeable climate.

Continental France is divided into four climatic zones:

* Oceanic (Atlantic) - Average precipitation with cool summers;
* Continental (central and eastern) - Harsh winters and hot summers;
* Mountain (below 600-800 meters altitude) - High preciptation (snow 3-6 months out of the year)
* Mediterranean (southeastern) - Mild winters and very hot summers; the majority of precipitation from October to April.

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