France Travel Guide
France – c’est magnifique! For many people, France sits perpetually atop the bucket list of “Places I Must Visit Before I Die”; and rightfully so! France’s capital city, Paris, ranks 5th on the global list of top cities to visit. It sounds cliched, but this country truly has something for everyone. From some of the world’s best wine and food to breathtaking beaches and beyond, if you can’t find what you’re looking for in France, it can only be due to your not trying.
City Specific Guides
Tips to Save Money
Limit Going Out to Eat
If there’s any place you’re going to splurge on food, it’s going to be France. How could you not? This country is home to what is easily some of the greatest culinary experiences you will ever come across. That being said, it doesn’t come cheap. Indulge your taste buds on a couple signature dishes (I highly recommend the baked camembert and moules marinières), but don’t break the bank over it.
Take inspiration from France’s many incredible chefs and cook for yourself often. For the best of both worlds, make breakfast and dinner on your own and only eat out during lunch, as many restaurants will offer less expensive fixed price menus in the afternoon.
Take the Bus
Riding France’s TGV train is an incredible experience; watching the countryside blur past at speeds of over 200 miles per hour. While it’s worth trying once, it’s not the cheapest way to travel. If you’re not in a rush, check out OUIBUS. You can get not only throughout France, but most of Western Europe as well for less than €35. It’ll take a bit longer than the high-speed train, but the seats are comfy, the bus has Wi-Fi, and each row has outlets available.
As an alternative to taking the bus, check out BlaBlaCar. Silly name, I know, but it’s a great service. Basically, if someone with a car is driving from point A to point B and has extra space in their car, they can sell the open seats to people traveling to the same destination. I’ve traveled across countries for less than $10 this way! As an added bonus, you’ll get to meet new people and possibly learn about what to do at your next travel stop.
Accommodations in France (Paris especially) are not cheap. Oddly enough, while I would usually recommend staying in hostels to save money, I found them to be one of the more expensive options in France’s larger cities. If you’re not opposed to staying with a stranger, I recommend giving Couch Surfing a look. Not only is it a free place to stay, but if your host isn’t busy, there is no better way to explore somewhere than with a local.
If you’re staying outside of the major areas, Couch Surfing hosts will be limited, but hostels will also be a lot cheaper. Check them out on HostelWorld.
Bring Your Student ID
Like most places through Europe, many attractions in France offer student discounts. If you’re a current student (or still look the same as you did in your photo), make sure to bring your student ID along with you while traveling. The few euros you’ll save here and there will really add up over time.
There is no shortage of amazing things to do in Paris, but rather than list it all here, I’ve listed my favorite activities in the Paris travel guide. Check it out here!
Visit the beaches of Nice
The coastline of southern France is absolutely gorgeous. The first time I visited Nice, I was in awe of just how blue the water was. My only real complaint is that sandy beaches in this area are hard to come by, but the beautiful views more than make up for the rocky shoreline. If you’re traveling around the country, do yourself a favor and set aside a few days to lay back and relax in Nice.
The coastal city of Marseille is France’s second largest city after Paris. Thankfully, it has nowhere near as many tourists. When you’re ready for an escape from the crowds, stop by here for some fantastic seafood and a visit to the beautiful Parc National des Calanques.
Located two hours southwest of Paris, the Loire Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site that is home to scenic landscapes and sprawling chateaus. It has been dubbed “The Garden of France”, and for good reason. This is probably the closest you could come to walking through a real-life fairy tale. When you’re ready to relax like the royalty once did, make sure to pay the Loire Valley a visit.