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France xTend Travel Advice

For winos, artistes, and everything in between!

France — The Basics

A land of love. A perfect place for a European honeymoon. The wine flows, and the delicious food pairs well with it. It is a shame that many have gone their entire lives without visiting the most romantic of European destinations. But alas,  c’est la vie.  For those of us who still have the chance, what’s the delay to travel to Paris France?

Sights and Attractions

A romantic European honeymoon isn’t the only reason to come to France! In the capital alone, there is so much to take in. The Eiffel Tower and the Louvre are probably the most popular, but there are plenty of other things to see when you travel to Paris France.

The  Arc de Triomphe  stands gallantly over the northwest part of the city. This grand arc was built to commemorate the sacrifices of those in the revolution and Napoleonic wars. Such a triumphal monument certainly isn’t easy to miss. Adorned with incredibly detailed, larger-than-life engravings, the art is a testament of a centuries-old zeitgeist that can still be witnessed to this day.

No proper European destinations are lacking towering religious structures! The  Sacre-Coeur , completed in 1914, is a massive white basilica sitting atop a hill, looking over the city below. The interior is carefully adorned with rich, vivid depictions of Jesus Christ, angels, and other biblical scenes and figures. You don’t need to be catholic to agree that the church has excellent taste in design!

Before going any further, it is vital to understand France’s administrative structure. States/provinces and counties? Too easy. Too overplayed. The closest approximation to a US state would be a “region.” This is an actual administrative term. Somewhat analogous to a county is a department. Each region is made up of a number of departments.

Departments are further divided into arrondissements, which are kind of like districts. Arrondissements are further divided into cantons and communes. Some metropolitan areas have their own terminology, as well. Knowing this, you can at least have a general idea of scale when you hear people using these terms. French people will probably roll their eyes if you say that you went to the “state” of Alsace.

In the southwest, the  Department of Ariege  is an extremely rural area known for its castles, farms, and sprawling forests. Backpackers and hikers also delight in exciting treks up the Pyrenees Mountains!

Cotes-d’Armor  is a charming department on the coast of the region of  Brittany . For lovers of languages, Brittany is home to the Celtic Breton language. Many signs can be found in both French and Breton in this region. If you’re lucky enough, you may even hear this rare, unique language spoken on the streets! It sounds nothing like French, so you should be able to pick it out!

France is one of the best European destinations for wine and cheese connoisseurs. Several vineyards can be found across the whole country. Numerous regions and departments have their own unique varieties of grapes and wine. Many of the wines you find in the grocery store are named after these regions. Don’t be fooled. Most budget wine that you find overseas is but a cheap approximation. Nothing compares to the real thing, so get your fill while you’re there.

France Travel Tips

France Currency Considerations

France uses the Euro. As this currency is so widespread, it is incredibly convenient to have! In order to get Euros, you have to exchange your local money.  Exchanging your currency  in your home country is the best way to get the fairest rates.

An online service is a great way to meet your France currency needs. You’ll get a great exchange rate, and it’s incredibly convenient. You don’t want to wait until you go to France to exchange your money. The exchange rate can be absolutely lousy in most tourist destinations.

When you exchange currency, you’re basically paying for your own money in a different form. Who wants to pay a ton for their own money? When you get a bad rate, your money is losing its value. Your money should be spent on cheese, pastries, and museums. It shouldn’t be wasted on a rip-off exchange rate!

You want to have some designated spots for your cash at all times. Furthermore, don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket. It may be what you’re used to, but it’s extremely easy to get pickpocketed that way. Always keep an extra reserve hidden somewhere in case you lose your wallet or purse. Nothing is worse than losing all of your cash at once! As long as you keep an eye on your money and nowhere it is at all times, you needn’t worry too much.

Lodging

Hotels, hostels, and homestays can be found all throughout France. If you’re trying to save money, don’t stay in the huge city centers. Shop around and plan your trip ahead of time. Book homestays in advance. Do some searches to uncover the cheapest hotels and hostels. Dig deep for those delectable deals. You don’t want to go broke on your adventure. A little effort now can save you hundreds down the road.

Flights and Transportation

International airports can be found all around France. Book a flight to whichever airport will give you a good deal and is close to your desired destinations. The great thing about Europe is the incredible transportation infrastructure.

Buses, metros, and railways are available all across the country. They’re affordable, cheap, and punctual. Unless you’re trying to hit the top of Mount Blanc, you should be able to find some wheels or rails to your destination.

Language

Parles-Vous Francais? The French sure do! The national language of France is… You guessed it — French! A number of small, regional languages are spoken as well. About 39 percent of French people can speak English. Usually, tourists will not have a hard time getting by in English. If you’re having trouble, don’t slowly and loudly shout English phrases at the poor Frenchman trying to help you out. You’ll look like a Neanderthal.

Come to think of it, that’s just an insult to Neanderthals! Don’t reinforce stereotypes about English speaking visitors. People are wary enough when they hear a group of English speakers approaching. Don’t be rude to them.

Instead of looking like an entitled jerk, use a translation app. Bring up some pictures. If you’re going to learn some words beforehand, listen to how they’re pronounced. The reason English is so tricky to spell is because of the Norman French invasions of England. English spelling is the kindergarten to French spelling’s Ph.D. It’s not intuitive. It’s not easy. No one will understand you if you try to pronounce it as it appears.

France: Rules and Guidelines

Don’t check your phone while talking to people. It’s rude enough where you’re from, but it’s exceptionally rude in France. It shows that the listener’s focus is elsewhere. That hurts. Don’t make French people feel like their thoughts don’t matter. Be a good listener. Look them in the eye. Nod. Listen. Speak when appropriate, and  don’t glance at that phone.  No matter how sneaky you think you are, they are sure to notice.

If you’re invited somewhere, bring a little gift or treat. It’s a kind gesture. Think of it as reciprocation for the generosity of their invite.

Don’t be snotty or rude to anyone. Waiters work hard, so you shouldn’t snap your fingers at them or shout at them. That’s a great way to get a sneeze-burger anywhere.

Realize that you’re a guest in their country, and their language is French. Don’t think that you’re better than someone because they don’t speak English. Appreciate the fact that anyone in that country went through the effort to learn English at all. It’s not something to take for granted.

Key Points

You can travel to Paris France, but make sure you don’t miss the countryside! You can go there for an incredible European honeymoon, but France is just as fun for the single folks! France has what you’re looking for, no matter your taste. If you wish to sample the local food and drink, make sure tour France currency needs are met before you come over. You can’t just buy that delectable Burgundy with dollars or pounds. Make sure you drink some water with that wine! You’ll be bummed enough when you eventually have to leave this picturesque fantasy-land. You don’t want to be hungover for that long flight home!

www.xTendTravel.com

At xTend Travel, we have the knowledge and expertise of a seasoned international commuter and the passion of an innovative tourist. We use this know-how to provide you with travel currency for your journey and exclusive travel guidance.

The result is a rare balance in the travel industry — a customer focused company that supports and inspires world exploration.





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