1. France on the world tourist`s map
Transportation in France
Bus Tours / RVs
Taxis, Subways, Buses, Commuting Boats
Hotels in France
2. Tourist industry in France
France is one of the “classics among tourist countries”. It offers
mountain ranges, coastlines like in Brittany or along the Mediterranean
Sea, cities with a rich cultural heritage, chвteaux and castles like
Versailles, countryside, vineyards in Burgundy and the metropolis of
Paris with the Louvre, boulevards, the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and
cathedral of Notre-Dame.
In the eastern parts of France there are famous skiing resorts in the
Alps. Other famous cities are Avignon with the old popes’ palace, Arles,
Aix-en-Provence, Marseille, Nice, Orlйans on the Loire River, Strasbourg
on the border to Germany or Lyon.
France is easy to discover by train. It offers a high-speed train
service called TGV (train а grande vitesse) as well as regional
services, both operated by the SNCF.
1. France on the world tourist`s map
Transportation in France
With its worldwide network of 340 destinations in 91 countries, served
by its own aircraft or those of its SkyTeam Alliance partners, Air
France naturally plays a predominant role in promoting France. Thanks to
its connecting hub at Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Air France can fly you
from one end of the earth to the other through a single airport:
82 cities in France and Europe are linked to 83 destinations worldwide
Shorter connecting times of between 45 minutes and two hours
Air France, the national company, links most of the large towns to Paris
in one hour on average, as well as connections between the regional
Air France information and reservations in France: 0845 0845 111 or
Paris airports: there are two international airports in Paris:
Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and Orly.
Transfers to Paris can be made by shuttle bus, taxi or metro for Orly
(Orlyval) …For all information flight arrivals and departures,
transportation to and from the city’s two airports and other passenger
information visit the Aeroports de Paris website.
A car is a convenient way to move around in France. Roads are very well
maintained and the French road network includes 4960 miles of motorways
(many with tolls) which link Paris and the main provincial towns and
Before taking to the road in France, make sure you know the French
highway code well.
For the official text of the Highway Code click here.
To find out about the road signs, click here.
A valid US driver’s license is sufficient. The legal driving age in
France is 18 years. An international driver’s license is not required
for U. S. citizens. You are also required to carry the vehicle’s
registration document, and the current insurance certificate (a green
card is not mandatory but remains internationally recognized and
helpful). Also, a nationally plate or sticker is required. Car rental
agencies will provide their customers with all these necessary
For more information consult the website
If you are coming from Great Britain, you can use the Eurotunnel.
Eurotunnel’s car carrying service runs via the Channel Tunnel from
Folkestone to Calais/Coquelles. Taking as little as 35 minutes platform
to platform, it is a fast and exciting way to France and beyond. The
service operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with up to 4 departures
an hour at peak periods.
Consult the website www.eurotunnel.com or phone 08705 35 35 35.
The road network is very well developed in France: nearly a million
kilometres, of which almost 8,000 kilometres are motorways. There is
usually a toll for motorways. To find out everything about toll charges,
service stations, rest areas, restaurants, filling stations, and hotels
along your route, and for details of your journey, consult the website
Finding your way
There are numerous guides and road maps available at bookshops, service
The main reference maps are Michelin and IGN.
Some Internet sites suggest different ways of getting from one place to
another (from the quickest to tourist routes with stopovers…):
www.viamichelin.com or http://www.mappy. fr
Times to avoid
At peak times (7.30 – 9.00am and 5.30 – 7.30pm generally during the
week), take care on the approaches to large towns and town centers: the
traffic is often very dense. Some problems can also be found at
“sensitive” places at the start of holiday periods.
Train service in France is efficient, punctual, and comfortable. It is
one of the most popular ways to get around, allowing travelers to view
the countryside in a swift, but leisurely manner. France’s extensive
railway network connects large cities and towns throughout the country.
Smaller towns without train stations are generally linked by bus service
to the nearest station. The French National Railroads’ (Sociйtй
Nationale des Chemins de Fer or SNCF, www.sncf. fr) network of
inter-city rail links also provides frequent express and high-speed
train service known as the TGV or Train а Grande Vitesse. Operating at a
commercial speeds of 186mph, the high-speed network also includes
European routes, featuring the Eurostar which connects Paris to London
in just 2h35 and the Thalys going to Brussels and Amsterdam in 1h30 and
4 hours respectively. For added convenience, the Paris Charles-de-Gaulle
and Lyon Saint-Exupery Airports have high-speed train stations.
