Not so long ago France's principal attractions for tourists were Paris and the Riviera, and relatively few holidaymakers explored the rest of the country

Nowadays things are very different. The Mediterranean resorts still attract their devotees, but tourists now also realize how much the rest of France has to offer. Its historical monuments range from prehistoric cave paintings and drawings, Greek and Roman settlements on the Mediterranean coast, the Romanesque and Gothic churches of the medieval period and the palaces of the absolute monarchy to the buildings of the present day. And no less varied than the architecture are the landscapes of France - the rugged coasts of Brittany, the gentler shores of the Mediterranean, the wide valley of the Loire with its chateaux, the volcanic terrain of Auvergne with its extinct volcanoes, the splendors of the Alps and the Pyrenees.