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flag France France: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organizing Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources


Entry Requirements

Passport and Visa Service
Consult the website of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Diplomatic Representations
Consult the website of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs
IATA Travel Center

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Organizing Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Almost all French cities have a public transport network which is safe, and quality is high (in regards to frequency, comfort, safety/security, limited risk of accidents, etc.) Where there are only buses in the smallest towns, the biggest cities have trams, metro, buses and self-service bicycles. Using taxis is also very practical. However, they are very difficult to find in rush hours except for people who have a season ticket. The Paris metro is one of the most extensive in the world. In the ranking of the world's 10 best metro systems, it is in 2nd position. As in many large cities worldwide, one should be alert to the dangers of pickpockets while in public places.
Maps of Urban Networks
The Paris RATP network (Paris city transport authority)
The Ile de France Transilien train network
The Lyon transport network (in French)
The Marseille transport network

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Transportation From Airport to City Centre:






Car Rental
Paris - Charles de Gaulle/Roissy (CDG) 24km / 15 miles EUR 50-60 / 45 min EUR 14 - EUR 6.15 / 35-60 min EUR 8.10 / 50 min Available
Paris - Orly (ORY) 14km / 9 miles EUR 35-55 / 20-35 min EUR 9 / 20-30 min EUR 7.20, EUR 9.30 + RER ticket / 40-50 min Available
Marseille - Provence (MRS) 21 km / 13 miles of Marseille or Aix-en-Provence EUR 40-50 / 30 min EUR 8.5-7.5 / 25-30 min - Available
Lyon - St Exupéry (LYS) 19 km / 12 miles EUR 40-50 / 30-40 min EUR 8.40 / 45 min - Available
Lille - Lesquin (LIL) 8 km / 5 miles EUR 15 / 12-20 min EUR 4.6 / 20 min - Available
Nice - Côte d'Azur (NCE) 4 km / 7 miles EUR 20-30 / 15 min - - Available
Toulouse - Blagnac (TLS) 8 km / 5 miles EUR 20-25 / 10-20 min EUR 4 / 20 min - Available
Bordeaux - Merignac (BOD) 9 km / 6 miles EUR 45 / 20-25 min EUR 6.5 / 30-45 min - Available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

To travel from city to city the best means of transport is the train. From Paris you should expect between 2 and 4 hours to reach other big cities; fares are affordable, the trains are comfortable and you arrive directly in the city center.
By plane it is about 1 hour 30 minutes' travel time to go from one end of the country to another.
As soon as you leave the city center, you really need a car to get around.
Rail Companies
The SNCF (French national rail company) and its on-line reservation service

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Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Air France Major Yes Yes
Air Linair Major Yes No
Transavia low cost No Yes
Easy jet low cost Yes Yes

You Can Consult the List of Airlines Banned Within the EU. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Traveling By Yourself

Traveling by your own means in France poses few problems; it is easy to rent a vehicle, the road network is very good and the road sign system is very clear (in French).
The French authorities have set up a large number of speed cameras on the roads to encourage drivers to keep to speed limits. For further information, consult regulations and penalties enforced (in French).
There is a high risk of traffic jams in and around the big cities.
Road Maps
Map of the motorway network
Motorways and national (main) roads
Find an Itinerary

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Different Forms of Tourism

40,000 monuments to visit among which 10,000 châteaux, abbeys and manor houses, the landing beaches...
6,000 museums, 1,000 festivals.
Sculptures, paintings, theater, concerts, cinema, literature, etc.
Many protected natural parks. See also the French UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Lourdes, Chartres, Lisieux, Mont Saint-Michel
Consult the balneology in France website
The Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the English Channel. 5,500 km of coastline in all.
Winter Sports
The Alps have some of the most pleasant (and most expensive) ski resorts in Europe, such as Chamonix. You can ski less expensively in the Pyrenees or the Massif Central.
Outdoor Activities
Rambling, mountain biking, rock climbing, mountain climbing, rafting
France is well-known for being the greatest destination in the world for shopping with regards to fashion (the website of the French Federation of Haute Couture), culinary specialties or wine (The guide to French wines), in small specialized boutiques or in the large department stores (Galeries Lafayette (en francés), Printemps), etc.
Tourism Organizations
Tourist offices
France Guide

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Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
No vaccination is required.
International Hospitals
The American hospital in Paris


The British hospital at Levallois

For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
Information pages of the Ministry of Health
For Further Information on Safety Conditions
The Current Travel Warnings of the US State Department
The advice of the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Emergency Numbers

Police 17
Firemen 18
SAMU (emergency medical services) 15
Telephone assistance in all European languages 112

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Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Paris (GMT+1 in winter, GMT+2 in summer)
Summer Time Period
Summer time from March to October.

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
In France, the climate varies according to the region: temperate, oceanic, with mild winters and summers in the West and North West; continental in the East; Mediterranean, with hot, very dry summers, and mild, wet winters, sometimes very windy in the South East.
For Further Information
The Météo France website

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall



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Food Specialties
France is one of the countries where the cuisine has a lot of variety. With dishes such as: tournedos; rib steak with béarnaise sauce served with green kidney beans or pommes dauphines; meat on skewers; blanquette of veal; etc. Near the sea, fish and sea food such as mussels, cockles and shrimp are offered. Alsace and Lorraine are the regions where you find sauerkraut, kugelhof, quiche Lorraine and tarte flambée. Lyon, the biggest city in the Rhône valley, is the heart of French cuisine. One of the region's specialties is pike quenelles. There are 365 sorts of cheeses; for example, Camembert, Brie, Roquefort, Reblochon and the blues of Auvergne and Bresse.
In France, wine is the alcoholic drink people drink most: Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Côtes de Provence, Côtes du Rhône and wines of the Loire region, etc. Many aperitifs and liqueurs are also drunk: Pastis, Pineau, Muscat, Chartreuse, fruit liqueurs, brandies, etc.
Dietary Restrictions
There are no dietary restrictions in the country

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Domestic Currency
ISO Code
To Obtain Domestic Currency
The most practical way is to withdraw money directly from ATMs. There are many of them and they are easily accessible in airports, city centers, and all over the country.
Possible Means of Payment
Places where you can pay with foreign currency are rare.
In stores, restaurants, hotels, cafés payment is made in cash or by credit card, according to the sum. American Express cards are not accepted very often.

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Official Language
Other Languages Spoken
The regional languages (Breton, Corsican, Catalan, etc.) are only spoken locally and by a minority of French people.
Business Language
While French is the official language in France, many business people speak English. According to the type of company contacted, its geographical location and sector of activity, it may be difficult to find someone who speaks English. Being able to communicate and negotiate in the French language provide a distinct advantage.
Getting Some Knowledge
Use the travlang website. You can also use the ContexTrans website for translation services.
Free Translation Tools
Voilà : Translator of words, text and web pages
Educnet : Portal for free translation tools
Foreignword : Translator of words and text
Google : Translator of words, text and web pages

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Useful Resources

To Find an Accommodation
The Union of Hotel Professions and Industries
The National Federation of Logis de France
The National Federation of Gîtes de France
Relais & Châteaux
Villas du monde
Tourist offices
To Find an Apartment
Century 21

Individual to individual
For sale or to rent
To buy-to rent
To Find a Job
Portal for on-line recruitment

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Last Updates: February 2015