After Germany, while I was backpacking Europe in the Winter of 2015/16, I jumped on a train and headed for Paris. After a substantial amount of research Frances geography, I decided to take full advantage of my Eurail pass and visit as many French towns as I could while I made my way to Switzerland for Chirstmas.
I kicked off my time in France in Paris, one of the world’s top tourist destinations. I spent some time enjoying the vegan cuisine the Paris offered (think gourmet raw vegan restaurants) and exploring the famous sights. I don’t know if it was the shitty weather, or maybe the fact that I was travelling alone in the “city of love,” but I found Paris incredibly overrated. I only needed to spend 2 days here to realise it wasn’t for me, so I jumped on a train and headed off to explore more of France.
Orleans & Tours
From Paris I jumped on a train and headed to the Loire Valley, where I visited two towns, Orleans and Tours. They were just as nice as Paris, if not nicer, and they still had a bit of a Parisian vibe, without being nearly as busy, crowded, dirty, expensive, or loud as Paris.
Nice & the French Riviera
This was definitely my favourite part of backpacking through France. Even though it was the middle of Winter, the French Riviera provided an escape from the cold temperatures I’d been facing on the rest of my trip. I got to explore so many nice parts of Nice, Villefranche Sur Mer, and even Monaco.
From Nice I made my way to Grenoble in the French Alps. The city was beautiful, but the highlight for me was my hike up the mountain to Bastille, where I was able to explore castle ruins, and get an amazing view of Grenoble town and the alps in the background.
I spent my last night in France in the quaint town of Annecy which was conveniently located near the Swiss border. With lovely architecture, parks, and a huge lake, it was a great end to my time in France.
If you want to read my guide to traveling Europe with Eurail, check out my Eurail Guide.