France is a tourist favourite for good reason, whether you come for the food or open space, here are 5 x things to love about France. Everything from the rich history to the charming culture.
The #1 thing you quickly learn when living in France is you cannot be in a rush! A morning trip to the bakery is not just a practical necessity but an opportunity for people to catch up. Don’t be surprised to wait several minutes while the baker discusses with all the latest goings-on from Amélie around the corner.
A restaurant experience is quite different from much of the English speaking world. Instead of being rushed between courses and promptly handed the bill as you finish your dessert, you often find yourself trying to get the waiter’s attention long after the last sip of your Armagnac digestif.
Visiting France is a much more enjoyable experience when you leave the hustle behind and go along with the flow of French life.
France has a similar population number as the United Kingdom but is twice the size. Having space to yourself is very much the rule rather than the exception. Whilst hotel rooms of central Paris remain cosier and more boutique than many, step outside the major cities and you’ll be spoilt for space.
Whether you are taking in the views from the barge sundeck, strolling the gardens of French chateaux, or wine tasting at a local vineyard, relax and enjoy the wide-open scenery.
Whilst English is spoken more and more in France, speaking even a little French yourself (a solidly sounded ‘bonjour’ is often enough!) soon opens up even the most stern of the French messieurs. One of the most charming social norms is to say hello to everyone in the cafe, shop or even dentist surgery as you enter! There is palpable mutual respect between everyone no matter the setting.
There is a lot to be proud of in France and you always get a strong sense the people share in this. Everything from village flower beds to local war memorials are pristinely maintained and cared for. Acknowledging and remembering the country’s often tumultuous history is never far from your mind.
Most buildings in central Paris come from the time of Napoleon while the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte on our Burgundy / Ile de France cruise dates back to 1656. The oldest chateau still standing is the 92-foot-high castle keep of Montbazon dating back to the year 956.
One of the main reasons France is such a delight to visit is that you don’t have to go out of your way to see historic architecture, you are immersed in it through the day. Whether crossing the pont-canal de Briare onboard the C’est La Vie or enjoying a view of the Reims cathedral as you enjoy a coffee, there is no shortage of visual treats.
What makes enjoying all the previous points possible, the wonderful French weather! It’s not all about the warm and sunny summers, which we certainly appreciate, but also the seasonal contrasts. If you enjoy a barge cruise with us in spring, you’ll enjoy fresh mornings, bright afternoons and soft soothing evenings. Head out in the late summer, early autumn and you’ll see drawing in of the nights, the turning of the leaves but with days that hold their warmth well into October.
Where is the fun in 25°C all year round!? It is the contrast of life which gives it richness, plenty of which you’ll find here in France.
To find out more or to book a trip with us onboard the C’est La Vie Luxury Hotel barge, get in touch here.
5-Night Barge Cruises in France
6-Night Barge Cruises in France (2023)
6-Night Barge Cruises in France (2024)
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Places to Visit
Abbey of Fontenay
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