The Top 10 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting France This Summer
What You Need To Know Before Visiting France : Whether you’re an experienced traveler or a rookie taking your first international journey, planning a trip to France can seem daunting. With its rich history, diverse landscapes, and renowned cuisine, France offers an overwhelming array of experiences. To help you navigate this glorious nation, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten things you need to know before visiting France this summer.
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Embrace the French Pace of Life
France, known for its slowed-down and savored lifestyle, offers a unique perspective on time. The traditional philosophy, known as ‘la bonne vie,’ encourages living each moment fully. From leisurely meals to tranquil strolls in scenic parks, time in France seems to follow a more relaxed rhythm.
Yet, in the metropolis of Paris, you’ll also witness the fast pace of urban life. Parisians hurrying to work, the brisk hustle in the metro – it’s a city that moves quickly but still cherishes its moments of respite. So, be prepared to adapt to the pace that fits the moment, be it the relaxed rhythm of ‘la bonne vie’ or the energetic tempo of Parisian city life.
Master Basic French Phrases
Secondly, although many French people speak English, they appreciate it when visitors make an effort to speak French. Even a few basic phrases can go a long way. So, brush up on your ‘Bonjour,’ ‘Merci,’ and ‘Où sont les toilettes’ Trust me, your efforts will not go unnoticed.
Plan for a Late Dinner
Next, you should note that dinner in France typically starts much later than in other countries. Restaurants usually don’t begin serving dinner until around 7:30 PM. The main meal could last well into the night, especially in summer when the days are longer. Therefore, adjust your meal times accordingly to enjoy the authentic French dining experience.
Prepare for the Summer Crowds
Furthermore, France, especially Paris, can be crowded in the summer. Major attractions like the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower attract hordes of tourists. Consequently, booking your tickets in advance can save you long waits in queues. It will also secure your chance to visit these iconic spots.
Embrace the Outdoor Lifestyle
With that being said, don’t let the crowds deter you from exploring the outdoors. French summers are a great time to enjoy the country’s stunning landscapes. From the lavender fields of Provence to the sun-soaked beaches of the French Riviera, there’s no shortage of outdoor experiences to enjoy.
Be Aware of the ‘Fermeture Annuelle’
On the other hand, you should also be aware of the ‘fermeture annuelle.’ Many businesses, especially in smaller towns, close for a few weeks during the summer for their annual vacation. Therefore, it’s worth checking the opening hours of restaurants and shops you plan to visit in advance.
Familiarize Yourself with French Etiquette
When in France, understanding the nuances of local etiquette will certainly enhance your journey. Politeness is key, whether you’re ordering coffee at a bustling cafe or browsing through a quaint boutique. A courteous ‘Bonjour’ upon entering any establishment or a friendly ‘Au revoir’ when exiting makes a significant difference. Furthermore, showing appreciation for the culinary arts, a pillar of French culture, by complimenting your meal can be a great way to strike up conversations and connections with locals. France isn’t just a place to see—it’s a place to experience through respectful interactions and mutual appreciation.
Budget for Tipping
Additionally, tipping in France isn’t mandatory, but it’s appreciated. In restaurants, a service charge is usually included in your bill, but it’s customary to leave a small tip if you’re happy with the service. Remember, every euro counts, especially for those in the service industry.
Explore Beyond Paris
Don’t forget that France is much more than Paris. Regions like Alsace, Brittany, and Provence offer a unique blend of history, culture, and gastronomy. They are also typically less crowded in summer, making them perfect for a tranquil, off-the-beaten-path experience.
Take Advantage of Public Transportation
Finally, France boasts an efficient public transportation system. Trains are an excellent way to travel between cities. Within cities, the metro, buses, and trams offer affordable and convenient means to explore. Embrace these modes of transport to get a real feel of the French lifestyle.
A summer trip to France can be an unforgettable experience if planned correctly. Understanding the local customs, preparing for the crowd, and planning your itinerary wisely can significantly enhance your French escapade. Happy travels !