France Travel Guide

France is the number one tourist destination in the World—with over 80 million visitors per year. The country has a historic and romantic vibe about it which you can’t help but feel when arrive. France is home to historic sites, gorgeous countryside, great beaches, and mountainous terrain. France is also known for a rich culture of food & wines. Paris is the most visited city in France and is excellent to visit but there is so much more to see. A few other gems in France, beyond Paris, include The French Riviera (Côte d’Azur), Nice, Bordeaux, and Lyon, to name a few.

Girl who wrote France Travel Guide is standing in front of an old Yellow car in Paris and holding a baguette.
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Know Before You Go

Language

The national language of France is French. Many people from France speak more than one language but it would be helpful to learn some basic French phrases before visiting.

When to Visit

The best months to visit France are from April to June and October to early November. The weather is mild during this time and it is not heavily overridden with tourists. 

Currency & Payment

The currency in France is the Euro. Most established restaurants and stores accept credit cards (Visa or Mastercard). Some stores may only accept cash. ATM’s are available all over the country.

Transportation

Transportation and France is efficient and reliable. Connect between regions with buses or trains. Paris has a speedy Metro system that will take you anywhere. Cabs and ride share apps such as Uber are also available.

The French Schedule

The french often eat breakfast at around 8am, lunch at around 12pm and dinner at 7pm or 8pm. Most stores close for a siesta for 2-4 hours per day in the afternoon with restaurants re-opening around 7pm for dinner.

Tipping

A service fee is usually included in your bill in France. Always check this before tipping. If you’d like to leave an additional tip, up to 5% more is appreciated but not expected.

What to Pack

Here’s what to pack for France in addition to what you may have already been planning to bring:


Power Adaptor: The plugs in France are Type C and E. The standard voltage is 230 V, and the standard frequency is 50Hz.

Experiences

France is an incredible country with much to experience. Here is a shortlist of the must do’s:

  1. Spend time in Paris: The city has so much to offer—from its historical architecture, world-famous cuisine, and renowned art scene. Some of the many, “must-do” activities include a visit to the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Montmartre, and Moulin Rouge to name a few.

  2. Visit a Lavender Field in Provence: Go to Paris from mid-June to mid-July to see the stunning lavender fields in full bloom.

  3. Spend a day in The Palace of Versailles:  This palace is one of the greatest achievements in French 17th century art. It’s been a world heritage site for 30 years.

  4. Vacation in the French Riviera: Also known as Côte d’Azur, the French Riviera is a beach territory located on the Mediterranean, in Southeastern France. It includes several famous areas such as Saint-Tropez Resort, Cannes, and Monaco.

  5. Go on a wine tasting: France is known for its wines. Spend a day at a beautiful French vineyard, explore and taste the wines that they have to offer.

  6. Take a cooking class: Immerse yourself in the rich French culinary culture and take a cooking class to learn how to cook their cuisine.

  7. Explore the arts: France is a staple in the art world. It’s home to many famous artists and museums such as the Musée d’Orsa, Musée Picasso, and Monet’s Musée Marmottan to start.

  8. Venture through the monotonous terrain: There are many hikes available in the French Alps. The hikes offer challenges and views that will take your breath away.

Fast Facts

Here are some facts about France that you may not have already known.

  1. France is the largest country in the European Union.
  2. The French have produced a large number of inventions used all over the world, such as the pencil sharpener, braille, hairdryer, stethoscope and parachute…and many, many more. 
  3. Europe’s highest mountain is in the French Alps
  4. The Louvre museum in Paris was the most visited museum in the world in 2017, 2018 and 2019. 
  5. The metric system was first invented and implemented in France. 
  6. Many famous artists hail from France including; Claude Monet, Henri Matisse and Pierre Auguste Renoir. 
  7. There are over 28 sites in France listed on the UNESCO world heritage list.
  8. Turning a baguette upset down is considered to be unlucky in France. 
  9. There are over 400 kinds of cheeses made in France
  10. Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite (“Liberty, Equality and Fraternity”) is the national motto of France.
Budget Suggestions

 

Item

Budget Travel

Mid-Range

High End

Notes

Accommodation

$20 – $35/Night (Hostel Dorm)

$50 – $100/Night 

(Private room in hostel, mid-range hotel or Airbnb)

$150 – $500++/night (Hotel)

Accommodations in Paris can be pricey and fluctuate based on the time of year. 

Food

$3 – $7/meal
(small item like a baguette or crepe)

$15 – $25/meal
(average restaurant)

$25-$50/meal
(high-end restaurant)

The cost of food can increase in high-end restaurants. Baguettes & crepes are common foods in France and reasonably priced.

Alcohol

$2-$8
(Domestic wines, champagne & beers)

$8 – $14
(cockails and other imported drinks)

Beer & wine is reasonably cheap. Imported drinks come mostly from otherregions in Europe.

Explore from Home

With the Coronavirus putting a halt on many travel plans, I wanted to pull together a few links to enable people to experience France from home.

 

  1. Take a virtual tour of Versailles

  2. Check out the Valensole Plateau on Google Arts & Culture

  3. Learn how to make crepes at home with this instructional video

  4. Spend one day in Paris with a Parisian on Airbnb Experiences Online