France

France

Welcome to France

Who among us has not entertained a French daydream of sipping a cappuccino and watching the stylish residents of Paris parade by, cycling from vineyard to vineyard in Provence or lounging beneath a parasol on a sunny Mediterranean beach in Nice.

This romantic country checks all the boxes for a spectacular European vacation: history, culture, art, beauty, cuisine … the list goes on. Start in Paris with a trip up the Eiffel Tower for the requisite selfie, then museum hop from the The Louvre to the Musée Rodin to the Musée d’Orsay.

Explore the Loire Valley and its beautiful chateaux and fairytale castles. Venture to Chamonix for alpine adventures, summer or winter. Visit Carcassonne’s ancient walled La Cité. Take a quiet moment at the D-Day beaches of Normandy and visit the abbey-island, Mont St-Michel.

Sip wine as you cruise on the rhone River, bike through Bordeaux or Burgundy and, by all means, partake of the delicious cuisine along the way, from warm croissants to savory bouillabaisse. With endless cultural opportunities, France remains one of the world’s top tourist destinations.

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Need To Know

Unique Facts

  • There are almost 1,200 varieties of cheese in France – eat up!
  • Louis XIX reigned as king of France for just 20 minutes. After his short reign was up, his nephew, the Duke of Bordeaux took over.
  • Who invented tin cans, the hairdryer and the hot air balloon? France! The French also invented the food-canning process, Braille and the stethoscope.
  • In 2016, France became the first country to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food. Now that excess food must be donated to food banks or charities.
  • There are more Nobel Prize winners in Literature in France than any other country. These include Rene Descartes, Voltaire, Blaise Pascal and Victor Hugo.

Language

France’s official language is French.

When To Go

France is lovely to visit year-round. Springtime – April and May – are beautiful, particularly in Provence and along the Mediterranean. Summer means fewer crowds in Paris and more festivals throughout the country. In the fall, there are fewer crowds in the major tourist areas and tiny villages.

Airports

Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
Paris Orly Airport

Passport Validity

Passport must be valid at time of entry for three months beyond arrival date.

Visa Required By US Citizen?

None for stays of 90 days or less.

Vaccinations

The CDC recommends the following vaccines for most travelers when visiting France: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Rabies.

Electrical Outlets

Power plugs and sockets: types C and E. Standard voltage: 230V. Frequency: 50Hz.

Currency

Official local currency: Euro

Getting Around

The road network in France is well maintained and marked. Be aware of aggressive, high-speed drivers.

Rail service runs throughout France, including dozens of major cities. Within Paris, there are six main train stations that connect with these outlying cities.

Paris, Lyon and Marseilles offer clean, safe and inexpensive metro and bus systems. Most of the other big cities offer tramways, while some offer metros. Rent a car for touring smaller villages.

Driver’s License

A US driver’s license and international driving permit are required.

US Embassy Info

U.S. Embassy Paris
2 Avenue Gabriel
75008 Paris
France
Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(33)(1) 43-12-22-22, enter zero “0” after the automated greeting
Fax: +(33)(1) 42-66-97-83; +(33)(1) 42-61-61-40 (Special Consular Services)
Citizeninfo@state.gov

Local Visitor Info

Visit https://en.parisinfo.com/practical-paris/paris-convention-and-visitors-bureau/welcome-centres for a list of visitor information centers in Paris.

Local Emergency Phone Numbers

General Emergency: 112

Safety and Security

The crime rate is moderate in France. Crimes against foreign visitors include pickpocketing, vehicle break-ins and other types of theft. Be particularly aware of your personal belongings in popular tourist areas, train stations, airports and subways. Use extra caution when traveling alone at night.

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