France isn’t just home to the most romantic city in the world. It’s a place of elegance, sophistication, history, and culture. From grandiose cities to small, quiet villages, France is equally for the partier and the thinker, the connoisseur and the novice, the family and the solo traveler. Its diversity alone is one of the reasons why everyone should travel to France at least once in their lifetime.
But we’re going to break down the best reasons we can think of for why France should be next on your list of places to travel to.
So, go ahead and pull up your calendar because, after this, we’re pretty sure you’ll be scheduling a trip to visit France in the near future!
Table of Contents
- Why Is Traveling to France So Popular?
- 1. Food
- 2. Wine
- 3. Activities
- 4. Culture
- 5. Weather
- 6. Easy for English Speakers
- 7. Public Transportation
- 8. Festivals
- 9. Markets
- Different Ways to Travel to France
Why Is Traveling to France So Popular?
Europe is home to some of the most visited countries globally. Still, year after year, France remains the top destination in the entire world, with over 89 million international tourists traveling from around the globe to spend their vacations here.
So, what makes France so special? How do so many people find a reason to travel to France when it should be just another European getaway?
As one of the largest countries in Europe, France offers a diverse landscape brimming with amazing sights, iconic landmarks, and rich history, all topped off by a refined and vibrant culture.
And would you believe that’s only a few of the reasons this place is one-of-a-kind?
This country possesses endless charms, with so many great reasons to visit, but luckily enough, we’ve narrowed it down for you to the top nine reasons you shouldn’t wait to book your next flight to France!
If your tastebuds have a habit of leading you to your next travel destination, they’ll have no trouble leading the way to France—a country known for great food and fine dining experiences.
As the place where the Michelin stars rating originated, it proudly boasts an array of fine cuisine for any food lover to enjoy.
It’s no surprise France leads the world in the most Michelin star-rated restaurants, with 628 restaurants and 29 three-Michelin-star restaurants.
However, that isn’t to say French cuisine is solely about fine dining experiences.
If you live for the simpler things in life, France has plenty to offer there, with charming cafes that serve quiches, pastries, and sandwiches with mouthwatering aromas that’ll entice you to come inside and grab a bite.
So many French staples exist that we couldn’t possibly name them all without making this entire post about food. However, if the reason you’re traveling to France is for the food, you can’t possibly leave the country without sampling some of its most notable cuisines.
Cheese is an integral part of French cuisine, and if you weren’t aware of its culinary importance before, prepare yourself for a delightful experience.
Each region of France has its own specialty of cheese, ensuring you’re in for a tasty treat wherever your travels lead.
You may already be familiar with cheeses like Brie and Munster. However, the French passion for cheese goes far beyond these well-known classics, making it the perfect setting to sink your teeth into some of the most flavorful cheeses of your life: the famous Camembert de Normandie, the richly intense Comté cheeses, and one of the best blue cheeses in the world, Roquefort.
Most restaurants serve cheese as its own course between the main and dessert courses, but there’s also nothing more French than enjoying a simple picnic of cheese, bread, and wine in a grassy park under a blue sky.
Speaking of bread, walk the cobbled streets of any French city or village, and your nose will recognize the distinct scents of baking bread. Just imagining it is making our mouths water.
Many countries have their own versions of the most popular types of French bread. But, what makes the bread in France unique? That would be what’s known as the Bread Decree, a 1993 law that stated French bread could only be made with four ingredients:
Because additives can’t be used, French dough is fermented longer, allowing it to develop richer flavors and textures.
This is why there’s no comparison between bread in the US and the classic tastes of brioche, baguettes, and croissants that you’ll find in France. So, make it a point to nab a croissant or a bread roll and dig in!
Soup likely isn’t first on your list of foods to try or your reasons for traveling to France in the first place. However, if that’s the case, consider this your call to change that.
As one of the most classic French dishes, soups come with a variety of ingredients, textures, and seasonings.
Treat yourself to a luxuriously flavored and vibrantly colored bouillabaisse—made with the venomous red scorpionfish. Additionally, you can make your meal spicy with a thick and creamy bisque seasoned to perfection. Or, keep it simple with the soup that got its start as a modest peasant dish, Soupe à l’oignon, or French Onion soup.
When in France, do as the French do, and treat yourself to a bit of warm and hearty soup.
French pastries and desserts are classic and varied but distinctly different from those commonly found on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.
The reason is that French sweets are generally made using creams, custards, and fruits.
