Remaining one of most popular travel destinations in Europe, France is home to some of most beautiful cities and countryside in world. France annually receives 82 million foreign tourists. Tourists from all over world are attracted by exquisite culture of France, cuisine, wine, romantic castles and picturesque nature. When many people think of France, they immediately think of Paris. Flights from China to France are also very convenient, and you can fly directly to Paris to start exploring France. It is full of neoclassical buildings and some of most recognizable landmarks such as Eiffel Tower, Louvre, lavender gardens of Provence.
Let's go to France next time!Flights to France
From Paris, artistic capital of Europe, to tasting districts of Bordeaux and historic Dordogne, France is full of treasures to visit. Summers are hottest from June to September, but travelers looking to save money may consider traveling during off-season in spring when weather can be cooler but still dry and sunny. Most direct flights from China to France arrive in Paris, and there are daily flights to France from Shanghai and Beijing in east, Hong Kong and Guangzhou in south of China, and Chengdu and Xi'an in west.
Open Baidu app to view high-res imagesMajor airports in France Airlines flying from China and North America to France
Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines and Air France operate direct flights to France from various cities, most of which land at Paris-Charles de Gaulle. In addition, starting from China, you can also choose other airlines to transfer to France via Germany, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Russia, etc. Typically, one way time takes 11 to 15 hours. For those planning to travel from US to France, Delta, Air France and British Airways offer direct flights to France from Boston, Logan and New York. Passengers departing from Philadelphia International Airport can also fly with US Airways or Lufthansa. Most intercontinental flights arrive at Paris airport. Most cheap flights to France depart at night, depart late afternoon or early evening, arrive in morning after 9-12 hours on road.French bus company
There are 4 main bus companies operating on most bus routes in France and Europe: Isilines, Eurolines, Flixbus and Ouibus. Previously, Megabus and Starshipper also provided long-distance bus routes, but their networks were integrated by Flixbus and Ouibus, respectively. In addition to these 4 main companies, Spanish bus company Alsa does not provide domestic routes, but provides buses to and from Spain and other parts of Europe. Below is a brief description of 5 bus companies in France:
Alsa. The Spanish company Alsa is largest bus company in Spain. From France, Alsa offers many buses to Spain as well as other parts of Europe. In fact, company has expanded its international network to 12 European countries, including France, Portugal, Italy, UK and Belgium.
Eurolines (European Line): Eurolines is a professional company specializing in European long-distance buses, but has not previously been introduced to French market. Its network of European partners serves over 600 destinations. In France, 96 cities are covered. While most destinations are in Europe, Eurolines also offers services on routes in other countries.
FlixBus: The German company Flixbus was founded in 2013 after deregulation of German market and quickly established itself as a leader in Rhineland hinterland. Today company is a European powerhouse with over 900 destinations in 20 European countries. The bus company Flixbus has grown exponentially since its launch in France in May 2015 and currently offers 130 destinations and 60 bus routes. Flixbus recently acquired continental Megabus network in UK, further expanding its bus route network in France and Europe. The company claims to have carried 1.6 million passengers in France since its inception.
Isilines: The Isilines Coach Company is a subsidiary of Transdev Group, which also owns European rail giant Eurolines, established in June 2015. The company has 29 bus routes serving more than 80 cities in France. If 14 of these bus routes are radial (through Paris), then remaining 15 are transverse. The company also offers night buses on seven routes. Isilines benefits from connecting European network of lines from France to European destinations.
Ouibus : Ouibus, commonly known as iDbus, is a French bus company founded in 2012. Ouibus is a subsidiary of French national railway company SNCF. It can provide cheap travel services in France and some neighboring countries.
Depending on bus company and route chosen, amenities on board may vary, but typically include comfortable reclining seats, air conditioning, toilets, Wi-Fi, and entertainment such as movies and magazines. Many bus operators also provide accessibility services for passengers who need assistance.Overview of French Railways
Train travel in France has become one of most efficient modes of transport, and travelers can reach France from all over Europe. French trains are not only efficient, but also comfortable and inexpensive. The French rail network offers high-speed trains connecting all major cities in France with neighboring countries.anami, as well as regional trains to reach more remote towns and villages in country.
