FRANCE TRAVEL GUIDE
France is one of the most popular travel destinations in the entire world. It’s the land of berets and baguettes, the Eiffel tower and sparkling wine. It’s sexy accents, war history, grand cathedrals, and everything sugar-coated and creme-filled in between.
France is one of the largest countries in all of Europe and is full of amazing travel destinations for just about every single traveler. There’s so much more to France than Paris!
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FRANCE TRAVEL GUIDE: THE BASICS
CURRENCY | Euros (Check out xe.com for the most up-to-date currency conversion–they have a mobile app too!)
VISA / PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS | If you’re planning to spend less than 90 days in France/the Schengen area, you can get by using just your U.S. passport–no Visa required. (Except for all those macarons you’re planning on buying, ba-dum-tshh!) However, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date you leave the Schengen area.
LANGUAGE(S) SPOKEN | The official language of France is French.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO LOOK OUT FOR? | As with almost all of Europe, pick-pockets and tourist scams are probably your biggest safety concern. Watch your pockets and purses in crowded, tourist-filled areas, primarily in Paris.
Obviously, always take standard safety precautions (don’t travel alone, don’t travel at night, don’t flash your wads of cash you baller you). For more information on France safety concerns, see this page and always pick up travel insurance before you go.
POPULAR FRANCE DESTINATIONS
➤ PARIS | The country’s capital city and one of the world’s great cultural hubs. Paris is the home of the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre (and the Mona Lisa), and so much more.
➤ NORMANDY | The region of Normandy, France is home to some of history’s most important sites–those involving D-Day and World War II. Not the cheeriest of destinations, but worth a visit nonetheless.
➤ LOIRE VALLEY | The Loire Valley is France’s destination for wonderful wines, charming chateaux, and beautiful countryside.
WHERE TO STAY IN FRANCE
Regardless of where in France you’ll be visiting, there will be hotels, hostels, B&Bs, and Alpine chalets ready and willing to put you up.
For booking accommodation throughout France, I recommend reading hotel reviews on Tripadvisor, then booking your room through Booking.com (my favorite booking site).
And don’t forget, there’s always Airbnb and I can help you save $40 on your first Airbnb stay. Just click here to activate the no-strings discount and shop away!
RECOMMENDED FRANCE TOURS
➤ INTREPID TRAVEL | If planning an entire trip sounds overwhelming, popular tour company Intrepid offers multi-day tours of France that include Paris as well as many other popular cities. Intrepid tours include all accommodation, some meals, and your own personal, knowledgable France travel guide.
➤ VIATOR TOURS | If you’re just looking for day tours to various attractions throughout France, Viator is my go-to tour company. They’ve got tours for urban sightseeing, day trips around the country, WWII battlefields, wine and food tastings, and every single thing in between. Their tours include pickup and dropoff and offer those from all different parts of France depending on where you are.
FRANCE TRAVEL GUIDE: PACKING ESSENTIALS
➤ FRANCE GUIDEBOOK | I’m a big believer in travel guidebooks – they’re great for historical and background information, practical information like phone numbers, addresses, and opening and closing times, as well as restaurant recommendations and pretty pictures ’cause I’m a dainty little girl. Consider them your portable France travel guide.
Fodor’s and Rick Steves are my personal favorite but Lonely Planet has its own loyal following. Note that these guidebooks typically have versions dedicated specifically to Paris as well.
And if you’re interested in a different kind of guidebook, check out Culture Smart! France. Culture Smart! guidebooks focus less on hotel recommendations and more on getting you acquainted with the local customs and culture of your destination. I LOVE these guidebooks and find them to be 100% accurate.
Besides guidebooks, here are a few more things you may want to pick up before visiting France:
Outlets in France follow the typical, two-pronged European style so if you plan on plugging in any of your American electronics while you’re in France, you’ll need one (or, let’s be real, several) of these. I always recommend the 6-pack: for your phone, your camera, your curling iron, and your friends’ too because you know they didn’t bring one.