France holidays

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Thought to have the best wine, food and art, France holidays are all about indulgence. Hit its iconic capital Paris for a dose of romance and spend your days strolling down tree-lined avenues and dining in cosy bistros. While the glamorous towns belonging to the French Riviera are adored for their coastal beauty and warm summers. And winter here is just as popular! The high-altitude thrills are endless in the Alps. Lined with snow-covered resorts, you’ve got access to some of the world’s best slopes.

Things to do

There is so much to look forward to in France. Paris alone has a tonne of attractions, from iconic cabaret shows to impressive architecture and, of course, who could forget the beautiful Eiffel Tower. The almighty Louvre is a landmark in itself. Not to mention it’s home to the most famous painting in the world Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa. And that’s before we even get to Disneyland Paris, where kids will love posing for photos in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Over in its trendy French Riviera resorts, you won’t be short of sunbathing spots. Once ruled by Italy, Nice isn’t just known for its amazing weather, it also makes the most mouth-watering traditional gelato. Once a fishing village, St Tropez is just as popular with a host of famous faces among its crowd of visitors. And the same can be said for Cannes, which rolls out its red carpet every May for its glitzy film festival.

History buffs may prefer visits to Normandy, whose coastline is home to the D-Day landing beaches. Find German bunkers lying forgotten on the sand and a museum featuring an original bomber plane. While the UNESCO-listed Mont Saint-Michel could easily give the Eiffel Tower a run for its money with the number of visitors it gets each year. Over in the French Alps, you’ll find winter sports galore not to mention some of the best runs in Europe at Chamonix! Found at the foot of Mont Blanc, the country’s highest peak, the scenery is spectacular too.

Places to stay

If you’ve come to France for some sightseeing, Paris is just the spot! It may be worth staying close to the centre so you can tick off its biggest attractions, especially if you’re only there for a weekend. Families looking to spend the majority of their holiday in Disneyland Paris may prefer a hotel in Marne-la-Valle, which is around a 20-minute drive from the park.

If laid-back beach days sipping cocktails are more your style, the sun-drenched resorts along the French Riviera won’t disappoint. Michelin-starred cuisine, luxury boutiques and yacht-lined harbours are just some of the elite offerings.

France also has plenty of rural corners in and around its Bordeaux wine region where you’ll find local farmers’ markets, châteaus surrounded by vast countryside and bottles of red produced in some of the world’s oldest fine-wine vineyards.

Those planning on travelling to the Alps in winter have a wide range of resorts to choose from like Val d'Isere, where you’ll find slopes for all abilities. You’ve also got La Plagne which is great for families with its gentle descents, while its neighbour Les Arcs’ lengthy black runs are challenging, even for the most advanced skiers. 

What should I pack?

What you will need to pack all depends on which part of France you are travelling to and when. In terms of clothing the weather will vary from place to place. The north is known for its showers, so a light raincoat will suffice. But come winter you’ll need to wrap up warm with chilly days and near-freezing temperatures at night.

Those heading to the warmer south should carry essentials such as sun cream, sunglasses and a towel. Planning on cramming in plenty of sightseeing? Comfy shoes are a must - it’s not fun trying to tackle a big city with blisters on your feet. A secure bag for you valuables is vital too.

As for its chilly mountain regions, you’ll need plenty of thermals. Ski-proof shoes and trousers are also essential so you can take on the slopes without getting too wet. Not forgetting a warm hat and clothes.

Map of France

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 -5 ℃ - 28 ℃

Summers are warm but winter can get cold, particularly in its snow-covered mountain regions.

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1 - 2 hours

Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) is the country’s main international airport, and is actually ranked the second busiest in Europe after London Heathrow. It is located around 15 miles northeast of Paris.

France is best for...

Foodies: Rich sauces, delicate pastries and famous cheeses -  it’s safe to say French food is the envy of the world! So whether you head to its little-known cafes or Michelin-starred restaurants, lip-smacking flavours are guaranteed. And don’t forget to wash it down with a glass of wine as some of the best bottles in the world are found here.

Culture vultures: France is a must for culture. Art fans could easily spend a full day admiring the Louvre’s many treasures. While architecture enthusiasts will love photographing its iconic religious structures from Notre-Dame to Sainte-Chapelle and the Abbey at Mont Saint-Michel.

Winter sports enthusiasts: The French Alps are home to some of the best slopes in the world with just about every skiing ability covered. But the fun doesn’t stop there! You can also enjoy activities such as snow mountain biking, ice skating, bobsleighing and snowboarding.

Fast facts for France

Language: The language spoken in France is French. 

Currency: The currency used in the Euro.

Local time: France is one hour ahead of GMT/UK time. 

Fly to: Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) is the country’s main airport.

Flight time from UK: The flight time is around 1 - 2 hours.

Tourist Information: Further tourist information can be found at the official website for tourism in France.

Visa / health: Before you travel, please check the latest advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

Holiday destinations related to France:

Getting around France

By hire car: Driving is perfect for exploring France’s rural side, especially if you’re planning on exploring its towering mountain ranges or remote villages. Book your car hire before you travel and collect it when you arrive at the airport.

By train: Both fast and efficient with a number of high-speed lines, travelling by train in France couldn’t be easier - just make sure you validate your ticket.

By bus: Buses are the next best option if you want to visit some of France’s more remote corners but don’t want to drive. We advise always having a timetable handy as services may stop at a certain time or become less frequent.

Events in France

Bastille Day: This important public holiday marks the storming of Bastille (a state prison) in the 1700s and takes place each year on 14th July. Celebrated throughout the country with fireworks and concerts, it’s basically one giant street party.

Cannes Film Festival: Showcasing the best in the world of cinema, this prestigious event attracts everyone from filmmakers to actors and screenwriters. Spread across 12 days and held during May, it’s now considered one of the most important film festivals.

Nice Carnival: Make sure you don’t miss this two-week-long celebration to mark the end of winter. Held annually every February and attracting thousands of spectators, this flamboyant festival has a different theme each year. Floats, music, confetti  and outlandish costumes all help bring the event to life.

France safety and security

For up-to-date advice on travelling to France, please visit the FCDO website.

France weather

Temperature: Average temperatures range from 4 (°C) to early 30s (°C).

When’s the best time to go?

Winters can get cold in France, so if you want to experience warm sun-filled days, Spring is a great time for wandering local markets or sightseeing in its biggest cities. You’ll also find that many major attractions are less crowded, which means you won’t have to endure lengthy queues.

The hottest months of July and August are the best time to hit its southern coast when the weather is ideal for sunbathing. The north also experiences warm days perfect for park picnics. If it’s winter sports you’re after, February is peak season in the Alps with guaranteed snow. March is a great alternative with longer days, fewer crowds and higher temperatures.

Best hotels in France

Popular France holiday resorts