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France is among the most diverse and exciting countries to visit across the globe. Meandering rivers and valleys, romantic hills and castles, and vineyards carpet France's landscape. A delightful blend of human-made and natural beauty, the country has everything from chateaus, cathedrals, and museums to Europe's highest mountain ranges. The country has tourist sites for all tastes, magnificent castles, incredible beaches, beautiful cities, excellent restaurants, and numerous historical monuments.
France is famous for its great weekend destinations such as Bordeaux, Paris and Nice. The country's great outdoors are perfect for hiking, kayaking, climbing and cycling and ideal for a relaxed family holiday in a gite in the countryside.
Here are a few facts you need to know before visiting France.
Language: French is the official language in France.
Currency: Official currency in France is the Euro. 1 US Dollar is equivalent to about 1.14 Euros.
Credit cards: MasterCard, American Express, Visa and Diners Club are widely accepted across France. If you are eating at a restaurant, ensure that your card will be accepted as a form of payment. Even when you visit one of the big cities, make sure that you carry some cash with you.
ATM: ATMs are compatible with international banking networks in all cities and towns in France and airports, major train stations, and other significant spots.
Safety: Generally, France is a safe country to travel to, especially if you are a solo female traveller. However, be aware of pickpockets and tourist scams, especially in Paris.
The climate in France varies a lot. The cities in the northern regions of the country experience a temperate climate while southeastern France has a Mediterranean climate with humid summers and cold winters.
Still, summer and spring are the ideal time to explore France when the weather is such lovely unless you are winter activities enthusiast. In that case, the best time to tour France and the French Alps is between December and March.
Regardless of the purpose and the length of stay, nationals of EU countries are not required to have a visa to enter the country. If you're planning to stay for more than three months, then you should register with the local authorities. Citizens from Canada, Australia, and the US may stay in France without a visa for up to 90 days. France is among Schengen members, which allows tourists to travel to all participating countries without a visa.
Once the new ETIAS for Europe is introduced in 2022, the eligible nationals passport holders will be able to apply for the ETIAS France to tour the country and the rest of the Schengen Area.
If you are not sure about the type of accommodation you want to book, we got you covered!
Hotels: Hotels in France run the full gamut, right from palatial to cosy, privately owned properties. The prices for each room are usually displayed by the entrance and within the rooms themselves. Expect to pay more for hotel accommodation in the country's capital, Paris. An advance amount of money is typically required as a deposit, and it is always sensible to notify the hotel's front desk about the time of the day you plan to arrive.
Camping: With France being a very outdoorsy country, you will get many campgrounds that provide tent sites and basic cabins at an affordable cost. As with other cities in Europe, you can also find larger campsites on the outskirts of cities like Paris. If you do so, you can commute every day to the city centre so that you'll get to see all the famous attractions.
Hostels: There are thousands of youth hostels in France, delivering ample accommodation at affordable prices. You can find them in all the major towns and cities and various parts of the countryside. These hostels vary significantly in quality and atmosphere, but, in general, they are the perfect bet for sociable travellers who are on a budget. All the hostels are non-smoking.
For much more authentic accommodation, gites are private holiday homes, and quite a number of them are converted farmhouses. You can also rent a whole house or a villa.
Find out the best mode of transport for your budget and travel needs!
Train: Europe's excellent train network means that getting around France is the fastest and the most cost-effective way to travel. All the major cities are connected, and you'll find that most remote areas are well connected to at least one or two of these major cities. There are two types of tickets, first-class and second class.
Bus: Eurolines is a bus service that operates around the country and is a cheap alternative to train, but it will take longer to get from one city to another.
Hiring a car: You can rent a car at all major airports and cities. Most car rental companies enable you to pick up the vehicle from one location and drop it off at another. The road network in France is well-maintained and is easy to navigate since they are all well signposted. Remember that weather conditions can change rapidly, especially during the winter months. Ensure that you carry snow chains with you and drive carefully.
This country offers a variety of eating options that can suit all budgets and tastes. Although you will find most restaurants and cafes in France serve local and European dishes, the country gradually becomes more and more multicultural.
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We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest.