France Travel Guide

France, the country of fine wines, sophisticated cuisine and romance is often only associated with its glorious capital city, Paris. But situated in Western Europe, France is also home to medieval cities, alpine villages and Mediterranean beaches. Join us on a short tour of the country. When planning your trip, you have to take into consideration the weather as well as the holidays of this capricious land. The temperature of the country consists of mostly mild summers and temperate winters in most of the places, including the capital city. However, winters can sometimes get really cold, so make sure you have the appropriate clothing for the season you are visiting in. If you, however, go to the Mediterranean coast, the summers there are hot. Try to avoid French public holidays, because hotels will be overbooked in the capital city and streets will be lined with traffic jams for miles and miles. Top sights to visit in France include Paris, the French Riviera, the winter resorts of the French Alps, the castles of the Loire Valley, as well as Brittany and Normandy.

In courtyard of Louvre Museum. Louvre Museum is one of the largest and most visited museums worldwide. ancientarchitectarchitectureartattractionbuildingcapitalcastlecenterchateaucitycobbconstructioncrownculturedecorativedestinationeuropeeuropeanexteriorfacadefamousfrancefreedfrenchheritagehistorichistoryile-de-francelandmarklouvremuseumnationaloldoutdoorspalaceparispyramidsightseeingsitesunsymboltourismtowntravelunescovintageworldShow more

City guides

Things to see and do in France

Paris

Paris sometimes called the capital city of the world, is one of the most dynamic and exuberant places on the planet. With myriad things to do and see there, the capital city of France is cosmopolitan at the same time as being intimate. Home to the world’s most prominent fashion houses and a faithful ambassador of art and gastronomy, Paris does not relinquish its local color. You can experience its local flavor in its little cafés, bakeries, and boutiques.

The French Riviera

This strip of land constituted by the Mediterranean coastline of South-Eastern France is also called Cote d’Azur. The French Riviera is a magnet for writers, artists, celebrities, but also for thousands and thousands of tourists every year. Its biggest city is Nice with its popular bars and shops, but its most hip town in Cannes, which hosts the yearly Cannes fIlm Festival. Once on the Riviera, many tourists choose water-based activities, such as yachting or cruising.

The French Alps

If you are an outdoors person, the French Alps will delight you with both their breathtaking vistas as well as the plethora of activities they offer. Top touristic sights in the Alps are Aix-les-Bains, Annecy, Courchevel, Cirque du Fer-á-Cheval, Evian-Les-Bain, Grenoble, Megeve, Portes du Soleil Ski Areas, Route du Galibier, Route Napoléon, Saint-Gervais-Les-Bains, Val d’Isere and Vercors Regional Natural Park. Accommodate yourself in any of these quaint little places and enjoy the clean breeze of the mountains. Go hiking to admire pristine lakes, cool hurrying little brooks and showering waterfalls. Take the ‘Télépherique’ to get to snowy peaks above the clouds, try paragliding with an instructor or Geocaching with your friends.

Famous and luxury place of Val d'Isere at sunset, Tarentaise, Alps, France

The Loire Valley

One of the most fairytale-like places in France is the Loire River Valley. Dotted by gigantic ‘chateaux’ (castles), immaculate gardens and parks, this escape from the hustle and bustle of Paris is just a thought away from the capital city. Impossible to visit everything in one day, but if you are really taking only a day tour from Paris, I would recommend three prominent castles. Definitely visit Chateau de Chenonceau, which is the second most visited castle in all of France after Versailles, go to Chateau d’Amboise, a favorite spot of Leonardo da Vinci himself and Chateau de Chambord. Apart from the time spent inside these ambitious edifices, stroll in their gardens, admire their balconies and do not forget to sit on the terraces of local ‘Patisseries’ (bakery shops).

Chateau de Chambord, France - September 12, 2015: has very distinctive French Renaissance architecture which blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Renaissance structures.

Brittany and Normandy

The Normandy beaches shelter many D-D Sights. These are monuments and museums treasuring the memory of events and people involved in this important page of World War II history. For Americans, the Normandy American Cemetery is a must-see with its quiet and respectful, at the same time breathtaking atmosphere, but these beaches have something to offer to everyone, independently of our nationalities.

Typical Costs

Accommodation

It is really easy to find accommodation in France, depending on your budget and priorities. You can easily stay in the heart of Montmartre (the artists’ district of Paris) in a youth hostel for a couple of US$ per night, but if privacy is something you value, get a room in one of the luxurious hotels in Paris. In all other French cities as well, book ahead and according to your budget, there so many choices for everyone.

Food and Drink

Anyone who has ever sampled dishes from the famous French cuisine would agree that none other than this extravagant country is the gastronomical capital of the world. Scanning the foodscape of France, indulge yourself in ‘haute cuisine’ by all means if you can afford it, however, I would like to recommend here a few musts which are easily accessible on your daily strolls. During your sightseeing in Paris or any other city, as a matter of fact, you are sure to pass many ‘boulangeries’ (bakeries) in the streets. Go in confidently, make sure that they make their delicacies from scratch rather than buying them pre-frozen, and try the following things: France is most famous for its baguettes and croissants. You will often see locals with paper bags or baskets from which end of baguettes protrudes. Artisan baguette is really big in Paris especially, where they even have a competition, choosing the “Meilleure Baguette de Paris” (Best Baguette in Paris). Croissants come in many different flavors and can be consumed both cold and warm.

My number two suggestions are ‘Croque-monsieur’ and ‘Croque-madame.’ These are wonderful grilled cheese and ham sandwiches adorned with Béchamel sauce. The difference between the two is that Croque Madame has an extra fried egg on top.

To stay on the savory side, the ‘Jambon-beurre’ is often called the most Parisian sandwich. It is basically half a baguette spread with butter and cooked ham with an addition of ‘cornichons’ (pickles) if the customer requests.

And two more sweet suggestions: Crepes and Macarons. Every country has crepes, but France gave birth to this wonderful recipe, and if you are interested in tasting the classical version of it, go for the simple ‘beurre-Sucre’ (butter and sugar) as locals do. Me not being a great fan of Macarons, I’m hardly qualified to recommend them well, but if you find a shop that makes their own of this almond meringues shells joined by a layer of buttercream, I am sure that you will feel the difference between these and what you have been getting so far back in your land.

Transportation

France has one of the most well-organised and least expensive public transport systems ever. There are well organized and fast trains zig-zagging the country and the transportation in Paris is really worth a tourist pass. Paris Métro (the subway system of Paris) has sixteen lines and complemented by buses, trams, trolleys and bicycle rental options, it really makes catching a taxi a redundant luxury.

Related Posts

Pictures of France

Back to Europe