I have to be honest, I totally have a love-hate affair with France.
On one hand I am a complete francophile who loves strolling through the streets of Paris and especially wandering the cute alleys in the South of France.
On the other hand, I can get extremely annoyed with some of the customs that go hand in hand with visiting France.
Nevertheless, I will always keep on returning to this beautiful country and I am actually dying to see more of it in the upcoming years. For me it’s a super easy destination to get to cause I can simply hop in my car and start driving.
Wether it’s spending a week along the French Riviera, living it up in St. Tropez or walking along the cliffs in Étretat. There’s something about France and its beautiful towns that keeps me drawing back in.
Another event you definitely shouldn’t miss is visiting the Christmas markets in the Alsace Region. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale and the houses almost look like they’re made out of gingerbread.
But more importantly, indulge in the croissants, taste as many wines as possible and enjoy your baguette with some french stinky cheese! Non, je ne regrette rien!
Let me start by saying, there’s no bad time to visit France! It all depends on what you want to do and where you want to go!
Do you want to see the magic of the Christmas markets in the Alsace region? Then you should go at the end of November and December.
Do you want to stroll through Paris and catch the autumn foliage or spring blossoms? Then you should visit the City of Light either in October or March.
Or would you prefer to explore the French Riviera and sip on rosé in one of the fabulous beach bars? Then do try to avoid July since that’s the absolute busiest month! Instead June is a much better option and if you go at the end of June you can also travel to the Provence to see the world famous lavender fields.
Language – The official language is France is French. The French are very proud of their language and especially in more remote places you’ll find that people won’t speak much English.
Currency – The official currency of France is the EURO
Credit Cards & ATM’s – Most restaurants and stores will accept payment by credit card, especially VISA and Mastercard. American Express is harder to find actually around the country but an ATM is always easy to find.
Plugs – The plugs in France are Type C and E. The standard voltage is 230 V, and the standard frequency is 50Hz.
Safety – France is in general a pretty safe country to visit. However do beware of pickpockets in the bigger cities and keep your belongings close to you, especially when riding the subway in Paris.
Restaurants – Restaurants in France operate according to set times and are usually open between 12pm and 2pm and open again in the evening around 7pm.
It’s huge – A lot of tourists go to France, only to visit Paris. Big mistake, HUGE mistake! While Paris is indeed one of the most beautiful cities in the world there’s a lot more to France than just its main capital.
Tipping – Tipping isn’t necessary in France because a service charge is already included in your bill. At some restaurants, there are separate prices for a “sur place” and “emporter.”
Toll roads – There are a lot of toll roads in Paris and if you’re traveling between big cities by car and on the highway, chances are very high you’ll encounter them.
Phrases to learn in French:– Hello ( Bonjour)- Excuse me ( Excusez-Moi)- Thank you ( Merci)- I am lost ( Je suis perdu)- I don’t speak French ( Je ne parle pas le Français)- In English, please ( En Anglais, s’il vous plaît)
When it comes to choosing a rental car company things can get a little confusing cause there’s a lot of companies out there ready to rip you off.
Horror Story: In South Africa the rental car company that I booked with actually copied my credit card details and 1 day later my card was blocked. So there I was, in the middle of South Africa and without a credit card. Luckily we would switch to a different company the next day for the further duration of our trip but you really don’t want this to happen on your holiday.
You also don’t want any hidden costs added to your bill.
A good rental car company should include the following in your rental price: unlimited mileage and a fair fuel arrangement, third-party insurance of at least €7.5 million, damage insurance, theft insurance, towing cost if your car breaks down and cancel or change your reservation without any hassle.
For my road trips I always prefer booking with SunnyCars. Here you can already rent a car for as little as €27 per day and every single cost is included upon check out. Oh, and all of the things that I mentioned above that should be included are also included with them!
💡 TIP – Sometimes the local rental company will try to make you pay for additional insurance. This is in no way necessary cause SunnyCars offers you full coverage.
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