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GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!

Tourism In France Statistics 2023: All You Need To Know

Gowithguide travel specialist O.

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Gowithguide travel specialist O.

Last updated : May 08, 202422 min read

General

France Tour Guide

 

France holds the distinction of being the most popular tourist destination in the world. Its classical European architecture, rich culture, internationally renowned wineries, and even pristine Mediterranean beaches offers something for everyone. The country is also home to a whopping 49 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including famous sites such as Mont-Saint-Michel, as well as many lesser known gems.

 

If you’re planning a tour to France, you know that such a beloved nation can be difficult to navigate, especially if you’re looking for an experience beyond popular sites like Paris aka The City of Lights. This is why partnering with our France tour guides is a great way to take on The French Republic. Now let’s get to the good stuff, so we can get to the touring. Allons-y!

 

France’s Tourism Journey: The Constant Contender

When it comes to tourism, France has never been an underdog. Is France the most visited country in the world? Absolutely. In fact, for over 30 years, it’s been the number one tourist destination.  So how big is France’s tourism industry? It employed a solid 1.5 million people in 2019, which makes up 7.5% of the country’s entire workforce. But as all other countries, they did take a significant hit after having the highest tourism record of 2019 (90.9 million). 

 

By 2020, numbers had drastically dropped to 41.7 million, which is still high when you compare it to other nations. But never one to stay down, France crawled back up to 48.4 million in 2021, and by 2022, as the world opened up, a whopping 79.4 million people had been to see the Republic. So let’s take a closer looks at the stats from 2019 and beyond. 

 

France’s Top Tourism Statistics 

 

  1. No. 1: France is the most popular tourist destination in the world. 
  2. 90 million: The annual number of tourists who visit France in 2019, according to its Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 
  3. 9.6%: The percentage of French GDP directly tied to the tourism sector in 2019, making up. In 2022, this number had reached 216.5 Billion Euros, which was a 1.4% decrease from 2019. 
  4. 12 million: The number of people who flock to Disneyland Paris each year, Europe’s largest theme park. 
  5. 30 million: Amount of visitors who travel to Paris alone, meaning the City of Lights receives more visitors itself than many countries. In 2022, Paris and the Île-de-France region welcomed over 44 million tourists
  6. 49: The number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in France, one of the highest ratios in the world. 
  7. 25°C: Average summer temperature in France, though exact temperatures can vary from region to region. 

 

Who Else Loves France?

As the most popular tourist destination in the world, you may be surprised to learn that the exact figures of visitors to France can vary substantially based on how they are counted. This is partly due to the fact that it is part of the European Union, meaning many visitors pass through not just France but various European countries, all holding EU passports.

 

So, which nationality visits France the most? The largest number of visitors come from the United Kingdom and Germany, and other popular countries include the United States, China, and various African countries.

  1. UK - 14.8%
  2. Germany - 13.7%
  3. Belgium/Luxembourg - 13%
  4. Italy - 7.8%
  5. Switzerland - 7.8%

The fastest growing demographic for international tourists to France is China, with the French government actively promoting tourism for visitors from China and East Asia in general. Prior to Covid-19, the country aimed to attract a whopping 5 million tourists from China alone per year, but currently that figure is around the 2 million mark. 

 

This begs the question, why does France get so many tourists? The history, culturally relevant monuments, artistic foundations, romantic atmosphere, pleasant weather, world renowned food, and comfort are just the start. 

 

Connecting With The Country: France’s Most Popular Destinations 

France is a large country with many different regions to explore, so you have many choices when it comes to planning your trip. Here are the most popular ones; 

  • Paris 
  • Nice 
  • Cannes 
  • Corsica 
  • French Alps 
  • Pyrenees
  • Champagne

 

French Cuisine: The True Definition of Crème de la crème

It goes without saying that a trip to France will be incomplete without properly experiencing the country’s excellent selection of gastronomic delights. After all, France is the home of high quality cuisine as the proud creators of the internationally acclaimed Michelin star, an award which recognizes establishments with exceptional cuisine. Ready to salivate? Bon appétit! 

