France is a fantastic place to visit. With an eclectic mix of architecture, history and just fun things to see and do, you won’t be short of activities.
Whether you are backpacking and working your way around the country or staying in luxury at a hotel or villa, one thing is for sure. First off let’s look at Paris, it is dubbed as one of the most romantic places in the world to visit and it can be a bit of a tourist trap at certain times of the year. Scratch away the surface, and you have one of the most picturesque places in the world, all confined in a fairly compact area, brilliant for exploring.
Some of the best times, you will have in Paris are far from the beaten track. Yes, it’s great to go and wander down the Seine, or better still take a boat trip along it, but Paris really starts when you wander off down a side street and get involved with the locals.
The best thing you can do if you’re new to exploring is choose a landmark close to where you are staying or just jot down the name of your hotel. That way no matter how far you go, or where you get lost a simple taxi ride will return you to safety. The majority of the people speak English anyway, but if you really want to get on their good side attempt a little French.
It can be a real ice breaker and they love that you attempted it no matter how bad your accent is. Some of the eateries on the back streets are far more authentic and are much cheaper than their larger rivals. Let’s be honest no one wants to go to France and end up ordering McDonalds. There are street vendors and many interesting markets that you simply would not find by staying on the tourist path.
France is also well known for its skiing and if you’re a fan of the piste check out Val d’Isere and Courchevel. Both offer fantastic skiing and snowboarding. Just be aware that as they are widely regarded as some of the best skiing resorts in the world the price for passes and hotels can be very high. The experience is top notch, and if you get a cabin with friends it can be a wonderful time even for people who are not too fond of the white stuff.
Champagne is also produced in France, and you can take in the vineyards. There are many destinations to check out, but bare in mind that Champagne tasting requires the taster to swallow the wine not spit it out. Make sure you have a safe way of getting back to your digs. At certain times of the year you can also apply to pick the grapes that get made into Champagne. This typically starts around July and demand is high, so make sure to enquire early. Imagine being able to buy a bottle in the supermarket back home and know you were involved in making it.