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France

Continent: Europe

Ideal Duration: 8 - 10 days

Best Time: March - May and September - November Read More

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Budget: Expensive

"The Land of Cultural Landscape"

France Tourism

Renowned as world's most famous and most visited tourist destination, France is nestled in Western Europe holding some of the greatest treasure troves. The country is an irresistible assortment of picture perfect landscapes, cultural foible, remarkable fashion sense, historical bequest and of course gastronomic adventures. Basking in the glory of Mother Nature, France offers distinct geographical features from rolling countryside and majestic mountains to stunning white sand beaches and sun-drenched vineyards. With its dash of contemporary finesse and lavish lifestyle, this country will leave you in absolute awe.

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Best time to visit France

March - May and September - November is the best time to visit France

Spring (March-May) or autumn season (September-November) would be the best time to visit France. During these seasons, the number of tourists and the prices of the accommodation would be less when compared to the summer days. Summer in France would be crowded, hot, and very expensive. In the winter season, most of the cities of France would be cold and wet although winter would be the best time for visiting all the famous museums in France.

Regions in France

France is the largest country in Western Europe sharing a border with seven countries including Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Andorra. There are twenty-two administrative districts in France. However, the country is loosely divided into six tourist regions each one with its own character and cuisine, tradition and dialect ofFrench language: North-west FranceThe heart of FranceNorth-east FranceSouth-west FranceUpland France And Le-Midi - Southern France Two-thirds of France is mountains and hills including The Alps,  Vosges and Pyrenees and the Mediterranean coasts are home to the popular tourist area, the French Riviera.

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

Rich culture, heritage and past. Delicious food. Geographical diversity. Picturesque landscapes. Marvellous architecture. Great Shopping experience.

What's Not So Great?

Crazy traffic. Extreme summer heat. Hikes price during peak tourism season. Huge crowd during summers, especially in Paris.

For Whom?

Shopaholics. Architecture buffs and history lovers. People who enjoy art and culture. Nature buffs. Food lovers.

Read More on France

Currency of France

Euro was the official currency of France since 2002 when it dropped its own currency French Franc. The currency bills of Euros are in denomination of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. Credit cardsÊare widely acceptedÊin the countryÊincluding MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Diners Club. However, make sure to check whether the restaurant you are seated at accept cards. It is recommended to carry a cash supply all the times, even if you are in the major cities.

Exchanging Money in France

There are many ways to exchange currency in France, banks and post offices being the best ones. Other than that, there are exchange offices located at hotels, train stations, large stores, airport and exchange offices near major tourist sites but they offer less attractive rates. However, these places have extended hours, so it comes handy when banks and post offices are closed. As per law, hotels and shops are restricted to accept foreign currency. ATMs compatible with international banking networks are located all across the major towns and cities as well as at main tourist places, major train stations and airports. ATM is a cheaper option asÊFrench ATM's do not charge any fees. However, there might be some fees charged by your bank.Ê

Nightlife in France

For all the night birds travelling to France, the place is packed with nightclubs across all towns and cities. The variety of songs, music, style and decor vary widely to the taste of visitors while sometimes drinks are included in the entrance fee of the venue. If you are in any major city in France such as Paris or Lyon, the entrance is usually free, but the drinks are liable to be more expensive. Nightclubs across the country close mostly at 5:00 am. One will also find plenty of theatres, cafes and late night bars dotted all around the place.

Shopping in France

France serves as a paradise for shopping lovers with something to tempt you at every nook and corner of the trip. One will find trendy stores, designer boutiques, Parisian designer shops, shops with latest haute couture and speciality shops. Make sure not to spend everything on designer jewellery and the footwear, which are yet another speciality of the country. Other main buys in France include textiles, laces, cheese, coffee, wine, liqueurs and crystals. If you are an art lover, the country offers prints of many famous paintings. The shopping options are also plenty of huge departmental stores to flea markets and out-of-town hypermarkets.

Festivals of France

Festivals of France represents creativity, art, music and culture of the place. The celebration starts with the prt porter fashion show in Paris held in early February while most of the festivals held in summers. Next is Cannes Film Festival in May followed by a gypsy festival in late May held in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Bastille Day, Tour de France, International Music festival, fete du cinema, Jazz Festival and Festival dAvignon are other major festivals of France.

History of France

France has come a long way from once being a vibrant and colourful monarchy before 1798 until the beginning of a revolutionÊthat restructured the entire country shifting the seat of power from the church to the state. The French Empire expanded during the Napoleonic era until its defeat at Waterloo in 1815 leading to the reinstatement of the monarchy. Napoleon died in South Atlantic Island during his exile. With constant change in the headÊof the state, France received its famous architecture in Paris in late 19th century including its avenues of Haussmann buildings and the Eiffel Tower. The country played a significant role in both the world wars in the 20th century, first resulting in surrender to Nazi Germany in 1940 and the presidency of Charles de Gaulle restoring stability. The year 1968 saw Gaulles downfall after the famous anti-government protests leading the way to the modern times in France.

