France is Europe's most-visited travel destination. From sophisticated food and wine to the culture, geographically diverse landscape, and of course -- romantic views of the Eiffel Tour -- it is easy to see why.
Head to France to experience rolling hills and valleys lined with vineyards, cheese making, museum culture, and a plethora of outdoor activities. You'll find the coast of France has world-famous surfing, while mountain ranges are perfect for cycling.
France trips and tours work to combine the country's many highlights: including its rich flavors, history, and nature. Use this guide to help plan for an upcoming trip to the country which is home of the "City of Lights".
Considering that France is the third largest country in Europe, it should be no surprise that there’s plenty to do there. Here are some tours to consider booking for your trip.
From canoeing to hiking through mountain villages, France offers never ending adventure along a breathtaking landscape. If you’ve been to France multiple times before, try jumping out of a plane to mix it up. You’ll see the country from a different angle (literally) as you soar through the sky over mountains, valleys, and even castles.
Bike riding can be done almost anywhere in France, from high mountains to beautiful wine valleys. For extreme mountain biking, head to the Pyrenees or Alps to navigate around unique terrain. While snow and bike tires don’t usually mix, the Alps offers the opportunity to ride a specialty bike that can cycle on glaciers. For a more subdued ride, take a stroll through the valleys and stop to wine taste along the way.
Beach & Sea Tours
Whether on the Riviera, Normandy Shore or St.-Tropez, France has an unexpected abundance of picture-perfect beaches. Visitors can sunbathe, swim, sail, and snorkel while enjoying clear, blue water. If you prefer the coast for adventure, there's a place for you too. Surfing is a big sport in France, with swells from the Atlantic coast attracting some of the world's best surfers to compete.
Culture & Food Tours
You can't leave France without trying their fresh-baked breads, quality cheeses, and wine. The many options might seem overwhelming though, so booking a food and wine tour will help you reach some of France's best regions for these staple flavors. While you explore, be sure to indulge in and appreciate the French knack for historical preservation. From museums to architecture, you can be in a modern city one moment and medieval village the next.
Planning Your Trip
Use this information to help you get organized in planning your trip to France.
Best Time to Visit France
The best time to visit France is from May through September. The rain has cleared for the most part, and the weather is anywhere from 70 - 90°F. It makes it a pleasant time to be outdoors, in between other tour activities.
What to Look For in a Tour to France
France's abundant offering of activities can be both a good and bad thing: you simply might not have time to do everything in one visit. As a result, it is recommended you first decide on how long you can explore for and the things you want to experience most.
When researching tour operators, check to see if they offer multiple types of tours. Booking with the same, reputable operator can score you discounts. As always, be sure to check reviews, policies, inclusions, and additional fees before booking a tour.
Typical Tour Costs
While you can certainly try many activities on your own for a rental or admission fee, tour guides usually have access to destinations and insider knowledge that self-guided visitors won't experience. Tour packages like this can combine food, wine, culture, and adventure: costing $700 - $4,000 per person depending on the activities, duration, and amenities.
Packing Tips & Gear Rental
When traveling to France during the spring or summer, bring a variety of outfits fit for warm days, cool evenings, and nights out. A rain jacket is also a smart idea in case you experience one of France's sporadic spring showers. If participating in any tours that include adventure sports, check to see if the provider will supply necessary gear.
Other Tips for Travel in France
- Visas: Make sure to check if your country requires a visa (though many Western countries do not). If planning an extended trip, keep in mind that most tourists can only be in the Schengen area for 90 days.
- Transportation: Getting around France is fairly easy due to the variety of transportation options available. Cheap buses can be taken across the country, although slow. Trains are more expensive, but a quicker alternative. Airlines such as Air France allow visitors to get around the country at the fraction of the cost of a normal plane ticket when bought in advance.
- Accommodations: Hostels are available throughout the country for as low as $20 a night. Breakfast is sometimes included, and many plan fun activities you can do throughout your visit. Hotels will start around $100 and go up, as they offer privacy and a larger room. Though more expensive, hotels are also available in more sparse regions so you can stay closer to your destination. Vacation rentals are also a popular way to go -- which often includes extra amenities, such as a kitchen.
Health & Safety
France does not require vaccines for entry, though staying up to date with your routine vaccinations is strongly recommended. Check that your travel insurance covers the activities you plan to participate in, as many have exceptions and fine print.
While France is generally a safe country, beware of pick pocketing in tourist areas. Stay with a buddy if possible when walking in dark, isolated areas, and make sure someone always knows where you are.
Always carry photocopies of your passport and credit cards, and guard them carefully inside your accommodations. If you'll be staying in a dorm room in a hostel, don't forget a mini lock to keep your valuables safe when left in the room.
When on a tour, always listen to your guide. Some of these activities can be dangerous or require extra caution, so follow instructions from your tour leader about where to go and what to do.