With a geography stretching from rugged coastline to seemingly endless beaches, from bustling cities to quaint rural villages and luxury mountain ski resorts, it is little wonder that France instantly captures the hearts of those who travel there.
No matter where you stay in France, you will become intoxicated by its inhabitants’ devotion to enjoying the best of everything, whether wine, fashion or culture.
It is hard to know where to begin with a country as diverse as France. Normandy and Brittany are steeped in history; the French Riviera’s Nice is the epitome of style while the Loire Valley is world famous for its châteaux. For enthusiasts of winter and mountain sports there are the resorts in its five mountain ranges, the Alps, the Pyrenees, Jura, Vosges and Massif Central.
Good food and wine is synonymous with France, especially in Lyon, Champagne (the most famous wine producing region of the world) and Bordeaux. Although the likes of frogs’ legs and l’escargot immediately spring to mind, a visit to France will open up a whole new gastronomy for you.
Its rich and often bloody history is all around you. From the French Revolution to the modern day, historical events have left their mark on the country that brought us such names as Napoleon, Marie Antoinette, the Renaissance, Monet, Debussy and Toulouse Lautrec.

Of course, no visit to France would be complete without a visit to one of the world’s greatest cities, Paris. With its myriad of monuments, museums, restaurants, theatres, shows and stunning architecture, it will keep you enthralled, returning time and time again to absorb more of its addictive sights and sounds.   
The currency in France today is the Euro. All major credit cards are widely accepted as well as travellers’ cheques. Access to your money is easy with most towns and cities having numerous ATMs.
As one of the world’s most glamorous, beautiful, fashionable and iconic capitals, Paris will immediately capture your heart and have you returning year after year.
Its people are stylish, its architecture stunning. Wandering the streets you can’t help but feel the romance in the air that fills every inch of this amazing city.
Paris is divided into two halves by the River Seine – the Rive Droite (on the north side) and the Rive Gauche (on the south side). Both sides of the city are crammed with superb museums, churches, monuments, hotels, restaurants, cafés and shops. In the centre of the river on the L’île de la Cité stands the Gothic cathedral of Notre Dame.
The city has a rumbustious history of ideological and political revolution.  Great artists and philosophers have long been associated with the city such as Sartre, Voltaire, Rousseau, Descartes and Hugo.
Most of the main tourist attractions in Paris are contained within the Boulevard Périphérique (the ring road). Walking is the best way to absorb the atmosphere, culture and sights. Of course, the Métro system is always on hand for when your feet get tired.
Whether you are looking to relax on the banks of the Seine, sipping coffee at a café, or to take in the numerous sights such as the Eiffel Tower, Parc du Champ de Mars or the Champs Elysées Paris will constantly surprise you. Around every corner is a new sight to behold, Parisians to watch and delicious food to try making Paris one of the greatest cities in Europe to visit.  
See & Do
Paris is a city with thousands of sights. It would be impossible to list every single one within this guide so here are just some of the most well known highlights that you can see during your stay in Paris. Of course, another way to ensure you catch a glimpse of the very best that Paris has to offer is by taking a city bus tour.
  • The Eiffel Tower
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Cruise the Seine
  • Notre Dame and L’île de la Cité
  • The Louvre
  • The Sacré Coeur
  • Musée d’Orsay
  • The Pompidou Centre
  • The Cluny
  • Picasso Museum
  • Conciergerie
  • Montmartre
  • Paris cemeteries
  • Military Museum
  • The Panthéon
  • Marais District
  • Maison de Victor Hugo
  • Champs Elysées
  • Muse Rodin
  • Muse du Quai Branly
  • Paris Plage
  • Jardin des Plantes
Paris is any shopperholic’s paradise. You will find anything and everything amongst the many shops, boutiques, shopping centres and markets that line the streets of Paris.
