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KEY INFORMATION FOR TRAVEL TO FRANCE:
A great starting point is the French Government Tourist office: www.atoutfrance.com
RAIL TRAVEL – where to get your tickets:
for USA residents, In English & US Dollars
For European residents in their language or for worldwide clients in English. Currency depends on country of residence
The French rail site; In French & Euros, you do not have to be French to purchase your tickets on this site
Sometimes promotions on the SNCF site are better than prices from Rail Europe, so if you know a bit of French, the French rail site is a good resource.
CAR RENTALS – one of the best sites is Auto Europe – they shop lots of vendors and have flexible terms: Auto Europe
European Union, U.S., Canadian, New Zealand, Australian and Mexican citizens only need a valid passport to travel to France as long as their stay does not exceed 3 months. You are required to carry identification with you at all times when traveling in France. ?If you lose your passport, contact the appropriate office in blue below.
American Consulate: 2, rue Saint Florentin – 75001 Paris Tel: 01.42.96.12.02 or 01.42.61.80.75
Consular Section for Canadians 35, Avenue de Montaigne – 75008 Paris Tel: 01.44.43.32.00
Australian Embassy 4, Rue Jean Rey -75015 Paris Tel: 01.40.59.33.00
Others: contact your government or the French government office in your country well in advance of departure to know your requirements.
Emergency phone numbers in France:
Other telephone numbers in Paris:
24-hour doctor: 01.47.07.77.77
24-hour dentist: 01.43.37.51.00
English language crisis line: 01.47.23.80.80
American Hospital: 63 boulevard Victor Hugo 92202 Neuilly 01.46.41.25.25
American Pharmacy: 1 rue Auber 75009 Paris 01.42.60.72.96
January 1, New Years Day
May 1 Labor Day
May 8, WWII Victory Day
Ascension Thursday (last Thursday of May)
July 14 Bastille Day
August 15, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
November 1st, All Saints Day
November 11, Armistice Day
December 25th, Christmas Day
Banks are generally open weekdays from 9:00am – 4:30pm. In many cities outside Paris, the banks close for lunch, sometimes for up to 2 hours. Most banks are closed Saturday and Sunday and all holidays. The main banks are: BNP, Credit Agricole, Societe Generale, Caisse d’Epargne, and Credit du Nord.
Electricity in France runs on 220 volt, 50-cycle AC current. If you bring electrical devices, you will need to have a transformer and plug adapter.
Tipping: Almost all restaurants include tax and a 15% service charge with the bill. It is noted as service compris. If you really liked the service and/or the meal, an additional tip is customary. About 5 Euros or small change left from your bill. If service is not included, a 15% tip is customary. In hotels, 2 or 3 Euros for each piece of luggage is the norm for bellmen and the same for housekeeping. Taxi drivers should receive about 10% to 15%, hairdressers 10%. Other times a 1 Euro tip is appropriate for washroom attendants, coatroom, ushers and museum tour guides. Bus drivers and tour guides get tipped after an excursion15% standard.
Driving in France :
An American drivers license is valid for Americans driving in France but we strongly recommend getting an international drivers license (at any AAA office). Have another ID document with you like your passport. Insurance is highly recommended. The legal age to drive in France is 18. Trucks except with special authorization are not allowed to drive on Sunday.Seat belts must be worn at all times children under 12 must sit in the backseat.Park your car only where it is authorized, fines are easily given and cars are often towed away! Book a Car Rental