You’ll find these distinctive flavor profiles in staple desserts like Créme Brûlée with its rich custard base, Parfaits with their frozen and custard-like cream, and Macaron cookies which resemble mini sandwiches—albeit cute, dainty sandwiches stuffed with meringue cream.
And as far as French pastries go, they tend to use a lot more butter, which is how they get that perfect, flaky texture for treats like éclairs.
These French staples are the perfect accompaniment to watching the sunrise over the Paris skyline.
Stemming from years of tradition, wine plays an enormous role in French life, and even the process of winemaking is something of an art form.
We considered including wine in the culture section for our breakdown of the reasons to visit France, but really, not listing wine as its own reason would be a crime in itself—almost as bad as traveling to this beautiful country and not trying it!
Unlike wine in America, which is heavily produced in the fairly warm climate of California, most French wine is produced in cooler regions. These places include Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Champagne to name a few.
From these names, you might have guessed another key difference, mainly that French wines are named after the region where they’re produced.
Because of the cooler climates of these regions, French wine has three characteristics that make it stand out against American wines:
- Higher acidity
- Lower percentage of alcohol
These qualities help them pair much better with food and make them easier to consume.
And hey, the lower alcohol content means you might just be able to avoid the headache that comes with drinking American-produced wines!
If you’re hoping to take in the wine scene in France, here are some of the most famous and beloved wine spots.
Burgundy is an idyllic region in France that contains some of the best vineyards in the world. It’s the perfect place to do a wine tasting, and try out some of the most stellar white and red wines you’ll have in your life. The medieval-like towns also make you feel like you’ve stepped straight into a legend from King Arthur.
While not exactly a region, this port city sits on the Garonne River and just so happens to be known as the Wine Capital of the World. That cements it among our many reasons to travel to this stunning location in France. Take a guided tour and brush up on your wine history while learning all about the world-famous red wines that are made here.
The fact you can do all that while enjoying extensive vineyards, stunning chateaux, and beautiful cathedrals is icing on the cake—or should we say meringue on the Macarons.
This valley spans over 170 miles and boasts France’s longest wine route. The landscapes along this route are breathtaking and dotted with fairy-tale-like castles and charming French villages. It’s even been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site! With over a thousand vineyards open to the public, you can’t miss the opportunity to spend time in this valley.
When it comes to finding things to do, France has almost too many options and too many reasons to travel there.
Paris is synonymous with images of France, similar to the way New York City dominates foreigners’ ideas of America. And like New York City, Paris definitely has its share of amazing things to do and see, from walking along the Seine River to exploring the city’s parks and gardens like that of Versaille or even enjoying the familiar magic of Disney at Disneyland Paris.
But if you’re strapped for ideas beyond a quick visit to Paris, don’t worry. We’re here to help expand your horizons beyond a simple tour of the Eiffel Tower or a scenic walk through Luxembourg Gardens.
Visit national parks all over the country. Verdon Natural Regional Park is home to the famous Verdon Gorge, while Cevennes National Park stands as a UNESCO-protected area dotted with beautiful local villages and surrounded by stunning mountainscapes.
Heading to the French Alps will land you in a place where the lifts are serviced 365 days a year. Enjoy all kinds of winter sports like skiing and snowboarding at some of France’s best ski resorts. Places like Courchevel are famous while Chamonix Mont Blanc holds the impressive distinction of being the highest peak in western Europe.
Of course, one can’t forget the beaches in France either! You’ll find plenty of reasons to travel to the sandy shores of France outside of the French Riviera.
Étretat Beach in Normandy is famous for its chalk cliffs. It was popular with impressionist painters in the past and now popular with surfers hoping to catch great waves. Or venture to Pointe De Saint-Hernot in Brittany to explore the hidden coves and sea caves by kayak or take in the picturesque coast by boat.
And for some great family-themed amusements outside of Disney, you can try all sorts of amazing parks located around France.
Puy de Fou – A historical theme park with epic shows that feature sword fighting, Roman combat, Viking attacks, and more.
Futurescope – A park based on multimedia and cinematography with cinema shows offered in 3D and 4D.
Zoo de Cerza – A zoo with a safari train that takes you around the park, a 3D cinema experience, and two hiking trails to discover the zoo’s residents for yourself.
Les Machines de l’Île – Also known as Machines of the Isle of Nantes, this shipyard turned massive art project features exhibits with amazing works of machinery, like a giant elephant that can carry spectators.
French culture is incomparable to any other.
Extensive art museums showcase some of the world’s most famous paintings.