On the right bank of the Seine the most up-market area for shopping is around the 1er and 8e arrondissements above the Louvre and gardens of the Tuileries and Champ-Elysées. In this area is Galerie Vivienne which is a delightful old style shopping arcade. If you want something a bit trendier head for Marais which has numerous designer boutiques, specialist clothes shops and art galleries. For something a bit different visit Les Halles, a subterranean shopping mall.
On the left bank the luxury boutiques can be found around 6e and 7e arrondissement. St Germain des Prés is home to smart, individual boutiques and for shoe lovers Rue de Rennes is the place to head for.
Paris’ main department stores are les Galeries Lafayette, Au Printemps and Bon Marché. So, whatever your pocket allows, you are sure to find excellent shopping in Paris.
But a trip to Paris wouldn’t be complete without dabbling in the flea markets. These are a wonderful opportunity to rub shoulders with the Parisians and pick up a bargain or two. There are two main flea markets – Les Puces de St-Ouen (Port de Clignancourt) and Le Puces de Montreuil (Porte de Montreuil). For delicious French delicacies head for the food markets – Buci (St Germain) and Mouffetard (Rue Mouffetard) and not to be missed is the farmers’ organic market (Marché Biologique) in Boulevard Raspail.

Food & Drink
France is synonymous with gastronomy. Food is a way of life to the French which they embrace whole heartedly. Paris is home to over 5,000 restaurants. You will find outlets covering just about every international cuisine imaginable but traditional French cooking dominates.  
Many of the main tourist areas, especially around the Champ-Elysées, the Pompidou Centre, Forum des Halles and the Latin Quarter for example, abound with cheap fast food outlets. For the best restaurants explore some of the side streets which are more off the beaten track.
Below are just a few suggested restaurants that you might like to try during your stay in Paris.
·         L’Ardoise, Rue de Mont Thabor
·         A Tour d’Argent, Quai de la Tournelle
·         Buddha Bar, Rue Boissy d’Anglaise
·         Goumard, Rue Duphot
·         L’Alcazar, Rue Mazarine
·         L’Ambroisie, Place des Vosges
·         Pierre Gagnaire, Tue Balzac
·         Pur Grill, Rue de la Paix
·         Spoon, Food & Wine, Rue Marignan
·         Chez Jenny, Place de la République
·         Blue Elephant, Rue de la Roquette
·         Village Tao Tao, Boulevard Vincent Auriol

It’s hard to know where to begin. Paris is a city that is constantly buzzing. Everywhere you look there is something happening. The city is full of music venues, clubs and bars. The best way to discover what is happening during your stay is to buy one of the two what’s on guides that every Parisian has – Pariscope or L’Officiel des Spectacles.
Just to give you a taster of what Paris has to offer, below is a list of possibilities, venues and clubs.
  • Classical – Théâtre du Châtelet, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Salle Pleyel, Théâtre de la Ville and Cité de la Musique
  • Jazz – Le Bilboquet, Caveau de la Huchette, New Morning, Au Duc des Lombards and Slow Club
  • Traditional – Canotier du Pied de la Butte and Au Lapin Agile
  • Modern/Pop – Palais Omnisport Bercy, Zénith, Olympia Bruno Coquatrix and La Cigale
  • Opera – Opéra Bastille and Opéra Comique
  • Les Bains
  • La Locomotive
  • Wagg
  • Le Balajo
  • Amnesia
  • Batofar
  • Le Queen (gay bar)
  • Club 18 (gay bar)
  • Michou
  • Don Camilo
There are also numerous cinemas and theatres, including the famous Le Moulin Rouge.
Paris also hosts numerous festivals and events throughout the year. Listed below is a selection of some of the more well known ones.
  • January – The lights at Place de la Concorde
  • February – International Festival of the Circus of Tomorrow
  • April – Paris Marathon
  • April/May – Foire de Paris (International Food Fair)
  • May/June – French Open
  • June – Fête de la Musique
  • July – Bastille Day, Tour de France
  • July/August – Paris Plage, Le Cinéma en Plein Air
  • September/October – Festival d’Automne
  • October – Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe
Although there is a wealth of things to do in Paris itself, you may want to take the opportunity to explore more of what France has to offer. Here is just a sample of some of the excursions you can take during your stay.
