Overview for France
Away from the towns and villages, there's the France of quiet country lanes and upland trails, best explored on a cycling or walking holiday. You'll find wild flowers and butterflies in profusion, picturesque old farm buildings, sleepy villages and ancient churches.
When to go:
Spring offers the best weather to visitors, with beach tourism picking up in May. Temperatures aren't too bad in autumn, although the short days mean limited sunlight and the cold starts to make itself felt towards the end of the season, even along the Côte d'Azur.
Winter means playing in the snow in France's Alps and Pyrenees, though the Christmas school holidays send hordes of tadpoles in uniform scurrying for the slopes. Mid-July through to the end of August is when most city dwellers take their annual five weeks' vacation to the coasts and mountains, and the half-desolate cities tend to shut down a bit accordingly. The same happens during February and March.