Many people wish to visit France. You will never regret planning a trip to France, whether you were pulled by the lovely whimsy of Paris, the sun-drenched shorelines of the South of France, or the idyllic towns of Provence. While the fantasy does come true for many, some tourists are taken off guard if they arrive unprepared.
The ideals of a republic and human rights were first established in France, and they were so influential that they spread to all other democracies around the globe. So, in addition to romanticism, France’s revolutionary past may also be felt via the fight for human rights. We will present some travel ideas and strategies, as well as all you need to know to visit France with a happy attitude, in our France travel guide.
General Tips for Travelling to France
France is not just “Paris”!
France does not begin and end in Paris! French tourist visa applicants usually say that they have “seen” France after traveling to Paris. With a wide variety of distinct microclimates and civilizations, France is an extremely diversified nation. If you want to experience the trip to France properly, have a complete and comprehensive plan; although we suggest a trip to Paris, don’t miss the other cities either.
The city of Nice, as the second city hosting foreign tourists, is famous for its historical context. Among the places of interest in this city, we can mention Cours Saleya, Nice Cathedral, Chapelle de la Miséricorde, Palais Lascaris Music Museum, and Matisse Museum. Note that most museums in France are closed on Tuesdays. Following Nice, the city of Lyon, France’s second capital, the coastal city of Bordeaux, Marseille, a vast city among the hills and the coastline, and Lille, an old city in northern France and the Flanders region, are other French cities that have intrigued the imaginations of visitors.
France’s national coin is the euro (EUR). Banks, bureaux de change, and certain big hotels offer currency exchange services, yet ATMs offer travelers a higher exchange rate overall. Major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere, especially in popular tourist areas. The use of foreign money is prohibited.
Although most restaurants and hotels automatically include a 15% service fee, it is nevertheless usual to leave an additional two to three percent if the service has been good. 15 % is normal if service is not included. Hairdressers want roughly 10% of the price, whereas taxi drivers demand between 10% and 15%. Hotel employees typically get approximately €1.50 per day, while restroom and cloakroom attendants as well as museum tour guides receive tips of about €1. Also receiving tips are tour bus drivers and guides.
There are no specific vaccines or prescription drugs needed to visit to France. Travelers should take tick prevention measures if they are visiting rural or wooded regions during warm weather due to the incidence of certain tick-borne infections such lyme disease, tularemia, tick-borne encephalitis, and rickettsia disorders. The medical facilities in France are of the highest caliber.
Presenting an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) entitles visitors from other EU nations to subsidized medical care and medications. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) was discontinued for UK nationals following Brexit in favor of the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). The GHIC gives UK nationals access to public healthcare while they are traveling inside the EU.
The GHIC does not replace travel insurance and is not accepted in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Iceland. Otherwise, medical insurance is recommended since hospitals and doctors sometimes demand prompt cash payment for healthcare services.
While there aren’t many violent crimes against tourists and vacations in France are mostly trouble-free, travelers should be aware that security has been tightened as a result of recent terrorist incidents, especially in the transport industry. Security personnel will remove or destroy any unattended bags they find in public areas. Although it is typically safe to travel to France, tourists are recommended to exercise caution and safeguard their safety.
On the metro and in the vicinity of airports, thieves and pickpockets are active. Car theft is common, especially in the south, in the Marseilles region, and Corsica. It is recommended for visitors to keep their baggage and purses concealed when traveling and never leave things of value in the vehicle unattended.
French culture is extremely important to the French. They feel obligated to defend it in a more Americanised society, and it is welcomed if guests can speak a few words of French. Locals do not take well to being yelled at in English. While the cuisine is excellent, international visitors may find the service in many places to be poor. Waiters might look unpleasant and slow (especially in Paris). They are just like this. Traditional activities like pétanque (similar to lawn bowling but played on gravel) are popular in village squares, but football, rugby, and cycling are national sports. There are high penalties relating to smoking in public locations.
In France, business etiquette is very essential. A stylish, trendy sense of clothing is widespread since the country takes pleasure in haute couture. Punctuality is not always followed, and the ‘fashionably late’ strategy may be used. In the case of initial introductions, a handshake is the customary greeting for both sexes. Titles are significant, and the individual should be addressed as’monsieur’ (Mr.),’madame’ (Mrs.), or’mademoiselle’ (Ms.). Meetings are typically held over lunch, and the French are known to adore cuisine. The typical business hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The following products are allowed duty-free entry into France for non-EU citizens over the age of 17: 250g of tobacco, 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos, 50 cigars, or 100 cigars. Four liters of wine, sixteen liters of beer, one liter of spirits more than 22 percent, or two liters of alcoholic drinks under 22 percent. Other items are worth up to €430 for air and sea travelers and €300 for all other travelers (down to €175 for minors under 15).