The price of train travel in France depends on whether you choose first
or second class, as well as on the time and date of travel. If you
planning your rail travel before you go, there are a variety off
affordable and flexible passes (non-consecutive days of rail travel),
including packages available for the U. S. traveler through your travel
agent or www.sncf. fr. Rail passes for France include the France
Railpass, the France Rail’n Drive, Eurail.combo-country passes are also
available, including the France n’Italy Pass and the all new France’n
Bus Tours / RVs
The parking of tourist coaches is controlled. Before parking in a town
or at a tourist site, please ensure from the Tourist Office that there
is reserved parking for coaches.
Bus Coach traffic in Paris
Ile Saint-Louis and Ile de la Citй
Coaches are banned from the Ile de la Citй and the Ile Saint-Louis from
5th April 2003, with the exception of through routes. River shuttles
will be used to carry visitors from the other side of the Seine.
The Paris Council has the aim of gradually reducing the number of
coaches driving in Paris. One of the main methods of achieving this aim
is by organising tourist transport on the Seine for visits to Notre Dame
and the Ile de la Citй.
Shuttles will now be provided all year round from the Port de la
Bourdonnais and the Port de Suffren on the west and the Port du Bercy on
the east. Set-down points for the Ile de la Citй will be at the Port de
la Tournelle and on the Quai des Orfиvres.
Streets closed to coach traffic, parking and drop-off points, and
tourist areas are shown on the Prйfecture de Police website.
Use of a motor caravan as a means of transport is considered no
different from that of an ordinary car.
Overnight parking of motor caravans is controlled in certain cities. In
this case, there are special sites made available for motor caravans.
“Camping-car Magazine” publishes the “official guide to tourist
stopping-places for motor caravans”; it is sold in newspaper kiosks and
lists 1,700 places in France adapted for motor caravans (waste, water…).
For more information on motor caravans:
Here are the main shipping companies to cross the Channel:
CompanyRoutesApproximate TimesP & O Portsmouth Peninsular House Wharf
Road Portsmouth P02 8TA Tel: 08705 20 20 20 www.poferries.comPortsmouth
– Le Havre5 hours 30 (day sailing) Portsmouth – Le Havre7 hours or 8
hours if include French tour (night sailing) Portsmouth – Cherboug5
hours (day sailing) Portsmouth – Cherbourg7 hours or 8 hours if include
French tour (night sailing) Portsmouth – Cherbourg (Portsmouth Express)
2 hours 45 (April – Sept) Dover – Calais Hull – Zeebrugge SeaFrance
Eastern Docks Dove, Kent CT16 1JA Tel: 08705 711 711
www.seafrance.comDover – Calais From 1 hour 10 and 1 hour 30 (depending
on the vessel) Southern Ferries/SNCM 179 Piccadilly London W1V 9DB Tel:
0207 491 4968 Fax: 0207 491 3502 www.sncm. frFrom Marseilles to:
Bastia, Calvi, Ile Rousse, Ajaccio, Propriano, Porto-VecchioFrom 9 hours
to 12 hoursNice – Calvi/Ile Rousse3 hoursNice – Bastia3 hours 40 (day
sailing) 7 hours 30 (night sailing) Nice – Ajaccio4 hours 15 (day
sailing) 7 hours 30 (night sailing) Brittany Ferries The Brittany Centre
Wharf Road Portsmouth PO2 8RU Tel: 08705 360 360
www.brittanyferries.comPortsmouth – Caen6 hoursPortsmouth – St Malo8
hours 45 Poole – Cherbourg4 hours 15 (fast ferry May 26 to Sept 30) 2
hours 15 minutesPlymouth – Roscoff 6 hoursPlus overnight sailings on all
routes (not on fast ferries) Condor Ferries The Quay Weymouth DT4 8DX
Tel: 0845 345 2000 Fax: 01305 760 776 www.condorferries. co. uk
* via Guernsey et Jersey ** via JerseyWeymouth – Guernsey 2
hoursWeymouth – Jersey 3 hours 15Poole – St Malo*5 hours 30Poole –
Guernsey2 hours 30Poole – Jersey 3 hours 45Guernsey – St Malo**1 hours
45Jersey – St Malo1 hour 15Hoverspeed Fast Ferries International
Hoverport Dover CT17 9TG Tel: 08705 240 241 Fax: 0870 4607 102
www.hoverspeed. co. ukDover – Calais (Seacat) 45 minutesNewhaven –
Dieppe (Superseacat) 2 hoursNorfolkline Eastern Dock Dover CT16 1JA Tel:
0870 870 1020 Fax: 0130 421 8415 www.norfolkline.comDover – Dunkerque2
209 East Camber Office Building Eastern Docks Dover, Kent CT16 1JA Tel:
08700 60 39 00 www.speedferries.com Dover – Boulogne (Bookings from the
22 April) 50 minutes
You will find a list of French ports at the website http://www.mer.
equipement. gouv. fr/commerce/01_ports_francais/02_fiche_identite/index.
