7 Easy Steps to a Bliss-ful Vacation in France!

1. Pack Light! It’s hard to be adventurous when you’re bogged down. Plus, everything’s smaller in France (elevators, car trunks, closets…). And, the walks are longer. You can’t catch a train on the fly if you’re lugging around everything you own!

2.Think local! Sure, you should read some guide books or talk to a travel pro about what to see, but don’t miss out on the “real” sites by keeping your head in the book. Look up! Get off the main arteries and find local haunts and authentic experiences.

3. Talk it up! Find someone who has actually (and recently) been to France. Ask them where they went and what they liked and why!

4. Eat authentically! Before picking a restaurant, walk the area. Don’t go before 8pm (the start of the French dinner hour). Look and listen. Read menus. Avoid menus with long lists of dishes and translations into many languages. Those places are for tourists. Look for small menus, specialty places and market fresh blackboard specials. Then listen to the patrons (if there aren’t any patrons, keep walking). Are many of the diners speaking French or are they tourists? The best food and the best deals are found in places that specialize in market fresh meals designed for locals.

5. Drink local wines! Don’t order a bottle just because you recognize the name. Once upon a time, food was local, as was wine. They matched perfectly because of this. Order what’s local to match your market fresh meal. That might mean ordering a carafe of local wine or a bottle from a nearby vineyard.

6. Travel “off the beaten track”! Find towns and villages that aren’t on the major tour routes. Spend some time wandering through their streets, sipping a drink at the local cafe, or watching the locals play “boules”. Really soak in the experience of being in France.

7.Slow Down! Some Americans arrive wanting to go, go, go! They want to grab a quick sandwich at lunch so they can visit more sites, or they want to start each day at 7am so they can pack it all in. But life in France has a different rhythm. Many businesses don’t open until 9-10am (especially in the countryside), and most businesses close for a couple hours during lunch. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy your time in France. Linger over your meals. Take an aimless stroll after lunch. And try to mimic the rhythm of a real French day. After all, you traveled many thousands of miles to be there!

For a great selection of French travel off the beaten track trips, visit http://www.blisstravels.com or send me an email at wendy@blisstravels.com.

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5 comments on “7 Easy Steps to a Bliss-ful Vacation in France!

  1. Anita Mac says:

    You are so right! It is great to slow down and enjoy the rhythm of France or Europe. We have started to make a point of drinking local wine no matter the country. It is fun to experiment. If time and rental car permits, we even go to the winery! Happy travels!

    • Happy Travels to you as well! Visiting wineries is a great way to understand how to pair foods and wines. It’s also a lot of fun! In a few weeks we’ll be going to Chateauneuf du Pape to do just that (as well as photograph, sightsee and tour). And one of the things that is always an eye opener is that if you eat and drink locally, then the products were grown/raised in the same “terroir” –and the tastes go together very well.

      • Anita Mac says:

        Oh…how fantastic! We were there 2 years ago but got back to town too late in the day! We had been riding our bikes through the vineyards and soaking in the sunshine! Can’t wait to go back – next time we will get into the wineries! Have a great time!

      • That sounds equally wonderful! We’ve walked through the vineyards in Ch9, and also in Burgundy. In the mornings, if I’m there, I run through. It’s a fabulous way to see things.

  2. I think you did a wonderful job detailing it in your article.

    Sure beats having to research it on my own. Many thanks.

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