Are you are dreaming of exploring France? If you are then this brief guide will highlight some fun activities and the top ten places that you can visit.
France is one of the most visited places in the world. In the event that you are planning to a trip in the near future, you will discover more than you can ever imagine on any holiday. Just picture yourself in an incredible city such as Paris; exploring wonderful beaches; a lot more monuments compared to other countries; natural beauty; spectacular mountain view, we could on and on. If you are yet to experience the wonders of this destination, then this brief guide will highlight the top ten places in France to visit, as well as share a bit of information about its food, festivals and activities.
Some of the popular tourist region in France
In addition to being one of the popular destinations in the world, this country boast many tourist regions which are very pleasurable with excellent food, fantastic wines and people who love to enjoy life. Believe it or not, it’s possible that besides Paris, if you want to live in France this doesn’t have to be really expensive. On the northern section of France you will find flatlands across the English Channel and the town of Lille. If you ever traveled to Netherlands or Belgium, this location will definitely remind you of these places.
Let’s take a brief look on these regions:
In Northern France, you will find the largest city and capital of France. Paris is regarded as the “city of lights” and the surroundings are the most popular areas for tourist in the world. It is said that Paris is undoubtedly among the most gorgeous cities in the world. This region and city consists of several renowned landmarks, popular parks and world-famous institutions.
On the South of France you will find excellent food, natural beauty, Roman ruins and the popular Riviera which attracts many visitors each year. Places such as Arles, Orange, Toulon and Marseille are definitely worth a visit. The Provence boasts small pleasant villages, so if you are visiting the South west region, you will discover that Dordogne will be one of the most quintessential areas. One thing that you might notice in this region is that there are picturesque towns, beautiful valley and some of the most delectable dishes ever; you will probably wonder why the people living in this area would spend their vacations elsewhere. The Languedoc area boasts its own culture and language. On the southern section of Languedoc you will find Pyrenees, an outstanding mountain range which separates France and Spain, plus the best place to ski and hike. The cities of Montpellier and Toulouse are vibrant and bustling areas, but Carcassonne with its medieval town is one of the top destinations.
On the East of France you will find places such as Alsace, Burgundy, Lorraine and Franche Comte. The surroundings boast several beautiful cities like Dijon, Nancy, Strasbourg and Metz, as well as rolling hills. This area produces numerous renowned wines, such as superb Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs which are highly valued worldwide, plus the legendary “Yellow wine”, which comes from Jura mountain vineyard.
The West of France can be found in the direction facing the Atlantic Coast. On the northern section Normandy and Brittany, you will find sandy beaches, rolling hills and small peaceful harbor towns. This area boast a lot more Neolithic sites, rugged coastlines and an amazing surroundings compared to other locations in this country, but you could still get a feeling of the Celtic origins of the people.
One of the quietest regions that you will find on this trip is the Centre of France. However the most impressive treasure in this location will be the Loire valley, which boasts delightful towns and many fabulous castles. The town of Chartres is rated as one of the most visited French locations with renowned cathedral and tours.
The Alps will be great for hiking during the summer or skiing in the winter months. Chamonix, Grenoble and Albertville are all places in this region which host the Olympic Games. However, if you are not into those activities you will find other beautiful town, such as Annecy or Chambery.
At this point, before you even think about traveling to France it will be important to know about the weather conditions, requirements for driving and accommodation options.
Weather and Climate
Considering that France is bordered by the Channel, North Sea, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean; by several mountain ranges namely the Pyrenees, the Jura and the Alps, plus the borders of the central lowlands in Europe, all of this makes it a country with varied climatic settings leading to different weather patterns. The low barometric pressures have a tendency to leave this country wide open to influences from the Atlantic breeze, resulting in heavy rains and thick clouds.
For this reason, it’s generally advised to check with the weather predictions for your travel dates to ensure that nothing will spoil this trip.
Driving around France
To be able to drive in this country, you are required to have a recognized driving license, insurance and registration document for vehicles. An intercontinental driver’s license will not be necessary for persons visiting from countries such as the USA, EU, Canada and EE for a brief period of roughly 3 months. Nevertheless it’s often advised or otherwise essential for travelers from various other nations. For extended visits, the typical European Union licenses would still be valid, however persons from Non-EU areas might be required to get one of the French license. For exact information, consult your the French embassy within your country.
