France Travel Guide

Bienvenue en France! A country full of iconic landmarks and charming villages, from modern sophistication to old-world charm. Nestled in the heart of Europe, France offers diverse landscapes, from the sun-kissed vineyards of Bordeaux to the snow-capped peaks of the French Alps.

France isn’t just a place; it’s an adventure for your senses. Explore the grand Louvre, stroll through sweet-smelling lavender fields in Provence, or see the majestic Mont Saint-Michel emerge from the sea. Each cobblestone street, every sip of wine, and every artist’s brushstroke has a story that goes back centuries.

The Ultimate France Travel Guide

Welcome! You must be planning a trip to France! Allow me to help you. This guide is filled with all the information you’ll ever need to know from the basics to my top places to visit, tips, and recommendations.

Or, if you’re excited, just jump into my France Travel Blog by using the Table of Contents to go directly to what you want to read.

J’adore France. France holds a special place in my heart, surpassing any other destination. Paris, in particular, feels like my second home, and I’ve visited this enchanting city eight times—whether with my husband or solo.

The allure of France, beyond its inspiring landscapes and famous landmarks, lies in the indescribable French culture. It’s not just a place I visit; it’s a feeling of belonging and connection. I love it all — the language, the food, the people, the way of life. So much so, that my husband and I share a dream of making France our home one day. Now, I get to share that love with all of you.

Travel Guide to France: The Basics

Capital City: Paris
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Language: French, while English is not as universally spoken you’ll find that many people in urban areas and popular tourist spots can communicate in English to varying degrees
Population: 67 million
Size: 551,500 km2 (212,935 sq mi) (Source: Wikipedia)
Average Daily Cost: 80 to 225 EUR per person

Getting there: Most international travellers land at Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport in Paris. Alternatively, Nice Côte d’Azur (NCE) Airport and Lyon-Saint Exupéry (LSY) Airport offer convenient access to the southern and eastern regions via connecting flights.

Getting around: Once you’ve touched down in France, high-speed trains, such as the TGV, whisk you between regional cities with ease. For those looking to explore the best gems off the beaten path, renting a car is the way to go.

Tipping: in many restaurants, a service compris is included in the bill, if that’s the case no additional tip is not required, but leaving some small change or rounding up the bill is a polite gesture. In the absence of a service compris, it is customary to leave a tip of around 5-10%.

Weather:

  • Spring (March to May): temperatures ranging from 10 to 20°C (50 to 68°F)
  • Summer (June to August): temperatures ranging from 20 to 30°C (68 to 86°F)
  • Autumn (September to November): temperatures ranging from 10 to 20°C (50 to 68°F)
  • Winter (December to February): temperatures ranging from 0 to 10°C (32 to 50°F)

Travel Guide for France: Best Places to Visit

archways on building in france travel guide
Paris
  1. Paris: the capital city is a hub of art, culture, and history. Iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and nearby the Palace of Versailles, attract millions of visitors each year.
  2. Nice and the French Riviera: the French Riviera, or Côte d’Azur, is celebrated for its breathtaking Mediterranean coastline, glamorous resorts, and picturesque towns. Nice, with its Promenade des Anglais, along with destinations like Cannes and Saint-Tropez, offers sun-soaked allure and sophistication.
  3. Mont Saint-Michel: this medieval abbey perched on a rocky island in Normandy, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The abbey, narrow streets, and tidal surroundings create a unique and picturesque destination.
  4. Strasbourg: situated in the Alsace region, Strasbourg is celebrated for its well-preserved medieval architecture, charming canals, and the stunning Strasbourg Cathedral. It also offers a unique blend of German and French food and culture.
  5. Loire Valley: the Loire Valley is renowned for its majestic châteaux, like Château de Chambord, Château de Chenonceau, and the scenic landscapes of this UNESCO-listed region.

Top 5 Destinations for Foodies

white house in france travel guide
Reims
  1. Lyon: known as the “Gastronomic Capital of France,” Lyon boasts a rich culinary heritage. Explore the traboules (hidden passageways) and discover bouchons, traditional Lyonnais restaurants serving hearty dishes like coq au vin and quenelles. The city’s vibrant markets and Paul Bocuse’s Les Halles de Lyon are must-visit spots for food lovers.
  2. Bordeaux: beyond its world-renowned vineyards, Bordeaux offers a culinary scene that perfectly complements its wines. Indulge in regional specialties such as duck confit, foie gras, and entrecôte bordelaise. The city’s lively food markets, like Marché des Capucins, showcase the best of Aquitaine’s produce.
  3. Marseille: as a melting pot of cultures, Marseille’s cuisine reflects its diverse influences. Explore the Old Port and indulge in bouillabaisse, a traditional fisherman’s stew. The city’s Arab, North African, and Corsican influences add a unique flair to dishes like Panisse and pastis, creating a culinary tapestry that’s a treat for the taste buds.
  4. Reims: located in the heart of the Champagne region, Reims offers not only the finest sparkling wines but also a gastronomic experience. Pair your champagne with local delicacies such as creamy Chaource cheese, ham from Ardennes, and traditional dishes like boudin blanc (white sausage) and coq au champagne.
  5. Normandy: renowned for its picturesque landscapes, Normandy also delights foodies with its culinary treasures. Indulge in Camembert and Pont-l’Évêque cheeses, sip on Calvados (apple brandy), and savour dishes like moules à la crème (mussels in cream) and tripes à la mode de Caen. Normandy’s coastal location also ensures the freshest seafood delights.

Top 5 Most Beautiful Villages in France

  1. Gordes (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur): perched on a hill in the Luberon region, Gordes boasts stone houses, narrow alleys, and stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Its charm and elegance have made it one of the most sought-after villages, including nearby villages in Provence like Lourmarin, Menerbes and Roussillon.
  2. Eguisheim (Alsace): located in the Alsace wine region, Eguisheim is a fairytale village with colourful half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets, and floral displays. The circular layout enhances its medieval charm.
  3. Saint-Cirq-Lapopie (Occitanie): overlooking the Lot River, Saint-Cirq-Lapopie is a cliffside village with medieval architecture. Its well-preserved buildings and enchanting setting make it a favourite among visitors.
  4. Vézelay (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté): nestled in the Burgundy region, Vézelay is known for its medieval streets, historic abbey, and panoramic views of the Morvan hills. The village has spiritual significance and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  5. Gassin (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur): perched on a hill near Saint-Tropez, Gassin offers panoramic views of the Gulf of Saint-Tropez. The village is characterized by narrow streets, old stone houses, and a relaxed Provençal atmosphere.

Travel Guide France Tips

  • Be sure to adapt to the slower pace of service in restaurants, as meals are meant to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace
  • Greet shopkeepers when entering small stores and say “bonjour” before any interaction
  • Explore local markets for fresh produce and unique finds. Visit boulangeries for delicious pastries and baguettes—a quintessentially French experience
  • For popular attractions book well in advance your tickets and tours to secure availability
  • Stay vigilant against pickpocketing, and tourist scams in Paris and other large cities in France, but otherwise France is a relatively safe country
  • The best time to visit France is in the Spring, especially in Paris when the cherry blossoms are in bloom and in Autumn for the beautiful fall foilage and fewer crowds

France Travel Blog: My Articles

Paris

Provence Cote D’Azur

Other Destinations in France