The French are looked up to by many for their effortlessly glam lifestyle. The French have that certain Je ne sais qoui that everyone wants to recreate. Here’s how to vacation in France like a local:
Definitely Rent a Vacation Villa
If you want to experience France like a local, bypass the tourist filled hotels, and rent one of the many gorgeous vacation rentals in France. Inside your rented home, you’ll have all the privacy in the world, however many bedrooms you choose, plus a full kitchen for experimenting in (after all, food is a big part of French culture!). In metropolitan Paris apartments are for rent in all areas of the city. The French Riviera features airy, pool side homes, and the Alps will feature cozy chalets.
Learn to Breakfast like the French
Many hotels have learnt that is profits to cater to the American Tourist and as such they offer full continental breakfasts with bacon, eggs, pancakes and more. However, for those looking to live la vie francaise, I suggest skipping all that, and heading to a local café for a simple café au lait, and either a chunk of oven-fresh baguette with cheese, or a croissant topped with a decadent smear of butter and some jam. Simplicity is key for much in the French way of life, and starting your day off right with a deliciously simple French déjeuner will have you feeling magnifique.
Enjoy the French Culture of Food
French food is famous worldwide! And for good reason too, it is simply delicious! Despite being a cuisine filled with butter and cream, not many French are severely overweight. The French have mastered the art of savoring their food without overeating. Portion sizes in France will likely be smaller then what we are used to in The United States; however, plates will be packed with flavor.
This same philosophy can be applied to drinking alcohol. The French love their wine, and enjoy wine by the glass at mealtimes. Rather then drinking to get buzzed, the French drink to savor the flavors and for the tradition of raising a glass with good company.
Dessert is also enjoyed freely, but often ordered to be shared amongst the table. Next time your dining in France, try ordering just one or two items from the dessert menu to share amongst your company, and try to really focus on the flavors! You’ll be impressed by how much more you enjoy your treat in this way!
A tip for finding the freshest food France has to offer? Hit up the local markets! From fish, to fresh cuts of meat and the juiciest fruits and veggies, the markets really are the place to be.
Dress Like a Local
Looking to master French style? The French, especially the women, have mastered understated chic perfectly. Look for solid colored, well fitting, timeless pieces. Cuff jeans to show a bit of ankle, but keep the look cool by forgoing the heels in favor of simple ballerina flats. In Paris, a popular outfit for women is well fitting, simple jeans, cuffed at the ankle, paired with a high quality material basic t-shirt, often white, grey, or cream colored, and finished off with plain black flats and a blazer jacket.
For men, simplicity is also the way to go. Look for quality materials, classic colors, and well-made shoes. Spend money on items made with excellence that will last a lifetime, but remember, the French don’t usually flash their brands.
Get Around Like a Local
It may depend on exactly which part of France you’re in, since obviously the snowy Alps pose different challenges then the sunny blue coast down South. But where possible, try to get around either by rented bike, metro, or just plain by foot!
If you plan to visit more then one area during your visit, consider taking the train. The French trains span the entire country, and are a comfortable way to get around. Tickets can be bought online, or at any train station.
Don’t Skip the Sights to See
As much as you may wish to avoid the so-called tourist traps, don’t completely by pass all the culturally rich sights and landmarks that France has to offer. Whether it be visiting the Louvre, climbing the Tour Eiffel or taking a hike to Foix Castle in Cathar County, its worth it to take the time to be a little touristy too, or you may regret it. That said, you can still work to avoid the crowds by arriving early or late, and perhaps skip the museum foodcourt in favor of something from the French bakery down the street.
Enjoy your time in France, and have fun immersing yourself in this beautifully rich culture. Bon voyage my friends!
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