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France Travel Guide: When To Visit, Highlights & Hotels

Stroll through the beautiful streets of France and capture the sights of world-famous monuments, mind-blowing art and culture, scenic beaches and taste the exquisite national cuisine. The iconic capital city, Paris, is the beating heart of the country and is the most popular city in France, known as the ‘city of love.’ However, the remarkable beauty floods through to the treasured cities of Nice, Marseille, Bordeaux and many more!


When to Visit

The best time to visit France is in spring, from April to May before the cities attract larger crowds of tourists in summer. If seas of tourists are not a problem for you, the summer months offer more sun and warmer weather, with highs of up to 29°C depending on the city. Warmer weather can be found in the south of France in cities including Avignon and Saint-Tropez, whereas cities in the north closer to the English Channel tend to offer cooler temperatures. 


France Highlights

Attractions

Visit Paris for the most cultural attractions, including the Eiffel Tower, with three levels accessible by an elevator, which will open its doors to reveal panoramic views across the beautiful city. Build up the courage to ascend to the top floor at the peak of the tower, where you can indulge in delicious food at the restaurant with unmatched scenery.

Other attractions to visit in the capital include the Louvre Museum, the world’s largest art museum and the home of the Mona Lisa, as well as the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Arc de Triomphe and Disneyland Paris!

Approximately 12 miles from Paris is Versailles, where the Palace of Versailles and its stunning gardens can be found. This is a former royal residence that offers guided tours, providing an insight into the rich history of the attraction, as well as exciting shows and musical performances.

Make sure to visit the Mont-Saint Michel, also known as the ‘Pyramid of the Seas,’ which is a striking landmark rising 80 metres from the sea just off the Normandy Coast. Travel through the magical Loire Valley Chateaux in Pays de la Loire, explore the colourful Alsace Villages located in the Alsace region, and the enchanting town of Carcassonne.


Natural Landscapes

Discover the gorgeous lavender field near Valensole in Provence, which was a source of inspiration for famous artists including Picasso, or the iconic Chamonix-Mont-Blanc in the French Alps, the highest mountain in Europe at 4,810 metres high.

Visit the Côte d’Azur, also known as the French Riviera, which is an iconic coastline stretching from Saint-Tropez to Menton with crystal blue waters. Nice, Cannes and Monaco are also known for their stunning sea views, with Antibes offering the best sandy beaches in the country.


Events

National celebrations run throughout the year in various parts of France, providing an unforgettable experience and a representation of the vibrant French culture. Attend the annual Fete de la Musique on the 21st June, the country’s largest street music festival on the longest day of the year which sees the streets erupting with music and dancing from the afternoon until the early hours of the morning.

Bastille Day is a national French festival on the 14th July which marks the anniversary of French men storming Bastille prison for weapons and to free the prisoners in a bid to fight being ruled by their king. This triggered the beginning of the French Revolution and is celebrated every year with military parades and colourful fireworks. Other national festivals include the Fête du Cinéma, a film festival across a few days in summer, and Mardi Gras is traditionally a day for the French to eat as much as they want before the fasting season of Lent and celebrations take place across the country including parades, street parties, dancing and fancy dress.

Many more events take place in specific cities, from music festivals like the Pete the Monkey Festival in Normandy and Rock en Seine in Paris, to French food festivals like Menton Lemon Festival in Provence. A range of cultural festivals including performances and beautiful light displays take place in the cities of Avignon, Carcassonne, Nice, Lyon and more!


National Food

Pot-au-feu is a beef stew that is considered the main national dish and is widely celebrated in France. Other national foods include crepes, macarons, croissants and coq au vin which is a chicken dish. These foods can be found at a variety of cafés and restaurants in France or take them to go and enjoy a delicious croissant or macarons with a view of your favourite attractions.


Top Hotels

Hôtel Martinez, Cannes

Stay at this luxurious seafront hotel in Cannes, which is flawlessly designed, providing immaculate, modern guest suites decorated with elegant paintings and ornaments, as well as spectacular views of the ocean from your floor-to-ceiling window or private terrace. 

Elevate your experience by claiming access to the hotel’s own private beach at an extra cost, where you can enjoy Mediterranean cuisine at the La Plage du Martinez restaurant. Alternatively, dine at Le Jardin du Martinez where you can indulge in delicious food with a view from the terrace or upgrade to the ultimate fine dining experience at the 2 Michelin star La Palme d’Or restaurant.


Résidence Pierre & Vacances Premium, Arc 1950 Le Village

This cosy, cottage-style hotel is celebrated for its excellent location between the Vanoise National Park and Mont Blanc in the Paradiski ski area, making it the perfect stay for your next ski trip! The accommodation offers ski passes and equipment rental, as well as a range of high-quality facilities including an outdoor heated swimming pool, an indoor swimming pool, a hot tub, spa, sauna and fitness suite. Taste the traditional French cuisine at the hotel’s restaurant and visit the variety of lively restaurants and bars nearby.


Hotel Negresco, Nice

Stay in the heart of Nice, overlooking the beach and the Promenade des Anglais in the glamorous Hotel Negresco which incorporates five centuries of history in the enchanting interior. Offering an experience like no other, each room is uniquely designed with vibrant colours and luxurious furnishings, mixing elegance with modern styles through the feature of a flat-screen TV.

Wake up to a delicious choice of food from the breakfast buffet in the hotel’s La Rotonde restaurant before heading down to the hotel’s private beach at no extra cost, where you can immerse yourself in the thrilling water sports available. Visit the British-style bar throughout the day for drinks and snacks and dine at the Michelin star Le Chantecler restaurant in the evenings.


By Layla Maguire

keikeitravels
keikeitravels

KeiKei is a London-based award-winning journalist and videographer with a degree in Broadcast Media and Journalism from the University of the West of Scotland and an extensive reporting background in news, entertainment, travel, and lifestyle.

KeiKei has travelled the globe interviewing, reporting and reviewing. Her work has been published in worldwide media outlets including, The New York Post, The Guardian, The Mirror, The Daily Mail, National Geographic and Conde Nast publications.

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