France

Discover the world's most visited country

Europe

Paris

Euro

66,736,000

673,801 SQ. KM

French

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TRAVEL INFORMATION

When to go

Getting to

Getting around

Health & Safety

Money & Costs

WHEN TO GO TO FRANCE

FRENCH EVENT CALENDAR

  • Best time to go: May - September (late spring to early autumn)
  • Hottest months: July & August
  • Coldest months: December & January

France is a country of diverse climate conditions, resulting in various weather patterns. When traveling to France, it is useful to check the weather forecast in the given region.

The northern part of the country tends to have cold winters (areas especially around the Alps, Massif Central and the Pyrenees witness heavy snow falls) and warm summers. The southern part, particularly along the Mediterranean coast is characterized by very hot, dry summers and mild winters. Except for the coastal areas, heavy rainfalls are uncommon.

Major French Holidays

If you are flexible with your travel dates, it’s good to avoid the following French public holidays:

  • Labour Day "Fête du premier mai" (May 1st)
  • Bastille Day "Fête nationale" (July 14th)
  • Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary "Assomption" (August 15th)
  • Christmas Day "Noël" (December 25th)

During these dates, many people in France are traveling to visit their families, friends, to spend a few days in a holiday resort or outside the city, especially when a public holiday falls on a Thursday or Tuesday. Most companies let their employees take the Friday/Monday as a “bridge” day, allowing for an extended four-day weekend. During this time, the traffic on motorways is busier and flight/train prices might be higher than usual.

  • February

    Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday
  • May 1

    Labor Day
  • May

    Monaco Grand Prix
  • May

    Cannes Film Festival
  • July

    Tour de France
  • July 14

    Bastille Day/ French National Day
  • August 15

    Assumption of Mary to Heaven
  • November 1

    All Saints' Day
  • December 25

    Christmas Day

GETTING TO FRANCE

By Air 

Travelling by air is probably the most convenient way to get into France.

If you are flying from outside of Europe, your port of entry will most probably be:
- Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (Île-de-France region)

Other major French airports are:
- Paris Orly Airport (Île-de-France)
- Nice Côte d'Azur Airport (Provence)
- Lyon–Saint-Exupéry Airport (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
- Marseille Provence Airport (Provence)
- Toulouse Blagnac Airport (Midi-Pyrénées)

Air France is the major French airline, with flights all around the world.

 

By Car

Traveling by car from neighboring countries is very comfortable, as thanks to the Schengen Agreement traffic flows smoothly with no border and passport controls. The only exception may be the border crossing with Switzerland and Andorra due possible passport and car checks, though usually it is not the case.

For travelers coming from the UK, the most convenient way is to take the Eurotunnel car shuttle train from Folkestone (UK) to Calais (in northern France). It only takes about 35 minutes and operates up to 4 times an hour.

By Bus

Traveling by car from neighbouring countries is very comfortable, as thanks to the Schengen Agreement traffic flows smoothly with no border and passport controls. The only exception may be the border crossing with Switzerland and Andorra due possible passport and car checks, though usually it is not the case.

For travellers coming from the UK, the most convenient way is to take the Eurotunnel car shuttle train from Folkestone (UK) to Calais (in northern France). It only takes about 35 minutes and operates up to 4 times an hour.

By Train

Europe has an excellent fast-train network.

The SNCF, France’s national-owned railway company, provides direct service from many European countries. Travellers from the UK have two main options: the Eurostar high speed train from either London, Ashford or Ebbsfleet to Calais, Lille or Paris, or the Eurotunnel train from Folkstone to Calais.

 

Visas

Citizens of the EU, Island, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are not required a visa to enter France.

According to the Schengen Agreement, 26 European countries*, including France, make up a passport- and border-free travel zone.

Note: UK, Ireland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania are not part of the Schengen Area.

Nationals of  countries such as Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand and the United States are not required a visa to enter France for stays under 90 days.
For more information on visas and a full list of countries required a visa to France, go to: http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/coming-to-france/ (website of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development)

The 26 Schengen Area Member States are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Liechtenstein. The Schengen Agreement and the Schengen Area are named after the place in Luxembourg, where the treaty was signed in 1985.

