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Category Archives: Travel

Planning Paris Trip

French culture, to say the least, is very different. As a whole, it’s a nation with a sense of refinement that simply isn’t part of the American experience. And that is OK, you will experience these things during your trip and appreciate them for what they are as they enrich you culturally such as a ton of amazing regional wines, foods, and cheeses. France has a very rich wine culture that I think wine lovers anywhere can appreciate. You’ll taste the vast varieties of French cheeses. I had never tried goat cheese until I came here. Believe me it’s amazing. But my favorite aspect of French food is the pastries. You’ll see it all, croissants, pains au chocolat, beignets (French doughnuts), and a ton of different types of tartes!

I think the main difference between American culture and French culture is the way in which people do business and treat commercial relationships. They both have their pros and cons and as a tourist you’ll be faced with situations in which you might not know how to react. So here are a few tips below:

In order to have a successful Paris trip, there is just one thing that I would recommend you do before leaving: learn some basic French phrases. I know you are probably wondering, well what about the rest?! Well that will come once you master the French idea of manners or what they call “politesse.”

As someone who’s been here for a while I can tell that there are basically only two phrases you need to know in order to please the French, and those are “Bonjour” which means hello and “Merci” which means thank you. People here in any field of service basically just want to be acknowledged before being bombarded with questions from a customer. They expect to be greeted. It’s a sign of respect, after which they will proceed to take care of you as a customer.

I’ve had a few experiences in which I would approach an employee at a museum for instance, with a question, and they simply would not let me talk. They kept saying Bonjour, bonjour, bonjour, en France on dit bonjour (in France we say hello) until I realized that he was expecting me to greet him properly before he would even think of helping me. I honestly found it to be quite rude, but after about the fourth time that sort of thing happened to me in different situations I realized it was the only way I was going to get decent service. I’m not saying that I agree with this custom of demanding a proper greeting, but I understand now that it’s the norm and I cannot go against it, because I’ll be the only losing out.

The other important word is of course Merci. Thank you. But this is self-explanatory I hope. It’s the universal way to show gratitude and the French particularly like it. Just like it’s important to greet someone who is about to do you a service, it’s also very important to show gratitude.

Flight and Hotel Packages

The world’s leading airline companies and hotel chains often work together to bring tourists special discounts. Whether you want to spend a weekend in a major city or 10 days relaxing at a beach somewhere, you should be able to find an affordable package deal.

WHEN can you find the best deal? It depends on factors such as holidays, destination, peak travel, and so forth. If you don’t mind the risk, it might be in your best interest to wait around for a last minute deal to pop up. If your dates and destination are set in stone and there is no room for flexibility, it’s essential that you book at least 30 days in advance. Some experts claim that 49 days is the magic number, unless it’s holiday season, in which case you would want to book 96 days in advance.

Even if you are able to find a good last-minute deal on airfare, there is no guarantee that a hotel room will be available with it by that point. Also, keep in mind that many packages will require you to stay for a specific number of nights.

Combining Deals for Flight and Hotel Packages

What about an all-inclusive vacation? If you want to combine plane tickets with a hotel room, why not go with an all-inclusive package? This may or may not be a good idea, depending on what you are hoping to get out of your vacation. If the package offers things you know you will need, like fast Wi-Fi services, food, drinks, gym access, entertainment, etc., it will likely be worth the investment. However, if it’s a package that comes with stuff you won’t need or use, you might be better off just sticking with standard hotel accommodation and airfare.

Some online travel sites also offer the chance to book a car rental with flight and hotel packages. This is something to consider if you plan on staying at your destination for more than a couple of days – especially if it’s an area that’s not known for reliable public transportation.

About Cruising in France

Cruising is ideal for anyone on a special diet or who has specific food requirements. Each barge has a professional chef on board to cook for individual tastes or dietary requirements. Additionally, the chef can provide instruction for anyone wanting to learn about French food and cooking techniques.

If passengers have an interest in wines, for example, they can sail into one of the areas of the countryside, such as Bordeaux, Champagne, or Burgundy, where some of the world’s best wine is produced. The tours will visit the vineyards and sample products from each locale. The scenery and food in these regions is sensational. They may even be invited for drinks and a meal with the owners.

Or they may prefer painting, art, music, ancient Roman history, architecture, visiting chateaux, or simply a general cruise along the waterways. Whatever route is chosen offers fascinating things to see and do. These barge trips provide a combination of land and water touring, so that museums, monuments, churches, and places of interest are not only viewed but experienced in ways that a local tour guide can best arrange. Even a tourist who has been to an area can get a different perspective when taken by someone who knows that place really well.

