France has been the favourite holiday destination for traveling Brits ever since Brits started traveling. This is not only because of its proximity, but also due its wonderful variety: the beaches, the mountains, the picturesque countryside and bustling cities. With the wealth of goods on offer in this great nation, it can be a little daunting to plan where to book your stay. Here are a few thoughts on two of France’s most popular destinations.
Paris, often described as the world capital of the arts and fashion, can be a great idea for a short break, as the Euro Star from London only takes two hours and fifteen minutes (a quicker journey than traveling from London to Manchester). The prices too are very reasonable, a return ticket can be as low as £70.
If visiting Paris on a budget, there are a few points to keep in mind. When booking a place to stay, try and avoid the more desirable central areas of the city. Many hotels and hostels can be found in the suburbs for very reasonable prices. On top of this, these areas are usually much quieter than those closer to the centre.
Keeping in mind the length of your stay and your plans while you’re there, it is worth getting to know the Paris Metro system, as well as the types of travelcards and their prices. A week’s travel pass has the best value, giving you unlimited access to the Metro, RER, bus routes and trams, but obviously not worth purchasing if you’re only staying for three days.
The best way to get the most out of Paris is simply to research the city beforehand. Plan your holiday and know what it is that you want to see and do. There are so many wonderful ways to spend your time, that without being organised you could well end up wasting it.
If it isn’t a city break you’re after, then one place immediately springs to mind.
If you’re looking for a week or two of pure relaxation, sun and swimming, the Côte D’Azur, along the South-East coast is the place to visit. The beaches there are unlike any in Northern France, all being beautifully white and much more extensive. Soaking up the sun while looking out over the turquoise Mediterranean waters, dotted with fishing boats and the occasional yacht heading back to the Millionaire playgrounds of Monaco and St Tropez, really will make you glad to be alive.
It is an area heavily dependent on the tourism industry and during the summer months all sorts of deals and offers can be found on family activities and water sports. For those wanting a more relaxing afternoon the place is also littered with bars, restaurants, markets and carnivals. The resort towns of St Raphael and Frejus, as well as the historic cities of Cannes and Nice are well catered to holiday-makers and offer competitive prices for shopping, and hotels.
A short bus, train or car journey out into the Department of Provence will quickly relieve you of the hustle and bustle of the South Coast. Rural Provence, despite the number of tourists so close by, strongly retains the French character and charm. Traditional villages and towns are dotted throughout the area, a perfect break from the continuous excitement and activity of the southern coastline. Spend a day walking through the rolling, green Provencal hills before taking an early dinner in a local restaurant. Enjoying a cool glass of wine in the evening sun will really make you realise why France is, and has been for a while, by far the most visited nation in the world.