- From the end of March until the end of October, French time goes from GMT+1 to GMT+2: summer time! (GMT = Greenwich Meridian Time)
France has the benefit of a temperate, rather pleasant climate.
Continental France is divided into four climate zones:
- Oceanic and humid climate with cool and windy winters and usually nice and warm summers on the west of a line from Bayonne to Lille.
- Semi-continental climate with harsh winters and hot summers in Alsace, Lorraine, along the Rhone corridor and in the mountainous massifs (Alpes, Pyrenees and Massif Central).
- Intermediate climate with cool winters and warm summers in the north, in Paris and central regions.
- Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers in the south east of France.
- 220 volt electricity is available throughout the country.
- Adaptors are available in most electrical shops and department stores.
- The national language of France is French.
- Most French people who work in the tourism industry and in related fields speak English.
- Many speak other foreign languages, and as a general rule, there will always be someone who understands you!
There are 11 in France:
- January 1st,
- Easter Monday,
- May 1st and 8th,
- Ascencion day,
- Pentacost Monday,
- July 14th,
- August 15th,
- November 1st and 11th,
- December 25th.
On these days, government administrations, banks, shops… and schools are closed.
French school children and teachers have five holidays a year!
- One week at the end of October,
- two weeks at Christmas,
- two weeks in February (winter holidays),
- two weeks in spring (usually in April),
- two summer months in July and August.
- For citizens of European Union countries, a current valid identity card is sufficient.
- However, if you are a citizen of another country, a passport is obligatory, with a visa for certain countries.
- Minors travelling alone must carry authorisation for travelling signed by their parents.
- No vaccinations are required for entering France.
- Depending on your nationality, the duration and the reason of your stay in France, it may be necessary for you to obtain a visa before leaving. In this case, you should apply at the French consulate in your country. You will find details of their addresses on the website of the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs:
Get information about visa - « Venir en France » to check what the requirements are for your trip.
- France’s currency is the Euro (€).
- You can exchange currency at any bank branch (hours are listed below).
- Automatic cash machines can be found almost everywhere in towns, tourist sites and shopping centres.
Bank Opening Hours
- Bank hours are usually from 10.00 to 17.00, Monday to Friday.
- Each bank branch has different opening days and hours, check them upon arrival.
- Banks usually close earlier the day prior to a bank holiday and are of course closed on bank holidays.
- Currency exchange can be carried out at all bank branches and Post Offices.
- Exchange offices “bureaux de change” can also be found in large department stores, railway stations, airports and near to tourist sites.
Please note: although the exchange rate is fixed, commission rates are not. These must be clearly displayed.
- They are accepted in a large number of shops, hotels and restaurants.
- Shopkeepers often state a minimum amount required to be spent.