If it is one country that offers the best seaside destinations, boulevards, fashion, food and history, it has to be France. With its fairy-tale castles, cathedrals, picturesque villages along with contemporary towns, France provides an experience of a lifetime. Needless to say that any Euro-Trip is incomplete without a visit to this beautiful nation. A student on an exchange semester must plan to visit and imbibe the rich culture of France. A student must visit the following key destinations.
“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” – Ernest Hemingway
This quote just summarizes the feeling that Paris is. As most of the students come to Paris for the first time, it would be great to take up a Sandeman’s Free Tour of the city (http://www.neweuropetours.eu/paris/en/home). You just need to register online and be present at the mentioned venue at the start. The tour last for 1-2 hours, giving you a good knowledge of history, key places to visit and food joints to try.
Post that, one can start by visiting the astonishing Louvre Museum. With a collection of over 30,000 relics and numerous masterpieces (Mona Lisa by Leonardo DaVinci, the Wedding Feast at Cana by Veronese, and the 1st-century-BC Venus de Milo sculpture), it will take more than a day to explore the museum. One needs to focus on key artworks for the most rewarding experience. It is a paradise for history enthusiasts. Do book your ticket online to prevent the hassle of standing in queue to buy one (http://www.louvre.fr/en/advance-tickets).
As the night approaches, one can take a local metro to reach the modern emblem of France – The Eiffel Tower. Being one of the famous landmarks of the modern times, the tower will captivate you with its grace and expanse. The best part is when the light shimmers every half an hour or so, leaving the onlooker spellbound. You can also grab a bottle of wine/hot chocolate and enjoy the view with friends/partner.
The real charm of Paris likes in the minute details – cobblestone paths, trimmed trees, dainty pastry shops. The best way to experience this would be to just walk along and check-out things on the street as you go. Boulevard Saint-Germain would be a nice place to discover the famous Paris cafes.
Heading towards south France you will definitely wish to enjoy the fashionable stretch of coastline – the Côte d’Azur. The most strategic city to for an optimum experience would be Nice. It is considered as the center of the French Riviera. With a sunny weather and dazzling seaside scenery, the city’s prime street – Promenade des Anglais would be a good starting point. Enjoy the shopping street and if you get tired, just lay down on the Blue beach that runs along the city’s shore.
From Nice, one can take trains (very frequent) to Monaco and Cannes. There is also a pretty village/commune of Eze which can be visited. It offers a wide range of souvenir shops and family owned bars/cafes.
Being the second largest city after Paris, the city offers an authentic urban yet historical tourist experience. It was the centre of trade with a busy harbor today as well. The city is cosmopolitan by design with charming old streets. The weather is pleasant with refreshing sea breeze throughout the year. A major attraction would be to visit the Vieux Port. It has a lively waterfront buzzing with locals, tourists, shops and boats. This port also serves as launching point for the ferries that sail to two popular destinations – Château d’If and Frioul Islands. You can spend half a day roaming around these pristine islands and witness the marvellous sunset.
Apart from these key destinations, there are also places like Bordeaux (hub of wine growing), Lille (cultural and student hub), Mont Saint-Michel, and Provence which can be explored.