In much of central Europe with the exception of maybe Vienna - the charm lay in the countryside. However, in France the charm lies very much in the cities. France has vibrant cities - and all of them offer something different. Paris - the capital is also one of the most romantic cities of the world. The fashion and the art capital of the world, Paris is the city of monuments - the Eiffel Tower, the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre Museum, Notre Dame, the Arc de Triomphe and counting. With the Moulin Rouge for the class, the Disneyland for children and Galeries Lafayettes for the shoppers, and the River Seine for its romantic charm, Paris offers a variety of experiences for all travellers. Small alleyways interspersed with beautiful boulevards, Paris should not be missed on any trip to Europe.
Nice, on the French Riviera, deep in the south of France is known for its azure blue seas and rocky beaches. However, not to be missed is the distinct Italian heritage that envelopes the region as well as Vieux Nice - the Old Town which offers a completely different perspective of Nice. In the east, almost kissing the German border is Strasbourg, a city known for its architectural splendor. With the city centre recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site, Strasbourg has a charm unlike any other. For a completely off the Beaten Path Experience, head a couple of hours south of Strasbourg to Colmar or Obernai. Colmar (in the Alsace province of France generally known for its industrial prowress) is stunningly beautiful and very well preserved. Similarly is Obernai. Both Colmar and Obernai are must-see in France.
Closer to the south east, Lyon is the third largest city in France and also known as the Silk capital of the world. Founded more than 2000 years ago and an important part of the Roman empire, Lyon packs in a lot of history. Also, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lyon has remained in the shadows of Paris since long. Today a commercial powerhouse and the Culinary Capital, Lyon is off the Beaten Path!
For mountains go to Chamonix - a resort town in the Mont Blanc -the French Alps easily accessed from Lyon. For the wine loving people, a visit to Central France towns of Burgundy and Limousin are an absolute must or deep in the west to Bordeaux! For the historically inclined, move northward to trace the rich World War I and II history in Normandy and Amiens. In France, no one shoe can fit all.
HOW SAFE IS FRANCE
France is generally a safe country. The huge influx of migrants from across Africa and other parts of the world may make someone not so comfortable but in reality, there is little to worry about! While English is spoken in the cities, it remains a problem in the countryside. Also, tourist friendliness is a tad lesser than that in much of Central Europe.
how we rate france
|Parameter||Rating (out of 5)|
|No. of days||Destination|
|Minimum 4 days||Paris including Disneyland and the Palace of Versailles|
|6-8||Add The French Riviera - Nice, Antibes, Cannes, Monte Carlo for an excellent beach experience|
|8-10||Add Chamonix and the French Alps for nature|
|10-12||Add Alsace and the towns of Colmar, Ribeauville and Obernai for canals, wine and architecture|
Add Champagne - Ardenne and Bordeaux wine country - As the name suggests for wine and champagne tourism
|14-16||Add Bordeaux and the wine country|
Add Burgundy, Mont Dore, Clermond - Ferrand
|19-21||Add Rouen, Amiens, Normandy for history|
FRANCE ON A BUDGET
Be under no illusion, France is one of the most expensive countries in Europe. Accommodation across the country is expensive even if booked in advance. Hotels in resort towns in Mont Blanc may startle you with their tariffs The French love their food and do not mind paying. Fine dining is expensive. Inexpensive food is not easily available. Hotels in resort towns in the Mont Blanc may startle you with their tariffs. In Paris, do not expect to pay lesser than Euro 100 / night for two for a decent 3 star resort unless staying in the Gare du Nord Area. The French Riviera is even more expensive. But in France, everything is about class!
HOW TO TRAVEL IN FRANCE In general, France has good travel infrastructure. The TGV cuts across the countryside at superfast speed. Bigger cities like Paris, Lyon, Dijon, Bordeaux have a good mix of trains, trams and buses and have excellent connections between them. While France has excellent travel infrastructure to get from city to city or even towns, the same cannot be said when it comes to internal travel in towns. In many small towns, especially in Central France, a car remains a must!