All these people come to France for many a reason: its cities contain some of the greatest treasures on the continent, its countryside is prosperous and well-tended and it boasts dozens of major tourist attractions.
France is one of the most geographically diverse countries in Europe, containing areas as different from each other as urban chic Paris, the sunny French Riviera, long Atlantic beaches, the winter sports resorts of the French Alps, the castles of the Loire Valley, rugged Celtic Brittany and the historian's dream that is Normandy.
the Alps in winter, Paris in the springtime), but in general terms spring and autumn offer the ideal mix of decent weather throughout most of the country and a quieter tourist season.
Whatever you want from a holiday, you're about to find it in France.
"Metropolitan France" comprises the 12 administrative regions (French: régions) on the mainland plus Corsica, or in other words all French territory within Europe.
The Rhône Valley graduates from this to the warmer south, though the whole region experiences a strong, cold, dry, north-to-northwesterly wind known as the mistral.
The Mediterranean (Languedoc-Roussillon, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Corsica) enjoys short, mild winters and long, hot summers with high sunshine hours all year round.
This large expanse of easy land, coupled with the damn near perfect climate, is what makes France's agriculture so rich and productive.