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France - Traveling

Contents extracted from the comprehensive atlas of international trade by Export Entreprises

Entry requirements

Organizing your trip

Means of transport recommended in town

Almost all French cities have a public transport network which is safe, and quality is high (in regards to frequency, comfort, safety/security, limited risk of accidents, etc.) Where there are only buses in the smallest towns, the biggest cities have trams, metro, buses and self-service bicycles. Using taxis is also very practical. However, they are very difficult to find in rush hours except for people who have a season ticket. The Paris metro is one of the most extensive in the world. In the ranking of the world's 10 best metro systems, it is in 2nd position.

Means of transport recommended in the rest of the country

To travel from city to city the best means of transport is the train. From Paris you should expect between 2 and 4 hours to reach other big cities; fares are affordable, the trains are comfortable and you arrive directly in the city center.
By plane it is about 1 hour 30 minutes' travel time to go from one end of the country to another.
As soon as you leave the city center, you really need a car to get around.
Airlines
Name Type Domestic flights International flights
Air France Major Yes Yes
Air Linair Major Yes No
Transavia low cost No Yes
Easy jet low cost Yes Yes

Traveling by yourself

Recommendation: Traveling by your own means in France poses few problems; it is easy to rent a vehicle, the road network is very good and the road sign system is very clear (in French).
The French authorities have set up a large number of speed cameras on the roads to encourage drivers to keep to speed limits. For further information, consult regulations and penalties enforced (in French).
There is a high risk of traffic jams in and around the big cities.
Find an itinerary: ViaMichelin

Visiting

Different forms of tourism

Historical: 40,000 monuments to visit among which 10,000 châteaux, abbeys and manor houses, the landing beaches.....
Cultural: 6,000 museums, 1,000 festivals.
Sculptures, paintings, theater, concerts, cinema, literature, etc.
Religious: Lourdes, Chartres, Lisieux, Mont Saint-Michel
Beach: The Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the English Channel. 5,500 km of coastline in all.
Winter sports: The Alps have some of the most pleasant (and most expensive) ski resorts in Europe, such as Chamonix. You can ski less expensively in the Pyrenees or the Massif Central.
Outdoor activities: Rambling, mountain biking, rock climbing, mountain climbing, rafting
Shopping: France is well-known for being the greatest destination in the world for shopping with regards to fashion (the website of the French Federation of Haute Couture), culinary specialties or wine (The guide to French wines), in small specialized boutiques or in the large department stores (Galeries Lafayette (en francés), Printemps), etc.
Tourism organizations: Tourist offices

Living conditions

Health and safety

Health precautions: No vaccination is required.
For further information on sanitary conditions: Information pages of the Ministry of Health

Time difference and climate

Map of the time zone: Paris (GMT+1 in winter, GMT+2 in summer)
Summer time period: Summer time from March to October.
Climate: In France, the climate varies according to the region: temperate, oceanic, with mild winters and summers in the West and North West; continental in the East; Mediterranean, with hot, very dry summers, and mild, wet winters, sometimes very windy in the South East.

Eating

Food specialties: France is one of the countries where the cuisine has a lot of variety. With dishes such as: tournedos; rib steak with béarnaise sauce served with green kidney beans or pommes dauphines; meat on skewers; blanquette of veal; etc. Near the sea, fish and sea food such as mussels, cockles and shrimp are offered. Alsace and Lorraine are the regions where you find sauerkraut, kugelhof, quiche Lorraine and tarte flambée. Lyon, the biggest city in the Rhône valley, is the heart of French cuisine. One of the region's specialties is pike quenelles. There are 365 sorts of cheeses; for example, Camembert, Brie, Roquefort, Reblochon and the blues of Auvergne and Bresse.
Drinks: In France, wine is the alcoholic drink people drink most: Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Côtes de Provence, Côtes du Rhône and wines of the Loire region, etc. Many aperitifs and liqueurs are also drunk: Pastis, Pineau, Muscat, Chartreuse, fruit liqueurs, brandies, etc.
Dietary taboos: There are no dietary restrictions in the country

Speaking

Getting some knowledge: Use the travlang website. You can also use the ContexTrans website for translation services.
Free translation tools:
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