As I prepare to go on the incredible adventure towards France for Euro 2016 to support Northern Ireland, it’s a good time to reflect on my previous lot of times backpacking through France. It’s a country I officially visited about 8 or 9 times, and unofficially about 70 – 90 times while working on Car Ferries. These are my top 5 highlights so far and I can’t wait to get back. I’ve been checking the latest tour options from France-voyage.com website as well as flights and accommodation ahead of my trip. I’d also like to practice my French a bit more this time, as it looks like I’m there for a month in June – July 2016 and a month is a good time to do it.
1.Scaling the Walls of St. Malo
I actually first visited St. Malo in 1989 with my family on a family holiday. However when I worked on the England to France ferries 20 years later, I got to spend a few days in St. Malo realising this is a famous town with a true Brittanic Flair to it.
2.Beach Days at St. Giles
I spent a lot of childhood summers in France and we had a spot we loved – Camping Europa at St. Giles. We had days by the beach and by the pool on the west coast of France. I’d love to go back to St. Giles or St. Jean de Monts now.
3.Textbook Sightseeing in Paris
Yes, as a younger backpacker before I became a whackpacker, I toured all the textbook sights in Paris. I toured the Louvre, Sacre Coeur, Tour Eiffel, Champs Elysees, Arc de Triomph! I did all that and actually liked it – it just wasn’t going to be my niche for travel writing. It’s too common and not off the wall enough. But my three visits to Paris have always been happy and eventful times.
Also in Paris, I had some wild nights out with the party crowd from my hostel! It’s where I met Luxembourg Jill and Brazilian Katia who was recently whackpacking in India with me.
4.Backpacking in Marseille
Marseille was a true breath of fresh air on my backpacking journeys through France. I even got to have a beer in the bar nearest to Olympique Marseille’s football stadium. In that bar, they had a picture of a Glentoran player on the wall. I loved the sights of the city, the never ending steps (it’s a hard city to backpack in the heat), the bars and cafes by the harbour and the vast array of old churches.
During my few days here, I worked my way through the sights of Marseille.
5.Eating Crepes, Everywhere!
I love French sweet cuisine – the Patisseries. I love croissants, crepes, pain au chocolat etc. Some of my best memories have been eating crepes and drinking coffee in Montmartre or by the ocean at St. Jean de Monts.
So ahead of my trip to Nice, Lyon and Paris again this year, I hope this is some food for thought and my memories of touring France. If you want to know my route for Paris, follow my journeys on Instagram and Facebook. I aim to overland into Nice and head north to Lyon next. It’s going to be wild!