There's nothing wrong with planning late-summer vacation getaways. Travelers thinking about these end of summer trips may want to consider heading to France, the world's leading tourist destination.
According to the France Diplomatie, there were 83 million tourists who visited the country in 2013 and accounted for 7 percent of the country's gross domestic product. The massive tourism sector is helping to boost the French economy. As the global economy continues to recover, vacationers are also traveling to France from countries including Ireland, Greece and Portugal.
Most of those who visit France are from Europe and Asia. Germans make up the greatest number of foreign tourists followed by the British. There were 1.5 million Chinese who traveled to France for vacation in 2013 and a growing number of visitors from Brazil and Russia are making their way to France.
The country is a popular spot for business travel, playing host to 6,081 events and conventions in 2011. The cultural aspects of France are also intriguing to visitors as it's home to many museums and famous sights.
France is also a popular destination because it's located at a cross roads in Europe for people who are traveling to Asia, the Middle East and North America.
France's top tourist attractions
Palace of Versailles: The Palace of Versailles is the epitome of grandeur and showcases the opulence of the French monarchy. There are brass ornaments, crystal chandeliers, historic furniture, antiques and dramatic archways that are a must-see. The palace dates back to the 1700s at the beginning of the French Revolution. It also served as the home of Austrian princess and wife of Louis XVI Marie-Antoinette. After taking a tour of the palace, travelers will want to head to the gardens for a breathtaking glimpse into the hundreds of acres that are perfectly maintained.
Musee du Louvre: The Louvre is one of the most well-known tourist attractions in France and is home to world-famous pieces of art, sculpture and artifacts. Not only does the building contain more than 2,000 years of art history, but the structure itself dates back to the 1100s when it was a medieval palace. Perhaps the most popular piece of artwork at the Louvre is the Mona Lisa, so be sure to take a peek before leaving the museum.
Eiffel Tower: The Eiffel Tower is one of the top tourist attractions in France. It lights up the Parisian skyline each night with a spectacular light show. Thousands of tourists venture up into the tower each day. For the best views, head to the third level of the tower more than 900 feet in the air.
D-Day sites: The Normandy beaches are a popular spot, especially for history buffs. The beaches on the northern coast of the country played a major role in World War II when special forces and airborne troops stormed a 50-mile stretch of the coast to make their way through Europe to defeat the Nazi regime. The Bayeux Tapestry Museum in Normandy is where visitors will find artifacts from other battles including the Battle of Hastings when the Duke of Normandy defeated the King of England.
Mont Saint-Michel: For a deeper look at medieval history, visit Mont Saint-Michel. This medieval town is found at the top of a rocky island in Normandy and is home to a beautiful Roman-styled church. The village was attacked during the Hundreds Years' War and even used as a prison during the French Revolution. There's a lot of history behind these medieval walls as visitors go for a walk down the ancient streets and catch breathtaking views from the Abbey.