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France Travel Guide

Liberté, love, and pain au chocolat
France is grandeur and grace, quiet wit and poetry. It is palaces gilded with gold, fresh pastries topped with fresh raspberries, paintings of love and sex, and cities of music and twinkling lights. This is a country of dreamers, artists, happy idlers and lovers. Everywhere you go brings a new sensation, a new surprise, a new delight. 
Whether Paris or the Pyrenees, your time in France will leave you ensnared, no matter if you’re there on a solo trip, a romantic getaway, family holiday or via a group travel package. There is little here not to love.
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France is grandeur and grace, quiet wit and poetry. It is palaces gilded with gold, fresh pastries topped with fresh raspberries, paintings of love and sex, and cities of music and twinkling lights. This is a country of dreamers, artists, happy idlers and lovers. Everywhere you go brings a new sensation, a new surprise, a new delight. 

Whether Paris or the Pyrenees, your time in France will leave you ensnared, no matter if you’re there on a solo trip, a romantic getaway, family holiday or via a group travel package. There is little here not to love.


The French Republic is located in the north-western end of Europe. The country is hemmed in by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Luxembourg and Belgium on the North-East, and by Italy, Switzerland, and Germany on the East.

When to go

France is delightful no matter what season you visit. However, if you are looking for fewer crowds, lower prices, and comfortable temperatures, the best time to visit France is between April and June (spring) or between September and November (fall). 

Where to go

You will never be short of things to do in France. Paris, of course, is at the top of your list. But so should Nice and Provence, the Côte d'Azur and Mont Saint-Michel, the Loire Valley and the French Alps. Choosing from these depends on the length of your holiday, and your travel passions. And besides the country’s bigger, glitzier cities, you’ll find small villages and towns nestled in the countryside, so individualistic in their beliefs, food, and way of life that you’ll never want to leave.
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At a glance


The French, part of the European Union, use the Euro. At the time of posting, the conversion from 1 Euro to INR is 79.67.


French, naturally, is the most commonly spoken language. However, you’ll find that English is spoken in the larger cities and famous sites.


As France is divided into different climatic zones, weather conditions vary from continental to mediterranean, oceanic to alpine. Keep that in mind while you're packing your bags - you’ll need to be mindful of weather in the specific regions you want to visit.

Expert travel advice

Travel tips and insider advice that have made the most difference to us, sourced from our
community of like-minded travellers and global experts.

Explore Provence ‘Land Of The Sun’   

Recommended by The Broke Backpacker

“Rolling Lavender fields, olive groves, and landscapes straight out of Vincent Vangogh’s dreams? You must be in Provence. The south of France is a world away from Paris and the north. Welcome to the land of the sun! Explore the beautiful beaches and stunning interior of France’s most relaxed region.”

Will Hatton, founder and chief editor of The Broke Backpacker, one of the world’s best-known adventure travel blogs.

Visit Mont St Michel.   

Recommended by Explore with Erin

“Mont St Michel is a UNESCO world heritage site situated beautiful island connected via a bridge to mainland France. It houses a monastery and a few fun museums. Once a month, it is separated from the mainland at high tide. At low tide, you can walk around the island.”

Erin writes about travelling the world with her family. She has been featured on Forbes, Bloomberg, Business Insider, Lonely Planet, as well as many other online publications and magazines.

Enjoy the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower   

Recommended by Solo Sophie

“There is perhaps no landmark quite as iconic, nor quite so synonymous with Paris, as that of the Eiffel Tower. Known in French as ‘La Tour Eiffel,‘ during the evening from dusk until the early hours of the morning, the tower sparkles on the hour, every hour for five minutes.”

solosophie is a travel, history, and culture blog that focuses on travel around the world, with a particular lean towards off the beaten path adventures and chic offbeat travel from Europe and beyond

Visit the unique Dune of Pilat   

Recommended by Hand Luggage Only

“The Dune of Pilat is a unique spot and one of the places to visit in France that’s quite like no other. With a massive sandy dune and the sea on one side, and a forest on the other, this is a sight that you have to see to believe.”

Yaya and Lloyd share travel stories and photos with others like-minded travellers on the internet.

Go skiing in the French Alps   

Recommended by Nomadic Matt

“The French Alps offer some of the best ski slopes in Europe. If you’re in Europe in the winter months and at a loss for what to do, consider getting a group together and renting a ski chalet, or staying at one of the slope-side hotels or hostels.”

