France

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France

Paris. Everyone knows it, everyone wants to go, and many have been. In many ways, Paris is exactly what you think it is. In many ways, it is not. However, there's much more to France than simply the City of Lights. Lyon boasts some of the world's best cuisine as the center of the culinary movement that became modern French cooking, and the coastal areas along Nice and Cannes are among some of the most stunning in the world. Yes, go to Paris - but don't stop there. France has even more to offer.

Cities

Paris - The capital of the country and one of the most-visited cities in the world year-after-year, France remains alluring, vast, and somewhat mysterious. The Louvre, L'Arc de Triomphe, Le Champs Elysees, Palais de Versailles ... they're all as incredible as you might imagine.

The key to enjoying Paris, however, is to do what you need to do in the places you know, then get lost in the places you don't. Explore the small museums that aren't on your tourism map, or the cafes where English isn't spoken. Explore the castles at the perimeter of the city and stroll through the many parks. Like so many cities, Paris is best enjoyed when enjoyed uniquely.

Lyon - Much of the culinary tradition of France began in Lyon, not in Paris, as is assumed. Lyon is a beautiful city renowned as the birthplace of modern French cooking, the true "Food Capital of the World", and home to one of the most famous chefs of the 20th (and 21st) century - Paul Bocuse.

Called Lyonnaise Cuisine, it began in earnest in the sixteenth century as Catherine de Medici brought cooks from  Florence  to her court to prepared dishes from the agricultural products from the regions of France.

It is artful, delicate, and extremely difficult to execute.

Strasbourg - This cosmopolitan city is located between Germany and France, and as such has a truly Franco-Germanic feel that is uniquely mixed unlike anywhere else in France. Only two-hours from Paris, it's a stunning city with world-class architecture, and more than twenty fine-art and university museums that rank among the best in Europe.

Cannes - Best well-known for the annual film festival it yearly hosts, Cannes is a destination known for its luxury and glamour. The port city on the French Riviera is a mecca for couture shops, sailing, and celeb-spotting on it's beautiful beaches. You don't have to be a millionaire to enjoy the city, however, as Cannes offers many free or inexpensive things to do such as the La Croisette, a mile-long promenade on the sparkling Mediterranean and Marche Forville, the city's most famous market located just west of Rue Meynadier.

Marseilles - A stunning port city, Marseille among the most rich, historical cities in France. The city is a melting pot, and that shows in its multicultural vibe that will at times remind one of the northeastern coast of Africa along Morocco in it's culture and Cuisine. In fact, the city was designated European Capital of Culture in 2013.

Art and history nerds will love wandering the old city streets, checking out architecture and visiting museums, while foodies will love the city’s variety of cuisines.

Attractions

Eiffel Tower - The iconic tower in Paris, symbolic of the city and of France's position upon the world stage.

Palace of Versailles - Extravagant and luxurious, a picture of the French Revolution, epochs past, and the grandeur of Parisian opulence in the 18th century.

Côte d'Azur - One of the most stunning regions in Europe that is scenic, driveable, and breath-taking. From the seaside ports of Cannes and Nice to the Italian border, it's a drive you have to take in France.

Alsace Villages - The heart of the real France - beautiful, rolling hills, incredible scenery, and even better food.

Loire Valley Châteaux - One of the most idyllic settings in Europe, and site of some of the best wine in the world.

Plan

France is one of the most diverse countries in Europe, stretching from the chilly northern towns like Rouen that were once inhabited by Vikings, to the sunny and glamorous French Riviera. One of the world's top travel destinations, Paris, may highlight your French experience, but it certainly isn't the only reason to go.

Depending on the length of your trip, and taking geographic proximity into account, here are our recommended priorities:

3 days: Paris, maybe Versailles

6 days, add: Normandy

8 days, add: Loire

11 days, add: Dordogne, Bordeaux

16 days, add: Provence, French Riviera

20 days, add: Burgundy, Chamonix, Lyon

24 days, add: Alsace, northern France

27 days, add: Basque Country

Essential Information

Language: French

Currency: Euro (EUR). EUR is currently 0.93 for 1 USD.

Power Adapter: In France the power sockets are of type E. The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.

Emergency Number: 112

Read more about France!

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