CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to France Magazines today CLICK HERE

How to travel like a local

PUBLISHED: 12:10 08 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:09 21 March 2017

Meet locals with social travel platforms like Airbnb ©Airbnb

Meet locals with social travel platforms like Airbnb ©Airbnb


Want to meet locals on your next trip to France? Try these online platforms that can help you save money, meet people and enjoy an authentic experience of France

Stay with locals

Catch a glimpse of how locals live by staying in a French person’s home.

Book a stay in a French person's home with AirbnbBook a stay in a French person's home with Airbnb


This platform enables private individuals to list their homes online for travellers to stay in. Hosts can choose to let out their entire property and not be around when guests stay there, or to simply let out a room in their home and provide access to the kitchen, bathroom and living areas. Airbnb is a great opportunity to stay in unique places and to get to meet people, although you can adapt the level of interaction you’d like to have with your host. There are over 375,000 listings in France so you have plenty of choice, from a chic Paris pad to a cute cottage in the countryside.

Meet like-minded people and stay in a host's home for free with CouchsurfingMeet like-minded people and stay in a host's home for free with Couchsurfing


Couchsurfing aims to create a global community of like-minded travellers seeking authentic experiences with people. On Couchsurfing, guests stay for free and are expected to interact more with their hosts who, in turn, tend to offer plenty of local knowledge and insight on the place they live in. The idea is to share something with your host (since you don’t pay for your stay) so bring a gift, take your host out for a drink or teach them how to cook a new dish! There is no booking system; you must request to stay with a host in a message so tell them about yourself and your travels.

Use Gamping to pitch your tent in someone's back garden in FranceUse Gamping to pitch your tent in someone's back garden in France


This French start-up lets people pitch their tent or park their camper van in a local’s private garden or plot of land. Not only is this a fun way to meet people, it is also a good way to save money as booking rates are cheaper than traditional camping rates and you get to have a more intimate pitch.


Related articles

Insider’s tips for visiting France

Inspiring, must-read travel blogs about France


Dine with locals

Find a home restaurant and enjoy a unique dining experience where you taste a home-cooked meal prepared by a local. Bon Appétit!

BonAppetour lists hundreds of 'home restaurants'BonAppetour lists hundreds of 'home restaurants'


This platform connects travellers with people offering dining experiences in their own homes. You can either book a dinner, a cooking class or a culinary experience involving choosing your ingredients, cooking the dish and enjoying the meal afterwards.

Enjoy authentic foodie experiences with locals thanks to VizeatEnjoy authentic foodie experiences with locals thanks to Vizeat


Vizeat also offers immersive foodie experiences with locals in more than 110 countries. From market tours to cooking classes to three course meals or cheese and wine parties, Vizeat has a huge amount of experiences on offer. When you consider the entire experience, it is often better value for money than a restaurant. They also have a great smartphone app that makes it easy to book your experience.

French platform Voulez-vous diner connects gourmets travellers with dinner hostsFrench platform Voulez-vous diner connects gourmets travellers with dinner hosts

Voulez-vous diner

This French social dining platform also connects gourmets with hosts looking to share their culture through their cuisine. As with the other platforms, travellers sign in to create a profile and then book the culinary experience of their choice on the platform. You can either search by location – usually cities – or by a theme which includes things like gluten free, unique locations or even business meals (only in Paris).


Related articles

Mouth-watering French food blogs you have

Useful blogs written by expats in France


Go on an insider’s tour

Get local insight on your destination by finding a resident who will show you around.

Get an insider's tour of Paris with a local through City UnscriptedGet an insider's tour of Paris with a local through City Unscripted

City Unscripted

Explore a city with a local host who can give you advice or take you on a private tour. The platform connects travellers with like-minded locals who know their city intimately, offering a highly personalised tour. Travellers choose their host and discuss the kind of experience they are looking for before meeting up.

Meet friendly locals who love their town through the Greeters de France networkMeet friendly locals who love their town through the Greeters de France network


The Greeters de France network brings together local inhabitants who are passionate about their hometown with travellers seeking an authentic visit of their destination. Greeters are not trained guides but they all love their home and are ready to share their knowledge of it by taking travellers on personalised strolls around a destination.

Find a friend while you travel with ZipskeeFind a friend while you travel with Zipskee


This platform also connects travellers with locals who want to share the hidden gems of their hometown. Here you can find local guides, people who will take you to their favourite restaurant, bar and residents wanting to tell you about their district. The platform matches users with common interests with the aim to bring people together who could potentially become friends.


Save money and travel in a more eco-friendly way by car sharing with platforms like BlaBlaCar or Covoiturage-libre.

Get involved in the local community by volunteering for a project or working with locals. Head to Workaway or WWOOF (for work on organic farms).

Article by France Magazine France Magazine

More from Travel

Friday, December 7, 2018

These welcoming and wonderful Christmas markets are just a short trip across the Channel away, so what are you waiting for?

Read more
Thursday, December 6, 2018

When it’s cold outside, indulge your love of French food and drink at one of these stylish pop-ups and events closer to home

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Discover the Christmas delights of northern France with our top five Christmas markets in the region

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

From lakeside jazz festivals to chestnut fairs, get stuck in with these events taking place across France in December 2018

Read more
Thursday, November 22, 2018

You can ditch the airport queues and long drives, and hit the rails instead, says Daniel Elkan. The French Alps has an abundance of ski resorts that suit families, easily accessed by train.

Read more
Monday, November 19, 2018

Budget travellers can pay nothing to stay at bed and breakfasts around the world during Barter Week in exchange for manual, creative or teaching activities

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Find out when your favourite French ski resort opens and closes this year and start planning your ski trip to France

Read more
Winter trips
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Find out what events are taking place in France to commemorate the Armistice centenary.

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

The full route of the 2019 Tour de France was announced in Paris on 25 October

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

From hot air balloon gatherings to scallop festivals, there’s always something fun and unique going on in France in November

Read more
Subscribe for

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

France Forum

Questions about France? Visit our free France forum to get help and advice from thousands of other Francophiles and expats. Topics include: property, tax, law, travelling, pets, education, healthcare and much more.

Join the forum

Most Read

Join us on social media

France magazine
Living France magazine
French Property News magazine

Enter our competitions

Win books, DVDs, travel and even holidays in France in our great competitions! Take a look at our latest competitions…

Enter now