Ahh yes, France; gay Paree. Love is always in the air when you visit France. The land of great wine, great food, bad beer, bad armies, bad waiters, Irma La Douce, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
If you are traveling from the US, there are direct flights via Air France from New York to Paris-or you can fly one of the lousy American carriers. If you are coming from one of the former French colonies, like Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Cameroon etc, you can just demand free passage, plus welfare, free rent and a free apartment in one of the lovely French banlieus (suburbs). Just show up at the airport, commandeer a car, kill the driver, and settle into your free apartment. Others have to hop a taxi and pay for a hotel.
The best season to go.
That would be right now, fresh off the great military victory in Libya, the first war France has won since Napoleon's army was shooting bullet holes in the Sphinx. To celebrate, you should visit his tomb in Paris. If you get close enough, you may hear him laughing about the Libyan campaign.
Speaking of tombs, don't forget to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Collaborator.
But don't think that France is just about great military victories, veal cordon bleu, cheese, and Chateau LaFoof wine 1935. There is great technology.
(To say nothing of French vanilla, the French horn and the French kiss)
A history of great political leaders. (I even have a couple of portraits.)
King Louis I
King Louis II
King Louis III
King Louis IV
King Louis V
King Louis VI
King Louis VII
King Louis VIII
King Louis IX
King Louis X
King Louis XI
King Louis XII
King Louis XIII
King Louis XIV (below)
King Louis XV
King Louis XVI (below)
And don't forget Pierre Laval, Charles (The Humble) de Gaulle, Georges Pompidou, Francois Mitterrand, Jacques Chirac and Jerry Lewis.
Places to Visit
And don't forget to visit the Louvre. That's where you can see the Mona Lisa and try to fathom that mysterious smile.
Outside, you can buy those famous postcards to send to your family back in the States. Here's one I bought outside the museum back in 1967. I still keep it by my bedside whenever I want to remember France.
Now where should you stay in France? The French tourist agency, headed by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, can accommodate every taste in your choice of hotels. The Strauss-Kahn hotel chain is noted for first class room service.
And who is Dominique Strauss-Kahn, you ask?
You don't want to know.
And don't think that Paris is the only place to visit in France. You can always travel to Rouen and see where they burned Joan of Arc at the stake. Or you can go to the east of France and see the impregnable Maginot Line built to protect France from one of those chronic German attacks. It worked; the Germans drove through Belgium. I also recommend Marseilles in the south. And don't worry; you don't need to speak French there. Nobody else does either.
And don't forget to visit Strasbourg (before the Germans take it back). That is the site of the European Parliament, where British member Nigel Farage regularly takes his counterparts to the woodshed. You've watched the videos here on Fousesquawk. Go and see where it actually happens. This is also the site where our own President Obama made his historic reference to "the Austrian language" (which by the way, was the native language of Marie Antoinette-Mrs. Louis XVI). I hear they erected a plaque on the exact spot where Obama made his now-famous utterance. It is engraved in Austrian.
So if you're thinking about a great vacation destination, consider France. Don't worry; they use the Euro. But you better get there soon-before it's gone. (France or the Euro, you ask?-Both.)
In closing, let us all rise and sing the Marseillaise (perhaps, for the last time)..
"Arise children of the fatherland
The day of glory has arrived
Against us tyranny's
Bloody standard is raised
Listen to the sound in the fields
The howling of these fearsome soldiers
They are coming into our midst
To cut the throats of your sons and consorts
To arms citizens Form your battalions
Let impure blood
Water our furrows
What do they want this horde of slaves
Of traitors and conspiratorial kings?
For whom these vile chains
These long-prepared irons?
Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage
What methods must be taken?
It is us they dare plan
To return to the old slavery!
What! These foreign cohorts!
They would make laws in our courts!
What! These mercenary phalanxes
Would cut down our warrior sons
Good Lord! By chained hands
Our brow would yield under the yoke
The vile despots would have themselves be
The masters of destiny
Tremble, tyrants and traitors
The shame of all good men
Tremble! Your parricidal schemes
Will receive their just reward
Against you we are all soldiers
If they fall, our young heros
France will bear new ones
Ready to join the fight against you
Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors
Bear or hold back your blows
Spare these sad victims
That they regret taking up arms against us
But not these bloody despots
These accomplices of Bouillé
All these tigers who pitilessly
Ripped out their mothers' wombs
We too shall enlist
When our elders' time has come
To add to the list of deeds
Inscribed upon their tombs
We are much less jealous of surviving them
Than of sharing their coffins
We shall have the sublime pride
Of avenging or joining them
Drive on sacred patriotism
Support our avenging arms
Liberty, cherished liberty
Join the struggle with your defenders
Under our flags, let victory
Hurry to your manly tone
So that in death your enemies
See your triumph and our glory"