The Fйderation des Industries Nautiques [association of companies in the
boating trade groups together sea and river boat hire companies, and a
list of them can be sent to you by request.
France has a particularly rich network of canals and rivers, 8,500km
long, allowing you to discover the country in depth, as you slowly go
along from lock to lock.
You can also find information on the website http://www.vnf. fr
Navigating France: licences, river moorings, fuel…
A licence is needed to operate French motorised pleasure boats at sea
where the actual horsepower of the engine or engines is/are higher than
4.5kW (6 HP). There are three types of licence:
la carte mer [sea licence]
le permis mer cфtier [coastal licence]
le permis mer hauturier [deep-sea/ocean licence]
There are specific licences for navigating on inland waters.
Licences to operate motorised pleasure boats at sea only give the right
to pilot by agreement. Any person operating a pleasure boat
professionally must have the recognised professional qualifications.
The regulations are on http://www.mer. equipement. gouv. fr/
Port authorities display daily weather bulletins and forecasts for the
At the French sailing association’s website, you can consult tide tables
for each port.
Taxis, Subways, Buses, Commuting Boats
You can take them from taxi ranks (indicated by a square sign with Taxi
in white on a blue background) or hail one in the street (on condition
that it is available: the “Taxi” sign on the roof is then fully lit, and
the small lights under the sign are switched off).
Some taxi companies:
Taxi G7: 33 (0) 1 47 39 47 39
Taxis Bleus: 0 891 70 10 10 (Aйro Taxi (for airport destinations): 33
(0) 1 47 39 01 47
01 Taxi: 33 (0) 1 49 17 01 01
Alpha Taxi: 33 (0) 1 45 85 85 85
To find out about taxi charges throughout France consult the ‘tariffs’
section of the website http://www.artisan-taxi.com
Taxis are only allowed to pick up from ranks (station de taxi) and you
should always check they have a meter. The fare depends on the price and
on the pick-up and the price per km.
If your ride takes you out of town and for transfers from airports,
check with the driver before starting.
When called to pick up passengers, taxis add the cost of that journey to
the fare. Extra fees for baggage, animals or a fourth person are
Tipping is customary but completely at your discretion; generally 10% to
15% is acceptable.
Several towns in France and also Paris have metro or tram systems and
most offer a fairly comprehensive bus network. These means of transport
serve the town centers and inner suburbs. Fast and economical, they are
the most practical worry-free way to discover a town. In Paris the metro
is by far the quickest and most practical way of getting about 15 lines
and around 300 stations. The service usually starts around 5.30am and
ends around 12.30am. Numerous connections with the RER (Regional express
network) and the SNCF railway stations allow easy travel to the suburbs.
SNCF Line (Paris outskirts): a ticket purchased from the outskirts to a
Paris railway station now also includes travel on the Paris mйtro and
Mйtro 1 metro or bus ticket: Simple and safe, the Paris metro runs daily
from 5.30am to 12.30pm. Keep your ticket handy; you may be asked to show
it to a transit inspector, and tickets are sometimes needed to exit
Basic Paris Visite Passes-good for unlimited travel on Metro, bus and
RER suburban train lines-are available for one (Passes can be purchased
at airports; the Paris Convention & Visitors Bureau; Metro, RER and
railway stations; and in the US (ask your travel agent or tour
operator). www.ratp. fr
Buses: 1 ticket is now sufficient to cover any bus journey within Paris
(as on the mйtro). In the outskirts the longest lines only require a
maximum of 2 tickets. Generally, buses operate from 5.30am to 8.30pm. At
night the Noctambus connects the centre of Paris (Place du Chвtelet
amongst others) and the suburbs.
You can ask for a map of the network (metro, bus, RER) at metro or RER
stations (issued free).
Information on regional and Paris transport: www.ratp. fr
Batobus (Tour-Boat Shuttle) From April to October, the city of Paris
operates a boat service on the Seine river called Batobus, with stops at
the Eiffel Tower, Musee D’Orsay, Saint – Germain-des-pres (Quai
Malaquais, on the left Bank and opposite the Louvre), Notre-Dame, Hotel
de Ville, Louvre and Champs-Elysees. The fare is The RER The five lines
(A, B, C, D and E) of the RER (Regional express network) cross Paris and
the Ile-de-France during the same times as the metro.
