Show me the love on Eiffel Tower

France (the French Republic) is a country in Western Europe. Capital of France is Paris. The territory of France is 547,030 sq. km (211,209 sq. mi). France borders Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain. France has access to three seas and one ocean – the Manche (British Channel), the North Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean. So, there are a lot of options for French to go for a nice relax and sunbath next to the sea. Most of the people in France are French (89% – native-born), 4,4% (naturalized), and others are from different countries. Interestingly, a lot of people in France are nonbelievers or non-religious (40% of inhabitants), 51% are Christian, 6% Muslim and a few smaller religions as well. France as we know it today was founded on July 14, 1789. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic. Nowadays there are 66,998,000 inhabitants in the territory of France.

If we talk about the economy of France, it is one of the strongest in the world. Its GDP is estimated at around $3.081 trillion (10th place in the world), GDP per capita is estimated to be $47,113. Gini coefficient could be better it is 29.3 (which is considered as low). HDI is 0.901 (which is considered as very high – 24th place in the world). The income of France has a great mix. They have a good combination of private enterprises with state enterprises. The government owns and runs most of the public services, like, railways, electricity, nuclear power and telecommunications, airline (Air France). Even if the government does not own 100% of these enterprises they have a major share in public sector companies. France is the second-largest economy in the EU by purchasing power, also France is one of the biggest agricultural producers in Europe, produces 20% of total European agriculture. Most popular products of France are wheat, poultry, dairy, beef, and port, as well as Champagne and Bordeaux wines. 

The French pension system is quite interesting. To be eligible for it you have to have a working history of 42 years (at least), then you can receive states pension. So, work hard… or you might end up with nothing. There are limits of what you can get as well. Your pensions will be 50% of your annual income that was before pension with a limit – not more than €39,732 per year. Of course, this is just a state pension, you can have some private pension funds which will increase your income, but the limit of €39 000 is not so bad anyway. France is considered as one of the best countries where to retire because income decrease in France when you retire is barely visible. You get almost the same as you earned. The average pension in France is 1450 euro per month. 

There are plenty of places to visit in France. Most beautiful are – Paris, French Riviera, Châteaux, Nice, Lyon, Marseille, Biarritz, Annecy.

Let’s see what we can expect from cities in France. I will start with the capital of France – Paris.

Of course, the most popular place to visit is the Eiffel Tower. It was built on January 28, 1887, and it consists of 18 000 sturdy iron parts and their weight is 10 000 tons. Which is impressive. Everything holds together with 2.5 million rivets. If you want to go with your feet, then the first level will be 57 m high and you will have to walk up the 360 steps, if you are not tired yet you try to get to the second level which is 115 meters high and it will 344 steps more to challenge, but there is good news, if you want to gain strength there is a restaurant on the second level – Jules Verne Restaurant. The second-biggest attraction in Paris is Musée du Louvre. It is beautiful itself, you can just walk around it enjoy architecture, but the real beauty is inside, there are hundreds of magnificent art pieces, like, Mona Lisa, Trois Glorieuses, Wedding Feast at Cana, Botticelli’s frescoes. Unfortunately, the third object is not available at this time, because it is in a renovation after the fire. Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris had a serious fire in 2019. Serious reconstruction will take place until it will be opened again. It is one of the most beautiful churches. It was founded in 1163 by King Louis IX (Saint Louis) and Bishop Maurice de Sully.

When you had a good walk to historical places and enjoyed Paris from above you should try out some of their national dishes. Most popular are Coq au vin (chicken, bacon, black pepper, mushrooms, chicken), Cassoulet (beans, pork sausage, chicken breasts), Crepe (pancakes with fruits, mostly with strawberries), Pot-au-feu (beef stew with vegetables).

Let’s move on to French Riviera. This is a great place to have a rest next to the sea. One of the top places is Promenade des Anglais in Nice. You can a good walk by the promenade, have lunch next to the Mediterranean Sea, sunbath and rest in peace. You have probably heard Saint-Tropez in a few songs? This is a great place as well. Tourists from all over the world come to this island to enjoy the sun, this is a quite small town, so it will be quieter here than in other places. There are plenty of fancy restaurants and fashion boutiques. Beach is also good, no problems to sunbath here as well. If you are a true fan of beaches you should visit Cannes Beaches (Mace Beach, Zamenhof Beach, Gazagnaire Beach, La Casino Beach, Bocca Beach, Moure Rouge Beach). Most of these beaches have parasols and lounge chairs for rent. In high season there are lifeguards as well. You will not be disappointed in these beaches. 

