France travel guide. This guide has everything to help you plan your trip, including when to go, what to do, what to see, and more.
This is one of the most popular destinations in Europe. As a result, our guide is focused on getting you the best out of France.
From unique destinations to visit to what foods to try, you will leave France feeling like you’ve had a great trip.
So, if you’re planning a trip to this destination, keep on reading.
Table of Contents
France Travel Basics
Tourism is a big industry in France, and the country consistently ranks as one of the most visited destinations globally.
In recent years, it has attracted over 80 million international tourists annually, with Paris alone welcoming tens of millions.
Of course, France’s diverse attractions contribute to its enduring popularity among travelers.
So, the tourism industry is huge in France.
Meanwhile, its art, fashion, and history, along with the popular French Riviera, vineyards, and historic castles, further contribute to the country’s popularity.
A valid passport is required for entry into France, and many visitors need a visa, although EU citizens are exempt.
France is in the Central European Time Zone (CET), the official currency is the Euro (EUR), and major airports include Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) in Paris.
Popular French airlines like Air France haul travelers from all over the world, and they even offer direct flights.
For instance, Americans can travel nonstop to Paris from most major cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
Finally, unlike many other destinations in Europe, English is not popular in France, and most locals prefer you to learn some French.
Oh, and did I mention you should get travel insurance? Definitely!
Before Going to France
So, you decided to go, right? Well, there are a few things to keep in mind before your France travel.
First of all, prepare for your trip to France by embracing the local lifestyle.
For example, enhance your experience by familiarizing yourself with leisurely strolls through charming streets, as walking is a common mode of exploration.
Consider learning basic biking skills to navigate bike-friendly areas, which give you an alternative and eco-friendly way to discover picturesque landscapes.
Of course, I think you should immerse yourself in French culture by watching movies from this great country.
I suggest you watch “Amélie” for whimsical Parisian charm, “La Haine” for gritty urban realism, and “The Artist” for a delightful glimpse into French cinema culture.
Likewise, I think practicing a few common phrases to communicate with locals is a great idea.
Similarly, research historical and cultural aspects to appreciate landmarks and traditions.
Finally, I really think you should prepare to adapt to the relaxed pace of life. Savor every moment in this enchanting destination.
When to Go to France
France has diverse experiences throughout the year for most travelers. I will focus on the seasons to show you how.
Spring, particularly in Paris, is great with its mild temperatures, blooming flowers, and iconic landmarks set against a picturesque backdrop.
As the spring comes to an end, Paris hosts the Fête de la Musique, a lively celebration on June 21st, with free music performances across the city.
This is a fun event with diverse musical genres.
On the other hand, summer is best in southern France, where the Mediterranean coast presents sun-soaked beaches, colorful festivals, and a lively atmosphere.
My favorite is the Feria de Nîmes in southern France, which combines bullfighting, music, and street parties.
This is a spirited Mediterranean celebration.
As autumn arrives, you probably will want to head to the wine country, where it comes alive with the grape harvest season.
So, the harvest lasts into October, and winemakers celebrate this crucial period with festivals and events.
The rolling vineyards and quaint villages are a scenic and tranquil escape, while the crisp air adds to the charm.
For those seeking a taste of France’s food diversity, fall is also the perfect time to explore the country’s wine regions.
You will be able to sample a ton of finger food!
Meanwhile, winter ushers in a festive ambiance, especially in northern cities like Paris. Christmas markets, adorned streets, and festive lights create a magical atmosphere.
For instance, Strasbourg’s Christmas market, the oldest in France, is a holiday gem with its festive decor, an array of traditional crafts, and delicacies.
So, as you can see, your France travel really all depends on what type of trip you’re planning.
France has a ton of interesting destinations, including cities, the Loire Valley, Provence, and the famous French Riviera.
Start with the cities. Paris, for example, has its iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and charming neighborhoods.
What I love about French cities is that they are all very unique! For instance, Lyon has an amazing gastronomic scene.
And Toulouse, which, by the way, has a nickname of “La Ville Rose” (The Pink City), is gorgeous with terracotta buildings.
On the other hand, the Loire Valley, often called the “Garden of France,” gives you a mix of castles, vineyards, and picturesque landscapes.
For instance, the valley is famous for its architectural treasures, including Château de Chambord, and is a haven for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
Meanwhile, Provence, in the southeastern part of the country, is mesmerizing with its lavender fields, vineyards, and charming villages.
