France is a state of Western Europe, which includes 96 departments, including the islands of Corsica, Saint-Pierre, Miquelon, overseas territories of the French Antilles (Guadeloupe, Martinique), Reunion and French Guiana, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, the Wallis Islands and Futuna. In France, familiar to us, there are 22 provinces, the most famous of which are Normandy, Burgundy, Povans, Champagne and some others. The capital of France is Paris, the main cities are Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Bordeaux, Nice, Toulouse.
France is washed by the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The natural landscapes are not uniform, the relief is dominated by flat lands that occupy the entire area of the northwestern part of the country. The French Alps are natural borders with Italy and Switzerland. Divided into Northern and Southern Alps. The most famous peak in the Northern Alps is Mont Blanc (the highest point in Europe) in the Chamonix ski area.
France is one of the few countries in which a wide variety of landscapes are concentrated – from sandy golden beaches to the snow-capped peaks of the Alps. This is partly why France is the perfect holiday destination. The tourist potential of the country is huge and diverse: excursion tourism, beach holidays on the Cote d’Azur, ski holidays, water sports, and hiking.
- Capital: Paris
- Area: 640 679 km²
- Population: 67,348,000 (2018)
- Language: French
- Offsite: http://ee.france.fr/
Every time you travel to France, you discover something new and unique. The country of medieval castles with its own mysteries and history, culinary masterpieces from the best chefs, expensive resorts with the best service and beaches, a country of world culture, theater and film premieres – cannot but surprise and delight.
How to get there
The easiest way to get to France is, of course, by plane.
As for non-capital cities, first of all, most of them can be reached by Air France with a transfer in Paris. In addition, you can fly to some French cities with a transfer in another European city.
Climate and weather in France
The climate in France is varied, but in general it can be described as moderate. Most territories, especially Paris, have cool winters and warm summers.
On the Mediterranean coast and in the southwest there are mild winters and hot summers, with significant rainfall in the southwest. Moderate winters (with rains) and cool summers in the northwest (Brittany). Cool and cold winters, but hot summers – on the border with Germany (Alsace).
In the Rhone Valley, a strong, cold, dry northeasterly wind sometimes blows, known as the mistral. In the mountainous regions of the Alps and Pyrenees, winters are quite cold.
Cities and regions
France includes 27 regions (of which 5 are overseas), each of which, in turn, can be combined into 7 main “cultural regions” that have common characteristics. These are Ile-de-France, Northern France, Northeastern France, Southeast France, Western France, Southwestern France, Central France.
Ile de France
Ile-de-France is a region to which 8 departments belong: Paris, Seine and Marne, Yvelines, Esons, Haute-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Val-d’Oise. The region, amazing in its beauty, also attracts with its history, rich culture and established traditions. Translated from French, Ile-de-France means “the island of France”, and the island itself is located between the Seine, Esons, Oise and Marne rivers. 80% of the Ile-de-France region is agricultural land.
There are several ways to get to the Ile-de-France. Almost all transport goes through the main city of the region – Paris. There are several airports (the main ones are Charles de Gaulle and Orly), serving all directions; a railway, the main branches of which are connected with Belgium, Germany, England, Switzerland, Italy and other countries; bus service with all major cities in Europe.
Northern France with Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Picardy and Upper Normandy regions. The harsh, but quite picturesque nature of Northern France is not to everyone’s liking, so this part of France can be safely called little-studied by tourists. However, there is a lot to see and do here. The most famous tourist area in the region is Normandy.
Nord et Pas de Calais
Nord-Pas-de-Calais is a region of the three departments of Flanders, Boulogne and Artois. Most of the resort’s population is young, so it is lively and fun throughout the year, despite the fact that the sun of Nord-Pas-de-Calais is not as hot as, for example, on the French Riviera. Festivities with festivities and fairs are a frequent occurrence for Nord-Pas-de-Calais.
Picardy is a historical region of the country. The calm and very picturesque province is famous for its centuries-old history. The main style of urban architecture is Gothic. The most striking examples can be called cathedrals (there are 6 of them) and castles that belonged to the royal family.
Since ancient times, Picardy has inspired the minds of famous French writers – Hugo, Proust, Racine, whose greatest works are kept in local museums.
Upper Normandy (Haute-Normandie)
Located 2-3 hours from the capital of France, Normandy has attracted the elite and creative people at all times. The Normandy resorts of Deauville, Trouville and Honfleur are quiet and attractive for families.
Upper Normandy is the northern region, the capital of which is Rouen. With its rich past and present, Rouen is one of the most important cities in France. The names of great figures and national heroes are associated with the city – such as Jeanne d’Arc, Gustave Flaubert, Claude Monet and others.
Rouen, located 350 km from Paris, is not difficult to reach by plane, express or taxi. The high-speed train from Paris to Rouen leaves every 30 minutes from Saint-Lazare train station.
Major tourist attractions in Northern France: Baie de Somme, Church of Jeanne d’Arc, Church of Saint-Maclou, English Channel, Parc Asterix, Big Clock (Rouen), Chantilly Castle.
Northeastern France is an area that includes Alsace, Lorraine, Champagne-Ardenne and Franche-Comté. It shares borders with Germany and Switzerland, as a result of which French culture closely overlaps with German.
Alsace is a small region of northeastern France, however, it is famous even outside the country. The area attracts tourists from all over the world thanks to its wine and beer production. More than half of French beer is produced in local breweries near Strasbourg.
The French region of Lorraine is located at a European crossroads, which will certainly affect the culture and rich history of the area. The central cities are Metz and Nancy, whose architectural values testify to an extraordinary history from the time of the Halo-Roman period.
Champagne-Ardenne is the most famous region of France. It is famous primarily for the birthplace of sparkling wine (champagne). Any excursion or wine tour is not complete without visiting grape plantations and tasting delicious champagne.
The region’s main attractions include the Cathedral, listed as a cultural heritage site, and the Basilica and Museum of Saint Remy. All the sights can be viewed by traveling along the tourist route, combining sightseeing with a walk through the picturesque countryside and lakes.
Franche-Comté is one of the most picturesque corners of France. On the territory of the region there are the natural parks of O Jura and de Balon de Vosges, immersed in fir and spruce forests. Since ancient times, the inhabitants of the region have been using the fertile land, growing grapes and making cheeses and sausages.