  • Versailles
  • Mont St Michel
  • Chartres
  • Loire Valley
  • Giverny
  • Rouen
  • Disneyland Paris
  • Fontainebleau
  • Parc Astérix
Health & Safety
Tap water is safe to drink in France and the quality of healthcare is very high. Of course with exceptional healthcare comes high fees therefore you are advised to ensure you have sufficient health insurance in place before travelling.
As a city, Paris has a low crime rate however you are advised to exercise the usual precautions when carrying your valuables with you. When in crowded tourist areas and the Métro, be aware of the possibility of pick pockets.
The jewel of the Côte d’Azur, Nice is the capital of the French Riviera. Basking in the warm southern sunshine, lapped by the azure blue seas, Nice provides the perfect setting for a relaxing and stylish break.
At first glance sun and fashion appear to be the main activities of the city. You can indulge in a bit of people watching on the Promenade des Anglais which lines the shingle beach for about 5 miles. Traditionally this is the place where the elegant and famous promenade in the evening before enjoying an excellent meal in one of Nice’s many restaurants.
But as France’s fifth largest city, Nice can offer a captivating mixture of culture, modernity and history. It can boast outstanding Chagall and Matisse collections. The city’s medieval heritage is retained in the atmospheric Vieille Ville (old town), with its closely packed red-tiled roofs and narrow winding streets packed with shops, bars and fabulous restaurants.
The famous Cours Saleya flower and food market is separated from the sea by a strip of low buildings. Once the storeroom for the fishermen’s' catch, today they have become popular seafood restaurants.
The modern Nice is portrayed by the Place Masséna, its commercial centre.  Although Nice may not be quite as fashionable as its neighbouring resorts, such as Cannes or St Tropez, it still has a huge amount to offer.  
See & Do
The sights of Nice are many and varied. During your stay you will be spoilt for choice with things to see and do. There are too many to mention everything here, so here is just a sample of what this stunning city has to offer.
  • Promenade de Anglais
  • Place Masséna
  • Place Rossetti and St Réparate Cathedral
  • Matisse Museum
  • Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
  • Notre Dame de Cimiez Monastery
  • Nice Beach
  • Colline du Château & Naval Museum
  • National Bible Museum of Marc Chagall
  • Lascaris Palace
  • Cimiez Gaveyard
  • Musée Massena
  • Musée des Beaux-Arts
  • The Château
  • Cours Saleya Food & Flower Market
  • Blue Beach
  • Parc du Château
  • Jardin du Monastère
  • Jardin Maréchal Juin
  • Scuba diving
  • Snorkelling
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Walking
  • Roller blading
Nice may not be in the same league as Paris when it comes to shopping, but its wealthy population has attracted many international designers and France’s large chain stores so you won’t be left wanting.
Home to the high end chain stores, most glamorous restaurants and stylish boutiques is the Zone Piétonne (pedestrianised area) just off Place Masséna (also home to France’s top department store, Galeries Lafayette). For chic stores and international designers, head for Rue Paradis.
If your budget can’t quite stretch to anything beyond window-shopping in these areas, head for Avenue Jean Médecin which is home to high street brands such as H&M, Zara and Habitat. Also along here is the Étoile shopping mall.
In Nice’s old town there are numerous small shops and boutiques along with the famous Cours Saleya flower and food market every Tuesday to Sunday. On Monday it is replaced by an antiques market.
After all of that, if you still haven’t satisfied your shopping craving, out of town to the west of Nice Airport is the Cap 3000 complex at St Laurent du Var offering a vast array of clothing and shoe shops. For something a bit different the nearby village of Biot is a leading glassware centre in Europe and is also famous for its earthenware.