Please note that outside Paris ticket charges are not the same.
Ask at your departure station for information.
For tourists: Paris Visit Ticket is valid for either 1,2,3 or 5
consecutive days and allows unlimited travel in all zones of the whole
network (metro, bus, RER) and on the Montmartre Funicular.
Reduced price for children aged between 4 and 11 years old.
Eurolines is the largest operator of scheduled coach services, offering
regular services to over 65 destinations from London. These include
Avignon, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Marseilles, Nantes, Paris (up to 4 services
daily), Perpignan, St Malo, Strasbourg, Toulouse et Tours. Prices start
at just Ј33 return. Connexions are available from around 1200 UK cities
on National Express.
Hotels in France
Tourist hotels are approved and examined by the authorities. They are
split into 5 categories according to their facilities, areas and
services. The categories are 1-star, 2-star, 3-star, 4-star and – for
hotels of great comfort – 4-star L (luxury). Prices displayed outside
the hotel and in bedrooms must be inclusive. They are unregulated and a
surcharge can be levied for an extra bed or for breakfast. Rooms must
usually be left by noon on the day of departure. There are about 17,500
hotels, inns and motels in France.
Finding a Room
It’s always easier to reserve your accommodation through a travel agent
before coming to France. You can also contact local Tourist Offices or
the Syndicats d’Initiative: they will inform you on the local
possibilities of accommodation.
There are dozens of hotel chains and reservation services for hotels in
France which group standardized hotels or hotels each with its own
character. The range covers all categories, from ‘Relais & Chateaux’,
‘Chateaux et Hotels de France’ hotels (3 – and 4-star) or more
economical hotels near major cities (Hotel Formule 1, Etap Hotel,
Balladins, Bonsaп, Libertй, Premiиre Classe). Hotel chains usually have
central reservation facilities.
Rates Quoted for per night for a single or double room. Rates are quoted
per person if they include room and board. Hotels include taxes and
Reservations should be in writing (letter, fax or email). At that time,
an advance deposit should be sent to the hotel. Your reservation, room
rate and receipt of deposit should be confirmed in writing, by the
hotelier. To avoid problems, reservations should never be made orally.
Deposits An advance deposit is required to secure your reservation. The
exact amount is not fixed by law but, in general, the deposit amounts to
the equivalent of 25% of the total cost and one night for shorter stays.
Whatever the type of accommodation you choose, pay a deposit. The
deposit will not be refunded unless the contract stipulates it. If the
hotel cancels your reservation, he must pay you the double of the
Guests are expected to arrive at their hotel no later than between 7 and
10 pm. To avoid misunderstandings, it is best to let the hotel keeper
know the approximate arrival time, especially if it might be late. If
you a telephone reservation has been made without a deposit, the
hotelier is not required to hold the room after 7 pm.
Cancellations The French Civil Code, Article 1590, regulates the rights
of hotel guests and hoteliers regarding cancellation. In addition, many
hotels follow stipulations laid down by the international Hotel
Convention. Be sure to request details of the hotel’s cancellation
policy along with the reservation confirmation.
Passengers who want to book accommodations upon arrival may consult the
Automatic Central Reservations Board in Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle
Reservations can be made for the day of arrival at the Syndicats
d’Initiative or Tourist Offices in Paris and other cities.
At a campsite
France offers more than 9,000 fully equipped campsites officially grated
from 0 to 4* and 2,300 farm campsites. The Official Campsite Guide is on
sale at bookshops, newsagents, FNAC [national chain of department stores
selling books, CDs, computers …] and all good retailers, as well as by
mail order (postage and carriage: 3 euro per copy).
Fйdйration Franзaise de Camping-Caravaning [French Camping and
Caravanning Association] (tel +33 (0) 1 42 72 84 08).
Camping off-site is permitted with the authorization of the landowner,
but prohibited on beaches, roadsides or at designated sites.
For information, please ask at Tourist Offices or the Gendarmerie.
In tourist apartments
These are buildings housing apartments for rent, fully equipped and with
a choice of hotel services.
Visit the website www.snrt. fr
In furnished accommodation
These are fully equipped holiday villas or apartments for rent to
tourists: information from Tourist Offices and estate agents.
In Gоtes or Guest Houses
By renting a room in the owner’s home (per night or per week, with
breakfast and, occasionally with evening meal), you will have the chance
to discover more about, and share in, the French way of life.
