High fashion, delicious cuisine, world-class wineries and some of the best museums in the world can be found in France. One of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, the French capital city of Paris is celebrated for its museums and cultural sites including the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum and Notre Dame Cathedral. Whether you're off to one of the sun-baked wine regions, the gardens of Giverny or Versailles, the warm beaches of the French Riviera or the exciting streets of Paris, France is an exceptionally rich experience. The country is full of rich experiences that you are sure to remember for the rest of your life.
- Currency: The Euro (EUR)
- Must-See Landmark: The Eiffel Tower
- Must-Try Food: French Onion Soup (soupe à l'oignon)
- Most Common Language: French
- Emergency Services Telephone Number: 15
Travel Insurance Plans for France
With a wide range of plans on the market, it may be difficult to select a plan. To find the plan that's best for you, first assess the condition of your health then take a look at your travel plans. From there, you can compare plans side by side with our compare tool. For travelers with pre-existing conditions, senior travelers and those looking for more complete coverage, a comprehensive plan is the best option. If you are looking for basic coverage at an affordable price, a limited plan may be the way to go.
Visas and Documentation
If you are planning on visiting France (or any country in the Schengen area) for 90 days or less for holiday or leisure, you can either enter with just your passport or with a Schengen Visa, depending on your home country. Most countries in North and South America, including Canada, Mexico and the United States, can enter the Schengen area without a visa. Citizens of most African and Asian countries, however, will need this visa and are therefore required to carry travel medical insurance for the duration of their stay. For more information and to see if you need a visa for your trip to Europe, check the Schengen Visa's official site.
To receive a Schengen Visa, you must prove that you have travel insurance that includes medical coverage and emergency evacuation. You may need additional documentation if you plan to work or study while in the Schengen region.
Weather and What to Pack
France's weather changes depending on the season, and it can dip below freezing in the cold winter months between November and February. Certain areas, particularly the mountains, get snow in the winter and feature ski resorts. However, the temperatures rarely get too far below freezing and the cold is not dangerous as long as you are properly dressed and equipped. If you are planning to visit in the colder months, it is a good idea to bring sweaters, scarves, long pants or skirts and at least one warm coat.
In the warmer months, temperatures typically don't rise above 30℃ (85℉), however temperatures as high as 43℃ (109℉) have been recorded recently. If you are traveling to France in the summer months it is a good idea to pack light, cool clothing and check out our tips if the heat is wearing you down. If you are visiting France in the warmer months, it is a good idea to pack options for what to wear as even hot days can cool off at night. Shorts, long pants or skirts, light sweaters, raincoats and scarves are all good staples to have in your bag in case the weather surprises you.
No matter what time of year you plan to visit, it is a good idea to pack a light jacket and scarf as well as a light raincoat and umbrella as the weather can change quickly. If you are traveling to Paris, you may want to pack more clothing options as Parisians place more importance on fashion than other parts of the country.
If you forget any essentials, don't worry—you can always purchase them at your destination. However it is often more cost- and time-effective to simply bring your favorite supplies with you when you travel.
The French place importance on the quality of food and other goods rather than quantity. If you are giving a gift to a host or other acquaintance, high-quality gifts or local flowers are appropriate. Portions in France are not likely to be large, but often include foods that are quite rich.
It is common for both men and women to sunbathe and swim in the ocean without a shirt or top.
Slapping your closed fist with your palm is considered to be a rude and vulgar gesture. While smoking is quite common in France, smoking between courses of your meal is considered rude. Also, try to avoid chewing gum in public.
Common Words and Phrases in French
- Yes: Oui [wee]
- No: Non [noh]
- Please: S’il vous plaît [seel vooh pleh]
- Thank You: Merci [mehr-see]
- Cheers: À votre santé [a-vote-ruh-sahn-tay]
- Hello: Bonjour [bohn-shoohr]
- Goodbye: Au revoir [ohr-vwah]
- Paris: The political and cultural capital of France, Paris is full of wonderful things to see and places to explore. The Louvre is one of the largest museums in the world with one of the biggest collections of art. It is housed in a former palace and is a must-see for anyone traveling to Paris. The Notre Dame Cathedral, Musee d'Orsay, Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Élysées are also very popular and iconic attractions in the city.
- Wine Regions of France: France is famous for its different wines and wineries. Different regions grow different types of grapes and specialize in different types of cuisine. The Burgundy and Bordeaux regions are some of the most popular for tourists wanting to experience the wine in France.
- Versailles: The lavish palace of Frances former monarchy, Versailles is an unforgettable tour through extravagant rooms and enormous gardens.
- French Riviera: This stretch of the French coastline, also known as the Côte d’Azure, is known for beautiful beaches, a relaxed atmosphere and high-end relaxation. Whether you decide to go for a dip in the water or enjoy the Mediterranean climate while shopping and sampling the regions wine, the French Riviera is a wonderful addition to your vacation no matter your vacation style.
- Pont du Gard: This Roman aqueduct dates back to the first century AD. It is the highest and best-preserved of the aqueducts dating back to the Roman empire. In 1985 it was added to UNESCOs list of world heritage sites and is now a popular destination for tourists and history buffs.
Health & Safety Tips
France is known for having a high rate of petty theft, particularly on the Paris Subway. If you are taking public transportation, be sure to keep your purse, backpack or bag closed and in your hands at all times. If you are wearing a backpack, take it off and hold it in front of you to avoid bumping other passengers and not being aware if someone attempts to open your bag. Phones, wallets and cameras are particularly at risk of being stolen.
Also be wary of people offering to take a picture of you with your camera or phone (particularly in front of famous landmarks) as they may plan to run off with your device as soon as you hand it over.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend the following vaccinations for France: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningitis, polio, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza. Rabies is also recommended if you are likely to come into contact with wild animals or plan to explore any caves.