As mentioned above, three most common types of domestic trains that passengers encounter when traveling in France are high-speed TGV trains, intercity trains (INTERCITS) and regional trains (TER). TGV trains are high-speed double-decker trains that connect Paris with all major cities in France. INTERCITS usually stops in cities where there is no TGV network and operates both day and night. TER is similar to an intercity train. There is a train for each region. Usually no seats, low operating costs. It stops in small towns and villages. There are many types of trains in France that travelers can use during their journey. The main railway companies in country are SNCF, TGV, Eurostar, Thalys, Ouigo, Renfe, Lyria and Thello. In France, some of most popular domestic routes for tourists include Paris to Lyon, Nice to Monaco, Paris to Nice and Paris to Bordeaux. On other hand, tourists arriving in France from other European countries usually take several popular routes: for example, from Amsterdam to Paris, from London to Paris, or from Milan to Paris.
High-speed trains (TGV) are best way to get to and from France's major cities, while regional trains also provide easy access to charming small towns and many villages. With Omio app, travelers can find suitable train routes and companies to suit their specific needs.Main railway stations in France
All major cities in France have major train stations connected to international cities. Below is a list and information about main railway stations.Introduction to French railway companies and train types Introduction to SNCF and other railway companies
There are several train companies in France that travelers may want to know about before buying train tickets. There are three rail companies in France that only provide domestic routes, namely SNCF, TGV and OUIGO. SNCF is known to be main train operator in France, typically high speed regional trains but also slower TER regional trains. OUIGO only offers 6 lines and is known for its low cost high speed rail. TGV also offers only a few lines, although it plans to expand its high-speed train network in future.
On other hand, there are six rail companies in France offering international routes. Thello is a joint venture between SNCF and Trenitalia and therefore offers day and night trains to Marseille and Milan, as well as to and from Paris and Venice. Lyria, a partnership between SNCF and SBB (Switzerland), provides high-speed trains connecting Paris, Marseille and Dijon to major cities in Switzerland. Thalys also offers high speed trains from Paris to Amsterdam/Brussels/Cologne. High-speed Eurostar trains run from France to London, Amsterdam and Brussels. The partnership between Renfe and SNCF provides direct high-speed rail from major French cities to Barcelona and Madrid. Finally, Eurocities also offers slow trains connecting France to major European cities.
SNCF is national rail operator in France. SNCF operates Regional Express (TER) and high-speed intercity trains TGV, iDTGV and Ouigo. Although TGV high-speed trains are usually fastest trains, they do not always reach maximum speed (200 mph) on lines such as Paris-Marseille and Lyon-Turin. SNCF also operates international rail lines in cooperation with rail companies in other countries.Popular international train routes
For travelers who wish to travel from France to neighboring countries by train, Omio makes it easy to book tickets. The main international routes to France usually originate or arrive in Paris and Lyon. Some of most popular international rail routes are London-Lyon/Paris, Amsterdam-Lyon/Paris, Brussels-Lyon/Paris, Berlin-Lyon, Barcelona-Paris, Milan-Paris, etc.Popular Cities in France Paris
Paris, known to travelers for its elegant and fun lifestyle, is an ancient, majestic European city with architectural masterpieces such as Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral.
The Louvre (one of best museums in Paris) represents rich historical heritage of city with an outstanding collection of fine art, while Musée d'Orsay and Orangerie showcase treasures of French Impressionism.
Another charm of Paris lies in its atmospheric medieval quarters and beautiful boulevards. Typical tourist experiences include shopping in bookstores in Latin Quarter, walking along Champs Elysées, and leisurely spending time in city on cafe terraces of Boulevard Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
Just a short train ride from Paris is Versailles, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This sumptuous 17th-century palace, built for Louis XIV (the "Sun King"), bears witness to glory and absolute power of French monarchy. The luxurious baroque façade of castle, dazzling Hall of Mirrors and regular gardens adorned with fountains allow visitors to imagine scenes from France's royal past.Provence
In contrast to gray skies of Paris and northern France, charming region of Provence is bathed in bright Mediterranean sunshine most of year. The hills are covered with a patchwork of small farms, olive groves, sunflower and lavender fields. Fragrant rosemary, sage, thyme and other wild vegetables abound here and bring vitality to local cuisine. From this fabulous landscape, Impressionists drew inspiration for their works of art.
Tourists are attracted by village life, located on a hilltop in Provence. Two of most popular destinations are Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a picturesque medieval walled city (close to many Côte d'Azur tourist attractions such as Eze), and Gordes, one of Luberon's top attractions.Alps and Mont Blanc
The French Alps are one of most beautiful natural places in world. The majestic Mont Blanc is highest mountain in Europe, this iconic snow-capped peak reaches a height of 4810 meters. At this altitude, air is clean and scenery is magnificent, with crystal clear lakes, rushing waterfalls, quiet valleys and refreshing pine forests.
In summer, tourists flock to Alps for hiking, cycling and mountain climbing. In winter, French Alps attract tourists with downhill skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing. Many of best ski resorts in France are located in this region.
