Traveling tips for France – what you should know before a trip to France

Are you dreaming of a picturesque getaway to France, where charming cobblestone streets meet world-renowned cuisine and rich cultural history? Whether it’s your first time visiting or you’re a seasoned traveler, preparing for a trip to France involves more than just booking flights and accommodations.

Being aware of the rules and regulations of visas and local traditions can improve your trip and help you steer clear of typical traps. We provide in-depth travel guidance in this post to make sure your trip is as smooth and pleasurable as possible.

It is very important to have practical information in order to ensure a smooth travel. Getting acquainted with French dining etiquette may help you negotiate meals with confidence, and learning a few simple phrases in the language can greatly improve your relationships with locals. Before you leave, it’s also important to know what safety and health measures to take, carry the proper identification, and make an efficient budget.

Our guide will provide you with all the necessary information to help you travel smartly and enjoy all the beauty and culture that France has in store.

Things you need to know before visiting France

Here are some things you should know before visiting France:

  1. France is more than just Paris: France is the EU’s largest country and is often referred to as l’Hexagone due to its hexagonal shape. There are many beautiful regions to explore, such as Alsace, the French Riviera, Lyon, and Normandy.
  2. Learn some French: While many people in France speak English, especially in tourist areas, it’s appreciated if you learn a few basic French phrases.
  3. Understand the dining rules: French dining etiquette is different from other countries. For example, bread is typically placed directly on the table (not on a bread plate) and is eaten with cheese after the main course, not as an appetizer.
  4. Carry ID: You should always carry photo ID as the police have the right to demand it.
  5. Be aware of tourist laws: Non-EU nationals have the right to stay in France for up to 90 days within a period of 180 days, visa-free.
  6. France isn’t completely paperless: While many places accept card payments, some places, especially in rural areas, still prefer cash.
  7. Driving can be expensive: Driving, particularly on the motorways, can be expensive due to tolls

Safety and Health Precautions

Here are some safety and health precautions you should take when visiting France:

Safety Precautions:

  1. Be Vigilant: There is a high threat of terrorist attacks globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Be vigilant in public places and follow the advice of local French authorities.
  2. Avoid Demonstrations: Avoid demonstrations and areas with significant police activity. Follow the instructions of local authorities including movement restrictions related to any ongoing police action.
  3. Protect Your Belongings: Take sensible precautions against street and car crime. Don’t keep your passport, credit cards and other valuables in the same place.
  4. Carry ID: Always carry a photo ID, such as your passport. Police conduct random checks, particularly at borders.

Health Precautions:

  1. Vaccinations: Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need.
  2. Avoid Contaminated Water: Travelers to France are at risk of contracting diseases such as hepatitis A and E, as well as norovirus and other food-borne illnesses. It is advisable to only drink bottled or boiled water and to avoid street food or any food that may have been prepared in unsanitary conditions.
  3. Stay Healthy Outdoors: If your travel plans in France include outdoor activities, take steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip

Visa and entry requirements for France

Here are the visa and entry requirements for France:

1. Passport Validity:

Your passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your date of departure from the Schengen area. If your passport was issued before 1 October 2018, extra months may have been added to its expiry date.

2. Blank Passport Pages:

You must have at least one blank page in your passport for stamps.

3. Visa Requirements:

If you’re planning a short visit to France, lasting up to 90 days for tourism, visiting friends and family, or business, you should opt for a short-stay visa, often called a C-type or Schengen Visa. For visits to non-European territories (DROM-COM), France provides a short-stay national visa. If your visit extends beyond 90 days, you’ll require a long-stay visa, commonly referred to as a D-type visa.

4. Visa-Free Entry:

You can travel to countries in the Schengen area, which France is part of, for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist. However, not everyone traveling to France needs a visa. Whether you require a French visa depends on your nationality.

5. Proof of Accommodation and Funds:

You may need to show proof of where you intend to stay. This will differ depending on where you are staying.

6. Passport Stamping:

At French border control, you may need to show proof of where you intend to stay, for example, a hotel booking or proof of address if visiting your own property. Check your passport is stamped if you enter or exit the Schengen area through France as a visitor

What not to forget when traveling to France?

When traveling to France, there are several things you should not forget:

  1. Small Backpack: Choose a small, comfortable backpack to carry your essentials like water, documents, a camera, and an umbrella. Be careful with your backpack, especially on public transport, and beware of pickpockets.
  2. Power Bank: With a power bank, you can charge your phone or other devices without a plug. Don’t forget the USB cable that comes with the power bank.
  3. Universal Adaptor: If you’re not from Europe, consider buying a universal adaptor before leaving your country.
  4. Umbrella and Raincoat: Even in summer, there might be some rain in Paris. Pack a small umbrella or a raincoat to stay dry
  5. Cash in Euros and Traveler’s Checks: It’s a good idea to have some cash on hand, especially in rural areas where card payments may not be accepted. Also, keep traveler’s checks and receipts separately.
  6. Copies of Confirmations and Emergency Numbers: Keep copies of hotel, rental car, and other confirmations, as well

Budget Planning

Cost-effective Traveling Tips

  • Accommodation: Consider staying in hostels or budget hotels.
  • Eating Out: Opt for set menus at lunchtime, which are often cheaper.
  • Attractions: Look for free or discounted admission days to museums and attractions.

Sample Budget

  • Accommodation: €50-€200 per night depending on the city and type of lodging.
  • Food: €10-€30 per meal.
  • Transport: €1.90 for a single metro ticket in Paris; TGV tickets vary.


Local Cuisine

Must-Try Food and Drink

  • Baguettes and Croissants: Freshly baked from local boulangeries.
  • Cheese: Sample a variety from different regions.
  • Wine: Taste local wines from regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, and the Loire Valley.
  • Specialties: Try escargot, foie gras, and crème brûlée.


Traveling to France is an enriching experience filled with history, culture, and culinary delights. By following these tips and recommendations, you can ensure a smooth and memorable trip. Bon voyage!

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