France to me is...
France to me is not a flag, a beret, a bottle of wine or a baguette!
France, to me, is my home. I love travelling, I absolutely do which is why I have been living abroad for the past 3 years. First in Austria, then in the States and now in England. I am used to seeing different cultures, meet people from all over, eating all sort of food and seeing various landscapes. BUT, being French everywhere I go, I can't help it, I HAVE to compare it to France and most of the time I'll end up saying "well, in France..." which is very annoying, I agree. You might have experienced that if you ever had a long discussion with a French person!
I think I can say without being presumptuous that I know France quite well because my parents took me to all sorts of places around the country as a child with my brothers so we could really discover France. Before every holiday they would show my brothers and I the places we were going to visit. Really often they were around the corner from our house, sometime half a day away from home and sometimes we were going on "Expeditions" where we had to stay all day long in the car before discovering the place. It was my favourite thing to do. We went to see medieval castles, Roman ruins and elegant Renaissance castles. We went hiking in the Alps where we stayed in little chalets without electricity or telephone reception - which I absolutely hated as I was a grumpy teenager by then. We visited wine cellars, cheese factory, little villages in south of France and many other things.
Now that I am relatively grown up my interest in visiting France is still intact and nothing makes me happier than discovering a part of the country I've never been to before!
If you come from a big country like the States, America, Canada or Australia, you might have the feeling that France CAN be done in a couple of weeks, well, it can't! I have spent 22 years of my life in France and after all this time of intense exploring I still can't say "I Have Done France" because despite its relatively small size, France keep surprising me with its food, the French way of getting things done - yep we are quite something - its history and most of all, its landscapes!