There’s More to France than Paris
The Eiffel Tower, fashion and shopping, cafés made specifically for people watching, and little baguettes may be the first things many people think when they hear the word France. However, there are so many other points of interest and things to experience outside of the capital. Sure Paris may be the heart of France
and the rest of the country is its veins, but without the veins the heart would not be able to pump. Ever thought of that? Here’s why you need to visit France, not just Paris.
Travel France: Passport and Visa Requirements
are required for travel to France. For American travelers, your valid passport should be undamaged, unexpired, and have at least 180 days of validity past the last day of your trip. In other words, your passport should be valid for 6 months AFTER you get home from your trip. This is often called the ‘six-month passport validity rule’ and is enforced by most nations around the world. As for visa requirements, U.S. travelers will NOT need a visa for travel to France. France is part of the Schengen
Area which allows for visa free travel for up to 90 days. Travelers that need to stay longer, are students, or are conducting business will need to apply for the appropriate visa.
A brief history of France
France’s long history provides beautiful castles, ruins, architecture, and culture for visitors to immerse themselves in. It’s history dates back to 40,000 B.C., and continues to thrive when Julius Caesar who conquered territory in 51 B.C and into the Roman era which influenced much of their history. Today Roman ruins can be found near Nimes and scattered throughout the country side. The French Revolution and World War II has left its footprints behind across France as well which is a point of interest for any history buff.
Places you must see in France
1.) The D-Day beaches in Normandy:
In the northern region of France visitors can walk up and down the beaches and learn about the all about the WWII allied forces and D-Day landings in various museums and memorials. Visitors can still see some of what that era was like by the preserved old bunkers and fortifications.
2.) The Palace of Versailles:
Located very close to Paris sits one of the largest castles in the world, protected and recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee is the Palace of Versailles. This was the palace of the French kings build by Louis XIV during the French Revolution in 1789. Here visitors can marvel at its beauty in its magnificent garden that is the largest in Europe, or enter and see why it is such an important piece of the French’s history. Visitors cannot miss seeing the famous Hall of Mirrors and the Grand Apartment of King Louis XIV which is also known as the Apartment of Planets and its ceiling mural out of this world.
3.) Go to the French Alps and go skiing:
Not all noteworthy sites in France surround its rich history. If visitors are looking for a good time visit the best ski slopes in Europe! There are also several hostels along the way which make for an affordable trip. You’ll also find some of the most gorgeous countryside on Earth. Be sure to wander far from the cities and you may find yourself your very own castle hidden amongst the small Franch towns.
Events you can’t miss in France
As a world renounced center for being forward in fashion, wine, cuisine, and nearly everything fancy France offers many local festivals year round to celebrate these important factors to their culture. However, there are a few events that visitors can’t miss, so plan your trip accordingly!
1.) Bastille Day:
Perhaps you want to get an authentic taste of France and simply make a local. In this case the celebration of the uprising of modern France is the event for you! Bastille Day, or La Fête de la Bastille
, celebrates the anniversary of the 1789 storming of the Bastille Prison which was one of the major events leading up to the French Revolution. This is celebrated all of the country, but the best celebration can be found the center of Paris with festivities including large scale parades by day and the best firework show at night over the picturesque city of Paris. The night before, however is worth attending seeing as there is a large masked ball that is held at the Place de la Bastille.
2.) The Tour de France:
This world famous event is great for both cyclists and spectators seeing as its course changes each year throughout France which is a fantastic way to see underrated cities in France such as Dinan, in Brittany which is a medieval town. Here the crowds are so welcoming and excited for the events that are to take place also very patriotic. It’s a great way to get a new perspective on France.
3.) Mardi Gras:
In France this is better known as ‘Fat Tuesday
’, and is celebrated sometime between February and March depending when Easter falls that year. The place to be is along the French Riviera to see all the culture and action. It is in Nice, however, that locals celebrate with a large parade where they wear big colorful masks and end the celebration with a grand firework display, concerts and street theatre. There are many ways and cities in which to celebrate this event which makes France a perfect place to be at this time!