Travel the Fabulous France - Tips and suggestions

Fabulous France, no sooner than I started typing my experience I am searching words and description, In less than three minutes I am lost in the dream of my trip "The Fabulous France". I am lost in the beautiful architecture, those narrow streets, those charming people who speak English with a French accent, those mouth-watering food, those mindblowing streetside artists, the happening vibe of France.

It's one such beautiful place where I wish to get my parents one day.

For details regarding Visa, visit the official website for Schengen visa. Visa requirement change in accordance with your passport.

Places we Visited: Cannes, Paris and Versailles Palace in France

Tips and Guide for your trip: 

Before booking your tickets:
1) Travel off season
     a) Accommodations can be found at a cheaper cost.                                                                                    
     b) Less crowded tourist attraction.
     c) Less pricey tickets.
2) If you are planning to visit multiple cities, prefer an open jaw ticket. In our itinerary, we flew into
   Nice and flew out of Paris.
3) Do get a rough idea of what you want to do in France, places you want to visit etc,.
Packing for your trip:
1) Travel light, take minimal clothes
2) Invest in a universal adapter
3) Download Google offline maps
4) Invest in a portable power bank
5) Europeans are always to the best of their attire. Pack cool clothes instead of casual clothes like
    shorts etc,.
6) Do carry a good walking shoe.
7) Of course, your camera to capture the moments.
Booking your hotel:
1) Prefer to book your hotels at the city center, it will help you save time and commute to the tourist
    attractions before and after a long day.
Apps to download:
1) Google maps, with offline downloaded
2) Yelp, to search for the nearest and the best-rated restaurants
3) Visiting museums and major attractions without an audio guide is a total waste. At the same time
     you need not spend for an audio guide, Rick Steves, audio guide this will save you a lot of  
     Euros.Visit the website to download your podcasts. It's free and it suffices the basic requirements.
4) You can download Paris metro app, but Google map will guide you with the exact time when your next train will arrive at the station
5) Take advantage of being under the age of 26, with concession tickets at museums on entry tickets.
    To know details about the concessional and free entry dates for various museums visit the official
    website here
6) If you are traveling on a budget, explore street food and cafe like crepes
7) You will find great Italian combo breakfasts with Croissant, bread, coffee, juice, and crepes for 12
     Euros (in 2017)

Little about French culture:
1) In France, French is the National language. People do speak English and are always helpful to the    
    tourist. In my personal experience when I went for shopping, the shop keepers were very friendly
    and helped me out though they were not fluent in English.2) There is a concept of personalized 
    Pizza. French people, they do not share their Pizzas. Also, ask the waiter if sharing is accepted at 
    their restaurant.3) Service at the restaurant is generally slow. They give you ample time to relax  
    and order, enjoy and eat, sit back and pay. If you are in a hurry request for a quick service.4) Tips,
    generally at 15%added to the bill. If you are pleased with the service go ahead and add a
    little more.
5) This was a little strange to me. Most of the restaurants do not serve water. You need to ask for a
    glass of water, also do not expect tap water to be served. Its mineral water and you will be charged 
    around 6 Euros. After the initial experience, We purchasing water  bottle from a convenient / 
    grocery store which costs (1 liter) 1 Euro.
6) If you are traveling to rural France. Ensure you be at the restaurant for lunch before 2.00 PM and 
    dinner before 8.00 PM. Do check for Business hours on Yelp. 

Getting around places and little about the museum passes:
Touristic cities are well connected with public transport. We suggest traveling by public transport. Renting a car will be a pain from driving to parking. We rented a car in Cannes while the rest of the places we visited traveling in public transport.

Commuting between cities: A great way to commute between cities is again train, airports are outside city center while train stations are in the heart of the city. Unlike the train, flights have a restriction on the number of bags that you can carry.

Commuting in Paris: 

Walking is the best way to explore the city. At the same time, it requires a lot of energy. The best alternative to walking is riding a bicycle. Renting a bicycle and getting around got simpler and easy with Velib. They rent around 23,600 bicycles around the city. Visit their official website for registration and renting
Paris Metro well connects the city and is greatly reliable with regards to the timing. There are various passes that you can purchase based on the number of days you are planning to spend in Paris. To visit the website of official Paris tourist website about the metro pass click here. For the official website of the Paris Metro visit the link here.

Options in the Metro Pass:

Type Pros Cons
Paris Visite Pass -        starts from 12,85 Euros 1) You can select the package based on the number of days you will stay in Paris                                             2) All Zones (1 - 5 close to suburb) and all transit (including  Ile-de-France bus line etc) Absolutely nothing
Book of 10 t+ tickets 1) value Ideal if you want to commute within city 1) Not applicable for Airport, Versailles Palace                                                              2) No bus and RER
Transport Versailles 1) One-way ticket costs 4 Euros 1) Only one-way ticket
Transport Disneyland Paris 1) One-way ticket costs 8,40 Euros 1) Only one-way ticket

Our suggestion:
Opt for the Paris Visite Pass based on your estimated days of stay as it promises unlimited transportation between the tourist attraction, from the airport and back to the Versailles Palace and back, to the Disneyland and back.

We were in Paris for a week and we chose a five-day pass of 70,30 Euros. Taking advantage of the unlimited travel we visited famous restaurants and eateries of Paris at the end of a long day to reward our taste buds.

A little about the Musem passes:

 Most of the museum in France offers free days. Check if you travel to Paris is aligned with the free day offered by the museums.

To visit the official website of Paris tourism to know about the passes click here. Paris museum pass comes in three categories based on the number of days as mentioned below:

2 Days - 48 Euros
4 Days - 62 Euros
6 Days - 74 Euros

Our suggestion:
In two days, one can practically visit two museums doing justice to it. If you end up buying tickets at the counter you will save a fortune. We personally find the museum passes are expensive. The only advantage of this pass is one when you purchase a three day pass you will be able to cover a handful of museums (You must be a "museum lover" to visit museums for three consecutive days). The other advantage is it offers "skip the line" access. Also, we noticed that during peak summer and tourist hours even the museum pass line is crowded with a wait time of more than an hour.

Summing up, decide how many museums you want to visit and the time you want to spend on there. Total the cost of the tickets at the counter and the cost of the museum. Do the math take a decision and execute it. Happy visit.

We visited the Louvre Museum and the Musée de l'Orangerie. Hence, did not purchase the pass.

A little about the Paris Passlib Pass:

The is an amazing combo pass to the Paris metro (only Zone 1 - 3 ), museum, monuments, with add-on option to the Eifel tower. If you want to visit the official website of the Paris tourism for pass details pls visit the link here.

2 Days - 109 Euros
3 Days - 129 Euros
5 Days - 155 Euros

My Math for not choosing the Paris Passlib pass:

Places I wanted to Visit Cost Expeted time to spend
Louvre Museum  15 1 day
Musée de l'Orangerie  9 day
Eiffel Tower  17 3hrs including wait time
Versailles Palace 27 day
Total 68

Since we climbed up the Eifel tower we decided not to climb on top of other monuments/attractions to view Paris's skyline / panoramic view

So the total expenditure on site seeing was 68 Euros per head while the three-day pass was 129 Euros.
Three days pass comes with transport pass as well but does not include commute to the airport since it did not make a great saving for us on a five-day trip.

Hence we opted to purchase a five days pass (All zones, unlimited) for  70.30 Euros and visit the museums/monuments which we wanted to visit for 68 Euros per head. Hence the total expenditure on travel plus the entry tickets was  138.30 Euros.

Decide on the passes to purchase based on the prioritizing the places you want to visit. 

In my next article on Fabulous France, I will share my experience at various points of interests.

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