The French live by the motto: “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity). France, often called the “City of Lights” is in Western Europe and encompasses Mediterranean beaches, medieval cities and alpine villages. France has given us world famous artists, sophisticated cuisine, wine and last but not least, Chanel handbags. The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Montmartre, and the Georges Pompidou Center make Paris, the capital, one of the most romanticized cities in the world.
FRANCE TOP 5 THINGS TO DO
Fall in love in or with Paris
Any trip to France must include a few days spent in the capital city, Paris. Soak up the ambience and lose yourself in the laidback grandeur of this incredible city. Paris is home to numerous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Gothic Notre-Dame cathedral. Once you’ve checked out the famous landmarks, wander the streets, admire the French women’s sense of style, eat freshly baked croissants and enjoy the cafe culture and designer boutiques along the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
Ski in The French Alps
This area boasts some of the most magnificent natural scenery in Europe. The French Alps are the portions of the Alps mountain range that stand within France, located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur regions. The Northern French Alps offer big mountain terrain and some of France’s most famous ski resorts. Think Tignes, Val d’Isère, Chamonix, and Meribel, Courchevel and Val thorens in the legendary Les 3 Vallèes.
The Loire Valley is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France, in both the regions of Pays de la Loire and Centre-Val de Loire. Just a short train journey from Paris and an easy drive from the coast of Normandy the Loire Valley is famous for its fairytale chateauxs and Renaissance-era castles, bustling markets in medieval towns, vineyards and sunflowers.
Château de Chambord
Commissioned by King Francis I and imagined by the great Leonardo da Vinci, the Chateau de Chambord is the largest and most majestic castle of the Loire.
Wine Tasting in Bordeaux
The unofficial motto of Bordeaux; Eat well and drink better! The predominant grape varietals in Bordeaux are Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and each region uses its own specific blend. For the best Bordeaux wine tours the magnificent chateaux that line the countryside offer excellent tours, tastings and exclusive, unique curated experiences.
Read more: Top 10 fabulous things to do in France
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Bucket Bunny List of the top 25 Europe travel adventures.
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FRANCE TOP 3 FESTIVALS
Cannes Film Festival
Held in May in the city of Cannes, Festival de Cannes is the biggest film festival in the world. The entire movie world gathers in the city, the best films from various countries are showcased and the crème de la crème of the movie industry dream of bagging the Palme d’ Or award. Attending this prestigious festival is a dream for any movie enthusiast hoping to get a glimpse of the A-list.
On 14th July France commemorates and celebrates the storming of the Bastille. This day is regarded as the birth of the French Democracy and is one of the most important holidays of the country. A lavish dance party is held in the palace de la Bastille, and a grand military parade can be witnessed at the Champs Elysees. Fireworks at the Eiffel Tower light up the sky and are not to be missed.
Festival d’ Avignon
The Avignon Festival is today one of the most important contemporary performing arts events in the world. An annual arts festival held in the French city of Avignon every July in the courtyard of the Palais des Papes as well as in other locations around the city.
Language: The main language spoken in France is French. Some other regional languages that are commonly spoken are Catalan, Occitan and Breton. Although French is preferred, English is also widely spoken, particularly in the areas popular with tourists.
Visa: Visiting France will usually require a valid passport and visa for anyone that is not from the European Union. Use these free online visa checker and calculator tools so you know if a visa for France is required (which will depend on the country you are from) and if so, how long it will take to process your visa and the cost.
Electricity: In France the standard voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. You can use your electric appliances in France, if the standard voltage in your country is between 220 – 240 V (as is in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa). Buy a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each new country you visit.
Lonely Planet France: Check price on Amazon
WHAT TO EAT IN FRANCE
Some of the most delicious, traditional dishes that you must try when in France are listed below. Don’t drool!
