How to travel like a local
PUBLISHED: 12:10 08 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:09 21 March 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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).
Go on an insider’s tour
Get local insight on your destination by finding a resident who will show you around.
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.
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.
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.