Planning a Trip to France?.
Here are 25 things to know when planning a trip to France that we learned about travelling in France that can help you to make the most of your trip to France.
- Obviously, French. English is not generally spoken outside the major cities.
- We found that if you initially address someone in basic French, they are more likely to speak a little English to help you out. A short travel French course before your trip to France is not only fun but will really help
- Carry a French phrase book to help out with menus and navigating transport if you are not fluent in French.
- The Euro is the currency throughout France.
- Either purchase your Euros from your bank before you leave, or use an ATM. Airport cash exchange and money exchanges can be very expensive.
- Credit cards, debit cards and travel cards are widely accepted.
- ATMs may not be readily available in smaller towns, so you will need to carry some cash if you are travelling in rural areas.
- Many businesses are closed on Sunday and Monday. If you are planning a visit to a specific attraction, it is well worth checking their opening days when planning your itinerary.
- Most things shut for lunch from around 12 noon until 3pm, so you will need to plan your day around this. You will usually be able to find a restaurant to relax in during the siesta, or else grab some bread, cheese and wine from the corner store and plan a picnic in the countryside.
- Reusable shopping bags are generally not available. You will need to bring a tote bag for your groceries.
- Understanding prices can be confusing. Carry a small notepad and pen and ask them to write down the price.
When planning a trip to France, you need to consider your transport options.
- Driving is the best way to get around in the more regional areas, however you will need to be confident driving on the right hand side of the road.
- If travelling into a major town, you will find it easiest to “park and ride” on one of the trams or buses outside the town centre.
- Trams, buses and trains run in the larger centres and between major towns.
- Euro-rail runs an extensive rail network across Europe, which can be a very ecconomical way to travel.
- An interrail pass can be booked on line and save you up to 15 per cent on rail travel if you are planning to travel by train.
Food and Drink
- When ordering at a restuarant, the “menu” as we know it in Australia is a set meal at a set price, whereas “a’la’carte” is a choice of dishes on offer “menu as we know it”. A “Menu” can be a very economical way of enjoying an excellent French meal.
- The legal drinking age is 16 in France. If you are travelling with a teenager, it is worth having a discussion before you travel.
- Expect to tip 5-10 per cent at a restaurant.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes when visiting villages and older towns. The cobblestone streets are not kind on your feet. Don’t even think about high heels.
- Carry a pashmina or shawl at the bottom of your tote bag to cover up when entering churches or villages if necessary. It can be useful to keep of the chill of a late afternoon breeze.
- wearing singlet tops, short skirts, short shorts or low cut dresses may be considered offensive in smaller villages churches and other cultural sites.
- Free public toilets are not widely available. You will need to keep a few euros in coin in case you need to “spend a penny”
- Be aware of scams. Scammers will target free attractions such as churches, holding a box for you to place a few euros in for “entry”.
- If someone tries to hand you a wallet, piece of jewellery etc and asks if it is yours, do not take it – they will then demand a “reward” for returning your lost property.
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