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Planning a Trip to France: how to See My Country (Especially if it's your first time)

Chateau de Cheverny, France

Be honest: half the fun of a trip is in the planning, isn't it?

This section is all about the nitty-gritty, the practical information you'll need to plan your trip to France. This may be a site about France's offbeat destinations, but you still have to get here, find your way around once you are here, and do the things one must – sleep, eat, sightsee, shop, meet, explore, understand, connect.

planning the perfect trip to france

So here goes the nitty-gritty, or at least its beginnings. This site is new and this section is a work in progress. Here are just a few of the things we'll explore in the near future.

How to decide where to go in France

This may be the hardest part because you want to see it ALL, right? But there are some logical places to start...

What to pack for France

You've heard about the vaunted 'French style and elegance' and you're wondering whether you'll look like the odd person out... No, you won't. While we do like to dress well, the days of looking like a diva just to go to the corner boulangerie for a baguette are long gone. We too have fallen prey to yoga pants and Nikes. But - few of us would dare show up at a restaurant dressed like this.

How to get to France

Whether you're crossing the Chunnel or flying in from around the world, we'll look at what's easiest, what works best and a few tips you may not have considered.

How to get around France

Once you're here, you'll want to see the country (please tell me you're not going to plop yourself in Paris for two weeks and ignore the rest?) Here's what we'll look at:

  • France's marvelous public transportation system (when it's not on strike)
  • using the plane vs the train
  • renting a car here
  • driving in France

and every other possible means of getting yourself around. 

How to eat in France

Yes, of course you know HOW to eat but this is about how WE eat. I'll teach you about our strange table manners, about how to decipher a French menu, how to reserve and, very important, how to tip (not much, just round it up).

What to do if you get sick

If you're staying in a hotel, this is easy – just call the concierge. But what if you're in an Airbnb? Or camping? Or simply stopped at a gas station? There are things you can do to make sure you get proper health care even if you are a foreigner and don't speak a word of French. Speaking of which...

How to communicate with the French

You DO want to talk to us? There is a way, and there is OUR way. Yes, we are particular about how we communicate. First, do not even think of starting a conversation without saying Bonjour to me. I'll just stand there and wonder which planet you've landed from. Once past that, I'll try to haul out my very rusty English (not mine, I'm pretending here), poorly taught to me for a few years in a school I barely remember, but I will roll over with gratitude if you've made the effort to learn a few words. I'll tell you which ones.

How to stay safe and avoid pickpockets

Ah yes, petty theft. The good news is that there is very little violent crime in most areas. The bad news is that there is plenty of petty theft. We like to blame foreigners but deep down, we know that petty crime knows no borders. I'll give you some powerful safety tips for avoiding this kind of unpleasantness.

On strike, did you say?

Sadly, this is one of those things. The French are never satisfied, and you could give us the moon but we would want two. So whatever happens, at some point, we will go on strike. Mind you, some sectors ARE justified, where work hours are long and salaries incredibly low. But even if your working conditions are passable, there's nothing a French person likes more than marching down the street, often with family in tow, holding up a large hand-painted banner of rebellion.

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This site is still new and this page continues under construction so meantime, here are some great reads about myths and stereotypes about the French (and what you should and should not believe!) 

And if you're curious about what's new on the site, what I've just posted and what you may have missed, click here!