France Travel Guide, France | Moon & Honey Travel

France

France

France occupies a mythic place in the eurocentric consciousness. No country is more grand, opulent, dramatic, or tragic. It’s the idea of France and the French way of life that is ever enticing; life is full of adventure, passion, and love. The French appetite for living and living well is what enchants the rest of the world.

With diverse landscapes, medieval towns and abbeys, stunning architecture, high mountain ranges, dramatic coastlines, and never-ending lavender fields, France is perhaps the most majestic country in Europe.

Though we’ve both traveled throughout France, we’ve only traveled to Paris together.

 

This Guide Includes:

  • France Basics
  • Where to Go (Interactive Map)
France Travel Guide, France | Moon & Honey Travel

France Basics

Official Name: République française (French Republic)

Capital: Paris

Government: Unitary Semi-presidential Republic

Regions: Mainland France is divided into 13 administrative regions. France also has 5 overseas regions. Until December 31, 2015,  the country was divided into 22 administrative regions.

  • Metropolitan Regions: (1) Grand Est, (2) New Aquitaine, (3) Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, (4) Burgundy-Franche-Comté, (5) Brittany, (6) Centre-Val de Loire, (7) Île-de-France, (8) Occitania, (9) Hauts-de-France, (10) Normandy, (11) Pays de la Loire, (12) Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA), and (13) Corsica
  • Overseas Regions: (1) French Guiana, (2) Guadeloupe, (3) Martinique, (4) Mayotte, and (5) Réunion

Population: 67 Million

Official Language: French

Currency: Euro

Tipping Etiquette: Tipping isn’t obligatory in France. In a fine restaurant, you can tip up to 5% for exceptional service. In a casual dining setting, €1 to €3 is sufficient.

Water Quality: Tap water is safe to drink throughout France.

Something Interesting: You can legally marry a dead person in France. If there is sufficient proof that the deceased had the intention of wedding their partner while alive, a French person can receive permission from the French president to marry posthumously.

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On ne fait pas d’omelette sans casser des œufs.

 

 

 

French Proverb

You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.

Where to Go in France

Click the dots to explore specific destinations
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@moonhoneytravelers
  • We’ve spent the last few days in Pokhara and have done absolutely nothing, apart from slowly hop around from smoothie joint to restaurant to coffee shop. Pokhara is a city located on Phewa Lake and a favored destination among trekkers pre- and post-trek. After a long multi-day trek, Pokhara satisfies all your cravings and indulges you with its stress-free atmosphere, clean air, cafés, and spas. We’ve really loved our time here. However, we do acknowledge, that Pokhara is probably not best destination for travelers (if you didn’t do a long trek). It caters unabashedly to tourists, with happy hour offers, hippie clothing, German bakeries, Pizzerias, and tattoo shops. So while we’ve been enjoying the comforts of this inauthentic tourist hub, we can’t help but ask “is this a good thing?”
  • We received a question about AMS and insurance as it pertains to the Annapurna Circuit. AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) is caused by reduced air pressure and lower oxygen levels at higher altitudes. Your body can adjust and adapt to higher altitude, but it needs time. Doctors recommend that you sleep three nights around 3,500 meters before ascending further. They also recommend that above 3,500 meters, you only sleep 500 meters above where you slept the previous night. If you don’t feel well (nausea, dizziness, headaches, etc...), you’re supposed to descend to the last place you felt well. Slide right to see AMS Symptoms.  Apart from slow ascension, it’s important to avoid alcohol. In Manang, during the trekking seasons, there’s a medical facility staffed with western doctors. They conduct a free daily talk about acclimatization and how to recognize and respond to various symptoms of AMS. Definitely attend this session. In terms of our personal experience, most people we met experienced some degree of AMS - some at 2,500 meters, while others only at the pass. It’s common to take diamox (Acetazolamide) to help your body adjust to the altitude gain. Unlike ibuprofen, it doesn’t mask the symptoms of AMS, it actually prevents and reduces the symptoms. Consult your doctor about diamox usage, before you go on your trek. Re: insurance, you absolutely need it!!!!
  • Let’s talk about food on the Annapurna Circuit. The main staple food is Dal Baht, a traditional meal consisting of steamed rice, lentil soup (dal), curried vegetables, and pickles. We ate dal baht daily, sometimes twice. With free refills, it’s the best thing to eat when you’re hungry. Most menus also offer curries, momos (dumplings), fried noodles and rice, thukpa (Tibetan noodle soup) as well as pizza, pasta and various soups. There are also bakeries that serve excellent cakes, crumbles and pastries. We’re going to wrap up our Annapurna Circuit posts, so let us know if you have any questions about the trek. #dalbahtpower #dalbahtpower24hour #hikeforfood
  • Annapurna Circuit Days 22 & 23: Tatopani - Ghorepani - Hile - Nayapul. Our final days of the trek were marked by stairs, leeches, mule caravans, water buffalo and good food. Though mountain views were seldom, we saw beautiful terraced fields and hiked through verdant rainforest. The final stretch was a never-ending staircase descent that was physically and mentally taxing. When the trail intersected with the dusty road just after Hile, we opted for a Jeep to Nayapul. At Nayapul, we grabbed a local bus to Pokhara. Shortly after getting on the bus, it stopped. Our fellow bus riders explained that we’d be here for 1.5 hours, because of road construction. We chatted with a few locals, who shared their views on their government, its rampant corruption, and their personal struggles. We arrived in Pokhara at 8 pm, after an enlightening and bumpy journey.
  • Annapurna Circuit Day 21: Kalopani to Tatopani. We started hiking at 6:15 am, because we were determined to end our day in the natural hot springs of Tatopani. When we reached the town in the late afternoon, people were still recovering from a landslide. Unfortunately, a few homes and lodgings were demolished. Some trekkers even lost their belongings in the landslide. When we soaked in the warm springs, a friendly Nepali family (who were touring the region) asked us where we were from, if we could swim and whether we liked Nepal. Their 12 year old daughter was really excited to speak English and shared her career (science) and travel aspirations (visit a developed country).
  • Annapurna Circuit Days 19 & 20: Kagbeni - Marpha - Kalopani. Most of the trail followed the riverbed Of Kali Gandaki. The wind picked up with a vengeance and funneled down the valley, making this part of the trek dusty and miserable. We understood why most people opted for a jeep or bus to their next destination. After lunch in Jomsom, we walked another 1.5 hours to the beautiful town Marpha, where we spent the night. Each stone building is painted white and all the wooden door and window frames are painted burgundy. The streets are immaculate - barely any mule, horse and ox poo. After a night in Marpha, we headed to Kalopani. We followed the forest trail on the east side of the river almost all the way. Only a few parts of the path were washed out. Luckily, the trail was sheltered mostly from the wind. Photos of Marpha.
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