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Country Name: France
Flag: blue, white, red
National hymn: la Marseillaise
Capital City: Paris
Geographical Area: 551,000 sq km(210,025 sq miles)
Population: 64.5 million
Language: French is the official language, but there are many regional dialects. Basque is spoken as a first language by some people in the southwest, and Breton by some in Brittany.
Government: Democracy
President: Nicolas Sarkozy
Visas: Nationals of the EU, the USA, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Malaisia, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, New Zealand and Israel do not require visas to visit France. In any case always check if you need a visa.
Currency: France’s basic monetary unit is the Euro
Electricity: 220V, 50Hz


There are six main SNCF(National Railways operator) rail stations in Paris serving different geographical areas:


gare de l'est


From Gare de L'Est trains departs to the East of France: Reims, Strasbourg as well as Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg etc


More about the station...


gare du nord


From Gare du Nord trains travel to the north of France: Lille, Calais and it is also where you take the Eurostar to England or the Thalys train to Belgium, the Netherlands or Germany


More about the station...

gare montparnasse


From Gare Montparnasse is the departing station for trains going to Brittany and the Atlantic Coast


More about the station...


gare de lyon


From Gare de Lyon, trains travel south to Avignon, Marseille, Cote d'Azur and Italy


More about the station...

 gare d'austerlitz


From Gare d'Austerlitz trains go to the Southwest on to Spain and Portugal

More about the station...

gare saint lazare


From Gare Saint Lazare is the departing point for trains going to Normandy


More about the station...




The Subway in France is called "Métro". You have two types of “Métro”, the one which is used only within Paris called “Métro”and the “RER” which goes in Paris suburbs and Paris center. alt

You can use your France Rail Pass on two RER lines.

The RER line B from Gare du Nord station to Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport.
You can find here the RER line B map.

The RER line C from Pontoise to Saint Martin d’Etampes/ Dourdan la Forêt
From Versailles Rive Gauche to Saint Martin d’Etampes/ Dourdan la Forêt

From St Quentin en Yvelines to Saint Martin d’Etampes or Dourdan la Forêt
There is also a TGV station called Massy Palaiseau TGV on the RER line C and then you can reach the heart of Paris. You can find here the RER line C map.



 France has a temperate climate though it is very variable.
- Paris and the North tend to be cold in winter and often hot and humid in summer.
- The south including Provence, French Riviera and Languedoc/Rousillon have a Mediterranean climate with the mildest temperature. This region boasts the most sunny days with mild temperature in winter and very hot days in summer but watch out for the strong Mistral wind that sometimes occur in the Provence/Cote d'Azur region.
- Along the Atlantic coast the weather is temperate with mild temperature distributed throughout the year. Summers can be hot and sunny.
- Normandy has a rather temperate climate throughout the year.
- The Alps region and Pyrenees have more rigorous winters but hot and sunny summers.




man on the phoneIt is best to buy a phone card sold at newsstands and post offices (La Poste) . Ask for an international phone card. Calls can be made with it from widely available public phone booths and private phones too, using a special access code on the card. To reach the US dial first 001 followed by area code and number. To reach France from the US dial prefix: 01133 + phone number.





France electric outlets are on 220 volts. Bring a converter/adapter (available at Radio Shack type of stores) if you plan on using your own personal electrical appliance.


The national currency in France (and in the European Union) is the Euro. Bills come in the following bank notes denominations: 500€ / 200€ / 100€ / 50€ / 20€/ 10€/ 5€. Coins: 2€ / 1€ / 50 cents / 20c / 10c / 5c / 2c / 1c.

Last Updated on Monday, 06 February 2012 14:16