The city of Paris is quintessential to the word fashion.
And the country’s history is rife with triumphs and tragedies.
It’s been the birthplace of artistic movements, innovative leaps in fashion, and world-altering events. So, it’s no surprise this ranks as a top reason people travel to France from the world over to experience it all firsthand.
France is a paradise for artists and creative minds. The country pays homage to art in big and small ways, and we can’t ignore that this is one major reason to visit Paris.
You can study the history engraved into the pillars of the Arc de Triomphe, regard feats of gothic architecture in cathedrals like Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle, and visit one of the top museums in the world housed beneath the iconic Louvre Pyramid.
The outside of the Louvre museum is captivating enough, but inside, it holds some of the world’s most well-known artworks including the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, and the Winged Victory of Samothrace—just to name a few.
Now with that plug for Paris out of the way, there are so many great places to appreciate art outside the heart of France.
If you’re in the Brittany region, the Arts Museum of Nantes awaits, having just reopened in 2017 after extensive renovations. It boasts a collection of works from as far back as the 13th century up to the modern era.
Meanwhile, north of Paris, you can visit Monet’s Garden in Giverny and see for yourself the rural life that inspired many of his famed impressionist paintings.
Or follow in the footsteps of renowned painters like Van Gogh and Renoir and travel south to the French region of Provence. Here, you can take in the hill-top villages in Gordes or the picturesque views of L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, also known as the Venice of Provence.
French culture and fashion go hand-in-hand.
Perhaps Coco Chanel said it best: “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
Surely words to live by in France, and nowhere more so than Paris, considered one of the big four of the world’s fashion capitals.
The largest fashion shows are held in Paris, including over 100 shows held during Paris fashion week, which takes place twice a year in early spring and fall.
Paris has been at the center of global fashion trends since the 17th century, playing a significant role in the country’s economy and society. As the place that birthed such brand names as Chanel, Yves Saint-Laurent, Louis Vitton, and so many more, it’s the perfect reason for any fashion lover or hopeful designer to visit Paris.
To explore the depths of French fashion history, the Museum of Fashion and Textiles inside the Louvre boasts textiles from the 7th century to collections from modern brands like Christian Dior. Additionally, the Palais Galliera is a great place to view custom, one-of-a-kind pieces you won’t see anywhere else!
And for some of the best shopping, head on over to the Le Marais district to hunt for hidden treasures in thrift and second-hand stores. Find chic styles on famous streets like Boulevard Saint Germain, Rue de Rivoli, and Les Halles. For the ultimate luxury brand shopping destination, be sure to make your way to Galerie LaFayette.
France is home to over 40 world heritage sites, and you’re probably already familiar with some in and around Paris, like the Eiffel Tower, built to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the French Revolution, and the Palace of Versailles, a great work of art that’s also recognized for its roles in the French Revolution and the First World War.
But there are plenty more awe-inspiring sites full of history scattered throughout the country to help make your trip truly memorable.
These are just a few of France’s incredible, historical sites. However, the country has so much to offer, the hardest part may be choosing which places to visit first!
What started as a church atop a hill in the 8th century eventually grew into a small town. Now, it’s become a major destination for religious pilgrimages and a popular spot for tourists. On some days with a particularly high tide, the city appears to float on the sea!
You might not think you’d find Roman ruins in the south of France. But if you travel down to Nimes, you’ll find one of the largest and most well-preserved arenas from the Roman era. The public amphitheater that once drew crowds of thousands for gladiator fights now holds reenactments of that same history in the present day.
Pont du Gard
Outside of Nimes, you can take in the architectural majesty of this three-tiered aqueduct bridge. Also a Roman construction, it was designed to bring in water to the city of Nimes, and it remains an astounding and popular site to this day!
You might be scratching your head at why we have weather on this list of top nine reasons to travel to France, but the optimal weather actually makes this country a great destination to visit year-round.
We already mentioned France is a large country by European standards, and its varied landscape means it’s home to several different climates:
- Mediterranean – mostly southern France
- Continental – Paris and central France
- Oceanic – mostly western France
The Mediterranean climate generally has mild winters and hot summers, making the latter perfect to enjoy the beautiful beaches dotting the French Riviera in Nice, Cannes, Toulon, and all the coastal towns in between.
The continental climate has summers that vary from warm to hot, colder winters than you’ll see in the south, and more rainfall as well. You’ll find spring and fall are the most pleasant times of year to visit, and as an added bonus, you’ll skip the surge of visitors that come to enjoy their summer vacations.