 

 

  • French Breads: Welcome to the cornerstone of french baking. The most famous French breads are undoubtedly the baguette and the croissant. Walking the streets of any city or town in France, you will undoubtedly find several traditional bakeries, or boulangeries, where you can purchase warm home-made breads in various styles.
  • Say Cheese!: The country is also famous for its large selection of cheeses, from Brie to Camembert, French cheese is truly a delight for the soul, made even better via a pairing with a high quality French wine. Some of the best cheese shops include Androuët, Fromagerie Quatrehomme, and the outdoor market of Marché d'Aligre.

Travel tip: Enjoying cheese in France is par for the course, but when it comes to taking them home to enjoy, be aware that each country has their own export rules regarding products such as cheese, meat, or fresh produce. 

  • Steak au Poivre: For the meat lovers out there, we would recommend trying Steak au Poivre (pepper steak) and Steak Frites (steak & fries). When ordering steak, remember that it’s important to tell your waiter how you would like it done. Some useful phrases to remember are; “saignant” (rare), “a point” (medium-rare), and “bien cuit” (well-done).
  • Escargot: Delight your taste buds with the exquisite flavor of Escargot, where tender snails are expertly cooked in a delectable blend of butter and garlic.
  • Ratatouille: For vegetarians seeking culinary bliss, indulge in the savory goodness of Ratatouille. This dish features a medley of stewed vegetables, artfully crafted to create a symphony of flavors on your palate.
  • Crème brûlée: Satisfy your sweet cravings with the divine allure of Crème brûlée. This creamy dessert is a masterpiece that tantalizes your taste buds, offering a perfect balance of velvety richness and a delightful caramelized crust. Ideal for those with a penchant for a sweet conclusion to their culinary journey.

 

We could go on and on about French dishes, but the best way to experience it is with an in depth look at Parisian cuisine for some more details, or ask your local expert tour guide to introduce you to their favorite dishes.

 

Hot & Cold: France’s Ever-Changing Climates 

 

From the rainy coasts of Normandy to the sunny shores of the French Riviera located on the Mediterranean Sea and colloquially referred to as the Côte d'Azur (Azure Coast), the weather in France varies quite a lot depending on the region and time of year. 

 

As a western European country, rainfall can be heavy and winters chilly (1°C /33F - 7°C /44F), but the summers in France are warm and comfortable (around25°C / 77F), and the country even experiences heat waves in excess of40°C / 104Fat times! Let’s take a deeper look at France’s major climatic regions & what to expect from each. 


Oceanic Climate (Northwest France)

Locations: Paris, Normandy, Brittany.

Weather: Mild to chilly winters and cool summers. Rain is evenly distributed throughout the year.

Temperatures: Winter (December to February) averages around 37-45°F (3-7°C), and summer (June to August) averages around 57-75°F (14-24°C).

Best Time to Visit: Late spring (May to June) and early fall (September to October) for pleasant weather.

 

Continental Climate (Northeast France)

Locations: Alsace, Lorraine, Champagne.

Weather: Colder winters and warmer summers compared to the northwest. Winters can be snowy.

Temperatures: Winter averages around 29-39°F (-2 to 4°C), and summer averages around 59-77°F (15-25°C).

Best Time to Visit: Late spring (May to June) and early fall (September to October) for milder temperatures.

 

Mediterranean Climate (Southern France):

Locations: Provence, French Riviera, Corsica.

Weather: Hot, slightly wet summers and mild, dryer winters. Occasional mistral winds in some areas.

Temperatures: Winter averages around 41-50°F (5-10°C), and summer averages around 68-86°F (20-30°C).

Best Time to Visit: Late spring (May to June) and early fall (September to October) for warm weather without the intense heat.

 

Mountain Climate (French Alps, Pyrenees)

Locations: Chamonix, Grenoble, Pyrenees region.

Weather: Alpine climate with cold winters, heavy snowfall, and cool summers.

