The Slow Traveler's Guide to France Q&A

December 4, 2022
The Slow Traveler's Guide to France Q&A

The French are known for their love of food, wine and romance. And while the clichéd images that come to mind when thinking about France may leave you feeling a little uninspired, trust us on this one – there’s so much more to this country than baguettes, berets and bonjour. When it comes to traveling, nothing can come close to being as rewarding as a trip to France. This big piece of Europe is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes and historic monuments in the world. It’s an ideal destination for the slow traveler who wants to make every moment count: from eating frogs with creamy garlic sauce or drinking Banyuls red wine on the banks of the river Aigues-Mortes (as they say in Provence) to wandering around medieval hill towns or gazing at Renaissance art in monasteries dating back to 13th century.

What is the history of France?

France has a rich and varied history, which dates back more than 4,000 years. It has been home to many different civilizations and peoples, many of whom have left their mark on the country. The earliest inhabitants were people who lived as nomadic hunters in the Pleistocene era (over 2 million years ago), followed by farmers in the Neolithic era (about 10,600 years ago), and then Gallic tribes in the Iron Age (600 BC). During the Roman period (about 200 BC), France became part of a large empire, and many towns were built. These were later abandoned in the 5th century AD. France’s history took a dramatic turn in the 10th century when the Normans invaded from the north and the south. The result was a hybrid culture, with the Normans bringing their language, customs and architecture to the south. The French kings who followed soon asserted their authority over both the Normans and the Germanic Franks, forming what became known as the French monarchy. In 1453, France’s history was irrevocably altered with the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans soon turned their attention to Europe and in 1475, they laid siege to the city of Paris.

What are the best things to do in France?

  • La Route du Fromage: The Cheese Trail - Travel along the eastern border of France, starting in the Alsace region, where the locals brag that their cows produce the best milk in the world. Head south to the Franche-Comté region to sample the finest Comté cheese. Make your way to the lush Burgundy region, where you can taste-test all the different varieties of French wines. Next, visit the Rhône Valley, home to the world's most aromatic and diverse array of cheeses. Finally, head to the Provençal region to sample the best Roquefort cheese—the favorite of French kings and queens for centuries. - The Loire Valley - This region is known for its chateaux, which were built in the 12th century. The area has been nicknamed "the garden of France." It's also the site of the annual Fete de la Musique, a free music celebration that happens every June. - The Riviera - The Côte d'Azur, or the Riviera, is France's most famous stretch of coastline. It's home to a number of beautiful towns and cities, like Nice and Cannes, and it attracts more than 14 million people each year. - Paris - The City of Light has something to offer everyone. From world-class art museums to exquisite architecture to delicious cuisine, there is no shortage of things to do in Paris.

What is the cost of living in France?

France is an expensive country compared to its neighbors. The cost of living here is about 14% higher than in the UK and 34% higher than in Spain. While this might make you think twice about moving here, keep in mind that housing and transportation are especially pricey, so if you're renting or relying on public transportation, your expenses will be higher. Food, on the other hand, is very affordable in France, with the cost of groceries being about 30% lower than in the UK. You'll also find that France has excellent healthcare, making it a great place to start a business or raise a family.

What is the best food to eat in France?

Depending on where you are in France, the best food will vary. If you’re in the north, you should try the baguettes and pâté (a pâté de foie gras is a must-eat in France). In the southwest, you should try the cassoulet, which is a bean stew with various meats. If you’re in the southeast, try a ratatouille or a bouillabaisse. And don't forget about the frogs' legs with creamy garlic sauce, which is a delicacy in Provence!

What is the best wine to try in France?

France is home to about 600 grape varieties, but only a few are popular enough to warrant attention outside of France. Here are our top recommendations for the best wine to try in France: Banyuls – Banyuls is a red wine that gets its unique flavour from being aged in oak barrels that have previously held an alcoholic beverage, such as sherry or wine. Côtes du Rhône – This is a red wine that’s best enjoyed with a meal. The Côtes du Rhône appellation covers a vast swath of France’s Rhône Valley, encompassing hundreds of wineries and sub-appellations. So, no matter where you go, you’ll be able to find Côtes du Rhône.

