Our France expert answers your questions - Real Word

Those of you who follow our social media channels may have seen that we recently ran a France Q&A session with one of our France Travel Directors, Giovanna.

It was so popular that we didn’t have enough time to get through all your questions during the session. But don’t worry, we’ve gathered the rest of the answers for you here:

1. Are there any Trafalgar trips that focus on France’s romantic side?
Our Best of France trip visits Eiffel Tower, Monet’s gardens and wine regions of Burgundy and Bordeaux.

Monet's Garden

Monet’s Garden

2. Is there a part of Paris that you would recommend visiting for architecture?
The 19th century Garnier Opera House, surrounding boulevards and nearby classical 18th century Place Vendome are beautiful examples of French architecture.

3. I understand France has many old Roman sites. Which ones do you recommend seeing?
Our Wonderful France trip sees the Pont du Gard Roman Aqueduct and Roman Arena of Arles, two of the best sites.

4. Is there another airport near Paris other than Charles de Gaulle?
Orly Airport is smaller and located to the south of Paris.

5. I know Paris is all the hype but what are some other places to see in France?
So many! There’s Mont St Michel and D-Day beaches in Normandy, Provence and the French Riviera in the south east and the Pyrenees mountains and Bordeaux in south west. See all on Best of France or CostSaver Highlights of France trips.

Omaha Beach

Omaha Beach, Normandy

6. Where should I go to see the big fashion houses in Paris?
Take a walk down Avenue Montaigne in the 8th district.

7. How “booked” up are days on trips? Is it all planned ahead of time?
Trips are organized to make the most of your time in a place, but there is some free time to do as you please or you can join our Optional Experiences.

8. Which are the best flea markets in Paris?
The biggest is the one in St Ouen in the north.

9. What is the best way to get around from place to place in Paris?
You can use the Paris metro (subway system).

10. What is the best attraction to see for a family of 5?
How about the Eiffel Tower? Our Trafalgar trips have VIP access so your family doesn’t have to wait in line for hours.

11. Trafalgar’s trip choices in France are amazing but can I customize a bit by adding extra days before or after?
Yes, absolutely. You can add days either before or after, and we can book them for you.

12. What are some favorite dishes in France?
There are so many to choose from! For example, boeuf bourguignon, Crepes (French pancakes), steak tartare, cassoulet, ratatouille, bouillabaisse (fish stew dish from Marseille).

13. Where can I find the best shopping in Paris?
Try the famous department stores, like Galeries Lafayette, located behind the Garnier Opera House.

14. Around how much do houses cost in France?
As with anywhere, it depends on the area. For an average price, you’d be looking at around 250,000 euros, but in Paris, apartments can be up to 15,000 euros just for one square meter!

15. What is the next most popular tourist destination in France besides Paris?
Provence and the French Riviera are popular.

Provence

French Riviera

16. Are there Trafalgar trips in France that specialize in shopping local food markets?
Our Paris and Provence trip features local food markets.

17. Do shops and stores in Paris close during lunchtime?
No they stay open at lunchtime, but in smaller towns, they close for lunch.

18. What is the average tip in France to show my appreciation for good service?
Restaurants/Cafes usually included service charge, but locals often round up or leave 5% to show appreciation.

19. I know you rotate seats, but if someone gets motion sickness if at the back, can you make exceptions?
Of course – guests can remain towards the front if they are motion sick. Just let your Travel Director know at start of trip.

20. When is the best time of the year to travel to France?
With a country like France, each season has its charm!

21. How much time should a visitor realistically allow to see the major sites?
Trafalgar gets VIP access to major sites, saving lots of time. Allow much more time to find your way around, getting tickets, line up, etc. if going on your own.

22. We had a girl from Provence stay with us – she had only cocoa for breakfast. Is that typical?
A typical continental breakfast consists of a juice, hot drink and a pastry or croissant, but hotels provide full breakfasts.

23. What kind of souvenirs can you find in France?
A good bottle of wine from the famous wine regions, French perfume and soap from the south, a beret from the French Basque country…. There are so many options.

24. Would it be a major “non non” to ask for ketchup?
It depends what you put it on! It would be ok with fast food. Many French people put mayonnaise on fries, but ketchup is ok too.

25. Are there Trafalgar trips that focus on the wine-producing areas in France?

Not specifically just wine, but Best of France visits the Burgundy and Bordeaux wine areas.

26. What is the most popular pastry in France?
Definitely the éclair – you have to try one while you’re here.

French pastries

French pastries

27. Do I have to dress nice while in the fashion capital of the world?
Parisian women are known for their effortless style, but they don’t impose any rules!

28. It is ‘front of the line’ for optional trips too?
Yes, front of line for Optional Experiences too.

29. We want to see the south of France. What is the best town to stay in that is central to the best sites to see?
The city of Nice is a good base and from there you can visit Cannes and Monaco.

30. Our friends visited the Nimes Arena. How does it compare to Rome’s Colosseum?
The arena is much smaller but like the one in Rome, it is also beautifully preserved.

31. Where is your favourite French destination that not many travellers visit?
Our new trip Secrets of France features favorite parts of the south west which are stunning but not often known internationally.

32. I would love to see the lavender and sunflower fields in bloom. What is the best time to see them?
There are only in bloom for a short time around July. We don’t have specific trips but you would probably see them on our trips visiting the south of France in July.

33. If your trip to France was only for a short time, what places do you recommend seeing?
As France is vast by European standards, a short trip would concentrate on certain nearby areas, such as Paris, Normandy, Loire Valley – have a look at our Treasures of France trip.

34. I’ve been to Northern France and Paris and am looking for something different. Do you have any recommendations?
The French Riviera has a much different feel to the north so that would be worth a visit.

35. If I only have a weekend in Paris what sites should I focus on seeing?
The main sights are Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame and nearby Versailles.

Notre Dame and love locks bridge, Paris

Notre Dame and love locks bridge, Paris

36. What does the tile outside of the Notre Dame mean?
This is kilometre zero, all distances from Paris are measured to this point.

37. A French perfumery is a must for me. Are they on Champs De Elysee, do I need an appointment or are there trips you have?
Our trips visiting the French Riviera, heart of the perfume industry, have an Optional Experience to a perfumery.

38. Where is the best place to fly into France which would allow us to see the most in a short period of time?
The best place to see the most in a short period is Paris to visit the north, or Nice to visit the south.

39. What is the protocol for hailing a waiter?
Get eye contact and call ‘Monsieur’ if waiter is a man, or ‘Madame/Mademoiselle’ if a woman.

40. I don’t drink wine. Are there other drinks native to France I might enjoy?
Try a Citron presse – freshly squeezed lemon juice. It’s great on a hot day.

If this has inspired you to take a trip to France, find out where you could go on our website. Follow our Twitter feed to join future Q&A sessions.

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