The main tourist attractions of Northeastern France: Vineyards (white Alsatian wines), Upper Koenigsburg Castle, New Year’s Fair, Saint-Nicolas.
Western France – Brittany, Normandy, Western Laura and Poitou Charente – all these maritime provinces are united and at the same time distinguished by a centuries-old history that has created a special image and style of Western France. On the territory of most regions, balneological resorts are concentrated, the hotels of which complement the exquisite image of the provinces.
Brittany is a peninsula in the West of France with a favorable maritime climate. Due to the close proximity to the ocean, there is practically no winter here, and a cool breeze blows in summer. Ebb and flow are frequent, so the tourist season depends on the state of the sea. The Saint-Malo region is popular with surfers with the highest waves in all of Europe.
Lower Normandy (Basse-Normandie)
Normandy is a “green” region that is washed by the waters of the English Channel. Manche, Calvados, Orne, Ayr and Seine-Maritimes are the provinces of Normandy, the population of which increases especially during the holidays and summer vacations. Normandy is loved by tourists because of its picturesque areas, historical architectural monuments and the hospitality of the locals.
Normandy can be reached from Paris by train or car. Travel time from 1 hour, depending on the place of departure and method of travel.
West Laura (Pays-de-la-Loire)
West Laura is a flat area with rivers and fertile lands devoted to agriculture. Consists of the provinces: West Loire, Maine-et-Loire, Maenne, Sarthe and Vendee.
Among the cultural heritage sites are interesting natural and construction caves, created as a result of the work. The quarries formed during construction and located along the swampy shores near the ocean now serve as tourist routes.
Kilometers of beaches are typical for the province of Vendée. Scattered along the coast are campgrounds and holiday homes, which alternate with wilderness fishing grounds and yacht harbors. Poitou Charente is perhaps the sunniest area in the Western Atlantic.
You can get to the province by the A10 motorway or by the railway line, which is connected to the main cities of France.
The notable beaches of Royan, Fouras, Saint-Georges-de-Didonne and some islands are great for families and for water sports.
Among the most interesting and exciting excursions are excursions to the ancient bastions that served as defensive structures. The most popular water fortress is Boyar Fort near Aix Island.
Major tourist attractions in Western France: Vineyards, Loire Castles, Puy du Fou, Historic Parks, West Loire, Medieval castles and manors, Mount Saint-Michel, English Channel, Monet’s Garden at Giverny, Beaches, Dolmens, Anglo-Channel Islands.
Central France – the regions of the Loire Valley, including the picturesque Auvergne region, are mainly occupied by agriculture and agriculture. There are many small historical towns in central France, the main attractions of which are castles and medieval buildings.
Central France with the capitals of Bourges and Clermont Ferrat attracts with its cultural past, as evidenced by the cathedrals and historical monuments located in most of the provinces. The famous Vichy thermal springs also attract tourists.
Contemporary culture is represented by concerts, traditional festivals and other events. The most famous annual events are Spring in Bourges, Orleans Jazz, musical festivals in Touraine.
In addition to music festivals and international exhibitions, the region is famous for its protected areas. The natural parks of Perche, Brennes and Loire-Anjou-Touraine are protected areas.
And a whole chain of gardens and parks, both artificially created and natural, belongs to the real heritage of France. More than 90 parks, the most famous of which is Villandry, amaze with their sophistication and unusual design.
You can get to Central France by almost any transport. The road network is connected by highways A10, A11, A71, A20.
Auvergne is a region whose main city is Clermont-Ferrand. The area of scenic landscapes is famous among tourists tired of the beaten track. You can get to Auvergne from different provinces of France by train, plane or car.
Health tourism is popular among vacationers. Thermal springs and curative mud (including the legendary Vichy) are the basis of wellness techniques and procedures.
The most popular natural attractions in the area are the Sancy Hills, the Cantal Massif, the Puy de Dome and the Cheng de Puy volcanoes.
The main tourist attractions of the center of France: Loire, Vineyards, Medieval castles, Chambord, Villandry, Amboise, Chenonceau, Azay-le-Rideau, Valley of the Kings, Jacques Sjor, Dam de Touraine, Vichy waters.
Southwestern France includes the Southern Pyrenees and the famous Aquitaine region.
The rich history of Aquitaine is reflected in the fairytale castles on the tops of the mountains, medieval buildings – now the most famous restaurants in France. The picturesque nature with sandy beaches and steep shores creates good conditions for rest and relaxation.
Aquitaine is a famous province where wine has been produced for centuries. Fertile lands and mild climate create all conditions for growing grapes and further wine production.
The main tourist attractions of Aquitaine: Atlantic Ocean, Mountains, Vineyards (Bordeaux wines), South Channel, Pyrenees, Rivers.
South-eastern France – Rhone-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Cote-d`Azur, Languedoc-Roussillon and the island of Corsica (Corse). The most touristic area after Paris. The region includes the Mediterranean coast and the French Alps in the east.
The main tourist attractions of Southeast France: Mediterranean Sea, Vineyards, Beaches, Mountains, Arena Arles, Alps, Chamonix, Mont Blanc, Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, Nice, Cannes, Menton, Monte Carlo.
Overseas possessions of France
Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Mayotte and Reunion are overseas departments of France. Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna, and French Polynesia are overseas communities. Clipperton and New Caledonia are overseas administrative entities with a special status.
Divided by a sea strait, Guadeloupe is formed by two islands: Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre. One is flat with endless sugarcane plantations and a sandy beach stretching along a picturesque reef.
The second island – Basse-Terre – is more wild, for tourists it is notable for the volcano La Soufriere. Picturesque tropical nature with rare species of plants and animals has defined the territory of Bas-Terre Island in the National Natural Park of the country.
The islands are great for active sports such as diving on the reefs of the Grande Terre, surfing, spear fishing and ecological tours.
Guiana’s impenetrable rainforests are protected. Most of the territory belongs to the Amazonian forests, which are considered the main attraction of the overseas territory of France. Especially for the curious, there have been developed tourist routes through protected areas with an interesting excursion program, thanks to which everyone will plunge into a new world, unlike the usual France.
The scattering of islands belonging to the Lesser Antilles archipelago is a picturesque landscape of tropical forests. Martinique is located in the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Great place for surfing, diving and other water activities. Paradise in the middle of the ocean – this is how you can call the tropical islands of Martinique.