What are the best things to do in Paris?

  • Musée du Louvre - One of the best things to do in Paris is to visit the world-famous Musée du Louvre. The museum houses one of the largest and most comprehensive art collections in the world, with works spanning more than 6,000 years. Michelangelo's famous sculpture, the "Winged Victory", can be found here, as well as Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa". - Musée d'Orsay - Another must-see Parisian museum is the Musée d'Orsay, which is home to the world's greatest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. It includes works by masters such as Van Gogh, Monet and Manet. - The Eiffel Tower - It would be impossible to talk about Paris without mentioning the famous Eiffel Tower, which is the city's most iconic landmark. It's one of the best things to do in Paris, especially at night when it's illuminated with sparkling lights.

What is the cost of living in Paris?

As mentioned above, Paris is an expensive city compared to its neighbors. The cost of living in Paris is about 14% higher than in the UK and 34% higher than in Spain. However, the cost of rent in Paris is much higher than in other large European cities like London or Berlin. Paris is a world-class city, so you can expect to pay more here than in other European capitals.

Does Paris have co-working spaces?

Yes! You can find co-working spaces in Paris in both the city center and the outskirts. They are particularly popular in the suburbs, as many people choose to work remotely or are digital nomads who prefer to avoid the city center. In addition to co-working spaces, you'll also find a growing number of coworking hotels, which offer the same amenities but with added value like a fully equipped kitchen, a common area, and a gym.

What are the best things to do in Lyon?

For starters, the city is home to the largest river in France, the Rhône, which passes through the city in a spectacular aqueduct. The city’s traboules are another unique feature, with more than 100 secret passageways built during the Middle Ages still in use today. Should you decide to stay in the city, make sure to visit the Musée des beaux-arts de Lyon, one of France’s largest art museums with a collection spanning from the 12th century to the present day. If you’re interested in French gastronomy, Lyon is the place to be. Tourists can visit the Musée du confiseur et Musée du thé étant two museums dedicated to the art of confectionery and the history of tea, respectively. Lyon is also known for its canelés – small, delicious baked custard tarts that are best eaten warm. The city is also known for its street food, which includes everything from quenelles de brochet (fish dumplings) to saucisson de Lyon, a meaty, garlicky sausage that pairs perfectly with a glass of Côtes du Rhône red wine.

What are the best things to do in Lille?

Lille’s other claim to fame is as the capital of French fries. The city also serves up a superb example of French Flemish architecture, with a mix of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and neoclassical styles found across the city’s churches, museums and other landmarks. Lille’s other main attraction is La Grand Place, the city’s main square, which is lined with shops and restaurants and overlooked by the Renaissance style Hôtel de Ville, the city’s town hall. If you have time, you can also visit the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lille, which is home to a sizeable collection of French Impressionist works.

Does France have a lot of expats?

France is the world's fifth most popular destination for expats, after China, Ecuador, Indonesia, and the Philippines. It's known for its excellent quality of life, healthcare, and safety. Paris, in particular, is a very popular destination for expats who come to work in the technology industry.

What is the best way to learn French?

One of the best ways to learn French is to immerse yourself in the language and culture. If you have the opportunity, studying in France is a great way to improve your French. You’ll be surrounded by native speakers and learn the nuances of the language in a real-world setting. You could also consider taking an online course, or finding a language exchange partner to practice with. These are the best things to do in France, as well as some quick facts about the country. Now it’s time to start planning your trip to this beautiful European country!

Which airlines fly direct into France?

The main airlines that offer direct flights to France are Air France and British Airways. Other options include flying into one of France’s neighboring countries, such as Spain or Switzerland, and then taking a train or a bus to get to your destination. Another option is flying into London and taking the Eurostar train to Paris.

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