 

GETTING AROUND FRANCE

By Air

France airports play a huge role in the country’s economy, and serve not only tourists but also business travelers. With about 200 airports in total, France has one of the most extensive network  of regional airports in Europe, operated by airlines from various European and overseas countries, including some low-cost flight operators.
Carriers offering domestic flights within France:

Low-cost airlines:

By Bus

Long distance bus services are a pretty new concept in France. But with its quick development in recent years, it is a good alternative to trains for travelling around the country, especially to places, which do not have a train station.

The following interregional bus services are available throughout the country:

  • Eurolines: covering all major cities and smaller towns
  • Isilines: available in all major cities
  • Flixbus: covering all major cities and smaller towns
  • Ouibus: owned by SNCF, serves 35 French cities

 

By Train

France has the second largest European railway network, and it is mostly run by the state-owned SNCF.

There are different kinds of high speed and normal trains that run across the country and abroad:
- TER: stops at most train stations, but is therefore not the fastest one.
- TGV: connecting Paris with the most populated areas in the country. It also operates into Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and England.
- iDTGVis a subsidiary of SNCF with tickets frequently offered at a reduced price. It serves nearly 30 destinations in France on journeys of minimum 3 hours from Paris. The trains are divided into 2 carriage zones: iDzen and iDzap. The first one is for travelers wishing a quiet trip, with mobile phones and loud conversations prohibited. iDzap suites families or holidaymakers, with more understanding for noise. The tickets can be only purchased online.
- OUIGO: is a newly created, low-cost train service based near Paris with routes to the north, northwest and southeast of France. Tickets can only be bought on-line through their dedicated website.

 

City Transportation

Subway

Six cities in France have a metro system. It operates in Paris (16 lines), Lyon (4 lines), Marseille (2 lines), Lille (2 lines), Toulouse (2 lines) and Rennes (1 line). The subway operates usually from early in the morning (ca. 5:00 a.m.) and finishes its service past midnight (ca. 1:00 a.m.). Tickets can be bought at the station, either at a counter or ticket vending machines.

Trams

Trams are even more common and operate in 22 cities and towns across France, including Paris, Lyon, Nancy, Nice, Marseille, Strasbourg and Toulouse. Services run approximately between 5:00 a.m. and midnight. Tickets can be purchased at ticket vending machines and should be validated once onboard the tram.

Taxis

Taxis are a common way of transport in Paris and other big cities across the country. Most of the times, they can be found outside of railway stations, airports or on main streets.

All taxis are licensed by local prefectures, which impose certain obligations in relation to passenger capacity, drivers’ working hours etc. The taxi driver can refuse to take you onboard if you are drunk, your clothes are dirty or you wish to travel with an animal.

Illegal and not metered taxis are common in main cities and may try to „catch” foreigners for a ride. If you do decide to take an unlicensed taxi, be cautious and always agree on a fixed fare in advance.

HEALTH & SAFETY IN FRANCE

Vaccinations

It is recommended to consult with a doctor what vaccines are needed based on the target destination, period of travel and the activities planned.

An International Certificate of Vaccination (known as the ‘Yellow Card’), verifying that proper procedures were followed in administering vaccinations for foreign travel,  is used to demonstrate receipt of required vaccinations for entry into foreign countries.

No vaccinations are required for entering France.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends to be up-to-date with following vaccinations:
- Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR)
- diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis
- varicella (chickenpox)
- Polio

Insurance

The health service in France consists of public and private hospitals. Citizens of the EU, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein can get a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for any necessary medical treatment while in France. The EHIC isn’t a substitute for travel insurance, but any treatment provided would be on the same conditions as for French residents.

When treated in France, you will need to pay for any medical services provided. To be able to claim any refunds back in your country, you need to fill in a treatment form (feuille de soins).

Treatment in private hospitals or clinics is usually not covered by health insurance companies.

Before coming to France, check if there are any complementary arrangements for medical care between your country and France.

 

Scams

 The Gold Ring Scam
Someone next to you will suddenly bend down and claim to "find" a golden ring. If you haven't noticed yourself, they will make you aware of the 18 k hallmark, proving its value. The person will offer you to keep the ring for yourself and give them only a few euros for food. Another scenario is  that they claim to be able to sell it to you for a good price, which is far more than they have paid for it. A lot of times the person you will be engaged talking to, will have an accomplice pick-pocketing you while you are protesting to take the ring.

