France is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, and it's easy to see why. From the stunning architecture of Paris to the sun-soaked beaches of the Cote d'Azur, there's something for everyone in this beautiful country. But if you're planning a trip to France, there are a few dos and don'ts you should keep in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. In this article, we'll go over seven of the most important ones, all while incorporating trending Google keywords to help you find the information you need.
DO learn some basic French phrases
Knowing some basic French phrases can go a long way in France. Locals will appreciate the effort you make to communicate with them in their language, and it can help you get by in situations where English isn't widely spoken. Try to learn these basic French phrases that you can use during your trip to France:
- "Bonjour" (Hello)
- "Au revoir" (Goodbye)
- "Merci" (Thank you)
- "S'il vous plaît" (Please)
- "Excusez-moi" (Excuse me)
- "Parlez-vous anglais?" (Do you speak English?)
- "Je ne parle pas français" (I don't speak French)
- "Combien ça coûte?" (How much does it cost?)
- "Où est la gare/métro?" (Where is the train/metro station?)
- "Je voudrais..." (I would like...)
DON'T dress like a tourist
If you want to blend in with the locals and avoid pickpockets, it's best to avoid looking like a tourist. That means leaving your fanny pack and oversized camera at home and opting for more understated clothing. What to wear in France?
France is known for its fashion, and dressing appropriately while visiting the country is important to blend in and avoid looking like a tourist. Here are some tips on what to wear in France:
- Dress stylishly but conservatively: French style is all about looking polished and put-together. Avoid wearing overly casual or sloppy clothes, and opt for classic pieces such as tailored blazers, button-up shirts, and dark jeans.
- Avoid athletic wear: Athletic clothing like gym shorts, sweatpants, and running shoes are not commonly worn in public in France. Instead, wear comfortable shoes like loafers, sneakers or stylish flats, paired with dressy pants or jeans.
- Dress for the occasion: Dress codes may vary depending on the occasion or the location. For example, you may need to dress more formally for a dinner at a fancy restaurant or a night at the opera.
- Pack for the weather: France experiences all four seasons, so make sure to check the weather forecast before packing for your trip. In general, layers are always a good idea, as temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day.
- Accessorize: A scarf, a statement bag or a pair of sunglasses can elevate any outfit and add a touch of French flair.
By following these tips, you'll be able to dress appropriately and confidently during your visit to France.
DO try the local cuisine
France is known for its incredible cuisine, so make sure to sample some of the local dishes while you're there. From croissants and baguettes to escargot and coq au vin, there's something for every palate. The best French food to try?
French cuisine is famous around the world for its rich flavors and traditional dishes. Here are some of the top French foods to try during your visit to France:
- Croissants: This buttery and flaky pastry is a staple of French breakfast and can be found in bakeries all over the country.
- Baguette: Another iconic French food, the baguette is a long and crusty bread that is perfect for sandwiches or as a side dish for meals.
- Escargot: While some may find it intimidating, escargot is a traditional French dish that consists of cooked snails with garlic butter and parsley.
- Coq au Vin: A classic French dish made with chicken, red wine, bacon, and vegetables, coq au vin is a hearty and flavorful stew that is perfect for a cozy dinner.
- Ratatouille: This vegetarian dish made with eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes is a staple of Provençal cuisine.
- Quiche Lorraine: This savory tart made with eggs, cream, cheese, and bacon is a popular breakfast or brunch dish in France.
- Crème Brûlée: This creamy dessert made with vanilla custard and caramelized sugar on top is a must-try for those with a sweet tooth.
These are just a few of the many delicious French foods to try during your visit. Don't forget to also try local cheeses, wines, and pastries, as they are all an important part of French gastronomy. Bon appétit!
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DON'T be late
Punctuality is important in France, so make sure to arrive on time for appointments and reservations. If you're running late, make sure to call ahead and let the person know. Do you know the basics of French culture and etiquette?
France has a rich and diverse culture that has been shaped by its history, traditions, and people. As a visitor to France, it's important to be aware of the country's cultural norms and etiquette to ensure a respectful and enjoyable experience. Here are some key aspects of French culture and etiquette to keep in mind:
- Greetings: French people usually greet each other with a kiss on both cheeks, but handshakes are also acceptable. When entering a shop, it's customary to say "Bonjour" to the shopkeeper.
- Dining: When dining in a restaurant, wait to be seated and do not sit at a table that has not been assigned to you. It's considered impolite to leave food on your plate, but it's acceptable to ask for a "doggy bag" (une boîte à emporter) to take leftovers home.
- Dress code: French people take pride in their appearance and dressing well is important. Avoid wearing athletic clothes or flip-flops in public, especially in cities.
- Language: While French people appreciate it when foreigners make an effort to speak their language, they often switch to English if they notice that you're struggling. Be polite and thank them for their help.
- Punctuality: Punctuality is highly valued in France, and being late is considered rude. If you're running late for an appointment, it's best to call and let the person know.
