Are you planning your first holiday to France? Truly one of the most beautiful and cultured countries in the world, it is also the UK’s second most visited destination, just behind Spain. But just as with any other unfamiliar country, traveling to France can be stressful and challenging if you don’t know what to expect. That’s why it’s important to completely prepare, so here’s our guide to planning your first visit to France.
What do you need to bring?
Firstly, let’s consider what you need to bring on your trip to France. British citizens can enter France visa-free and stay for up to 90 days as long as they have a passport with at least three months of validity. It’s also worth noting that the law requires that tourists should carry their passport with them at all times – however, this is not a commonly enforced law and a copy of your passport or any other form of photo ID would likely be sufficient.
It’s also worth pointing out that British visitors to France should carry a free European Health Insurance Card (known as the EHIC) which means that they are covered for free medical care in the event that they need it. This is definitely something that you should arrange before you arrive – it’s always best to be safe.
It is worth picking up some Euro before you arrive in France, but don’t panic if you don’t have any of the local currency. French ATMs typically accept foreign cards without any problems, and you can often draw out money at an exchange rate that is better than at airports. It’s usually best to draw out money in large chunks as you will probably be charged per transaction by your bank.
The top destinations
French has some truly unforgettable destinations to visit including:
- Paris – the beautiful capital is sometimes called ‘the most romantic city in the world’. It is home to some of France’s most famous attractions including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre as well as fantastic restaurants, museums and galleries and shops.
- Disneyland Paris – actually located a little way outside the city centre of Paris, this is Europe’s most visited attraction and rivals its American equivalent for thrill rides and fun.
- French Riviera – bordering the Mediterranean Sea, this is France’s most popular region with tourists and is home to stunning cities including Nice, Marseille and Montpellier.
- Northern France – many British tourists visit Northern France due to the fact that the Channel Tunnel arrives here in Calais, providing easy access to the cultured city of Lille.
Of course most people think of a hotel when they consider holiday accommodation, but France actually has a wide range of accommodation options depending on the kind of holiday you are looking for. Camping sites are very popular here, especially in the high season when the excellent weather makes camping a very pleasant experience.
Alternatively you might be interested in a beautiful French holiday villa. Once again, there is a huge range of options available to suit any budget.
Unlike many holiday destinations, where flying might be the only reasonable option, getting to France is possible a number of different ways. The aforementioned Eurotunnel service runs from Folkestone, which can not only provide you with transport but can also allow you to take your car with you if you wish to drive in France. The same is true of the range of ferry services that run from Dover as well as a number of other locations.
Flying is still the most popular way to get to train and there are a number of high quality airports that you can fly to and from.