Engage with French joie de vivre by choosing to focus on just a few cities and regions instead of trying to visit everything at once.
As France is highly centralized, and “all roads lead to Paris”, making a cross-country visit inadvisable unless exploring Corsica or other overseas territories.
France is well known for its wine, baguettes and the Eiffel Tower; but the country also offers magnificent ruins and castles, world-class cuisine, stunning coastlines and sprawling countryside.
Assuming you are from an EU country, a full British passport is sufficient for travel into France (though specific entry requirements will depend on whether or not you have had COVID-19 vaccination). Please also ensure you have at least one blank page and enough funds for the duration of your journey.
Auto travel in France is one of the most cost-effective ways to explore its regions beyond Paris, with new routes opening all of the time. Just make sure that when factoring gas and toll costs into your calculations using an online route planner. Also check with your rental agency regarding insurance requirements (you may require additional coverage); bring along maps and phrasebooks too.
There are various ways of traveling around France depending on your type of journey. France’s extensive and modern rail network is an efficient and comfortable means of reaching each city – TGV trains run between major towns while Intercites connect smaller destinations via local TER routes. Omio train booking app can help compare prices, times, travel options and timestiles; European residents may purchase discounted France Rail Passes.
Driving can be an enjoyable and flexible way to experience the country, and can even be useful in urban environments. Just make sure that the vehicle can handle steep hills and tight corners on its travels.
Long-distance coaches are another cost-cutting alternative, such as those provided by BlaBlaCar Bus and Eurolines. Most major cities feature central coach stations (gare routiere) that can easily be located via street maps and guidebooks.
With such an extensive variety of accommodation options available in France, finding somewhere suitable to stay is simple. From budget hotels to 5-star properties there is something suitable for every pocketbook and taste imaginable.
As a tourist, it’s wise to double-check travel restrictions and requirements prior to booking flights. Countries may alter their regulations as the level of Covid-19 spread fluctuates.
Paris is an overcrowded city and room space is limited. Be prepared for smaller rooms. Additionally, breakfast in Paris is almost never included with hotel room rates and can often be found at cafes (such as Le Pain Quotidien, Pret a Manger or Paul Bakery) or restaurants associated with hotels.
Hotels in France are graded according to government regulations, with rates quoted per night including taxes and services. Hotels rated three-star or higher tend to include breakfast while lower category accommodations might only have what French call ‘cabinet de toilette’ which essentially serves as a toilet with hot and cold running water.
France has long been known for its incredible food scene, from exquisite ingredients and classic dishes to traditional treats like baguettes and macarons. But don’t limit your experience to just these staples – there are so many more wonderful French foods and beverages out there you should explore on tour! Staffer Vinciane has put together this list of 20 traditional (and not-so-traditional!) French foods every traveller should seek out on tour.
“In France’s upper north region, where temperatures become colder, people typically consume heavier dishes like coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon; while Normandy and Brittany offer plenty of seafood dishes while Provence boasts superb olive oils,” according to Vinciane.