France has many facets. From the endless lavender fields of Provence to the beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean coast, from the mountain ranges of the Alps and Pyrenees to bustling cities at the heart of the country – France has something to offer everyone. Everywhere there are scenic treasures, historic sights and naturally, always good wine. A visit to France will give you an impressive and very special holiday.
Facts & Figures
Official name: République Française (Republic of France) Location: Located between Belgium and Spain on the Mediterranean Sea, the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel Area: 545, 000 km² Capital: Paris Population: 66.6 million (2016) Religious and ethnic groups: 65% Roman Catholic, 5% Muslim / 90% French, 6% North African Language: French Geography: Flat to hilly in north and west, Alps and Pyrenees in east and south. Highest point: Mont Blanc (4807m) Time zone: Central European Time (UTC + 01:00) Political and Economic: Parliamentary Presidential Democracy / GDP: 2,222.6 billion (2016) Currency: Euro (since 2002)
Arrival and departure
Flight duration: Visa: Vaccinations: No vaccination requirements Upon arrival: France has one of the best transport networks in the world. It is easily possible to reach your desired destination within France on roads and rails (or on the water) quickly and comfortably.
Climate and best time to travel
France's climate varies between regions. It is temperate on the coasts, continental in the east and characterized by strong temperature differences. Winter average temperature: Paris / Nice: 4 ° C / 9 ° C (lows of 1 ° C / 5 ° C in January) Summer average temperature: Paris / Nice: 19 ° C / 21 ° C (maximum temperatures around 25 ° C in July / 27 ° C in August) Water temperature: (Atlantic) max. 19 ° C in August / (Mediterranean) max. 24 ° C in August
Beach season is from June to September, but a trip to France is worth it all year round. In winter, the mountainous regions offer numerous winter sports activities and a visit to Paris and other cities of France is recommended in the transitional seasons due to the pleasant temperatures.
The most beautiful holiday regions
Languedoc / Mediterranean coast - Blue coast and countless hours of sunshine Brittany / Atlantic Coast - Raw nature and culinary delights Alsace / East - Historic villages and vast vineyards
Public holidays and celebrations
New Year (January 1), Good Friday (March / April), Easter Monday (March / April), Labor Day (May 1), Victory Day 1945 (May 8), Ascension Day (May), Whit Monday (May / June), National Day (July 14), Assumption Day (August 15), All Saints Day (November 1), Memorial Day 1918 (November 11), Christmas (December 25/26).
DOs and DON'Ts
DOs • Dine like the French. In France, a meal usually consists of several smaller courses. A good glass of wine is a wonderful experience for the palate. • Take the metro and bus. In Paris, road traffic is hardly manageable for a foreign driver; thus, a ride with the public transportation will spare your never and give you a more relaxing view of the city. • Carry an alcohol test in the car. For cars and motorcycles, this is mandatory since 2012.
DON‘Ts • Don’t speak only your native language. The French are very proud of their language and often do not speak much else. Therefore, learning at least simple French sentences for daily communication are advantageous. • Don’t expect typical opening hours. In France, almost all shops are closed at lunchtime and on Sundays. Some shops are open on Sundays, but are closed on Mondays.
Can I drink the tap water? French tap water is also drinking water in most cases. Do I need an adapter? Yes if you are coming from outside continental Europe.
Top tips and discoveries
Paris As the centre of power and commerce, but also as the "city of love", Paris has always attracted people from all walks of life. These visitors, as well as people who came to Paris from the colonies and enclaves of France, have shaped the city. They have contributed to a Paris that unites many habitats and cultures, creating a colorful and vibrant cityscape that is always changing. By contrast, the impressive, proud and sometimes centuries-old monuments sit enthroned far above the city or lie tucked away in alleys and quiet gardens. It is precisely this contrast or the balance between fast-changing and antiquity, between the ever new and the eternal, which makes Paris so unique.
Côte d'Azur (The French Rivera) The Côte d’Azur became even more one of the premier wedding destinations in France since noblemen and Hollywood stars started spending their summer holidays there decades ago. Cannes and Nice are still two of the most popular destinations for the rich and famous. Even away from these centers, France shows its best side here. Beautiful beaches, views of the mountainous backcountry and excellent food make a visit to the Côte d'Azur an incomparable experience.