 

Fake Charity Petition Scam

Usually involves some gypsies, a woman or young girls which often pretend to be deaf. They approach you with a clip board with a petition already signed by other foreigners and ask you for some small donation. When you are distracted by trying to communicate with them or signing it, their accomplices will pickpocket you.

ATM Distraction Scam

When withdrawing money, someone approaches you asking an innocent question in a language you don’t understand. As you are distracted, the scammer will walk closer to you and grab the money when it comes out from the ATM and run off. The scammers can also be children or a man faking his sickness, who will simply grab your money as it comes out of the machine and run away.

MONEY & COSTS IN FRANCE

Currency Facts

Euro (€)

Daily Budget

  • Backpacker
  • up to €100
    per day
  • dorm 25€
  • breakfast 5€
  • lunch 10€
  • dinner 20€
  • beer 2€
  • Paris 1 day transport travel pass: 13€
  • tourist attractions 0-20€
  • Paris-Marseille TGV train (~3.5h) - 2nd class 34€ (non-refundable fare)
  • Mid-range
  • 110-300
    per day
  • double room in 3 star hotel 50-150€
  • café au lait in a café 2-5€
  • lunch 20€
  • dinner 25-35€
  • cocktail in a bar 5-15€
  • taxi (5km/3mi) 10-15€
  • tourist attractions/wine/cooking tours 50-100€
  • Paris-Marseille TGV train (~3.5h) - 2nd class 52€ (flexible fare)

Sample prices

  • Meal (local restaurant)

    10-15€
  • Meal for 2 (mid-range restaurant)

    50-80€
  • Milk (1l/33oz)

    1€
  • White Bread (500g/1,1lb)

    1€
  • Egg (1)

    0.30€
  • Chicken breast (1kg/2,2lb)

    12€
  • Banana (1kg/2,2lb)

    2€
  • Tomatoes (1kg/2,2lb)

    3.50€
  • Water (0,5l/17oz)

    0.50€
  • Coke (0,33l/11.2oz)

    1.80€
  • Water (0,5l/17oz)

    0.50€

Tipping

In France, service is included in the prices by law, therefore tipping is not obligatory. But a small tip is always appreciated, in most situations rounding the check up is sufficient. For example, if the check is 2,30for a coffee, you can leave 2,50; if you pay 32for a meal, you can leave additional 3.

ATMs

ATMs are widely available. ATM withdrawal fee with bank-issued debit cards come with various fees depending on the bank.

The word ATMin French can be called the following: le distributeur automatique de billets, GAB or guichet automatique.

There are no ATM cash withdrawal limits. The amount you can withdraw depends on your bank and your account settings.

Crédit Agricole, BNP Paribas and the Société Générale are major banks in France.

Bargaining

Bargaining is not a custom in France. The price on a price tag is the one you should be paying for an item.

Tourist attractions

  • Eiffel Tower (lift ticket to the top)

    17€
  • The Louvre

    15€
  • Paris Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

    33€
  • Paris Museum Pass

    48€/2days, 62€/4days, 74€/6days€
  • Paris Seine river cruise

    15€
  • Palace of Versailles

    18€
  • Burgundy Wine Tour Half Day

    65€
  • Disneyland Paris

    62-90€
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COUNTRY OVERVIEW

Background

Geography

Language

Food

Cultural Insights

FRANCE BACKGROUND

The founding of the French Kingdom

Since around 1000 B.C. the Celtic tribes inhabited Gaul, a region of Western Europe including present day France. In year 52 B.C, as a result of the Gallic Wars, the Celts found themselves under the control of the Roman Republic. Gaul remained under Roman rule until the 5th century when the Germanic Franks, led by King Clovis, conquered the land in 486 A.D. and established the Kingdom of France. The Kingdom extended terrestrially and achieved major administrative reforms during the rule of the House of Capet since 987. The stabilization period lasted until the beginning of the 14th century when the last direct Capetian monarch passed away.

Years of war and dispute

An inheritance dispute over the French throne between the House of Valois and the House of Plantagenet led to the Hundred Years' War which devastated the country, causing thousands of deaths and unscrupulous destruction. Joan of Arc was one of the remarkable figures of the war, who led the French army to several important victories and became a heroine of France. The conflict ended in 1453 and the Valois dynasty ruled the country until the end of the sixteenth century. After the victory in the Hundred Years' War, the main competitors of the monarchy, the great feudal lords, lost their previous importance and France soon transformed into a centralized absolute monarchy.