Mayotte is another overseas department in France, located in the western Indian Ocean, in the Mozambique Channel near the island of Madagascar.
Mayotte consists of several islands. The main island is Grande Terre (also known as Maore). The smaller island is called Petit Ter (or Pamanzi). Several other islands are quite small. Geographically, Mayotte belongs to the Comoros.
Sun, picturesque beaches, Cote d’Azur, volcanoes, natural waterfalls – the Reunion Island never ceases to amaze tourists. The fabulous place will bring a lot of adventure experiences. And engaging in active water sports will diversify your stay in a picturesque place.
New Caledonia (Nouvelle Caledonie)
New Caledonia is a tropical lagoon with many endemic plants. The impenetrable forests of Calendonia blend with the azure coastline to create an unforgettable tropical paradise in the middle of the ocean.
Loyote, Pen, Belep are the largest islands of New Caledonia, but besides them there are hundreds of small islets that disappear from time to time in the ocean.
On the territory of the archipelago, there are tropical forests and savannas, hence such an incredible combination of cultures – Asians get along well with Indonesians and Europeans, and together they are hospitable and warmly welcome tourists.
There are many cities and towns interesting for tourists in France. Here is a list of the most notable ones:
- Paris – “City of Lights”, the capital of France.
- Bordeaux is the city of wine, the capital of the southwestern region.
- Bourges is a medieval city, the capital of central France.
- Cannes is the city that hosts the annual Cannes Film Festival.
- Lyon is the second city in France after Paris, famous for its history from the times of the Roman Empire to the movement of the French Resistance.
- Marseille is a large harbor, the heart of Provence.
- Nice is the main resort of the French Riviera and the gateway to Monaco.
- Strasbourg is a historic city on the Rhine. It is also home to the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, the European Ombudsman and the European Parliament.
- Vichy is the most popular tourist resort in France.
What to see
Undoubtedly, the main sights of France are located in Paris – this is the famous Eiffel Tower, and the Arc de Triomphe, a repository of world masterpieces – the Louvre Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Montmartre, Luxembourg Gardens … We will not list everything that is interesting in the capital of France here, for this, the site has information about the city of Paris, where you can read (as well as see photos and directions) about the sights of Paris, about the museums of Paris, about the cathedrals of Paris and much more. Some interesting places outside the capital of France are also listed here, because there is something to see throughout the country.
Chartres Notre Dame Cathedral
The Notre Dame Cathedral of Chartres (80 km from Paris, Ayr and Loire) was built in the 12th century and is one of the main Gothic cathedrals in France. Today the cathedral is active, is a Catholic church and a place for excursions. On the site of the existing temple there was a Romanesque basilica, which burned down in the middle of the 12th century.
Located near Paris (20 km), Versailles was founded in the 17th century. The luxurious palace in the past served as the summer residence of the French kings, as well as the place for solving important state affairs. Today Versailles is a popular tourist destination. Notable are the armory square and the garden with fountains, which were once the subject of delight and even envy of some rulers.
Many (according to some data 300, according to others, only 42 are considered traditional castles of the Loire) castles on the banks of the Loire River are a popular place among residents and guests of France. Royal castles of extraordinary beauty are lined up along the Loire coast. Each of them has its own story, and there is much to write about each.
The most famous and well-preserved of the castles are:
City of Carcassonne
Carcassonne is a medieval city in the Languedoc Roussillon province. The city is home to one of the main sights of France – an ancient fortress, which is the largest in Europe. The length of the fortification walls is more than 3 km, and the number of towers exceeds 50. A major achievement of military defensive architecture reflects power and strength. The ancient fortress can accommodate several castles – such sizes have amazed travelers, soldiers, and merchants at all times.
Built among the rocks, Rocamadour is the religious center where St. Amadour was buried in ancient times. The tourist route leads through the Grand Escalier Staircase to the city or via the Way of the Cross to the 14th century central castle. The main symbol of the stone city is the statue of the Black Madonna, which dominates the rock. Rocamadour is famous for a large number of shrines, including the Notre Dame Chapel, Amadour’s Tomb, Saint-Sauveur Basilica and others.
Papal Palace in Avignon
The city of Avignon, located in the province of Vaucluse (Southern France), is famous, first of all, for the Papal Palace. The palace was repeatedly rebuilt and completed, as a result of which it became the largest among the Gothic buildings in all of Europe. Excursions to the Palais des Papes are held constantly, almost all rooms are open for visiting, wine lovers will be interested in the wine cellar and tastings of the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
North-east of Paris, in the Champagne-Ardenne province, lies the magnificent Gothic Reims Cathedral. The cathedral appeared in the 13th century on the site of a previously burnt building. During the existence of the cathedral, 25 French persons were crowned here. The cathedral belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Rouen and its famous cathedral are two hours west of the French capital. Rouen Cathedral is crowned with a spire, which is the highest in the entire country. Tour Lanterne, or the spire with a lantern, was built in the 19th century and is notable for its lacy bronze trim. There is a small bell tower inside the spire, the top of which is decorated with 56 bells.
Villandry Castle Gardens
The natural garden of Villandry Castle, dating back to the 16th century, is very important in terms of garden art. Dr. Joachim Carvallo is the last owner of the gardens to recreate the abandoned area in an exact manner. The picturesque gardens are located on the hillside with small terraces. This construction of the park is typical of the Renaissance. The entire garden can be viewed from the balconies or the tower of Villandry Castle. There are three levels of gardens in total, which are arranged in six groups: vegetable garden, love garden, herb garden, music garden, mosaic garden and water garden. All gardens are unique in their aesthetic design and colors. On the territory of each garden there are signs with information about the group of plants.
Claude Monet’s garden
The city of Giverny is famous for the garden of Claude Monet, who at one time was passionate about gardening. In the 19th century, the great artist bought a house in Giverny and began to tend the local garden. He read special literature, created an artificial pond, planted lilies and other flowers. Giving space to the plants, Monet created a motley carpet of a variety of colors – no geometry and clear lines, the whole color spectrum intertwines and merges in different colors. Here the artist drew inspiration, many of Monet’s paintings depict the very lilies on the pond. Today the garden is open to the public. On the territory of the beautiful garden, there are also rare plants brought by both Monet himself and his friends. For example, Japanese peonies and bamboo were brought specifically for the artist.
