How Not To See Everything On A French Vacation

By: Chateau_du_Guerinet
So you are finally going to France for your next holiday. You have picked the location, organised your travel, and booked some accommodation. That is the easy part of the "where" and the "how". The trickiest part of enjoying and planning your holiday begins next when you tackle the "what" to see and "what" to do. I hope you are not thinking "everything".

Tourists often mistakenly schedule every hour of every day in advance to ensure they see every French chateau, abbey and vineyard. If this is your inclination our advice is simply don't go. You will be as stressed as if you never left your work so you might as well stay there and earn more money.

If you go with a to-do list of "famous sights," you will come home with a lot of incredible pictures but with no real emotional connection to where you have been. You will look at photos of various castles and not be able to distinguish which one was which. Your holiday will be one continuous chateau blur. You'll have spent your entire time hurtling from one famous chateau or abbey or rather than soaking up the significance of that castle, abbey you toured in a nanosecond.

Please don't be a speed tourist forever intent and acting possessed determined to get yet another tick in a box on their "must see" list. Never see more than two castles in a day and do not do more than three days of your vacation (ideally spaced out) chateau hopping.

If you are renting a chateau or a villa, set aside some time to just hang out there and relax. Often you see groups of families who rent a chateau or a villa together busy traipsing all over the countryside ticking all of the boxes on someone's overly optimised list of must do activities and must see sites. Some poor person got the duty of planning the itinerary and wanted to make sure no one could later complain that they missed something.

Always remember most people holiday in France for the experience that is unique and totally different from their everyday English, American, or Antipodean existence. Find yourself a little cafe, bistro, or a pub. Sit down. Order something. Listen to the locals chatting. Talk to a stranger even if it is in Franglais. Savour that glass of wine. Smell that freshly baked bread Relax you are on holiday.

You probably selected France as your destination in order to escape the hurried pace of your normal live. So what you need to do is to enjoy life at another pace and slow down a little. This way you can return home feeling rested and rejuvenated. Remember you are not trying to set any new record - you are on holiday. Leisurely drink in the scenery and the culture and sample some of the acclaimed local wine whilst enjoying a picnic.

And do not forget, if you miss something important - no problem. It is the perfect excuse to return for another relaxing holiday another year.
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