Considering the fact that France welcomes more than 73 million travelers each year, you can expect to find a vast selection of accommodations that will suit the needs of everyone, regardless of their budget. Here are some of the options available to select from:
Most people prefer to stay in the best luxurious 5 and 4 star hotels while traveling overseas. If this is what you have in mind then you should prepare to pay a price which complements service and quality. You can find most of these holiday hotels in Paris, plus additional resort regions adjoining the Mediterranean.
Nevertheless, because the French put tremendous significance on the value of holidays, you can find a large number of accommodations in practically all towns providing a relaxing séjour for inexpensive prices. So, it’s possible to rent an apartment or studio if you are looking for full service lodgings.
In the event that you’d like to interact with the residents on your trip, it’s possible that your experiences will be a lot more fulfilling culturally. This is assuming that you are able to communicate fairly in the local language, don’t hesitate to search for the smaller and much less promoted places. These include Chateaux, country inns and Auberges offering basic conveniences and sometimes restaurant on-site. There are also camp sites if you like the stars and are an astrology libra like me along with camping facilities which are popular among travelers on a tight budget. These places are generally clean, efficiently operated and well-equipped. France is definitely a tourist country with many cafés, bars, restaurants, museums and various other attractions, which are cost effective when compared to other destinations in Europe.
The following are our top ten places in France to visit:
Whenever you’re in a country such as France, this could turn out to be a mind-boggling experience, since you will be confused about the places to visit and will have a hard time deciding on the first place to check out. Paris is definitely the premier attraction throughout France and a visit to this city will provide you with total relaxation and artistry. In fact, when you interact with just about all the natives they can jolt your imagination to such extent that it’s possible you might think that everyone is a renowned painter. These are our top selections:
1. The Eiffel Tower
This is perhaps one of the most renowned landmarks in Paris and one that is definitely worth seeing while you are in France. History shows that this tower had been ridiculed at one time by the first-rate creative designers in France as the most undesirable structure. Needless to say, it is now one of the wonders in the world and one of the major attractions in Paris. When you visit this location, you will find a variety of souvenirs, eat in fine dining places and afterward you can ride in the lift to the top, where you will get a breathtaking view of the city.
2. Louvre Museum
This is one of the most popular art galleries across the world, which is open throughout the year and would be the ideal spot for all Paris visitors. This features a lot of history for France or perhaps the entire world when compared to any other museum. You will find some of the finest artistic creations from the historical times, which include work from Leonardo da Vinci. This spot was initially a palace, but it’s now a world-class museum with famous painting like Venus of Milo and Mona Lisa.
3. Notre Dame Cathedral
Even though this is not the biggest cathedral worldwide, this spot had been made legendary in a book written by Victor Hugo. As a result, this religious site was restored during the nineteenth century to this famous spot that is loved by many. It is renowned for its stone architectural mastery, which is complete with impressive artifacts from old Christianity together with gothic gargoyle faces. This is truly a recommendation for your holiday, so ensure that you don’t forget your digital camera to capture the beauty of this historic structure.
4. Napoleon’s Arc de Triomphe
It is said that besides the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral, this monument would be one of the most renowned in France. This had been initially constructed honoring the French army which fought along with Napoleon during Napoleonic wars. It is pretty easy to feel like you are going around in circles while exploring this amazing landmark, because of the baffling level of traffic going to and from the roundabout in the heart of Paris. So, if you are interested in taking photographs it is best to use the underground passageway at the metro stop at Charles de Gaulle-Etoile.
5. French Riviera
This country boasts a few of the best exotic beaches that you will find worldwide. Some of the preferred destinations are Cannes, St. Lopez and Nice. The beaches are spectacular and tend to be the ideal place for romantic escapades on your holiday. I would definitely recommend that you check out the Rivera at nights, since these spot are matchless, anything that you envision could happen in these areas.
This attraction is known as Euro Disney and is actually a vacation and adventure resort found in Marne-la-Vallée, which is a new town on the Eastern environs of Paris. This location boasts two amusement parks, an entertainment, retail and a dining district, plus seven hotels owned by Disney. This attraction has been in operation from April, 12 1992 and is actually the second resort opening beyond the United States and also the first to be completely operated and owned by Disney.