Christian Dior’s Garden
The Perfumery Garden is the name given to Christian Dior’s garden. It is located in Grenville, not far from the place where the famous designer was born. In addition to fragrant roses, there is an educational fashion museum on the territory of the garden, completely dedicated to the life and work of the owner of the house.
Wine provinces of France
Speaking of wine, you should pay attention to the wine provinces of France – Burgundy, Bordeaux, Medoc, Provence and others.
All of these regions have museums and wine cellars where tastings of the best drinks are held. Côtes de Provence, Bandol and Côtes du Rhône, Chateau Margaux, Medoc, Pessac Leognan, Graves, Haute Brillon, Sauternay, Beychevel, Saint-Julien are tourist places that will tell about the history of winemaking and the secrets of making the drink of the gods.
The picturesque wine province of Bordeaux (Aquitaine) is surrounded by green vineyards. The vineyards stretch from the right bank of the Gironde River to the tributaries of the Garonne and Dordogne rivers. In addition to wine, the most delicious cognac has been produced in Bordeaux for a long time.
Going further, it is worth visiting the wine Burgundy and its districts of Chablis, Beaujolais and Côte d’Or. The grape-growing provinces are famous for their red wine, the real taste of which can be tasted at the tasting.
No wine tour in France is complete without a visit to Champagne – the province that is the historical homeland of sparkling wine – champagne. Only here you can taste light sparkling wine, which is produced in local factories and is never exported outside France.
What to do for a tourist in France
Being a popular tourist destination, France is an ideal country for practicing not only sightseeing vacations, business trips and shopping, but also beach vacations, skiing, exciting golf, as well as treatment in the best balneological resorts in France.
The best resorts of the French Riviera welcome guests with sun, warm Mediterranean Sea, entertainment and excellent service. Among the famous resorts, the most visited are Nice, Cannes, Saint-Tropez and others.
A beach holiday in the edges of the Cote d’Azur is suitable for different categories of tourists – young people, couples, and vacationers with children. Along the entire coast, gradually moving east towards Nice, sandy beaches give way to pebble ones. Most of the beaches are urban and free, with the exception of those that belong to hotels. Access to the private beach includes sun loungers and umbrellas.
Beach holidays can be combined with nightlife and social events. Among all the prestigious resorts, Saint-Tropez stands out. This resort was loved by the elite from all over the world. The villas of many famous people are located in sunny Saint-Tropez. At the height of the season, the resort is full of real social life, and various meetings and parties bring variety to the rest on the sandy coast of the Cote d’Azur.
Youth holidays in Nice will give the most vivid and pleasant impressions. Luxurious hotels, casino entertainment, delicious food in the best restaurants and all this against the backdrop of the most picturesque nature and amazing architecture. A rare vacation is complete without a visit to the Bay of Angels, the central Place Masséna and magnificent gardens and parks on the slopes and foothills of the Alps.
Golf in France
France is rightfully considered the country of golf. There are over 500 golf courses here, including courses designed by the world’s best architects.
Since the 19th century, golf has become a popular hobby (and for some, a sport) in many provinces of France. Golf courses of varying difficulty are a familiar part of the country’s scenic landscape.
Golf competitions are held from year to year, and there are all conditions for this. The best sites are located in the area of Laura, Cote d’Azur, Brittany, Provence and Normandy. Therefore, a relaxing holiday in France can be perfectly combined with golf. This game will become doubly interesting because of the fantastic conditions and the magnificent landscape, against which the fields are located.
No need to worry about equipment – everything you need, including uniform, can be rented on site. Experienced instructors are at the service of beginners and those who wish to improve their golfing skills. They will give a master class or teach you how to play.
Skiing in France is a popular pastime in winter. At the same time, France is one of the main destinations for ski holidays in the world. A large number of ski resorts in France are located in the Alps: these are the world famous names of Chamonix, Courchevel, and other equally remarkable resorts.
Today many ski resorts in France are recognized as the best in Europe. International competitions, championships and cultural events are held here every year.
In addition to skiing directly to the services of vacationers – snowboarding, sledges, skates, bowling, squash, parachute descents and other mountain and neighborhood activities.
Some ski resorts are located in the glacier zone, so the appropriate weather conditions allow skiing all year round.
Among the best health resorts in France are Biarritz, Dax, Brittany, Vichy.
The special climate and the presence of mineral salts have a beneficial effect on the development of thalassotherapy. This type of treatment helps to get rid of such ailments as a weakened immune system, joint pain, and problems with excess weight.
Among other things, at well-known resorts, with the help of procedures using mineral salts and supplements, they help get rid of diseases of the kidneys, liver, intestines, as well as ENT diseases.
Patients undergo a variety of treatments, including contrast showers, underwater massages, algae and sea therapy, and mud baths.
The Vichy resort, located a 3-hour drive from the capital of Paris, is famous throughout the world for cosmetics based on natural ingredients. Vichy cosmetics are used all over the world, and the basis of its composition is used to treat ailments in the Vichy health centers – “Dom”, “Kalu” and “Celesten”.
Surfing in France
In France, as in the case of the Basque Country, surfers flock to the coast of the Bay of Biscay, just to the Basque region, where the legendary resort of Biaritz is located.
French Biaritz has a long spa history, since in the middle of the 19th century Napoleon III drew attention to these places. Today Biaritz is considered the cradle of European surfing, which began to gain popularity here in the mid-50s. The best places to get on the board are La Grande Plage, La Côtes des Basques with a beach break, Plage de Marbella with a reef break. In summer, Biarizza is not crowded, so it is not so easy to get to the line-up, but the time from September to November is considered optimal. In addition, the resort has a rich cultural life, which is also an essential advantage of Biarizza.
Getting around the country
Domestic flights are mainly operated by Air France. Other carriers also fly within the country. Arriving in Paris, you can fly to any more or less large city in France.
From Paris to Ajaccio, Avignon, Biaritz, Bordeaux, Brest, Cannes, Clermont-Ferrand, Le Havre, Lille, Limoges, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Nantes, Nice, Perpignan, Rennes, Rouen, Strasbourg, Toulon, Toulouse.
From Paris to Agen, Cannes, Castres, Lannion, Limoges, La Rochelle, Brive, Aurillac.
From Paris, Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Clemont-Ferrand, Marseille, Montpellier, Nantes, Nice, Mulhouse, Strasbourg and Toulouse to Corsica, to Ajaccio.
