My boyfriend R always teases me that I’m such an aspiring French woman. I love French geography, I love French culture, I love French food, I love the French language– basically R gets a headache every time I get into this French sensation that happens randomly when I get across something French-ish.
France has a long written history and to read up on its history and cultural changes are definitely recommended before your travel. I used to take France for granted but once I made an effort to study more about it, I got to appreciate the country more beyond its sights and sounds.
Some Tips on Visiting France:
- Applying for a Schengen visa through the French embassy is actually the easiest route to take because the process is pretty straightforward. The embassy also doesn’t ask for more documents outside the usual set, and you can always call the embassy should you need assistance.
- Generally, to stay in Paris can be expensive. However there are more affordable options like the Le Marais (e.g. Hotel Le Marais) and Malakoff (e.g. Séjours and Affaires Paris) areas where you still get to enjoy the best of French culture and cuisine without having to break your bank.
- My favorite thing to do while in France is going for picnics! Imagine enjoying the Eiffel, the River Seine, the Loire River, and the sight of kids playing in the park as you enjoy French cheeses, meats and wine! I usually just buy from the grocery, lay out everything on a mat that I bring everywhere I go, and end up having lunch for 2-3 hours. The best part? Seeing everything go by as you let time run on its own.
- Download the Paris Metro app. This will save you loads of time in trying to find the best subway and train routes.
- Why I want to go back: local French cheese and wine that do not make their way out of France. Plus, every waking opportunity that allows me to practice my rudimentary French.
- As with any country in the world: do not quickly assume. Make sense of the why behind the what first and while you’re at it, get lost and find yourself. Happy travels! 🙂
P.S. The keys to sustainable travels are universal: take public transportation | stay in accommodations where cooking is allowed (private or shared, it doesn’t matter) | walk as much as you can | wake up early | stay away from guidebooks | immerse yourself in local language, culture and history | visit local cafés | know that the possibilities are endless | listen to your gut ❤