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France Tourism And Travel Guide
5.8° C / 42.4° F
April to September
5 to 8 Days
Charles de Gaulle
France, more than a land, is a feeling. The feeling of freedom and equality felt right in the bones, the feeling of romance and smooth tastes felt like a tingle on the tongue; and the feeling of a time-traveller felt in every step that falls on the beautiful ancient streets of this country. Tourism in France is highlighted by historical marvels and museums such as the Eiffel Tower, the Prison of Bastille and Louvre Museum, along with pristine stretches of beaches, snow-capped alps, Mediterranean islands of brick-fortified walls and palaces that surpass opulence. Read this travel guide to know France and its tourism in detail.
How to Reach
The best way to travel from India to France is by air. You will fly into France and then have other modes of transport at your disposal.
Regular flights from Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Chennai operate to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport. Orly in South of Paris is also a destination for International traffic. Air India, Air France, Jet Airways, Gulf Air etc are regular airlines on these routes.
Frequent trains operate to France with Eurostar. Cities like Belgium, Brussels, London, Berlin etc are connected to Paris and Lyon. Rail journeys in France are exceptionally picturesque and a must if travelling from north to south of France. You will need to book in advance during peak tourist season.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit France is through its spring and summer seasons, though autumn makes for a great budget trip as it is a shoulder season.
Spring (March to June):
Spring of France is a great time to be out and about. The sun is high and bright, while the cold winter days are done. The temperature hovers between 11-19°C and vineyards are in full bloom, as are the olive and tangerine trees and raspberry bushes. This is also the wedding season in France so you will find a lot of white dresses and drapes and views and sweets in the shops around.
Summer (July to September):
This is the peak tourist season with too much crowd at most places. The lines for Eiffel Tower and Louvre and Notre Dame are too long, though the temperature is pleasant with a warmth of 25°C. Festivals and carnivals are celebrated, with the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival and Bastille Day being the highlight in June and July respectively.
Autumn (October to November):
Autumn is cooler than summer, temperature gradually dropping to 16°C and 5°C by the end of November. The rates drop too and tourists are gone, leaving France in peace. Cote d’Azur is still bright and warm at this time though, and quite alluring.
Winter (December to February):
Winters in France are rainy rather than snowy and temperatures seldom go below freezing point. The French Alps become a touristy place for skiing and Christmas and New Year, while the island of Corsica remains warm even in December.
Things to Do
Strolls through Paris:
Instead of standing in long queues just to see what the inside of Eiffel Tower looks like, you could instead become a wanderer and walk down the ancient streets of Paris to absorb the real feel of the city of love. From the square of Quartier Latin to Marais, charming neighbourhoods of Île Saint-Louis to the bridge across River Seine; you will see the real Parisians about their day’s work in the most medieval of buildings and streets that were set with cobblestones many centuries ago.
Experience the Palace of Versailles:
This one monument you must visit, even if long queues are what you’d have to endure. The Palace is built with great opulence and now houses some great tapestries and paintings and furniture and knick-knacks from Louis XIV. Some unforgettable chambers here are the Hall of Mirrors, the King’s Royal Apartments, Royal Opera House and the Royal Chapel, along with the Congress Chamber and the Gallery of Great Battles.
Peddle around in Bordeaux:
Bordeaux is the centre of wine production in France, suffused with its rolling meadows and vineyards, chateaus as big as castles and wineries dedicated to the most rich flavours. The best way to explore the town is on bicycle and some great routes include the Roger Lapebie bike path and the Saint-Émilion route.
Soak the French sun on Beaches:
France hosts some breath-taking beaches, from the glittering waters of Nice and Monaco and saint Tropez in the French Riviera to the Deauville Beach of Normandy and Palombaggia beach in Corsica, you will find uniqueness in each one. Some are pebbled beaches, others have pink sands, while a few have the most beautiful clusters of cliffs hanging over water.
Go Skiing in the French Alps:
Winters in France are not the best time for a trip, except for ski enthusiasts. The skiing resort of the Alps make for a lovely winter holiday up here. From Val d’Isère to Les Trois Vallées, Portes du Soleil to Chamonix, you will find yourself engulfed by luxury resorts and rustic mountain villages here.
What to Eat
France is known for a unique etiquette and reverence when it comes to food. They prepare every dish with delicacy and eat it with the same amount of grace. From soft as the air croissants to paper-thin crepes, falafels and Jewish beer to baguette sandwiches and traditional wines, French food is bound to make you want more. What you must eat here are the deserts. Eat pastries, pies, gourmet chocolates and macaroons. The best macaroons can be found at Pierre Herme in Paris (their salted caramels and lime basils are to die for). If you are not into the whole formal dining and many courses meal, choose a cafe instead to have your dinners.
What to Shop
Pick up souvenirs in France that have got to do with gourmet food and cooking. It is a unique gift to give. From sea salts and cooking salts to the salted caramel jars you find at cafes and boutiques, there are such endearing presents you can buy. The Chestnut paste is another great souvenir to take back, to spread on your toasts and crepes and spoon in on stressed work nights when back home. For other items, you will find the clothes in France the best at its fashion capital Paris, while bracelets are famous too. Wines are to be picked up from Bordeaux and customised perfume with your signature fragrance is made in the town of Grasse in Cannes.