From romantic châteaux to a fantastic array of French cheeses, France has gained the title of being the world’s cultural capital, and for good reason. Traveling to France is almost on everyone’s bucket list, and nobody is surprised. However, travelling surely has its ups and downs, so it is a good idea to stock up on information to help you get the best of your trip and avoid undue embarrassment.
When to Go
Depending on what your plans are, the best time to travel to France is during the spring months, between April and June, or autumn, which is anytime from September to November. The weather in France varies from region to region, but generally, the French enjoy temperate weather all year-round. July and August should be avoided as the main holidays of France fall during these months, and most locals spend their holidays in their own country.
The French are known to be quite passionate when it comes to food. Before eating a meal, it is considered polite to say “Bon Appetit.” What is not appreciated is eating on the go, the French are proud of their food and prefer that they savor every bite and take their own sweet time when dining. Also, this may come as a surprise in a country that is known for its gastronomic delights; it is always proper not to overeat.
Shop at the Local Markets
Whether you want to shop for food, clothes or bric-à-brac (knick-knacks), France has a superabundance of indoor and outdoor markets where you can find your every heart’s desire. Most towns have “marché en plein air,” or outdoor market that sells their region’s best at very reasonable prices. It is always recommended to try local delicacies wherever you may be in the country.
Aside from the wine, cheese, and the Eiffel Tower, the French are also known for being snooty to strangers. No matter how friendly you may think you are, the French are not the type to get comfortable with you. However, this seems to be gradually changing, so a simple “Bonjour” is sufficient enough. But if you really want to get the best side of the French, it would not hurt you to pay them a compliment. They love hearing wonderful things about them and their country.
As with any other country, France is not free from a few scrupulous souls, and it is always recommended to be on your guard. Always keep your valuables close to your body, ignore people on the streets asking you to sign a petition or give something to you that you know is not yours, these tricks usually end up in them asking you for money. Although these are very isolated incidents, it is still better to be informed. The key here is to avoid being a target.
These are not rigid rules, and it is more than recommended to loosen up and free your adventurous spirit. Enjoy the food, the fashion, the art and always remember to cherish every moment.