France Travel Guide

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Visiting France

Take a journey through France’s diverse landscapes, from the sun-kissed beaches of the French Riviera to the snow-capped peaks of the Alps.

What are the most famous landmarks in France?

France is renowned for its rich history, stunning architecture, and cultural landmarks that draw millions of visitors each year. Here are some of the most famous landmarks you shouldn’t miss:

  • Eiffel Tower, Paris: Marvel at the iconic iron lattice structure that dominates the Parisian skyline. Standing at 324 meters tall, it offers incredible views of the city from its observation decks. 20,000 lamps illuminate the landmark every night.
  • Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy: A medieval abbey perched on top of a rocky island. The tides surrounding Mont Saint-Michel can rise as fast as a horse’s gallop, creating a dramatic sight.
  • Palace of Versailles: Step back in time to the opulent reign of Louis XIV as you explore the grandeur of this UNESCO-listed palace. The Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles served as the venue for the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.

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The Eiffel Tower was originally intended as a temporary exhibit for the 1889 World’s Fair.

What are the must-see historic sites in France?

France is a treasure trove of historic sites that offer a glimpse into its rich past. These landmarks capture the essence of French history:

  • Louvre Museum, Paris: The Louvre was originally built as a fortress in the late 12th century and is now the world’s largest art museum. Here, you can see the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo, among countless other masterpieces.
  • Château de Chambord, Loire Valley: Admire the Renaissance architecture of this majestic château. It’s home to an unusual ‘double helix staircase’, which allows two people to ascend without ever having to cross paths.
  • Pont du Gard, Provence: See the engineering marvel of this ancient Roman aqueduct, spanning the Gardon River. The Pont du Gard was part of a 50-kilometre-long aqueduct that supplied water to the city of Nîmes.

FUN
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Leonardo da Vinci is rumoured to have contributed to the design of Château de Chambord.

What are some of the best things to see and do in France?

France offers a diverse array of experiences that cater to every traveller’s interests. Here are some of the best things to see and do:

  • Wine tasting in Bordeaux: Indulge your senses in the world-renowned vineyards of Bordeaux. The region is home to over 7,000 châteaux producing some of the finest wines in the world.
  • Cruise the Seine River, Paris: Embark on a leisurely boat cruise along the Seine, soaking in panoramic views of Parisian landmarks. The Seine River flows through Paris for approximately 13 kilometres, offering a unique perspective of the city.
  • Calanques of Cassis: Explore the breathtaking beauty of the Calanques, a series of fjord-like inlets along the Mediterranean coast near Marseille. The Calanques of Cassis offer opportunities for hiking, swimming, and boat tours amidst stunning limestone cliffs and azure waters.

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For an unforgettable experience in Bordeaux, visit during the annual wine festivals like Bordeaux Fête le Vin to enjoy tastings, workshops, and local culinary delights.

Choosing the Best eSIM for travelling in France

Simplify your travel to Germany with these tips:

  • Device compatibility: Verify that your France eSIM is compatible with your device to avoid connectivity issues. Check compatibility here.
  • Extensive coverage: easySim ensures wide coverage across Germany through partnerships with leading networks.
  • Flexible data plans: Pick from a variety of data plans to meet your needs.

Find out more

Remember:  Track your usage by logging into your account here.

What are some cultural experiences in France?

France offers a wealth of cultural experiences that provide a deep dive into its rich heritage and vibrant arts scene. Here are some must-try cultural activities:

  • Attend a cabaret show in Paris: Immerse yourself in the glitz and glamour of Parisian nightlife with a cabaret performance. The Moulin Rouge, founded in 1889, is one of the world’s most famous cabarets.
  • Festival d’Avignon, Provence: Dive into the world of performing arts at Europe’s premier theatre festival, held annually in the historic city of Avignon. The Festival d’Avignon attracts thousands of artists and spectators from around the globe.
  • Visit the D-Day beaches, Normandy: Pay tribute to history’s heroes as you explore the poignant landmarks of the Normandy coast, commemorating the Allied invasion of World War II.

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At the Festival d’Avignon, many performances take place in historic and unconventional venues, such as medieval courtyards and ancient chapels.

What are the top Instagrammable places in France?

France is filled with breathtaking locations perfect for capturing Instagram photos. Here are some top Instagrammable spots that will make your feed stand out:

Lavender Fields of Provence: Capture the essence of Provence with shots of endless lavender fields stretching to the horizon. Provence is renowned for its picturesque landscapes, making it a favourite among photographers and nature enthusiasts.

Giverny Gardens: Capture the beauty of Claude Monet’s gardens, which inspired many of his famous paintings. The vibrant flowers, tranquil lily ponds, and charming Japanese bridge create a perfect setting for photos.

Étretat Cliffs, Normandy: Frame your feed with dramatic vistas of towering chalk cliffs overlooking the azure waters of the English Channel. Étretat’s iconic arches and needle-like formations have inspired renowned artists such as Gustave Courbet.

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To capture the lavender fields of Provence in full bloom, plan your visit between late June and early August. This timing ensures the most vibrant colours.

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What is typical French cuisine?

French cuisine is celebrated worldwide for its rich flavours, sophisticated techniques, and diverse dishes. Here are some quintessential French foods to try:

  • Croissant: Indulge in the buttery flakiness of France’s beloved pastry, enjoyed as a breakfast staple or as a snack throughout the day.
  • Coq au Vin: Savour the rich flavours of this classic French dish, featuring tender chicken braised in red wine with mushrooms, onions, and bacon.
  • Macarons: Delight your taste buds with the delicate sweetness of these colourful almond meringue cookies, sandwiched with luscious ganache or buttercream fillings.

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Macarons were said to be originally introduced to France by Italian chefs during the Renaissance.

What should I prepare for travel to France?

Preparing for a trip to France involves more than just packing your bags. Here are some essential tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey:

  • Familiarise yourself with basic French phrases to facilitate communication, as English may not be widely spoken in certain regions.
  • Carry a universal adapter to ensure compatibility with France’s electrical outlets, which typically use the European standard of 220 volts AC.
  • Be mindful of cultural norms regarding dining etiquette. For example, when someone finishes their meal, the fork and knife are placed side by side on the plate on the right or in the centre of the plate.
  • Pack comfortable footwear for exploring cobblestone streets and historic sites, as well as lightweight layers to adapt to varying weather conditions.
  • Stay vigilant against petty theft, especially in crowded tourist areas and on public transportation. Consider using a secure travel wallet or money belt to safeguard your belongings.

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Many museums and attractions in France offer free admission on the first Sunday of each month, so plan your visits accordingly to save on entry fees and enjoy the rich cultural offerings.

What is the best time to visit France?

France offers unique experiences in every season, making it a year-round destination. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect in each season:

  • Spring (March to May): Experience mild temperatures and blooming landscapes, ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing without the peak crowds of summer.
  • Summer (June to August): Enjoy long days of sunshine and vibrant festivals, though be prepared for higher tourist numbers and warmer temperatures.
  • Winter (December to February): Embrace the festive atmosphere and enjoy winter sports in the Alps, with world-class skiing and snowboarding.  Consider using a specialist tour operator such as Peak Retreats who will look after all your planning for an unforgettable trip to the Alps.

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The French Riviera hosts the famous Cannes Film Festival in May.

Buying a SIM card in France

While you can buy traditional SIM cards in France, eSIMs are a more convenient and flexible option. A France eSIM allows you to quickly add a local data plan, eliminating the need for a physical card and ensuring hassle-free connectivity throughout your travels.

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