France Travel Guide: Travel tips for foreigners & backpackers, Paris tourist information, France food average prices, eating on a budget, accommodation in Paris. Find discount hotels, cheap accommodation, vacation deals, holiday packages.
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France Travel Guide

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Full country name: French Republic
Area: 643,427 sq km
Population: 64,06 million
Capital City: Paris
Language: French, Basque, Breton, Catalan, Corsican
Religion: Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%
Government: Unitary semi-presidential republic
Time Zone: GMT/UTC +1 (Central European Time)
Dialling Code: 33
Electricity: 230V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric

Money & Costs:
Currency: Euro
Average yearly salary: USD32,800

Budget: €4-12
Mid-range: €12-24
High: €24-30
Top: €30+
Budget: €15-35
Mid-range: €35-80
High: €80-150
Top: €150+

France is not exactly Europe's cheapest destination, but that doesn't mean you have to break the bank to visit. Student and senior citizen discounts are common. Whatever your budget, figure on everything being more expensive in Paris. Leaving a pourboire (tip) is done at your discretion - restaurants and accommodations add a 10-15% service charge to every bill, making a tip unnecessary, but most people leave a few coins if the service is satisfactory.

Geography: France is the second largest country in Europe, with the fifth largest population in Europe. Major cities and their populations include: Paris - 8.7 million people, Lyon - 1.2 million, Marseille - 1.2 million, Lille - 950,000 and Bordeaux - 640,000. France borders Andorra along 56.6 km, Belgium 620 km, Germany 451 km, Italy 488 km, Luxembourg 73 km, Monaco 4.4 km, Spain 623 km, Switzerland 573 km.

Two thirds of France is mountains and hills, with the Alps, Pyrenees and Vosges ranges. Mont Blanc in the Alps is the highest mountain in Europe. The Mediterranean coast includes the popular tourist area, the French Riviera. Its hot, dry summers and mild winters make it a popular beach area.

Climate: A temperate climate in the north; northeastern areas have a more continental climate with warm summers and colder winters. Rainfall is distributed throughout the year with some snow likely in winter. The Jura Mountains have an alpine climate. Lorraine, sheltered by bordering hills, has a relatively mild climate. Mediterranean climate in the south; mountains are cooler with heavy snow in winter. The Atlantic influences the climate of the western coastal areas from the Loire to the Basque region; the weather is temperate and relatively mild with rainfall distributed throughout the year. Summers can be very hot and sunny. Inland areas are also mild and the French slopes of the Pyrénées are reputed for their sunshine record. Mediterranean climate exists on the Riviera, and in Provence and Roussillon. Weather in the French Alps is variable. Continental weather is present in Auvergne, Burgundy and the Rhône Valley. Very strong winds (such as the mistral) can occur throughout the entire region.

Recommended clothing: France is considered to be a country of fashion, and the clothing style of French is one of the most sophisticated in Europe. Dress in layers when going to France in winter, since it can be freezing outside, but hot inside the street bistros that will surely want to stop and eat in. Light summer clothes, with a sweater or a jacket for cooler evenings, are recommended for summer season.

Social conventions: Handshaking or kissing both cheeks, are the usual forms of greeting. Monsieur or Madame is a form of personal address. Meal times are often a long, leisurely experience for the locals. Some restaurants, casinos or social clubs require more formal attire. Topless sunbathing is tolerated on most beaches, however, you should look for a sign first. Smoking is prohibited only on public transport and in cinemas and theaters.

Health: Free or reduced-cost treatment is available for European citizens that have a valid European Health Insurance (EHIC) card. A yellow fever certificate is required for travelers coming from South American and African countries.

Food & Drink: French cuisine is famous for its delicious, varied and world-wide known dishes. In the northern part of France, fish and shellfish are the most popular features of the menus. Oysters, moules (mussels), crevettes (shrimps), and coques (cockles) are also extremely popular. In Picardy, duck pâtés (a pate made from duck liver) and ficelle picarde (ham and mushroom pancake) are the main dishes. The hams of Rheims and sanglier (wild boar) are of the best quality in the Champagne-Ardenne region. Alsace and Lorraine are famous for choucroute (sauerkraut), quiche lorraine and tarte flambée (onion tart). Spicy sauces are the trademark of Breton food. Lyon is the heartland of French cuisine. A specialty of this region is quenelles de brochet (pounded pike served with a rich crayfish sauce). In the Pyrénées, especially around Toulouse, travelers will be able to enjoy salmon and cassoulet (hearty dish with beans and preserved meat). The most common desserts include: soufflé grand-marnier, mille feuilles (layers of flaky pastry and custard cream), oeufs à la neige (meringues floating on custard), Paris-Brest (a large puff-pastry with hazelnut cream), ganache (chocolate cream biscuit), and etc. Wine is, of course, the most popular drink in France. Wines are classified into AC (Appellation Contrôlée), VDQS (Vin delimité de qualité superieure), Vin de Pays and Vin de Table.

Public Holidays:
Jan 1
New Year's Day
Mar 28 Easter Monday
May 1 Labour Day
May 5 Ascension
May 8 1945 Victory Day
May 16 Whit Monday
Jul 14 Bastille Day
Aug 15 Assumption
Nov 1 All Saint's Day
Nov 11 Remembrance Day
Dec 25 Christmas Day

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

Study in France: Below are the latest French language schools, art schools, business schools & colleges to join our directory.

Schools & colleges listing on Learn4Good:Location
Paris American AcademyParis, France
Family-friendly Courses at France Langue & Culture on the French RivieraSaint-Raphael, France
Notre Dame International High School, ParisParis, France
Ducasse Education, ParisParis, France
Gastronomicom International French Culinary AcademyAgde, France
Pauline Fraisse Art & Culture, ParisParis, France
The French House Party, CarcassonneSouth West France, France
Paris Version à la FrancaiseParis, France
International Language Camps, French AlpsSavoie, France
Notre Dame International High School, ParisParis, France
International TEFL Training Institute, ParisParis, France
Le Français Face à Face, Loire ValleyAngers, France
International TEFL Training Institute, ParisParis, France
Gastronomicom International Culinary AcademyAgde, France
Family-friendly Courses at France Langue & Culture on the French RivieraSaint-Raphael, France

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