Is a visit to France in your future? Sometimes referred to as l’Hexagone due to the shape of the country, we wanted to share with you some helpful and fun tips to make your visit to France a special one, and not a tiring trip through the typical tourist traps. After your return, we expect a visit to Le Manhattan Bistro to hear all about it! (and pics, or it didn’t happen!)
First, in case you didn’t know, Europe and the United States are similar in size, and France and Texas are similar in size. However, driving through France is very different than driving through Texas.
In terms of best days and times to book airfare, there seems to be an ongoing debate which revolves around numerous studies, type of travel, time of year, and sometimes, how well an author can write a compelling article. We suggest checking out the helpful (but sometimes conflicting) tips from Travel & Leisure and Lifehacker, respectively. Both offer valuable information, but ultimately, your individual situation, needs, and requests will drive you to the “right” answers.
If you want the best time to travel in terms of favorable pricing, Frommers recommends April through June or September through November, with the exception of October during even-numbered years, as there is a big auto show in Paris, which causes travel prices to soar. Avoid summer months, when airfare to France tends to be highest and crowds tend to be the worst, especially since Bastille Day is celebrated annually on July 14th. May tends to be the driest month. Bear in mind that Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, and sees 30+ million visitors per year, so it is always crowded.
Speaking of “The City Of Lights,” if you haven’t heard about the Paris Pass, get familiar with it here, as it includes varying levels of museum admissions and transportation, and can save you a lot of money. There are even some deals from time to time. Also, be aware there is a Paris Pass and a Paris Museum Pass.
And speaking of l’argent (money), France uses The Euro, but some countries in Europe have their own currencies. It is also important to understand exchange rates, money machines, and bills vs. coins. Luckily, we found this handy guide for you.
What if you want to visit some of the lesser-known but equally-exquisite attractions in France? Passport Symphony lists a lucky list of thirteen “hidden gems” in France for those who want to explore beyond the beaten track:
- Grand Site des Deux Caps
- Loire Valley
- Puy de Dôme
- Villefranche sur-Mer
French cuisine is measured by many as the best food in the world, and of course, Le Manhattan Bistro agrees! But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some losers when it comes to eating in France; like anywhere, there are establishments that claim to serve “homemade” or “authentic” culinary creations, but aren’t really remaining true to those claims. Check out this article to avoid common pitfalls when dining in one of the most amazing culinary cultures on earth.
We could go on all day about France tips and tricks and travel, but we have our own cocktails to prepare, and yes, authentic and fresh meals to serve. We are looking forward to hearing all about your own experiences in l’Hexagon. We’ll hold a table for you! Until then, Vive la France! (final tip: VivE, not VivA)