Cork's beleagured tourism industry has been given a timely boost - by France's best-selling guidebook.
'Le Guide du Routard', the travel bible of the French-speaking world, has heaped praise on our city and urged French tourists to visit this year.
The influential travel guide's chief editor, Pierre Josse, praises Cork's restarants, pubs and sense of fun in the new edition of the best-selling book.
Mr. Josse, from Brittany, who's travelled to Ireland more than 40 times, also says the scenery in the surrounding county and the increasingly affordable accommodation are other reasons why French people should flock here.
And he reminds his tens of thousands of readers that the City was justifiably awarded the European City of Culture in 2005, adding that it was "the prettiest city to receive this honour".
He said: "Cork has nothing to envy about Dublin. Every year the city hosts world-class festivals celebrating music, cinema and literature,
"The city became the European city of culture against serious opposition from the likes of Prague, Madrid and Copenhagen."
Mr. Josse singled the English Market out as a must-see tourist destination. But he saved his best compliment for a forgotten corner of the Beara Peninsula in west Cork. He added: "Allihies and Eyeries are among my favourite places in the world. Nothing has changed there in the 40 years I've been coming over. I could happily live there."
Tourist chiefs in Cork will be hoping Mr. Josse's endorsements encourage a stampede of French-speaking visitors to the city. The best-selling travel guide's Irish edition sells 45,000 copies in France - more than any of its hundred-plus titles and pipping guides on fashionable French-speaking Corsica and Morocco into second and third place.