Flies from Paris to Bergerac and Perigueux; from Toulouse to Marseille, Metz Nancy and Mulhouse.
From Paris to Nice and Toulouse.
France has a well-developed expressway system. Most of the motorways are toll roads. On some highways there is a toll post that allows entry to a certain section of the road, on others – toll collection is carried out on the basis of entry-exit. The main thing is not to lose your entry ticket, otherwise you will have to pay for the maximum distance. All toll stations accept both cash and credit cards.
French roads can be both narrow, one-way rural lanes and highways. Most cities were built before the advent of cars, so the centers of these cities are absolutely not suitable for driving. When renting large cars, keep in mind that they can be very difficult to drive in such places. Sometimes it is better to park your car and use public transport. If anyone does not know – in France, right-hand traffic.
France is a country where you can theoretically hitchhike. The drivers who stop are generally friendly and safe. It is advisable to speak at least a little French.
Hitchhiking from Paris is almost impossible. You can try to stop the car, but due to the busy traffic and limited stopping space, this is unlikely to be successful. In this case, it is better to take the train to the suburbs, where the chances of hitchhiking are significantly increased.
Outside Paris, it is better to brake the car around the roundabouts, as stopping the car on the highway is prohibited, and the police closely monitor this.
Trains are a great way to travel around France. It is easy to get to any point by train. For longer distances, TGV (high speed trains) are better suited. Tickets must be booked in advance. If time permits, it is best to travel on a regular passenger train and enjoy the scenery.
The French national rail network is operated by the SNCF (French National Railways). You can view the schedule of interregional trains and order tickets here. Regional train timetables can be found on this website. (select region, then “Carte and horaires”). You can order tickets in the first class (premiere classe), which is less crowded and more convenient, but the ticket price is 50% higher than in the second class (deuxieme classe). Please note that if the TGV train is overcrowded, call in a couple of seconds before departure, find a conductor and he will most likely find a place for you somewhere.
If the traveler makes more than two round trip trips and is under 26 years old, you should purchase a “Carte 12-25”, which will help save money. It costs € 49, valid for one year, the discount on such a card is 50% of the ticket price.
If the ticket is booked online on the Voyages SNCF website, it can be collected at the station. To order a ticket on this site, the place of residence does not matter, but they are delivered only within France, and you can pick them up only at the SNCF station. At the station just go to the counter (“Guichet”) and ask for your ticket (“retirer votre billet”).
To find your train, find out its number and departure time, which are indicated on the board. Way (“Voie”) – next to the train number and its departure time. If a seat is booked on a TGV train, you can also take another seat on a different train. To find out the number of the reserved seat, first find out the train number (“Voit. No”). Do not confuse track number and train number. Going down to the platform, you can see the number on the carriage screen, on the window or just near the door.
The rules for observing the numbering of places are not strict. You are not fined for moving to another free seat (if the train is not overcrowded) or for exchanging a seat with another passenger.
On main lines, TGV trains usually run in two. Here the following nuance should be taken into account: are these two trains considered one, under the same number, or are they two different trains going together, with two different numbers (in this case, the two trains will have similar numbers, such as 1527 and 1537) … Make sure the correct train is selected (the train number is on the screen, next to the carriage number).
If the train hasn’t arrived yet, the station often has a map showing the location of the train and carriages. Thanks to this, you can expect a train already in the place that corresponds to a particular carriage. Moving from one carriage to another is very simple. So, if you are late, just go into any car of your class, wait for the passengers to take their seats, then go to your car, to your place.
The ticket must be validated, only then is it considered valid. Old machines are bright orange, new ones are yellow-gray. The machines are located at the exit to the platform. If the ticket is not validated, you will have to pay a fine, and it does not matter that the passenger is a foreigner who does not speak French well. Although it all depends on the guide. When boarding a train without a ticket, be sure to find a conductor and explain the situation.
You can take the night train. There are berths here: in the second class (6 bunk beds in a compartment), in the first class (4 in a compartment) and a double sleeper car with bed linen. When ordering your ticket, do not forget to indicate your gender, or specify that you are traveling as a couple.
French is the official language in France, although there are local differences in the pronunciation of words. In Alsace and parts of Lorraine, the Alsatian dialect is widespread, very similar to German. In the south, a dialect of the Occitan language is still spoken. In western Brittany, some speak the Breton dialect. In some parts of Aquitaine, especially on the border with Spain, Basque is spoken. A special kind of Italian is spoken in Corsica. In Provence, especially on the Riviera, they speak the Provencal dialect.
The French are very polite and will treat strangers who forget about it coldly. In a restaurant or shop, visitors can greet each other. Do not forget to greet and say goodbye to everyone when entering or leaving small shops and cafes. It is impolite for the French to speak to a stranger (even a shop assistant or customer) without the polite “bonjour” (good afternoon). Therefore, start the conversation with basic polite phrases in French, and you will definitely be helped.
- “Excusez-moi Monsieur / Madame”: Sorry (excusemua)
- “S’il vous plait Monsieur / Madame”: Please (sil-woo-ple)
- “Merci Monsieur / Madame”: Thank you (merci)
- “Au revoir Monsieur / Madame”: Goodbye (orevoir)
France is a country with the richest cultural traditions. The French care about their past, love and value history, which is reflected in castles, cathedrals, towers and other structures. Residents are in awe of the provinces, restoring abandoned peasant yards down to the smallest detail. Thus, the sights are becoming even more, they help to outline the appearance of real France.
France is a country of festivals. Music, theater and film festivals are held annually in France. The most famous festival in France is the Cannes Film Festival – a vibrant cultural event in modern life.
Striving for the beautiful, the ability to turn the ordinary into the exceptional is the highlight of the French. At all times, France has brought up talented artists, whose works are kept in the Louvre – the most visited museum in Paris.
Drawing inspiration and strength from great creators, the French become the best in the world of fashion. Today Paris is the center of fashion shows, and residents are trying to keep up with fashion trends. In their homes, there will certainly be a place for books, musical discs with classical music and, of course, paintings …
French culture is multifaceted in the visual arts. Painting at all times was closely intertwined with social life, occupying a special role in art.
Continuing the theme of cultural heritage, the French chanson should also be highlighted. The legendary trend in music has spread throughout the world, and the French chanson performers are known to everyone.
In general, the French are adherents of traditions, in particular in music. Accordion, saxophone, guitar, violin are the basis of a traditional French ensemble. Delicate notes are often heard in the provincial streets.
