Passports and Visas
All passengers require a machine-readable passport valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip, with appropriate visas. You should carry your passport with you at all times to ensure against its loss or theft in hotels. Check with the French Consulate to determine if any visas are needed. Securing required documents is the responsibility of the traveler. This information is a guide only and it is essential that you check all current passport and visa rules with your travel agent before departure.
France uses the euro. There are eight coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents and 1 and 2 euros. Notes are issued in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros. You can change US dollars at banks and currency exchange agencies for the best rates, hotels and some shops can also change them for you, but the rate will likely be much higher. ATMs are also an efficient way to get money in the local currency.
Traveller’s checks are difficult to use — most merchants will not accept them, and exchanging them may involve finding a bank that accepts to exchange them and possibly paying a fee. Credit cards are widely accepted.
220..230V, 50Hz. Outlets: CEE7/5 (protruding male earth pin), accepting CEE 7/5 (Grounded), CEE 7/7 (Grounded) or CEE 7/16 (non-grounded) plugs
Internet access is available in cyber cafes all over large and medium-sized cities. Service is usually around €4 per hour. You'll also find Wi-Fi access in some Paris cafés. There will be a sign on the door or on the wall. Also look for the @ symbol prominently displayed, which indicates internet availability. However, with most homes now wired for the internet, cyber cafes are increasingly hard to find, especially outside the major cities.
Phoning home from another country can be expensive. All hotels will add a service charge to the cost of any phone calls you make from your room. This charge can be very high. It is always cheaper for you to use public telephones (payphones) if your cell phone is not set for international calls. Your Travel Director can explain how to dial internationally if you are unsure.
You can expect to find excellent quality and choice when shopping in France. You may wish to buy perfume, clothing, lace, crystal/glass, china, silk scarves and ties, gloves, cheeses, coffee, wines, spirits and liqueurs. In many shops in France, you should ask the shopkeeper to take items from the shelf, as opposed to picking it up yourself. This applies in liquor or wine stores, clothing stores, etc. Shopping hours are Mondays to Saturdays, 9am to 6:30pm. Many shops close for lunch between noon and 2pm.
We suggest the following tipping rates: Taxis 10-15% of the fare on the meter, Restaurants and bars 10-15% of the total bill. If a service charge has already been added there is no need to tip as much or at all.
Trains are a great way to get around in France. You can get pretty much from anywhere to anywhere else by train. For long distances, use the TGV (Train a Grande Vitesse - High-Speed Train) on which reservations are obligatory. But, if you have time, take the slow train and enjoy the scenery. The landscape is part of what makes France one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
Generally, casual jeans or slacks, shirts, sweaters, a jacket and comfortable walking shoes are all you'll need. If you plan on an evening at a nicer venue, dressier clothes may be called for. If you are traveling in the spring or autumn, you might want to bring a warmer jacket or coat in case the weather is cold.