Taking a road trip in France is hugely rewarding, it’s one of those places you can drive for hours and see something different at every turn. France is also perfectly suited to road trips, for it’s “small” enough to get around but then more than big enough to get lost.
At the same time, there’s just no end of variety in terms of the landscapes or attractions in every corner of the country. You have enchanting castles on the interior, beautiful coastline to the south, majestic mountains in between and vibrant cities in almost every direction.
But let’s be honest, even the cheese and wine is enough reason to pack your bags and head for the nearest airport. Here’s 7 tips for taking a road trip in France:
7 Tips for Taking a Road Trip in France
1. Visit the South of France
Travelling just a couple of hours in the south of France could bring you to an isolated beach, beautiful green fields, flash casino’s or even wine country. In fact, not only is this part of France home to the famous Cote d’Azure but you can also find the most favourable weather in this part of the country. One thing is certain; you’ll find no end of surprises as you explore the backroads and hidden treasures in the south of France.
2. Get Off the Beaten Path
To the north, you can find even more hidden vineyards but also castles, ancient ruins and idyllic little French towns. Le Puy end Velay is a fine example of somewhere that visitors often miss and you can venture around town without the tourist crowds. Either way, when you venture off the beaten track in France, this is usually where you can find the local experiences that are sometimes missing in the more popular destinations.
3. Learn Some Basic French
First of all, never underestimate the benefit of carrying some sort of translation tool on a road trip in France. Needless to say, there are many books and even free smartphone apps that can aid you on your quest to master the French language. Joking aside, having some basic knowledge of French can greatly enhance a trip in this part of the world and save you some awkward conversations when it comes to asking for directions.
4. Stop More than You Think You Should
It’s true, most travellers get sucked into the process of rushing from one place to another and completely forget to stop and smell the roses. France is also one of those places that rewards the small effort it takes to pull over and besides, this is also an opportunity to capture another memory of your road trip in France.
5. Explore Cities and Town on Foot
When you do finally reach a particular destination, make a point of leaving the car and exploring these places on foot – especially small towns. After all, everything looks entirely different from two feet and experiencing the slow pace of life in the smaller towns. Needless to say, this also means you can avoid traffic and get some fresh air!
6. Take Your Time Whilst Driving
French drivers are notoriously fast and have a tendency to cut each other off or swerve into oncoming traffic. For this reason, take it slow when you get behind the wheel and know that there’s no great rush – even if these drivers take to tailgating. If this is your first time in Europe, you may not be used to driving on the left so also keep this in mind and take your time while driving.
7. And When in France…
At the same time, you’ve just got to sample the cheese and wine in France. Sure, some of the wineries might be busy and you obviously can’t drink and drive but taking time to pop into some vineyards along the way is not only a cultural experience, but also rather fun.
Moral of the story: When in France….sip some wine like the French!
Have you any tips for taking a road trip in France? Let us know in the comments!