For those wanting a more active trip, bicycles can be brought onto the barges, allowing for a bike ride during various stops along the way. Alternatively, there can be hiking, or picnicking, or whatever meets the desires of each traveler.

So for those looking for that unique, family oriented trip, this fits that description nicely. However, your cruise doesn’t need to take that form – it could be a group of friends with a particular interest, or an individual with a yearning to visit France in a different mode.

Info Traveling to France

Below you may find some hotels that are situated in France.

Hotel De l’Ocean – Paris

This hotel has a fabulous oceanic theme that also sooths the eye. Hotel De L’Ocean has 52 rooms and it is located in the heart of Paris, near the Opera House. This hotel is modern, romantic and very modest in terms of prices. Nearby, there is the Moulon Rouge nightclub where one can dine.

This hotel has up-to-date facilities that include:
– Room service
– Breakfast buffet served each morning in the breakfast room
– Parking is available next to the hotel for its guest’s convenience
– Bar lounge
Due to its central location, this hotel is close to all types of transportation, being metro, rail station and buses.
Hotel De l’Ocean is within walking distance to the Opera, shopping a Printemps which is blocks away.

This is one of the best choices for a fantastic trip since it is located in a prime location for visiting the important landmarks of Paris and for romantic opera lovers.

Moated Renaissance Chateau-Hotel, Paris

This hotel is easily reachable and is 60km away from France’s capital city. It is situated between Chartres and Versailles.

Chateau d’Esclimont is a great hotel for all honeymooners or for any romantic getaway! Its style is a bit the old fashioned way which includes Renaissance features. Belfries, bridges and lacework balustrades are matched inside by grand salons, embossed wood panelling and tall walls. The floor is made of parquet and the hotels’ rooms have richly wall coverings and fabrics and high windows ceiling.

This hotel’s amenities include:
– Free continental breakfast
– Free morning paper
– Secured valet parking
– All Rooms have: air conditioning, satellite colour TV, AM/FM clock radio, iron with board, coffee Maker and hair dryer
– Most rooms have refrigerator

This hotel is an hour away from the city centre so one can still enjoy various amenities close by.
Hotel Sezz, Paris

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most famous tourists’ attractions one finds in France and Hotel Sezz is almost at its footprint! One can enjoy the Eiffel Tower’s views from the hotel’s room. Hotel Sezz is located close to the River Seine. Friendly and welcoming staff adds the extra touch here.

The hotel has very deep colours and unique flourishes. When one arrives at this hotel, the concierge (he is a person who takes care of all the needs during the stay) will give him/her a glass of champagne. At this hotel there is no reception area that is why they provide the service of the concierge.

The hotels’ rooms are very colourful and the furniture is situated artistically to make use of space appropriately and uniquely.

Some rooms have freestanding baths in the bedroom, and many have French doors opening onto a balcony.
Facilities include:
– Flat screen TVs
– IPod docks
– Free wireless internet
– DVD/CD players (just dip into the DVD library at reception)
– Cordless phones with voicemail
– Room service
– Jacuzzi in wellness area
– Massage room
– Veuve Clicquot Champagne bar

Hotel De Banville, Paris
Hotel De Banville is also very chic. The hotel’s furnishings and decorations include: plump sofas, mellow woods, soft lamps, extravagant drapes, and old oil paintings. There is also a grand piano at the centre stage in the lobby.
One can enjoy a breakfast buffet while gazing over the Partis rooftops to the Eiffel Tower.

Room facilities include:
– Mini bar
– LCD TV
– Air conditioning
– Soundproofing
– Safety box
– Internet access
– Hairdryer

The hotel services include:
– Breakfast buffet
– Room service
– Bar and piano bar
– Non smoking bedrooms
– Live music every Tuesday
– Parking
– International and French newspapers
– Dry cleaning
– Baby sitting
– Round the clock concierge service
– Small pets allowed

Some Travel Mistakes to Avoid

Hidden Fees

The cheapest flight or hotel price is not always the best deal. Most time the lowest prices for places come with quite a few hidden fees such as checked bags, resort or hotel fees, etc which could put you over budget.

Not Buying Travel Insurance

Many people opt out of buying even the most affordable travel insurance because they think that nothing will happen to them or overall, it is just not worth it. But, travel insurance can protect your luggage in case it is lost which happens more than you think. It can also pay for lost hotel reservations or even medical expenses you may endure.

