10 Tips for your First Trip to France • The Blonde Abroad


10 tips for your first trip to france

There’s something magical about France. Home to gourmet food, haute couture, opulent landmarks, and beautiful countrysides, it’s not hard to why it’s one of the most visited countries in the world.

While France is the size of Texas, it has something to offer every kind of traveler. But before you book your flights and start brushing up on your French, there are few things you need to know.

Here are 10 tips for your first trip to France!

English is Not Widely Spoken

Unlike some other travel destinations in Europe, the French speak very little English. They are very proud to speak French which is understandable.

Imagine if tourists who came to your country expected you to be fluent in their native tongue. Before you arrive in France, come prepared with a few French phrases under your belt!

Train in France

Take the Train

France has an incredible transportation system, especially the trains. I traveled solo through France by train in the summer of 2018 and had an incredible experience!

The trains are easy to use and affordable. I got to explore many of the smaller villages and towns in France like St. Emilion, Marseille, Roussillon and Bordeaux!

Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Traveling By Train in France

France is Huge

When most people think of France, they think of only Paris. But the country has so much more to offer beyond its capital city!

I highly recommend visiting the French countryside and exploring the Provence and Cote d’Azur regions! You’ll experience a different side of the country and get an authentic taste of French culture.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Provence

The Louvre

The French Schedule

The French work on a different schedule than what you’re probably used to back home. For example, in small towns and villages all shops, banks, and businesses close for 2 hours for lunch.

In remote areas, the break can last from  1 PM to 4 PM, and it’s similar to the Italian siesta! Keep the schedule in mind when planning your itinerary, so you don’t accidentally visit a shop or restaurant at the wrong time.

Car Rental

If you have room in your budget, I recommend renting a car while you’re in France. It’s a great way to explore France’s lesser-known destinations and to give yourself more control over your itinerary.

Here are some things to keep in mind when driving in France:

  • Manual transmission cars are cheaper and will give you better mileage
  • There are speed cameras everywhere, and fines are expensive
  • When filling up with gas, remember that “essence” is gasoline and “gasoil” is diesel

Read More: Essential Tips for Driving in Provence

Roussillon

How to Save on Activities

With so much to see in French, sightseeing can quickly become expensive. To save money, you can use the Paris Museum Pass.

It will let you skip the long lines at most of the top attractions, and it includes admission to the Louvre and Orsay Museums, Sainte-Chapelle Church, and Palace of Versailles. If you don’t want to use the pass, you’ll definitely want to book your tickets in advance for the Eiffel Tower and Versailles to save time!

Read More: Top Things to Do in Paris

blonde in paris with coffee

Pay Less for Coffee

If you’re a caffeine addict like me, you’ll want to take advantage of the cheap coffee in France to save money. If you order your cup of joe inside a cafe at the counter, it will cost you less.

For orders outside at a table that require a waiter, you’ll end up paying more. So head up to counter, choose from a selection of pastries (if you’re feeling peckish) and find a spot on a nearby public bench or park to enjoy your coffee.





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