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  >  France

France

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. 

THINGS TO SEE AND DO 

Drive the Champagne Route
See the French Alps
Go swimming at St. Tropez
Visit the Eiffel Tower
Marvel at Mont Saint-Michel
Stroll through Monet's garden
Tour Normandy’s WWII sites
Drink wine at a cafe
Visit a famous chateau
Sunset views of Paris from a river ship

Sunset cruise in Paris

Visit Monet’s Garden

FRANCE WEATHER

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. 

TRAVEL TIPS

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. 

Honfleur

TRAVEL INSPIRATION

  • Discover some of the best tours in Paris, from scaring yourself silly on a spooky Paris ghost tour to driving through the city at sunset in a vintage 2CV.

  • Disneyland Paris offers a classic Disney experience with a stylish French touch. Here are 5 tips for making the most of your visit to Disneyland Paris.

  • When you’re in ‘the city of light’ for a good time, not a long time, the Take Walks 'Paris in a Day' tour is the best way to make the most of your visit.

  • Here are five tips for visiting the Eiffel Tower that will save you time and money and provide extra advice for things like the Eiffel Tower restaurants.

  • Back-Roads Touring specialise in small group tours for experienced travellers who would prefer someone else to look after the driving and logistics.

  • In the heart of the Bercy district in Paris you will find the Museum of Fairground Arts, one of the world’s largest collections of antique amusement rides.

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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.