There is no doubt that France is one of the most attractive travel destinations in the world. There is everything from the beautiful streets of Paris to the lush, green wine country to the glittering beaches to the snowy Alps to Disneyland and much, much more. France is also a great travel destination for seniors, especially with all kinds of great discounts and cost savings options across the country. Here are our top tips for adult travel in France.
Save on train travel. France has one of the most extensive rail networks in Europe – you can reach it from almost anywhere in the country to almost anywhere else. Carte Senior of SNCF (French State Railway Company) entitles those over 60 to discounts of 25-50% on all train journeys, even if you do not book in advance for the whole year. Your card also receives a 30% discount on rail travel to 22 other European countries. Better yet, save more by booking and paying for your rail pass before leaving your home country.
See all the great museums. Many of France's many museums and monuments will offer discounts for older travelers, in some cases up to 40%. Some sites start discounting at age 65, but if you are over 60, be sure to ask just in case and bring your passport or other identity card if they want to prove your age! The Louvre has a great € 6 special for entry on Wednesday and Friday from 6pm. to 9:45 p.m.
Bring along a phrasebook. While most tourist sites, restaurants and hotels around Paris will have English speaking staff, if you embark on France, you may have difficulty. But between a few basic phrases in French by you and at least some English language skills by a local person, you should be able to go astray. I have lived in regional France for a while and they are loved by Australians. Before I say anything, I would speak in French "I'm sorry, I'm from Australia, I don't speak French". Learn to say it in French – you'll love it.
Exchange of houses. It may not get much press, but cunning travelers save tons of money by exchanging their house for one of their destination for decades. HomeExchange.com. there are 29,000 homes worldwide, including France. You never know, you could end up with a château in Bordeaux for a song!
Watch the world go by. One of the favorite activities of the French people is to sit in front of a café and discuss the affairs of the day over coffee. Try this for yourself and you are sure to get a great scent of the local atmosphere, no matter where you visit in France. This is one of my favorite activities. Choose a place that locals visit and it won't cost you an arm and a leg.
Fly from France for the cheapest. Air France offers senior citizens a 10% discount on domestic flights around the country. The airline also gives a 10% discount on those over 62 on selected international flights – be sure to ask when you book.
Beware. The users of the popular Tripadvisor website recently voted Paris the fifth most widely used pocket city in the world, so look at your values in City of Lights – unfortunately I can voucher for this first hand