All you need to know before visit France

Visit France

France is one of the most popular holiday destinations for tourists all over the world.

Paris with its wonderful attractions, Loire Valley, the beautiful French Alps, Disneyland or Provence attract thousands of tourists each year.

The country is incredibly beautiful and diverse and here you can find anything you could want to: vibrant cities, beautiful countryside, steep mountains and sandy beaches.

visit France Europe map
visit France Europe map

 

France is for sure one of the best places to visit when in Europe!

But before you go, let me tell you some useful information about this magnificent country!

Let’s discover together where this area is located and why is it so beautiful:

 

1. Where is France located

France, officially known as the French Republic is the largest country in western Europe and the gate between the north and the south part of Europe.

Where is France in Europe
Where is France in Europe

It is bordering Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg in the northeast, the Atlantic Ocean in the west, Monaco, Italy and Switzerland in the east and Spain and Pyrenees Mountains in the south.

The country of France is formed by the metropolitan area of France which is located in the western part of Europe, and some overseas territories and regions.

The overseas territories and regions include several islands in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans as well as the French Guiana located in South America.

The largest city in the country is Paris, which is also the capital of the country and one of the most modern and developed cities in France.

 

2. Currency of France

If you plan to visit France then take some euro with you because the euro is their national currency.

In 2002 France together with other 15 European countries drop off their national currency and adopted euro.
Today, 1 EUR= 1.12 USD

French Money Bills Currency
French Money Bills Currency

Before 2002, the national currency of France was the french franc which was introduced in the 14th century by King John II.

The symbol of the French franc was „F” and by the time when France adopted the euro, the exchange rate was 1 eur= 6.55957 francs.

 

3. Is France expensive to travel?

Yes, it is! France is quite an expensive country!

Two years ago, in 2018, a publication named Paris as the second most expensive city in the world! And trust me! You’ll need some money to visit this country!

It is a very beautiful country with many attractions, but still, it is expensive!

The budget you’ll need for your holiday depends on what are you planning to do and what type of holiday you like.

Travel budget for France
Travel budget for France

The budget is mainly dictated by the cost of the accommodation, the food cost and transportation.

3.1. Accommodation costs

The cheapest accommodation from all is the AirBnbs or the hostels.

You might find beautiful hotels and a good price-quality ratio but usually, these are located far from the city centre or the main attractions of the area.

But if you don’t have a problem with that, you’ll save some good money when visit France.

Generally, a bed in a hostel costs somewhere between 15 to 40 euro per night; 40 euros are generally the hostels from Paris located close to the main attractions.

A private room in a hostel starts from 80 euro per night, while a room in a budget hotel is about the same price.

If you are looking for fancy hotels and money is not a problem for you, that is really great!

Hotel le Bristol Paris Room
Hotel le Bristol Paris Room

You will find amazing rooms at 5-star hotels starting from 400 euro per room per night. Which is not that expensive for Paris, the second most expensive city in the world.

3.2. Food costs

A good way to safe some money when speaking about food in France is to buy food from the supermarket and to cook it yourself. It is also a great way to taste the local cuisine.

The market is your friend! Buy some cheese, some meat and local wine and enjoy your meal from the balcony of your room. With less than 10 euro you will have a tasty meal for both of you!

Eating at a restaurant is more expensive. The price varies depending on the location and what you want to eat.

A meal at an average restaurant with a glass of wine costs around 30 euro per person.

Paris Restaurant Eiffel Tower
Paris Restaurant Eiffel Tower

But the prices might be much higher if you choose a premium restaurant, a restaurant located in the centre of the city or a Michelin star restaurant.

For a Michelin star restaurant, a meal might cost you more than 100 euro per person.

3.3. Transportation costs

If you plan to visit France from the comfort of a car then you should know that renting a small car in France starts from 30 euro per day.

You prices will increase if you choose to add a second driver, an insurance or if you want a bigger car.

Get the best price for your car rental today

The big advantage when renting a car is that you don’t have to depend on a fixed scheduler and you can stop whenever you want.

Car rental Paris
Car rental Paris

You can create your own personalised trip and include all the places you would like to see.

Trains, on the other hand, are more comfortable and sometimes faster than cars.

Don’t forget about the high-speed train which connects London with Paris; in less than 3 hours you get from one point to another.

Trains are reliable and fast and many locals use trains when moving around the country, from one city to another. The prices of the tickets vary depending on train, class and distance.

Paris Train Subway
Paris Train Subway

In big cities like Paris or Lyon, the best way to move around is by public transport. It is safe, secure and reliable.

