France is a dream destination. But how are you to prepare for a trip to France and choose where to go when there is so much to see? The country of France is a top destination for travelers, with its rich culture, historic sites, incredible food, and unforgettable landscapes that set a backdrop for a holiday that you’ll always remember. There are so many places to see in France that you may just need to visit more than once, but there are certainly top towns and sites to see for your first time there!
How to prepare for a family trip to France
- Know emergency numbers before you go. You always want to know the emergency number where you are traveling. From your mobile phone, the emergency number is 112. From a public phone, you can dial 15 for medical emergency, 17 for police, and 18 for the fire brigade.
- Learn some French. Unlike many other European destinations, English is not widely spoken in France. If you plan and learn some of the French language ahead of your visit. Before you go, make it a fun family activity to learn phrases and complete language lessons every week leading up to your trip. It can be a fun bonding activity and luckily there are many tools available nowadays to assist with language learning. You can, for example, listen to French music, watch your favorite film in French and use language apps such as Babbel to learn a few French phrases that will be very useful during your stay.
- Take the train. The public transport in France is easy to use and affordable. It’s a great way to visit smaller towns and characteristic villages without having to rent a car or miss out on them altogether.
- See a bit of everything. Many people first think of Paris when they think of France. While the ‘City of Love’ is incredible, there is a lot more to France than just Paris. There is gorgeous countryside, seaside, mountains, and more. So think about what you want to see here and try to create a well-rounded itinerary that will make everyone in your family happy. Since public transport is so convenient, it is possible and very worth planning ahead for.
- Prepare for long lunches. Food is a priority in France, and you’ll see many lunch hours close down shops, banks and businesses for 2 hours. In small villages, the lunch break may even last for 3 hours.
- Pack comfortable shoes. There is a lot to see in France and many charming cobblestone streets. You’ll want comfortable shoes to be able to keep up with all there is to see and avoid any foot and back pain after days of exploring!
- Consider the Paris Museum Pass. You can use the Paris Museum Pass to skip long lines and save on admission costs at the Louvre, Sainte-Chapelle Church, and Palace of Versailles.
Top towns to visit
Aix-en-Provence is a university city in southern France. It has a gorgeous surrounding countryside, peaceful gardens throughout the city, art galleries that attract tourists and locals alike, and a white limestone mountain that sets the tone for the city.
Marseille is France’s second largest city and it is a charming old seaport city. Located off the southeast coast of France, it is home to medieval architecture, a gorgeous climate, a bustling harbor, and blue water.
Nice is a beautiful city located on the French Riviera that draws a number of artsy people and vibrant street life. It is known for its climate and natural beauty, with the art and culture setting of the city making it a one-of-a-kind location.
Bordeaux is another port city that is famous for its surrounding wine country. If you love a countryside setting with charming villages, vineyards and a proper city that you can explore a fun arts and culture scene, Bordeaux is a definite place to visit.
Ever heard of the international Cannes Film Festival? Cannes is a luxurious city in France that is located on the French Riviera. It has sandy beaches, boutiques, incredible restaurants, and natural beauty.
France is one of those places that you never get tired of and there is always something new to see. So have fun planning for your trip to France and make it a family event to choose some destinations and activities together!
Do you have top tips on how to prepare for a trip to France to share?