- Personal space: French people value their personal space, so it's important to avoid standing too close or touching people unless you know them well.
- Tipping: In restaurants, a service charge is usually included in the bill. However, it's customary to leave a small tip (around 10%) if you received good service.
By following these cultural norms and etiquette, you'll be able to navigate French society with ease and respect.
DO explore beyond Paris
While Paris is a must-visit destination, there's so much more to France than just the capital. Make sure to explore other regions, like Provence, the Loire Valley, and the French Riviera. So what are the best places to visit in France outside Paris?
- French Riviera: The French Riviera is a glamorous stretch of coastline along the Mediterranean Sea, with picturesque towns like Nice, Cannes, and Saint-Tropez. Visitors can enjoy sunbathing on beautiful beaches, exploring the Old Towns, and experiencing the region's chic nightlife.
- Loire Valley: Known as the "Garden of France," the Loire Valley is a picturesque region famous for its stunning châteaux, such as Château de Chambord and Château de Chenonceau. Visitors can also enjoy wine tasting, cycling along the Loire River, and exploring the quaint villages.
- Mont Saint-Michel: This small tidal island off the coast of Normandy is home to a stunning medieval monastery and abbey. Visitors can walk along the narrow streets and staircases, admire the breathtaking views, and learn about the island's fascinating history.
- Bordeaux: This city in southwestern France is famous for its wine, as it's located in the heart of the Bordeaux wine region. Visitors can explore the historic center, taste the region's world-renowned wines, and enjoy the local cuisine.
- Provence: This region in southeastern France is known for its beautiful lavender fields, charming hilltop villages, and delicious cuisine. Visitors can explore the Roman ruins in Arles, wander through the famous markets in Aix-en-Provence, and admire the stunning landscapes of the Luberon Mountains.
- Normandy: This region in northwestern France is known for its picturesque coastal towns, such as Honfleur and Etretat, as well as its historic sites from World War II, such as the D-Day beaches and the Bayeux Tapestry.
These are just a few of the many incredible places to visit in France. Each region offers its own unique attractions, cuisine, and culture, making France a truly remarkable destination.
DONT skip the museums
France is home to some of the world's most incredible museums, including the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay. Even if you're not a big art lover, these museums are worth a visit for their stunning architecture and historical significance. Do you know these famous museums in France?
- Louvre Museum: Located in Paris, the Louvre is one of the largest and most famous museums in the world. It's home to over 38,000 objects, including the Mona Lisa, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, and the Venus de Milo.
- Musée d'Orsay: Also located in Paris, the Musée d'Orsay is home to an extensive collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, including works by Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, and Gauguin.
- Centre Pompidou: This modern art museum in Paris is known for its unique architectural design and its collection of contemporary art, including works by Picasso, Matisse, and Warhol.
- Musée de l'Orangerie: Another Paris museum, the Musée de l'Orangerie is famous for its collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, including Monet's famous Water Lilies series.
- Musée Rodin: Located in Paris, the Musée Rodin is home to a collection of sculptures by Auguste Rodin, including his famous work, The Thinker.
DO respect local customs
Finally, make sure to respect local customs and traditions while you're in France. For example, it's polite to greet people with a kiss on the cheek (known as la bise), and it's considered rude to talk loudly in public. SO what are the most well-known French customs and traditions?
- La Fête de la Bastille (Bastille Day): This national holiday on July 14th commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison during the French Revolution. It's celebrated with parades, fireworks, and street parties throughout the country.
- La Galette des Rois (King Cake): This traditional pastry is typically eaten in January to celebrate Epiphany. It's made of puff pastry and filled with almond cream, and contains a small hidden trinket or bean. The person who finds the trinket in their slice is crowned "king" or "queen" for the day.
- La Fête de la Musique (World Music Day): On June 21st, this nationwide celebration of music takes place in the streets, with free concerts and performances throughout the country.
- Les Soldes (Sales): Twice a year, in January and July, retailers in France offer major discounts during the "soldes." It's a popular time for shopping, as prices can be significantly reduced.
- Les Vacances (Vacation): The French take their vacations very seriously, and many businesses shut down for several weeks during the summer. It's common for families to take extended vacations in August, with many heading to the coast or the countryside.
- La Bise (The Kiss): In France, it's customary to greet friends and acquaintances with a kiss on each cheek, known as "la bise." The number of kisses can vary depending on the region, with some areas giving two kisses and others up to four.
- Le Vin (Wine): Wine is an important part of French culture, and the country produces some of the world's best wines. It's common to enjoy a glass of wine with meals, and many regions offer wine tours and tastings.
These are just a few examples of the many customs and traditions in France. They showcase the country's rich cultural heritage and its celebration of history, music, food, and wine.
By following these dos and don'ts, you'll be well on your way to a fantastic trip to France. Bon voyage!
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