Printable travel guide for France
Travel Guide

Here you will find travel information and insider tips about France that has been cooperatively contributed by other friendly Hospitality Club members. Please become active as well, and share your vast budget travel and backpacking knowledge with other members and the internet community - it is very easy to edit any information here (more info in the Help File). We hope that these Travel Guides will quickly become a great and fun resource. If you want to print this guide out to take with you, we have prepared this Printer Friendly Travel Guide for you. Enjoy!
For Introduction, Top Things to See and Do, Neighboring Countries, Who is coming?, Want more guests!, Hospitality Club Meetings and the geographic navigation please see the main France Page.

Basic Facts

France on Wikipedia
Official Country Name: France
Capital: Paris
Population: 61 387 038
Telephone Code: 33
Time Zone: UTC +1 (hiver) UTC +2 (été)
Area: 543 964 sq km
Language(s): french
Ethnic Groups:
Highest Mountain: Mont-Blanc 4810m
President/Head of State: Nicolas Sarkozy
Currency: Euro
Exchange Rate: US$1=
Health Risks:
Electricity: 220v / 50Hz
Weights & Measures: Kilogrammes & système métrique
Country Name in other languages: Francia

Attractions and Things to See and Do


Map & Itinerary

Off the Beaten Path and Insider Tips

Suggested Itineraries

1 Day, 1 Week, 2 Weeks, 1 Month ...


National train company
International French Air company
Inside French air company
Hitchhinking/Ridesharing Organisation
Paris Airport (CDG & Orly)


If you do not want to stay with other HC members, or noone is available, here is what other members suggest. Hostels Hotels Camping Other Options
cheap hotel

Food and Drinks and Local Specialties

In France, you don't have to give a tip normaly, I give a tip when services are much than I think it should be. Prices start about 10 euros, one dinner with wine in a basic restaurant is about 15 euros, You can find lots differents, prefer traditionnal food with locals speciality it will be more quality for the same price. Small Budget should try restaurant in places that aren't Touristics, every region have speciality which can be very different from one place to another

Cheapest Supermarkets are biggest, so cheapest are Auchan, Carrefour, Leclerc, Intermarché. There is others discounter like Leader Price, Lidl, Neto, it's about the same price than in others. Often they are open from 9h to 19h, more late in big city. Often some really small shops are open very late
Street Food, Local Specialties ...

Money and Costs

Currency, Exchanging Money, Credit Cards, Tipping, Bargaining, Costs...

Visa and Documents and Embassies

Who needs a visa? How to get it? Embassies & Consulates, of the country abroad and in the country
Visa info

Borders and Customs

Post and Communications and Internet

Post, Telephone, Fax, Internet Access ...

Questions and Answers or Forum

Here anything goes, you can post questions you have, and other members will answer you. If you do answer, please send the reply directly to the asking member as well, and try to integrate the information into the categories above. If too difficult to do, just answer right here and a volunteer will integrate in the future. Also, you can put thanks notes in here. Add new questions on top so they show up on the Travel Guide page. Please post messages not related to traveling or the aim of the Hospitality Club into the category Offtopic Messages.

Hospitality Club Meetings

Use this section to add more info if you organize meetings and events (you can add a short note on the main country page). You can also invite other members to parties, sports events, whenever you would like to meet up with someone.


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Here you can include photos that are hosted somewhere on the internet. As with maps, you have to make sure that it is ok for us to use the photos here (so they should be either your photos, or you should ask the owner), and that it is allright to call them up from here.

Activities and Sports

Nightlife and Entertainment

Bars, Cafes, Discos, Cinemas...

Population and People

Culture and Conduct or Local Customs

Language and Useful Phrases

English/French(France) Pronunciation The French pronunciation can be pretty hard, especially the “nasales”. Another problem for people trying to learn French is that a same sound can be written by several ways. Here you’ll find some bases to be understood when reading French names to locals. A = like the “a” in “Father” AI or AY = like the È (see Bellow) AIL or AILLE = AIM or AIN = like the IN AM or AN = AU = like the “o” in “no” B = like in English C = like a K, except if in front of a E or a I where it’s pronounced like the “s” in “sea” Ç = like a “s” in “sea” CH = like the “sh” in “Shoes” (but not like the “ch” in “church” !) D = like in English E = É = È or Ê = like the “e” in “let” EAU = like the “o” in “no” EIL or EILLE = EIN = like the IN EM or EN = like the AN EU = like the “i” in “first” F = like in English G = like in English, except in followed by a E or a I where it’s pronounced like a J GN = GU = H = always silent I = like the “i” in “”trip” IN = J = a bit like the “j” in “journey”, but without the sound “d” in front K = like in English L = like in English M = like in English, except if placed after a A, a AI…(see above and below). If doubled or followed by a silent E, then the vowel is pronounced normally and the letter is a like a simple M. N = like in English, except if placed after a A, a AI…(see above and below). If doubled or followed by a silent E, then the vowel is pronounced normally and the letter is a like a simple N. O = depending of the word (no rule), like the “o” in “more” or the “o” in “no”, except if followed by a I, a N…. (see bellow) OI or OY = something pronounced like O-A or the “wha” in “what” OM or ON = OU = like the « oo » in « food » P = like in English Q or QU = like a K R = far stronger than the English one, but not as hard as the Spanish one. S = like the “s” in “sea”, except surrounded by vowels, where it’s pronounced like a Z. If doubled, it’s always T = like in English, except if in front of “ion” where it will be pronounced like a “s” in “sea” U = UN = like the IN V = like in English W = X = like in English, except in some cases in front of a I where it’s pronounced like a S. Y = like a I, except if placed after a A or a O (see above) Z = like in English Numbers 1 = un 2 = deux 3 = trois 4 = quatre 5 = cinq 6 = six 7 = sept 8 = huit 9 = neuf 10 = dix 11 = onze 12 = douze 13 = treize 14 = quatorze 15 = quinze 16 = seize 17 = dix-sept 18 = dix-huit 19 =dix-neuf 20 = vingt 21 = vingt et un 30 = trente 40 = quarante 50 = cinquante 60 = soixante 70 = soixante dix 71 = soixante et onze 80 = quatre vingt 90 = quatre vingt dix 91 = quatre vingt onze 100 = cent 200 = deux cent 1 000 = mille 2 000 = deux mille 1 000 000 = un million note = in Belgium and Switzerland, 70, 80 and 90 are pronounced septante, Octante and Nonante. Greetings and civilities Usually, when you want to be polite and formal, you speak using the 2nd person of plural instead of the singular. Example = for “How are you ?”, say “Comment allez vous ? “ instead of “Comment vas tu ?”. But don’t worry, if you make a mistake and the person as understood that your French is pretty basic, that won’t be a problem. Hello = Bonjour Hi ! (Familiar) = Salut ! Good evening = Bonsoir Goodbye = Au revoir See you ! = À plus ! Have a Nice trip ! = Bon voyage ! Excuse me = Excusez moi Sorry = Pardon I’m so sorry ! = Je suis vraiment désolé ! Thank you = Merci Thank you very much = Merci beaucoup You’re welcome = De rien Welcome = Bienvenue Cheers ! = Santé Directions Where is/are … ? = Où est/sont … ? Where could I find/buy/rent… ? = Ou puis-je trouver/acheter/louer… ? Can you show me on the map ? = Pouvez-vous me montrer sur la carte ? The Museum = le musé The Park = le parc The Centertown = le centre-ville The car park = Le parking The next petrol station = la prochaine station service The next town = le prochain village The next city = la prochaine ville The bus station = la gare routière The railway station = la gare The metro station = La station de métro The bus stop = l’arrêt de bus Hitchhiking Hitchhiking = Auto-stop A lift = un trajet Where are you going ? = Où allez vous ? Could you drive me to… ? = Pourriez vous m’emmener à… ?

