France is a beautiful country with a rich culture and many landmarks. Hence, France is a popular tourist destination. If you are travelling to France for the first time, you should know that travelling to a foreign country for the first time can be frightening and stressful. To help you, we have compiled a list of 7 tips for people visiting France for the first time.
If you apply the tips on this list, your visit to France will be hassle-free.
1. Learn Conversational French
If you are visiting for the first time, you should learn conversational phrases or basic French words before your trip. This is one of the important tips for people visiting France for the first time and who do not speak French. About 40 per cent of the French population speak some English; you should not assume all the individuals you come across can speak English. Before you travel, learn the french translation of words like – Excuse me, Good morning, Help, Thank you and goodbye. These are words that you can use to start a conversation or end a conversation.
You should also learn how to say the phrases listed below in french
– Do you speak English?
– I do not speak french
– Can I have directions to…?
– Can you help me?
If you do not know any french words or phrases, you should use google translate. Using google translate, you can type in what you want to say and play the audio clip of the French translation.
To use Google translate, your phone must have an internet connection.
2. Read about the Transportation System
Before you travel to France, acquaint yourself with the transport system. When you understand the transportation system, you will know what transport will be best for travelling in France. Also, you will be able to save money when touring France.
The best means of transportation in France is the railway. If you are in France for a week or more than a month, you should get a Paris Transport travel card. Using this travel card, you will be able to travel using a bus, metro, or tramway while the card remains valid. Importantly, you should also know what means of transportation is available in the city or town you will be visiting. A minimal amount of french villages do not have train stations. If you are going to visit such villages, find out how to get to such places before visiting France.
3. Book your hotel or Airbnb in advance
Travelling to a foreign country is stressful. The last thing you want is to get to your destination and start searching for accommodation.
There are a few reasons why you should book your hotel in advance when travelling to France.
– If you are visiting France in the peak season (summer), you may have difficulty finding a hotel room in the area you prefer. Furthermore, the hotels that have rooms available may have a higher rate.
– Some hotels reward customers who book in advance with discounts. If you want to save some money, book your hotel room in advance.
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If you prefer to stay at an Airbnb, make all the necessary arrangements and pay for the place before travelling to France.
4. Plan a Tour Itinerary
A common mistake that people who are visiting France for the first time make is ‘not having a tour itinerary.’ Thus, this is one of the tips for people visiting France for the first time. If you are going to tour France, ensure that you create an itinerary before visiting France.
A tour itinerary is a planned route or guide on what you plan to see and places you intend to visit. Before you travel to France, make a list of all the places you would like to visit. Then identify what transportation routes you can use to get to these places. Importantly, you should estimate or calculate the cost of the trips. If you are sleeping over at any of the places you are exploring, you should also include the cost of accommodation.
Creating a tour itinerary will help you stay organized when you start touring France. Calculate how much you need for transportation and accommodation. Ensure that you take enough money with you which will cover your tour plans in France. Be realistic when planning your itinerary. Do not try to squeeze a large number of activities into a single day. Instead of being happy and relaxed, you will be stressed and spread thin.
If you want a tour guide to take you places in France, you can book a tour guide from our partner here.
5. Plan Around the French Schedule
The workday in France is not the same as the workday in most parts of the world. In France, many shops close for 2 hours for a lunch break. Hence, you may find that between 12-2 p.m. the shop you want to visit is closed. Some restaurants are closed in the afternoon and open in the evening for dinner.
Before you travel, find out if the places you would like to visit in France observe these breaks. However, some stores, restaurants, and offices do not observe the break and provide non-stop service until they close for the day.
6. Always Have your Passport or Travel Documents with you
Individuals who are visiting France for the first time may be tempted to leave their passport in their hotel room. We suggest that you make copies of your travel documents and take them with you when you are touring France. Also, take an identification card with you when you walk around France. If you encounter a pickpocket, your original documents and passport will not be stolen.
If you do not take your original documents with you, ensure that you keep them in the hotel safe. Individuals who would prefer to take their passport with them should keep the passport in their pocket.
7. Tourist Attractions Are Very Crowded During Peak Season
The picture above is of people waiting in line to visit the Eiffel tower.
If you are travelling to France for tourism, you should know that the popular tourist sights will be crowded. Importantly, there are other tourist attractions you can visit. To avoid the tourist crowds, make a list of other places you would like to visit in France.
If you would like to go to the popular tourist attractions in France, we suggest that you visit outside peak season or book through our tour partner.
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