Thanks to Distant Francophile, I get lots of emails from all over the world. Sometimes these emails are from fellow francophiles wanting to say hello. But most of the time the emails come from humans who are in the middle of planning a trip to France. I get questions on what to pack and where to stay. And I get lots of questions on the feasibility of potential itineraries. Every email comes with a flavour of anticipation and whether they’ve travelled to France before or not, the writers usually equal parts excited and nervous. And often, they also have a nasty case of FOMO – otherwise known as a fear of missing out.
Why do I say this? Well, it’s because these potential itineraries are jam-packed. The trips read like a Tour de France schedule with a day or two in multiple cities and big expanses of travel in between. I also see this in some of the Facebook groups I’m in too (Jo Karnaghan’s is my favourite). Travellers in these groups will ask for feedback on their thinking as they’re planning a trip to France. And the answers from their fellow travellers almost invariably guide the asker to either edit or slow down their trip.
Some of the best travel advice I ever received came while we were planning a trip to France – our very first trip in fact. I was lucky enough to be working with some very regular travellers. They both encouraged us to do less, rather than more on our trip. To be honest, the advice went against my instincts, which at that point were very aligned with the humans who email me today. I completely get that when flights are so long and so expensive, it makes sense to squeeze as much into every trip as possible. And I think this has been compounded by the pandemic. We now know that travel can be taken away from us at a moments notice, which makes us want to do more while we can.
Planning A Trip To France – Why Less Is More
But, when it comes to travelling in France, you might actually get more out of doing less. It’s worth taking a lead from the French and putting quality over quantity. Travelling in France is all about savouring life. Immersing yourself in the joie de vivre that the French are renowned for. Taking the time to wander and watch. Slowing down and enjoying the moment. Rushing from sight to sight or city to city really doesn’t allow for France to work its magic.
So travelling friends, my top tips for when you’re planning a trip to France are to:
- Spend more time in each destination. I suggest you allow at least 3 days if you can;
- Build time in your itinerary for people watching and enjoying the French lifestyle.
- Let go of your FOMO. Trust that the things you choose to invest your time in will be high quality and create memories for a lifetime.
I’d love to know. What’s your advice for anyone planning a trip to France? Feel free to let us know in the comments below.
And until next time – au revoir.