France’s international dialing prefix is +33. If their cellular carriers allow it on their networks, travelers can utilize eSIMs or buy local prepaid SIM cards for unlocked phones. Most hotels, cafés, restaurants, and similar venues provide free Wi-Fi.
Passport & Visa
The nations that make up the Schengen Area are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. All of these nations offer the normal Schengen visa, which includes the option of multiple entries and entitles the bearer to unrestricted travel inside each of the aforementioned nations’ borders.
A return or onward ticket and the required travel documents for their next destination are also required, together with adequate finances to cover the cost of the traveler’s stay in France. As long as the Schengen visa is stamped “Also valid for French territories being in observation of the respective French territories,” it is important to note that, if necessary, Schengen visas are also valid for French Guiana, the French West Indies, and Reunion. We advise that passports always include a six-month extension beyond the desired trip time.
- Passports issued to US nationals must be valid for at least three months beyond the length of their anticipated stay in France. For stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day window, no visa is necessary.
- For their intended stay in France, UK nationals must hold passports that are at least three months valid. For stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day window, no visa is necessary.
- A passport that is still valid for three months beyond the expected duration of their stay in France is required for Canadian nationals. For stays up to 90 days in a 180-day span, no visa is necessary.
- Australian nationals must have a passport that is still valid three months after their anticipated departure date from Australia for France. For stays up to 90 days in a 180-day span, no visa is necessary.
- A valid Schengen visa and a passport with at least three months remaining on the expiration date are required for South African nationals to enter France. Please take note that temporary passport holders will not be allowed admission or transit.
- Irish nationals are required to arrive with a current passport. No visa is necessary.
- Passports issued to New Zealanders must still be valid three months after their scheduled departure date from France. For stays up to 90 days in a 180-day span, no visa is necessary.
Courtesy is key
Always, and I mean always, start a sentence with Bonjour or Bonsoir (hello/good evening). If you start a discussion or make a request without saying this word first, which is arguably the most significant word in the French language, you should expect to be received with sarcasm.
The French aren’t rude – Unless you are
The majority of “rudeness” results from racial bias. Due to foreigners who don’t make the effort to learn French etiquette (see above and below) and become upset when they receive subpar service.
Of course, there are exceptions to the norm, and I’ve also heard that rudeness in Paris is practically an art form. But the majority of them are merely rumors. Don’t get offended if you encounter apathy. The French just aren’t that enthusiastic!
Try to learn a few basic words or phrases before you go
Often, without knowing the French language, you can travel to France easily and without worries. But if you make a little effort to be able to speak this language, you can better use this opportunity. So, before applying for a French tourist visa, get a training book and spend time on it. Simply learn Bonjour (hello), S’il vous plait (please) Pardon (excuse me / especially useful in crowded places), Merci (thank you) and Au Revoir (goodbye), S’ilvous plait = please Je ne parle pas francais: I don’t know French, Enanglais, s’ilvous plait: Please speak English.
But if you can ask what you want in French, you’ll go a step further. It’s usually at this point that the other person takes pity on your awful French and switches back to English to help you out! Typically, inhabitants of smaller cities welcome you with the word “Bonjour” at the start of a discussion, but this is not the case in larger cities, particularly in Paris.
We must say that citizens living in bigger cities do not want to talk to strangers. No matter how friendly you approach them and how openly you speak to them, know that you will rarely get an answer.
To kiss or not to kiss
The dreadful bises, ah. I’m still learning when to shake hands and when to kiss – and I’ve lived in France for nearly two years! And let’s not even begin to discuss the proper number of kisses. I’ve pulled away too quickly or gone in for a third too many times, only to be confronted with the other person’s embarrassed expression as their face recedes.
Learning body language is the best course of action in this situation. Following the other person’s signals is always going to be a safer approach when in France, even though it could make you appear a little stiff. Here, a worried wave just won’t cut it.
One of the nations that many tourists travel to each year is France. Travel advice to France is therefore highly helpful for travelers, and having this knowledge can make your trip memorable. You should be aware of France’s extremely rich culture before you pack your luggage for a trip there.