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France

Capital
Paris
Time Zone
GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from the last Sunday in March to the Saturday before the last Sunday in September)
Telephone Services
Country Code: 33
Outgoing Code: 19
Emergency Telephone Numbers
Dial 112 anywhere in the EU to reach the emergency services. Additional local numbers:-Police - 17, Fire - 18, Ambulance - 15.
Tourist Information
French Government Tourism Office, 178 Piccadilly, London W1V 0AL Tel: (0891 244 123 (France Information Line) Fax: (020) 7493 6594.
Passport Information
All travellers must have a valid passport except: EU Nationals and nationals of Andorra Liechtenstein, Monaco and Switzerland, who may travel holding an expired passport provide it expired within the last 5 years, or a valid national ID card. Advisable to have a return ticket as proof of sufficient funds to finance stay, although this is not an absolute requirement. Requirements may be subject to short term change. Contact embassy before departure.
Visa Information
Required by all except: Nationals of Great Britain, Canada, the EU, the USA, Japan. Nationals of Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Bermuda, Brunei, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland, Israel (not including French Overseas Territories), South Korea, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Switzerland, Uruguay and Vatican City providing there stay does not exceed 3 months in metropolitan France or 30 days in French overseas territories. NOTE: British citizens who have retained their Commonwealth passports may require a visa. Check with the visa section of the consulate.
Health Information
No information available at present
Food & Drink
Water is considered drinkable, normal precautions should be observed with food
Currency
In common with 12 Member States of the European Union (EU), here the Euro is the currency. There are seven different banknotes and eight coins of the Euro. Each participating EU country has coins with one common side and a reverse side specific to each country, while the banknotes look the same throughout the euro area. All major credit cards are accepted.
ATM availability: Over 25,000 locations.
Cost of Living
Similar to other Western European countries. Cities and tourism centres are more expensive than less commercial areas.
Languages
French. Basque is spoken in the Southwest by some and Breton in Brittany. Some English is spoken by much of the population.
Weather
Temperate climate in the North. Rainfall throughout the year. Some snow may fall in the winter. Mediterranean climate in the South. Relatively mild temperatures in the West. Summers can be very hot and sunny, inland areas can be mild.
Electricity
220 volts AC 50Hz. Plugs are the 2 pin type.
Post
2 - 3 days within the rest of Europe.
Transport
RAIL: Excellent service. ROAD: BUS: Very few long distance bus services exist. CAR HIRE: A list of agencies can be obtained from the tourist information office. The Mont Blanc tunnel between France and Italy is likely to be closed for some time, full details are available in English on the at French Ministry of Transport site DOCUMENTATION: A national driving licence is sufficient. Nationals from the EU are strongly advised to take a 'Green' card. The car registration documents must also be carried.
Special Information
There have been sporadic bomb attacks on the island of Corsica. Visitors have been advised to exercise caution, particularly in town centres. Casual wear is common but the French are renown for their stylish dress sense. Topless sunbathing is tolerated on most beaches but naturism is restricted to certain beaches. Be aware of pick pockets and bag snatchers at railway stations and tourist areas. Do not expect to find work to finance your stay as France currently has a relatively high rate of unemployment.
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