Events and Holidays

Festivals: Le printemps de Bourges
Public Holidays:
1er janvier
Jour de l'an Sainte Marie, mère de Dieu (Circoncision de Jésus-Christ, avant le Concile Vatican II)
Lundi suivant le dimanche de Pâques.
Lundi de Pâques Pâques est le premier dimanche qui suit la première pleine Lune de printemps.
1er mai
Fête du travail Traditionnellement le jour de nombreuses manifestations syndicales et politiques en France
8 mai
Commémoration de la capitulation allemande en 1945 Commémoration de la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale
Jeudi 40 jours après Pâques
Ascension Jésus ayant rassemblé ses fidèles rejoint son père aux cieux Septième dimanche après Pâques et le lundi suivant.
Pentecôte (et Lundi de Pentecôte)
Descente du Saint-Esprit parmi les apôtres / Ce deuxième jour férié est désormais (2004) supprimé
14 juillet
Fête nationale Commémoration de la Fête de la Fédération du 14 juillet 1790.
15 août
Assomption Transport au ciel de la Vierge Marie
1er novembre
Toussaint Fête de tous les saints
11 novembre
Commémoration de l'armistice de 1918 Commémoration de la fin de la Première Guerre mondiale
25 décembre
Noël Naissance de Jésus-Christ

Climate and When to Go

You can visit France every seasons. Best time to visit France is april / may / june / september, if you don't like when there is too much people. Like France is visited by millions of tourist every years, sometimes french peoples are not really nice with travellers during july and august, particulary on the coast. If you want to visit Paris, I think august is the best time, less people and less speed as usually.

If you like warm you should travel from may to september, generally south regions are more warm. The climate is oceanic on the west side of the country, more continental on the quarter north-east and more mediterranean on the quarter south east. Summer is warm with maximum at 40 degree in the south and 35 degree in the north. Winter are generaly soft and sometimes rainy.  


Environment and Flora and Fauna

Dangers and Warnings

Tourist Traps



Government and Politics


GDP, GDP per head, Annual growth, inflation, Major Industries, Major trading partners...


Music, Literature, Theater, Movies ...


Newspapers, Radio and TV, Magazines ...


Religions In France

Historicaly, France is a christian cultural country. Since 1901, the government and the church are separate. Peoples can freely choose their religions. The 3 main religions in France by number are Catholiscism, Islamic religion, Protestant religion.
During centuries the church has build a lot of building, church, cathedral, cloister most of time it is free and nice to see. You have some in every town and village.

Volunteer Opportunities and Work

Organized Tours

What to Bring or Packing List


Books and Further Reading

Please enter Amazon links to the books - we will put info on how to do this here shortly. This way we hope to get a bit of funding for the running of the club, if someone buys the books you recommend.


Culture Shock! France by Sally Adamson Taylor. This book is an excellent guide for exchange students, businessmen, and anyone else that will be in France for a longer period of time. It explains the history and modern day France, its culture and how to survive there. It is very helpful!


History and Politics:

Other Information

Could not fit it into any of the categories above? Put it here...:-)

External Links

Official Country Website:

Hitchhiking France:

Only add really valuable resources here. Also, please ask the webmaster of the site you link here to add a link back to the Hospitality Club. If the link exists, please add (L) behind the URL of the link. France Travel Guide (L) 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in France (L)

Territories of France (L)

Offtopic Messages

Here you can add messages that are not exactly related to the aims of the Hospitality Club (but related to the country). Do you need a visa invitation? Looking for an internship, job or a flat to rent? Just add this here, and if you are lucky other members will read it and contact you. Remember: do not send messages like this directly to members - after giving you this space here, we will fight spam even more strictly!
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