Why France is the World’s Top Tourist Destination

Paris-at-night

Europe’s top tourist destination is also the world’s most visited country and this may come as no surprise to many when they discover that it is France. With 89 million visitors a year, France comes out tops above Spain which is in second place with 82 million visitors. The USA comes in at number 3 with 78 million tourists. So, despite a few uncertain years, France is once again the world’s number 1 tourist hot spot. So, why are people from all over the world attracted to France specifically. 89 Million people made it their holiday destination of choice so there must be a lot going for it. Let’s get into it and discover all of France’s charm and mystique that makes it so popular.

 

Paris

Paris street cafés and restaurants

There really is not much more that you can say about the most charming and romantic city in the world. Paris takes your breath away with it’s enchanting buildings, chic cafés and alluring art galleries which there are plentiful off, captivating both your heart and soul. Seek your thrills by climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower or make sure you get in with the locals at one of the many bars and enjoy a Pasti, Parisian Style.

Low Flight Price’s top tips for visiting Paris. Skip the Eiffel Tower for now and climb to the top of Paris at the Montparnasse Tower. Here you will find short lines and the views are much better and they include the Eiffel Tower as well. When visiting the Palace of Versailles it will serve you well to book online for the guided tour of the King’s apartment. You will be able to go straight into the palace avoiding the queues. The King’s apartment is a separate tour from the rest and can only be viewed by booking online. However, it is a more expensive add-on than your regular priced ticket.

 

The landscapes are breath-taking

castle-in-france

The French Countryside, beaches and mountains offer tourists an all in one package when it comes to its natural beauty. The French scenery is diverse with the sparkling coastlines of the French Riviera, old harbour towns of Normandy, the snow-capped mountains of the Alps and the patchy fields of the Loire Valley. And if you’re a lover of the great outdoors, you can find this very appealing as you won’t have to choose between a mountain or the ocean You can have both in France. This gives you real value for money making your holiday all the better. Best you have your camera with you – the photo opportunities will be the envy of Instagram.

 

There is history all round

Arc-de-triomphe

France has its history written all over in every corner. The country has witnessed numerous empires rise and fall and republics crush oppositions to their rule. There’s been bloody revolutions with the fight taken to every street corner. The Loire Valley is a must see with its legions of castles stoically sitting behind perfectly manicured gardens. Incredible replicas of cave paintings can be seen if you head down to the Dordogne region of the pre-historic paintings of Lascaux. Or you can see the real thing in Font-de-Gaume if you book early. In Provins you find a beautiful old town to the south-east of Paris or Bayeax in Normandy. In the blog we’ll share some of our favourite villages in France.

 

It’s all in the Architecture

French castle with a french chateau and some flowers

Where-ever your eye goes, you cannot escape the sublime French architecture. You’ll discover it in cathedrals like Notre Dame de Paris, Notre Dame de Strasbourg and more, abbeys like Abbaye de Sénanque in Provence and Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, medieval market halls like that of Dives-Sur-Mer on Normandy and Roman temples and amphitheatres like the Maison Carrée in Nîmes. But there’s also typical architecture in the regions such as timbered houses of Normandy’s coast. Check out the traditional Basque architecture of the French Basque Country. Buildings all across France are full of incredible diversity.

 

The cuisine is mouth-watering

French-cheese-tray

If you haven’t eaten French food, you are missing out on the best cuisine in the world. You should definitely try French cuisine at its best especially in every region of France. Each region is known for its own gastronomic delight. As you travel across France, you are bound to find food you have never discovered before. Enjoy the feast of confit de canard, rillettes, beef bourguignon and much more. And remember to drink a glass of Bordeaux every time you eat on a fresh baguette with stinky cheese.

 

Get to a wine tasting

French-vintage-wine-bottles

French wine is world renowned to suit all tastes and can pair perfectly with any French cuisine. So, whether you are a beginner, a connoisseur or just your average wine lover who enjoys a fine glass or two, France has something for you. Discover the finest and most delicious wines in your travels by visiting the famous vineyards of Bordeaux, the terroirs of Burgundy and the bistros in Paris. You can explore some vineyards by golf cart and even organise a picnic on others surrounded by beautiful nature. When you visit Paris make sure you visit O Chateau, a wine bar and restaurant which is highly recommended. AT 68 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, it’s a short walk from the Louvre museum.

 

Sexy Beaches

French Riviera

France has two great coastlines: the beautiful Atlantic and the Mediterranean coastlines. Many of which were made famous by great artists in paintings of years gone by. Make sure you spend a day or two at the beach if you’re visiting between late spring and early fall. Normandy and Brittany are great Atlantic beaches for the summer months. It’s too cold and windy before June and after September. However, the French Riviera will be warm in late April through to early October.