You don’t have to worry about parking your car and driving! All you need is to figure it out which bus or metro should take to get to your destination.

Budget to visit France

If you are a backpacker and want to travel to Paris, then you need a daily budget of 40-70 euro per day with meal, accommodation, transportation and attractions.

For a mid-range holiday for the same things, you will spend about 140-170 euro per day for one person, while luxury travellers should prepare at least 500 euro per day.

 

4. Is France safe to travel?

Yes, it is!

Europe is considered by many a continent with a high terrorism risk, but things are not like that. Actually Europe is not more unsafe than America for example!

France is indeed a top attraction and a magnet for tourists but it is not less safer than any other European country!

It is true that where are tourists are petty crimes and scams, but all these things happened in any touristy place in the world.

Notre Dame Seine River Paris
Notre Dame Seine River Paris

Things are the same in the United Kingdom, in Spain, in Italy…everywhere.

That is why we advise you to look over your belongings and never accept gifts from strangers and never chat with persons you don’t know!

Guard your stuff when you are in a crowded place and keep the distance between you and others!

Be careful when you pick a taxi! If the driver looks suspicious and asks you a small amount of money compared with others, don’t go! For sure it is a scam!

The best thing you can do to protect yourself against the thieves is to buy good travel insurance.

Good travel insurance will protect you against unpredicted medical costs, theft, cancellation and injury. And trust me! The price you will pay for it is way smaller than the damages!

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5. Best time to visit France

Most people go to France in summer. But I don’t like summer! It is peak season and I always avoid going somewhere in peak season!

The weather is great for sightseeing, the days are long but sometimes too hot and the prices go crazy! Not to mention the huge number of tourists roaming around!

There are endless queues everywhere! You will spare a lot of time waiting in the queue!

The funny part is that even if you buy skip the line tickets you’ll still have to wait!

Palace of Versailles France
Palace of Versailles France

It’s true, that you don’t wait much time in the queue, but sometimes you still have to waste precious time because everybody buys skip the line tickets!

On the other hand, spring and autumn are better periods to go to France.

In shoulder season, the number of tourists is lower than in peak season, the prices are still down and it is easier for you to find great accommodation at a reasonable price!

And the queues to the attractions are much more reasonable!

Maybe the days are not that long as in summer but the temperatures are still great to explore the country and its cities.

It might rain sometimes but it is not something you can’t leave with it! In most of the times, there are short rains!

To be honest with you, I prefer to visit France and especially Paris in autumn! It has a special effect on the country! The colours of the autumn makes amplifies the beauty of the places!

Paris France autumn
Paris France autumn

Do you know when it is also extremely beautiful to visit Paris? Around Christmas! Yes, it is also a very crowded moment but it is also very beautiful!

Except for the winter holidays time, I don’t like France in winter! It is pretty cold, especially in the south around the mountains!

The average temperatures in winter are between 0 to 8 degrees Celsius and sometimes it is snowing!

To explore the country without being disturbed by tourists and to feel its vibe, we recommend you to go to France in September or October!

The weather, the landscape, the prices… everything is perfect for a memorable trip!

 

6. Best places to visit in France

Oh! This is really tough! There are so many beautiful places to visit when in France that I don’t know where to start!

I will list below the 10 most important places to see in France but trust me, there are many others which will blow your mind! I will let you discover them and tell me which one you like most!

6.1. Paris

Paris or The City of Love, as it is called by many is one of the most beautiful places to visit when in France.
It is the capital of this wonderful country and is full of great attractions like Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysee, Versailles, the Louvre and the list could go on!

Arc de Triomphe Paris sunset
Arc de Triomphe Paris sunset

I don’t think I can describe in words the beauty of this place!

When planning your trip to Paris try to avoid summertime because this city is extremely crowded and expensive, especially during this period.

6.2. Loire Valley

Loire Valley is located in the centre of the country right on the Loire river and has a total length of 280 kilometres.

The valley is famous for its incredible wines (white, rose, sparkling and red), amazing gastronomy and beautiful castles.

Loire Valley France
Loire Valley France

All the french royalties along the time came in this valley and built sumptuous castles.

This is the biggest area from France included in Unesco World Heritage Sites. Château de Cheverny inspired by Herge, Chateau de Villandry with its amazing gardens or Chateau de Chenonceau built over a river is just some of the beautiful monuments from Loire Valley.

It is a truly beautiful place which should be included on your travel list!

6.3. Marseille

When you visit France put on your list Marseille. It is a wonderful city full of history located on the Mediterranean coast. According to the historical data, Marseille is the oldest city of France and one of the oldest from Europe. The first historical document which talks about this wonderful city is from 600 BC.

