France Travel Guide For First-Time Visitors
France is a country of immense cultural, historical and natural riches, which boasts some of the finest monuments, stunning scenery and artistic masterpieces in the world. With its ragged coastline and sun-drenched beaches, breathtaking canyons and picturesque mountain tops, man-made wonders like the Eiffel Tower, majestic cathedrals and medieval castles which exude the spirit of the olden days, France is a country that has it all. It’s incurably charming and chic and so diverse, that its incredible variety may seem overwhelming to a first-time visitor. This is why we have decided to sum up the essentials and present you some of the most iconic destinations you shouldn’t miss.
Paris is the historic meeting point of artists, the capital of fashion, literature, art and food, a city of unique sensibility and enchanting beauty. It is especially appealing to art-lovers, who apart from Louvre, shouldn’t miss Musée d’Orsay, a museum of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art displayed in a former train station. Remember to make a stop in the Tuileries garden and then pop into the legendary Shakespeare and Company, once frequented by Hemingway. Marvel at Notre Dame, and then head for Montmartre to savor the sunset from Sacré Coeur Basilica. When planning your Paris holidays, consider package tours which come with a number of skip-the-line perks, expertly-planned sightseeing tours and museum and metro passes. When you see the endless lines in front of the landmarks, you’ll understand why these perks make a difference. Finally, the best package tours take you for an unforgettable night at Moulin Rouge to see the French cancan and indulge in a glass (or two) of bubbly champagne.
The Mediterranean coast of southeast France is where most tourists flock to delight in sandy beaches and soak up some sun in the vibrant atmosphere of little coastal cities. The most famous destinations are Nice, a paradise for budget travelers, and Cannes and Monaco, the most glamorous and well-loved Pearls of the Riviera. Nice boasts a traffic-free old town, world-class museums and great view from the Castle Hill. Expect the beach to be crowded and loud, but the proximity of Monaco makes up for everything. Monaco is in fact an independent city-state or more precisely, a kingdom known for its luxurious marina, infamous casino and Grand Prix motor races. Here is where the crème-de-la-crème figures converge for a royal seaside stay. In Cannes, you can stroll down the promenade and take in the charming Mediterranean, or go on a trip to Iles de Lerins, the four charming islands a mere 15 minutes away by ferry.
The French Alps
The French Alps are a part of the long mountain range, which extends through Switzerland, France and Italy. They are the ultimate destination for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike. There is hardly a better spot for spending winter holidays in Europe, since the French Alps are ideal for a host of winter sports, notably skiing and mountaineering. The scenery is jaw-droppingly beautiful with pristine forests, crystal-blue lakes and dream-like slopes. The Alps are also perfect for avid hikers, since the opportunities at your disposal are numerous, and you can also arrange your trips so as to visit some of their most famous lakes – Lake Annecy, Lake Le Bourget and Lake Geneva. Make sure to stash some good wine to keep you warm after your snowy adventures.
These are just some of the beautiful destinations in France you should know about. Finally, the best piece of advice that you can receive before your holiday in the land of wine and baguette, is that speaking in French, even rusty and ineloquent French, goes a long way with the French people who are not particularly willing to converse in English. Be open to French culture and appetizing cuisine, respectful of their history and you will find yourself having the time of your life in this gorgeous country.
About the author
Marie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels she likes to read poetry and prose and to surf the Internet. Her favourite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag. Most of her free time at home she spends walking her Labrador Retriever named Max. She is an avid lover of photography who loves to talk about her experiences. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.