Most visitors to France are knowledgeable about this popular attraction. During 1858 within the Grotte de Massabielle close to the town, it was believed that Virgin Mary made repeated appearances to a native girl. After this, a massive industry started to flourish in this area and millions of tourists visit the town annually. For this reason, you will find a large number of hotels in comparison to any other town throughout France, with the exception of Paris. Located within the spectacular Pyrenees backdrop, you discover several reasons to check out Lourdes, whether it’s for some spiritual connection; to view amazing landscapes; enjoy countless activities or explore wonderful excursions.
8. Historic Normandy
During the time when several countries had being fighting and many soldiers perished while trying to eliminate the Nazis forever, this historical area of Normandy played a crucial role. You can tour the many museums, sites and natural splendor, starting from the stunning Mont St. Michel, which is considered among the seven natural treasures worldwide. Next, you can check out the D-Day beaches, such as Omaha Beach, which is the spot where the armed forces entered France and then the popular American Cemetery by Colleville sur Mer. If you venture further to the beautiful countryside you will find Bayeux, which is a picturesque town famous for its medieval tapestry and Lace Museum.
9. Musee d’Orsay
While you are Parish, this is definitely an additional renowned milestone museum located on an old railway station. This site is yet another proof of the ways the French appreciate their traditional artwork. At this site you will discover primarily French artwork which dates from 1848 to 1915 and include paintings, furniture, photography and sculptures. Perhaps this is the most renowned museum for its wide-ranging selection of post-impressionist and impressionist works of art, which is considered premier across the world with painters like Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh and Gauguin.
10. Wine Vineyards
There is no way you can visit France without checking out their celebrated wines. The vineyards yield probably the most incredible wines in the world. You can find wine tours and tastings offering you a chance to experience this wonderful side of the French culture and add some spark to your trip at the same time. Some of the wine regions include Alsace, Beaujolais, Bergerac, Bordeaux (sub-regions include Medoc, Graves, Saint Emilion and Sauternes) and Champagne
When you want to get around in this country you will be happy to know that the transportation services will be suitable, particularly if you are travelling by train. Additionally, you can discover comfortable surroundings, with restaurants and various other spots to relax from your recreational activities.
It’s important to note that cyclists are well regarded in France, in fact the La Rochelle city boast facilities for you to get this experience if you want to ride one of these bikes absolutely free. If you are a professional cycler, you can plan your holiday to take part in famous Tour of France cycling event which is held annually for three weeks. This generally covers many different areas in this country and at times in adjoining countries.
To make the most of this activity on your holiday, we recommend that you visit during the months of May and November. During this time, the Pyrenees Mountains will be less crowded, plus the packages are more affordable compared to other resorts during the winter months. You can find several resorts to enjoy yourself, such as La Tania, Les Deux Alpes, Meribel, Valmeinier, Les Gets, Les Saisies, Tignes, Cauterets and more.
France boasts breathtaking beaches and rivers. For surfing the spots in Biarritz will be ideal, but most visitors choose the Canal du Midi, in Paris for boating.
If you want to check out the beaches, you can visit the Mediterranean spots between October and May. Keep in mind that even though these beaches are usually filled with tourist crowd during July and August, it’s possible to have a great time just the same.
Nice and Cannes have some of the best beaches in France, plus these are flanked by restaurants and cafés to relax after enjoying a beautiful day in the sun. Ensure that you check out the Corsica Island, which is the ideal spot to take part in water sports activities. You can enjoy excellent food, water sports and sandy beaches, all for affordable prices in this area; this is more than what you could want if you are planning relaxing vacation.
Now, you cannot travel to France without getting a taste of the music, so at this point we will highlight some of the major music festivals.
When you are visiting in the summertime there is no doubt that you will want to enrich your holiday with one or two concerts. On your visit to Paris, it’s possible to attend musicals and concerts every single day during the year. The following are some of the classical musicals held throughout every season, in addition to jazz, rock and folk festivals which take places every summer.