Marseille old port France
Marseille old port France

The city is split in two: the Old Town with the old port and the New Town. The place which fascinates the tourists and considered to be the Mecca of Marseille is the Old Port.

Don’t miss MuCEM or Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean, Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde, Fort Saint-Jean and the Parc National des Calanques.

6.4. Cannes

I am sure that everybody heard about Cannes because of the world-famous Film Festival which takes place every year!

But Cannes is more than a festival! It is a vibrant city with many beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean Sea, fancy hotels, expensive yachts and many luxury boutiques.

Cannes France
Cannes France

It is a great holiday destination for those looking for luxurious trips and a perfect day trip destination for us, the rest of the people who love to visit new places even if we don’t have tons of money!

Cannes France Beach
Cannes France Beach

While in Cannes, take a walk along the Le Suquet, which is the old part of the town or take a cruise to a beautiful island nearby called Lerins islands. I am sure you will be delighted by the amazing landscape from there!

6.5. Rocamadour

Rocamadour, a Unesco World Heritage site is a village located on top of a steep cliff in the southwestern part of France.

It is a charming place with wonderful views over the surrounding area which should be included in your itinerary when visit France.

Rocamadour France Village
Rocamadour France Village

The centrepiece of the village is the Castle of Rocamadour which offers a great experience to those who visit it. Walk along the paved streets of the castle, explore the religious buildings and let your eyes enchanted with the amazing views!

It will be a great experience which you’ll not be going to forget very soon!

6.6. The Alsace Region

This is one of the most famous regions of France. It is a very famous and world-known place because of its beauty and charm!

Alsace France Village
Alsace France Village

 

From Strasbourg to Colmar, the area is full of picturesque villages, real monuments of the countryside life. Ribeauville, Eguisheim and Riquewihr are just some examples of wonderful villages from the Alsace Region.

It is a place full of attractions, with many interesting and unique places to see!

 

Colmar Alsace France
Colmar Alsace France

 

A road trip along the area is one of the best things you can experience when in France!

Oh! By the way! Taste their local white wine! It’s amazing! They are famous all over the world because of it!

6.7. The French Alps

If you like hiking, nature and mountains, then the French Alps are the right place for you!

Hosting the highest mountain from Europe, Mont Blanc, France is a great place for those looking to escape from the daily stress and to recharge their batteries out in nature!

French Alps Chamonix France Aiguille du Midi
French Alps Chamonix France Aiguille du Midi

The mountain area is full of lakes, forests, waterfalls and valleys and impresses you from the first minute you arrive there!

The French Alps are a year-round destination. During summer, they are the perfect place for those looking for hiking, climbing or cycling and in winter it is the paradise on earth for winter sports lovers.

Book a day to visit Chamonix, the highest town in France! You’ll love it, I’m sure!

6.8. Saint-Tropez

Saint-Tropez is another amazing place to see when visit France. Located on the French Riviera, the place is famous for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife and amazing food. This is one of the places prefered by those who have money!

But admiring the view is not chargeable so it worth paying a short visit to this amazing town!

Saint Tropez Byblos Beach France
Saint Tropez Byblos Beach France

 

Visit Escalet Beach and Plage Port Grimaud just to chill a little bit and enjoy the French sun!

There are many other beautiful beaches in the area where you can lay down and relax: Plage des Jumeaux, Plage de la Bouillabaisse or Plage de Pampellone.

 

Saint Tropez France City
Saint Tropez France City

 

The whole area is great and because of its wonderful beaches, it considered by many as the best holiday destination for summer!

6.9. Lille

Lille is a beautiful city located in the northern part of France, near the Belgian border.

It is a place full of history with many great attractions and a very important university city as well as a cultural hub.

Lille France Architecture
Lille France Architecture

 

The historical part of the city dates from the XVII century and is characterised by brick houses, cobbled pedestrian streets and a huge central square.

Among the most important places to visit when in Lille I would name the Lille Zoo, the beautiful Palais des Beaux-Arts and Notre Dame de la Treille Cathedral.

6.10. Verdon Gorge

For sure this is one of the best places to visit when in France! It looks incredible!

This is a river canyon located in the southeastern part of the country carved by the Verdon River!

Verdon Gorge Turquoise water France
Verdon Gorge Turquoise water France

Verdon Gorge is the right place to be if you are looking for amazing scenery and for a place where you can practice kayaking or hiking.

The colour of the water and the steep cliffs surrounding the area makes from this place a great holiday destination for the nature lover!