Matt Kepnes, aka Nomadic Matt, has travelled to nearly 100 countries. He shares proven tips and advice on his website which has been featured on major media sites including the New York Times, the BBC, Lonely Planet, National Geographic, The Independent, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, and TIME magazine.

Incredible places to visit in France


Audrey Hepburn was right - Paris is always a good idea. Bakeries, high fashion boutiques and tiny bookstores piled with back editions of Tintin or Asterix the Gaul everywhere, plus world famous art, yummy crepes, pastries and wine - it’s impossible not to feel like life’s a little better here.


Known as one of the world’s most beautiful avenues, the nearly 2 km picturesque stretch has everything, from elegant cafes and well-stocked shops to luxury stores and theatres. Apart from playing host to an annual military parade, it is also the final frontier for the Tour de France. The Champs-Élysées is a must on any group tour package you choose.

The Catacombs of Paris

This labyrinth 20 metres below the city (lower than the sewage or subway system) is a series of tunnels and rooms lined with skulls and bones. Created at the end of the 18th century, the underground cemetery holds the remains of millions of Parisiennes. Today, just over a mile of these tunnels are open to the public; guided tours offer a different view of the Paris that everyone thinks they know.

Bar Hemingway

Walk into a small and cozy alcove of comfortable leather smoking chairs, and tufted bar stools. The softly-lit wooden walls are adorned with Hemingway memorabilia: boxing gloves, an airplane seatbelt, framed newspaper clippings, hand-written original letters, and even a dried shark’s jaw.  There’s also a wooden bookshelf lined with everything from literary classics to modern cocktail guides. 

The bar, stocked with beautiful bottles of booze, that longtime head barman Colin Field reaches for to mix his famous cocktails, is infamous in Paris. It once drew regulars like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, and Gary Cooper and Hemingway himself, who considered it his Parisian home-away-from-home for 30 years.  Settle down at the bar with your drink in hand, and turn to your neighbor/new friend for the night just as Hemingway once would have done. An unforgettable evening awaits.

Eiffel Tower

As the most iconic landmark in France, and the most famous monument in Paris, a visit to the The Eiffel Tower goes without saying. And luckily, you’ll find it included in most France group travel packages. During the day, the gleaming tower stretches skywards, beckoning travellers all over the city to come to her side. You’ll find couples walking hand-in-hand on the green lawns surrounding the tower, and families sitting on picnic blankets, sharing bits of baguettes and fresh cheese. As night falls (and this is a moment to cherish) the Tower explodes into brilliant scintillating diamonds of light, that glitter and dance against the velvety sky.

The Louvre Museum

Whether you’re an art and history afficionado or not, a visit to the Louvre museum should definitely be on your list of things to do in Paris (it’s usually included in most  all- inclusive France trip packages). There’s a wealth of priceless art and sculpture and other lovely things to see and discover. Yes, there is The Mona Lisa with her enigmatic smile, and the grand dame Venus de Milo, her marble white body sculpted with care by ancient Greek hands. But also Vermeer’s The Astronomer; his moment of discovery captured in a moment of time; and the gleaming pyramid itself, a confection of glass and steel, risen to fame in ‘The Da Vinci Code.’ The quiet stories to uncover here, narrated in oils and watercolor, tints and shades, are inestimable.

Notre Dame

‘Our Lady of Paris’, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, has captured the hearts of travellers for 850 years. Conceived with French-Gothic grace, the cathedral is renowned for its  colourful stained glass rose windows, sculptures, and naturalism – all woven into this catholic place of worship. After the fire in 2019, the cathedral was closed to be rebuilt. However, the 18th century organ as well as its famous two bell towers remain intact, and can be seen from afar.


You’re sitting at a café, croissants and pain au chocolat in hand. Locals mill about, walking their dogs, and hurrying to work. Around you, houses and shops wind and spill; you never know what’s going to be around the corner - perhaps an atelier or a perfumerie lined with little bottles of jasmine and violet, a butcher, a bakery filled with the smell of freshly baked bread or a bar filled with music and raucous laughter. 

Montmartre's charm lies entirely in its bourgeoisie atmosphere, which has so  enraptured writers and actors, painters and movie directors over the years, including Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso and Emile Zola. All roads in this neighborhood lead to the white Sacré Cœur Basilica.  This is a bucket list destination for anyone and everyone.