The French are a very interesting people. In addition to a huge interest in classical art, theater and opera, the French people are not indifferent to comics! Also, contemporary French writers are in demand for the spoken genre in works using “light” humor. This style is not typical for classical French works, therefore, it provides enormous opportunities for the free use of simple, “non-literary” forms and expressions.
French cuisine, like art, is refined, sophisticated and endowed with a special charm.
The widespread cuisine of France (typical breakfast, lunch, dinner) is represented by cream soups, coffee, croissants, baguettes, meat baked with wine, pates, and, of course, appetizers (kir, porto, nutmeg wine).
There are many places to try French cuisine in France, from Michelin three-star restaurants to French bars and bistros, found on almost every corner, especially in the big cities. They usually offer a basic and inexpensive menu. More money will be needed to try more varied dishes. In general, if you want to taste unforgettable food, you need to eat where the locals eat. In most small towns and villages, these are local restaurants.
Examples include local specialty restaurants such as the Bouchons Lyonnais in Lyon or the Crêperies in Brittany. National dishes can be tasted everywhere in France. There are Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants everywhere, and North African, Greek, Italian (pizzerias) restaurants and eateries can also be found in big cities.
Taxes in France (19.6% of the total) and services (usually 15%) are already included in the bill, so anything the client adds to the bill is an additional tip. The French usually leave a couple of euros if they are happy with the service.
The price menu rarely includes drinks. If you want water, the waiters will try to sell you mineral water (Évian, Thonon) or sparkling water (Badoit, Perrier), so ask for a decanter of tap water, which is free and safe to drink.
A typical menu would include:
- an appetizer called entrées or hors d’œuvres;
- a main course called plat;
- dessert (dessert) or cheese (fromage).
Sometimes in restaurants it is suggested to take only two of the three items at a discounted price.
Coffee is always served at the end (although liquor may follow). Asking for coffee while eating may be considered odd.
Not all restaurants are open for lunch or dinner, and not all restaurants are open all year round. It is very important to find out the opening hours of the restaurant. The restaurant, which is open for lunch, usually starts at noon and is open until 13.30. Dinner begins to be served around half past seven until half past nine. Restaurants with longer service times are located in big cities or downtown. It is almost impossible to find a restaurant outside the tourist center, which is open on Saturday, and even more so on Sunday.
Lunch or lunch for two in a Parisian restaurant according to the menu, including wine and coffee, will cost from € 70 to € 100. The same, but with beer, in a local bistro or pancake will cost about 50 €. Lunch or dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Paris will cost about 10 €.
Outside of Paris and the big cities, prices will be slightly lower, but a fourth course will be included, usually cheese.
Here one cannot fail to mention the famous baguette – long thin bread, as well as cookies – part of French cuisine. Breakfast at the hotel is usually light, consisting of tartini (slices of bread and butter or jam) or the famous croissants and pastries similar to a croissant but square in shape. You can buy cookies at a bakery or bakery.
Each region of France has its own characteristic dishes. These dishes match the resources of the region. Here is a small list of dishes that are easy to find in France. In general, each region has its own unique and popular dish.
- Cassoulet (southwest): beans, duck, pork and sausage
- Choucroute or sauerkraut (in Alsace): shredded cabbage + pork;
- Fondue Savoyarde (central Alps): melted cheese with liquor;
- Fondue Bourguignonne (in Burgundy): a piece of beef fried in olive oil, usually served with a variety of sauces;
- Raclette (central Alps): processed cheese and potatoes / meats;
- Pot-au-feu: beef fried with vegetables;
- Boeuf Bourguignon (Burgundy): beef stew with sauce;
- Gratin dauphinois (Rhône-Alpes): baked potatoes in the oven;
- Aligot (Auvergne): processed cheese with mashed potatoes;
- Bouillabaisse (fish + saffron) (Marseille and French Riviera): Beware of cheating! Real bouillabaisse is a very expensive dish due to the amount of fresh fish in it. Expect to pay at least € 30 per person. If a restaurant offers you bouillabaisse for 15 €, it will most likely be of poor quality;
- Tartiflette (Savoy): Reblochon cheese, potatoes, pork, or bacon;
- Confit de Canard (Landes): Duck legs and wings, fried in its own fat. This fat is very healthy, especially when combined with red wine;
- Foie Gras (Lands): duck or goose liver. Although it is usually quite expensive pate, you can find it in the supermarket for a lower price. It goes well with champagne.
Contrary to the stereotype, snails and frog legs are very rare in France, many French do not like them, and some have not even tried them. Sometimes these dishes are on the menu of expensive restaurants.
- Frog legs have a wonderful delicate flavor, the meat is very similar to chicken meat. Often served with garlic, they are as easy to eat as crab.
- The taste of Burgundy snails (escargots de bourgogne) comes from a large amount of oil, garlic and parsley. They have a rather specific spongy-leathery structure, which is what snail lovers appreciate. Catalan snails (“cargols”) are prepared according to a completely different recipe and taste.
- Sart pork pate. A kind of canned meat made from chopped spicy pork. This is a particular dish of the Sarthe area in the north of the Loire lands. It should not be confused with pate from other areas.
- Beef bone marrow (os a moelle). Served in small quantities with a side dish. So, if you don’t like the dish itself, there will still be something to eat.
- Veal “sweet meat” (ris de Veau) is a fine and expensive delicacy, often served as part of another dish, such as bouchees a la reine.
- Beef stomach (tripes) is served with either white wine sauce (“A la mode de caen”) or spicy tomato sauce (“A la catalane”).
- Sausages (Andouillettes) – Sausages made from a portion of the beef stomach are characteristic of Lyon.
- Beef tongue (langue de bœuf), beef nose (museau) and veal head (tete de veau) are usually served cold (but well cooked) as a snack.
- Oysters are usually served raw in a half shell.
- Sea urchins are perfect for those with a lack of iodine in the body.
- Chopped Steak Tartare – Ground beef is soaked rather than cooked, often served with a raw egg.
- The brain (Cervelle – pronounced: servey) is the brain of the lamb.
France is a country of cheese with about 400 different types of cheese. Charles de Gaulle said that it is impossible to govern a country in which there are more varieties of cheese than there are days a year.
Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhone, Loire Valley … France is the birthplace of wine. It can be purchased inexpensively anywhere. In France, the minimum age for buying alcoholic drinks in cafes is 16 years old (beer) and 18 years old (other alcoholic drinks). Drunk driving is strictly prohibited and carries a heavy fine.
Wine and liquor can be bought at supermarkets or specialty stores such as the Nicholas chain store. In Nicholas they will advise what to buy (but first determine the type of wine and its price range). In general, only French wine will be available for purchase, and it is classified by area of cultivation, not by grape variety.
Never drink alcoholic beverages (especially red wine or spirits such as cognac) directly from the bottle. This behavior is associated with vagrants and alcoholics. Drinking beer from a half-liter bottle is considered normal.
The prices in a cafe depend on its location. Remember that you will have to pay not only for the drink, but also for the table. Accordingly, it is cheaper to drink at the bar rather than at the table. Cafes in tourist centers, especially in Paris, are very expensive. If you just want a drink, it’s best to buy drinks at the grocery store and drink in the park.
There are several mix drinks that are typical for France and the surrounding French-speaking countries.
- Panaché (Panache) – beer (mainly shandy), diluted with lemonade.
- Monaco – beer diluted with lemonade, with the addition of grenadine syrup
- Kir – an aperitif made of white wine (better – Burgundy aligote) or, less often, champagne (then it is kir royal, which costs twice as much) and blackcurrant, peach or blackberry liqueur.
- Pastis – alcoholic beverage based on anise, which is more popular in the south, but you can find it everywhere. Served with a small jug of water, which is used to dissolve the drink, after which it takes on a yellowish tint.
France is part of the euro area, and like many countries in the European Union, France’s currency is the euro. Certain foreign currencies (such as the North American dollar and British pound sterling) are sometimes accepted, especially in tourist areas, but cannot be counted on. In addition, the seller may offer a disadvantageous rate. As a rule, shops do not accept payments in foreign currency.
Most commercial enterprises have to display their prices in the shop windows. In hotels and restaurants, prices are also prominently displayed.
Visa and MasterCard are accepted in almost all shops, restaurants and hotels. The American Express credit card is only accepted in select stores. Check with your bank for fees (usually banks use the international bank’s wholesale exchange rate, which is most beneficial, but proportional and / or flat fees may be used).
Some vending machines (eg ticket vending machines) are only compatible with microchip cards. In addition, cashiers who are not used to foreign cards may not know that foreign Visa or MasterCard cards must be signed by the owner, since French buyers use a PIN code and do not sign the transaction.
There are a lot of ATMs in France, and they all accept cards. Some ATMs are not available for certain operations (for example, it is impossible to check the balance). Still, this is the best way to withdraw money in France. If your bank’s commission is fixed, then it is more profitable to withdraw a significant amount in one operation, rather than € 20. Do not forget about the maximum amount limit when you withdraw money from your account.
Traveler’s checks are inconvenient to use, since most sellers do not want to accept them, and in order to exchange checks, you may have to look for a bank that accepts them, but you will have to pay for such an operation.
Please note that a post office may serve some of the functions of a bank, so usually there are ATM machines there too. Even small towns have ATMs that accept international cards.
Currency exchange offices are becoming less common, especially after the introduction of the euro. You can find exchange offices only in cities with a large influx of foreign tourists, for example, in Paris. Some banks do currency exchange, but often for high fees.
As for shopping itself, it is better to do shopping in Paris – everything is there. In addition, in this city most often the journey begins and ends in France.
Means of communication
Country code: 33. All numbers within France are ten digits. The first two digits – 01 – for Paris and 02/03/04/05 – for northwest / northeast / southeast / southwest, respectively. Numbers starting with 06 are mobile phone numbers. The first two digits cannot be skipped, even if the call is made within the area.
For an international call from France dial: 00 + country code + local number.
For cheap calls from France, use appeldiscount, appellemonde or allo2556. These low cost communications services are available from all land lines in France. No contracts or registrations required. Most low-cost phone services allow you to call many countries at local rates, so you can save on phone calls. They are also available from payphones, although there is an additional charge for the first minute via France Telecom.
To call France from abroad, dial: international automatic telephone code + 33 + local number without the first zero.
Few companies provide toll-free numbers starting with 08 00, but many have numbers that start with 082, in which case the cost of an intracity call is paid, no matter where you are in the country.
Numbers starting with 089 are subject to a surcharge. They serve some of the commercial activities whose advertisements can be seen everywhere, usually adult services.
- Ambulance 15
- Police 17
- Fire brigade / rescuers 18
- Single number of the rescue service 112
You can also use the European emergency number 112 (suitable for those who speak French poorly). Calls to these numbers are free and you can call from almost any phone, including local payphones.
They can be found at train or metro stations, bus stops, near attractions. There is at least one pay phone in the village (look in the main square). Due to the widespread use of mobile phones, vending machines are getting smaller. Most use a card (not coins). France Telecom machines accept Visa and MasterCard cards, but always with a microchip.
Telephone cards can be bought at the post office, in a café with a tobacco booth (identified by a red sign outside), and at kiosks selling magazines. Ask for a “carte telephonique” (phone card), but remember that they come in different prices depending on the credit units, so if you need to make a couple of local calls, buy an inexpensive card. If the card is with a computer chip, just insert it into the payphone, wait for the dial tone and dial the number. With cards without a chip, you need to dial the number, then enter the code (following the instructions in French).
France uses the GSM standard for cell phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz), which is used in most countries. There are three companies that offer wireless connectivity: Orange, SFR, and Bouygues Telecom. There is coverage almost all over the country, but difficulties can arise in the countryside or in the mountains. However, according to the law, one of these three companies, if technically possible, is obliged to accept your emergency call, even if you are not its client. Thus, even in hard-to-reach places, the chance of getting help increases.
For long-term stays, it is advisable to purchase a prepaid mobile phone card that can be used in any GSM phone with a frequency of 900/1800 MHz. In this case, incoming calls are free. Calls can be made from the phones of subscribers of any cellular company, but if you do not replenish the account, the card can quickly expire.
There are roaming agreements with the main Russian operators, you need to find out the prices in the office or on the website of your cellular company.
Internet access is available in Internet cafes in all cities. This service usually costs around € 4 per hour. However, with the advent of the Internet in most homes, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find Internet cafes outside of big cities.
