France, which is known officially as the French Republic, is a country located in Western Europe. It has borders with the Mediterranean Sea, the English Channel, the North Sea, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Andorra and Spain. The capital city and largest city is Paris. Ethnic groups are varied, but 93 percent of those living in France are French citizens. The official and national language is French.
Most of metropolitan France is in an oceanic climate. Other climate zones of France include the semi-continental climate of the north and central east areas, mountain climate in the Alps and the Mediterranean climate in the Rhone valley. France is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. The Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe are two of the most popular tourist landmarks. The wine country of France and the French Riviera are also top spots.
Discover our travel destinations in France
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Capital of France Paris the city of love, city of culture, city with history.The French capital is one of the most important major cities in Europe. Here is and was the political center of France, here the most modern architecture meets historical buildings, here you find the French way of life lives right next to…
Occitania is the name of the French region, which was created on 1 January 2016 by the merger of the former regions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées. In French, the name Occitanie is written and was voted in a referendum with 44.9% of all votes cast , Occitania is the second largest region (without overseas regions)…
Travel information about France
The largest airports in the country are in Paris, Lyon and Marseille. In addition, there are numerous smaller airports, but these are often served by international flights.
Within France, smaller airports can often be reached via the Paris hub.
The railway network in France offers attractive connections on some high-speed lines. Reservations are compulsory for the high-speed trains (TGV, ICE, Thalys, Eurostar).
Other routes are often used much less frequently. Here, buses are often offered which travel the same route in parallel and can also be used with the rail ticket.
From Germany it is easy to get to France by long-distance bus services.
There are bus connections to the Iberian Peninsula and even to Morocco.
There are numerous motorways leading to and through France. The road network is well developed.
Most motorways are subject to tolls! The toll is calculated according to the number of kilometres driven. You pay at special toll stations – but beware, sometimes only cash payment is possible. There is also the possibility of paying via an electronic system (Télépéage system with an RFID transmitter on the windscreen) and subsequent settlement via credit card. The transmitter is available locally at the SANEF toll booths near the border.
The motorway network in Brittany is free of charge!
Many of France’s coastal towns have a port. There are connections to Algeria, Corsica, the United Kingdom and Ireland, for example.
The European long-distance cycle routes EuroVelo 3, EuroVelo 4 and EuroVelo 6 run through France.
Entry requirements / Visa
German nationals require a passport or identity card to enter France. Travel documents other than the temporary identity card must not have been out of date for more than one year.
On the way in…
Rail transport is provided almost exclusively by the national railway company SNCF.
The route network is divided into the well-developed and frequently used high-speed network and the regional railway network.
The high-speed trains usually used their own railway lines and do not stop as often. It can even happen that they do not stop at the main station but only at a smaller station in order not to lose time. From there, shuttle buses take you into the city.
The regional trains connect the surrounding areas of large conurbations quite widely. There are even many small towns that are not connected to the railway network.
The public transport network in France is very sparse. Buses and trams run very infrequently, especially in the evenings and at weekends.
Many cities have started to make their city centres car-free. There are large car parks on the outskirts of the city from where you can take the tram to the city centre.
The road network is very well developed in most regions. In general, you can drive quite quickly. Unfortunately, they do not always stop at pedestrian crossings. However, a red light is not necessarily a sign to wait, even for pedestrians.
The following speed limits apply:
- in the village 50 km/h
- outside the town 80 km/h – in fog 50 km/h
- motorway 130 km/h – in rain 110 km/h
The blood alcohol limit is 0.5 ‰ and 0.2 ‰ within the first three years of obtaining a driving licence.
Motorways in France are indicated with blue signs, blue symbols and blue distance boards. Péage means that the indicated motorway section is subject to tolls.
Routes Nationales, partly double-lane non-toll main roads, are signposted with green signposts.
In addition, there are some traffic regulations that deviate from the rules in Germany:
- Trams always have right of way
- the priority roads end at the place name sign
- A cross-shaped red light sign at the rear of traffic lights of oncoming traffic indicates that this traffic has red and that a left turn is possible with its own green light.
- Flashing yellow arrows at traffic lights that are red indicate that it is permissible to continue in the “yellow direction”, with cross-traffic having the right of way.
- Vehicles entering the roundabout always have the right of way. Exception: the traffic sign “CÉDEZ LE PASSAGE” (Give way) is displayed at the roundabout. (Give way) is displayed at the roundabout
- Limited and free parking is possible with parking discs in the Zones Bleues (blue markings on the kerb or on the road).
- Parking is prohibited in yellow stripes at the edge of the road.
Most motorways are subject to tolls (always marked “péage” on signposts). Tolls must be paid according to the distance travelled and the type of vehicle.
The toll can usually be paid at counters via a ticket system. In the entry and exit areas of the toll booths, the lanes are not marked. The road widens beforehand and then narrows again. Open and closed passing points are clearly marked.
There are extra lanes marked in yellow for users of special payment methods such as the electronic Liber-t Box. Lanes with euro or coin symbols indicate cash payments. Here, payment can only be made with coins that are dropped into a funnel. There is always a lane for payment by credit card.
Best time to travel
Spring and summer (April to August) is the most popular time to travel in France. In August, the holiday month in France, many shops and restaurants are closed.
The climate depends on the region you visit. In general, however, it can be said: In winter, snow falls in the mountains. In winter, it is mild in the Mediterranean region, and hot and dry in summer.
The main language in France is French. There are numerous regions where a wide variety of dialects are spoken.
Type C and E plugs are used in France. Type C is compatible with sockets in Germany – but the coverage is not 100%. If you want to be on the safe side, get a travel adapter in advance.
In France, a service charge of 15% is included in the bill for bistros, cafés or restaurants. Nevertheless, it is appreciated if the guest voluntarily leaves a tip of 10% of the bill amount on a small plate or in a basket. If you pay by credit card, leave an additional tip on the table. The tip is not simply added to the bill amount, as the amount shown must be taxed and often does not reach the waiter.
For taxi rides, a tip of 10% of the fare is usually given.
In hotels, a few euros are also given to the chambermaid and, in expensive hotels, to the porter or the luggage porter.