Getting ready for your first trip to France but still have lots of questions on when to go and what to bring? Don’t worry as we’ve decided to give you a hand and prepared a bunch of useful tips in order to clear up certain aspects of your upcoming France tour. So make some time to learn more handy information about this romantic destination in our France travel guide.
Best time to visit France
When it comes to the question of when to travel France, firstly you should make up your mind on what budget you possess, which locations and sights you want to explore, and what goals and interests you pursue. Generally, we can indicate three tourist seasons for traveling to France you can choose from.
The season which is closely associated with holidays is, of course, summer. This is the time when sunny weather contributes to long walks and relaxing beach vacations.
However, we are convinced that the hot summer months from mid-June to August are not the best time to go to France. The booming season can be quite stuffy and is usually characterized by thick crowds, frequent unavailability of good accommodation options, and higher rates.
Regarding rationality, we definitely advise considering the possibility of visiting France in April - May or from September to October.
Providing mild delightful weather, these months are an ideal time to catch discounted hotel rates, fewer crowds, coupled with nice opportunities for extensive sightseeing.
The months from November to March (except the Christmas holidays) are considered to be the low season which means that you can face unpredictable weather conditions on the one side but take advantage of nice bargains on the other. So if you are not afraid of rainy or chilly days, going to France during the low season seems to be the best value for money.
What is France's weather like?
The weather in France tends to vary from region to region. As such, the west coast and the central part of France are dominated by an oceanic climate, having chilly summers and pretty damp winters.
The eastern part of the country has a continental climate with warm summers and comparatively cold snowy winters.
As for the south, the region of the French Riviera is one of the most popular places for spending great vacations, boasting hot summers and mild winters.
Speaking about the capital, Paris weather is primarily influenced by the Atlantic Ocean.
The city doesn’t usually experience some extreme temperature rates, having around 23°C (72°F) in midsummer and 3-5°C (about 41°F) in winter.
French language essentials
When it comes to visiting such a touristy European country as France, you may not worry about the language barrier as many locals speak English, especially the ones involved in tourism.
However, locals of any country really appreciate when foreigners respect their culture and make an attempt to say at least a couple of words in their language, and French people are not an exception.
Learning some French phrases will be quite handy and, indeed, nice for immersing into the local life.
You may start with practicing French greetings like "Bonjour" [bonzhoor] or “Salut” [salu] (hello) and “Au revoir" [ah revwar] (bye), as well as some useful words including "Oui" [wee] (yes), "Non" [no] (no), "S'il vous plaît " [see voo play] (please) and "Merci" [mersee] (thank you).
What to know about France visas
The good news is that if you are the citizen of the USA, Australia or Canada, you can travel the country (as well as other members of the Schengen Area) without a France travel visa for up to 90 days provided that your passport is valid for at least 3 months after your return home. Pretty awesome, huh?
Money in France
France is a part of the Schengen Area and has the Euro as its currency. Generally, 1 USD is about 0.88 EUR. In case you had no opportunity to exchange money in your home country, you can head to a currency exchange office upon arrival or easily withdraw some cash from your card in local ATMs. Such ATMs are modern and user-friendly, being easy to use and offering a language choice.
Those who prefer using a debit card won’t face any difficulties in France either as the majority of places accept such cards without any problem. However, keep in mind that paying abroad you may be charged some additional transaction fees so you need to clarify this moment with your bank before going.
Moreover, you should know that not all places in France (and Europe) accept credit cards which means you should again address your bank to get more information whether you can pay with your credit card in Europe or not.
What to pack?
Getting a sense of what to pack is an essential step in planning your upcoming France travel. Thus, apart from clothes suitable for the season you are traveling in, you should consider more tricky moments you may face during your France trip.
For sure, you’ll take your cell phone, camera, and some other electronic devices with you.
For this purpose, you should know that French sockets comply with the common European standard, delivering power at 220V, so you are likely to need a special France travel adapter to charge your devices.
Don’t worry if you had no chance to get such a thing before the journey as you’ll be able to buy one in France.
As for important travel documents, besides your passport, boarding pass, and hotel reservation, don’t forget to take France travel insurance.
This document is a guarantee that you are protected from some serious accidents throughout the whole period of your stay.
Top French souvenirs to bring home
It goes without saying that each traveler wants to bring a small piece of the visited destination back home that’s why we would like to finish this piece by sharing France souvenir ideas, not including clichés like fridge magnets, postcards, and keychains.
Thus, fashion lovers can enhance their wardrobe with an elegant scarf or a nice French béret, a woolen hat which has become a symbol of French style. Sweet teeth will be pleased getting some authentic French chocolate and tasty macarons.
Continuing the topic of French cuisine, drinks in particular, it is a good idea to bring a bottle of quality wine, especially Bordeaux brands, or champagne or even a stronger apple brandy, Calvados.
If you are interested in beauty products, an ideal souvenir from France is a bottle of a refined perfume or Provence soap.
We hope that our France travel tips were handy and will help you to have a worry-free memorable journey. Discovering France is, indeed, a fabulous experience any traveler should get at least once in a lifetime. So hesitation aside! Choose your ideal France tour and immerse into the bohemian beauty headlong.