Most people focus on Paris when they’re planning a trip to France but there is much more to this diverse country than the ‘City of Love’. While first-time visitors shouldn’t miss must-sees such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe, it’s also worth venturing outside the major cities. Sipping wine with the locals at an outdoor cafe, shopping at regional farmer’s markets, driving through châteaux-sprinkled countryside, staying in historic villages, and wine tasting in the picturesque Loire Valley are equally impressive. There is also the glamour of of the French Riviera, pretty provincial towns like Annecy to explore, and unique monuments like Mont Saint-Michel, a famous Romanesque church located on an island in Normandy. With its rich culture, fascinating history, delicious cuisine, fine wines and so many things to see and do, it’s no surprise France remains one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations.
Sunset cruise in Paris
Visit Monet’s Garden
The weather in France is relatively comfortable year round so there is no ‘bad’ time to visit. It’s the tourist seasons which are more likely to impact your holiday rather than the climate. During the French summer holidays which run from late July through most of August, locals desert the cities and flock to regional towns and beaches for their annual holiday. If you visit Paris during this time, you’ll likely be surrounded by no one but other international tourists. Spring and autumn generally offer fewer crowds and cheaper prices throughout the country. You’ll find plenty of snow on the country’s ski slopes from December to March.
Galleries and museums are usually closed on either Monday or Tuesday. If you’re fond of cultural pursuits, time your stay for later in the week.
You might not feel comfortable strolling around in joggers and baggy shorts. Pack outfits that are stylish yet comfortable with layers you can peel off.
Dine at high-end restaurants for lunch rather than dinner. It’s easier to get a table and affordable prix fixe (fixed price) menus are often available.
Many shops, tourist offices, banks and other businesses close for lunch, especially in regional towns. Plan your itinerary accordingly.