Temperatures: Winter averages around 23-32°F (-5 to 0°C), and summer averages around 46-68°F (8-20°C).

Best Time to Visit: Summer (June to August) for hiking and outdoor activities; winter (December to February) for skiing.

 

Semi-Continental Climate (Central France)

Locations: Burgundy, Loire Valley, Central Plateau.

Weather: Transitional climate with moderately cold winters and warm summers.

Temperatures: Winter averages around 30-39°F (-1 to 4°C), and summer averages around 57-75°F (14-24°C).

Best Time to Visit: Late spring (May to June) and early fall (September to October) for pleasant weather.

 

France's diverse climates offer a range of activities, from beach relaxation in the Mediterranean to winter sports in the Alps, making it a year-round destination for various interests. Deciding on which season will be best for your tour of France will depend on your personal preferences and the region you’re visiting. Reach out to one of our private tour guides to get in-depth weather information for your planned tour.

 

Transportation: Getting Around France 

France has a well-developed transportation system, including trains, subways, buses, taxis, and airports. Need to know how to go? Here’s a breakdown of France’s premier transportation methods. 

 

 

  • High-Speed Trains (TGV - Train à Grande Vitesse):Looking to explore more than one city? Love speed +comfort when your itinerary features Paris, Lyon, Marseille, and beyond? The TGV is a network of high-speed trains that connect major cities in France with neighboring countries at convenient speeds. Timely, and super comfortable, this is the way to go.  
  • Regional Trains (TER - Transport Express Régional): A great option for regional travelers, TER trains cover regional routes, connecting smaller towns and cities within specific regions, of which France has 26. They’re slower, but more affordable. They’re also a strong option for daily commuters. 
  • Paris Métro: You can’t get around the City of Love without using the Paris Métro, an extensive subway system covering Paris and its suburbs. It's a fast and convenient way to navigate the capital. Oh, and you can stop at all the major attractions with this system. 
  • Buses and Coaches: The perfect in-between, buses and coaches operate within cities and on long-distance routes. They’re ideal for the traveler that wants to take the scenic route. Buses are commonly used for short-distance travel within cities, and long-distance coaches are a great option for budget-conscious travel.
  • Cars and Rental Cars: Given the shift to green transport, cars and rentals are less recommended, but the well maintained roads make it an option that most consider. Cars are ideal for exploring rural areas, tranquil countryside, and off-the-beaten-path destinations.
  • Bicycles: Major metro areas like Paris are perfect for bike lovers, with the infrastructure to support two-wheeled travel available. Many cities offer bike-sharing programs for short trips, as it’s an eco-friendly and healthy way to explore cities.

 

Travel tip: Psst! If you aren’t used to using public transport, worry not! Our private guides can meet you at your hotel (or any other preferred meeting point), and chaperone you throughout your customized tour.

Traveling In France: Dos & Don'ts To Remember

 

Parles-tu Anglais? All About Language In France 

While major cities like Paris don’t need much translation, France is quite huge, and English proficiency varies from region to region. In fact, the nation’s English proficiency index of 531 puts it at the top 5 lowest in Europe (position 30 out of 34) and 43 globally, so you will need some linguistic help depending on where you’ll go. Here are some common phrases to keep in mind; 

 

  • Hello = Bonjour (bohn-zhoor)
  • Goodbye = Au revoir (oh-rev-vwha)
  • Thank you = Merci (mare-see)
  • Please = S'il vous plaît (seel-voo-play)
  • Excuse me = Excusez-moi (ex-koo-say mwa)
  • Yes = Oui (we)
  • No = Non (noh)
  • I don’t speak French = Je né parle pas français (zhe ne parl pah frahn-say)
  • Do you speak English? = Parlez-vous anglais? (par-lay voo ahn-glay)

 

Luckily, all of our French tour guides are fluent in English and can help you with translation throughout your tour. They can also provide some unique insights which may not appear on the tourist brochures.

