FRANCE has long been the most popular destination for the world’s tourists. In 2015, 84.5m foreigners visited the country, well ahead of America in second place. And for good reason. It is difficult not to fall in love with its medieval villages, the wine and cheese, the chic architecture of Paris and the warm-hearted people. (Although you generally have to venture beyond le périphérique to appreciate quite how friendly the French can be; Paris n’est pas la France, as they say.)

Given the horrible year it has endured, it is a testament to the country’s charms that it remains so popular. The most notable grim news has been the barrage of terrorist atrocities in France—some 11 in all since 2015, including the attacks in Paris last November that left 130 dead, and the massacre in Nice, where an Islamist used a lorry to murder 84 people in a Bastille-Day crowd. But other, less high-profile events have also concerned tourists. There have been air-traffic-control strikes every summer for the past four years, each of which has caused significant...Continue reading