Hygiene in France

The standard of the healthcare facility in France is usually very high and professional. Pharmacies are available easily, and the staffs are mostly trained to suggest on minor complaints. In towns and villages, a green-cross sign outside the door indicates of pharmacies (flashing sign means that pharmacy is open). Tap water is drinkable in the country except for rare cases including rural rest areas and sinks in train bathrooms. Bottles water is easily accessible and quite common. No particular vaccination is recommended before travelling to France. In case of emergency, 112 is the EU-wide phone number for the emergency services including ambulance.

Customs of France

Shaking a hand and kissing both cheeks are the usual form of greeting in France. Monsieur or Madame without a surname is the usual way of addressing someone personally while it may take some time to get on first name basis. Casual wear is common for both men and women but if you are planning to go to club, fine restaurants, theatre, or casino, more formal attire is required. Topless bathing is allowed at some beached while other restrict it. Smoking is banned in public spaces and workplaces since February 2007. Tipping, although not necessary, but is appreciated in France especially in the hospitality sector. At restaurants, service charges are included in the price, so one can choose to leave 5 to 10% of the bill. For cafes and taxi, round up the tariff to the next euro or the nearest ten euros.

Tips for visiting France

Carry light clothes such as shorts, skirts, shirts and dresses for pleasant days of summer, spring and autumn. For winters, pack your warm sweaters, coats, hats and gloves, as it gets quite chilly. Be prepared for weather change any moment while in France. As a precaution, carry a light sweater and raincoat. If you have booked a ticket for opera, theatre, concert or have a reservation in some fine-dine, make sure to dress up properly. Beware of pickpocketing while in crowded places and purse-snatching. It is better to avoid certain suburban areas of Paris where youth gang violence and drug dealing is a common activity.

Culture of France

France is the land where the word culture originated from its Latin counterpart ÔcolereÕ. The country has a free culture where Romance and passion are embodied in the atmosphere. The culture of France is all about art, cultural artists, writers, thinkers and philosophers. The French believe in style, creativity, intellect, knowledge along with equality, which forms an integral part of their motto "LibertŽ, EgalitŽ, FraternitŽ".
French is the official language with 88% speakers of the total population. There are minorities who speak German, Basque and other languages. Many people speak and understand some English, especially in tourist areas. Some of the common phrases one should know before visiting the country are:
Hello Ð Bonjour
Goodbye Ð Au Revoir
How are you? Ð Comment a va?
I'm very well - ‚a va bien
Please - S'il vous pla”t
Thank you Ð Merci
Yes - Oui
Catholics and Protestants form the major part of the countryÕs population with a minority of Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus.

Food of France

The soul of French life is about eating; this is how much they love their food. The French breakfast mainly comprises of mouth-watering croissants, strong coffee or a glass of fruit juice. A staple for the mainÊcourse in French cuisine includes cheese, pate, bread and soup (potage). Steak and French fries make a very popular combination for the meal whereas ham, cheese and pate make perfect picnic food. The holiday in France is incomplete without tasting the incredible variety of cheeses (said to be 365 in number) and visiting the renowned French bakeries and cafes, which offers an overwhelming assortment of baked goodies, pies and pastries. Brie,ÊCamembert and several types of blue cheese are said to be allÊtime favourites of local. Coffee, tea, mineral or soda water, freshly squeezed orange juice, and lastly and most important wines and champagnes of the finest quality are the popular beverages in France.

Stay options in France

France is packed with places of accommodation in all tourist areas. There are international hotels chains, privately owned property, small village inns and some of the most trendy and fashionable hotels in the country. For budget accommodation, there are chambres dhotes, which are cost-friendly, with a character of its own and run by a family. France also offers thousands of camping sites all across the country. Tariffs vary depending upon the season, location and facilities. All the grade campsites offer water, toilet as well as washing facilities. For those who want to experience the hostel stay in France, there are hundreds of youth hostel available at low price. They are located in major cities, towns and at various locations in the countryside. Some are immaculate while some might offer horrid experience.

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Q. What would be an ideal itinerary for France, if I want to travel there for a period of 2 weeks?

Kovid Kapoor 3 weeks ago
You'll obviously want to spend sufficient time in Paris - at least 5 days of you're going for the first time. Other than that - it totally depends on what you want to do on the trip.
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