France combines romance and classy living with history and fine wine. Throw in the stunning Riviera and Alps, and you’re sure to have your ultimate Luxury Retreats french summer getaways. But not every trip to France goes to plan. And that’s because tourists don’t take the time to prepare themselves before they arrive. If you’re thinking of travelling to France this summer, check out these essential things you should know before you go.
Paris is the city of romance, but…
Paris is the most famous city in the world. The name alone conjures images of roadside cafés, candlelit dinners and the iconic Eiffel Tower. For centuries, Paris was the centre of European culture. But in the 21st-century, this allure and appeal have diminished. Holidaymakers have a glitzy and romantic image of Paris in their head before they take their vacation. Some are disappointed when they arrive. Paris is an incredible city, just have a realistic expectation of what it’s like.
As much wine as you can drink
Vineries fill the French countryside in the southern regions of the country. Wine-lovers could easily spend a month touring the different grape growing regions and tasting the different varieties of wine. You can then buy a bottle straight from the vineyard as either souvenir to take home or to enjoy in your hotel or vacation rental. And when you visit any village, town or city, you’ll find hundreds of bottles filling the shelves of shops and supermarkets. Most come at a very affordable price tag as well as giving you the perfect excuse to indulge.
Don’t stay in one place
France offers diversity in its landscapes, architecture and culture. Tourists should seize the opportunity to get around and experience everything the country has to offer. If you’re planning a two-week vacation, why not visit three or four places instead of one? You can quickly get from one town or city to the next using the train. This gives you a chance to see the very best that France has to offer. Consider stopping by Paris before making your way down south to the French Riviera.
Rent a car
One of the most convenient ways to explore France is by renting a car. You can find a rental at the airport or in most cities at a reasonable price. Once you have a vehicle, you have the freedom to drive around and soak up the atmosphere and culture. A highlight is driving around southern France. You’ll pass through a network of small towns and villages. Each one has its own appearance and ambience. Stop by for lunch and to enjoy a coffee. Having a car also lets you travel further afield to explore Roman ruins and the mountainous landscape in the French Alps as well.
Don’t neglect the history
France has a rich history spanning millennia. Roman ruins fill the landscapes around Provence. North France provides an insight into World War Two and the chance to visit the places you read about in your school history books. Most tourists miss out on this part and prefer to spend their time taking photographs in the metropolitan cities. But with a dose of history, you can get a much deeper understanding and appreciation of France. If you decide to explore the past, it’s recommended to get a guide. Tour guides provide so much more value and insight compared to visiting alone.
Attend a festival
Festivals and local events take place on an almost weekly basis ranging from film festivals to Christmas markets to Mardi Gras. Visit in February and witness carnival parades. Plan your trip to coincide with the Tour de France. Throw in smaller events like the International Kite Festival. There’s always something going on. Get online and search to see what’s happening when you visit. Joining in the festivities is both fun and cultural experience.
Take the chance to experience rural France
Rural France consists of undulating landscapes, fields and vineyards. Other parts has mountains, long stretches of pristine coastline and the Alps. Rather than spending all your time in the city, get out and see more of the countryside. You can rent a car and drive along country lanes stopping off for a picnic en route. Or go hiking in either the Alps or Pyrenees Mountains. You can find yourself in the countywide within less than 30 minutes of most cities. Take the chance to see the best of France’s natural beauty.
Explore neighbouring countries
If you’re flying halfway across the world to visit France, why not explore some of her neighbours. France is part of the Schengen Agreement, which means you can travel to 26 countries on the same visa. If you’re in northern France, head over the border to either Belgium or Germany. Take a day trip to Geneva or Basel in Switzerland or drive into Italy from Southern France. Or you can visit the tiny micronation Andorra high in the Pyrenees Mountains. You won’t have the time to visit everywhere, but it’s always nice to see somewhere different. Public transport in Western Europe is extremely efficient, and high-speed trains can get you from one city to the next in a few hours.
Having an awesome vacation to France
France is among Europe’s most beautiful countries. You can visit romantic cities one day and spend the afternoons in Vineyards the next. Relax on the beach for a day or two before hiking in the mountains. France has a lot to offer in terms of travel experiences, activities and culture. Make the most of it.