Are you constantly tired, unable to enjoy anything? Do you feel like everything is pointless? Are you sick with all the assignments and tests? Do you want to just call it quits and leave?
If those questions hit too close to home, you need a break from college life – and you’re probably going through a burnout. But don’t worry: there’s arguably no better way to recover from it than by going on a trip abroad!
Since you’re reading this, you might already have your mind set on going to France, the most touristic country in the world. But let’s argue that cities like Paris, Nice, and Marseille aren’t the best France has to offer you (yes, it’s a hot take!).
Here are six reasons why you might want to offload your homework to experts like the paper writing service WritePaper employs and take off to the French countryside. Whether your trip lasts a week or a month, the quaint rural lifestyle will leave a long-lasting impression on you!
You’ll Be a Short Walk Away From Nature
If you’re a long-time nature lover, there’s no better place to enjoy a walk in a forest, next to a river, or among pastures. You can go on a hike in the mountains if that’s your cup of tea: France has the Pyrenees and the Alps to pick from.
In case you’re more of a sea or ocean person, you can also settle in a small town on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean. You could spend all of your time at the beach without too many people around!
But even if you don’t identify as a nature lover yet, spending some time on your own or with friends in nature is guaranteed to recharge your metaphorical batteries. It’s proven to be one of the best ways to avoid and cope with burnout, hands down.
The reason? You can unwind and relax since you’ll have nowhere to hurry when you’re in nature. Plus, France has some of its most astonishing landscapes in less touristic spots!
Locals Will Surprise You With Their Kindness
People are different in the countryside, be it in France or not. Since the communities are small and everyone knows everyone, you’ll find people who are friendlier, kinder, and more open towards others.
For example, when you walk around a village or a small town, random passers-by will smile at you and greet you. Yes, even if you don’t know them – that’s the way of the countryside!
If you ever find yourself in trouble, locals will try their best to help you out. Even if all you can say in French is “bonjour” and “merci,” they’ll find a way.
This kindness and helping-out spirit extend to hitchhiking, too. Since public transport can be fairly underdeveloped in rural areas, locals are used to picking up hitchhikers. So, if you’ve wanted to try hitchhiking, the French countryside is a great place to do so!
You Won’t Find Food Like That in Big Cities
France is a country that has a cult of food; that much is true. So, if you’re a foodie, it’s no wonder why this destination is (and should be) on your bucket list.
Yet, there’s no better place to try authentic local dishes than the countryside. Recipes are often transferred from generation to generation. Plus, you won’t find most local delicacies from, let’s say, the Pyrenees mountains in restaurants in big cities like Paris!
What’s more, every small town and village has at least one bakery. So, if you want to feel like a real local, visit it in the morning for a croissant or pain au chocolat (chocolatine) and a cup of coffee.
It’s the Best Place to Enjoy Slow Life
This is the major difference between living in a city and the countryside. No one in the countryside is in a hurry. Bakers take their time to talk to their visitors. Cars can stop right in the middle of the road when a driver sees their friend and wants to catch up with them.
What’s more, you’ll find out how much French people in the countryside value their rest and life outside work. For example, everything except restaurants and supermarkets is closed for lunch. No shop would be open on Sundays, except for some supermarkets – but they close at noon.
This way of life can be highly contagious. Once you experience it long enough, you’ll learn to view your life from a different standpoint. As the French will tell you, it’s how you enjoy your life that matters – not how much you work. (To hold on to those conclusions once you’re back, don’t forget to keep journaling your experiences during the trip!)
History Is at Every Corner
Most, if not all, small towns and villages in France have centuries of history embedded in their architecture. Wherever you go, you’ll find ruins, fortresses, large middle-age gates, castles, and more. Even the pavement in those old streets is older than your grandparents!
What’s more, you won’t have to spend a small fortune on visiting those landmarks like you would in cities like Paris and Nice. Some castles and museums can be free to enter; others have a more affordable entry fee.
For example, the departmental museum of Hautes-Alpes is completely free to visit. A castle visit in the same area can cost you just 2 to 4 euros. That’s not a lot compared to some sights that charge between 10 and 15 euros per visit.
There’s No Better Place to Experience the Real France
The French countryside has its particular lifestyle, and “slow” isn’t the only adjective to describe it.
For example, every town and village, no matter how small, has its market at least once a week. Farmers, artists, and other sellers from the local area gather there to sell their products – and to socialize, of course.
Another aspect of the local lifestyle has to do with events and associations. Every town and village is guaranteed to have at least a dozen associations for any sort of hobbies and activities. Those associations regularly hold workshops and other events – you won’t regret attending them!
Besides, most villages and towns hold one-of-a-kind festivals once a year, along with other festivities. So, do your research before venturing on a trip – those events are worth experiencing!
So, are you sold on the idea? Great! But how do you choose which towns and villages are worth visiting? And how do you make the most out of your trip?
Here are four tips for making a journey to the French countryside a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
- Avoid tourist traps. They won’t give you an authentic slice of French countryside life. Opt for small towns off the beaten path. Check out lists like Les Plus Beaux Villages de France and Les Plus Beaux Détours de France.
- Learn some French. It’s a must because the stereotype often holds up. It can be hard to find a French person knowing English well enough to communicate beyond “hello” and “thank you.”
- Think about the transport. Depending on the region and your destination, public transport can be either well-developed or awful. Check train schedules on the SNCF Connect website and google bus schedules before you settle on a destination.
- Take your time. The best way to experience the French countryside is by living there for at least a couple of weeks. This way, you’ll have time to figure out what’s what, talk to locals, and truly unwind.