Next place to stop in France is Châteaux (also known as Loire Valley). There are a lot of great castles in this area. First worth noting is Château de Chambord. It is located on the left bank of the Loire River. It was built in 16th century for King Francis I. Number of rooms is impressive – 440 rooms. Next, to the property, we can find 5 500 hectares of parkland, most of that is pristine forests (4/5). The next beauty is Château de Chenonceau. When Thomas Bohier purchased this castle in 1512 his wife Catherine Briçonnet renovated this castle. One of the interesting parts of this building is its arched bridge that crosses the Cher River. It seems that this castle is floating, but it is not true. Castle itself is located in the land. Also, I would like to mention a bit smaller castle – Azay-le-Rideau. It was built in the 16h century by a wealthy financier. It a nice fairy tale style building with a beautiful flower garden. I think this castle speaks about itself, just see the pictures of it.

So… Where could we go further? I would say that Lyon is a good place. You should see its old town – Vieille Ville. The old town is also known as “Babazouk”. It is covered with large boulevards, one of them is Jardin Albert I boulevard. There are plenty of historical buildings in the town, like, Palais de la Préfecture, Nice Cathedral, Baroque church, Palais Lascaris (Rue Droite). One more interesting place in Nice is Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain. There are interesting art pieces, like, Pop Art, American Abstracts and Minimalists from the 1960s and 1970s. Museum was opened in 1990. 

Of course, there is Marseille as well. If you are visiting France you should come here as well. Port of Marseille is active for 2600 years, you will find a lot of warehouses from the 18th century when you will visit the port. Of course, there are some new industrial docks as well. You can see a lot of beautiful yachts in the port. Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde – is located 150 meters above the water. It has been a religious sanctuary for centuries. If you want you can climb till the church, but in the summer, it can be a bit difficult. There is a train as well which will bring you up from the port to church. MuCEM is one of the latest architectural pieces of art. It was built in 2013 and is located next to the 17th century Fort de Saint-Jean. You should see how they connected modern tendencies of architecture with historical buildings next to it. This is a very interesting combination, there are not a lot of places where you can experience something like this!

Biarritz is a city next to the Bay of Biscay. It is considered as a sea resort where to rest from the big city buzz. A great place is Rocher de la Vierge. It is a wooden bridge which connects a huge rock with a mainland. In the 19th century, the rock was used as a whale-watching place, then it was connected to the mainland and opened for tourists. On top of the rock, we can find a statue of the virgin. La Côte des Basques become popular in 1957 when American writer Peter Viertel filmed a movie here. Everyone wanted to see this beautiful beach afterward. It can be seen in The Sun Also Rises movie. It is also good for surfers.  Casino Municipal located right next to the beach, but if you want to go inside you have to be dressed, they have quite strict rules about that. It was built in 1929 and still operates. In spite in its name you can see a word Casino, it is not a Casino anymore, but you can experience how the building was set up in the 1930s. Most of the furniture is from those years. When you enter the building, you will be thrown a lot of years back.

Finally, the last city I will mention in this story is Annecy, it is located next to the lake – Lac d’Annecy. View from the city to the lake will remind you about the postcards. The look is just amazing. Water in the lake is very clean. You see thru the water. From the city you can see the opposite side of the lake with the huge centennial trees, the air in this city is very clean as well. To the left, you can find the Imperial Palace gardens. This is a perfect place to renew energy before going back home or before going to a big and noisy city. You can also rent a bike for a ride around the lake. If you want a bit adrenalin you can go for a paraglide ride from the nearby mountains. 

What else do you need after a good relax? Yes! Of course! Some girls in your hotel room. Let’s talk about call girls in France. The situation with escorts in France is interesting because around half of the prostitutes are local girls, the other half is a mix of foreigners. They come from all around the world (Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, Japan, Baltics). There are a lot of girls that come to France to rest for the summer and they provide services as you need only in the summer, while they are having fun on the beach in the meantime. And… is it legal to buy sex in France? Yes and no. There is one catch – if you will get caught by the police that you are paying for sex you can get a fine which is 1500 Euro if it will be more than once, fine will go up to anywhere till 3750 Euro. Brothels in France are illegal. So, I would not suggest finding a girl on the street, it can be risky. No one can prove what you are doing in your hotel room, so in-call girls will be the best choice. You can get a good girl from 18-22 for around 100-150 euro for an hour. Premium girls or pornstars will cost you around 400 euro per hour.

If you still want to visit strip clubs or brothels in France, here are some suggestions, but we can’t guarantee that it is safe there, so think about it good before you go there. 

Rue Saint-Denis – it is a street from Boulevard de Bonne-Nouvelle and Rue de Rivoli. There are a lot of girls on the street and they will ask you to come in the club, but be aware, that entrance will be from 30-70 euro and girl that invites you will go away, so there might be a bit uglier girls inside. Don’t expect much here. 

Pigalle is a center for sex shops, strip clubs, etc. You can enter any strip club, for a fee of 20 euro, usually, you will get a free drink for that. But be aware that girls in the club will try to trick you to buy drinks for them, drinks will cost anywhere from 30-100 euros. 

Most of the places in France as masked as strip clubs and girls will be on the street next to sex shops. You can’t find public brothels here as in any other European cities. Law since 2016 is quite strict about that.