France Travel Tips

Paris, the city of love is on the wishlist of every traveller. And as someone who has seen Paris through 3 seasons, I can definitely understand the charm of the city. I have come to love Paris and another side of Paris which most tourists tend to miss out. But France is not only about Paris. It is a country with so much more. With gorgeous valleys and tons of pretty beaches, it can give its neighbours lots of competition when it comes to tourism. Next time, you decide to take a trip to Paris, don’t forget to get out of Paris to go some cute little-timbered villages, taste some exquisite cuisine and indulge in some of the best wines France has to offer. If you are into fashion travel, then again France has lots to offer in terms of fashion shows. In this France travel guide, I try to list some of my France travel tips to make your first trip to France a success.

Disclaimer –  This article includes affiliate links. This translates to no extra cost to you but I get a referral bonus if you purchase via the link. 

TRAVEL TIPS FOR FRANCE

These are some of the tips when it comes to visiting France in general. Hope I have answered the question ‘What are some travel tips for France’?

IS VISA REQUIRED FOR INDIANS TO TRAVEL TO FRANCE?

France is part of the Schengen zone and hence like all Schengen countries, Indians need a Schengen visa to visit France.

WHAT ARE THE LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN FRANCE

French is the official language in France. Even though many people in Paris know English, it is wise to speak French in Paris. They love it when you do and tend to be more friendly if you try to communicate with them in your broken French. Bonjour, Merci Beaucoup, Bonjour, Ca Va/ Comment Ca Va are Hello, Thank you very much, Good morning, How are you in French.

WHAT IS THE CAPITAL OF FRANCE?

Paris is the capital of France.

WHAT IS THE CURRENCY USED IN FRANCE?

Euro is the currency used in France. France is part of the EU and hence follows the same rules as EU nations

WHERE IS FRANCE LOCATED?

France is located in Western Europe and shares land borders with 7 countries; Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain, Andorra, Italy and Switzerland. In addition, it has several overseas territories like French Guyana and other islands in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans.

ELECTRICAL TRAVEL ADAPTER SPECIFICATIONS FOR FRANCE

230 volts and 50 Hz. They use C and F plug types in France.

IS IDP REQUIRED FOR INDIANS IN FRANCE?

IDP is preferred if you are driving in France. In case, you don’t have an IDP, it is suggested that you have a French translation of your local driving license.

WHAT SIM CARDS SHOULD I USE IN FRANCE?

Most cards you buy in other countries in the Schengen zone will work in France without additional data or roaming charges. Orange, SFR and FreeMobile are recommended in France.

WIFI CONNECTIVITY IN FRANCE

The cities are well-equipped with Wifi and you can find free Wifi in public spots in major cities like Paris and Lyon.

SAFETY IN FRANCE / IS IT SAFE FOR A FEMALE SOLO TRAVELER IN FRANCE?

Like Spain, France is also notorious for petty theft. I have many friends who have been robbed in Paris and it is always recommended that you keep your valuables as close to you as possible. There are many tourist scams as well and one should stay alert to steer clear of them.​

WHAT SHOULD I AVOID IN FRANCE?

These are some of the things to avoid in France and is part of tips for travelling in France:

  1. Not to assume that all French people are rude. Over the course of my travels, I have come across pretty great French people.
  2. They will like you better if you try to converse with them in French. Even few words make a whole lot of difference.
  3. Not all of France is expensive. Yes, Paris is one of the most expensive cities in the world but traveling to other parts in France can be fairly inexpensive.
  4. Most guidebooks only talk about Paris when it comes to traveling in France. But France is so much more than Paris and it has such a vibrant history.
  5. Some of the major cities like Paris has a bad reputation to be unsafe. Please note that like all international travelers, you need to have a gut instict about what is safe and what is not safe in France.
  6. Don’t listen to a word what Emily in Paris says about French culture. It is one of the most stupidest cliches I have seen about French travel tips.
  7. Breakfast is usually very light in most parts of France unlike the rest of Europe. You may end up being hungry if you expect to eat a heavy breakfast in France.
  8. Carry at least some fancy clothing for your visits to shows like the Moulin Rouge. French people, especially the Parisians are some of the best dressed people I have come across in the world.

WHERE TO GO IN FRANCE

Some of the suggested places to go in France are:

France Travel tips

Alsace

Alsace is definitely my favorite region in France and I loved visiting the fairytale village of Colmar when I was in France. This cute town near the German border has to be one of the most charming towns I have been to in Europe. Strasbourg in the Alsace region is equally stunning and if you are a wine lover, don’t forget to visit this region when you are in France. Riqueiweir is another cute town you have to visit in France.

A bridge full of love locks in Paris, France

Paris

I know people who hate Paris but I am not one among them. I loved walking in the rain last time I was in Paris and eating to my heart’s content when I was here. In addition, there are so many places to visit in Paris and even after 3 visits there, I have still not scratched the surface. One of my favourite things to do in Paris was attending my first Moulin Rouge Show in Paris. Don’t forget a day trip to Versailles while you are in Paris.

