What should first-time visitors to France know?

If you’re planning a trip to France soon for your first French holiday, here are some of my must-know France tips. Let’s get started with my ideas for going to France!

1. The French are meticulous.

Life isn’t always about cramming as much into the day as possible, so you may be caught off guard by how quickly things move during the summer months. Not every individual in the world works at a sluggish pace, but you’ll notice French people sitting down to leisurely meals and not rushing to get on with their day. The French culture places a higher value on leisure. The working day is generally shorter than what you’re used to, and it’s also closed at lunchtime and on Sundays. Learn a few essential French phrases. Outside of the hotel and tourism industries, the majority of French people do not speak English (even more true in rural areas). No one expects tourists to communicate even conversational French, but learning a few basic phrases will go a long way toward establishing good rapport with locals and showing respect for French customs.

2. Learn a few useful French words.

Outside of the hospitality and tourism industries, the majority of French individuals do not speak English (even more so in smaller communities). As I constantly state, no one expects visitors to converse even modest amounts of French, but learning a few basic phrases will go a long way toward establishing good rapport.

At the very least, learn bonjour, merci, s’il vous plait, and au revoir. Use them frequently, at least know how to say hello and good-bye in French. Don’t be concerned about your accent. What matters is the effort you put in.

3. Say bonjour before anything else. 

This is one of my most crucial travel suggestions for France. Keep bonjour on the tip of your tongue after you’ve mastered your French phrases. This little hello is a magic word, and it must be said first during any contact with another person. Instead of approaching someone with your food order or approaching someone and asking a question, say bonjour first.

4. Avoid becoming a pickpocket’s target.

Pickpockets and con artists are common in Paris and other French cities, as they are throughout the world. Around major tourist destinations like the Louvre, along the Champs-Élysées, Notre Dame, Sacré-Cœur, and Eiffel Tower in Paris, be especially wary.

It’s easy to be enthralled by the scenery, but don’t allow anyone approach you attempting to persuade you to sign a petition, tie a bracelet on your wrist, or offer you a ring they “found” on the ground. They’re all scams!

Also, do not leave your phone on a table or chair in a cafe or restaurant even if it is only a few inches away from your hand. Thieves are quick, and they’re experts at distracting you so that you don’t notice until it’s too late! Pacsafe is my favorite brand of anti-theft backpacks, purses, and other items. I’ve used their products all over the world for years and never been disappointed.

5. Leave big metropolises.

 Visit the towns, markets, and hamlets that are usually passed by when visiting country areas. There are a few easy day trips from Paris, but my favorite is le Mont St-Michel. If you have a few days off, why not rent an automobile and go on a fantastic road trip? Cruising down the canals of France was one of my favorite holiday activities. There’s something for everyone here, so don’t be hesitant to branch out!

6.The French are nice and courteous.

Contrary to what you may have been told, the French are not hostile monsters who despise Americans! You may certainly encounter someone on a bad day, but most of the French are pleasant and ready to assist a lost traveler.

However, don’t approach someone in English or without saying bonjour, as previously said. Cultural differences, a lack of understanding of French customs, and unrealistic expectations can all contribute to tourists having a negative experience in France. Small talk isn’t very popular among the French, which I address in this article.

7. There’s no dress code. 

Yes, sneakers and short pants are common apparel for the French. No, not everyone is a fashionista. Wear whatever you’re comfortable and confident in when out and about. no one is judging you behind your appearance choices. You’ll see individuals in a variety of clothing while out and about. (Just avoid sweatpants in public unless you’re working out, that’s all.)

If you want to fit in better and seem more French, consider wearing casual sneakers instead of sports shoes, toned hues, and somewhat formal attire than what you’d wear at home. If desired, add a stylish scarf, belt, or coat to an informal ensemble. There is no restriction on this matter. My favorite t-shirt for travel and multiway travel clothing (both are produced responsibly).

In the end, you’re a tourist; there’s nothing wrong with it. Of course, don’t wear flip flops to the opera, but wearing comfortable clothing is generally acceptable.

8. The cuisine and wine will be a highlight of your trip, so sample everything you can.

This may be the most delicious of France’s top travel recommendations. From the wine to cheese to bread and pastries to all kinds of local specialties, France is a foodie’s paradise. Visit the farmers’ markets, restaurants that purchase locally produced products, specialist stores, and anything else that catches your attention. The strawberries and cherries in the spring or early summer are incredible!

9. The emergency phone number is 112. 

In Europe, 112 is the same as 911, so make a mental note of it. It works on a cell phone, landline, and public payphone and is available throughout much of the continent. For urgent medical care in France, you’d dial 15; for the police, 17; and for the fire department, 18.

10. Experience a positive, judgment-free experience in France and all things French.

It can be tempting to disregard cultural differences as stupid or wrong, but I understand it might be a fast reaction. If these ideas enter your mind — we’re only human, after all — keep them to yourself and don’t loudly express them in earshot of others. Yes, I’ve heard people do exactly that many times over.

It really doesn’t matter whether or not we feel something is logical; France is a different case, so try to keep an open mind and go with the flow. nA bonus tip: Choose a decent place to stay as a way to make your journey less stressful. Some people are Team Hotel, while others are Team Apartment Rental. Whatever you pick and no matter how much money you have, make sure it’s centrally located, reputable, and equipped for your requirements.It’s just not worth it. The last thing you need on your first visit to France is to be taken advantage of by a fraudster, have accommodations that are an hour train ride from all of the tourist sites, or stay in a place on the ninth floor without air conditioning in August.

The website for all your resort apartment rental needs is Plum Guide. They only feature the top 3% of their offerings, which are all thoroughly vetted for quality, cleanliness, and location. Consider it a boutique Airbnb alternative if you want an exceptional trip with attentive customer service. Properties in Paris and throughout France and Europe are available through Plum Guide.

Author: Michaela Manuel

Michaela is a traveler at heart. She loves to explore new places and learn about different cultures. Her travel blog is a place for her to share her experiences and tips with other travelers. She hopes to inspire others to explore the world and see all that it has to offer.

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