“I had come to the conclusion that I must really be French, only no one had ever informed me of this fact. I loved the people, the food, the lay of the land, the civilized atmosphere, and the generous pace of life.”

 Julia Child

The largest country in Western Europe, France is also one of the most ethnically diverse European countries. While the French are deeply proud of their history and traditions, we’ve found that the deep influences brought from other cultures are pervasive and certainly add to the charm of French culture. Dreaming of France brings to minds scenes of chic Parisian cafe’s, towering snow covered Alps, and quiet rural villages. Put away that stereotype that the French aren’t always the most friendly to tourists, we thought the same until we found ourselves being escorted up to the private apartment of an older French couple to show off their view Notre Dame (not kidding).

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Tips on France/

  • Paris is EXPENSIVE, more so than nearly anywhere else we’ve been. Maybe we are just spoiled by the cost of living in Southern Spain, but be prepared for $30-40/person meals and $10 drinks.
  • Franprix and Monoprix are the most popular French grocery stores. Picking up some wine and cheese with crackers (and water or juice for the kids) and having a park lunch is a great way to mitigate some of the expensive food prices.
  • On the first Sunday of the month many tourist museums/attractions in Paris are FREE! This can provide huge cost savings for a family.
  • Unlike many other countries we’ve visited, it has been our experience not many French people speak English. This is even more true outside some of the bigger cities. Making a little effort to learn some key French phrases can go a long way. Starting any interaction with a simple Bonjour will certainly open up a few more doors for you.