Finally, the oceanic climate has less varying weather than the other two, with both temperate winters and summers. Just be prepared for the ample rainfall this brings in western France!
6. Easy for English Speakers
As the most visited country in the world, France hosts visitors from all over. For that reason, many of its most popular cities and attractions try to accommodate tourists in small but meaningful ways.
English is used in the public metro systems. At major metro stops for tourist attractions, caution reminders and recordings include English announcements.
Restaurants post their menus outside, and in larger cities like Paris, most include an English version for tourists.
There are tourist and information centers in most major cities and places like amusement parks and major attractions commonly have signage and information in English.
You don’t need to know French to get around or enjoy all of the wonderful things France has to offer.
That being said, we can’t forget to mention one of the best travel tips to help you navigate your way abroad: brush up on a few basics of the language or download a language translation app.
You’ll be happy you did as you translate announcements, decipher signage, and interact with the lovely French people, especially as you make your way through the less touristy parts of the country!
7. Public Transportation
When you’re visiting a country, being able to get around easily and safely is key, which is why we’ve included public transportation as one of our top reasons to travel to France.
If you’re traveling around major cities like Paris, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Rennes, and Toulouse, they all offer metro systems similar to those in New York City and Chicago, though some would argue they’re much better. You’ll have no trouble getting around quickly or making your way to popular spots around the city using the metro system.
After reopening its tram network about 20 years ago, France now leads the world in tram travel, and it’s another efficient way to travel within the city.
Of course, you can take a bus as well, from rural neighborhoods to more populated urban areas, or at night after the metro system closes.
All of these options are not only clean and simple but also highly affordable, so you won’t have to break the bank just to get around. It might even end up being one of the cheaper parts of your journey!
And if you’re thinking of road tripping around the country, France’s motorways, aka autoroutes, are some of the best in the world to drive on! They’re also pretty extensive, so you can drive all over this beautiful country with no end to the amazing views in sight!
Lively may not be the first word that comes to mind to describe French people, but it’s definitely apt!
When it comes to celebrations, the French can be as loud, boisterous, and fun as anyone else, and their festivals prove it.
You might have heard of some of France’s world-renowned festivals before like the Cannes Film Festival, the Tour De France, and Bastille Day. But there’s so much more to discover.
If you’re into kites and colorful shows, you can’t miss the Berck Sur Mer Kite Festival, where you can watch kites of all shapes and sizes soar through the sky. They also hold the International Kite Championships of the World here at the festival every two years. The festival always ends in a nighttime fireworks display, and it’s a fun event for all ages.
During the Menton Lemon Festival, they celebrate, you guessed it: citruses. But, they do it in the coolest and craziest of ways possible.
They build floats and sculptures made of lemons and oranges to take part in a parade. Hundreds of professionals band together to create displays of hundreds of thousands of pounds of citrus fruits for a crazy fun spectacle.
From the annual themed Nice Carnival, one of the largest in the world, to the Chorégies d’Orange, which is the oldest festival in France and perfect for lovers of classical music and opera, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
These festivals just scratch the surface of what France has to offer, and you don’t have to be a film buff, into sports, or crazy about history to enjoy the ways these events bring people together in celebration of some of the simplest joys of life.
If you love shopping through aisles of fresh produce or sifting through a colorful collection of trinkets, then French markets are for you.
Unlike in the US and other countries where farmers’ markets have recently regained their popularity, French markets are an old tradition that never went out of style.
Most towns and cities in France have some form of a market, and you’ll find a mix of permanent setups with designated stalls and weekly or monthly pop-up markets that invite more specialized products like organic foods, specialties from other regions, and much more.
Some markets have even garnered a reputation for their specialties, like the flower market in Nice and the wine markets in Bordeaux.
The French markets are a great way to sample some of the country’s longstanding traditions and rich culture.
Different Ways to Travel to France
Excited about a trip to France? You should be!
Once you arrive, traveling around France is super easy, with options ranging from public transport to cross-country trains and road-tripping in a rental.
The only thing you have to worry about is figuring out the best way to get to France.
But wait, we’ve got you covered there too!
Getting to France from the US means you’ll be looking for flights across the Atlantic, and with Next Vacay, you’re guaranteed to receive all the best deals to cities all over Europe. That includes incredible cities like Paris, Nice, and Marseille.
It takes less than five minutes to sign up with your email and choose your home airport. Then you can sit back and let Next Vacay do the rest—send amazing deals to your inbox and help you save hundreds on flights to France.
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