Normandy

This entire region in Northern France is famous for its white cliffs and historically, the Normandy landings are known for being a crucial event during World War II.

Mont St Michel

This island commune which is part of Normandy is a famous tourist attraction these days.

Brittany

From here, head to one of the many beach resorts along the rugged coastline in the Brittany region.

Nantes

Head to the industrial and port city of Nantes before going back to Paris.

Bordeaux

In a mood for some French wine and French Gothic architecture? Then head to Bordeaux from Paris.

Toulouse

From here, then head to the city close to the Spanish border for seeing more architectural marvels.

Montpellier

Continuing on the route of French architecture, head to this Southern city of Montpellier.

Chamonix

If you are looking to ski in some of the French Alps, then this resort town of Chamonix is your best bet.

French Riveria

Cannes is internationally renowned for its film festival. Want to see some stars? Then head here during the festival. Also, don’t forget to visit both Nice and Saint Tropez on the Riveria. The neighbouring country of Monaco is only 30 minutes away from Nice. Why don’t you head there for a day to live in the lap of luxury and see what makes it so attractive to so many wealthy people?

Marseille and Avignon

Next on the list is the port city of Marseille in the Mediterranean region. Also, don’t take a detour to Avignon in Provence and stop at some cute villages like Nimes, St Remy, Arles etc. I would love to go here one day to see the Lavender fields.

Annecy

Annecy has also made it to multiple lists of ‘Beautiful towns in the world’ and I would love to visit it one day.

Lyon

Make a stop at Lyon for some medieval and Renaissance architecture before heading back to Paris.

WHEN TO GO TO FRANCE

I have been to France in three different seasons and it is difficult to choose my favorite. I would love to go back to Paris in Spring because I have heard that it is the best time to visit France because of lesser crowds and the gorgeous flowers. But rain is quite common in some parts of France and it is always advised that you carry an umbrella while you are in France.

Recommended Read – Day Trips in France

HOW TO GET TO FRANCE

By Air

Every time I transit via the CDG airport in Paris, I can only remember running. The Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris is your best bet if you are looking to fly to France from India. If you are planning to fly in from other cities in Europe, you have options like flying to Nice, Toulouse, Lourdes etc.

By Rail

The SNCF operates runs the rail transport system in France. They also run various TGV high-speed trains to other cities in Europe. SNCF jointly operates high-speed trains from Paris to Amsterdam, Cologne and Brussels under the brand name of Thalys. Eurostar operates trains between London and Paris.

By Road

Flixbus regularly operates to major cities in France from other cities in Europe.

DRIVING IN FRANCE

You drive on the right side of the road in France. Gas costs approximately 5.5 USD per Gallon and most rental companies have a policy of returning a full fuel tank. Like most countries in Europe, you have to fill the Gas yourself and then pay at the counter. Like I mentioned earlier, it is not mandatory to have an IDP to drive in France but it is recommended to have one since some companies may ask for a French translation of your local driving license. It is mandatory to have a GB sticker or a registration plate with GB initials if you intended to drive in France and you can incur a heavy fine if you don’t have one. Also, headphones while driving is illegal in France.

 

Recommended Read –  My Favorite European Destinations

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN FRANCE

All the major cities in France like Paris, Lille, Lyon, Nice, Marseille, Toulouse have an extensive Metro system or tram system in addition to a bus system. It is fairly easy to get around but in cities like Paris, please be careful about your valuables since thefts are highly common in the metro. Buying a day pass can definitely save you some money and it is suggested that you get one if you are planning to use public transportation a lot. Using public transportation in France is the best way to travel in France.

WHERE TO STAY IN FRANCE

Find some recommendations on where to stay in France.

PlaceLuxuryMid-RangeBudget
ParisRitz Paris
Check Out prices on:
Tripadvisor | Booking
Hotel Du Continent
Check Out prices on:
Tripadvisor| Booking
Hotel Darcet
Check Out prices on:
Tripadvisor | Booking
NiceHotel Negresco
Check Out prices on:
Tripadvisor | Booking
Villa Otero by Happyculture
Check Out prices on:
Tripadvisor | Booking
Le Petit Trianon
Check Out prices on:
Tripadvisor | Booking
ProvenceTiara Miramar Beach Hotel & Spa
Check Out prices on:
Tripadvisor | Booking
Radisson Blu Hotel Marseille Vieux Port
Check Out prices on:
Tripadvisor | Booking
Régina Boutique Hotel
Check Out prices on:
Tripadvisor | Booking
AlsaceSofitel Strasbourg Grande Ile
Check Out prices on:
Tripadvisor | Booking
Hotel D, Strasbourg
Check Out prices on:
Tripadvisor | Booking
Hôtel ORIGAMI
Check Out prices on:
Tripadvisor | Booking
Chamonix/ Grenoble, French AlpsHôtel Mont-Blanc Chamonix
Check Out prices on:
Tripadvisor | Booking
Hôtel Le Labrador
Check Out prices on:
Tripadvisor | Booking
Auberge Les Gorges De La Diosaz
Check Out prices on:
Tripadvisor | Booking

