A travel guide to France
France is home to the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world. The architecture, the food, the amazing French culture, and the country’s rich history make it very desirable for all sorts of travelers. Traveling to France however, can be more expensive compared to other European countries but the experience is definitely worth it and there are of course ways around that!
Top Destinations in France
Paris – Aside from being the capital, Paris is no doubt the most popular city in France. There are many sights to see in this beautiful city. Think of the famous Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Notre Dame Cathedral to start. Tourists also flock to the city to go on a culinary adventure.
Versailles – This romantic city is just 40 minutes away from Paris via train. It’s home to the famous Chateau de Versailles and the Gardens of Versailles, which is part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
Marseille – This port city is a glistening gem that shines amidst the southeast coast of France. It’s one of Europe’s oldest city and tourists enjoy the quaint shops and cafes located right at the port, perfect for an afternoon stroll and relaxation.
Nice – Nice is in the south of France. The Queen of the French Riviera, which the French call “Cote d’Azur” (Azure Coast or Blue Coast). It is a wonderful city with lots of charm and character; a mixture of French and Italian cultures where the people are easy-going and friendly even if you don’t speak French.
Normandy – The region of Normandy is located in Northern France. The area has an important historic past in that in 1944, it was where thousands of soldiers came on D-Day. It is a popular tourist location not only for the history but also for the rugged natural beauty of the Normandy coast and traditional French feel.
When to Visit France
The best time to visit France is during the spring season, from April to June, when the weather is perfect and the tourist attractions are less crowded. The summer season, from late June to August, are the peak months for tourists. Prices for accommodation during these times are usually high and restaurants and museums are fully booked.
How to Reach France
By Plane: Tourists outside Europe can reach France via plane through Paris – Charles de Gaulle International Airport. Most international airlines fly here. For those who are coming from a European destinations you may look at flying into Paris-Beauvais, which is located north of Paris but has lots of budget carriers or Paris Orly.
By Train: France is easily accessible via train coming from other European countries. The main station is called Gare du Nord and tickets can be purchased online here. There are also direct train services from London (St. Pancras Station) to Paris (Gare du Nord).
By Ferry: Traveling by boat is also possible and there are ferries that operates from cities in the UK to France. The Dover – Calais Ferry and the Dover to Dunkirk routes are popular.
Getting Around France
The best way to get around France is via train. There are lots of French cities that are connected by rail that can be reached in about 45 minutes to an hour. Although, some longer journeys could take 5-6 hours by train. With so many budget carriers available it might be worht it to fly. The train system in France however is one of the best in the world.
Another option is to rent a car and hit the open road! Luckily, they drive on the right side of the road so American drivers will feel mostly at home while driving. There’s so many cool little towns to explore as well.
france Travel Tips
Do learn some simple French phrases. A simple phrase like “Bonjour” would break the ice and would lighten the mood when talking to the French. They take pride in their language and it would make them really happy to know that you are at least trying to blend in.
Do bring extra cash when traveling. Most shops or vendors located along the streets accepts only cash. It’s better to be prepared.
Do get out of Paris and enjoy other cities. France is a beautiful country with many beautiful sights. The medieval towns outside the city, the castles, and the port cities are awe-inspiring.
Don’t expect ice in drinks. French people don’t really put ice in their drinks so if you need some ice, you should ask for it.
Don’t be afraid to walk around parks. Visiting parks is underrated. They are free and offer magnificent sights.
Don’t be afraid to go on a culinary tour. Explore cafes and restaurants on streets and don’t be afraid to enter French bars to explore. The food and the wine are great and just to be able to get a glimpse of local French culture is really a fascinating experience. France is also home to some the the most amazing Michelin star restaurants and chefs in the world.
Typical Costs in france
Price Range for Hotels
France is a fairly expensive country but there are some value hotels that can be found. Price of accommodation in Paris of course is going to be higher that in other cities. During peak season, prices of hostel dorms start at around €15. In Paris, its very difficult to find a budget hostel for less than €30. Mid-range hotels in most of France cost about €100-175. Luxury hotels will be over €300 easy. Booking online a good amount of time before your trip to get the best price. Most sites have generous cancellation policies. Renting apartment can also be cheaper than booking hotels especially if you have a group of people or it’s during peak season.
Cost of Meal
Meals in most tourist areas in all of France is going to be generally more expensive like most places. Getting off the beaten path is the best bet to find good prices of food and honestly better quality. A breakfast composed of croissant and coffee is cost about €3. A budget lunch however can range around €6 to €20. A dinner with beer or wine, a meal for one person usually costs about €20 in Paris and around €17 up in other cities. If you want to dine in a Michelin or fine dining expect to pay closed to €150-200 a person.
Top Places to Visit in france
Get lost in the magic of Paris
Go winery hoping in Bordeaux
Have fun in the Alps
Visit the towns of Côte d’Azur
Tour the medieval town of Carcassonne
Experience D-Day at the beaches of Normandy
Pop Champagne in Champagne
You can take the train from Paris to Reims in about 45 minute and you can be having champagne in Champagne. The vines of Champagne are know for taking root in a layer of chalk under a thin layer of fertilized soil. Champenois vineyards only plant Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay grape varieties. Photo cred: Jacob LaBure