With its Breton chalk coasts, charming villages and lavender purple hills in Provence, France has been a popular holiday destination for many tourists for years. In France, everyone will find something to their liking. Paris, Lyon and Lille are bustling French cities. For winter sports enthusiasts, the French Alps are of course the number one and sunbathers can relax on the Côte d'Azur. There is also a lot to enjoy for culinary delights in France: a nice piece of tarte-tartin with your coffee, a crepe for lunch or what about coq-au-vin or mussels with French fries?
France is easily accessible from all over Western Europe. The country has a good road network and good medical facilities. But before you leave for France to enjoy your well-deserved holiday, you may want to prepare yourself at home. Below you will find practical information that may come in handy.
France is a member of the European Union (EU).
France is in the same time zone as Amsterdam, Rome and Berlin.
French is spoken in France. At tourist spots you can also make yourself understood in English.
In France, you can reach the emergency services by dialling 112. The police can be reached under number 17, the fire brigade under number 18 and the ambulance under number 15.
Throughout France, except in some places in the Alps and in the Massif Central, the mobile network is excellent. A 3G network is available for mobile internet. Internet cafes can be found throughout France. WiFi is often available. WiFi hotspots in France can be found at www.hotspot-locations.com.
New Year's Day
1 May (Labour Day)
8 May (Armistice 1945)
14 July (National Holiday)
15 August (Assumption of the Virgin Mary)
1 November (All Saints' Day)
11 November (Armistice 1918)
In general, the following opening hours apply in France. The opening hours may vary by region or place.
Shops: Tuesday to Saturday until 19.00/20.00 hrs. In the countryside, there is often a break between 13:00 and 14:00. On Monday (morning) many shops are closed.
Banks: Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Banks are also open on Saturday mornings.
Post offices: Monday through Friday usually open until 18.00 hours, Saturday until 12.00 hours.
Pharmacies: open Monday to Friday until 19.00 hours.
Many petrol stations close at 21.00, but along motorways most petrol stations are open 24 hours a day. Keep in mind that more and more petrol stations are closed on Sundays outside the car routes. In France, Euro 95 has almost entirely been replaced by E10. Before you travel, check whether your vehicle is suitable for E10. If necessary, Superplus 98 is suitable as a replacement for Euro 95.
French motorways are toll roads. Blue signs are the signposts to the motorways. 'Péage' indicates that it is a toll road. If you don't want to pay a toll, follow the green signs. You can pay tolls with your credit card. A toll ticket is only valid for 24 hours. Sometimes only cash payment is possible. More information about toll roads can be found at www.autoroutes.fr.