Luxembourg Gardens

Among the many parks and gardens of Paris, the Luxembourg Gardens is certainly one of the most beloved. On a park bench here, you’ll be enveloped by lilacs, daisies and spring flowers. There are roses, perfuming the air with their delicate scent. Amongst the blooms, statues of European women and French queens stand. Look for the Medici Fountain named after Marie de Medicis, inspired by the city of Florence, as well as the duck pond where small, wooden sailboats, glide with ease.

Musée Rodin

This 18th century private mansion was formerly home to the French sculptor, Auguste Rodin. Considered as a modern Michelangelo, his human sculptures give voice to the crises and challenges facing the world in the late 19th/early 20th century. Of all his work, you’ll immediately recognize his famous ‘The Thinker’ lost in thought. Be sure to book your tickets online to skip wasting time in long queues. Also, consider opting for a guided tour for insights into Rodin’s work that so mirrors the anxieties and worries of our world today. 

Shakespeare and Company

The Shakespeare and Company bookstore is like one of those enchanted places in books that one can only find when one has been told about it in hushed tones and awed eyes; a place of wizards and dragons, scientists and warriors, poetry, autobiographies, and more. Tucked away wall-to-ceiling on the wooden shelves of this small, independent bookshop are countless books, but handpicked ones – and some of the best prints you can lay your hands on.

Head on up to the first floor where you’ll find a hidden library where you can while away your time for a while. You won’t find this bookstore on most group travel packages, but trust us when we say that it’s worth your time; this is one rabbit hole you want to venture into.


Nice, the capital of the French Riviera, is all glamour and glitz. Super yachts idle on the turquoise and sapphire waters of the Mediterranean. And supermodels, actors, celebrities, and an assortment of VIPs swill champagne at glamorous parties, and work on getting a tan at the beach. But not to worry, it’s also a perfect destination for all travellers looking for some sun, sand, sea and glam during their holiday in France. There’s plenty to do in Nice that lets you luxuriate and live it up without the exorbitant price tags.

Nice Cathedral

You’ll find the cathedral in the middle of the Old Town. It’s immediately distinguishable thanks to its imposing, Baroque-style architecture. Inside, you’ll find ornate marble carvings, and small chapels dedicated to various saints. Even if you aren’t religious enough to attend a mass, it is undoubtedly worth the time for a short visit.

Promenade des Anglais

This world-famous boulevard stretches all the way from the port of Nice on the eastern side and Nice airport at its western tip. As immortalized by the paintings of Matisse and Chagall, its lined with palm trees, grand buildings, blue sea, and iconic blue chairs, perfect for some contemplative sea staring, or, as engrossing, a bout of people watching. The walls of the Promenade are studded with plaques commemorating the famous people who once walked the avenue. Look for Matisse and the novelist Chekhov, the nihilist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and the writer James Joyce. Promenade as countless others have done before you, a cone of icecream in hand.

Vieille Ville

Old, beautiful houses of fuschia and scorched red, orange, and ochre yellow line the streets of Nice’s Old Town, with blue and green shutters and mailboxes to match. In the market square, flower vendors crowd the street with mimosas, orange blossoms, irises and roses, and in the west end, you’ll find equally crowded flea markets hiding treasures ancient and warped. Look around for Place Charles-Félix, an imposing yellow building where Henri Mattisse lived.

Musée Marc Chagall

“When Matisse dies,” Pablo Picasso reportedly remarked in the 1950s, “Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is.” Nowhere is this more evident that at the Musée Marc Chagall, which was created, curated, and designed by the artist himself. Alongside 17 of his masterpieces is the permanent collection of 400 other paintings in watercolour, ink, pastels, and drawings. It is the largest public collection of his work. If you don’t find the museum included in your group travel package, make sure you pencil in the time to visit it on your own.


If you think of wine when you hear the word ‘Bordeaux’, you’re on the right track. This port city in  South Western France is synonymous with the world-famous red wine produced in this region. And at La Cité du Vin (the City of Wine), you’ll have plenty of opportunities to sample it for yourself. But beyond the wine, there’s so much more to Bordeaux for all types of travellers. The region is known for its vibrant art scene, architectural masterpieces, and great food for all prices - it’s a great addition on any group travel package.

