Planning a Trip to France: Tips for Planning Your Perfect Holiday

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With world-class art, stunning architecture, and local cuisine known throughout the world, France seduces travelers in plenty of ways. You will find many things to do in France when you explore the country beyond the touristy Eiffel Tower or the Palace of Versailles.

From sun-soaked beaches and breezy vineyards to top-notch museums and award-winning ski towns, a trip to France is always one for the books. So if you are planning to head for the country, our comprehensive guide is all you need for a hassle-free experience.

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Wine bottles, glasses and cheese in restaurant, France
Did you know French people consume the most cheese in the world? Supplement that with the best French wines and what you'll have is a great evening

For cheaper hotel rates and fewer crowds, the best time to visit France is during spring (April to June) or fall (October and November). Spring sees unpredictable rain showers, but they are usually short. This is also the time when the French countryside, with wildflowers blooming everywhere, looks stunning. Alternatively, fall is a great time to explore the wine-producing cities of Provence or Burgundy.

What not to miss in France

View of the city of Paris at dusk with Eiffel Tower in the Center
Tour the aesthetically planned city of Paris, especially during the dusk hours to see the streets illuminated
Petit Venice and the view of the water canal and traditional houses, France
Explore Colmar Little Venice and admire the petit half-timbered houses along the riverbanks, France
  • Tour of Paris: The country’s capital is known for its fashion, art, and gastronomy. Take a tour in Paris and experience the city's iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, Versailles Palace, Arc de Triomphe, and the Notre Dame Cathedral.
  • Explore the French Riviera: Glamorous beach resorts are this destination’s main draw. Eschew the usually crowded Saint-Tropez in favor of lesser-known but equally beautiful communes like Saint-Paul de Vence or Eze.
  • Visting Bordeaux: In addition to being one of the world’s biggest wine-producing regions, Bordeaux is stuffed with cultural sites, grand architecture, and world-class arts.
  • Loire Valley: You can choose from more than 300 chateaux in this UNESCO World Heritage site in central France, or go wine tasting in its sprawling vineyards that extend all the way to the horizon. If you're up for renting a Chateaux, you might want to read our guide on the best Chateaux to stay in France.
  • Voyage to Strasbourg: This city on the border of France and Germany offers striking historic attractions and a thriving arts and culture scene. Do not miss Le Petite France, one of Strasbourg’s most charming neighborhoods, during your stay there.
Aerial view of the city of Espalion in France
Spend an afternoon taking a scenic flight over the city of Espalion in France

If you are planning a trip here, one week in France will allow you to explore important highlights. You can base yourself in Paris and easily cover at least one or two nearby regions if you are on a ten-day break. With two to three weeks, you can create the perfect vacation that covers central wine regions, the coastal areas of southern France, and the mountains in the country’s east.

Find out how many days to spend in France before you travel.

How to get to France

Air travel is the quickest way to get to France. Several airlines in Canada, the UK, and South Africa offer direct flights to the country. If you are traveling from New Zealand or Australia, consider a flight via Asia to get the best fares. Eurostar is an excellent alternative for those traveling from southern England. If you are planning to drive to the country, consider using the Channel Tunnel.

Getting around

Scenic view of Bordeaux in France
Take a scroll through the beautiful city of Bordeaux in France

Before planning a trip to France, it is best to study local transportation options. France is highly accessible. City-to-city travel in the country is made easy by its national train network (SNCF). This service is very convenient for those traveling long distances and especially easy if you get a Eurail France pass. France’s budget-friendly bus services (Flixbus, Eurolines, and Ouibus) are a great choice for short distances. You can also rent a car with well-known rental agencies like AutoEurope, Hertz, Europcar, or Avis. Flying is a fantastic choice if you are looking to get somewhere fast. France has over 185 airports and domestic flights are affordable.

Budget and money

A girl holding shopping bags in Paris, France
Most of central France is a budget-friendly destination for travelers. While planning a trip to France, make sure you add budget-friendly destinations if shopping is on your list

Where you go in France drastically affects how much you spend. Paris, for instance, is one of the most expensive cities in the world. So it will treat your pocket accordingly. The other expensive areas are those along the Mediterranean and the Dordogne, the Loire Valley, and cities like Lyon, Nice, and Bordeaux. Most of central France is a budget-friendly destination for travelers.

What you did not know (but should)

Ponts Couverts Bridges and historic quarter Petite France in Strasbourg
Explore the historic quarter Petite France in Strasbourg. While planning a trip to France, make sure you add Strasbourg
View through stone window, famous tourist destination Cote d Azur, France
Saint Tropez village church tower and old rooftops will take you back in time in France
  • A little French goes a long way in France. Brush up on your French as the locals, particularly in rural areas, speak very little English. A French-language guidebook or a translation app can be handy.
  • Pickpocketing is a big issue in France, especially in major tourist areas, so hold on tight to your valuables.
  • France’s emergency phone number is easy to remember: 112. It works from a public payphone, landline, or even a cellphone.

Safety

  • France is generally a safe country to visit, but its safety has recently been compromised due to terrorist attacks. So it is always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings. Report suspicious activities to the authorities.
  • Touristy areas may be thick with thieves, so always make sure your belongings are secure.
  • We recommend staying away from political rallies and demonstrations since France is notorious for having violent protests.

Known for its culture, architecture, and cuisine, it is no surprise France is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Get in touch with our local travel experts who can help you with a tailor-made trip to France.

Tours Options in the Country

Published by David Lee, updated on November 22, 2023
Plan a trip to FranceWe offer different tour types. You can also chat with a local travel specialist if you want a customized tour to France.
  • Simon H.
    Simon H.Travel Expert in France
  • Kate Politi
    Kate PolitiTravel Expert in France & Greece
Our travel experts are recommended by:
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  • Independent
  • Lonely Planet