France as a Travel Destination

France

Did you know that the Statue of Liberty located in New York, USA, is actually French?  In fact, France constructed the 151 ft. tall monument, and gifted it to the United States on October 28, 1886.

How about the bikini?  Yes!  Louis Réard, who was a French engineer, invented the modern bikini in 1946.  

The History of France

Prior to taking on the name France, the country was named Gaul.  Gaul was taken over by the Romans, and assumed its culture and language.

In the region of 400 AD, a Germanic group of people known as the Franks traveled to Gaul and made their home.  The term “Franks” is where France’s name originated from. 

France experienced massive defeats during World War I.  Though the country was taken over by the Nazis throughout World War II, the region ultimately freed itself in 1941, with assistance from the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.

France has some of the most iconic structures in the world, such as the Eiffel Tower.  The country is a part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union (EU), and was ranked 20th on the Human Development Index, which is to say, France’s quality of living.

Climate of France

Depending upon the area in which you’re visiting, you’ll experience a few different climate variations in France:  Continental, Mediterranean and Oceanic.

While visiting central and eastern France such as Centre and Franche-Comté, be prepared for balmy and tepid summers and very cold winters, with plenty of rainfall and snow particularly in the higher elevations.

The south of France, perhaps the most prominent region, entails mild weather patterns, which is to say, you’ll feel chilly but calm winters, partial rainfall and hot summers.

If you are in the western part of the region such as Paris, you will experience calm, cool, breezy summers and very mild winters with plenty of rain.

Along the northern coastal regions and mountainous quarters, heavy rainfall is to be expected. 

Visa Requirements for France

If you are not a citizen of France, you will be required to attain a valid visa to enter French territory.  If you feel you are exempt from this rule, contact your local embassy so that you can obtain specific instructions and paperwork.

If you are visiting France for 90 days or less and are from the Schengen area, you will need to submit an application for a short-stay visa, also referred to as a “Schengen visa.”

If you are visiting France for more than 90 days and are from the Schengen area, you will need to submit an application for a long-stay visa, also referred to as a “Schengen visa.”

If you are not from the Schengen area, and depending upon your stay as outlined above, you will need to apply for a long or short stay visa.

When submitting your short or long stay visa application, you must submit it to the French consulate.

You will also need your passport which should be valid for at least 3 months from the time you enter France.

Be sure to contact the French consulate to receive additional instructions on submitting your application and if they will require specific documentation such as:  possible insurance, proof as to the purpose of your trip, etc.

What Type of Currency is Accepted in France?

The national currency of France is the Euro.  If you need to exchange currency, most banks, large stores, airports, exchange offices near major tourist sites and train stations will accommodate you.

It’s best to look for larger banks or exchange offices that are located in the center of town or financial district.  Hotels are also an option if you are exchanging a small amount of currency.  The exchange rate will vary based on where you are exchanging your currency.

If you need to exchange your Traveler’s Checks, it is best to do so at an exchange office or bank as not many businesses recognize them.

Another option is to purchase Traveler’s Checks.  You can purchase them from any major bank in France.  It’s a much safer and secure way to travel.

Visa is accepted at most French establishments with MasterCard close behind.  Keep in mind, shops, markets and restaurants will not accept credit card payments if the purchase is under 15 or 20 Euros.

Also, ATM machines may not be readily available so it’s best to utilize your Visa, Master Card, Traveler’s Checks in French Francs or Euro.

The Language

The language of France is French.  If you are traveling to any foreign country in which you are not familiar with, it’s always recommended that you learn a few simple words and phrases to open the lines of communication.

Travel to France

You are able to access France by air or ship.  Although, economically speaking, flying will most likely be the better bargain.

Once in France, you will have access to taxis, buses and a superb rail system.

While there are over 40 airports in France, the two main Paris international airports are:  Orly and Charles de Gaulle.

Places to Visit While in France

  • Paris – The Eiffel Tower and The Louvre (Musée du Louvre)
  • Palace of Versailles – Residence of the King and his court during 17th century France
  • Saint-Tropez along the French Rivera – Sunbathing and pleasant weather
  • Lyon – Outstanding museums, art galleries, wonderful shopping and exuberant night life
  • St. Paul de Vence in Province – Charming hilltops, boutiques, sidewalk cafes and art galleries
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