An intriguing country, France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. Here you will find 37 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and cities of high cultural interest, beaches and seaside resorts, ski resorts and rural regions. It is no wonder that France is ranked the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Throughout its long history, France has produced many influential artists, thinkers, and scientists, and remains a prominent global center of culture. French cuisine is renowned for being one of the finest in the world. Fashion has been an important industry and cultural export of France since the 17th century, and modern “haute couture” originated in Paris. Boasting over 200 remarkable gardens classified by the French Ministry of Culture, there are also countless small and picturesque villages throughout the country. Paris, the number one destination in France, has some of the world’s largest and renowned museums, including the Louvre, which is the most visited art museum in the world. The French Riviera (or Côte d’Azur), in south-east France, is the second leading tourist destination in the country. It benefits from 300 days of sunshine per year, 71 miles of coastline and beaches, 18 golf courses, 14 ski resorts and 3,000 restaurants. Another major destination are the Châteaux of the Loire Valley, known for architectural heritage in its historic towns, but in particular its castles dotting the region with grandeur and images of life 200 years ago.