More than two decades after hosting the 1998 FIFA World Cup™, France will again provide a stage for some of football’s biggest stars, but this time it will be the planet’s greatest female players showcasing their skills. For those lucky fans making their way to the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™, here are five must-see attractions to take in while you’re there.
*From 'City of Lights' to 'City of Love', and not forgetting 'Fashion Capital of the World' and 'Centre of the Gastronomic Universe', Paris could be summed up by its nicknames alone, especially the one that transcends the rest: 'Most Beautiful City in the World'. While this is a claim that is obviously difficult to prove, Paris has certainly managed – by way of its monuments, restaurants, museums, neighbourhoods and cultural attractions – to enthral residents and visitors for centuries now. What are you most looking forward to visiting in the French capital?
Author Stephen Liegeard, who coined the term 'Côte d’Azur' in 1881, claimed that the famous coastline stretched from Marseille to Genoa, in Italy. Irrespective of its disputed boundaries, the French Riviera’s hundreds of kilometres of stunning beaches, busy resorts, idyllic islands, picturesque ports (including the world-renowned Saint-Tropez), and looming Alpine backdrops attract countless tourists every year, but you should still be able to find a quiet spot in the shade to relax and admire the view.
*A rocky island with a circumference of 960 metres, Mont Saint-Michel is located at the mouth of the Couesnon River in the Manche department, and is one of France’s most recognisable landmarks. Standing 150 metres tall – including the abbey built at the summit and the statue of Archangel Michael positioned on its spire – and surrounded by huge sandy plains, it is classified as a historical monument and is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Mont Saint-Michel is regarded as a must-see stop-off due to its abbey, restaurants, and astonishing view of the bay, and if a Women’s World Cup match in the west of France is on your agenda in 2019, it would be well worth the detour. When the tide comes in – “at the speed of a galloping horse”, as the locals like to say – the site transforms into an eye-catching island once again.
*Located in a suburb to the south-west of Paris, what was originally meant to be a simple hunting lodge when it was built by Louis XIII at the beginning of the 17th century eventually became one of the most stunning structures in the world. It was Louis XIV who decided to turn the building into a sublime official residence for the Kings of France, replacing the Louvre Palace, and he did not exactly skimp on the resources required for such a transformation. In and of itself, the Palace of Versailles is worth a day of your time while you are visiting France, but the formal gardens, designed by Andre Le Notre, the Orangerie, the Lake of the Swiss Guard, the Neptune Fountain, the Queen’s Hamlet, the Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon all give the site an added sprinkle of splendour.
*In France, taking pleasure in food is as important, if not more important, than taking pleasure in all other forms of art and culture. The French love to eat, and to eat well, and for centuries now cuisine has played an important role in French society and in the image that France enjoys abroad. Great chefs are regarded more as artists than simple cooks, and French culinary heritage is so extensive that it would be almost impossible to put together an exhaustive list. The not-to-be-missed highlights of French cuisine include foie gras, truffles, seafood (each coastal region has developed its own way of preparing it), and the countless number of different cheeses, breads and pastries that you can sample throughout your stay. And no matter what meal ends up on your plate, you’ll always find an excellent wine with which to pair it.