Glorious chateaux, cosmopolitan cities, dazzling coastline: France has it all. Delve in and discover the best of the country with this France travel guide.
France is all about jaw-dropping landscapes, medieval towns and abbeys, stunning architecture, and, of course, Paris. It’s no wonder it has such a firm grip on so many travellers’ hearts (mine included).
Why you want to travel to France is easy, but the how… that can be a little more tricky. That’s where this guide comes in. I’m going to cover unmissable things to do, the best time to visit, where to go, and even places to stay. You’ll also find suggested itineraries and a heap of practical travel tips.
Most choose to visit during the summer (June to August), but the best times to visit France are its shoulder seasons.
The weather is mild from April to June and September to November. During these times, temperatures are high, while tourist numbers aren’t. The spring months are also packed with quirky carnivals.
Skyscanner offers the best flight prices and a variety of routes.
Holiday Autos helps you compare rental car prices before your trip.
Flixbus is an excellent platform for booking bus tickets.
Omio combines bus, train, and air by giving you a wide selection of tickets.
RailEurope is your go-to for train tickets at low prices.
Booking.com gives you easy accommodation booking but also airport transfers.
G Adventures is the ultimate in booking multi-day guided tours.
Where to Stay
Who doesn’t know Paris? The City of Light may be best known for the Eiffel Tower, but there’s much more here, from the street entertainers of Pont St Louis to dusty bookstores. What’s not to love? Book your stay at La Demeure Montaigne.
A city that beckons the world’s artists, creatives, and thespians, Nice is a standout. Its pebble beaches are world–famous, while the Promenade des Anglais is a must–visit. Spend a few nights at Hotel Le Negresco.
The second–largest city in France, Marseille wears the crown as the oldest, making for pure historical pleasure. History blends with an edgy vibe that only the French could pull off. Grab a room at La Residence Du Vieux Port.
The unofficial capital of the Champagne region, Reims is a knockout. You’ll find a collection of champagne houses that defy expectations, but the city’s architecture is equally bold. Overnight at Domaine les Crayères.
Even when heading for a paradise playground and global tourist destination like France, ensuring you’ve got the proper insurance is paramount. Ensure you’re covered for potential medical expenses, loss due to crime and trip cancellations.
France Visitor Guide: What to Do During Your France Trip
Top Things to Do
Where does one begin to describe Paris? The city tends to leave even the most cunning linguist without words, and therein lies the magic of Paris. Whether you’ve got two days in Paris or a week, the amount of breathtaking places to stay and things to do will blow you away.
If you’ve ever wanted a shining example of how France blends the vibrancy of city life with a stunning natural setting, head for Grenoble. A cornerstone of French travel flair, the charming city at the foot of the Alps offers tantalising restaurants and plenty of activities and attractions.
The Alps have something for every kind of traveller. Any thrill-seeker nirvana and the dreamscape of those yearning for a luxury ski holiday, there’s no equal. Although you can pump adrenaline while ice climbing, hiking in the Ecrins National Park offers a more calm interaction with nature.
The Loire Valley is a place of unimaginable beauty where breathtaking scenery is the theme of daily life. Trust me, you’ll know what I mean once you see it. Brimming with historic villages and tranquil vineyards, the best way to explore the valley is on a bike tour or wine excursion.
Being the 6th largest city doesn’t mean that Bordeaux needs to be 6th on your list of priorities. Whether exploring its many art museums or indulging in the future-forward tastes within the local cuisine, Bordeaux is a delicious feast.
A combination of French and German influences, any visit to France without a pitstop in Strasbourg is an opportunity wasted. Marvel at the near-whimsical Christmas market and, for lovers of exquisite architecture, its Gothic cathedral is a must.
A city with a certain grittiness and industrial vibe, Marseille is the gift that keeps on giving with its rich history and vibrant nightlife. There’s so much to fill your itinerary with here, from touring the Notre Dame de la Garde to treating your tastebuds to freshly caught fish.
Palace of Versailles
If you travel to France and skip visiting the Palace of Versailles, did you even really go? A testimony to the height of French power before the revolution, this extravagant palace is the second-most popular attraction in the country for good reason.
Suggested France Itineraries
Grand Tour of France
Indulge in the highlights of France as you tour the country.
Paris – Honfleur – Amboise – Dordogne – Carcassonne – Arles – Gorges du Verdon – The Alps – Nancy – Verdun
The Tastes of Eastern France
Delicious and active, experience the best of Eastern France.
Don’t confuse Vallee du Loir with the Loire Valley; this hidden gem deserves your undivided attention. While it seems like the little brother of the latter, its charm is personified in the many castles and manors you’ll find here.
Best known as the host of the 24-hour Le Mans motor race, there’s a lot more to Le Mans. Aside from exploring the Le Mans museum, its Old Town and Gothic cathedral are must-visits.
What could possibly be the quietest corner of France, Jura, delivers a calm and serene vibe akin to no other. Expect to see rolling vineyards, vast lakes, majestic waterfalls, and mysterious caves.
Hauts de France
If the name doesn’t ring a bell, good. The north of France is a jewel hidden in plain sight. Within the white sands of the Opal Coast await thriving cities like Lille and Amiens – two cultural hotspots (for those in the know).
How to See the Best of France for Free
Concerned about your budget while you travel to France? Include some free tours or excursions to save yourself some money.
Head outdoors to explore some public spaces in France, such as the Luxembourg Gardens or Promenade des Anglais.
Or visit some famous landmarks that don’t charge admission, including Sacre-Coeur and the neighbourhood of Montmartre.
Dishes to Try in France
Crêpes – Very thin pancakes in sweet and savoury flavours.
Boeuf Bourguignon – Beef stew braised in red wine.
Duck Confit – Leg of duck, salted and seasoned with herbs.
Foie Gras – Duck or goose liver served as pâté or as a mousse.