This is the first of many articles on France and here I thought of jotting down our “First impression of France”..
My first French connection was made in 1998 when I learnt in my history class about the French revolution which witnessed a decade of social and political upheaval and resulted in overthrowing of the monarchy and establishment of secular, democratic republic. In later years, as I read about the great french philosophers, Eiffel tower, beautiful paintings, mesmerising french countryside landscapes, their world famous pastries and brilliant beaches, I knew that I had to visit France to help me soak in all those feelings that I felt as a teenager. Finally, it all came together in august 2018 when I managed eleven days off from my busy office schedule. It was also to be a family holiday with my sister, parents and mother in law joining us throughout the trip.
Paris, the capital is famous for its classical art museums including Louvre, Eiffel tower, Moulin Rouge and many luxury clothing brands but France has so much more to offer than just Paris. Our itinerary focused on Paris, Alsace, Provence and the French riviera and we were one of those 83 million tourists that visit France annually. However, I must say that eleven days is too short a time period to soak in everything and form an opinion. These are our First Impressions of this beautiful country and we hope to get a chance to travel there again.
French landscapes are definitely to die for and is a year round tourist destination. France has a lot of offer both physically and culturally. You can experience mountains, rivers, coastlines, lakes, plains, deserts and great estuaries. At the same time, you can experience varying cultures as France share borders with eight nations. German influence can be seen in the North, Basques & Catalans in the south western areas and Italian influence along the Côte d’Azur. France offers an eclectic and rich mix of different cuisines, wines, drinks, traditions and music along with medieval cities and Alpine villages. All in all, landscapes in France formed a very good first impression.
Handy tip: The whole of France cannot be visited in just one trip so be prudent in planning your trip. Prioritise and decide what you want to do. Visit just the cities? Go on a beach vacation in the south of France? Wine tasting spree in fairy-tale towns near the German border? Or probably a winter ski trip? Choose the season correctly else you might miss out on the important sights like the beautiful lavender fields in Provence, just like we did (more on that in a later blog).
Read Also: Our impression of Hungry and more about it’s capital city Budapest.
Known for its finesse and for the ear soothing pronunciations, french cuisine is top rated throughout the world. As each region adds its own twist to the food, you will find a variety of dishes in France. These dishes are made with the same ingredients, yet taste so different and delicious. The fine wines, delicious cheese recipes, soups, heavenly macaroons, the airy soufflés, Ratatouille and pastries not only let you indulge yourself on your holidays, it also makes you appreciate the hard work of the chefs that goes into it. If you have a sweet tooth, France is the country for you and French delicacies will leave a very good first impression.
Read Also: Our impressions and photos from Scottish Highlands.
The major cities in France boasts of excellent public transportation. The metro train runs every few minutes and the connectivity in Paris will thoroughly impress you. Although crowded most of the time, you can always find a place to stand. Plenty of high speed trains shuttle you across long distances in quick time. However, to visit the smaller towns (eg: Alsace wine route or Provence), you will be needing a car as it gives you complete freedom to explore. Transportation in France formed a very good first impression however do read our tips below.
Handy Tip 1: A word of caution for the first time metro riders – if you hear a buzzer while boarding, you either board immediately or get off. Else, the doors would close and you will be stuck in the middle. Not a pleasant experience on your holiday.
Handy Tip 2: Another thing to watch out for is the pickpockets in crowded trains. Always make sure you keep your valuables safe in Parisian metros.
Even though ranked as one of the rudest countries for travellers, French people are quite friendly, at least in the smaller towns. We found the waiters in Parisian restaurants too rude and unfriendly. However, the people in the Alsatian villages were extremely sweet. Probably the waiters in Paris are sick of load of tourists visiting their cities. What they don’t realise that tourism heavily contributes to the country’s economy. We have a very mixed experience, however we will always remember those really sweet country side folks who made us feel right at home. That was a good first impression for us during our trip in France.
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This little village completely stole my heart. ♥️♥️ . Not for the stunning vineyards and country side but for the most generous and kind people we have ever met. Beyond grateful for these blessed experiences.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #seekmoments #experiences #photooftheday #pictureoftheday #adventureisoutthere #livecolorfully #travel #summervacation #vineyards #europe #provence #provencefrance #france🇫🇷 #France #destinations #wanderlust #worldplaces #worldcaptures #earthpix #indiantravelblogger #travelblogger #instagood #instadaily #magical #sunset #passionpassport #roadtrip #village #countryside #girlslovetravel
It really depends on the city you visit and the experiences you indulge in. In general, Paris is quite expensive when it comes to food and accommodation. A simple coffee would cost around 5euros and its not an out-of-the-world tasting one either. Lunch/Dinner can be quite expensive if you eat at restaurants. We found a 30% increase in cost compared to the food we get here in Dublin. Accommodations near the city centre can be more expensive. Booking hotels outside the city could save some money, although would result in traveling for a longer time. Expenses in France were a bit of a shock for us and I wouldn’t say it formed a good first impression.
Keep an eye on our blog for more articles on France and tips to make your travel amazing!