In Holiday Villages
Non-profit making organizations who offer especially designed
accommodation for families and groups, the holidays Villages also have
excellent leisure activities. A stay in a holiday village is a great way
to meet French people in a friendly environment and at the same time
keep a feeling of individual freedom.
On holiday we like the simple outdoor life, we like to live out of
doors, eat our meals in the sunshine and sip our wine under a clear sky
counting shooting stars until the early hours. Not a very practical
proposition in Britain, that’s why we spend our summers with our VW
camper in France
When holidaying for three or four weeks at a time, what to eat becomes
an important issue and over the last ten years initially with two young
children and latterly on our own we have learnt a few things and our
experiences may be of benefit to other members. To loosely plan for
meals for about 30 days takes a bit of thought and initial preparation.
You may like to eat out in restaurants but this could be costly over the
time of the holiday. Anyway I don’t enjoy eating in restaurants, I don’t
feel relaxed and most people in them smoke cigarettes.
For a start, for a couple of months before the holiday, my wife will buy
a few extra tins each week with her normal shopping and save them in a
box ready to take. Whilst we would not normally eat tinned stuff, for a
holiday they can be very convenient e. g. carrots, peas, fruit, salmon,
tuna, potatoes etc. As tins are used up they leave storage space to hold
bottles of wine for the return trip!
Although the van fridge has only a small freezer compartment it is
surprising how many pieces of steak it can hold if rolled up tightly.
The fridge can be stocked up with food and on the shorter sea crossing
Dover to Calais (or the tunnel of course) when the gas is turned off the
fridge will not have time to defrost.
Breakfast is easy, you can take plenty of cereal and on most camp sites
you can buy croissants each morning from the camp shop, a visiting bread
van or from a nearby shop. We usually buy a baguette to eat later with
our lunch although these do not keep more than a few hours. Cereals that
you buy in Britain are now sold in many French supermarkets.
We normally only have a snack at lunchtime. For French people it is the
main meal of the day and they go to town on it but for us, at the
hottest time of the day, a snack is sufficient. We would have something
with our baguette, cheese, jam, ham or something like tinned salmon and
perhaps a pain-o-chocolat or chausson pomme bought freshly made from a
Patisserie to go with it.
The evening meal is the main meal of our day and we enjoy a few glasses
of wine to go with it. We always drink red wine as not only have we
developed a taste for it but it is difficult to keep white wine chilled.
We take a five or ten litre container with us and look out for shops
which advertise Vin en Vrac which means that they sell wine loose. You
take your container into one of these shops and there will usually be a
range of large tanks full of different wines. No need to choose the most
expensive variety just ask to taste (Je degust Silvousplia) one of the
local names or Van de Pays. A first taste will not always give a good
impression and it may taste a little bitter but do not worry, as long as
you can drink it in the shop then it will be OK. Pay 6-8 Francs per
litre, there is no need to pay extra to get 12%+, 11-11.5% will be
adequate. This wine is very young and has to be to be drunk soon and
should be warm. Keep an empty wine bottle for your table and fill it
from your container, this way you will know how much you drink for it
goes down so smoothly that you could unwittingly overdo it! Don’t make
any attempt to chill the wine but allow it to maintain the same
temperature as the air in this way you will enjoy it. Don’t be put off
by the price of this wine, we have entertained many a wine buff at our
van who has been impressed with it and surprised when told of it’s
To make things easy we like to barbecue. We used to have a small home
made collapsible barbecue which used charcoal and was very good. However
many camp sites in France forbid the use of these barbecues because they
might be in forest areas or constitute a general fire risk. Consequently
we bought a gas barbecue and these appear to be acceptable on all sites
although it is always best check at the reception first. We have found
the gas barbecue with lava rocks to be most convenient to use, There are
no lighting problems or hot ashes to get rid of, you just switch on when
you need it and off when finished. The food cooked is much the same as
that from a charcoal grill as fat from the food will drip on the hot
lava rock and burn off to give the taste. It is my job to operate the
barbecue so it makes easier for my wife as we share the cooking.
Our basic evening meal would be meat or fish, potatoes and vegetables, a
sweet and coffee.
For meat, after we have used up our own supplies, we will buy meat from
a supermarket, butchers or market. French lamb chops are really good, in
the supermarket you can point to these across the counter and indicate
how many you want. In the butchers shop it is more interesting as you
will have to ask in French. French butchers like to talk to everyone and
pass the time of day so you don’t have to be in a hurry. In some shops
the butcher will cut and wrap your order and you will pay for it at a
separate counter. Lamb is agnau (arnoo) so you ask for so many cote du
agnau, the cost will be similar to that in Britain.
