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France Being There

You are on vacation in France. Delicious! Do you have suitable clothes with you and which plugs can you use? Here you will find practical information on site.

Facts and numbers

Official name

French Republic / République française

Resident

Frenchman (m), French (v)

State form

Parliamentary republic
France is administratively divided into 13 regions and 95 departments.

Sea area parts

  • In the Atlantic: Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon and the French Antilles Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint-Martin.
  • In the Indian Ocean: Mayotte, Réunion, French Southern and Antarctic Territories (TAAF).
  • In the Pacific: Clipperton, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna.
  • In South America: French Guiana.

Capital

Paris / Paris

European Union

France has been a member of the European Union since its foundation in 1952.

Language

French

Population

2017: 65 million

Surface

543,965 km² (more than 13 times the Netherlands)

Income per inhabitant per year

$ 39,400 (NL: $ 46,500)

Average life expectancy

2016: 82 years (NL: 81 years)

Currency

Euro (EUR)

Country code license plate

F

Electricity

Voltage

230 volts

Reducer plug

  • Outlets have two round holes and may have an outwardly projecting grounding pin.
  • No adapter plug is required for earthed plugs with a hole for this earthing pin or flat plugs without earthed plug.
  • For earthed plugs without a hole for a grounding pin, an adapter type E or a plug can be required.

Clothing

  • Bring airy, but also warm clothing for changing weather conditions. A raincoat or poncho can come in handy. You will need a (fleece) sweater or cardigan for the cool evenings.
  • Take comfortable walking shoes with you. You need sturdy sandals on the coast. Water shoes with a sturdy sole protect against sharp stones and rocks.

Travel season

  • France is a destination for all seasons.
  • In the spring and autumn you can find pleasant temperatures especially in the south of France. The beauty is that you enjoy a quiet (and often advantageous) period.
  • In most mountain regions of France there is enough snow for winter sports.
  • The most popular – and therefore the busiest – season is and will be summer.
  • In the first half of August most French people go on vacation and it is often extra pressure in tourist places.

Language

  • Most spoken language: French.
  • Minority languages: Basque, Breton, Catalan, German, Occitan and in French Flanders even a little bit of Dutch.
  • French, Catalan and Occitan belong to the Romance branch of Indo-European languages.
  • Breton belongs to the Celtic branch of Indo-European languages.
  • Basque is an isolate, a language that, as far as is known, has no demonstrable relationship with other languages.
  • In tourist areas you can usually also speak English.

Medical care and safety

  • Health care is of good quality.
  • Travelers are advised to take out good travel insurance. Please note that cash payment may be required for the provision of medical care.
  • In case of hospitalization or when medical specialist care is required, travelers should contact their insurance company directly.

Emergencies

Medicines

  • Pharmacists, recognizable by a green cross, are open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 7 pm. Outside these times, always refer to a 24-hour pharmacy. Most medicines are available.
  • Take special medicines to a sufficient extent (in the original packaging) or ask the doctor for a prescription.
  • It is advisable to bring your own travel pharmacy with regular medicines.

Medical statement

  • Passengers who take medicines that fall under the Opium Act (such as certain sleeping pills, ADHD drugs and strong painkillers) must have a so-called Schengen Declaration for these medicines.
  • Traveling with these medicines without explanation is punishable.
  • The declaration is valid for 30 days after the specified effective date.
  • Request the declaration at least 2 weeks before departure.

Health advice

Ticks

  • Pay attention when walking or camping in nature, because these can transmit Lyme disease.
  • Encephalitis also occurs in wooded areas around Metz, Nancy, Strasbourg and Mulhouse.
  • Encephalitis is a brain inflammation caused by a virus, which can be transmitted by ticks. From April to November the ticks are the most active and the risk of contracting this disease is greatest.

Drinking water

In general, tap water in France is of good quality and can be safely drunk. In case of doubt, or if a sign with the inscription Eau non potable is attached to a tap, water from bottles can be used, which is available everywhere.

Food

Because encephalitis (see Character ) can also be transmitted via raw milk from cows, sheep or goats, it is advised not to use products made from raw milk ( au lait cru ), such as some cheeses.

Vaccinations

  • Vaccinations are not mandatory for France.
  • Encephalitis occurs in wooded areas around Metz, Nancy, Strasbourg and Mulhouse. Travelers who walk or camp in nature for more than four weeks in these areas in the period from March to November, or who are otherwise at risk of being ticked, are advised to be vaccinated against tick-borne encephalitis.