Day trip to Saint-Émilion

Saint-Émilion is just a short train ride from the city. It is small and pretty; a town of honey-coloured buildings, encircled by fields of wildflowers and vineyards. It’s easy enough to while away a day here, drinking glasses of the local red which, charmingly, is said to taste like flowers. And remember to eat a couple of coconut macaroons while you’re here - they are a village speciality.

Stay in a castle

This may be your best chance to live like royalty. There are many French chateaux (castles) in Bordeaux that you can actually stay in. You’ll love exploring all the period details - spiral staircases, archer ports, lavish upholstery, and an atmosphere of history that you can’t get anywhere else. It’s perfect for couples looking to add a little extra oomph to their honeymoon travel package. And for everyone else looking for an experience that most people only dream of.

Drink a lot of Bordeaux wine

One does simply not go to Bordeaux and not drink a lot of wine. After all, this region is known to have nearly 7,000 winemakers! Learn about red wine, white wine, and many more varieties from the makers themselves.

Grosse Cloche de Bordeaux

The Big Bell of Bordeaux’ stands right in the middle of the city. It is a lovely honey-coloured bell tower topped with blue-grey conical spires, on which stands a gold-plated leopard weathervane. There are two clocks on either side of the belfry; the one on the south has a semicircular dial that notes the solar time, and the one on the north marks the lunar cycle.

Le Miroir d'eau

The Miroir d'eau ( ‘water mirror’), is one of the world’s largest reflecting pools, and is one of the city’s main attractions. It turns the world topsy-turvy, bringing the sky to your feet and making the imposing Place de la Bourse twice as elegant and impressive. It is quite a sight. In warm weather, you’ll find children playing in the cool water, and some grownups too! This is a must-see on any holiday in France.


Marseille, the second-largest city in France, is sensual and gritty, spice and Arabo-electro music, Moorish hammams and bouillabaisse. This multi-ethnic port on the Mediterranean has a strong North African influence, distinguishing it from France’s other cities. The sheer variety of colours and rhythms, dialects and dress is a sensory overload, but in the best way possible.

La Corniche

La Corniche is a broad seaside roadway that curves along the bay in Marseille and extends out to the coast. It’s a lovely stretch for walking or biking, and you can stop along at little bars and restaurants when you need a break. If you head out early enough, you can walk along and not see a soul for hours, with only the sound of the sea keeping you company.

Parc National des Calanques

The Calanques National Park in southern France is one of the country’s top 10 national parks - and for good reason. The calanques are a series of fjord-like inlets carved into the clay white limestone cliffs, where you’ll find deep gorges full o f wild olive trees and sea lavender, the air is deliciously cool and the sky an endless blue. You can easily spend a day up in the rising mountains, or lazing away by the beach.  There’s a little pirate bay in one of the inlets where you can laze on the beach or go poking around a la The Famous Five for doubloons and treasures that pirates may have hidden away.

Eat a lot of seafood

Bowls of mussels simmering gently in broth. Grilled red mullet served with finely-chopped olives. And of course, spicy steamy bouillabaisse stuffed to the brim with fat prawns, and rockfish. All served with glasses of crisp wine. There’s no where in the world you’ll find fresher and tastier fish so don’t be surprised if you find yourself ordering more and more and more. This is exactly how it should be.

Vieux Port

A trading hub for over 2500 years, Vieux Port is now the heart of Marseille. A walk along the quay gives you a chance to admire the fleet of ships and fishing boats moored in the harbour, and if you’re an early riser, you’ll also be able to see the fishermen emptying their buckets of red bream, mullet and grouper onto the stands, locals jostling to buy the catch of the day.  In the evening, Vieux Port is one of the best places in the city for dinner and a drink. Restaurants serve platters of fresh urchins and couscous, and bars playing trip-hop, jungle, and soul, abuzz with laughter.

Visit medieval cathedrals

Marseille’s cathedral are a potent mix of local belief and craft. The Notre-Dame de la Garde or Our Lady of the Guard for instance is dedicated to Mary, whose bronze-and-gold statue on top of the church watches protectively over the city, the sea, the sailors and fishermen. The Abbaye Saint-Victor, one of the oldest in the area, is in contrast simple and elegant, the colours from the stained glass windows belies its dramatic history. The medieval village of Le Castellet makes for a lovely visit as well.

Top things to do & experience in France

Nobody wants to be a tourist. Here are curated experiences in art, music, food, culture and communities
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