The region’s Provençal markets, Roman architecture in cities like Arles, and the intense colors of the countryside create an immersive experience.
Finally, there is the French Riviera, synonymous with glamour and sophistication. This region really lures you with a lot.
The French Riviera’s azure Mediterranean waters, glamorous beaches, and chic resorts give this region a touch of opulence.
So, your France travel will be awesome, exploring all these amazing destinations.
Food in France
Food is somewhat holy in France, and the country intricately weaves together flavors from its own heritage, European influences, and global inspirations.
Rooted in tradition, French dishes are truly a celebration of the mastery of technique and a commitment to quality ingredients.
The diverse regional specialties add layers of nuance, from the hearty “coq au vin” of Burgundy to the seafood menu of Provence.
Beyond its borders, European influences contribute to the refinement of French food today.
Sometimes, a “French” dish is actually from another European place. For instance, “Soupe à l’oignon” (French Onion Soup) is actually inspired by a Tuscan dish.
As a result, major French cities have the usual Italian trattorias, Spanish tapas spots, and even British pubs!
Meanwhile, global flavors have found a place in the French heart, introducing a fusion of tastes that exemplify the cosmopolitan palate.
The influence of the Francophone further enriches everything, bringing diverse dishes from Senegal, Algeria, Martinique, and more.
You must try the Moroccan tagine, for example.
So, your France travel will give you a chance to sample a lot of different foods.
Shopping in France
Shopping in France is a fusion of local charm and global allure. For example, local markets brim with artisanal products.
From Paris to Bordeaux, you will find everything from regional cheeses to handmade crafts.
As a result, local markets give you a chance to experience an authentic taste of French culture.
Likewise, quaint boutiques present local designers with unique fashion pieces and accessories.
Simultaneously, global French brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Dior epitomize luxury, drawing fashion enthusiasts from around the world.
Paris, therefore, is truly a global fashion capital, presenting haute couture and avant-garde styles in its iconic areas like the Champs-Élysées.
Meanwhile, international brands find a home in France’s lively shopping districts, adding a cosmopolitan flair to the retail landscape.
So, your France travel means a chance to shop with a blend of local markets, popular French brands, and international retailers.
2-Week France Itinerary
Although this is a destination with a ton of things to do and see, I think two weeks is plenty of time for your France travel.
Start your first week exploring Paris. Honestly, this city gives you half of your French experience.
In Paris, you have French food, museums, and other attractions, of course.
Plus, you will see the world through French eyes by learning how global things are consumed here.
You will laugh when you hear “familiar” brand names in French!
For the second week, spend a day or so in the Loire Valley, exploring fairytale castles like Château de Chambord and Château de Chenonceau.
You really can’t skip this because these French experiences are unforgettable.
Continue to Provence for a day or so. Indulge in delicious foods, wander through lavender fields, and discover Provençal markets.
I’m warning you in advance: this region is going to make you want to take a ton of selfies!
Of course, your trip then takes you to the French Riviera for a few days of glamour and relaxation.
You will enjoy the azure Mediterranean waters, explore glamorous beaches, and visit chic resorts in Nice and Cannes.
So, yeah, that’s a great amount of days to spend on your France travel.
What to Avoid in France
For your France travel, I would urge you to avoid common tourist pitfalls. The downside to popular destinations is that there are always things to avoid.
First of all, be cautious of pickpockets in crowded tourist areas, particularly in Paris.
Likewise, be mindful of restaurant etiquette. For instance, service charges are often included, but tipping is customary.
Avoid peak dining hours for a more relaxed experience.
Similarly, to immerse in local culture, minimize relying solely on English. Attempt basic French phrases to cultivate a positive interaction.
Meanwhile, be cautious of tourist traps, especially around major attractions, where prices may be inflated.
Plan your trip to popular sites during off-peak hours to avoid long queues.
Finally, stay aware of public transportation strikes, especially in major cities, and plan accordingly for potential disruptions.
By staying informed and exercising cultural sensitivity, you can navigate France with ease and maximize your travel enjoyment.
Final Thoughts – France Travel
In this guide, you discover all you need to organize your France travel.
Whether you’re wondering about the best time to visit, the top attractions, or the must-try cuisine, my guide is tailored to enhance your experience.
For instance, you learned about unique destinations, how to try the diverse flavors, and how to enjoy your trip overall.
Enjoy your France travel!