WHAT TO EAT IN FRANCE

French cuisine is definitely one of my favourite cuisines after Indian cuisine. But probably it is because of the desserts. Everyone knows that I love desserts and the French definitely have a way with their desserts. But that doesn’t mean that there is a dearth of vegetarian dishes in France. It may be a bit more difficult to convey that you want Vegetarian food in smaller towns but even then you find plenty of options when it comes to vegetarian food in France. Start your day with a croissant or go have breakfast in some of the most elegant tea rooms in Paris. You can opt for some vegetarian Bisque soups for lunch or you can decide to have a Falafel for lunch. Crepes are another great option and there are many savoury options available as well. If that is not enough, you can settle for a vegetarian Ratatouille or a Spinach and Cheese Souffle. A plate of different types of cheese is also a good option for breakfast. Most meals are accompanied by a Baguette. I also loved eating a Gratin when I was in France. If you are a dessert person like me, then don’t forget to have Tarte Tartins, Macaroons, Eclairs, Financers, Profiteroles and various other French patisseries when you are in Paris. Check this post for some of the most famous cafes in Paris

WHAT TO SHOP IN FRANCE?

The only thing I bought for myself from Paris was a gorgeous pair of heels. I bought this since I had to go to the Moulin Rouge show and I did not have appropriate shoes to wear for the occasion. In addition, I had bought mini Eiffel tower figurines to gift my aunts. Some suggested souvenirs to buy in France are

  • Wine: French wine is legendary and don’t forget to buy some on your way back.
  • Champagne
  • Macaroons
  • French Chocolate
  • French Cheese
  • Madelines
  • Berets
  • French Scarfs
  • French beauty products
  • Handbags

THINGS TO DO IN FRANCE

There are numerous things to do in France. But find some of the recommended things to do in France below:

 

Some more additional FAQ for your travel guide to france

Is France expensive to visit?

Like I have said before, Western Europe is definitely more expensive compared to Eastern Europe. However note that smaller towns in France won’t be that expensive like a big city like Paris. It is very common for most tourists to France to include Paris in their itinerary. Paris can be very expensive and this should be kept in mind while planning a trip to France. I remember once paying 30 euros for a bad bowl of Pasta once. Even in Paris, you can find lots of street food which can be budget friendly for all travellers to France.

What is the best time to visit Paris?

If you want good weather with less crowds, then the months of October and April are the best months to visit Paris. Paris can be too crowded during the summer months and you may have to wait a long time in line. To avoid this, why don’t you get yourself a Paris pass?

Are taxis expensive in Paris?

Yes, the much cheaper option is to ride the Paris Metro. However, note that you have to be extremely careful about your belongings when you are traveling in the Metro De Paris?

Always carry an umbrella when you are in Paris

Paris has very unpredictable weather and even other parts of France do have this notoriety. So always carry an umbrella when you are traveling in France.

How should I pack for trip to France?

I have visited Paris during different seasons and you should always pack accordingly. Some things to pack are:

  1. A light sweater
  2. A jacket (Add layers during winters)
  3. A beret or a wollen cap
  4. Few dresses
  5. Few wollen leggings
  6. A pair of jeans
  7. Gloves
  8. Swimming suit / Bikini during your summer visit to Paris.
  9. Heels for your fancy outings
  10. Shawls
  11. Thermal wear for your winters in France.
  12. Ski clothing if you are going on a ski holiday to France.
  13. Socks and undergarments
  14. Tshirts for layering.

Can I use uber in France?

You can use uber in Paris and other large cities. But please note that many cities and towns still don’t have the option of hailing an Uber.

Should I travel to France?

France is definitely one of the best countries I have visited. I have been there thrice and I fall in love in love with the country during every visit. My goal is to visit Southern France during my next trip to Europe.

How much to budget for a trip to France?

Some parts of France like Paris and the French riviera can be more expensive compared to other parts of France. A shared hostel in Paris can range from 35 Euros and above. If you are staying on the outskirts of Paris, it may be cheaper. A single bed hotel room in the first arrondissement of Paris cost me around 110 Euros. If you don’t stick to street food, expect to spend at least 25 euros per meal in most restaurants in Paris. I would ideally spend at least 100-150 euros per day in cities like Paris for accommodation, food, transportation and activities.

MORE FRANCE RESOURCES

Guidebooks for France

Traveling to France and need more guidance on which books to read? These are our recommendations for you to read before you go.

BOOKING RESOURCES

Looking to book your trip now? Find some of my favorite resources I use while booking my trip. You can also find my travel gear here.

Book Your Flight

I am a Skyscanner fan when it comes to booking international flights. I use Makemytrip and Yatra for domestic flights.

Book Accommodation

Booking is my go to resource for booking hotel accommodation and I use Airbnb for booking my homestays. I also compare prices on Tripadvisor always.

Travel Insurance

As an Indian, I prefer ICICILombard and I am always insured when I am traveling outside India. In addition, I have used World Nomads and SafetyWing for some of my trips.

Book Tours

I do go on a lot of day tours especially when I am traveling solo. Depending on convenience, my choices are Viator or Getyourguide.

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