How to travel to France without leaving home

Travel comes in many forms, from booking a ticket, to planning your dream trip, to reading about adventures from the comfort of your couch. France usually has to be seen to be believed, but there’s no reason why social distancing means that the attractions we have to offer need to go unseen, unexperienced, and unnoticed. Whether to plan your someday trip or to fantasize about being elsewhere, we’ve rounded up an ever evolving list of the best ways to see France without leaving your home.

Take a virtual tour

The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Strasbourg Cathedral, the Lascaux Caves: innumerable monuments, landmarks, museums and castles have virtual reality tours set up. Explore France’s amazing past and present, and figure out which ones you need to see in the future.

Take in a spectacle (show)

From the Opéra Comique to the Opéra de Paris, the Philharmonic to the many theatres dotting every city in France, shows, concerts, and recitals are available to stream directly into your living room.

Read a book about France

Whether travelogue, nonfiction account, literary critiscm, or novel, France has been the subject and setting for hundreds (even thousands) of stories, from Provence to Paris. Here are some of our favorite digital books about France:

  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame (External link) , Victor Hugo: Everyone knows the tale of Quasimodo and Esmeralda, but the text itself is an incredible portrait of medieval Paris. And, the publication itself helped save the cathedral in the 19th century!
  • The Flowers of Evil (External link) , Charles Baudelaire: One of France's most famous authors criticizes the decadence of Haussman Paris, giving a rich (if not always delicate) portrayal.
  • Madeline (External link) , Ludwig Bemelmans: Probably every young American's introduction to Paris, Madeline is the story of the titular heroine, an spunky redheaded girl growing up in a beautiful orphanage in Paris. (Also a great idea for storytime for parents suddenly teaching from home).
    -The Road from the Past (External link) , Ina Caro: Beginning in Provence, this story works its way up through time and space traveling the rich culture and landscape of France from the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Age of Enlightenment and further.
  • The Lost Vintage, Ann Mah (External link) : Reporter Mah's maiden voyage into novels, the Lost Vintage is a breezy read about an American sommelier who re-finds lost love in the fields of Burgundy, while exploring the mystery of a WWII-era secret.
  • The Seine: The River that Made Paris (External link) , Elaine Sciolino: New York Times foreign correspondant Sciolino's book traces the cultural and historical stories of the Seine, and how it made France from its source in Burgundy to the mouth on the Atlantic Coast.
  • Fnac's free e-books (External link) : for those looking to expand their French literacy, bookseller Fnac has a long list of free e-books to download, from thrillers to fantasy to classics!

Watch a French film (or a film set in France)

Whether you're in the mood to brush up on your language comprehension or looking to be buoyed by sweeping French landscapes or elegant city views, France is the subject and setting for hundreds of amazing movies. Below is our list of streamable French films and series (or films set in France)!

Netflix:

  • Blue is the Warmest Color (French): the LGBT love story from 2013 tells the story of self discovery and love between two women in modern day France.
  • Lady J (French): For fans of frothy aristocratic comedy-dramas, this adaptation of Denis Diderot’s novel Jacques the Fatalist is for you.
  • Versailles (English): For even more tales of royal intrigue and grandiose drama, this series follows Louis XIV's travails as he creates and tries to reign over the incredible Château de Versailles.
  • The African Doctor (French): This comedy-drama follows a doctor and his family as they adjust to new surroundings and a new culture when they move from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to a small village near Reims.
  • Julie and Julia (English): While only half set in France, this charming foodie-must see explores the life of two characters; unsatisfied-with-life blogger Julie and home-cook-turned-culinary-empress Julia Child. With the charming '50s costumes and elegant Parisian backdrops, it's enough to make you want to buy a ticket (and eat, beaucoup!).

Amazon Prime:

  • The Man in the Iron Mask (English): all the swashbuckling action of the classic Three Musketeers tale, with a starring role from 1990s Leonardo DiCaprio.
  • Travels with Darley (English): Travel host Darley Newman has returned to all corners of France, from Guadeloupe and Martinique to the vestiges of the Western Front.
  • A French Village (French): this series documents the experiences of the villagers of fictional Villeneuve in the Jura as they undergo the German occupation.
  • Colette (French): Keira Knightley stars as the famed French writer making a name for herself (and her husband) on the cusp of the 19th and 20th centuries, challenging gender rules and society along the way.

Follow a new blogger or instagrammer

Flip through the amazing journeys and adventures of your favorite travel professional, whether they're giving quarantine-inspiration or #tbt distractions. Some of our favorites are below!

-Instagram: fallingoffbicycles (External link) , Paris: Join author Julia for adventures in Paris and beyond, some by bike!
-Instagram: aya.lulu (External link) , Paris/Tokyo: daily life in Paris, sometimes Tokyo and beyond.
-Instagram: lapresqueparisienne (External link) , Paris: Your daily dose of #Paris, #parisienne girl next door
-Instagram: wanderwonders (External link) , Paris: unpretentious paris | founder of @seemyparis.
-Instagram: leahtravels (External link) , Paris. Texan in #Paris, Luxury travel writer
-Instagram: grapechic (External link) , New York:Working in fashion by dayfinding great wine by night
-Blog: Travels of Adam (External link) , New York. Your guide to the coolest things to do and see around the world — a lifestyle blog for men and other stylish travelers.