 

7. Best places to sleep when visiting France

France has many wonderful hotels and amazing resorts where you can spend your holiday. No matter if you are interested in visiting cities or you like more the beach resorts, the countryside or the mountains, there are plenty of choices to choose from.

We visited France many times and these places are the ones which I like most. They are spread all over the country, you choose the one which suits you most!

7.1. Paris

Our recommendation for Paris is Hotel Dupond-Smith. Located just 400 metres from the city centre, this 5 stars hotel has a very modern design with clean and simple rooms.

 

Hotel Paris Room
Hotel Paris Room

 

The Louvre Museum is just 15 minutes walk from the hotel, while Notre Dame Cathedral is 10 minutes away.

The breakfast, the services and the interiors are really great! The staff pays a lot of attention to details!

7.2. Loire Valley

Where else you can sleep when visiting Loire Valley if not in a castle?!

This is a must thing to do when visiting this area!

We spend our night at Château Des Briottieres when we visit France.

This wonderful 18th-century chateau is located right in the middle of Loire Valley. It has a huge park around, almost 50 hectares of lush vegetation where you can walk and relax.

The room is nicely decorated with wooden floors and high-quality furniture.

Breakfast and dinner can be served in the dining room of the Chateau Des Briottieres.

For dinner, you need to book your room 24 hours in advance.

7.3. Marseille

Offering a wonderful view over Marseille port, Sofitel Marseille Vieux-Port is our choice for this amazing city. The hotel offers free access to the plunge pool, hammam and sauna and an incredible terrace with a great port view.

The restaurant of the hotel offers gourmet cuisine, fine wines and champagnes.

The hotel is located right in the harbour, 500 metres away from Catalans Beach.

7.4. Cannes

Cannes is the right place for those looking for high-class services. We had a really great experience when visiting Cannes because we choose to stay at Hotel Martinez - in the Unbound Collection by Hyatt.

This is a wonderful hotel located right on La Croisette Boulevard, one of the most famous streets from Cannes.

The hotel offers many options when speaking about food including a 2 Michelin star restaurant called La Palme d’Or.

The hotel has a private beach accessible for an extra charge and a wonderful spa where you are treated like royalty with top class products and services.

7.5. Rocamadour

This amazing village is one of the most beautiful places to visit from the entire country. We felt in love with it when we visit France! Keep the traditional atmosphere and sleep in a medieval building for a complete experience.

Hôtel Les Vieilles Tours Rocamadour is built in a 17th-century building located in the middle of a park, offering wonderful views over the surrounding area.

The rooms are distributed in three old buildings all of them offering incredible views of the area.

7.6. The Alsace Region

The best place to spend your night when in Alsace Region is Relais & Châteaux La Maison Des Têtes from Colmar.

It offers great rooms with amazing interiors and a brand new awarded 1 star Michelin restaurant.

There is an inside courtyard with a beautiful patio where you can relax and enjoy a glass of local wine.

7.7. French Alps

The best location to enjoy the French Alps is Chamonix, the highest village from the entire country.

Hôtel Mont-Blanc Chamonix is the best choice in the area. All the rooms have a great view of the mountains and an elegant decor.

The hotels offer a free shuttle to the slopes and are located very close to an ice rink and a cinema.

7.8. Saint-Tropez

You cannot visit France without visiting Saint-Tropez! And you cannot visit Saint-Tropez without visiting Château de la Messardière. The chateau is located on top of a hill offering amazing views of Saint-Tropez Bay.

The hotel has a huge spa with sauna, steam bath, fitness centre and pool.

You can reach the city centre and the beautiful beach of Tropezina with a free shuttle from the hotel.

7.9. Lille

Enjoy your time spend in Lille and pamper yourself at L'Hermitage Gantois, Autograph Collection.

This incredible hotel is located 700 metres away from the trains station and 10 minutes walk from the city centre.

The guests can relax at the hotel’s spa and library.

The breakfast can be served at the restaurant or in the room, while regional cuisine can be found at the brasserie.

7.10. Verdon Gorge

Château d'Esparron is our suggestion for this place. It is a wonderful chateau located in the heart of Verdon National Park, 20 miles away from the lavender fields.

Tasty breakfast with homemade products is served each day at the property in the former kitchen of the castle.

You can swim or rent a boat on Lake Esparron, just 10 minutes walk from the property.

This is all you need to know about a wonderful trip to France! You’ll need 10 days or even more to visit the entire country but worth each moment spend there!

Pack your bags and hit the road! A great adventure is waiting for you!