Where the French are going

If you own a hotel, restaurant, rental car agency or another travel business get ready to say “bonjour” because the French are headed your way. Apparently 80% of our “neighbors”, near and far, are ready to hit the road after a couple of years of not going, or not being able to go, anywhere. The term “revenge travel” has really taken hold as people are determined to make up for lost time. I know that Bill and I too are caught up in that feeling and in fact got a head start in the last half of 2022 with trips to Spain, Switzerland, and Ireland with more plans ahead. The French have always enjoyed vacationing in this country (hillside village of Eus in this photo to the left), and that’s not changing for 2023 with 1/3rd of the travelers choosing to stay within the borders. That still leaves a lot more people to go to a lot more places, so let’s see where they are going.

Banyuls-sur-mer, France

According to the travel-study company ProTourisme, during the summer of 2022 about 85% of the French stayed within France for their vacations. Our area of the country benefited greatly from that since we have lots of what people were seeking: sunshine, beaches, water activities, mountains, and green space. It’s also easy; that is, the train travel time from Paris is about 5 hours, the food and drink are familiar, and the language is the same even if there is a slight southern accent here. There is a reality/game TV show called Les Plus Belles Vacances (The Most Beautiful Vacations) that consistently includes this region in the selection from which contestants can choose.

That picture changes, however, for 2023 according to a survey from the travel agency Tourlane. Here are their results of the top 10 destinations and the percentage of people planning to visit there:

Ribadeo, Spain

France (33 %)

Spain (19 %)

USA (15 %)

Italy (15 %)

Portugal (11 %)

England (10 %)

Thailand (10 %)

Greece (9 %)

Canada (6 %)

Croatia (6 %)

Venice, Italy

None of these numbers surprised us. Half of the tourists in Carcassonne are Spanish so if a Parisian, for example, were visiting the medieval walled city that we see everyday, why not extend the trip by easily crossing over into nearby Spain (featured photo across the top is Barcelona). Italy is also a logical add-on to a holiday in the south of France, again because of its proximity. Tied at 3rd place with La Bella Italia is the USA, always a point of discussion when we meet someone new.

Évora, Portugal

The first question we typically get is what part of the US do we come from. Given that between us we’ve visited 49 states (sorry, Alaska) and lived in 11 of them, there’s plenty to talk about. Then we get to ask the questions. What cities do people want to visit? New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas. What does everyone want to see? The Grand Canyon. What road trip do they want to take? Route 66.

It looks like we’re going to be running into a lot of French tourists this year no matter where we go on vacation. We’ll be ready with a “bonjour”. 

3 thoughts on “Where the French are going

  1. I’m not surprised people are wanting to travel again. We too have booked a trip…but ours is a cruise to Alaska. Sorry Bob and Bill….we are going for the second time as it is definitely one of the most unique and beautiful spots in the United States. Yellowstone was our trip this year and it was as beautiful as the famed show has depicted it! Staying closer to home I think is a good way to get your traveling shoes back on!

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