France Vacations

Written by Rachel Arieff
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Vacations in France are known for being among the most satisfying travel experiences throughout the world. However, one rule of travel that I believe holds for any destination is that the more preparation you put into it, the more you'll get out of it ... and by that, I'm not talking about packing a huge suitcase. I'm referring to research into the culture, geography, language, and sightseeing destinations well before your departure date.

It's a given that you won't have enough time to see and do everything that you'd like to on your French vacation. However, with thorough planning, you'll be able to pack as many top-choice activities into your trip as you can instead of finding yourself in the lamentable position of making poor choices--standing in a frustratingly long line outside the Eiffel Tower on the busiest day of the week, for instance--and wasting your valuable time.

Preparing for France Vacations

To get the most out of your France vacation, read as much as you can ahead of time about French history, French literature, and French current events. Look at French cook books. Rent French movies by masters such as Jean Renoir or Francois Truffault. Go to the art museum and get acquainted with the French school of painters and sculptors. If any of these areas absolutely hold no interest for you, skip it and move onto whatever interests you.

Another important tool to have, no matter what country you visit, is at least a basic mastery of a few phrases in that language. France is no exception, and you'll find that, while you'll never be able to fool anyone into thinking you're a native, you'll certainly experience richer human connections when you can manage even a few words in French. Today, CD-ROM and online French language programs can get you up to speed in basic French, with surprisingly little time or practice.

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