French Holidays on the Cheap
As a traveller, there is no greater high than experiencing the wonders tucked inside a beautiful country. However, when you speak of a country like France, the cost of the trip can make it seem quite daunting. If you love the ideal of trolling through France without putting up your house on mortgage, then there are some extremely interesting places and reasons to visit this magnificent country.
Choose your City Wisely
Most people, when they think of France, tend to think of Paris. It’s where France starts for them and ends as well. However, there is a lot more to France that is as interesting and exciting as Paris, without the budget-baggage that the world’s capital of romance carries.
Take Strasbourg for instance – from a distance, it looks like a beautiful little town out of a fairy tale, where the rivers flow through the city and the best of French and German cultures combine to create a delightful experience. Add the fact that the city is the capital of the European Union and you will see that there’s a lot more to see and do, just as in a big city, but on a small-town budget.
A gate to the city of Montpellier
Montpellier is another one of those gems hidden out in the south of France. It is essentially a college-town and is, therefore, quite cheap to go around, eat or stay in. There are thousands of little cafes lining town squares, beautiful buildings that give you a glimpse into the country’s history and more shopping options than you can count! For another little taste of French holidays, you might want to try out the city of Orleans – the birth place of Joan of Arc!
That’s right, the British got their facts muddled-up when they misspelt her name but if you choose to visit this picturesque town, you won’t make any. There is a magnificent cathedral dating back to the 9th century as well as the famous Maison de Jeanne d’Arc for you to visit. What’s more, Orleans stands at the entry point to the beautiful Loire Valley chateaux, another great way to have a beautiful France holiday for very little money.
Finally, if you love eating local food and enjoy letting the streets take you where they go, then Aix-en-Provence is where you need to be. Almost every town corner is riddled with beautiful fountains from centuries gone by – all of them still as majestic & functional as ever! There are some exceptional restaurants serving local produce and a whole lot of architectural marvels, from different eras, which you can simply walk through at any time of the day or night.
When and Why to Visit France
Like most countries and popular tourist destinations, there is always an “off-season” when the prices are lower and the country is just as beautiful, albeit missing some tiny elements of its character. Nonetheless, you are still likely to find everything that is wonderful about France and along with that, you’ll also find better bargains at almost everything, shorter queues and the chance to enjoy the country while living and travelling as a local.
Between November and March, you will find that France is a lot more accessible on a cheaper budget. The hotels and markets tend to be devoid of tourists at this time so finding a good place to stay, at a much cheaper cost, is not unlikely.
You might think that winter temperatures might be a deterrent but the fact is, even in the coldest depths of winter, places like Provence have an average temperature of about 15 degrees centigrade (about 58 degrees Fahrenheit), which is not that bone-chilling!
As long as you are staying away from Michelin-starred restaurants and the extravagant party-zones, you should be quite happy with what the country has to offer. French holidays should not cost an arm and a leg, without even having to compromise a lot you can have a great time.
There are some amazing rivers in France, set in beautiful surroundings, which are ideal for a coarse fishing holiday. You can buy tickets to fish on private lakes or just set up camp in the gorgeous countryside and spend your time fishing or just taking beautiful walks through the countryside.
France also has a vibrant art scene where you can head down to the country and experience the works of some of the greatest artists on the planet as well as indulge in the form yourself, with some courses. Alternately, you can even head on down to learn the language, another popular reason why people choose to visit this beautiful country.
The concept of taking a holiday is incomplete without experiencing the local cultures and flavours. Most tourist spots try to recreate that culture and sell it to you, but there is nothing more incredible than being out there, yourself, and enjoying those local treats in their natural environs, all packed tightly into your budget!
Craig Gordon – author
Craig has been travelling the world in his spare time, something which he has a lot of. An artist and an avid photographer, travel has been a major part of Craig’s life and has greatly influenced his works. He loves painting still life and what better way to expose one-self to different cultures than to go out there and experience it?
Craig adores everything about France and his many tours of the country have helped him devise his French holidaying frame of mind.