As the world’s leading tourist destination, France possesses very numerous assets in terms of natural beauty, history and heritage etc. that are greatly appreciated by many holidaymakers during this holiday period. However, of all the tourists who visit France each year what proportion actually visits sites or events of a cultural nature? What is France’s real place in the more targeted sector of cultural tourism?
In this article Évelyne Lehalle offers a general survey of cultural tourism in France. After reviewing the range of meaning of the concept, she reviews the main factors contributing to the country’s attractiveness in this regard. She stresses France’s slight loss of momentum in cultural tourism, linked to an ageing public, increased competition and a lack of dialogue between the players in the two sectors involved (tourism and culture). She also highlights the unpredictable character of the competition coming from emerging countries, the public’s expectations both today and (most importantly) tomorrow, and offers some general guidelines, inspired by “Creative Cities”, that may improve the offer of French cultural tourism, so as to respond to the changes that are currently taking place.