In the common imagination, a trip to California promises discovery, art and wide open spaces. By staying in this American state, you will approach the famous Californian dream, made of adventures, golden beaches and omnipresent sunshine. The first steps are taken in its big cities, which have become mythical. San Francisco, the rebellious, the European, the idealist; Los Angeles, the cinematographic, the oversized dreamer, the sunny; San Diego, the Hispanic, the authentic... In between these large urban spaces, we willingly let ourselves be carried away by a more than generous and incredibly contrasting nature. From arid deserts, like Death Valley, to the great national parks and their true oxygen reserves, like Yosemite, to the Pacific coast, sometimes artistic and wild, sometimes glamorous and indomitable. California has an innate talent for bringing happiness to all. Is it the sun? The vastness of the landscape? The remains of the 1849 gold rush? The myth of the great American west? The cinematography of Alcatraz and the Hollywood Hills? What is certain is that there is a wind of optimism and relaxation here. Flip through the pages of our California travel guide and quickly become a Californian yourself..

What to visit California?

When to go to California?

Generally speaking, California is an ideal destination all year round, depending on your desire to visit.

High season. It is in summer that the tourist season is in full swing. At that time, the weather was generally sunny and warm all over the Pacific coast. In the western mountains and plateaus, the climate is mild and the further south you go, the lower the precipitation. In the vast desert expanses, such as the Valley of Death, the climate is dry for most of the year, and summers are hot. Visiting these areas in the middle of summer is not recommended. Another very intense period, November and December. In both mountains and desert areas, the winter is very cold, with heavy snowfall, especially in the north. If you want to ski, choose the end or beginning of the year, when the Sierra Nevada is covered in snow. Elsewhere in California, the climate remains mild almost all year round. San Francisco, because of its bay, is the exception: precipitation is abundant, the wind is constant and the temperature is rather temperate.

Mid season. The major cities of California, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego remain visited throughout the year. The best time to travel to California is during the off-season, in May or September. Temperatures are mild and the crowds are relatively high. In large national parks, visitors who are afraid of crowds or heat waves will also choose spring and early fall. Many of the major tourist attractions in the west are still operating at a reduced rate, and hotels offer low season rates until June (especially in the Sierra Nevada).

Low season. From October to March, with the exception of winter holidays, there are fewer tourists. This is therefore an opportunity to negotiate prices for your hotels, especially outside major cities

How to go to California? Our advice & tips

  • Organised trips
  • Going alone
  • Moving around

Many operators offer trips that combine one or more large cities plus a national park. Very often, organized trips last between 10 days and two weeks and are carried out by coach. For example, you land in San Francisco, go through Yosemite National Park, to finish your trip in Los Angeles or on one of the beautiful beaches on the Pacific coast.

Discover our selection of travel agencies for this destination

California is still very accessible for independent travelers, if you understand English. It's a friendly state, and the friendly locals are always willing to help you with your visits. If you plan to travel through the vast natural areas, you should consider renting a car; in the larger cities, public transportation will suffice.

Domestic airlines are very busy and allow fast travel from coast to coast. Most of the major cities in the West have a good urban bus network. Outside major urban areas, public transport is rarely convenient for travellers and poorly serves outlying cities and suburbs. Trains are rarely the fastest, cheapest or most convenient solution, but offer a picturesque and comfortable way to travel. For a stay of less than three months: the French driving licence of more than one year is valid in all States. Note that in California, hitchhiking is legal

Prepare for your trip California

Transportation
  • Car Rental
  • Taxi
Accommodations
  • Find a hotel
  • Holiday rental
Stays
  • Tailor-made trip
Services / On site
  • Book a table
  • Activities & visits

California travel inspiration

San Francisco, the Pacific Coast and Yosemite Coast

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Los Angeles and Las Vegas in one week

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Ten days to conquer the American West

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Pictures California

Discover California

Practical information
When to travel?

Generally speaking, California is an ideal destination all year round, depending on your desire to visit.

...
Read more about it

Weather forecast
The Californian climate seduces both sun worshippers and those who fear the heat. In summer, the Pacific coast and...
Read more about it
Budget

A stay in California can be very expensive or very reasonable (apart from the price of the plane ticket of course). I...
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Formalities

France is still part of the Visa Waiver Pilot program, which allows all French nationals to enter the United States w...
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Health

No particular precautions to take for a trip in California: the compulsory vaccines are the same as in Europe or in C...
Read more about it

How to travel by yourself?

California is still very accessible for independent travelers, if you understand English. It's a friendly state, and...
Read more about it

How to get organized?

Many operators offer trips that combine one or more large cities plus a national park. Very often, organized trips la...
Read more about it

Getting around

Domestic airlines are very busy and allow fast travel from coast to coast. Most of the major cities in the West have...
Read more about it

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