The Important Often Forgotten Skill Of How Not to See Everything on A Vacation In France
So you're travelling to France for your next vacation. You've have selected a location, booked your accommodation, organised your travel. That is the easy part of the "where" and the "how." The trickiest part of planning and enjoying your holiday comes next when you need to tackle the "what" issue. That is what are you going to do and what are you going to see. Please do not even think the word "everything".
Tourists often ridicously schedule every hour of every day in advance to ensure they see every French castle, 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 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 chateaux and not be able to distinguish which one was which. Your holiday will be one continuous castle blur. You'll have spent your entire time hurtling from one famous castle or abbey or rather than soaking up the significance of that chateau, abbey you toured in a nanosecond.
Please do not be a speed tourist acting possessed and forever intent determined to get yet another tick in a box on their "must see" list. Never see more than 2 chateaux in a day and do not do more than three days of your vacation (ideally spaced out) castle hopping.
Always remember most people travel to France for the experience that is unique and totally different from their everyday English, American, or Antipodean existence. Find yourself a bistro, a little cafe, or a pub. Sit down. Order something. Listen to the locals chatting. Talk to a stranger even if it is in Franglais. Smell that freshly baked bread. Savour that glass of wine. 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.
If you are renting a castle or a villa, set aside some time to just hang out there and unwind. Often you see groups of families who rent a castle 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 guest got the duty of planning the itinerary and wanted to make sure no one could later complain that they missed something.
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