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France Travel Guide

France Travel Guide

Discover all the essential details for your vacation in our France travel guide.

France is truly a traveler’s delight – there’s rich history to savor, globally renowned architectural marvels to visit, illuminating art to view. The country is home to some of the world’s most iconic landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Basilica of Sacré -Coeur and has 41 UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is equally popular for its rolling hills, vineyards and world-famous wines. There’s also fashion and glamour to excite, and culinary delights to tantalize the senses. 

While you may have your France trip itinerary completely in place, it is also important to consider practical details like: What languages are spoken there? What currency will you need to carry? Are there any vaccinations that need to be taken? Our handy France travel guide answers all these questions and more.

France Tours Cote d'Azur by Nice, France
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Visa application

Visa and entry

Do note that if you have US or EU citizenship it will not be necessary to apply for a French visa. As long as you are holding a valid passport, you are permitted to travel in France as well as other countries within the Schengen Area for up to 90 days – as a tourist as well as on business. Do go through the Schengen Visa website for more information.

As per an announcement from the European Union, from 2021 all US citizens will require ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) authorization to enter France.

Happy boy flying rainbow kite with his friends

Language

The official language and the first language of nearly 90% of the population is French. Do note, however, that different variants are spoken in the various regions of the country. German, as well as Flemish, are spoken by a small number of people in the country. Italian is spoken by those living near the Italy border while it is not uncommon to hear Basque being spoken in areas in the southwest, around the French-Spanish border. A smattering of other dialects and languages such as Catalan and Breton are also heard in pockets.

You will find English being spoken in the bigger cities as well as in and around popular tourist destinations. But it isn’t a common language in the rural regions.

Euro currency, coins and banknotes, Germany

Currency in France

The official currency of France is the Euro (EUR). Currency can be exchanged at airports and in all major towns and cities at the “Bureau de Changes” or “Money Exchanges”. Ensure you have your passport, travel documents, proof of residential and onward address for identification.

Credit cards – mostly Visa and Mastercard – are accepted all across France and shops that accept them generally have a sign in their window stating this. American Express is not accepted in several places in France, especially in the more rural regions. Forex cards are perhaps the most useful when traveling throughout France, as they can be used at most retailers and ATMs and offer the most favorable exchange rates. Travelers Cheques are not advised and are often only accepted in certain parts of Paris in Euros. 

Medicines

Health information

Vaccinations

As with travel to any developed country, it is important to ensure that you have taken your routine vaccinations. Measles Vaccine is required for infants below 11 months and as well as in specific cases for those 12 months and older. You can find more details here. Some other likely vaccines you may be advised on include Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Rabies.

Drinking water

All tap water is safe to drink across France. But given the high mineral content of the water, the taste might not be palatable to all. Bottled water is widely available to buy in supermarkets and in bars and restaurants. Occasionally certain restaurants may have washrooms with water that is unsuitable for drinking. In such cases, there will be a sign on the washbasin stating that the tap water is not suitable for drinking. 

Do you have more questions about your upcoming vacation, which aren’t covered in our France travel guide? Get in touch with our experts for further information and advice about visiting this culturally diverse nation.

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