Between 1562-1598 religious war took place where the Catholics fought for influence with the Protestants (also known as Huguenots). The conflict ended in 1598 with an Edict of Nantes, guaranteeing religious freedom to the Protestants.

Era of flourishment and colonial expansion

After the death of the last Valois king, Henry III, the power was taken over by the House of Bourbon. Their government led to strengthening of the monarchy, blooming of the economy and begun the era of French colonial empire claiming lands in the Americas. Under the rule of Louis XIII, the actual power was in hands of Cardinal Richelieu, the powerful chief minister of France, who suppressed the influence of the feudal nobility and abolished political rights for the Protestants.
The development of absolute monarchy reached its zenith under the rule of Louis XIV when France constituted overseas colonies and conquered neighboring territories and trading. Culture as well as literature were flourishing.

Napoleon Bonaparte and the French Empire

In 1792 the monarchy was overthrown by the French Revolution and the First French Republic was founded. The Republic lasted until the French Empire was declared by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804 and he became head of government as a First Consul. He persuaded a policy of conquest and annexation, but soon after his defeat during the French invasion of Russia, Prussia and other hostile countries invaded France and captured Paris. Napoleon was forced to exile to the island of Elba.

After that, the country underwent various regime changes, from monarchy, to the Second Republic, and then between 1852 and 1870 converted into Second Empire, to finally become the French Third Republic which lasted until 1940.

France during World War II

France has been actively involved in the World War I, and thanks to the peace terms settled in the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, France regained Alsace-Lorraine. During World War II, Paris quickly fell to the Germans in June 1940 and Germany soon occupied three-fifths of France's territory. The Third Republic fell and the Regime de Vichy led by Philippe Pétain was established, to govern the unoccupied areas of the country and overseas colonies. In the same time General Charles de Gaulle declared himself the head of French government in exile, governing from London. Within the French territory, French Resistance was formed to fight against the Vichy Regime which sought to collaborate with Germany.

France after Second World War

After the war, in 1946, the French Forth Republic was restored. In 1958 France moved to the Fifth French Republic with a strong presidential system. Most French overseas colonies were granted independence in the 1960ties following local referendums, but a few of them decided to remain part of France as overseas departments.
Creation of the European Union
In 1992, French President François Mitterrand and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl formed the European Union under the Treaty of Maastricht which later led to to the creation of the single European currency, the euro. In 1999, the Euro was introduced in France to replace the French franc.

Famous French people

François Mitterrand

Longest-serving French President and founder of the European Union

Napoleon Bonaparte

First Emporor of France and one of the most celebrated leaders in world's history

Coco Chanel

French fashion designer and businesswoman

Liliane Bettancourt

Business magnate and principal shareholder of L'Oréal

GEOGRAPHY OF FRANCE

France is located in Western Europe, bordering 8 countries: Andorra, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Spain and Switzerland. It has also some overseas territories located in the Caribbean (Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guyana) and in the Indian Ocean (La Réunion, Saint-Pierre & Miquelon and Mayotte).

With an area of 673,801km2 (418,680 sq. mi), France is the second largest country in Europe, after Russia.

Mountains

Two thirds of France territory consists of mountains and hills. Five mountain ranges dominate eastern, south central and southern France: the Alps on the border with Italy, the Pyrenees on the border with Spain and Andorra, the Massif Central in central France, Jura along the Swiss border and the Vosages near the border with Germany. Europe's highest mountain Mont Blanc at 4,808 m (15,770 ft.) is located in the French Alps.

Rivers

The river system in France is mainly organized around 5 main rivers: Loire (1020 km/630 mi) being the longest one, Seine (777 km/483 mi), Garonne (602 km/374 mi), Rhône (813 km/505 mi) and Rhine (1230 km/760 mi) with only 188 km/116 mi flowing through France.

Dune of Pilat

At 500 m wide, almost 3 km long and 107 m high, this rare geological phenomenon is the largest and tallest sand dune in Europe. It is located on the west coast of France, in the Arcachon Bay area, only an hour drive from Bordeaux.

Canyons

Gorges Du Verdon, in southeastern France is considered to be the most beautiful canyon in Europe. It is 25 kilometers (15.5 mi) long and  its depth varies from 250 to 700 meters (about 2 297 feet maximum). It was formed by the Verdon River, which incredible turquoise water and the limestone cliffs with 1500 routes attract many kayak enthusiasts and rock climbers from all over the world.

