Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
How to Plan a Trip to France
If you’re planning a trip to France, you will want to read this France Travel Planner. This France Trip Planner covers everything you need to know to plan the ultimate trip, including the best places to visit in France, all the best things to do in France, the best time to visit France, whether you need a visa, and more.
So let’s get started and help you plan a trip to France you’ll never forget!
READ MORE – here are the best quotes about France to feed your wanderlust from home!
Best Time to Visit France
Of course, it is always a good time to visit France! But to really have the trip in France you’ve always dreamed of, it really depends on exactly what you’d like to as to when to visit France.
If you want a beach holiday in the French Riviera then it’s best to go in late spring or during the summer. Summer is also the lavender season in Provence, while in winter you will find great ski in the French Alps or in the Pyrénées.
If you’re planning a city sightseeing trip, then the shoulder seasons are best (spring or fall) as there are fewer crowds. Although it is lovely to travel to France during the festive holiday when there are some wonderful Christmas markets to explore.
To help you decide on what time of the year to go, read about the seasons in France. Then, the following articles outline where to travel in France by season:
Do You Need a Visa to Travel to France?
EU nationals and citizens of Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland only need an ID card or passport to visit France.
For tourists from around 60 countries, visas are not required for stays of less than three months. This list includes countries like the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, or Israel. For stays longer than 90 days, contact your nearest French embassy or consulate for the exact requirements and start the process as soon as possible.
Other people wishing to travel to France as tourists have to apply for a Schengen Visa. This visa allows unlimited travel throughout the entire zone for a 90-day period.
FRANCE TRAVEL 2023
The ETIAS Program (Europe Travel Information and Authorisation System) will be fully introduced in November 2023. Passport holders from certain states – see ‘ETIAS Eligible Countries’ on the map below – will be required to apply (and pay a small fee) for an ETIAS waiver. Click here for more information and all the requirements.
Countries like the US, Canada, the UK, or Australia are listed as ETIAS eligible countries.
Where to Go in France
With France being such as diverse country – there are so many wondering things to see and do. Of course, if this is your first trip to France, then some time in Paris is a must. However, if you’ve had multiple trips to France or you plan to travel to France for an extended holiday, then you’ll be able to choose a few different regions to explore.
You can find out more about the different regions in France in this guide to the French regions This article will lead you to various in-depth articles about each of the regions in France.
If you need help determining where to go in France, the most popular destinations (other than Paris) are as follows:
French Riviera – Located in the South of France, the French Riviera is a picturesque stretch of coastline extending from around Toulon or Saint Tropez to Menton and includes the Principality of Monaco. The French Riviera is a luxury destination known for its beaches and coves and pretty villages.
Loire Valley – Nicknamed ‘The Garden of France,’ the Loire Valley is situated in the country’s center. The region is well known for its historic towns, Château de Chambord, and other impressive Renaissance castles, remarkable gardens, and wines. Also, thanks to its proximity to Paris, it is possible to visit Loire Valley on a day trip from Paris.
Normandy – Normandy is a region in Northern France with coastal towns and WWII sites such as the D Day landing beaches. Other main attractions include the rocky island abbey of Mont Saint-Michel, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen, where Joan of Arc was executed in 1431, and Giverny.
Alsace – This historical and cultural region of Eastern France shares a border with Germany and Switzerland. Alsace is well-known for its wines, picturesque villages, and fairytale Christmas markets, with Colmar and Strasbourg as the main and wonderful cities to explore.
Booking your Flight Tickets or Train Tickets to France
If you are considering other means of transport in France, check out our quick guide to transportation in France.
Flight Tickets to France
Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Paris Orly (ORY) are the main international airports to travel to France.
If you don’t wish to visit Paris, check the list of French International Airports; perhaps you can find flights to an airport closer to your final destination.
Lately, we are using Omio to book our flights. Omio is very easy to use and has different filters – time, number of scales, departure time – so the research and booking process is straightforward.
Train Tickets to France
If you visit Paris or France from Europe, high-speed trains are a good and definitely a more eco-friendly option. Train travel is also a great way to explore the main destinations in France – check out our France by train guide.
