A Travel Guide To France: 11 Things To Know While Planning Your Trip

THINGS TO DO THROUGHOUT FRANCE

Fashion is top in France, so you’ll want to head to Paris for that. While you’re there, the Eiffel Tower will no doubt beckon. Then, there’s the Cannes Film Festival in—you guessed it—Cannes. You’ll also need to visit classical art museums, drink fabulous wine, and visit the Palace of Versailles for a history lesson.

BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT

Per Santorini Dave, the ideal time to head to France is in the spring, which is April to June, or fall, which is September to November. The climate is still moderate, but it’s usually cheaper since the majority of tourists visit in the sweltering summer months. Paris can be rainy in May, though the weather can fluctuate, unpredictably, too.

COLORFUL AREAS TO STAY IN

Paris is the place to be for many adventures. Whether you’re hoping to visit the Eiffel Tower, view art at the Louvre, or snap epic selfies at the River Seine, Paris is a hotspot for tourists.

Cannes is another option, where you’ll find boutiques, hotels, and an abbey and monastery (on Lerins Islands). Nice is popular, too, for the French Riviera, the Castle of Nice, and the Matisse Museum.

CHARMING FRENCH HOTELS TO CHOOSE

If you’re staying in Paris, you’ll probably want an unforgettable view. And what better way to achieve that than to stare out your balcony window at the Eiffel Tower for the duration of your trip? Per Architectural Digest, there are at least seven Paris hotels with Eiffel Tower views. Choose from the Shangri-La, La Bourdonnais, Splendid Etoile, Hotel San Regis, Hotel Paris: Le Walt, and The Peninsula Paris.

In Cannes, you can enjoy beach views at the posh Hotel Barriere Le Majestic Cannes, which. You’ll have a private beach to enjoy, too!

French folks love their food, so you’re sure to enjoy many gastronomical delights while visiting. The streetside cafes are a highlight, and you’ll find delicious goods like baguettes, onion soup, salmon and shrimp quiche, Fromage (a cheese board), and bouillabaisse (a Mediterranean seafood stew).

Related: 10 Delicacies You Have To Try While In France

For dessert, don’t skip creme brulee, macarons, crepes, or meringue!

GETTING AROUND FRANCE

Exploring France is easy if you know what you want to see and where you want to go. If you’re staying in the countryside, your best bet is to rent a car for your trip. But if you’re in a big city like Paris, you can hop on the train to get just about anywhere. It does have a reputation for being slow, but it’s also really cheap. You can also see the sights from your seat!

SIGNIFICANT POINTS OF INTEREST

Clearly, you will want to take a touristy snap at the Eiffel Tower. But don’t forget about the Louvre, the Palace of Versailles (Chateau de Versailles), the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, and maybe even Euro Disney!

The French Riviera (Cote d’Azur) is another highlight and one that’s popular with celebs, too. You may also consider venturing to Pyrenees National Park or a UNESCO site for more perspective.

Related: 25 French Towns That Are More Interesting Than The Eiffel Tower

FRENCH CASH: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

France’s currency is the Euro, which is convenient for your European travels. Currently, one Euro costs $1.09USD, which means your trip could get pricey, fast. Your budget might whimper when you book a hotel, pay for a meal, or hail a cab (stick to the train!). Fortunately, wine is cheap, so although you might spend a lot in France, it won’t be on your adult beverages.

One way you can save a Euro or two is by skipping a tip. Per TripAdvisor, you don’t have to tip in France. There aren’t any rules, but you might want to leave a bit of a tip in a fancy restaurant if the service is exceptional.

FIND FLIGHT DEALS IN FEBRUARY

The best flight deals are in February, says Kayak, while the most expensive time to jet set is summer. Late fall can be a decent deal, too, which puts you in the ideal season for decent weather without the jacked up prices of summer tourism.

Related: Marseilles, France: Your Essential Weekend Itinerary

FRANCE’S RICH HISTORY IS STILL ALIVE

France has a rich history, if its historic landmarks are anything to go by. Per World Atlas, France was originally part of the Roman Empire. After the fall, barbarian invaders swamped the area, until a Germanic group took over in the 5th century. France became a separate kingdom back when Hugh Capet was chosen as king, but conflict came after that, too.

After events you’ve hopefully learned about in history class, France became a republic instead of a monarchy. France would also suffer through both World Wars with heavy casualties. But today, France is a center of arts, culture, fashion, wine, music, architecture, and cinema, among many other attractions.

MEDITERRANEAN BEACHES AROUND FRANCE

France has no shortage of beaches, but you won’t find any for your IG photos in Paris. Though the Seine offers many opportunities for pics (and there’s a man-made sandy “beach” there), it’s not quite the same as the open ocean. North of Paris is Beach Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, in Le Touquet, which has fine golden sand to soak up the rays on.

The beaches in Nice are also pebbly rather than sandy, though they’re still photogenic. Plage de Carras offers opportunities for swimming and volleyball, though. But Plage de la Bocca in Cannes is a calm, sandy beach ideal for families and tourists. Croisette Beach Cannes is also popular with tourists, and often quite busy.

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