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....
Some popular France Packages
The beautiful Anjodi cruises along the Canal du Midi, a 330-year-old canal with UNESCO World Heritage status. Your cruise includes private wine tasting and tour of Carcassone.
Enchante is an elegant, two-level luxury hotel barge that cruises along the Canal du Midi from Trebes to Salleles d'Aude. She was built in 1958 as a trading barge and converted as a hotel barge in 2009.
Hotel Barge Rosa takes you on a breathtaking odyssey along the calmer canals of southwest France. This premier class cruise includes tour and wine tasting in Saint Emilion and visit to the impressive Château de Duras.
Experience the light and airy features of the 12-passenger barge L'Impressionniste as you cruise the stunning landscapes of Burgundy. Your cruising holiday includes castle visits and wine tastings in the cellars of renowned Burgundy Domaines.
La Belle Epoque was built in Netherlands in 1930 carrying timber from Burgundy to Paris. She was renovated and converted to a luxury hotel barge in 1995. She now cruises from Veneray-les-Laumes to Tanlay through the lovely Burgundy Canal.
Treat yourself to a wonderful experience on board Athos, a first-class hotel barge cruising through the Canal du Midi. Savour delicious wines and gourmet dishes prepared by an expert chef. Venture to the spectacular towns and villages of Carcassonne, Minerve, Capestang, Narbonne, Portiragnes, and Marseillan.
Discover the charm and beauty of Upper Loire and Western Burgundy as you cruise along Canal de Briare and the Loire River aboard Renaissance. Both regions are stepped in history, culture and picturesque scenery that will surely charm first-time and returning visitors.
L’Art de Vivre is a first class, 8-passenger hotel barge that cruises the beautiful Canal du Nivernais which meanders along River Yonne, through the largely undiscovered region near the Morvan Hills, passing charming sleepy villages, tranquil pastoral scenery, and lush vineyards.
Why we love it!
Bordered by 7 countries including Italy, Germany and Spain and even the UK a short train ride away, France is truly at the centre of Europe. This means more reasons to base your clients in France for their European holiday. Plus with its climate, France’s countryside is rich and varied with its many forms of culture, history and food. Travel to France is easy: successful codeshare flights as well as the direct flights offered by the major airlines allow for easy connections from all Australian cities to not only Paris as a European hub but to several French regional airports.
Whether creeping out for snails in Burgundy, ducking in for duck confit in the Nouvelle Aquitaine or eyeing up a Salade Niçoise in Nice, eating fresh food from France’s regions is what your clients can find nowhere else in Europe. Eating out has been central to French life ever since the nobility’s sacked chefs started the world’s first restaurants during the French Revolution established the world’s first restaurants. But stop by a local market too to really understand the importance of freshness. And of course, the great French wines from Bordeaux to Burgundy and many more, passing through the Champagne region, Alsace, the Loire Valley and the Rhone Valley…. Are there to complement your choice of menu.
Your clients know Paris, but tell them to grab their overnight bag and jump on a TGV to find the real France. Many cities are within easy reach of the capital. Send them north to witness the transformation of Lille from coalmining centre to architectural hotspot; to the gastronomic capital that is Lyon; south to Marseilles, France’s second city to stroll by the port; east to the medieval town of Strasbourg, home to the European Parliament; or west to Rennes to uncover Brittany’s Celtic roots.
Your fashionista clients can expect discounting, value and top brands in Paris and other cities. In Paris, send your well-heeled clients to the Faubourg Saint-Honore for their Christian Louboutin shoes or point them in the direction of the Marais for a more bohemian collection of shops.
French opera may rival Italy’s, but France also plays host to many of Europe’s largest music festivals, such as Les Nuits Sonores electro music two-dayer , taking place in Lyons in May. Jazz too, is taken seriously in France and the northern summer sees festivals from Antibes on the Côte d’Azur to Marciac deep in the Midi-Pyrénées countryside.
The mega sporting events of the Tour de France for cycling, golf championships, the Roland Garros French Open for tennis, the pull of France’s alpine ski resorts, all serve to attract sports enthusiasts by the thousands. And of course, France will be host to the 2024 Olympic Games. See you there.