France, in Western Europe, is revered for its medieval cities, alpine ski villages and Mediterranean beaches along the Cote D’Azur. The country of France is rich with a diversity of landscape in its rather compact country – from the beachy southern coastline to the tallest mountains in The Alps, wine rich valleys to dramatic northern rocky coasts, and modern chic cities – France has it all.
The French people are renowned for their lifestyle, their daily life seems extravagant to others… sipping espresso at cafés, tasting legendary wines and cuisine, accentuated with long lunches and multi-course dinners, while dressing well, it’s a place of leisure and luxury – the laissez-faire approach to life… “joie de vivre.”
Most think of Paris, when they think of travelling to France, or of the sun-soaked Mediterranean and glitzy beach towns of St Tropez, Nice and Cap d’Antibe. But there is much more of France to explore.
Paris, France’s capital, is the city of light with its circular design, and enlightened culture of art, fashion, and architectural monuments. Paris is home to over 5,000 restaurants, world-famous museums like Le Louvre, amazing landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, and the finest fashion houses.
Beyond Paris is where the true France lies. The countryside is where real French tradition is cultivated, as it has been for centuries. Here is where you taste France’s best wine and cheese, fresh bread from classic pâtisseries and boulangeries. To witness France’s history and authenticity, and meet its citizens immersed in their tradition, you need to explore beyond big cities and chic Mediterranean hot spots.
We’ve done the touristy Paris attractions, our editor Heather even studied in Nice. We’ve been to the delightful villages of Cote D’Azur’s Aix en Provence and Eze on the French Riviera. Toulouse in southern France is the 4th largest city, full of lively cafes, landmarks, students and aerospace genius. We’ve skied the French Alps – Courchevel, Méribel and Val Thorens of Les Trois Vallées, Val D’Isère and Tignes, and most recently Avoriaz, Les Gets and Morzine in Portes Du Soleil.
We seek out unique French destinations, plying the inland waterways by boat through France’s elaborate canal system, exploring Burgundy Valley via bicycle, touring beautiful vineyards in the countryside during “vendages” the fall harvest of covetous grapes, and to historic cathedrals and chateaux along the way. Another wonderful holiday is Boating France’s Canal Du Midi.
Enjoy our reviews of touring historic towns of Dijon, Beaune, Auxerre, medieval villages like Clamecy and Noyers-sur-Serein – which resembles a French fairy tale, and between the Burgundy Valley and Paris – amazing châteaux and palaces like Fontainebleau.
French travel tips:
French are very covetous of their language, so knowing a few phrases satisfies them, even though most speak English and will soon default to aiding you “en Anglais.”
Speak French: Bon Jour, Bon Journée, S’il vous plait, Merci, Santé (cheers), Bon Soir, Ciao and Au Revior….
Make Reservations for lunch & dinner, even if it’s not busy. It’s more a protocol, otherwise you may be refused with a firm “NO” from the Maître D at an empty café, just so you know who’s in côntrole.
Wine Tours and Museums – check the hours of operation, The French have more holidays, and often more hours closed than open. Reserve your wine tours and tastings if possible just to confirm you’ll be expected.
Businesses and Attractions are often closed for lunch, its a tradition, from 12-1, sometimes till 2 or 3, in militarily time 15:00, so plan accordingly. Sunday most everything is closed.
Watch your step, the French love their dogs, but they often don’t’ pick up their poo, eww. “Merde”
Warning: The French still smoke, and drink espresso in tiny cups at cafés, and shop for every item at its own unique specialty store – the bakery, patisserie, butchery, fromaggerie, so slow down… enjoy the Joie De Vivre. Oh and the men still urinate in public.
See more France Travel Reviews:
France luxury vacations
Boating in Burgundy
Boating France’s Canal Du Midi
Skiing The French Alps
Courchevel, Meribel, Vale Thorens of Les Trois Vallees
Avoriaz, Les Gets, Morzine of Portes Du Soleil
“Add 3 letters to Paris and you have Paradise.” – Jules Renard