Beef is buef and there are a few different cuts so if you say is is for
a barbecue the butcher will point out the choices. Say how many pieces
you want and give an indication of how much weight. A half kilogramme
(demi kilo), about 1lb. would be enough for two people and cost about
For children you can buy beefburgers with the familiar brand names as in
Britain. These are usually more expensive than at home but are better
quality and do not drip fat all over the barbecue.
Chipolata sausages are quite tasty although fatty and can be bought by
weight in the butchers or pre-packed in the supermarket.
We have noticed that the German supermarket chain Aldi have opened up in
France and these are very cheap if you like the brands they sell.
We sometimes buy a ready cooked chicken, the roasting machines are very
popular in France. One of these will last us for a couple of meals or a
half (Demi pouli) for one meal.
You can also buy food in the many local markets. The hygene may
sometimes be suspect so take care, we have never suffered any ill
We have bought fish from fishmongers in the local indoor market. We have
not been too sure what the fish was but picked out some that looked good
and asked for enough for two. We have even been given a free taste of
Fruit and Vegatables.
Buy vegetables from the markets etc the same way as you do at home. We
find that melons are very tasty and one will last us for two meals.
Sweet corn is very good on the barbeque but is not in season in France
until later. Sometimes you can find it on the larger markets and if you
can it is worth buying.
We rarely bother with starters so straight into the main meal. As I
mentioned earlier we use our gas barbecue almost every day to cook our
meat or fish. The gas is lighted and the barbecue allowed to heat up for
about five minutes during which time a glass of ‘chef’s wine’ is poured
and sampled. If you have some swwet corn, one cob cut in two serve two
people, start thise off first as they take about fifteen minutes turning
them frequently. Corn starts as a pale cream colour and as it cooks it
changes to a dark yellow. To cook our beef steak we pepper it well and
lay it on the grill over the hot rocks. I note the time, usually using
the clock on my bicycle computer, that it takes for the blood to ooze to
the surface of the steak. Then the steak is turned over and cooked for
the same time again. This produces a medium done steak and we find it
too our liking. Lamb chops can be cooked similarly but using plenty of
Herbs of Provence rather than pepper.
For fish we have used a fish basket or just laid them on the grill. They
cook very quickly and the time varies with the type of fish. Whole fish
(less head and tails) are easier to handle than filleted and five
minutes a side is a good starting guide.
Whilst the meat is cooking my wife will prepare the veg and salad. Salad
will be fresh but the veg would be from a tin and heated on the gas
When the barbecue has done it’s stuff it is just switched off and when
cool can be put away.
Potatoes can be peeled and boiled but we are on holiday so a tin of new
potatoes heated up and served with a knob of butter is quite adequate.
The majority of camp sites sell chips so whilst the barbecue is going we
take a bowl to the caf?lace and buy a portion of chips (some tricky
timing involved here). We have found that often you are given more than
enough for two if you buy only one portion. The chips vary between sites
from the frozen variety to properly cut and cooked potatoes. For a
change my wife will sometimes take tinned or fresh potatoes, slice them
up and fry them in oil. These make a good and cheaper alternative to
Mash made from dehydrated potatoes served with butter, a few slices of
corned beef and baked beans I find a delicious quick meal but my wife
will only eat it under sufferance!
For sweets we often have melon as mentioned above, tinned fruit or cake
with tinned cream. Sometimes if our freezer compartment will take it, we
buy a carton of ice cream from the supermarket to have with our sweet.
All this makes for the minimum of washing up. We put all our plates in
the washup bowl, add a squirt of washup liquid and off to the camp dish
washing sinks. We never struggle with the washing bowl in our van.
Our evenings are usually rounded off relaxing under the stars with a
glass of wine, can’t wait now until we go again!
2. Tourist industry in France
Your trip to France is certain to be one of the most memorable and
treasured vacations you’ve ever undertaken, but – like any trip to a
foreign land – it always helps to be well prepared for the adventure.
Here we’ve provided a wealth of addresses, resources, and links to
explore – which will help you plan your itineraries and assure a smooth
Banking & Money Questions
Use this handy form, provided courtesy of xe.com, to instantly translate
your choice of denominations between any two national currencies.
Euro Monetary Standard (in French only)
Although French workers started receiving their paychecks in Euros as
early as July 1, 2001, the introduction of Euro coins and bills began in
earnest on January 1, 2002. According to the French government, payments
in Francs ceased altogether at midnight on February 17, 2002.