Food & Drink
It will come as no surprise that Nice is a wonderful city in which to eat, it is French after all. The streets are lined with bistros, cafés, and restaurants offering virtually every international cuisine imaginable and of course, traditional French fare.
Whether you are looking for a Michelin starred restaurant, quite café, snack bar or some fast food, Nice will have something to satisfy your appetite.
It is impossible to list every restaurant and eatery, so here are just a few of the highlights that are on offer.
  • Chantecler, Promenade des Angalis
  • Tire Bouchon, Rue de la Prefecture
  • La Table Alziari, Rue François Zanin
  • Samsara, Rue Rossetti
  • Le Pain Quotidien, Rue Louis Gassin
  • Restaurant Gesu, Place Jésus
  • Delhi Belly, Rue de la Barillerie
  • Bistrot D’Antoine, Rue de la Prefecture
  • Le Petite Maison, Rue St Francois de Paule
  • Le Safari, Cours Saleya
  • La Trapa, Rue Jules-Gilly
  • Le Café Turin, Place Garibaldi
Bars and cafés abound wherever you look offering weary sight-seers a wealth of beverages and snacks. Although they can be found everywhere in Nice, the best place is probably in the Old Town. However more refined establishments can be found along the Promenade d’Anglais. Here are just a few names to look out for.
  • Wayne’s Bar, Rue de la Prefecture
  • Les 3 Diables, Cours Saleya
  • Ghost Bar, Rue Barillerie
  • Le Bar des Oiseaux, Rue St Vincent
  • L’F, Place Charles-Felix
Nice’s refined aura is reflected in the nightlife. Although there are raucous clubs and bars if you want an evening of loud music and dancing, there are also many other options. Remember though when going out and about in Nice to events, dress up! Alternatively you can always relax in a street bar or café somewhere and indulge in a spot of people watching.
Here is a sample of what is on offer in Nice – hopefully there will be something for everyone.
Whatever you taste, there will be something for you. Opéra de Nice is the main venue for classical concerts and Opera. If you prefer Jazz, July sees the annual Jazz festival in Cimiez. For those into rock, pop, ballet or musicals, the Nikaia arena is the venue for numerous concerts throughout the year.
Nice has many theatres. The best way to find out what’s on is to take note of the various flyers around town which will advertise forthcoming performances. Failing that, your hotel will probably be able to provide you with the information.
There are many cinemas in Nice however The Mercury and Rialto are the best ones for English language films.
If you enjoy a flutter, Nice’s Casino Ruhl will be just up your street. However a short journey along the coast will bring you to Monaco and the Monte Carlo Casino.
The nightlife in Nice tends to be quite refined, however if you want loud music and dancing until the early hours, you will be able to find somewhere to satisfy your needs. The best area for clubs and bars is Cours Saleya. Here you will find places such as Thor, La Suite, Le Lafayette, Le Ghost, Barrio Latino and Le Klub. If you want to hang out with the locals, head for Rue de l’Abbaye where you’ll find lively venues such as the Bulldog Pub Pompei.
  • February – Carnival on the Riviera
  • May – La Fete des Mai
  • July – Nice Jazz Festival
  • December – Festive Bathe (Ruhl Beach) and Christmas Village at Place Masséna
The location of Nice makes it an ideal base from which to explore the Côte d’Azure and Provence. Here are just a few suggestions of some of the places you can visit during your stay.
  • Monte Carlo and Monaco
  • Cannes
  • Marseilles
  • Aix-en-Provence
  • Antibes
  • Phoenix Parc Floral de Nice
  • Grasse
  • Menton
  • St Paul-de-Vence
  • Saint Tropez
  • Grand Canyon du Verdon
Health & Safety
Tap water is safe to drink in Nice and the quality of healthcare is very high. Of course with exceptional healthcare comes high fees therefore you are advised to ensure you have sufficient health insurance in place before travelling.
As a city, Nice has a low crime rate however you are advised to exercise the usual precautions when carrying your valuables with you especially when in crowded tourist areas.
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