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"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.What is essential is invisible to the eye." France has been the world's most popular tourist destination for over twenty years (83 million visits in 2012).The Mediterranean Sea laps the south of France, with the Principality of Monaco forming a small enclave.To the west, France has a long Atlantic Ocean coastline, while to the north lies the English Channel, across which lies the last of France's neighbours, England (part of the United Kingdom).
Spain and the small country of Andorra are to the south-west, across the Pyrenees mountain range.
Its cities contain some of the greatest treasures in Europe, its countryside is prosperous and well tended and it boasts dozens of major tourist attractions, like Paris, the French Riviera, the Atlantic beaches, the winter sport resorts of the French Alps, the castles of the Loire Valley, Brittany and Normandy.
France is renowned for its gastronomy (particularly wines and cheeses), history, culture and fashion.
In the Caribbean, France borders the Netherlands via the French territory of Saint-Martin which borders the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten.
Five oversea regions also form part of France: Martinique and Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, French Guiana in South America, and Reunion and Mayotte, both off the coast of Madagascar.
Mild winters and hot summers along the Mediterranean and in the southwest (the latter has lots of rain in winter).