You can’t travel to France and not go to Paris. Paris should be, and probably is, at the top of your list. And there’s a number of reasons why, like the Eiffel Tower, Pompidou Centre, Montmatre district … just to name a few.
The Eiffel Tower
Open: 9am-12.45am (last lift midnight, 11pm for the top) seven days a week mid-June to early September, 9.30am-11.45pm (last lift 11pm, 10.30pm for the top) early September to mid-June, Note – the stairs are only open until 6.30pm early September to mid-June.
Tickets: Adult €15.50
Open: Seven days a week 11am-10pm (exhibition areas close at 9pm)
Tickets: Adult museum & exhibitions ticket €14
Sacré-Cœur Basilica (Montmatre)
Open: Seven days a week 6am-10.30pm
Tickets: Free, donations received with thanks
The French take their wine very seriously — and it shows. The main wine regions are Champagne, Bordeaux and Burgundy. If you don’t have time to explore these areas you can certainly sample their wares every night at dinner.
You could easily spend a week or more in Provence, traipsing through Roman ruins, visiting medieval villages and tasting the region’s traditional food and wine.
Grab your snowboard and beanie because some of the best skiing in Europe is in the French Alps. Head to world-class resorts such as a Chamonix, Megève and Val d’Isère for your winter sports fix.
The Loire Valley was once the playground of the French aristocracy. Today it is a Unesco World Heritage site dotted with glorious chateaux. Guide to Loire Valley Chateaux
The French Riviera
The French Riviera, or Côte d’Azur, is where billionaires like to park their yachts. But even if you’re on on a budget you can still bask in the region’s Mediterranean climate, take a dip in the bright blue sea and explore the many towns and villages.
Remember the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan? Well, these beaches are where it all happened on the morning of June 6, 1944. Grab a map or do a tour to see where the allies stormed the beaches north of Bayeux.
This coastal town has great beaches and some of Europe’s best surf. It’s also just a hop, skip and a jump (not literally, of course) to Spain.
There’s no better way to take it all in than to sit at a pavement cafe, coffee in hand, and watch France go by. Expect to fork out for prime position though — a cappuccino on the Champs-Élysees in Paris will come to almost a tenner.
France has more then 500 types of cheese — or fromage, as they say. Don’t leave without trying at least some of them.