Top 11 Travel Tips & Info before traveling to France Category: Travel Tips & Info
Traveling within Paris, Nice, Lyon and other popular cities of France is easier when you have appropriate information about public transport. France is one of the biggest tourist destinations of Europe, with many surprises and must explore excursions. With lot many modern and historical places to explore, we recommend to customize and plan your travelling before arrival using train, bus or local transport. Here is some important information and travel tips, you must know before traveling to France.
1. HOW TO TRAVEL WITHIN FRANCE?
Getting around France, especially when you are already coming from any other European city, couldn’t be easier than by train or bus.
TRAVEL BY TRAIN
There are Hi-Speed trains in France, which are very timely, efficient and will get you anywhere you want to go in the country with ease as well as to or from any neighboring country.
TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse)
The TGV is France’s high-speed rail service which connects over 230 cities across France and some European cities. Running up to 320km/h, these trains will get you where you need to go fast!
Traveling on TGV trains, you have the option of purchasing a first-class or second-class ticket. Either class is very comfortable with most seats, including drop-down tables and power sockets. Generally, all trains have free WIFI too as well as a café on board, but you are also allowed to bring your own food onboard.
To ride the TGV, it is mandatory to book a seat reservation. For the cheapest tickets, book your tickets well in advance rather than on the day of travel. Tickets are usually available for purchase around 90 days before the day of travel.
There is over 1700 km (1056 miles) of dedicated high-speed lines and thousands more of main lines and smaller lines so almost everywhere is accessible by train travel in France.
How do you take the train to France?
At Train Station: Of course, you can buy any French train ticket from any train station, either from a ticket window or an automated machine (you’ll need a Chip & PIN credit card to buy from the machines). You can buy tickets in-advance from train stations as well.
What is the difference between TGV and TGV inOui?
TGV inOui is the normal TGV service. OuiGo is the discount TGV service. TGV inOui just means it’s a newer train with onboard wifi access. SNCF has been refurbishing existing TGV sets (and introducing new ones on some routes)
TRAVEL BY BUS OR COACH
There are several low-cost domestic coach services in France, and these are mainly provided by three main intercity coach or bus service operators – Ouibus, Eurolines and Flixbus. Most of the travelers like Long distance / Inter-Country bus or coach services or international services passing through different cities of France, and specially on those routes, which are not served by TGV train services.
2. FRANCE GASTRONOMY & RESTAURANTS
France is one of popular country of travelers loving huge variety of Wine and Gastronomy. In fact different regions of France have its own culinary specialties and it will take more than just one trip to explore them all.
Since 2010, the French gastronomic meal and its rituals have been recognized as an intangible UNESCO cultural heritage.
The French people follows to the three-meal day program. Traditionally, breakfast is eaten in the morning, lunch at around 1 pm and dinner at around 8 pm.
What kind of food is served at a French restaurant?
A typical French lunch will consist of: a starter (une entrée), such as a mixed salad, soup, some terrine or paté. A main course, (le plat principal), typically a choice of meat or fish, with potatoes, rice, pasta and/or vegetables; a cheese course (often a selection of local cheeses) and/or a dessert.
Restaurant and Meals options for Tourists?
France welcomes all type of tourists, traveling from all over the world. You can find various restaurants / meal options whether Italian, Turkish, American, Mexican, Chinese, Filipino, Arabic, Indian or Asian meals, all are easily available. You can find-out your type of restaurants from these popular Restaurant Apps: Yelp, Foursquare, OpenTable, Zomato, Zagat and HappyCow.
3. FRANCE WHETHER AND CLIMATE
France is all year tourist destination in terms of climate. But peak season is spring and summer. In Spring time, from March to May, the weather is more pleasant. There is mild temperature and sunshine to offset the frequent precipitation. In the summer, from June to September, whether is hot, but it rarely gets above 35 degrees Celsius and caters maximum tourist during this time.