 

44 unesco world heritage sites

castle mont saint michel

UNESCO World Heritage sites include forts, castles, religious buildings, medieval towns and landscapes all of which are spread throughout France. These 44 sites all over France are a big draw card for tourist. We are concentrating the tours to cover the ten regions of France. For the full list, you may like to visit the UNESCO website

 

The French Slopes

Snow capped French Alps

The French Alps in the winter season is very popular with professionals, couples, families and novices or just groups of tourists. Every level of skill is welcome. You don’t have to be a pro to enjoy the experience on the Alps. Most resorts cater for all skill levels with wide open pistes on very gentle slopes. This is ideal for beginners and there’s fast-paced red runs for intermediate skiers. The pros are left to the more daring and challenging black runs. For skiers who want to go ‘off-the-beaten-track’, there’s some great off-piste areas for the adventurous. The popular resorts of Courchevel, Tignes Morzine, Chamonix and Val d’Isère are often chosen by the more experienced skiers. If you want to be guaranteed some snow, then the high altitude terrain of the ski area Les Trois Vallées is a must as it is the world’s largest connected ski area.

 

There’s a festival for everyone

French man and woman drinking beer at a French festival

Tourist to France will be spoilt for choice when it comes to festivals. The Carcassonne Festival of contemporary music, dance and theatre happen in the summer and attracts brilliant performers from all over the world. Performers like Elton John, Moby and Deep Purple all attended. On the little town of Menton on the French Riviera, there’s classical music under the stars. This festival takes place during July and August and is an Annual event called The Menton Music Festival. The glitz and glamour of Deauville’s American Film Festival attracts film buffs from all over. There’s a 400 seater open-air cinema on the beach at the Cabourg Film Festival which is much more low-key. However, if you’re looking for something way different, the Lemon Festival in Menton in February, or the Gypsy pilgrimage to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer happens in May.

 

Inspiration for creatives

Louvre at night

For centuries musicians, photographers, dancers, artists and journalists have found inspiration in Paris. The grand work of the mainstay of the Wisdom, the Golden and the Romantic Age, la Belle Époque or Golden Age and les Années Folles still withstands and is ever popular even today. The Enlightenment inspired the works of philosophers such as Francis Bacon, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire and Adam Smith. Victor Hugo, whose most famous novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Alexandre Dumas, author of The Three Musketeers, were more associated with the turbulent Romantic era.  France’s ‘Golden Age’, ran from 1871 up to the beginning of 1914, the First World War. This period is often looked to as a time of prosperity and peace because it was right before World War 2, a time of terrible destruction and loss for France. The arts flourished during ‘The Beautiful Era’ (La Belle Époque) as did many theatrical, musical and artistic masterpieces gain appreciation. Many great Impressionist and post-Impressionists like:

  • Claude Monet
  • Paul Gauguin
  • Henri Matisse
  • Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
  • Pablo Picasso

Gained prominence in the era which saw the rising of the Eiffel Tower as a grand celebration to the 1889 World fair, the Art Nouveau movement and Moulin Rouge. As war broke out in Europe, The Golden Age came to an abrupt end and was followed by the roaring twenties (Les Années Folles). France is credited with inspiring the lost generation in writers like Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald and James Joyce. In modern times, France continues to inspire creative people from all over the world, like Kate Mosse, Anthony Doerr, Woody Allen and Peter May who have all used France as a setting for the works. Has France inspired you?

So, now that you have discovered France to travel to, you can now reserve your seat and book your Low Price Flights to some amazing spots around France.  www.lowpriceflights.co.za

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When will Europe be open for travel?

People walking the streets of Europe

This is a developing story. For up-to-date information on Covid 19, visit the World Health Organisation during travel on Coronavirus. We can’t help but ask our selves during this time, how we will be able to travel to Europe where we can enjoy the long summers loitering along the Seine or busking in the Mediterranean. It was on March 17 that we realised the Coronavirus pandemic had gripped Europe, as European Union Leaders agreed to impose travel restrictions on most tourists entering. This list is being continually updated and the European Union has said countries not on the list are so because they have not brought Coronavirus under control. There are currently 10 countries on the list which are:

  • Rwanda
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Uruguay
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Georgia
  • Japan
  • New Zealand

(Morocco, Algeria, Serbia and Montenegro have since been removed.) It’s not a legally binding list. Nevertheless, there has already been some aberrance. Germany is only allowing certain countries on the list. However, there has been some exceptions to the European travel ban which include families, passengers in transit and students. Within Europe, internal borders have begun to open up on June 15, with certain rules and restrictions in place. Airlines have been left exposed to the maximum of the travel restrictions and have started to add flights to their international capacity. US airlines such as Delta, American and United plan to resume flights which will feature London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris. Below is a breakdown of how different European countries have decided to approach travel in Europe and beyond.