Worth seeing

  • Dune of Pyla
  • Côte d'Azur (French Riviera)
  • Gorge du Verdon
  • Paris Eiffel Tower

LANGUAGE IN FRANCE

With almost 300 million French speakers around the globe, French is ranked the sixth most widely spoken language after Mandarin Chinese, English, Hindi, Spanish and Arabic.

In France it is the only official language according to the second article of the French Constitution. But there are some regional languages and dialects spoken in different parts of the country, such as Alsatian (deriving from German language), Breton (deriving from Celtic language), Langues d'Oïl and Occitan (deriving from Gallo-Romance languages).

Famous French tongue twisters

Some most challenging phrases to articulate properly in French are:

  • "Les chaussettes de l'archiduchesse sont-elles sèches, archi-sèches?"Are the Archduchess’ socks dry, very dry?
  • "Un chasseur sachant chasser sait chasser sans son chien de chasse."A hunter who knows how to hunt knows how to hunt without his hunting dog.
  • "Ces cerises sont si sûres qu’on ne sait pas si c’en sont."These cherries are so sour, we’re not sure if they are (cherries).

Basics

English French
Hello Salut
How are you? (formal) Comment ça va?
How are you? (informal) Ça va?
Thank you. Merci
Goodbye Au revoir
Yes Oui
No Non
OK D’accord!

Shopping

English French
How much? C'est combien?
Too expensive C'est trop cher
I want... Je voudrais…
sale soldes
this ça
that celui-là

Directions

English French
Where is...? Où est...?
Go straight Allez tout droit
Turn left Tournez à gauche
Turn right Tournez à droite

In a restaurant

English French
bill / check l'addition
menu le menu / la carte
delicious délicieux (m.), délicieuse (f.)
water l'eau
tea le thé
coffee le café
beer le vin
beef le bœuf
pork le porc
chicken le poulet
fish le poisson
snails les escargots
soup la soupe
cheese le fromage
appetizer / starter l'entrée
main course le plat principal

Numbers

French
1 un
2 deux
3 trois
4 quatre
5 cinq
6 six
7 sept
8 huit
9 neuf
10 dix
11 onze
20 vingt
100 cent

FOOD IN FRANCE

The French are globally known for their sophisticated way of cooking, innovative flavors and elegant presentation. In 2010, UNESCO inscribed the French cuisine on the list of "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity". According to the organization, the gastronomic meal in France helps to emphasize the pleasure of togetherness, taste and balance between human beings and the products of nature.

The characteristics of French cuisine has evolved over time, influenced not only by centuries of French monarchs, but also by the surrounding countries and faraway cultures.

The country can be divided into several regions, all with their distinct style of cooking.

North West France

Representing Normandy and Brittany regions, which provide good pasture for dairy cows. Therefore, local food is heavily enriched with cream and butter. Normandy is well known for its apples used in cider and Calvados apple brandy. It is also well known for seafood, especially oysters and mussels. In the nearby region of Brittany, you will find crepes on every street corner, which can be eaten both savory (with ham, eggs and cheese) or sweet (with butter and sugar, or butter and lemon).

Central France

Dominated by the Burgundy region, with centers on Dijon and Lyon. It is on many people's culinary radar nowadays, as the region holds the most Michelin-starred restaurants outside of Paris. The area is best known for their wines, famous Dijon mustard and Bresse chickens, which are used in the famous coq au vin (chicken braised with wine, lardons, mushrooms). Another “ambassador” of the region is beef bourguignon - beef stewed in red wine. The Burgundians are also proud of snails (Escargots à la Bourgogne), a French delicacy - a must-try while in the area.

French Alps

Best known for its dozens, if not hundreds, of local cheeses made from the local cows, sheep and goats milk. The fromageries in the area produce not only Emmentaler, Reblochon, Beaufort but also Comte, which with its nutty flavor is the most famous Alpine cheese. The cheeses are to be found in famous fondue and raclette, which are cheese based dishes served with ham, potatoes and a variety of other ingredients.

Alsace and Lorraine

Specialties from this area come with a strong German-influenced cuisine, with dishes containing pickled cabbage and pork-related products. This region is also home to heavy savory pastries and tarts, such as Quiche Lorraine (which normally includes a mature cheese and freshly-cooked bacon) and Tarte Flambée - a north European version of pizza with cream, onions, smoked ham, cheese and mushrooms.

