France is one of Europe’s largest countries. It is bordered by eight countries other nations: Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the southeast and Spain to the southwest. The country is considered the gateway to Europe as there are several large international airports (two of these can be found in Paris), ferry terminals and the French rail service.
France is the most popular tourist destination in the world. There are many reasons why so many people enjoy visiting the diverse country, including the natural beauty, the amazing climate, outdoor activities, art museums and galleries, celebrated history, the delicious food and much more.
Fly into Paris, the capital also called “the City of Light”: from the Eiffel Tower to the Champs-Élysées, the trendy Marais district to lively neighbourhood of Montmartre. Visit famous art galleries, including the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie or try one of the many restaurants in this world's culinary hot spot.
French wine regions are famous, some bearing names now recognized worldwide, including Burgundy, Bordeaux, Loire Valley and Champagne. Stop at large wineries or small cellar doors to taste varied vintages and discover new favourites.
Come to Marseille and the French Mediterranean shores for sunbathing, swimming and living the Riviera lifestyle. Rub shoulders with the rich and famous at the popular Côte d'Azur ports of Nice, Antibes and Saint-Tropez or the amazing principality of Monaco.
Provence and the Luberon have many interesting perched villages built on small mountains. Visit the weekly markets across these regions for local fresh produce and colourful handicrafts.
In the north, there’s a host of fascinating WWI and WWII Battlefields to visit. Among the very best are the Somme battlefields, Verdun and Pozieres in the Hauts-de-France region or the beaches of Normandy with cemeteries and monuments memorializing soldiers who lost their lives in Europe.
And don’t forget the West Coast, from Brittany to the Basque Country, where you can expect legendary sites, magnificent coastal views and delicious food! Make France your annual destination and discover its diverse regions and experiences.
When to visit
France is an all-year round destination. Depending on where you plan to go and what you want to see the weather may not be as important as the time of the year you travel. Consider avoiding the French summer holidays, from mid-July to mid-August and Easter as more crowded and expensive.
High Season (Jul & Aug)
- More people, longer queues (especially August).
- Christmas, New Year and Easter equally busy.
- Bastille Day Celebrations - 14th July
Shoulder (Apr–Jun & Sep)
- Pleasant weather, less crowded
- Festivals and events galore
Low Season (Oct–Mar)
- Great time to travel if you want to experience the French Christmas markets (Nov-Dec)
During the summer months you'll want to wear something light and breathable, and a good pair of walking shoes is a must!
In the winter months temperatures can drop below freezing, so bring a thick jacket, thermals, and layer up!
Generally, tipping conventions are much like in Australia: very much not expected, but if you received great service feel free to show your appreciation. Exception is barge cruising where tipping is customary.
One of the best ways to get around France is by rail. With high speed networks throughout Europe, and terminus stations centrally located in most cities, rail is by far the easiest option. Self-drive is another great option if you prefer to go at your own pace, or a little off-the-beaten track....