 

Take a coronavirus test if you want to travel to Croatia

Landscape image of the city in Croatia

A negative nasal swab test for Covid 19 is required in Croatia for all non-European tourists who enter Croatia as tourists, business travelers or as students, can travel freely. The test results must be no more than 48 hours old prior to arriving at the border. If you fail to provide a result, there is a mandatory 14 days of self-isolation at your own expense, which can be less if you take the Covid 19 test within 7 days of entering Croatia and pass with a negative test. The test costs around R3854 and you can expect a result within 1-2 days.

Croatia takes these self-quarantine measures very seriously with the Croatian heath department monitoring and enforcing the quarantine with individual fines of up to 8000 Croatian Kuna (about R20,100.00) and 120 000 Croatian Kuna (R300,000.00) for repeat offenders. Before arrival, tourists are advised to go online and fill in the travel form and they must provide proof of their hotel accommodation. Once the form is filled and sent, travelers will get a confirmation and instructions about rules and regulations for traveling within Croatia. The majority of airlines now require all passengers to wear a mask. But before that, check out Low Price Flights South Africa. There are no direct flights to Zagreb. But you can find cheap flights from Johannesburg to London.

 

France is welcoming travelers

City scape of Paris

From June 22, France eased all of its travel restrictions for those coming into the country from within Europe only. France opened its borders to inter-European travelers on June 15 and later to those coming from Spain on 22 June. EU members as well as those from Andorra, Liechtenstein, Vatican, Iceland, San Marino, Norway and Switzerland can now all enter France without restrictions. UK visitors have to undergo a 2 week quarantine. France made the decision that from July 1 it will open its doors to travelers from outside Europe as long as those countries have been granted access by the European Commission.

 

Tourists from those countries can enter France, book into hotels, enjoy the amenities and tourist sites throughout France. Face masks are now mandatory in some outdoor spaces in Paris as the Coronavirus cases experienced an uptick. It has now been declared that face masks are necessary for anyone of the age 11 and older using public transportation, in a taxi or enclosed public space. All museums and important landmarks that are open will require you to wear a mask even in cafés, bars and restaurants will open with these public measures in place. Only night clubs remain closed with cinemas and other entertainment venues have been allowed to open. Visiting France is now much cheaper thanks to Low Price Flights South Africa with cheap flights from Johannesburg to Paris.

 

Italy reopened to travelers on June 3

Florence with buildings

Italy became the earliest and first country to open its international and regional borders on the 3 June. This only applies to people arriving from European Union member countries within the Schengen Zone including the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. The microstates and principalties of Andorra, San Marino, Monaco and the Vatican are also added.

 

This new government decree has made a law for people who test positive for Covid 19 or have had close contact with a person who contracted the virus, will have to be held in quarantine for at least 2 weeks. It is very difficult for officials to determine exact details of how they would check or confirm tourist’s contacts. Thermal scanners will be used for temperature checks at Fiumicino and Ciampino airports on all passengers departing from Rome. Visiting Italy is now much cheaper thanks to Low Price Flights South Africa with cheap flights from Johannesburg to Rome.

 

The United Kingdom’s quarantine laws need not apply to all travelers

London Bridge

It is not recommended that you travel to the United Kingdom but it is also allowed. If you travel to the United Kingdom from one of the countries on the exempted list, you will not be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Travelers coming from nations that are not on the list have to follow the rules and abide to the 14-day quarantine rule that was placed on 8 June. The list of countries exempted includes Australia, , Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, Vietnam, Finland, Jamaica, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Austria, Bermuda, Croatia and Cyprus. The list is being updated on a regular basis. Travelers from within the United Kingdom and Ireland are exempt as well the 14 British international colonies.

 

The British government has made it clear that the list could be updated at any time as the situation evolves. International visitors and British citizens returning home and tourists traveling from countries that are not on the list, must present UK Border Control with their phone number, address of where they will be staying whilst in the UK in self-isolation for two weeks. There are hefty fines for failure to self-isolate and could see fines of up to R21 458 and if you fail to provide correct details, this fine will go up to R68667. The UK government provided guidelines on a Coronavirus fact sheet from 4 of July as a guideline to businesses allowed to open as long as they follow the Covid 19 rules. This includes restaurants, pubs, museums, hotels, vacation rentals, cinemas, retail stores, galleries, theaters, and concert halls. Flying to Britain is now much cheaper thanks to Low Price Flights South Africa with cheap flights from Johannesburg to London.