From October to December, there are some beautiful days in the autumn, but it is often damp. Without being particularly hard, the winters are cold. Snow sometimes comes on the heels of rain and the temperature can dip into the negatives, especially in the mountains.
Along the Atlantic seaboard, in the Western side of France, there is an oceanic climate. Temperature differences are moderate and the winters are mild but damp. It rains relatively frequently.
In the Eastern side of France, the climate is continental. Summers are warm, with some thunderstorms, and winters are cold. Temperatures can drop below 0 degrees Celsius and, in the mountains, are frequently accompanied by snow
France generally enjoys cool winters and mild summers except along the Mediterranean where mild winters and hot summers are the norm.
Average winter temperatures range from 32° F to 46° F and average summer temperatures from 61° F to 75° F. For the most warmth and sunshine go to the south of the country. The Provence and Languedoc regions are characterized by mild winters and blisteringly hot summers.
Along the north and central regions, Paris has cool and fairly rainy winters, though summers here are usually hot.
4. FRANCE TRAVEL ADAPTORS AND PLUGS
For France there are two associated plug types, types C and E. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins and plug type E is the plug which has two round pins and a hole for the socket’s male earthing pin. France operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
5. FRANCE CURRENCY
France is a member of the European Union and one of 23 countries in the region that uses the euro (abbreviated €) as its national currency. One euro is divided into 100 cents and there are seven notes in circulation, available in denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 (rare) and €500 (rare).
There are also eight coins in circulation in denominations of €1 and €2, then one, two, five, 10, 20 and 50 cents.
What is the best currency to use in France?
Euros are a major international currency, you can buy euros at banks, exchange offices, at the trains stations and airport. You will get a better deal if you wait to buy euros in France, even better if you make an ATM withdrawal using a no ATM fee and no foreign transaction fee debit or travel card.
6. FRANCE LOCATION AND GEOGRAPHY
The geography of France consists of a terrain that is mostly flat plains or gently rolling hills in the north and west and mountainous in the south (including the Pyrenees) and the east (the highest points being in the Alps).
France is the second largest country in Europe, is partially covered central, north and west by a relatively flat plain that’s punctuated by some time – worn low rolling hills and mountains. The country is drained by dozens and dozens of rivers. The longest river in France is the Loire at 630 miles (1,020 km) in length. Other significant rivers include the Garonne, Lot, Rhine, Rhone Seine, each with many smaller tributaries.
France is one of the largest country in Europe, stretching 1,000km (600 miles) from north to south and the same from east to west, it’s the third largest country in Europe after Russia and Ukraine, covering an area of 551,500km² (213,000 square miles).
Metropolitan France has four coastlines – the North Sea, the English Channel, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea – with a combined coastline length of 3,427km (2,129 miles). With the exception of its north-eastern border, the country is bounded either by water or by mountains – namely the Rhine and Jura, the Alps and the Pyrenees.
7. TIME ZONE
With its overseas territories, France uses 12 different time zones, more than any other country in the world.
This is due to France’s far-flung overseas areas, since the mainland European part of France uses just one time zone. 3. French Polynesia, the furthest west, is mostly in the same time zone as the U.S. state of Hawaii.
Paris is in the Central European Time Zone . Central European Standard Time (CET ) is 1 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time ( GMT+1 ).
France has a population of 67,795,000. This includes 65 million in metropolitan France (this is mainland France located in Europe). France is the second most populous country in Europe after Germany. The country is the 20th most populous in the world, representing 0.87% of the total world population.
Population in larger cities: (2016)
Paris : 2,190,327
Marseille : 862,211
Lyon : 513,275
Toulouse : 475,438
Nice : 342,637
Nantes : 306,694
Montpellier : 281,613
Strasbourg : 279,284
Bordeaux : 252,040
Lille : 232,440
9. FRANCE LANGUAGES :
French is recognized as the official language of France, but there are, in fact, many regional languages that have been spoken within France’s borders for at least as long, if not longer than French. In this article, let’s find out how many languages are spoken in France.