Third-Party Discount Scams

Third party scammers typically push you to book using their services by tempting consumers with one-time only deals. Usually, these scammers take your money and do not follow through with services promised. One way to avoid this is to read the fine print and ask a lot of questions. Or just avoid third-party companies all together.

Currency Exchange Fee

Make sure to only go to credible currency exchange places and not some corner shop. Although

Free Vacation Offers

Scams on the internet and over the phone are extremely common, just remember that unless you enter some sort of credible sweepstakes there is no such thing as a free vacation in exchange for your credit card information. So, protect yourself from scammers as one of the red flags to look out for is a free vacation offer.

Famous Places in France

Some of the most famous places in France are in Paris!

1. La Tour Eiffel
The Eiffel Tower, built in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel for the Universal Exposition, is without a doubt one of the most popular tourist attractions in France.

It’s amazing to think that the Eiffel Tower was, for a time, seen as an eyesore and even ugly; it was almost knocked down in 1909.

2. Musée du Louvre
The Louvre museum, once a royal palace, is now one of the most well known art museums in the world, featuring paintings such as the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, as well as spectacular artworks by Michelangelo, Raphael and, Botticelli.

3. Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris
Next in line is the beautiful Gothic cathedral, Notre Dame, built from the around 1163 to 1345, visited by more than 12 million people a year, and one of the most famous french monuments.

4. Arc du Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe and magnificent Ave des Champs-Elysées, are spectacular to see. The Arc was commissioned by Napoloeon to commemorate the victories of his armies; the tomb of France’s Unknown Soldier lies here, and every evening a memorial flame is lit.

5. Versailles
If you can, try and visit the Palace of Versailles, built during the reign of Louis XIV – known as the Sun King (Roi Soleil) to display his wealth and power of the monarchy at that time. Versailles can be easily reached as a day trip from Paris. It is without question, absolutely spectacular, and one of the most dazzling things you will probably every see.

Holidays in South of France

France is divided into 27 administrative regions, many of which are household names due to the popularity of exploring everything the country has to offer. From Normandy and Brittany in the North, to Champagne in the east and the Pyrenees in the South, France is a country both varied and diverse. Family holidays in the south of France can be unique and exciting for a number of reasons. Firstly, France is a world-renowned centre for art and culture. Whether it’s fashion, art or literature, France has led the world through its development of culture and art which is ever-present in the big cities, but also beautifully distilled throughout the many small towns and hamlets. The south of France offers a number of excellent attractions for art lovers including numerous examples of Romanesque architecture.

If on the other hand you’re looking for a family holiday with a bit more action and adventure, then the south of France has plenty to fit the bill. With the Pyrenees mountains offering some of the best skiing in the world, and the west coast of France providing excellent fishing and watersports opportunities, one thing you can count on is not being bored during your stay. The west coast of France plays the role of regularly hosting many prestigious international sporting events including sport fishing tournaments as well as the highly anticipated ASP world surfing tour in Hossegor.

The south of France is also home to some excellent golf courses if you prefer to swing a club before retiring to the clubhouse in the afternoon. Why not finish the day off with a relaxing visit to one of the many superb vineyards in the area – or take a trip to Bordeaux itself, one of the wine capitals of the world. The historic city of Bordeaux is also interestingly a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its outstanding urban and architectural qualities.

Reasons to Visit France

Many of the reasons for visiting France in general, and Paris in particular, are ones that you already know. Friends and family who have traveled to France may have brought home stories that kindled your curiosity and your desire to visit for yourself. You have seen the pictures, and the movies. You have heard about the marvels of the Eiffel Tower, rising up like a giant erector set, with an elevator to take you to the top for views out over the Seine and the city. You know about the exceptional art museums, the Louvre and the Orsay, that house stunning collections within buildings that are themselves historic, architectural treasures, one a former palace and the other an elegant turn-of-the-century train station, built for the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle.

Likely you also have heard about the food and the wine, and the supreme pleasures of dining well, optimally at an outdoor table, at charming restaurants that carefully attend to every detail of your experience. Perhaps you have heard about the beauty of the countryside, with drifts of lavender and towns on hillsides, immaculate farms and spectacular mountains and coasts. Certainly you’ve heard about the history and the architecture, the fashion and the style.

So what more can be said that would add to these and other motivations you already have in mind for making a visit to France? These five reasons are ones you may not have thought about, yet. Possibly they could tip the balance in favor of your taking your own trip, and hasten you on your way.

