France: La Vie en Rose Online
Whatever you deem necessary to an unforgettable French holiday, you can find on the Web. Book your flight and a place to stay, research a world-class restaurant or charming French city, and let the Web make your vacation dreams a reality. France has something to suit nearly any interest, so you can wine and dine, laze on a beach, hike and cycle across the quaint countryside, or shop your way through Paris. The choice is yours.
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If the thought of traveling in a foreign country seems daunting, settle your nerves by planning in advance. Trains, car rentals, buses, and car-pooling are all available in France, and you can book everything on the Web. Once you arrive, be open to suggestions from other travelers and residents. Keep an open mind, as getting lost might mean stumbling upon unexpected gems.
- France has an efficient rail system that can take you directly into city centers, thus avoiding the hassle of taxis and lines at the airport.
- Hitchhiking is more common and acceptable in France, and in Europe in general, than it is in the United States. If you'd prefer a bit more stability, try a ride-sharing agency such as Allo Stop (see the "Carpooling in Europe" link on the homepage).
- Renting a car and planning a road trip of your own is another possibility. If you want to be behind the wheel, you can rent a car from one of several agencies, or get a short-term lease for the duration of your trip.
For rail travel ...
French National Railroads
' official Web site provides timetables, fares, and booking information for train travel within France.
helps you purchase rail passes for travel in France, and between France and other countries. This is perhaps the most convenient, cost-efficient way to see France.
For driving around France ...
has a comforting page called "France by Car" that takes the mystery out of driving in France. Practical driving information about roads, road signs, traffic, parking, and mapping your trip is provided. Links to car rental agencies in France are also listed.
furnishes this list of Web sites for car rental options in France. Although we do not typically recommend About.com because of its poor design and tendency to intersperse ads and paid links with its content, this entry is uncharacteristically clear. You'll find summaries of what each company offers, including long-term rentals and insurance options.
provides long-term Europe car rentals, as well as tax-free, short-term car leases in a program operated by French carmaker Renault.
is an inexpensive option for solo travelers. This Canadian company sets up drivers and passengers for road trips around Europe-a bit like planned hitch-hiking-and makes sure there are at least two passengers riding with any given driver, so you don't have to worry about being alone with a stranger at the wheel. Allo Stop has offices in a dozen cities in France, with contact information provided.
has a Web-based ride-sharing agency. You may offer to drive or search for a driver. Often the price of gas is split between driver and passenger(s).
For maps ...
presents three different interactive maps of France, including a satellite version. Zoom in on the Hybrid map to view smaller cities, highways, and street names.
, the public transit authority for Paris, provides maps, timetables, and other information for the Paris Metro. You'll also find bus and tramway information.
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