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The Insider’s Guide: 5 Ways to Get to Know the Real France

There is no other country like France. The French are very proud of their culture and appreciate tourists who want to be travelers and experience everything their country has to offer. They are offended when people visit their country and turn to touristy attractions over authentic French foods and experiences.

For those travelers that step outside of their comfort zone and just take it all in, a trip to France is a memorable experience. Here are five ways to truly know the real France.

Relax and Eat at a French Cafe

The French are very proud of their food. It is safe to say it is a national treasure to them, and it is incredible. Cafes are a staple across France, and it is common to see the French seated outside, enjoying a meal and drinking a glass of French wine. Join them and have a taste of Heaven.

Try Speaking a Little French

Stories abound that the French are rude and disdainful of others, and they are wrong and come from a place of general ignorance.

The French can be some of the nicest people in the world, and all it takes is a little effort to respect their language and culture.

The ability to say even a few words in French goes a long way because they respect that you are trying. Learn just a few, and you’ll see how the French can be genuinely wonderful people.

Visit the Cathedrals

France is home to some of the world’s most famous and beautiful cathedrals and no trip is complete without paying them a visit. Everyone knows Notre Dame in Paris, but every French city has an amazing work of architecture. Enjoy Notre Dame de Strasbourg or the breathtaking view of Paris from the gorgeous Sacre-Coeur Basilica, the crown jewel of the Montemartre quarter.

Watch Paris Traffic

That may sound silly, but few things are more insane than how Parisians drive through the city. You’ve never seen anything like it unless you’ve been to Rome. Traffic laws? Who needs traffic laws? I you’re feeling a little adventurous, hail a cab and go somewhere. New York taxi drivers have nothing on the French. It’s actually a lot of fun.

Hike in the Alps

Most people think of Switzerland when they think of the Alps. Well, France has 35,000 square kilometers of stunning Alpen scenery for you to wander through and many small villages that are authentic and not tourist traps. Go enjoy the beauty.

Window Shop on the Champs-Élysėes

You are in fashion and antique central when in France. Even if it’s just window shopping, check out the incredible designers on the Champs-Élysėes. Most people can’t afford them, but it’s a peak in France’s passion for Haute Couture. Also, just walking on the Champs-Élysėes at night is an experience all its own.

The list of authentic French experiences is so long that five don’t even begin to touch everything. Go authentic and skip McDonald’s, even if it was talked about in Pulp Fiction. The French will be happy that you are experiencing their culture, of which they are incredibly proud.