Top things to do in magical France this holiday season

Christmas at Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris. — AFP pic
Christmas at Galeries Lafayette department store in Paris. — AFP pic

PARIS, Nov 30 ― From a French cancan to a helicopter tour of Bordeaux wineries, TripAdvisor has created a list of holiday-inspired travel experiences in France for travellers of all tastes, from Francophiles to galloping gourmets and thrill seekers.

It's been a rather lackluster year for French tourism. Following the spate of terrorist attacks in Paris and Nice, international tourism dipped 8 per cent between January and October of 2016 and is expected to bring in just above 80 million visitors by the end of the year.

That compares to 85 million international visitors in 2015.

Good news for travelers who won't be deterred by random acts of terrorism: Hoteliers have been reducing holiday room rates while airlines have been posting competitive airfares to France in a bid to bring tourists back to one of the world's leading travel destinations.

Here's a selection of magical French experiences for the holiday season and beyond, as curated by online travel booking site TripAdvisor (all of which can be booked on the site):

Moulin Rouge
If you're looking for festive holiday sparkle and fur, look no further than the Moulin Rouge, where 60 beautiful ladies wearing strings of sequins placed strategically in all the right places and extravagant head pieces strut, kick and dance for your entertainment. This holiday, make it extra special with a flute of champagne (served for shows after 9pm). Prices start at €112 (RM532).

Champagne-fueled shopping at Galeries Lafayette
Shopaholics can get a special welcome to the iconic, theatrically stunning department store. In a tour operated between Viator and TripAdvisor, guests will get the VIP treatment with a special welcome at the Premium Lounge that includes a glass of champagne, macarons, goody-bag, and rooftop visit for a panoramic view of the city. Prices start at €40.

Helicopter tour of French vineyards
This one's for wine lovers with their head in the clouds. Oenophiles can get another perspective of the Medoc and Saint-Emilion vineyards which produce some of the headiest, most popular wines in the world. After getting a bird's eye view of the grapevines, the tour continues in a wine cellar and lunch in one of the region's many wine chateaux. Prices start at €320.

Hot-air balloon ride in the Val de Loire area
Scheduled to take off at sunrise and sunset, the three-hour hot air balloon experience takes riders across the region's forests, lakes, orchards and vineyards. Prices start at €225. ― AFP-Relaxnews

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