Several regional languages are also spoken to varying degrees as a secondary language after French, such as German dialects (Alsatian 1.44%), Celtic languages (Breton 0.61%) and other Gallo-Romance languages (Langues d’Oïl 1.25%, Occitan 1.33%). Some of these languages have also been spoken in neighboring countries, such as Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy or Spain. In addition to the large number of regional languages spoken in France, a wide variety of immigrant languages have also become an important part of daily life in the country. The most widely spoken immigrant languages in France include English, German, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Turkish, Maghrebi Arabic, Berber, and Vietnamese.
What languages are spoken in France besides French?
The most widely spoken immigrant languages in France include English, German, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Turkish, Maghrebi Arabic, Berber, and Vietnamese. According to the 1999 census, Maghrebi Arabic is the most widely spoken immigrant language in this country.
What’s the main language in France?
French, the official language, is the first language of 88% of the population. Most of those who speak minority languages also speak French, as the minority languages are given no legal recognition. 3% of the population speak German dialects, predominantly in the eastern provinces of Alsace-Lorraine and Moselle.
10. SHOPPING IN PARIS
Paris is famous for being one of the major fashion capitals of the world. Shopping paradise in Paris has been a grandiose affair since the 19th century when its famous grands magasins (department stores) opened on the grand boulevards. You can shop along the beautiful streets of Paris and experience the Parisian lifestyle. Put together your dream shopping itinerary with our list of the best shopping in the city.
A perfect place for clothes shopping in France, one can go to stores with high-fashion designer labels or thrift stores with amazing collections of vintage clothing, accessories and other items. Apart from that, do not miss stopping for coffee at one of the vibrant cafés to get a taste of Parisian life.
Best Shopping Places In Paris: Boulevard Saint Germain, Rue Du Bac, Bon Marché, Rue Tronchet, Boulevard Haussmann, and more
What street in Paris is famous for shopping?
There are a lot of shopping streets in Paris. The Champs-Élysées is one of the most popular shopping streets not only in Paris but in the world. This two-kilometer length stretches from the place called the Arc de Triomphe to de la Concorde and is a must-visit street when you come to France.
What is famous in Paris for shopping?
Some of the most famous shops in Paris for shopping are the Le Bon Marché, BVH, Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, Boulevard Saint Germain, Rue Du Commerce, Les Halles, Le Marais, Triangle D’or, Rue De Rivoli, Saint-Ouen Flea Market, and Boulevard Haussmann.
What should I buy in Paris?
You can buy a lot of things in Pari like buying some Reblochon cheese, Check out the collection at Merci-Merci, find a unique souvenir in Marché-aux-Puces, Shop for a vintage champagne bucket, Invest in a second-hand book at the Bouquinistes, of course stocking up on French wine and Succumb to the magic of the authentic macarons.
Are Designer brands cheaper in Paris?
Yes sure, when you are traveling in Paris, luxury brands are cheaper in Paris, plus you will get the quality as well. If you want a designer handbag, be sure to buy it from Paris directly because it is rightly known as the Fashion capital of the world.
11. PHONE AND EMERGENCIES
When calling France, the country code is +33. Some Important Phone Numbers you should know are:
18: Emergencies: This number connects to the fire brigade (Sapeurs Pompiers) but they also deal with medical emergencies and should be the first port of call in life-threatening situations
15: Samu (for other urgent medical call-outs)
17: Police / Gendarmes
112: Universal European Emergency Services number – works from all phones including mobiles
114: Emergency calls (to use if you have difficulty speaking or hearing as you can communicate by text or fax)
115: Emergency Shelter
119: Reporting child abuse
191: Air rescue (Plane accident/disappearance)
196: Sea and lake rescue
197: Terror attacks/kidnapping hotline
01 40 05 48 48: Anti-poison centre (Paris)
3237: (0.35/min) Outside hours GP and pharmacy information