France is where you go for la belle vie. France is where you go for the good life; with crepes in Parisian cafes, stargazing in Cannes, haute couture and highbrow art. The most popular tourist destination in the world, France sees tens of millions of visitors every single year most of whom make a beeline to the Eiffel Tower. But the country is so much more than that iron giant. France offers white sand beaches, alpine ski slopes, vineyards, renaissance palaces and medieval castles. We hope to introduce you to all this and more with our France travel guide.
The best time to visit France is from March through November. Of course, if you would like to see Paris come alive, head to the Champs Élysées at New Year’s Eve. Ground zero for French NYE parties, the nation’s most famous street is lit with fireworks and illumination every January. Summers in France are a string of festivals with the quirky Dunkirk Festival, the Lavender Festival in Aix en Proven
Like most of Europe, winters in Europe can we cold, wet and dreary. Summers in France are warm, bordering on hot, and sunny. This season is favoured by most tourists so if you do find yourself in France in that time of the year, brace yourself for swarms of selfie toting tour bus crowds. Spring in March and April and autumn that lasts through November can be a little chilly but you will avoid the
Called the City of Lights, Paris is the capital of France. It is also the capital of gastronomy, haute couture, red lipstick and Breton stripes. The city has been at the forefront of art and culture for centuries now which will be evident on your tour of the city. One of the best places in Paris to begin your trip is at the Louvre. Housed in the Louvre Palace that dates back to the 12th century, the Louvre Museum is the largest in the world with a collection that ranges from Egyptian antiquities to Islamic art. Of course, if art isn’t really your thing make a beeline to the museum’s most prized possession, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Not far from the Louvre is another famous museum, the Musee d’Orsay. Other Paris attractions we recommend are the Eiffel Tower, Montmartre and the Latin Qu
Nice may be the gateway to the French Riviera where golden sands and blue waters and coastal castles await. But the city is more than just that. Its balmy weather, history and mélange of French, Italian and Spanish cultures offer visitors an alternative to the highbrow vibe of Paris. When you do find yourself in Nice don’t forget to take a stroll down the France travel guide darling, Promenade des Anglais that lines the Bay of Angels. Also worth a visit are the iconic Hotel Negresco as well as the Nice Opera, the Chateau, and Old Nice with its delightful cobblestoned streets and pastel tones buildings. For great views of the city, we suggest adding a trip to Parc de la Colline du Chateau to your itinerary.
Bordeaux is synonymous with wines. Literally. It is also the wine capital of the world and is home to the world’s largest wine museum, the Cité du Vin. The city’s appeal, however, goes beyond fermented grapes. Bordeaux is where you go for France’s best mushrooms, delicious oysters from the Bay of Arcachon, Pauillac lamb and mouthwatering magret de canard made of duck breast. If not for the food, then visit Bordeaux for architecture. 18th century palaces, fountains and bridges; Bordeaux is breathtakingly beautiful anywhere you look making it one of the best places to visit in France. Even the Queen of England called it the “essence of elegance” and queens are rarely wrong.
Rugged and wild, Corsica is a foil for the elegant, gentile environs of Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Frequented by sun worshippers for its unspoiled, shingled beaches, Corsica is also known for its hiking trails, homebrews, and pastries. If you are wondering where to go in France for some quiet R&R, Corsica is your answer. Begin your Corsican holiday in the capital city, Ajaccio. The city is over two thousand years old with a Roman cathedral and Genoese watchtower still standing. The city is also the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte with his childhood home open to visitors.
One of the most popular places to visit in France, Mont Saint Michel is a granite outcrop at the mouth of the Couesnon River that has, since the 10th century, been a fishing village, military outpost, abbey, prison and monastery. Today the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to a cathedral, several museums and gift shops. The island until recently was accessible only during low tide but a causeway from the mainland has since improved connectivity. Mont Saint Michel due to its storied past is much like a military fortress with high walls and a stark, foreboding architecture. Climb up to the abbey on your visit there and check out the sculptures, cloister and high windows.
The Palace of Versailles is beautiful. We could call it magnificent or stunning or resplendent but no word will do justice to its beauty. An hour’s drive from Paris the palace began life as a humble hunting lodge 1600s. A century later it became the most opulent residence in western civilization. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the palace is known for the Hall of Mirrors, the Royal Opera, the Grand and Petit Trianon, and the Hameau, a replica village where Queen Marie Antoinette and her courtiers would pretend to be peasants. The palace with its sprawling gardens, elaborate salons, murals, sculptures and courtyards ask, nay, demand a visit from all visitors to France. One of top things to see in France, the Palace of Versailles cannot be missed.
Cannes, Nice, St Tropez and Antibes are just some of the reasons why the French Riviera is one of the most popular places in France. Once of haunt of artists and writers like Picasso, Matisse and Francis Bacon, the French Riviera, is now a glamorous mix of super yachts, super models and supercars. Skirting the Mediterranean on the southeast coast of France, the Riviera is just town after town of marinas, sandy beaches, azure seas and pastel villas, each more picturesque than last.
The ski resort of Chamonix is located deep in the Aiguilles Rouge, a mountain range that has the legendary Mont Blanc in its midst. The town rose to prominence in the 19th century as droves of tourists descended on the mountains to experience the glaciers, trails and ski slopes. While Chamonix does have pretty meadows, hiking trails and spas to keep tourists coming, it is primarily a winter destination. The slopes are perfect for skiing, snowboarding, paragliding, ice climbing and mountaineering. One of the best places in France for the winter, Chamonix should be at the top of your France travel planning list.