How Much Money Should I Bring?
Thomas Cook has prepared a handy chart which suggests average daily
expenses for key cities throughout the world, based on 3-star and 4-star
accommodations, including meals, sightseeing, and incidentals. (Requires
Acrobat Reader plug-in, free from Adobe)
Mastercard ATM Locator
Need quick cash? With more than 820,000 locations worldwide, you’re
never far from a MasterCard® / Maestro® / Cirrus® ATM.
Prepaid or Stored Value Travel Cards
For 24-hour secure access to cash, one option to consider is AAA Global
Currency, a prepaid Visa card valid at any of 556,000 ATMs and 600,000
merchants worldwide. Available at participating AAA offices.
Visa ATM Locator
Our search located 99 ATMs in Paris honoring Visa® and Plus® cards. The
locator permits international searches by region, country, city, street
address, or postal code.
Words to the Wise
About.com’s Europe for Visitors guide offers tips on using European
automated tellers. Includes information on exchange rates, transaction
fees, acceptable PINs (personal identification numbers), and back-up
strategies to keep you liquid throughout your trip.
Consulates – Passport & Visa Info
Directory of 12 French Consulates serving different regions in the U.
S., 6 offices in Canada, plus nearly 190 European and International
offices. Passport and visa requirements (based on your citizenship) for
entry into France, Monaco, and overseas departments.
American Embassy & Consulates in France
The American Embassy is located in Paris (2, avenue Gabriel, 75008;
phone  1-43-12-22-22), and is complemented by consulates in
Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Rennes, Strasbourg, and Toulouse.
Consular officials are responsible for protecting the interests of
American nationals abroad, be they permanent residents or temporary
Automobiles (Importing into France)
Bringing a U. S. – made or Canadian vehicle into France may be subject
to customs duties and a 19.6% VAT (value added tax), payable at the port
of entry. Since most vehicles will not conform to strict French safety
and environmental standards, necessary modifications are likely to be
expensive. A French registration must be obtained within 4 months, and
if the auto does not pass muster, it must be re-exported. There are
certain exemptions to the customs duties and VAT for tourists staying
less than 185 days in a calendar year, or for those establishing their
permanent residence in France.
British Embassy in France
The British Embassy is located at 35, rue du Faubourg St-Honorй, 75383
Paris Cedex 08. Phone: (33) 1-44-51-31-00. The British Consulate-General
is located at 18bis, rue d’Anjou, 75008 Paris (all mail should be sent
to the British Embassy, Paris). Phone: (33) 1-44-51-31-00.
Canadian Embassy in France
The Canadian Embassy is located at 35, avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris.
Phone: (33) 1-44-43-29-00. Mйtro: Franklin D. Roosevelt (or) Alma
Marceau. Hours of operation: 9: 00 a. m. – 12 noon and 2: 00 – 5: 00 p.
Imports into – and exports out of – France of counterfeit goods
violating trademarks (and/or copyrights, patents, industrial designs,
etc) are offenses under French general Criminal Law, and such goods are
deemed to be “prohibited” under French Customs Law – even if declared to
a Customs official. Violations are subject to a term of imprisonment
from 2 to 5 years, and fines up to 1 million French francs, plus
confiscation of the goods themselves and any conveyances in which they
are found (such as a vehicle, vessel or aircraft). While this might not
appear relevant to the average honest tourist, even bootlegged copies of
music tapes and CDs could be construed as a violation; hence, caution is
advised when packing for your trip.
Currency or Monetary Instruments
Although there is no restriction on the total amount of money brought
into or out of France, anyone carrying more than 50,000 French francs
(or its equivalent) in any form must file a Report of International
Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instrument (“dйclaration de
sommes, titres et valeurs”).
English Speaking Doctors
Medical emergencies can be compounded if the patient and practitioner
cannot communicate effectively. Fortunately, the U. S. Embassy in Paris
has prepared this list of anglophone hospitals, pharmacies, and
physicians – grouped by medical specialty – for Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon,
and other locations in France.
Firearms & Ammunition
France has stringent regulations on firearms and ammunition. As a rule,
firearms which have no legitimate sporting or recreational use are not
permitted entry into France.
Fodor’s Personal Trip Planner
This unique site allows you to custom-tailor your destination and travel
needs, then print out a report of traveling requirements,
recommendations and tips.
France Discovery Guide
The French Government Tourist Office publishes a new edition annually of
this colorful and informative magazine. Request your own free copy, or
information on any region of France, using this form.