To book train rides in France, we recommend Omio. The website is straightforward to use, it is in English, and they propose interesting promotions from time to time.
Planning a Trip to France by Car
Taking a road trip in France is just about one of the coolest things you can ever do. With a car, some good tunes, and the best company, you are set for one of the most memorable adventures in your life.
If you are hitting the French roads for the first time, have a look at our quick guide to driving in France, with information about French roads, requirements, and driving rules.
When we need to rent a car in France, we usually do a sweep of AutoEurope and DiscoverCars to find the best deals. Both sites cover the major and local brands and compare prices for you – Check out our best tips for renting a car in France.
If you are planning a longer trip in France and Europe, consider Auto Europe’s long-term car rentals and short terms lease options. They offer the best rates available for trips of one month or more.
Don’t Skimp on Travel Insurance
It’s important not to skimp on Travel Insurance when you are planning a trip to France. Unfortunately, things do happen when you least expect it, so you really need to be insured. Make sure your insurance policy covers you for things such as theft, loss of luggage, medical issues, and flight cancellation.
SafetyWing is an excellent travel and medical insurance covering people from all over the world. While marketed as ‘Nomad Insurance,’ you can take out a policy for as little as five days. Plus, the great thing about SafetyWing insurance is you can sign up for insurance even if your journey has already started!
Since August 2020, it covers COVID-19 for new policies purchased, and since April 2021, unplanned quarantine is covered, too. Check here to see what is included and get a quote for your trip to France.
Schengen Area Travel Insurance
For those who require a visa to enter France or any other Schengen country, travel insurance covering repatriation and medical expenses is compulsory. The necessary visa to enter Europe will not be issued unless you provide proof of suitable coverage.
What to Do in France
In determining your France itinerary, you’re probably best to start with a list of all the wonderful places you want to visit.
Perhaps you’re a wine lover and want to visit all the best French Wine Regions. In France, wine travel is immensely popular and for good reasons, given the country produces some of the world’s best wines.
Maybe you’re interested in learning more about the history of France, in which case visiting the country’s most beautiful castles should be on your France travel plan. In France, you’ll find castles of all different architectural styles, from medieval castles to Renaissance chateaux surrounded by manicured gardens as well as crumbling castles in ruins.
Of course, France also has some beautiful cities to visit with an enticing mix of scenery, historical sites, architecture, museums, and great food. From the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel, there are also some gorgeous coastal towns in France. In these picturesque little towns, you can enjoy good food, wine, and long walks on stunning beaches.
Need even more inspiration of things to do in France? You can always start with our guide on the best 50 things to do in France. This guide covers the most iconic, popular, beautiful, fun, awe-inspiring things to do in the country. Now all you need to do is tick a few of them off your list.
France Itinerary Planner
Defining an itinerary will be one of the most important tasks while planning a trip to France. As a general rule for your route France trip planning, choose one destination – a city or area – for a 3-5 day trip to France. If you have a week to 10 days, then visit one to three places, ideally in different regions for more variety.
For a 2-week trip, your France travel plan could cover three to four destinations.
Road Trip in France
If you are considering a road trip to France, check out our France Road Trip Planner. With this e-book, we help you explore the best of France by car with the least amount of effort, and it comes with fun road trip ideas, from the wild Atlantic Coast to the pristine lakes in the Alps and the sunny villages in Provence.
Group Package Tours in France
Package tours of France can be a fantastic way to avoid the stress of planning your own trip. They are also great if you would like some company along the way.
Even as independent travelers we like to browse TourRadar – the world’s most trusted online marketplace for multi-day tours where you can browse hundreds of package tours by different operators, and by date. Then filter by your interests and age group and read detailed reviews.
Here is a quick summary of popular tours in France available on Tourradar operated in English.
- Best of Paris & Loire Valley – 7 days
- Best of France Tour (with Loire Valley and Normandy) – 6 days
- Best of Provence – 6 days
- Burgundy & Provence River Cruise – 8 days
There you have it, our ultimate guide on how to plan a trip to France. Whether this is your very first time in France or one of many trips to this wonderful country, this France Trip Planner 2023 will help you plan a trip to France you will never forget.