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Being in France is a good opportunity to enjoy French culture. There are a lot of thing to see, from “une revue” at the Moulin Rouge, to “une pièce de théâtre” or “un match de football” (a soccer game).
Pigalle by night is a place often on the schedule of any tour operator. This is where you’ll find the Moulin Rouge, the mythic place “immortalisé” (immortalized) in the famous eponym movie. It’s a cabaret, so you will be appointed a table, where you will be served lunch while watching the show of “les danceuses” (dancers) and “les artistes” (performers). Make a booking in advance, because “la file d’attente” (waiting line) can be very long and you will often end up missing the show. Furthermore, even if Pigalle is heavily secured by police forces, it’s not that secure late in the night, and it’s not a place to just walk around.
If you want to enjoy culture, France is full of “musées” (museums). Those in Paris are generally big and cover a lot of different subject form modern art to French or Mayan History. In the smaller towns, the museums cover regional activities or subject, and are quite smaller. But in the countryside you can find many “chateaux” (castels). In the southwest of France, you can find Medieval castles, with fortifications and heavy walls. In Paris or “le long de la Loire” (along the Loire), you can find Renaissance castles, which were dedicated to be living places more than war stronghold. Basically, there are many types of castles, depending of the era it was built.
If you want to experience something “de plus vivant” (more vivid), you there are many events organized all around France, mainly in summer. For example, on the night of the equinox, marking the beginning of summer, all the French towns organize “La fête de la musique” (music’s festival). Basically, the streets are offered to musicians, amateurs and pros alike, and free concerts are offered to anyone passing by. It’s a very popular event, and many people hang out all night going from place to place to find the style of music they like.
In addition, there are many free festivals, or “des feux d’artifices” (pyrotechnics). For example, in Lyon, there is “La fête des lumières” (light’s festival) where the building façade are lighten up by lights artists. Small towns all have their own special festival and bal, some being based on wine or special countryside product, like “Le Beaujolais”, or “La fête du vin” (wine’s festival) in Bordeaux.
If you are a fan of sports, you can go to “un stade” (a stadium) to see “un match” (a game). The more popular is “football” (soccer). The stadiums are quite big, and the experience is sometimes unique. If you choose to go “voir un match de foot”, choose “la tribune de face” and not “le virage” where all the supporters, sometimes drunk, go and where something might happen. There are many other important sports event, like Roland Garros. Generaly, you’ll have to make booking quite early for the “quart de finale” (quarter final) or the “demi finale” (semi final).
If you love French cinema, or French theatre, you will be pleased. Prices are generally reasonable, especially for theater play, and you can often go at the last minute. Foreign movies are generally diffused in VOST (original audio version with subtitles) so any Hollywood movie will be in English.
If you are a gambler, there are casinos in France. But, except for the casinos based in Monte Carlo, they are not as near as attractive as the Americans ones. “La commission” (the rake) is huge and not worth playing.
The Last, but not the least, are the very know sites like La Tour Eiffel or Le Louvre. Les monuments historiques are easy to find, but generally crowded and expensive. For alternatives, or less know places, always go to “L’office du Tourisme” of the city you are staying in. There are a lot of ancient, and sometimes new wonders (like Le Viaduc de Millau) to see and enjoy.
You’ll have a lot of things to do, sites to visit, and panorama to enjoy, so wherever you go in France, your stay will never get boring. Amusez vous bien !
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