FRANCE SANS FRONTIERES: The Complete Guide to France Sans Frontieres ; Twelve Million Brits Holiday in France Every Year, but If You'd Prefer Your Morning Croissant under a Palm Tree Instead, Why Not Try One of Its Exotic Territories? It's France, Jacques, but Not as We Know It. by Lisa Aldwinckle, Rhiannon Batten, Simon Calder and Ben Dirs
Lisa Aldwinckle, Rhiannon Batten, Simon Calder and Ben Dirs, The Independent (London, England)
WHERE DOES FRANCE END?
Technically, not where you'd expect. There is a lot more to the nation than l'hexagone, as the mainland is called (look at its six- sided shape and you'll see why). There are little specks of France dotted all around the globe, most of them in spectacular settings. Try Tahiti, New Caledonia and Wallis & Futuna in the South Pacific; Mayotte and Reunion in the Indian Ocean; French Guiana in South America; Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean; Saint-Pierre & Miquelon, just off the coast of Newfoundland; and, of course, the Southern and Antarctic Territories. And some people still think, wrongly, that the island of Corsica is part of Italy. However far you travel you can usually find a corner of the world where the croissants are crispy, the fromage is fresh and the franc is the favoured currency.
BUT ARE THEY ACTUALLY PART OF FRANCE?
Yes - and no. Most of these territories were colonised from the 17th century onwards, usually targeted for their natural resources and useful trading positions. Some, such as New Caledonia and French Guiana, were chosen for their remoteness and lack of resources, and used as penal colonies.
Over the following centuries, France's role in these locations has varied. French Guiana, Reunion, Martinique and Guadeloupe became Overseas Departments in 1946, effectively making them far-flung extensions of metropolitan France, whereas other places, such as New Caledonia, remain Overseas Territories. In those cases, mainland France exerts the power of sovereignty but local affairs are managed by an elected Assembly. The status of Mayotte, and Saint-Pierre & Miquelon, "Collectivites Territoriales", lies somewhere between the two. But you can definitely get brie and baguettes there.
IS THE RED TAPE THE SAME AS FOR MAINLAND FRANCE?
Largely. French nationals can come and go as they please within these territories but UK citizens will need to show a passport even when flying from Paris, France to Guadeloupe, France. The Overseas Departments are legally part of the European Community but non- French EC citizens must still present their passports on arrival and stay only for a maximum of three months, without a visa. The same rules apply for Overseas Territories and Collectivites Territoriales.
HOW GEARED UP TO TOURISM ARE THE ISLANDS?
Many of France's ex-colonies are extremely beautiful. Often, they rely on their looks, and the tourism that results, for a great deal of their income. Tahiti, for example, is the largest island in French Polynesia. It has several stylish resorts and is renowned for its surfing. For something a bit different, Explore Worldwide (01252 760000, www.explore.co.uk) offers 25-day Tall Ship voyages from Tahiti to the Cook Islands, for pounds 2695 per person, all inclusive. New Caledonia is a good option for divers. Dive Worldwide (01243 870618) offers tailor-made trips there from around pounds 2,350 per person, including flights, accommodation, a stopover in Brisbane and 18 dives.
A little closer to mainland France, Corsican Places (01903 748180, www.corsica.co.uk), offers two week packages to Corsica from around pounds 420 per person including flights, self-catering accommodation and car hire.
Martinique and Guadeloupe are popular package tour destinations, with good beaches and excellent watersport facilities. Club Med (0700 258 2633, www.clubmed.com) is a good starting point for these islands, offering all-inclusive trips from around pounds 1,750 per person for two weeks. Specialist Caribbean operators also run packages here. These include Trips Worldwide (0117 311 4402, www.tripsworldwide.co.uk), which offers two week stays in Guadeloupe from pounds 1,090 per person, including flights, accommodation and car hire.
French Guiana's lack of good beaches counts against it, as do its primitive infrastructure and the …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: FRANCE SANS FRONTIERES: The Complete Guide to France Sans Frontieres ; Twelve Million Brits Holiday in France Every Year, but If You'd Prefer Your Morning Croissant under a Palm Tree Instead, Why Not Try One of Its Exotic Territories? It's France, Jacques, but Not as We Know It. by Lisa Aldwinckle, Rhiannon Batten, Simon Calder and Ben Dirs. Contributors: Lisa Aldwinckle, Rhiannon Batten, Simon Calder and Ben Dirs - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: November 25, 2000. Page number: 2,3. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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