 

Staying Safe: The France Edition 

Although France is generally a safe country to travel in, larger cities have issues with pickpockets and petty crime. Given the crime index of 55.12 out of 100, and increase of crime in the past year, you should exercise caution by trying not to stand out too much as a tourist, otherwise you risk yourself being targeted by petty thieves. Keep your valuables either in your hotel room or in a bag that isn’t immediately visible.

 

Safety while touring at night can be low (35.68) in major cities, so consult with a local tour guide about night based tours to get the best recommendations about safe areas and places to avoid. 

 

Conclusion 

As the most visited country in the world, France lives up to the hype. The country sports attractions that will appeal to virtually every kind of traveler under the sun, from art lovers to extreme skiers, fashion aficionados, wine connoisseurs, and beach goers.

 

Ready to experience France for yourself? Plan the perfect custom itinerary alongside our French tour guides and enjoy expert advice, ease of travel planning efforts, personal translation, shopping advice, general safety tips, and help with transportation. Bonne chance!

Nice Tour Guide - Gregory R.

Gregory R.

France

Being a native from Villefranche-sur-Mer, in the heart of the French Riviera, a little fishermen's village located right between Nice and Monaco and facing the world-famous Cap Ferrat, I grew up in the valley outside Nice and started to discover the cities of the Côte d'Azur as a young boy with my parents and family, later on as a teenager with my friends. After studying corporate public relations, I had one of the best opportunity of my life, something that I secretly always wished, to go live in United States, working for the famous Sun Valley ski resort for two years in Idaho as a restaurant and banquet manager. When I came back to Nice, I went back to school to be graduated as a French professional tour guide and lecturer in English and Spanish, then i started to work as a tour guide in different tour companies and quickly decided to face a new challenge by opening a tour guide company that will look more like me, which means showing my region as a local to my clients and make sure they feel as with friends, all along their stay, not just when they are with me for the tour. Providing private professional guided tours today for shore excursions or visitors staying in various hotels in Cannes, Monaco or Nice is obviously the greatest and most enjoyable job that suit me, as natural and sincere I can be, it pushes me on being exceptionally great every day because my guest deserves so much coming from so far to discover our region, i only have one day to stay in their memories for a very long time, showing you the best places around the French Riviera. Since 2007, me and my team of native born and raised professional tour guide are specialized in providing private tours on the French Riviera, which mean that we adjust our tours with your requests and wishes, we have had a lots of unique and very interesting experiences that we will always remember because of sharing unique life moments.                                                                                                                                  

Paris Tour Guide - Jillian A.

Jillian A.

5.00 / 5
(1 reviews)
France

Bonjour de Paris! I'm Jillian, your independent Paris guide, ready to sprinkle some magic on your adventure! Walk with me – your experienced, passionate, dynamic, and undeniably cool local guide. Let's meander through petite cafes and historic wonders, unlocking the secrets to living like a true Parisian! Marvel at hidden gems where the art of the past and present intertwines, making history your playground! Join my small groups or opt for a private/personalized walking tour, because in Paris, the best stories are told step by step. Whether alone or with your favorite people, I'll show you the beauty of Paris. Let's make your time in Paris a whirlwind of joy. Have fun and let the City of Lights enchant you!                                                                                                                                  

Bordeaux Tour Guide - Francis T.

Francis T.

France

Hello! I'm Francis, I would like to show this beautiful city who adopted me. I would like to show you around, so you get to know its history, culture, wine, FOOD, its architecture and others! Join me in this experience, and I will show the best possible!                                                                                                                                 

Aix en Provence Tour Guide - Nathalie S.

Nathalie S.

5.00 / 5
(1 reviews)
France

Hello from Provence, South of France ! This year has been an incredible busy year with many tourists visiting Provence. Provence IS the place to visit with so many different attractions such as: beautiful scenery, excellent gastronomy, great wine experience, large variety of architecture dated from as far as Roman time, Renaissance to now and of course our famous lavender fields! I have been a tour guide in the region of Provence & Côté d'Azur for more than 6 years, I can easily plan day tours or multiday tours to the liking of any visitors looking for a beautiful memorable vacation in our region.                                                                                                                                  

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