 

Germany has eased restrictions for some European countries

castle-Germany

If you were in Europe, you were allowed to travel to Germany from 16 June without restrictions. The only country that was exempted was Spain which had to wait till 22 June. Germany has eased its restrictions on travel for tourists coming from seven (Montenegro was dropped) of those countries: Australia, Thailand, Tunisia, New Zealand, Georgia, Canada, and Uruguay, based on European Union recommendations. Japan, China and South Korea now enjoy easier travels to Germany since they’ve been lifted, but expect reciprocal travel benefits. Flying to Germany is now much cheaper thanks to Low Price Flights South Africa with cheap flights from Johannesburg to Berlin.

 

Spain has reopened to European travelers

Barcelona

Spain is at the moment only allowing Spanish nationals, residents, visa holders and those people coming from European Schengen countries. Spouses, parents, descendents of Spanish nationals, essential workers, students, and passengers in transit are also being allowed to enter the country, as they are. Spain went into a state of emergency on 14 March and ended on 21 June bringing to an end the severe lockdown rules. However, Spa9n has seen a surge in the Coronavirus numbers. The Spanish government issued a law to make all people, 6 year and older, to wear a mask in all public spaces especially in areas where social distancing cannot be maintained. Flying to Spain is now much cheaper thanks to Low Price Flights South Africa with cheap flights from Johannesburg to Barcelona.

 

Greece to open to more travelers

oia-Greece

On 13 July the government was said to be evaluating on whether to open its borders to more travelers or not in the summer. Up until now, they have not made an official announcement. In early May, Greece slowly opened up its economy after almost six weeks of very tights lockdown restrictions which saw the banning of all movement across the country. On 15 June, the Prime Minister set into motion the official start of the Greek tourist season and since then countries with low rates of virus infection were allowed to enter.

 

A regularly updated list can be obtained through the Greek Tourism Board for all travelers coming into Greece by land, sea or air. Some changes have been made like on 15 July when all travelers are required to show their Covid 19 test results not more than 72 hours old. Passengers are told to fill in a Passenger Locator Form 24 hours before arriving into Greece. On this form they must provide detailed information on their departure, duration of stay and a Greek address. Flying to Greece is now much cheaper thanks to Low Price Flights South Africa with cheap flights from Johannesburg to Athens.

 

Portugal has reopened for travel

city-Portugal

Portugal went into a state of emergency on 14 March and ended its lockdown on 2 May. People can now get back to watching movies at the cinemas, theatres and shopping centres. At the moment, citizens from the European Union and even Lichtenstein, Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and the United Kingdom can all enter by air according to Portuguese authorities. Passengers from the following countries will be allowed to enter: South Korea, Australia, Rwanda, Thailand, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Canada, China, Georgia, Tunisia and Uruguay.

 

Add to the eligibility of travelers from Portuguese-speaking countries or with large Portuguese communities like those you find in the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Venezuela and USA. Due to the ban of Europe by the US, only Portuguese citizens and family members can enter Portugal from the USA. Hotels and other tourist venues in Portugal displaying the blue and white label for doing their part of keeping clean and safe during this Covid 19 crisis are to be noted by tourists and visitors alike. Portugal reopened it 500 plus miles of coastline to some strict regulations. Flying to Portugal is now much cheaper thanks to Low Price Flights South Africa with cheap flights from Johannesburg to Lisbon.

 

And in other places in Europe…

Map of Europe

On 31 of August a travel ban to Sweden from non-European Union countries is set to end. Sweden does not require travelers to quarantine. If you travel from the European Union, the United Kingdom and Switzerland to Sweden, there are currently no restrictions. Denmark allows most countries from the European Union with the exception of Malta, Romania, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain and Bulgaria. Denmark is open to travelers from Georgia, Australia, Canada, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Japan, New Zealand and Uruguay.

 

Iceland has opened its borders to citizens countries outside the European Union that includes New Zealand, Rwanda, Thailand, Tunisia, South Korea, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco  and Uruguay. Iceland has given travelers three options upon landing in Keflavik Airport; If they results are negative they may continue with their travels, or go for a 14 day quarantine or provide proof that you have tested negative for Covid 19 in the past 72 hours. Ireland requires passengers to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival as there are no travel restrictions. On 1 July, Malta opened its airports to international flights from Europe and welcoming all other destinations 2 weeks later. Turkey has lifted all of its Coronavirus restrictions on 12 June which means that international visitors can simply arrive and be subject to a medical screening.

So, now that you have discovered more safe places to travel to, you can now reserve your seat and book your flights to some amazing spots around the world.  www.lowpriceflights.co.za

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