Useful facts to help you plan your visit to France
- Public Holidays
- Weights & Measures
- Money, Banks etc.
- Telephone, fax
- Museums and monuments
Festivals, both traditional and modern (eg Avignon Theatre Festival in July) are not so plentiful as in Spain, but worth looking out for:
|1 January||New Year’s Day||Jour de l’An|
|6 January||Epiphany||Fête des Rois||Not a public holiday|
|2 February||Candlemas||La Chandeleur||Not a public holiday|
|18 April||Good Friday||Vendredi Saint|
|21 April||Easter Monday||Lundi de Pâques|
|1 May||Labour Day||Fête du Travail|
|8 May||V-E Day||Victoire 1945||End of WWII|
|29 May||Ascension Day||Ascension||Thursday, 39 days after Easter|
|8 June||Pentecost||Pentecôte||Seventh Sunday after Easter|
|9 June||Whit Monday||Lundi de Pentecôte|
|14 July||Bastille Day||Fête Nationale||National Day|
|1 November||All Saints Day||Toussaint|
|11 November||Armistice Day |
|Armistice 1918||End of WWI|
|25 December||Christmas Day||Noël|
|26 December||Boxing Day||Alsace & Lorraine only|
|Note that holidays falling at the weekend are not moved, and when a holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, many French people may take the respective Monday or Friday off as well. This is not official and does not apply to institutions such as banks or government, but can cause difficulties doing business on occasions.|
Nationals of the EU, the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Israel do not require visas to visit France as tourists for up to three months. Except for people from a few other European countries, everyone else must have a visa.
Sunburn, foot blisters, insect bites and upset stomachs from overeating and drinking.
French, and it’s always a big help to know a few phrases in the local lingo…
Bonjour! Learn French online for free!
This is a great site, you choose the phrase you want to hear and listen to the pronunciation.
- Greetings and Courtesies
- Alphabet, Numbers, Days, Months and Seasons
- Question Words, Quantities, Weather, and Time
- Asking for Help, Emergencies
- Banks, Taxis, and Restaurants
- Transportation and Finding Your Way
- Touring, Socializing, and Famous Expressions
- Love and Romance
220V, 50Hz, 2-pin (round) plug
- As of January 1, 2002, the euro (€) replaced the national currency of 12 countries within the European Union, including France. You can exchange currency at any bank branch (hours are listed below). Automatic cash machines can be found in most commercial centres.
- Bank Opening Hours Banking hours in Paris are usually from 10am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Throughout the rest of France, banks are usually open from 10am to 1pm, and 3pm to 5pm, Tuesday through Saturday. Banks often close earlier the day before a public holiday.
- Currency exchangeCurrency exchange can be carried out at all bank branches and Post Offices. Bureaux de change can also be found in large department stores, railway stations, airports and near to tourist sites. Please note: although the exchange rate is fixed, commission rates are not. By law these must be clearly displayed.
Check out the current Euro exchange rate with your currency here (close the new window to return): Travelsignposts Currency Converter
They are accepted in a large number of shops, hotels and restaurants. Shopkeepers often state a minimum amount required to be spent.
If you lose your credit card, immediately contact your credit card emergency hot-line to cancel the card (it’s advisable to have this number with you when you travel), or call your credit card Global Card Assistance Service – see numbers below:
Visa: 0800-90-1179 (tollfree)
Diner’s Club: 01 47 62 75 75
American Express: 01 47 77 72 00
In case of emergency, dial these numbers
Fire / accident (Pompiers)
If you have lost
- your documents – Report the matter to the local police station, they will give you a receipt, then contact your consulate.
- your keys, or a personal item – Ask at the police station for the number of the Lost & Found Office (in Paris: 01 55 76 20 00).The RATP (Paris public transport authority) and the SNCF (French National Railways) have their own department.
- Your car - Your report will be recorded at the police station or you will be directed to the car pound, if your car has been illegally parked and removed by the police.
- Your credit card – Immediately contact your credit card emergency hot-line to cancel the card, or call your credit card company’s Global Assistance or local office – see numbers here – then report the loss to the police.
- Your dog, cat or pet goanna - Contact the Société de protection des animaux (French animal protection society). Tel.: 33 (0) 1 43 80 40 66
All telephone numbers in France are have 10 digits.
To telephone France from abroad, dial the international code of your country + 33 and then, the nine digit number of the person you are calling (without the 0 at the beginning of the French telephone number), e.g. +33 1 47 77 72 00
To call somewhere in France when in France, dial the 10 digit number which starting with “0”, e.g. 01 47 77 72 00.
From France to a foreign country: dial 00 + the country number + the number of the person you are calling. You will find all telephone cards (for phone boxes, recharges for mobile phones, pre-paid cards.) available at Post Offices, tobacconists, souvenir shops.
All rates and country numbers are at www.francetelecom.fr/
France has excellent mobile phone coverage by the three French mobile phone operators. Find out from your own operator which French network to choose so that you can use your mobile phone in France.
In France, Mail boxes are coloured yellow and can be found along street and in every Post Office. Mail collection time are displayed on them.
You can buy stamps at any Post Offices and at any tobacconist.
Postage cost varies according to the weight of your mail and its destination. All rates at www.laposte.fr/
The French mail service is efficient: allow 24 to 48 hours for a letter sent in France to a destination in France; from France to abroad, allow 1 to 5 days.
The towns and regions of France have all sorts of museums and monuments for the visitor.
- Museum opening times vary, but please note that municipal museums are closed on Mondays, and national museums are closed on Tuesdays (except the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, which is closed on Mondays).
- Usually they are open from 10.00am to 7.00pm. Some large museums have late-night opening on Wednesdays or Thursdays.
- Find out everything about places to visit from the Regional Tourism Council or Tourist Office. You will find everything you need to know there.
- You can also consult the website of the centre for national monuments to find out about 200 monuments to French heritage: www.monum.fr
- or go to www.rmn.fr to find out about the 33 national museums across France