The French Are People You Will Love to Experience and Get to Know
Put aside what you may have heard about the French being unfriendly. This is simply not the case. However, the French are extremely polite, and have stricter and more formal social codes than Americans. This can make them come across as a bit aloof and distant. But it is possible to move past this apparent social wariness by knowing just a bit about how French communication and interaction works. When travelers approach them with equal courtesy, the French respond in kind with friendliness, warmth, curiosity and charm.

Even a minimal effort to speak the basics in French–hello and goodbye, please and thank you, excuse me and how are you–yields high levels of returns. And, yes, the French will attempt to speak English with you once you have broken the ice by attempting to speak even a little French with them. Experiences of connecting with the French can become lasting and treasured memories.

French Towns and Cities Are Themselves Living Museums and Living Art
A visit to France offers many opportunities to wander through outstanding museums. But notable remnants of French history are by no means limited to the museums. As you explore the streets of old town, walk through a park, visit a town market, or pass through the vast stone gates of a walled city, you will be surrounded by the life, history, architecture, and art of days gone by.

And what a vivid history it is. In Avignon, you will sit on a bench in the courtyard before the Pope’s Palace, where seven successive popes resided, beginning with a French Pope who declined to move to Rome, preferring to continue to live in France. In Arles you will walk in the footsteps of Van Gogh, and visit the actual spots, now marked by easels and depicted on a walking tour map, where the unbalanced genius stood to create his celebrated Starry Night and Café Terrace at Night.

In Amboise you will visit the elegant palace of Françoise I, and then walk across the street and up the hill to the lovely villa Françoise gave to his beloved friend, inventor and artist Leonardo da Vinci, with a secret tunnel connecting the palace and the villa so the two of them could visit back and forth at will.

Zero Waste Road Trip

1. Set your priorities right. Expectations about time and expenses to be incurred on food and hotels should be put into considerations and seen that the right measures have been taken to avoid inconveniences during the trip.

2. Compost management. Do not forget to put into consideration on the means of food scraps and waste handling during the travel. Improvise a large sealable container to facilitate food remains disposal. Make sure the container is properly sealed with a towel cloth to avoid stench filling up your car and end up ruining your road trip.

3. Pack food and snacks. This not only helps in cutting down expenses but also gives you the opportunity to pack a wide variety of favorite homemade snacks to indulge on as you enjoy your road trip.

4. Prepare map routes and directions, especially if unfamiliar routes and long distances are involved. With today’s technology, it has been made easier accessing maps and directions using mobile gadgets.

5. Booking and making relevant reservations ahead of time. It gives one a sound and relaxed mind during the vacation knowing that at some point there is a relaxing point awaiting you.

6. Plan for stops. Stop overs give you a chance to unwind as you look forward to enjoy the rest of the trip.

7. Relax. Do not hurry to plan as you may end up leaving the most basic requirements. Ensure the vehicle or car that is to be used for transportation is in good condition. Take your time and do not rush to make choices that could end up paralyzing the whole or part of the trip.

Discount Travel Deals

A lot of hotel deals are limited and only apply if you meet certain criteria, such as booking for a specific number of days. It’s a good idea to sign up for travel discount emails and newsletters so that you will receive details about the latest offers. Some smartphone apps even alert you the second a good deal pops up.

Another way to save money is to travel off-season. This, of course, varies depending on the location since the weather plays an important role in tourism. During major holidays like Christmas and New Year’s, the costs associated with travel will always be higher no matter what.

Don’t forget about ground transportation when looking for discount travel deals. If you plan on staying at your destination for several days, consider renting a car at a location away from the airport, as car rental offices at airports tend to charge higher rates. In some instances, you would pay two or even three times as much for the same car at the airport.

Budget Airlines as Part of Discount Travel

The number of deals offered by budget airline companies is increasing all the time. If US travelers want to fly internationally, Norwegian and WOW Airlines are good places to start your search. For domestic flights, look into Allegiant Air, JetBlue, Sun Country, Frontier Airlines, etc. It might also help to consider multiple stops before making it to your intended destination. Flying direct isn’t always the cheapest option. Look into flights with connections – flexibility is a money saver in the travel industry.

To save on a hotel, check for last minute deals. You can also find discounts on rooms that other travelers have cancelled. Waiting until the last minute to book your room could help you save as much as 60%. The downside is that there is no guarantee that you will get a room if you want too long to book. If you can’t find discount travel deals on airfare and don’t mind a bit of risk, this may be worth looking into. If your destination is a popular tourist spot or major city, there will likely be available rooms somewhere up until the very last second.