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Tips for travelling to France

Say bonjour to the land of wine, cheese and l’amour.

Rolling countryside and blossoming romance, mediaeval relics and cosmopolitan cool: France is home to so much more than just the Eiffel Tower.
Here’s a collection of travel tips in France to make sure you have a fun, successful time in one of the most popular destinations in Europe

What to see and do in France

Visit French cities old and new

Wondering which cities in France are worth a visit?

Paris: With its decadent buildings, seductive café culture and undeniable air of romance, this is the crown jewel of the already sparkling France.

Lyon - Renowned for its culinary scene, Lyon boasts historic architecture, picturesque streets, and the UNESCO-listed Old Town.

Nice - Nestled on the French Riviera, Nice entices visitors with its stunning beaches, vibrant markets, and Mediterranean charm - a perfect blend of relaxation and culture.

Bordeaux - Famous for its wine, Bordeaux features elegant boulevards, grand squares, and world-class wineries.

Marseille - France's oldest city, Marseille, allures with its bustling port, diverse cultural heritage, and stunning coastal landscapes. It’s a vibrant mix of history, art, and seaside relaxation.

Strasbourg - Located in the Alsace region, Strasbourg offers fairytale-like charm, half-timbered houses, and the picturesque Petite France district.

Avignon - Famed for its Papal Palace, Avignon boasts a rich history, well-preserved mediaeval architecture, and lively cultural scene. It’s a gateway to the picturesque Provence region.

Toulouse - Known as the Pink City, thanks to its distinctive terracotta buildings, Toulouse charms visitors with its vibrant atmosphere and historic landmarks.

Montpellier - A vibrant university city, Montpellier offers a mix of mediaeval and modern architecture, lively squares, and cultural events, plus easy access to Mediterranean beaches.

Annecy - Dubbed the Venice of the Alps, Annecy enchants with scenic canals, charming old town, and stunning alpine backdrop. Enjoy boating and hiking in breathtaking scenery.

There’s no doubt that France has a real abundance of city break destinations.

Enjoy the glorious countryside

The lavender fields of Provence sway gently in the breeze, and the mediaeval splendour of Mont St Michel sits just off the Normandy coast, with the vineyards of Bordeaux to the west.

Explore the snow-capped peaks of the Alps or the sun-drenched waters of les Gorges du Verdon. Soak in the rolling meadows of the Loire Valley and visit the châteaux dotted all over the country.

Taste gastronomic delights

When it comes to good cuisine, the French have perfected the art. Buttery croissants that melt in your mouth, freshly baked baguettes and pastel-coloured macaroons. Rich beef bourguignon paired with a glass of velvety red wine.

A generous helping of tartiflette oozing with cheese. Chocolate soufflé that lightly melts in your mouth....have we persuaded you yet?

Soak in iconic culture

From classical art to contemporary creations, France offers a captivating blend of culture, art, and history that continues to inspire visitors from around the world. The country is renowned for its museums, such as the Louvre in Paris, home to the famous Mona Lisa.

French culture is deeply intertwined with art, as you will see in the stunning architecture of landmarks like the Palace of Versailles and the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

The country's artistic legacy extends to its vibrant street art scene, with cities like Lyon and Marseille adorned with colourful murals and graffiti.

Celebrate sporting excellence

France has a rich sporting culture and the country is renowned for its passion for sports like football, rugby, cycling, tennis, and more. Football and rugby, in particular, hold a special place in the hearts of the French people.
Cycling is another beloved sport, with the prestigious Tour de France attracting millions of spectators each year. Additionally, France has produced many world-class tennis players and has a strong tradition in equestrian sports.

Essential information to know before travelling to France

Money for France

The currency of France is the euro, which is broken down into 100 cents. As of March 2024, £1 is worth around €1.15, and €1 is worth around 87p.

Here’s a roundup of what you can expect to spend on your trip to France:

Inexpensive meal for one – €12Mid-range restaurant meal for one – €24Bottle of water – €1.50
Cappuccino – €2.600.5 litre beer – €5Local bus ticket – €1.60

For up to date rates and more information on the euro, check out our dedicated pounds to euro guide.

Can I use my credit or debit card in France?

Credit and debit cards are widely accepted across France, including contactless payments. Be aware that there will be fees for using your card overseas, so it’s worth checking with your bank before travelling to France. There are similar fees when withdrawing French currency from an ATM.

Cash can come in handy for leaving tips for taxi drivers, tour guides, and other service workers. Unlike countries like the United States, restaurant prices in France include a service charge — so extra tips are typically only expected if you’ve had truly exceptional service.

Travel Money Card for Euros

Travel Money Card for Euros

Another great option for spending in Euros is our Travelex Money Card.

  • Safe and secure - card not linked to your bank account
  • Choice of 22 currencies, including Euros
  • Seamless spending with Apple Pay and Google Pay
  • Manage your Euros effortlessly via the Travelex Money App
  • In case your card is lost, stolen, or damaged, our 24/7 global assistance team is here for you
Learn More

Travelling in France

By train

The French network SNCF is one of the very best in the world and reaches the length and the breadth of the country - making train travelling in France enjoyable and easy.

Tickets can be bought online or at the station – fares will generally be cheaper if you travel off-peak (période bleue) rather than during the peak hours (période blanche).

By car

With sweeping views, driving in France is generally a delight and there are plenty of picturesque routes to explore – the roads are easily navigable and the distances manageable. Just steer clear of the congested cities and you’ll enjoy your trip!

Many French Motorways (Autoroutes) have a toll system. You pay with cards or cash at a barrier called a Peage. If you are planning a lot of driving, a top travel tip in France is to order a toll tag which automatically takes payments from an online account.

Eurotunnel Le Shuttle / Channel Ferry

If you’re heading to France from the UK you can take your own car: by taking a ferry from Dover to Calais or the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle. This can be one of the cheapest ways to travel to France if you are bringing pets and children.

By metro

The metro system in France, particularly in major cities like Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse is known for its efficiency, extensive coverage, and ease of use.

The Paris Metro, for example, is one of the busiest and most extensive metro systems in the world, with over 300 stations serving the city and its suburbs. It’s a fast and easy way to get around the city, with trains running all day and into the night.

The metro lines are colour-coded and numbered, making it simple to understand and follow the routes. The metro system in France is well-connected to other modes of transportation, such as buses and trains.

Order your Euros with Travelex

Order your Euros with Travelex

Before you leave for your French frolic, get your money for France organised - order your euros online with us at Travelex. Have a look at our store locator to find your nearest Travelex store or arrange to have your order delivered safely to your home.

Buy your Euros