In addition to impressive mountainous terrain, region also has a rich cultural heritage associated with ancestral home of Italian royal family of Savoy and historical region of Dauphine.
The beautiful mountain village of Chamonix (about 15 minutes from foot of Mont Blanc) has a traditional alpine atmosphere, while Annecy (just over an hour from Chamonix) has ancient castles, lakeside scenery and fairy tale surroundings.Bordeaux and Saint-Emilion
The Bordeaux region is a beautiful idyllic corner of France, where magnificent castles stand on hills entwined with vineyards. Scenic tree-lined trails wind through countryside along Garonne and its quiet canals.
The region is home to two unique UNESCO World Heritage Sites: elegant city of Bordeaux, with over 350 listed buildings, and Saint-Émilion, a small rural village 51 km from Bordeaux, home to famous churches and monasteries. .Cote d'Azur
The Côte d'Azur, also known as French Riviera, is a stunning stretch of Mediterranean coastline named after its deep blue waters. Due to sunny weather in this region in south of France, sky also often takes on an attractive azure hue for most of the year.
From Saint-Tropez (which intersects with Provence region) to Menton, located less than 30 km from Italian border, Côte d'Azur has been a fashionable seaside resort since early 19th century. Spring and autumn bring milder weather and a calmer and more relaxed atmosphere.Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy
Mont Saint-Michel is a highlight of Normandy region with its idyllic landscape of apple orchards, forests and dairy pastures. This unmissable tourist attraction tops list of Normandy destinations and includes top attractions such as historic castles and picturesque towns.
Constructed between 11th and 13th centuries, Mont Saint-Michel is one of most beautiful places in France. Perched atop a small island in bay of Mont Saint-Michel, UNESCO World Heritage-listed abbey is considered a marvel of Gothic architecture.
The abbey church was an important medieval pilgrimage site on "Via Saint James" in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Modern day pilgrims still travel here, strolling along Gulf of Saint-Michel at low tide, making it a popular destination and check-in point for travelers.Castles of Loire Valley
This majestic château is scattered across lush, forested landscape of Loire Valley, which stretches 280 kilometers from Sully-sur-Loire to Anjou-sur-Loire and is France's largest château listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The region has an extremely rich cultural heritage. During 15th and 16th centuries, French kings built luxurious country houses here solely for entertainment and pleasure. Extravagant castles such as magnificent Chambord and iconic Chenonceau give an idea of the grandeur of French Renaissance courts.
The French nobility and elite also built beautiful estates in idyllic locations such as majestic Château de Cheverny and idyllic landscape of its water-filled moat.Alsatian villages
Some of France's most beautiful villages are hidden among green hills of Alsace, where Vosges borders German Rhine. These picturesque Alsatian villages feature pastel-colored half-timbered houses surrounding a small parish church. Flowering balconies and paved pedestrian streets attract vacationers.
The Alsace Village Route is a pleasant way to get to know region. Many villages are listed as Plus Beaux Villages de France (Most Beautiful Villages in France) and some villages are designated as Villages Fleuris (Flowering Villages) because houses and streets are dotted with colorful potted plants and varied greenery.Nice and Croisette
Nice combines an authentic Mediterranean landscape with an Old World urban atmosphere, vibrant street life and a stunning seafront location. There are 25 named beaches along Baie des Anges, some of which are free, while others are paid. One of best ways to appreciate coastline is to walk along coastal road between Nice and Monaco, just outside city.
Three Corniches are three coastal roads along coast, each higher than other and with sharper curves. Driving along this route, you're sure to conjure up images of Grace Kelly, Alfred Hitchcock, glitz of Riviera high society and glamor of Monaco's royalty - all along with some of Europe's finest views of endless blue sea on mysterious coastline.Palace of Versailles
The Palace of Versailles is not just a royal residence, it was created to demonstrate glory of French monarchy. Louis XIV, "Sun King", turned his father's hunting lodge into a magnificent palace with sumptuous baroque interiors. The palace became a symbol of absolute power of Louis XIV and became a model for princely courts of Europe.
Architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart created elegant baroque façade and sumptuous interiors of Palace of Versailles, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The most iconic place in castle is Hall of Mirrors, where courtiers await their audience with His Majesty. This dazzling hall shines with sunlight that enters through windows and is reflected in multi-colored light in huge decorative mirrors.
Versailles is also famous for Les Jardins, French gardens with decorative pools, manicured bushes and magnificent fountains. The gardens, created in 17th century by renowned landscape architect André Le Ntré, are surrounded by 800 hectares of lush greenery.
Data source: omio.cn/travel/best-places-to-visit-in-france