Tips for backpacking in France

France is more often associated with luxury and vacations spent in fancy hotels, but if you are on a budget, you can enjoy the country just as much as someone staying at the Ritz, if not more so. Backpacking in France is not impossible, and it can reveal a side of the country that doesn’t get much coverage in guidebooks. Before starting on a trip to discover the hexagon on a limited budget, here are some tips for backpacking in France, which might make your journey easier and more comfortable.

Accommodation

Beautiful hotels can be found at basically every corner of a larger city in France, but more affordable options are not non-existent either, they are simply less visible. If you don’t want to miss out on the typical French atmosphere, you can get it for little money if you stay at a hotel off the beaten path. That is to say, it’s better to avoid touristy areas if you don’t want to pay the touristy prices, even if that mean boning up on enough French to allow you to communicate with the hotel staff. Other options include camping grounds, of which there are plenty in France, even if you don’t have a tent – camping grounds usually have small bungalows or dorm-style rooms too. Hostels are reasonably priced in France and you can book rooms online, and since these are usually used by travelers, the staff speak English or other foreign languages.

Transport

If you want to visit as many places as possible, you have to prepare a budget for transport. Public transport in France is very well developed, but not very cheap, but you can save money if you get travel passes for buses or trains. Renting a bike is possible in most cities, and smaller towns can usually be explored on foot, which not only the cheapest way to get around, but might lead you to some unexpected sights too. Hitchhiking is also a great way to save money, especially since the drivers in France are friendly, and it helps a lot if you learn a few useful phrases in French – they will appreciate it!

Food

You will not go hungry in France even if you avoid restaurants, because there are more than enough bakeries where you can get fresh baguettes and delicious sandwiches all the time. If you still prefer a hot meal, look out for small restaurants where you can buy the plat du jour,  the daily menu, and the prix fixe option, which some restaurants have.

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