France for senior travel
There is no doubt that France is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the world. It has everything from the beautiful streets of Paris to the lush green wine country, the glamorous beaches of the snowy Alps, Disneyland and much, much more. France is also a great destination for senior travel in particular, with all kinds of deep discounts and cost saving opportunities across the country. Here are our top tips for senior travel in France.
Save on train travel. France has one of the most extensive rail networks in Europe: you can get from almost anywhere in the country to almost anywhere else. The SNCF (French state railway company) Carte Senior entitles people over 60 to discounts of 25-50% on all train travel, even if you don’t book in advance, for a whole year. The card also offers you a 30% discount on train travel in 22 other European countries. Better yet, save even more by booking and paying for your rail pass before leaving your home country.
See all the great museums. Many of the many museums and monuments in France will offer a discount for older travelers, in some cases up to 40%. Some sites start with the discount at 65, but if you are over 60, always remember to ask just in case, and bring your passport or other ID in case you are asked to prove your age! The Louvre has a great 6-ticket special on Wednesdays and Fridays from 6 pm to 9:45 pm
Bring a phrase book. While most of the tourist sites, restaurants, and hotels around Paris have English-speaking staff, if you venture further into France, you may run into some difficulties. But between a few basic French sentences of yours and at least some English language skills on the part of the local person, you should be able to get by. I lived in the region of France for a period and love Australians. Before saying something, he would speak in French “Sorry, I’m from Australia, I don’t speak French.” Learn to say this in French, they will love you for it.
Home exchange. It may not get a lot of press, but smart travelers have been saving tons of money by trading their home for one at their destination for decades. HomeExchange.com. it has 29,000 households around the world, including France. You never know, you could end up with a castle in Bordeaux for a song!
Watch the world go by. One of the favorite activities of the French is sitting outside a café and discussing the affairs of the day over coffee. Try this for yourself, and you are sure to get a great taste of the local vibe no matter where you visit in France. This is one of my favorite activities. Pick a spot frequented by the locals and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Fly in France at a low price. Air France offers seniors a 10% discount on internal flights throughout the country. The airline also offers a 10% discount to those 62 and older on select international flights; be sure to ask when booking.
Be careful. Users of the popular Tripadvisor website recently voted Paris the fifth most common city for pickpockets in the world, so check out your valuables in the City of Lights; unfortunately, I can attest to this first hand.