Depending on your country of origin, travelling to France can be a costly-exercise and it’s no wonder that many travellers think that visiting the country is completely out of their price range. However, the good news is that while getting to France might be expensive, there are plenty of things you can do to make your money stretch when you’re there.
As such, we consulted a few locals and expert travellers on their tips for experiencing France on a shoestring budget. These tips will be particularly helpful if you’re planning on visiting multiple European countries during a single trip.
Picnics and Dining Out
Even though France is known for its award-winning, Michelin star restaurants, it is entirely possible to eat very well without breaking the bank. France’s incredible markets provide the perfect excuse to have a picnic and you’ll be able to stock up on fresh baguettes, mouth-watering cheeses, sumptuous charcuterie, and a bottle of good-quality local wine.
There are picnic tables everywhere, many of which are undercover.
For evening meals, many Bed and Breakfasts offer the option of table d’hôte (or the host’s table) where the owner cooks a meal for guests. If you’re visiting rural areas, be sure to look out for farms which offer home-cooked meals at low prices.
Thanks to France’s tradition of les grandes vacances when almost the entire nation goes on vacation during July or August, there are plenty of residences and holiday which offer simple, yet comfortable, apartments with Wi-Fi to keep abreast of AFL betting odds.
The absolute volume of accommodation in the Alps and Pyrenees make for particularly good value during the summer months and booking a gîte direct with owners or through tourist offices can keep costs low.
If you’re the adventurous type, then camping is by far the cheapest option and most campsites offer mobile homes and chalets as well.
By avoiding motorway tolls you will be lead down the routes nationales – such as the N7 from Paris to Nice – and the more scenic routes departmentales which will allow you to discover quaint towns and villages along the way. If the scenic route is too slow-paced for you, there are plenty of toll-free motorways and a mixture of the two could be a pennywise way of travelling.
However, if hiring a car is out of your price-range, there are popular car-pooling websites where you can catch a ride along with locals or fellow travellers.
To fully embrace holidaying in the country just as the locals do, it’s worth visiting areas which aren’t as popular with tourists. Lakeside beaches as opposed to the coast is a good idea and the Morvan regional natural park in Burgundy offers glistening lakes, forests, villages, and the beguiling pilgrimage site of Vézelay. Lac de la Liez, near Langres, is just a few hours away and offers a wonderful budget-friendly campsite.
North of the ever-popular Dordogne, you’ll find the Lac de Vassivière on the Millevaches plateau in Limousin which offers cosy beaches and forests ideal for walking or cycling, while south of Grenoble in the Alps, you’ll come across the La de Serre-Ponçon complete with the largely undiscovered Écrins national park with hiking trails and breathtaking vistas.