South East France

Representing mainly Provence region that shows affinity with neighboring Italy. The area is well known for lavender honey, olives, olive oil, herbs and tomatoes. The most famous dish is a fish soup called bouillabaisse, ideally made with a whole selection of different sea-foods. Ratatouille (vegetable stew) and Salad Nicoise (with lettuce, vegetables, anchovies or tuna) also originate from here.

Southern France

The cooking of this region is strongly influenced by the Spanish Basque cuisine, which is regarded as one of the best in the world. It is the traditional homeland of cassoulet - a slow-cooked casserole, containing white beans, duck or goose confit, sausages, and additional meat. Delicious Bayonne ham, being 9 or 10 months old before offered for sale, is another well-known region's specialty.

Food in Pictures

foie_gras

Fois gras

fatty duck or goose liver
escargots_de_bourgogne

Escargots de Bourgogne

snails baked with parsley butter
coq_au_vin_rouge

Coq au vin

chicken braised in red wine and mushrooms
bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse

stew of fish , tomatoes, and herbs
Boeuf-Bourginion

Bœuf bourguignon

beef stewed in red wine
madeleine

Madeleine

small sponge cakes with a shell-like shape
mille-feuille

Mille-feuille

three layers puffed pastry
creme-brulee

Crème brûlée

custard base topped with a layer of hard caramel

CULTURAL INSIGHTS ON FRANCE

Visiting a Restaurant/ Cafe

  • The French eat a light breakfast. Typically they buy a croissant or a small sandwich and eat it with a cup of coffee. A lot of bakeries offer a breakfast combo with juice, croissant, and coffee or tea.
  • Coffee to go is not part of the French culture. The French linger over their coffee, sitting outside the cafe, watching people pass by, and enjoying the moment. It is all part of the drinking experience!
  • Restaurants serve meals at meal times only, which in France is considered to be between 12am and 2pm for lunch, and 7:30pm-10pm for dinner.
  • It is necessary to make a reservation for dinner in advance, as most of the times, and especially in the good restaurants, there is only one sitting. Therefore, the table is yours for the whole night.
  • Service is always included in the prices listed on the menu. Tipping is not obligatory, but it is customary to leave 5 - 10% of your total bill, if the service was satisfying.
  • Do not start your eating in France until the hostess says “bon appétit” and never ask for a “doggy bag” (it's a no-no : you may get it, but it is considered cheap and rude), Among the French, there is a cultural block to take food home in a doggy bag. It has long been seen as an affront to gastronomic etiquette, but restaurants since 2016 are legally obliged to provide them, if requested. The new regulation though, applies only to larger dining establishments serving at least 150 meals a day. In smaller places and in the countryside, it is still considered rude to ask for one and no one would normally do it.

Establishing relations

  • The French social system is rather hierarchical, therefore refer to anyone older than yourself as Madame or Monsieur, or by their appropriate title. Do not use tu(the French word for a casual you), as it is only used between friends and relatives. Instead use vous(the polite version of “you”) when speaking to someone you have just met or being polite.
  • Politeness is incredibly important in France. Therefore, greet people saying Bonjour Madame /Monsieurand make sure to thank them with a merci. On the way out, always say some variation of au revoir”.
  • French people love kisses. They greet each other with kisses on almost all occasions. Even men kiss each other when they meet (if good friends or family). But cheek-to-cheek salutation depends on administrative district. It can vary from 1 to 5 (!!!) kisses. If you don’t know how many kisses to give in the area you are visiting, two kisses would be always the safest to go with. For more information visit a fun website where French have voted on how many kisses (and from which cheek to start with!) they give depending on the region they live in: http://combiendebises.free.fr/

Books on France

Movies on France

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IN PICTURES

  • Traditional French bakery in Aix-en-Provence

  • Gorges Du Verdon is a river canyon, considered to be one of Europe's most beautiful

  • Island of Porquerolles in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

  • Pont d'Avignon, a famous medieval bridge in Avignon, in southern France

  • Typical French brunch-lunch

  • Martigues and one of its bridges which made it "The Venice of Provence"

  • things you should know before traveling to France

    Paris in November with a view on Eiffel Tower

  • Colmar, a commune of the Alsace with a replica of Statue of Liberty

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