From January to December, Paris provides a rich program for classical events. This city boasts several opera houses, concert halls, churches and various locations which can be used for concert events. You can check out the:
The Sully and Loiret Festival in May to June
The Strasbourg International Festival in June
Festival of Aix en Provence from the 1st – 21st July,
The Colmar Festival in July
The Festival of Orange, Les Chorégies, mid-July to early August
The Pablo Casals festival of chamber music, late July to mid-August
Festival of La Chaise Dieu in August
Besancon International Music Festival in September
During the summer, several rural areas and smaller towns host concerts in many venues, such as châteaux, open air theatres, small halls and old churches for visitors and locals alike. The festivals are generally smaller and will be harder for you to find, for example this might be an organized convivial and friendly event, occasionally accompanied by free wine and an opportunity to interact with performing artists. The performers usually vary at these events from world renowned professionals to local amateurs. Even though full-blown orchestral functions are uncommon, many venues offer concerts with chamber music, piano recitals, soloists, small vocal groups or even informal ensembles.
A few other festivals
This beautiful country provides a lot more festivals in other forms of music such as rock festivals, jazz festivals, techno festivals and much more. The following are some of the major ones:
Festival de Marciac, close to Toulouse – Jazz
Country music festival, at Craponne sur Arzon in Auvergne
Festival Interceltique de Lorient, held at Brittany. This is a major Celtic festival with traditional folk.
Festival des Vieilles Charrues, at Brittany and Les Eurockéennes in Belfort are two major rock festivals.
We have mentioned above that you find excellent food in this country, so let’s take a look at some of the places to eat while staying in France.
As a result of the wide variety and good quality eating experiences made available in conventional restaurants, you will discover that France offers much less in international cuisines when compared to various other nations. However, with globalization of culture and taste this is actually changing at a fast pace.
Les “self” or self-service eateries are recognized as cafeterias or even just “selfs”. These are located at several major stations, motorway service areas, city centers, as well as in many huge superstores outside of the town. If you are on a tight budget, you can get meals at acceptable quality, however for price and logical reasons they generally utilize much more refined food compared to independent restaurants.
Cafés, brasseries, bistros
These are generally traditional establishments for drinking, however similar to the pubs in England; they are now offering sandwiches as well as light to substantial meals, especially at midday.
These establishments seem to be penetrating France increasingly in recent years, so you will find McDonald’s everywhere. The Belgian or local French chain for fast food sandwich and hamburgers are known as Quick. In addition, there are many other independent outlets selling fast food, occasionally with unusual pseudo-English bands like “Big-Ban”, “Mister Good Fast”, “Royal Fast Food” and “Le Fast Fast”.
You can find one these establishments in practically all the towns as well as on the main roadways, but the majority are generally independent facilities and few chains. Considering that the French opt for conventional pizzas made in Italian style on thin crust, so it’s not wide-spread to find pizzas made in deep-pan. The excellent pizza eating places function with a similar structure as the conventional French restaurants, providing three course meals, in which the pizza is the main course. Additionally, the majority of the pizzerias will serve dual purpose as Italian eateries with pasta dishes
Nowadays, you can find them in most towns, although quite often these are really Vietnamese restaurants. Naturally, the food will be oriental; nevertheless you should not count on finding similar choices on the food selection as the American or English Chinese eatery. These restaurants are generally catering for French clientele, which is shown in their menus, especially in special three course meals for lunch or dinner. You can expect to get high-quality value for your money, in particular with the set lunch menus.
These establishments are generally not common as in the United Kingdom. Similar to Chinese dining places, these facilities practices and standards, quite often pay substantial focus on presentation, as well as offering an Indian selection of nouvelle dishes.
Algerian Tunisian and Moroccan
You will discover that these are somewhat popular, because of the connections between North Africa and France. Even though many are really basic dining places which is providing for the North African communities, many of the upscale market tend to be innovative and will offer fine style dining experience.
Food from other nations
Throughout the major cities and towns, there are numerous other restaurants offering different kinds of ethnic cuisine. However in other places, besides pizzerias as well as the infrequent Asian restaurants, you will discover that eating is mainly “à la française” or “family style’.
Even though France is among the largest producers of vegetables and fruits in Europe, this is definitely not the best place to get vegetarian dishes. Due to the general top quality catering and food, as well as the usage of fresh items, vegetarian lifestyle never actually became popular throughout France. Generally, the vegetarians turn into outsiders at social events, like family dinners and business dinners at restaurants. Nonetheless, nowadays there are vegetarian dining places in several towns, most commonly throughout university areas.
In conclusion, we hope that this brief guide was able to provide you with a taste of what you can expect while visiting France. One thing is for sure, you will not find another destination filled with such architectural abundance. All in all, this is certainly a great holiday location for persons who are true artist and romantic at heart!