School holidays

2018-2019

Holiday From Until
Summer vacation 07-07-2018 31-08-2018
Autumn break 21-10-2018 04-11-2018
Christmas break 23-12-2018 06-01-2019
Winter holidays (zone A) 17-02-2019 03-03-2019
Winter holiday (zone B) 10-02-2019 24-02-2019
Winter holiday (zone C) 24-02-2019 10-03-2019
Spring break (zone A) 14-04-2019 28-04-2019
Spring break (zone B) 07-04-2019 22-04-2019
Spring break (zone C) 21-04-2019 05-05-2019
Summer vacation 07-07-2019 01-09-2019

Holiday spread

France is divided into three zones for the school holidays and has a holiday spread only for the winter and spring holidays.

Zone layout

  • Zone A: Caen, Lyon, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Montpellier, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Rennes, Toulouse.
  • Zone B: Aix-Marseilles, Amiens, Besançon, Dijon, Limoges, Lille, Nice, Orléans / Tours, Poitiers, Reims, Rouen, Strasbourg.
  • Zone C: Bordeaux, Créteil, Paris, Versailles.

More information

See also education.gouv.fr

Hotels in France

Book one of the more than 150.000 hotels in France at Booking.com



Booking.com

Camping in France

With some 9000 campsites, the number of camping options in France is the largest of all European holiday countries. The range varies from beautifully situated, simple grounds to lively holiday centers with plenty of opportunities for entertainment.

Types of campsites

  • Camping à la ferme: camping with the farmer.
  • Camping municipal: municipal site.
  • Camping naturist: naturist campsite.
  • Camping d’hiver: usually open only during the winter months.
  • Aire naturelle de camping: very simple campsite with no more than 6 pitches and a maximum of 20 guests.

Quality of campsites

  • The quality of the French campsite is generally good, especially in the sanitary area.
  • The government-defined division into categories and the associated designations with stars are based on the quantity of facilities and not on quality.
  • Campsites with the Qualité quality mark are subject to a series of regulations, including a regular, independent inspection that takes into account 500 points. There are around 950 campsites that comply with this. For more information, visit campingqualite.com

Glamping

  • In France, luxury camping is a fast-growing phenomenon. Luxury villa or safari tents with dishwasher are no exception.
  • A luxury rental accommodation is often standard equipped with wooden floor, kitchen unit with refrigerator, espresso machine and comfortable furniture.

Camping organizations

The most important camping organizations in France are Camping Club de France )campingclubdefrance.fr) and Fédération Française de Camping et de Caravanning (ffcc.fr). They represent the interests of campers and provide information.

Camping prices

  • The average price for a camping stay in high season for four people is around € 30.
  • Campsites on the coasts are usually more expensive than those in the interior.
  • The amount payable must usually be paid in advance. In the event of early departure, the unused allowance will usually not be refunded.
  • The rates depend on the location of the terrain, the comfort, the region and the season. In general, the stay for children under 3 years is free and there is a discount for young people between 3 and 14 years.
  • The rates are usually calculated per location, ie including car, camping equipment and two adults. Hikers or cyclists with a small tent are advantageous. Sometimes a rate per person applies to them.
  • Access to facilities such as swimming pool, sauna, discotheques and sports competitions is generally included. Some activities require a small contribution, such as equipment for mini golf, tennis and horse riding, organized tours and bicycle rental. A fee is often also asked for the use of the washing machine.
  • Tourist tax is usually included in the rates of the campsite.

Camping booking

  • In general, in case of a stay in high season (July and August), timely reservation is necessary to ensure a place. This certainly applies to campsites by the sea. In the interior, the camping pitches in the Ardèche and Dordogne, but also in the winter sports areas, are fully booked early.
  • At many campsites it is also possible to rent fully equipped mobile homes or bungalows. Usually a minimum rental period of one week applies. It is wise to book well in advance.
  • You can book a campsite through Booking.com



Booking.com

Wildcamping

Staying outside the campsite is permitted with the permission of the owner of the site, but is forbidden on the beaches, along the roads and in protected landscapes. Ask the Offices de Tourisme or the gendarmerie.

Camping along the road

  • In the absence of a local ban, the parking of a camper or car with a caravan along the public road is allowed for a maximum of 7 consecutive days. This maximum time is 24 hours on parking spaces along motorways.
  • The wheels must rest directly on the ground and outdoor camping activities may not be deployed (table, chairs, clothesline, etc.).
  • On toll roads it is important to know that the toll ticket has a limited validity. The stay can not last longer than 24 hours.

Winter camping

  • France has a significant number of campsites that are also open in the winter. These are often referred to as campsites caravaneiges.
  • The winter campsites are mainly to be found in the winter sports areas of the Alps, Vosges and Pyrenees.
  • A number of winter campsites also have rental accommodations, such as caravans or bungalows.

Particularities

There are no camping sites within the city limits of Paris. The two areas closest to the French capital can be found in the Bois de Boulogne (west side) and in Champigny-sur-Marne (south-east side).