Its reputation as one of the most romantic places on Earth is what keeps visitors booking airline tickets to France. And it’s no wonder…with all the champagne, croissants and Camembert available on a whim, what more could any traveler want? France is known for its fine cuisine and romantic landscapes, but it’s also a country oozing in culture, couture and charm –chances are you’ll experience some of it on your flight to France.
International travelers book flights to France all year long. Whether you find cheap international flights to France for a romantic weekend getaway in Paris, or plan a week in the luxurious French Riviera, there is something for everyone in this country. From Gothic cathedrals to medieval castles to vast vineyards, exploring France is like taking a walk through European history. Most flights to France land in Paris, where first-time travelers stand in awe at the Eiffel Tower. The City of Light is the perfect starting point for your France vacation, and a perfect way to say bonjour to a country you’ll never forget.
France has a fairly temperate climate. The northeast has hot summers and cold winters while the northwest has lots of rain, high humidity, westerly winds and cool summers. There are harsh winters and hot summers in the Alps, Pyrenees and Massif Central mountains. The Mediterranean climate in southern France is very pleasant with mild winters and very hot summers. For 100 days out of the year, la Mistral, a cold, dry wind, blows in this area, especially in the spring. From mid-July through August, the cities empty out as the French take their vacations. If you can stand the heat, this can be a great time to visit the cities.
Best Time to Fly to France
Spring is a very popular time to visit France (especially Paris) when the weather is usually warm and cheap plane tickets to France are plentiful. Summer is peak season in the South – the beaches warm up from May onwards and tourists flock to the Cote d’Azur.
Wintertime is (obviously) peak season for skiing, both in the Alps and the Pyrenees. You can ski in the Alps from approximately December through March or April. Flights to France peak around the Christmas holidays and mid-February. Winter holiday periods such as Christmas are often popular in the major cities as well, especially Paris.
Fall is generally off season throughout France. Temperatures can still be warm though the days are quite short. Cheap flights to France and accommodations for skiing are lowest before Christmas – though snow is not guaranteed at this time and the temperatures can be excruciatingly cold – and at the end of the season (late March to early April).
Getting around France
Trains are run by SNCF. They are excellent and speedy throughout the country, cover an extremely extensive network. Small towns without train stations are normally linked to the local station by bus.
The TGV is the high speed inter-city train service. There are also many night trains which travel more slowly than their counterparts in the day so you can go to sleep in one town and wake up in another. You can book online at the SNCF Web site.
Driving is easy. Wide, well-maintained roads with little traffic run throughout most of rural France. Remember to keep some spare change to hand to pay for the tolls.
Buses are cheaper than trains, but generally a lot slower and less comfortable. It is best to save bus travel for shorter trips.
France flights are available between major cities. Air France has many domestic flights.
The following chart gives approximate journey times fromParis
(in hours and minutes) to other major cities and towns in France.
France Travel Information
- There's little you can't find in Paris - the City of Light is home to some of the finest art galleries, most beautiful parks and stunning architecture in the world. Parisians are (rightfully) proud of their city, and won't mind telling you so. If you want to immerse yourself in the Parisian lifestyle, rather than just enjoy it as a tourist, it's essential to speak some French. There are Paris hotels for any budget, any lifestyle preference and at any distance from the city.
- The summer destination of choice in the south is often Nice and the Cote d'Azur region. Less brash, however, (and less expensive) is Biarritz and the surrounding area of the Basque region on the southwest coast. The beach in Biarritz is popular with the elite - Queen Victoria of England vacationed here many times over the space of 30 years, and there is a certain hauteur to many of the women who take walks along the beach front promenade - but also with surfers. The annual surf championships are held here every July.
- The Ville Rose, or pink city, Toulouse is a vibrant metropolis with a huge student population and endless options for finding the perfect Toulouse hotel. A beautiful, old and historical city, Toulouse is also the hub of the French aerospace industry. Visit the Aerospatiale to see where the Airbus A330 is assembled or the Cite de L'Espace to find out all about space travel. (Details on visiting both are available from the Toulouse tourist office.)
- Lyon is France's second city and its location near to the Alps, the Rhone and the south coast makes it the perfect base to explore the country, and also hide out in a Lyon hotel. For something a little more unusual in the city itself, visit the Festival of Ancient Music. The festival takes place in the run-up to Christmas every year in the Chapelle de la Trinite.