Loading slideshow...
 
 

France - Country Profile

Summary

France is the largest country in Western Europe, streching from the Channel to the Mediterranean and from the windswept Atlantic coast to the Alps. The variety of landscapes is incredible, from sand dunes and desolate coastlines, rolling hills, verdant river valleys and towering mountains with everything in between.

Paris is an international destination in itself - with a wealth of galleries and culture, there's more than enough to keep anyone occupied for an entire holiday. However France is more than just Paris - the rural nature of the rest of the country is inviting for visitors. Farmland covers much of the rolling hills, giving way to pastures as the mountains are approached.

France is also easy to get around. The motorway network is good if expensive, while the back roads can be a much quieter and very scenic alternative.

Highlights

Weather and times to visit

France's clmate is moderated by the Atlantic and does vary from region ro region. The best time to visit is from spring through to October, with winter very popular for the ski resorts. Millions of French people take thier annual holiday in August where roads become congested and campsites fill up. Many shops and restaurants in the cities close down during this period, so August is best avoided comletely.

Language

The official language is French. English is widely spoken in tourist areas, however things go much smoother if you approach in French, even if you only ask if they speak English.

Currency and money matters

France uses the Euro. ATM machines are found everywhere and credit cards are accepted in many places.

Business Hours

Banks open Monday to Friday from 8.45am, but may only offer exchange services in the morning. Other shops are open from 9-10am to 6-7pm daily with Sunday closures very common. Shops will often close for lunch.

Visas

Citizens of the EU, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand can enter France visa free. However South Africans must have a visa - apply before leaving home. By law everyone must carry identification - this will mean your passport or EU identity card.

General Campsite Conditions

French campsites are rated on the facilities and ameneties and this is reflected in the price. Some are seasonal, others open all year. The larger campsites are more like holiday destinations in themselves - complete with swimming pools and children's activities.