Facts for the Visitor
required, visitors permitted to stay 3 months.
visa required, visitors permitted to stay 3 months.
Language Skills Needed
|Some knowledge of
French and an English-French dictionary is recommended.
|Available everywhere. Most are on the Plus
and Maestro international networks.
The usual maximum withdrawal is € 300 (Euros).
|US$ 1 = 1.02
Euros (€) on October 15, 2002.
|220V, 50Hz. Plugs have
2 round pins.
|International Certificates of Vaccination are not required.
service charge is added to restaurant bills as mandated by
French regulations. No additional tip is required nor expected.
Paris Metro (Subway) Tickets
"carnet" of ten tickets for zone 1. The city is
divided into 5 zones, but things most visitors will want to see
are in zone 1. A carnet costs 55 Fr, which is slightly more than
the cost as
five zone 1 tickets bought individually. In addition, having
pre-paid tickets will save considerable time by not having to
buy a single ticket each time. There are no travel or time
limitations on the tickets in the carnet. They are identical to
individually bought zone 1 tickets.
Stamp Your Train Ticket
train stations have a ticket time/date-stamping machine at the
door leading to the platform. Be sure to stamp your ticket
before boarding the train. Why? Train tickets in France are
valid for about 2 months. Stamping the ticket validates the
ticket for the day of use. Forgetting to stamp your ticket will
make the ticket-checker aboard the train suspect that you intend
to use your ticket for multiple unpaid trips.
addition to hotels and youth hostels, France has a regulated
network of Gîtes (short-term rental properties) and Chambre
d'Hôtes (Bed and Breakfasts). Both are part of Gîtes de
France, which publishes listings in a thicker National Guide and
thinner Provincial Guides, rates them between 1-5 ears of corn
(like 1-5 stars) using consistent, published standards, and
handles bookings for the Gîtes (Chambre d'Hôtes should be
contacted directly for reservations). Find the Gîtes de France
guides in any book store in France. Most of the
information is also on the Internet at URL
A subset of
rentals regulated by Gîtes de France:
||A Bed and Breakfast.
Rooms usually has a private WC, and a French style breakfast is
normally served in a common eating room with other guests.
|Chambre et Table d'Hôte:
||A Bed and Breakfast as above, but these
B&B's also serve dinner on request.
short-term property rental away from the city centers or in the
country. Bookings are handled by the Gîte de France office of
the province where the Gîte is located. Gîtes can typically
accommodate 2, 4, or 6 people and are fully furnished. July,
August, and school holiday week rentals are for 1 week minimum
starting on a Saturday and are priced higher. Rent is paid to the Gîte de France office
by bank draft or credit card. A set published fee for utilities,
and sometimes bed sheets, is paid to the Gîte landlord.
||Dormitory accommodations, usually catering
to hikers. Demi-pension (bed, dinner, and breakfast) option is normally available.
and Canadians wishing to rent a car in Europe can find the best
deal through AutoEurope in the USA. Reservations can be made
after arriving to Europe. Simply reserve on the AutoEurope web
page or telephone AutoEurope (US
Eastern Standard Time business hours, which would be night time
in Europe) toll free (some of the numbers are listed below).
AutoEurope will fax or email the rental agreement with pick-up /
drop-off specifics. Payment is via credit card over the phone or
by secure browser.
The savings is significant - EuropCar in France quoted us the
equivalent of US$1850 to rent an economy manual-shift car for 30
days. With an AutoEurope rental agreement, we got the same car
for the same period through the same rental office (AutoEurope
uses EuropCar cars) for US$479. Rent online at:
toll free numbers: (Note: the telephone number system is
gradually changing in Europe. If any of the below toll-free
numbers from a European country no longer work, try
00800-223-5555-5 (from any European country).
Paying Parking (Violation) Tickets
for parking violations are paid with special stamps available at
a Tabac shop. The ticket is a card with an attached carbon
sheet. The top right corner of the card has 2 squares for
stamps: the parking violation stamp for the value of the
violation and the postage stamp to mail the card. The carbon
sheet is a souvenir. Proof of proper payment is straightforward.
The parking violation stamp comes in 2 pieces: a large stamp for
the card and a small one showing the same value to stick onto
your souvenir. To mail the card with its 2 stamps affixed, pop
it in a mailbox. 30 day delays in payment result in an increased
(European Union) tourists staying in the EU for less than 6
months can claim for reimbursement of sales tax on purchases
above FRF 1,200 from stores offering duty free sales. At the time of purchase, show your passport and
ask the store for a tax reimbursement form (in duplicate pink
and green sheets) and pre-paid, pre-addressed envelop. Before
check-in at your departure airport, take your purchase and
reimbursement form to the customs counter to be stamped. (At the
Marseille Airport, the customs agent wanted to see the purchased
item, not just the form and passport.) Put the stamped pink sheet in the
envelope and mail it before leaving Europe. Keep the green sheet
for your records.
Copyright © 2000-2002 Wes and Masami Heiser. All rights reserved.