- Visitor info
- Working and living
- Did you know
France has been the world's most popular tourist destination for over one hundred years and it's geographically one of the most diverse countries in Europe. Its cities contain some of the greatest treasures in Europe, its countryside is prosperous and well tended and it boasts dozens of major touris attractions.
There are three main airports in Paris, Charles de Gaulle, Orly and Beauvais. Outside Paris there are international airports in Lille, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Marseilles, Lyon, Nantes, Toulouse, Nice.
Eurostar runs trains between France and the U.K. and Belgium. SNCF, the French rail company operates trains between France and countries all over Europe. France is included in the Inter-Rail pass scheme which is available throughout Europe. So if you are visiting a number of countries this is well worth it.
Roscoff, Cherbourg, Le Havre, Calais and Dunkerque are the main ports in France and many ferries run between them and Britain and Ireland. From Dover in the U.K. it can take as little as an hour and a half to reach France. From Ireland you are looking at 14 hours.
Rise in property crime in the last few years; beware of pickpockets on the train and outside attractions.
Thefts from rental cars are common, keep valuables outside.
For more tips on staying safe, visit our security section.
The European Health Insurance Card is valid here for citizens of E.U. member states. This will cover you in the case of an emergency but remember that you should still have health insurance as the EHIC will not cover everything.
The emergency number is 112.
Coffee and beer can be expensive in France, wine tends to be cheaper.
Markets are excellent places to buy food - fresh and cheap.
Spring is a good time to visit France; however, it can be cold.
Avoid cities in mid July - end August as most people tend to head out of town on holidays. Shops and restaurants shut down. Prices tend to go up as well.
Lunch can be the cheapest meal as there are cheap fixed price lunch menus. Make it your main meal if you're on a budget.
If you sit at a table for a drink (e.g. coffee) it can incur surcharges. Drink at the bar instead.
For travel tips on packing, camping, flying and much more, visit our travel tips section.
Citizens of most countries can visit France quite easily and stay for up to 90 days. You will not be able to work on this holiday visa however.
Citizens from inside the EU/EEA or Switzerland can live and work in France with no restrictions. If you are from outside these areas however, you will have to find a job first, and then get a work permit. France is suffering from high unemployment so it will be difficult to get work here, unless you are qualified in a highly skilled sector such as aerospace or pharmaceuticals for instance.
If you don’t speak French you will have almost no chance of getting a job in France.
Taxation is quite high in France. The cost of living in France can be quite high in urban areas, less so in more rural areas. Education, Health and Childcare are subsidised by the government so these can be quite a lot cheaper than in many countries.
Visit www.diplomatie.gouv.fr for more information.
The rector of the Grand Mosque in Paris helped Jews during World War II by giving them Muslim IDs.
French is the second most studied language in the world. English is the first.
France is the most visited country in the world, with over 80 million tourists heading there every year.
Viaduc de Millau or the Millau Viaduct in southern France is the tallest bridge in the world.
The Tour de France is the most famous bicycle race in the world.
20% of the population of France live in or around Paris.
France once ruled over the second largest colonial empire in the world after Great Britain.
The hot air balloon was invented in France.
The Queen Mary II, the largest cruise liner in the world, was actually built in France.