French Customs & Excise Taxes on Purchases
As a visitor to France you may be able to claim a tax refund (on Value
Added Tax, or VAT) for eligible goods you take home. Some merchants
participate in the program at the point of purchase (duty-free shops),
while in other cases you can apply to receive the refund by mail.
Requirements and paperwork are rather stringent, and should be initiated
prior to leaving France. Residents of the EEC are not eligible.
Gifts Mailed To France
Private individuals in France may receive, free of duty and taxes, a
gift (for personal use, at no cost to the recipient) mailed from a
foreign country, if the total shipment’s value (item value + shipping
cost + insurance) does not exceed Maps
We recommend that you invest in a few good maps before departing on your
trip, particularly if you plan a foray into the provinces. Baedeker and
Michelin publish excellent editions specific to various regions, while
Fodor offers the world standard for informative travel guides. If you
wish to print out a free neighborhood map showing the streets around
your hotel, or the public transit systems of Paris, visit our page on
Free Stuff. In Paris, most neighborhoods also offer wonderful billboard
maps at major intersections and mйtro stations.
Meat & Dairy Products
As a rule, you can only bring small quantities of these products into
France (1 to 2 kilograms – i. e.2.2 to 4.4 pounds – where applicable),
provided they are not prohibited or otherwise restricted.
No permit is required for personal medicines carried in your luggage,
but you should have with you the prescription dispensed by your
practitioner. Customs officials must be satisfied that you are not
importing more than would be necessary for your personal use, taking
into account the drug type and length of stay (for no more than 3
months). It is suggested that you do NOT transfer prescription drugs
into an unmarked container, but keep them in the original prescription
bottle. If you plan to import medications for personal use by mail or by
express shipment, an Import Permit is required.
Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances
Needless to say, narcotics and dangerous drugs (including cannabis
products and derivatives) are prohibited entry into France; violators
face stiff prison sentences and fines. If you are traveling to France
and need to use prescription-type psychotherapeutic drugs for medical
purposes, refer to Medicine (above).
There are limits on the number (and ages) of pets which may be brought
into France, including birds, cats, dogs, reptiles, rodents and other
species. Vaccination requirements are stringent. Be aware that France
observes the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species,
with respect to both live flora and fauna as well as any products or
articles manufactured from them.
Photography: Take Travel Pictures Like a Pro! Author and photographer
Jeff Wignall offers up nearly 100 easy-to-follow tips, with accompanying
photos, covering every aspect of travel photography.
Plants and Plant Products There are prohibitions and restrictions on
plants and plant products imported into France. As a rule, these should
be presented at the port of entry, for inspection by officers of the
Plant Health Inspection Service (“contrфle phytosanitaire”).
Restrooms All cafйs are required by law to let the public use their
bathrooms, although this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be
pleasant about it (you may also have to pay a few francs to use the
toilet). Bathrooms are often located downstairs. Your best bet may be
fast-food chains. You can also find pay-per-use toilet units on the
Seasonal Residents Non-residents of the European Union who inherit, buy,
build or rent (on a two-year lease or longer) a permanent structure in
France to use as a seasonal residence, may have a one-time opportunity
to furnish the residence with certain goods free of customs duties,
although such items will still be subject to VAT (value added tax).
Settling in France Foreign nationals establishing permanent residence in
France may import personal effects and furnishings without paying
customs duty or VAT (value added tax), as long as they can prove having
lived outside the European Union during the previous 12 months, and
provide a detailed, itemized list of possessions owned longer than 6
Studying in France
If enrolled as a student in a French academic institution, one may
import personal effects, household goods (including computer),
furnishings, and one motor vehicle without paying customs duty or VAT
(value added tax), provided all such items are re-exported upon leaving
France (may not be sold or otherwise disposed of in France). A list (in
duplicate) must document all items, and proof of acceptance by a French
school is required.
Everything you need to know about local and international telephone
service, directory information, telegraph and Minitel services in Paris
and throughout France.
Tips on Tipping
Visitors to France will appreciate this handy guide, which suggests how
much to tip hairdressers, hotel personnel, restaurant staff, taxi
drivers, theater ushers, and tour guides for their services.
Consult this page for details on all forms of transportation to and from
– as well as within – France. Includes info on air travel, auto routes,
bicycling, boats, buses, car rentals, railways, subway (mйtro), etc.
Residents of the U. S. and Canada traveling to France may import items
free of customs duties or VAT (value added tax), limited to a value of
1200 FF (age 15+) or 600 FF (age
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