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France - Leisure and Entertainment
Theatre in France is also becoming increasingly popular. There are very different types of theatres in the country from large theatres in the capital and the major cities to the small regional playhouses that are developing in smaller towns. Avignon has a world-famous theatre festival every year and it is estimated that there are more than 1000 theatre companies in the country.
France is very proud of its heritage and with this in mind has established more than 1200 museums of all shapes and sizes around the country. More than 41 million people are thought to visit at least one of the country’s museums each year. Some of the most famous are located in Paris. These include the Louvre, where it is said that in order to see everything you would need to spend several days there and the palace at Versailles which gives the visitor a good idea of how the aristocracy in France used to live. The Musee d’Orsay is home to some of the country’s most valuable works of art. There are chateaux and other buildings in all regions which are considered to be of historical significance and which are protected by the government. In Paris the Eiffel Tower is one of the most visited monuments as are the cathedrals of Notre-Dame and Sacre-Coeur. Many of the buildings which line the Seine are of historical significance and date back hundreds of years. There are regular heritage days which give visitors the chance to explore buildings which are not normally open to the public.
France is home to a number of festivals throughout the year, from music to literature events. Each year there is a Science week, where members of the public can learn more about the developments in the science world and how it is going to affect their future. There is an annual literature festival called Lire en Fête where you can meet writers, attend workshops, enter competitions and generally learn about the latest publications in the literary world. The most famous festival in France is the Cannes Film Festival which is considered to be one of the most prestigious events in the world and celebrates cinema from many countries. Music is not forgotten and many visitors come from around the world to the Nice Jazz Festival each summer. The festival is marked by daily concerts in a variety of locations.
There are 11 national holidays in France. One of the main ones is Bastille Day which commemorates the storming of the Bastille at the beginning of the French Revolution. This is celebrated on the 14th July each year and all businesses close. Armistice Day on 11th November became a national holiday after the end of the First World War. There are several days during May which see everything closed and you may find that some businesses and visitor attractions will close for several days in a row. Other national holidays include New Year’s Day, Christmas and All Saints Day.
France is famous for its cafe culture and many people prefer to spend an evening in a cafe with their friends rather than go to a bar or nightclub. The cafes have a relaxed atmosphere and many have tables on the pavements. The cafes serve drinks and snacks and many are licensed to serve alcohol. France has put into place a ban on smokin gin public places. This inlcudes bars, cafes, visitor attractions and public transport. There are usually designated smoking areas for patrons of restaurants.
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