France is one of the most geographically diverse countries
in Europe, with attractive medieval and port cities, relaxing villages,
mountains and beaches spread out across the country. Known for its cheese and
wine along with history, culture and fashion, France is one of the most visited
countries in the world with more than 80 million arrivals every year.
France is a great place to visit all year round. However, if
possible try and avoid the July to August period as this is when locals take
school holidays and favourite tourist spots can be even busier-filled with both
local and international tourists alike.
France is one destination that travellers can’t help but
love with gusto. This Western European jewel effortlessly combines medieval
buildings with high-fashion cities, and bustling Mediterranean beaches with
peaceful villages. If you’re someone who is looking to keep ticking off their bucket
list, indulge in France’s famous food and wine while overlooking one of the
world’s most iconic monuments, the Eiffel Tower.
Paris - the “City of Lights” is the capital and one of the
world’s most visited cities. It’s hard to go past iconic sites such as the Eiffel
Tower, Arc de Triomph, the Champs Elysees, Notre Dame Cathedral and fabulous
cafes. The beachside setting of Nice
blends with the superb 19th century architecture, and the relaxed vibe makes it
a popular setting for artists and musicians.
Bordeaux is world famous for wine and also has many fine
restaurants, museums and public gardens. Toulouse is famous for its red-bricked old buildings and alternative
culture driven by the large population of university students – plus it’s the
final assembly point for many a commercial airliner.And Lyon is a combination of gourmet food and
high culture, with a huge selection of Michelin-starred restaurants to visit in
between the ballet and the opera.
France is renowned for its cuisine—every region has its own
flavour of delicious pastries, rich stews and hearty soups. For a sophisticated
cuisine, French food is hard to beat (who can resist the croissants and sweets
from the local patisserie!). You’ll leave France wanting to cook everything
you’ve eaten at home!
The French take a lot of pride in their country and culture
and, while some customs can be quite formal, if you attempt to engage yourself
with the culture you will be warmly welcomed. Greetings are essential. Just saying standard pleasantries such as Bonjour
madame/monsieur (Good day madam/sir) whenever you go into a store, restaurant,
market or public place will take you a long way. The French take great pride in their
language, so learning a few words will show respect and give you status as a
polite and respectful person.
The public transport system across France is world-class.
With some of the fastest trains around, it’s easy to travel across the country.
In the cities, public transport methods like the metro, trams, trains and buses
are commonly available. Rental cars are
also plentiful, but driving in busy major cities like Paris can be an
overwhelming experience – just have a look at the insane traffic circulating
around the Arc de Triomph!
In recent years, France has been the target of several
large-scale terrorist attacks. Some areas, particularly Paris, are considered
high risk for terrorist activity. Heightened security measures are likely to be
in force for some time, with heavily-armed police and military units patrolling
popular tourist areas, busy public transport hubs and airports. This can cause
delays at checkpoints and you may even be stopped and questioned. Before you
travel, make sure to check the latest terrorist threat alerts at official
sources such as www.Smartraveller.gov.au.
Generally though, France is quite a safe destination for
travellers. Even in big cities, there isn’t much risk of getting into serious
trouble. With the exception of the 2015 terrorist attacks, violent crimes don’t
happen very often and usually away from tourist areas. However, petty crimes
like pickpocketing are commonplace, and travellers should take the same usual
precautions that they would in any busy centre. Snatch-and-grab thieves and
pickpockets are common throughout tourist areas, popular monuments, public
transport networks and department stores.
Robbers sometimes operate in groups and will try to distract
you or bump you about. You may also be approached by fake “charity workers” who
will engage you in conversation, and sometimes even children are used to lower
your guard. In busy places, it’s a good idea to carry backpacks and bags in
front of your body, and to spread items across different pockets on your
If you are travelling to regional or coastal areas, there’s
a risk of a natural disaster affecting your trip, depending on the season. Take care if you’re heading to the mountains
for some outdoor adventuring. Avalanches and mudslides have hurt or killed
tourists. If you’re skiing or hiking, make sure to check weather reports before
venturing out and stick to marked slopes and trails. In the summer, forest
fires can shut down roads and transport, particularly in coastal areas like the
French Riviera. The southern region is also prone to violent storms with heavy
rains that can cause flash flooding.
France has a very high standard of medical care, and it can
be costly. When seeking treatment, tourists may also be forced to pay upfront
or produce a guarantee from their travel insurer.
While normally a safe destination, visitors to France and
other parts of Europe are also advised to use common sense and caution while
travelling to avoid the potential risks.
Being a smart traveller by getting vaccinated before you
leave Australia and by taking precautions to minimise the risk of illness,
accident or theft while overseas can help improve the chances of your trip to
France being memorable for all the right reasons. However, some things are
outside even the most cautious traveller's control; ensuring you have adequate
travel insurance is an essential way to minimise the costs of an illness or
misadventure in France.
Whether you have to change your travel plans for health
reasons, have your new camera stolen or even suffer an injury that requires
medical evacuation, Allianz Travel Insurance can help minimise the financial
impact. Allianz offers Basic Travel Insurance, Comprehensive Travel Insurance
and Multi Trip Travel Insurance for your trip overseas. Get a quote from