Wireless access (Wi-Fi) can be found in many cafes labeled “trendy”. The @ sign also means that you can access the Internet. One of the most popular free Wi-Fi spots in Paris is the Pompidou Center. Paris is said to be the first European capital with free wireless access for the entire city. The coverage will also cover parks and libraries.
There are post offices in all towns and villages, but their opening hours are different. In large cities, branches in the city center can usually work from 9:00 to 18:00. Most branches only work on Saturday mornings. And only one branch in Paris is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (on rue du Louvre). The mailboxes are colored yellow.
The crime can be reported to toll-free number 17. Law enforcement agencies include the Police Nationale in the cities and the gendarmerie in the countryside, and for certain issues such as parking and traffic rules, some towns and villages have municipal police.
In France, the crime rate is quite low, although in large cities, common offenses do occur.
The old districts and suburbs are generally safe at any time of the day. In big cities, especially Paris, some areas should be avoided. Youth gangs can be found on the outer ring of most cities.
When traveling alone, especially a woman, it is best to avoid public transport late at night on the lines between the city center and the suburbs.
When sightseeing, beware of pickpockets.
In France, not helping a “person in danger” is considered a violation of the law. This means you could be blamed for not stopping after seeing a car accident, not reporting to an ambulance, or ignoring requests for help. The punishment is a fine or imprisonment. The law does not apply if help threatens your life or the lives of others.
According to the law, smoking is prohibited in all enclosed public areas (this includes trains and subways, workplaces, restaurants and cafes), unless there are specially equipped smoking areas. There was an exception for restaurants and cafes, but since January 1, 2008, smoking is also prohibited there. For smoking in prohibited areas, there is a fine of 68 €.
Smoking is also prohibited on the Paris Metro and on SNCF trains. Conductors on the subway and on trains closely monitor the implementation of this law and can fine the violator. If you see smoking on the train, inform the conductor.
Since the hotels are not considered a public place, some of them offer smoking and non-smoking rooms.
Only after reaching the age of 16 can you buy tobacco products. The seller may ask for a photo ID.
It is illegal to carry or use drugs, from marijuana to hard drugs, regardless of the amount. The fine can be very high, especially if there is suspicion of spread. Trains and cars arriving from countries where drug attitudes are less severe (eg the Netherlands) are subject to special scrutiny.
France has a fairly liberal attitude towards alcohol. Usually, no ID is required to purchase alcoholic beverages (of course, if you look over 18 years old). However, drunken disorder is considered an offense, and may end up in police custody until the detainee has sober up. Drunk driving is a serious offense that carries a fine or jail time.
Pharmacies in France are marked with a green, usually neon, cross. They only sell medicines, contraceptives and cosmetics, or products related to them. The medicine must be ordered from the counter, even if it is sold without a prescription. The pharmacist will advise and help you choose the most suitable medicine.
Since the names of companies are different in different countries, although the qualitative composition of the medicine is the same, it is better to have a prescription with international terminology, and not just the name. Prescription drugs and birth control pills are only available with a prescription.
In addition, supermarkets sell condoms, as well as bandages, disinfectants and other first aid supplies. Condom vending machines can also be found outside the pharmacy, in the toilets of bars.
Medical assistance can be provided by private doctors, in the clinic and in the hospital. Most specialists, such as gynecologists or dentists, are in private practice. There will be an inscription on the plate – Docteur (médicine générale – therapist). The usual price for a consultation with a therapist is € 21, although some therapists charge more. Also, doctors can go on call, but this is more expensive.
Where to stay
Below we will consider the various options in more detail.
There are four categories of hotels in France – from 1 to 4 stars. This is a rating given by the Ministry of Tourism. Category information is on the blue board at the entrance. Fees vary depending on conditions, location, season or special events.
Since 2004, the fee for a *** hotel ranges from 70 € (cheap hotels) to 110 € (expensive hotels) for two without breakfast. All hotels are required by law to display their prices in a prominent place. Bargaining in hotels is not established, but you can always ask for a discount.
Hotels located in the city center or near train stations are often very small (15-30 rooms), which means that a room must be booked in advance. Newer hotels, which often target business travelers, are in remote areas and are sometimes large (100 or more rooms), but can be very difficult to reach by public transport. There are motels along the highway at the entrance to cities, but sometimes they can only be reached by car.
When visiting Paris, it is important to stay in the city. Hotels in Paris, like hotels in France in general, can be booked directly on our website.
Short term rent
Travelers should consider short-term rental of a villa / apartment / studio as an alternative to other accommodation options. Short term rent can be from several days to a month. Summer rentals are usually counted from Saturday to Saturday (July and August). This type of lease is typical for individuals. A special advantage, apart from affordable prices, is that the property has a fully equipped kitchen.
Hundreds of agencies offer short-term rentals on behalf of the owner and can help you find the best one at the best price. A search on the Internet will provide a large list from which you can select the most suitable option (Chambres d`Hotes France is an example). There are many sites in English and French. The owner of the property can be of any nationality.
Gîtes de France
The French organization Gites de France has voluntarily brought together over 50,000 property owners for rent, and is the first in France to offer consistent appraisal and comprehensive descriptions.
Despite the name, the organization also offers B&B accommodation. The average price for two, including breakfast, in a hotel of this type is 45-50 €. It can only be rented on weekends, and for a group of four or more it will be much cheaper, especially not in the summer months. There are many cottages with rents under € 150 per weekend that can accommodate more than 5 people.
The organization “Gites de France” uses the Epis housing classification (equivalent to stars). The emphasis is on convenience rather than quality, although both are often present.
Camping is fairly common in France. Most of the campsites are located near the city, and they include not only tents but also tourist vans. In addition to having showers and toilets at all campsites, many offer a wider range of services, such as bars and restaurants, launderers, swimming pools and bike rental. All campsites, with the exception of “agricultural camps”, must be registered and are also officially rated according to the principle of star awards.
In coastal areas, 3 and 4 star campsites must be booked in advance for July and August. Many people book a year in advance. In rural areas far from popular tourist spots, you can find a place without prior reservation, especially for municipal campgrounds, which can be found in most small towns.
Camping is prohibited in France:
- in the forest, natural, regional and national parks;
- on public roads and streets;
- on the coast;
- less than 200 meters from water that is used as drinking water;
- in nature protection zones;
- less than 500 meters from the national monument;
- where prohibited by local law;
- on private property without the consent of the owner.