Soupe A L’Oignon: This soup is made of beef stock and onions and is generally served with croutons and topped with melted cheese. Even though it originated as a humble peasant dish, French onion soup is nowadays regarded as one of the most prized dishes of French cuisine. The broth is simple, made merely with caramelized onions and meat stock.
Coq Au Vin: Coq au vin is a popular French dish of chicken braised with wine, lardons, mushrooms, and sometimes garlic. A red Burgundy wine is usually added although many regions in France make variants of this using local wines, such as coq au Riesling and coq au vin jaune.
Cassoulet: Cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked casserole containing meat, pork skin and white beans, originating in southern France. All cassoulets are made with white beans, duck or goose confit, sausages, and other meat.
Beef Bourguignon: Beef bourguignon or bœuf bourguignon, also called beef Burgundy, is a beef stew braised in red wine. Like coq au vin, its sister dish from the Burgundy region of France, beef Bourguignon is a stew of meat simmered in red wine with pearl onions, mushrooms and cubed bacon.
Chocolate Soufflé: Soufflé in French means to ‘blow out.’ This is an air blown, egg baked recipe that originated in the 18th century. Soufflé is eaten both sweet and savory, and chocolate soufflé is a world famous dessert.
WHERE TO STAY IN FRANCE
France can be quite an expensive place to visit. However, finding excellent accommodation in France is easy because there’s so many options whatever your budget.
Hostels and dormitories make travel to France affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget. Whether you’re a backpacker, flash-packer or a luxury vacationer, France will not disappoint you. A basic hotel room in France can cost less than 100 euros.
If you’re looking for accommodation that includes luxury amenities and comforts then there will be endless options to choose from in the big cities and popular tourist hotspots like Paris, Marseille, Nice and Lyon. Whatever month you choose to visit France, it’s wise to book your accommodation in advance. Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best places to stay have been snapped up already. France is an extremely popular year-round destination with business travelers and backpackers.
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in France. However, if you are backpacking in France or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in France very affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies where ever you go.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
BEST TIME TO VISIT FRANCE
The best time to visit France is in May and June or September and October when the weather is reliably sunny. It is also less crowded at these times than the summer months of July and August which are high season and can be very hot, more expensive and extremely crowded, especially during the afternoons.
FRANCE TRAVEL BUDGET
France is can be an affordable destination for travelers on all budgets because the cost of your trip to France really depends on the level of comfort you want. If you are backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating fast food then budget between 50 to 100 euros per day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between 100 to 200 euros per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants then budget at least 200 to 500+ euros per day.
IS FRANCE SAFE FOR FEMALE TRAVELERS?
There’s a high increase in counter-terror intervention in France, so rest-assured that the police are ever present, keeping France as safe a tourist destination as it can be under the circumstances. Apart from the terror attacks, there’s occasional bag snatching and pickpocketing incidents, just like in all cities around the world. Based on my own travel experiences in Europe I wouldn’t leave home without travel insurance no matter how safe the destination I’m visiting is. You can still miss flights, lose your luggage or break a leg, especially if you’re as accident prone as I am. For this reason I recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks before your trip to France.
FRANCE VISA CHECKER
FRANCE FLIGHT DEALS
FRANCE TOURS & ACTIVITIES
FRANCE PACKING TIPS
Packing for a trip to France, like most other places in Europe, is a breeze. You really don’t need as much travel gear as you may think for a trip to France.
That said, the gear you do bring on your trip should be the very best option available for you and that doesn’t always mean the most expensive. Jetset Bunnies around the globe are always discovering the latest and the greatest in travel gear for women and this is where we share our awesome finds with you.
If you’re visiting France during the warmer months it will be much easier to travel light. Pack mainly lightweight and breathable clothing but still be prepared for cold mornings and evenings depending on the month you visit. You’ll need to wrap up warm between November and February. So pack a warm sweater, waterproof coat, gloves, scarves and a wooly hat if you’re traveling during winter.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to France include, most importantly, a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Read our related blog post with advice on how to choose the best backpacks for women travelers. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.