First Time France: Where to Go and What to Do
What can one expect from France besides wine, cheese, and the Eiffel Tower? Maybe snooty waiters but there are several other reasons to see France, its lavish beauty, great food, storied history, and a happy-go-lucky atmosphere.
Bit expensive but this place is worth watching, just make sure you go there with a few extra Euros in your pocket so you can enjoy all the food, wine, and beauty. One cannot see all of the France in one day; it requires some time and proper information and guidance especially if this is your first-time visit.
Following are some great places that you can include in your schedule to enjoy the best of France.
The ‘City of Love’ and capital of France, there is a famous saying that one must see Paris at least once. The more time you spend in this beautiful city the more you fall in love with it. To watch the Paris in one go, start your trip with the Eiffel Tower then museum Musee D'Orsay to see some great artifacts then hop off to the Louvre and Les Invalides, both are worth a visit. From there you will be just walking distance away from Napoleon's tomb and Monmarte. If you are staying for more than two days there, make sure you visit Notre Dame, Pierre Hermé macaron in the Tuileries and Palais Royal garden.
Châteaux are the some masterpieces of French architecture that are spread around beautiful Loire Valley. Along the side of Cher River, you can see castle Château de Chambord and Château de Chenonceau. If your trip to Loire valley consists of one day, don’t forget to see Château de Blois and classical Château de Cheverny first. To stay at Loire valley choose a place at Blois or Amboise. If you have time and power to hike or walk, make sure you see Loire river banks to see ‘Ason-et-Lumière’ which is an amusing sound-and-light show.
Beside summer season when it gets crowded with tourists, this legendary seashore near big blue Med is a heaven for nature lovers. Other than vast pebble beaches and legendary promenade, this beautiful town consists of a wide variety of art museums and belle époque architecture. The car ride from Nice to Menton is a must watch or grab your hiking boots and hop off to Massif de l’Estérel for dazzling red-rock mountain scenery.
Before you leave to France’s south make sure your all devices are fully charged and don't forget to bring extra light because the landscape in this part demands proper care and sharing. Start your tour from Marseille which is a very old port having several museums such as the MuCEM. Few miles away you can find Roman amphitheaters and inNîmes, if you are more of a lavender fields and cherry orchards fan, visit Orange at the Pont du Gard. Don’t forget to eat a nice meal from food markets in the bucolic Luberon or Vaucluse regions.
This is classy and viticulture region in the north of France. If you want to sip Champers in hundred-year-old cellars and taste your way through vineyards, visit Reims. Reims is also known as ‘rance’ or visits Épernay to see museum Moët & Chandon and other famous Champagne houses like Pommery. If you are history geek, pick a clear day to visit the cathedral were of French kings were crowned.
Brittany & Normandy
Brittany & Normandy is situated on north of France and besides ancient sights steeped in lore and legend you will be enjoying sensational seafood, cliff-top walks on a beautiful vast coastline. Many tourists visit northern France for Mont St-Michel which definitely is a magical mysterious abbey-island. Some people reach barefoot across the sand. But it’s a wise idea to grab a bicycle and wear a windbreaker and hop off to Carnac megaliths strewn along Brittany’s southern coast.
If you are in a mood to see a massive outdoor playground, visit French Alps. The last but not least amusing place to visit in France, avoid going there from December to April, which is the ski season. It gets crowded at Mont Blanc and to reach there you have to go to Chamonix, once there you can enjoy Aiguille du Midi cable car or you can strap on the skis in Megéve or St-Gervais.
What to pack
Assuming this is your first time trip to France, it is a wise idea to pack French phrasebook, Paris City Guides App, detailed road map and GPS device. Due to its forever changing weather, don’t forget to bring an umbrella or a raincoat, sunscreen and mosquito repellent.