FRANCE

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Name: Eiffel Tower
Location: Paris, France
The Eiffel Tower is a wrought-iron lattice tower on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. It is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower.

Constructed from 1887 to 1889 as the entrance to the 1889 World's Fair, it was initially criticised by some of France's leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but it has become a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognisable structures in the world. The Eiffel Tower is the most-visited paid monument in the world; 6.91 million people ascended it in 2015.

The tower is 324 metres tall and the tallest structure in Paris. During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to become the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years until the Chrysler Building in New York City was finished in 1930. Due to the addition of a broadcasting aerial at the top of the tower in 1957, it is now taller than the Chrysler Building by 5.2 metres. Excluding transmitters, the Eiffel Tower is the second tallest free-standing structure in France after the Millau Viaduct.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eiffel_Tower
Name: The Louvre
Location: Paris, France
The Louvre, is the world's largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France. A central landmark of the city, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine. Approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 72,735 square metres. In 2018, the Louvre was the world's most visited art museum, receiving 10.2 million visitors.

The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, originally built as the Louvre castle in the late 12th to 13th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. Due to the urban expansion of the city, the fortress eventually lost its defensive function and, in 1546, was converted by Francis I into the main residence of the French Kings. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louvre
Name: Palace of Versailles
Location: Versailles, France
The Palace of Versailles was the principal royal residence of France from 1682, under Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI. It is located in the department of Yvelines, in the region of Île-de-France, about 20 kilometres southwest of the centre of Paris.

The palace is now a Monument historique and UNESCO World Heritage site, notable especially for the ceremonial Hall of Mirrors, the jewel-like Royal Opera, and the royal apartments; for the more intimate royal residences, the Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon located within the park; the small rustic Hameau (Hamlet) created for Marie Antoinette; and the vast Gardens of Versailles with fountains, canals, and geometric flower beds and groves, laid out by André le Nôtre. The Palace was stripped of all its furnishings after the French Revolution, but many pieces have been returned and many of the palace rooms have been restored.

In 2017 the Palace of Versailles received 7,700,000 visitors, making it the second-most visited monument in the Île-de-France region, just behind the Louvre and ahead of the Eiffel Tower.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_Versailles
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COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO FRANCE.
FACTS:
Official Languages: French
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Time zone: CET (UTC+1) / CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +33
Local / up-to-date weather in Paris (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for France travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to France, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
ATTENDING MEETINGS / DISCUSSIONS: TBC
ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO FRANCE.

France uses the euro, like several other European countries. One euro is divided into 100 cents. The official symbol for the euro is €, and its ISO code is EUR. There is no official symbol for the cent.

All banknotes and coins of this common currency are legal tender within all the countries, except that low-denomination coins (one and two cent) are phased out in some of them. The banknotes look the same across countries, while coins have a standard common design on one side and a national country-specific design on the other. The latter side is also used for different designs of commemorative coins. The design on the national side does not affect the use of the coin.

Some foreign currencies such as the U.S. dollar and the British pound are occasionally accepted, especially in tourist areas and in higher-end places, but one should not count on it; furthermore, the cashier may charge an unfavourable exchange rate. In general, shops will refuse transactions in foreign currency.

It is compulsory, for the large majority of businesses, to post prices in windows. Hotels and restaurants must have their rates visible from outside (however, many hotels offer lower prices than the posted ones if they feel they will have a hard time filling up their rooms; the posted price is only a maximum).

Almost all stores (except smaller independent stores including some tourist stores and tobacco stores), restaurants and hotels take the CB French debit card, and its foreign affiliations, Visa and MasterCard. American Express tends to be accepted only in high-end shops. Retailers will post by the till if there is a minimum spend required before using the card. Check with your bank for applicable fees (typically, banks apply the wholesale inter-bank exchange rate, which is the best available, but may slap a proportional and/or a fixed fee).

French CB cards (and CB/Visa and CB/MasterCard cards) have a “smart chip” on them allowing PIN authentication of transactions. This system, initiated in France, has now evolved to an international standard and newer British cards are compatible. Some automatic retail machines (such as those vending tickets) may be compatible only with cards with the microchip. In addition, cashiers unaccustomed to foreign cards possibly do not know that foreign Visa or MasterCard cards have to be swiped and a signature obtained, while French customers systematically use PIN and don’t sign the transactions. The acceptance of contactless cards is also becoming widespread.

There is practically no way to get a cash advance from a credit card without a PIN in France.

Automatic teller machines (ATM) are by far the best way to get money in France. They all take CB, Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus and Plus and are plentiful throughout France. They may accept other kinds of card; check for the logos on the ATM and on your card (on the back, generally) if at least one matches. It is possible that some machines do not handle 6-digit PIN codes (only 4-digit ones), or that they do not offer the choice between different accounts (defaulting on the checking account). Check with your bank about applicable fees, which may vary greatly (typically, banks apply the wholesale inter-bank exchange rate, which is the best available, but may slap a proportional and/or a fixed fee; because of the fixed fee it is generally better to withdraw money in big chunks rather than €20 at a time). Also, check about applicable maximal withdrawal limits.

Traveller’s cheques are difficult to use — most merchants will not accept them, and exchanging them may involve finding a bank that accepts to exchange them and possibly paying a fee.

The postal service doubles as a bank, so often post offices will have an ATM. As a result, even minor towns will have ATMs usable with foreign cards.

Exchange offices (bureaux de change) are now rarer with the advent of the Euro – they will in general only be found in towns with a significant foreign tourist presence, such as Paris. Some banks exchange money, often with high fees. The Bank of France no longer does foreign exchange.

Do Put money into your checking account, carry an ATM card with a Cirrus or Plus logo on it and a 4-digit pin that does not start with ‘0’ and withdraw cash from ATMs. Pay larger transactions (hotel, restaurants…) with Visa or MasterCard. Always carry some euros cash for emergencies.

Don’t Carry foreign currency or traveller’s cheques, and exchange them on the go, or expect them to be accepted by shops.

PLANE:

The following carriers offer domestic flights within France:

  • Air France has the biggest domestic network in France
  • HOP!, a subsidiary of Air France, operates domestic flights with smaller aircrafts than Air France
  • easyJet, a low-cost airline, has the second biggest domestic network in France
  • Ryanair, another low-cost airlines, serves mainly secondary airports
  • Volotea has a network of domestic flights
  • Air Corsica links Corsica with mainland France
  • Twin Jet operates domestic flights with 19-seat Beech 1900D aircrafts
  • Hex’Air operates flights between Paris-Orly and Lourdes, using 19-seat Beech 1900D aircrafts
  • Eastern Airways operates domestic flights between Lyon and Lorient
  • Chalair Aviation has a limited network of domestic flights, using mainly 19-seat Beech 1900D aircrafts
  • Heli Securite (Cannes (Croisette Heliport), Nice (Cote D’Azur Airport))

BY CAR:

France has a well-developed system of highways. Most of the motorway (autoroute) network is made up of toll roads. Some have a single toll station giving you access to a section, others have entrance and exit toll stations at every junction. Upon entering a tolled section of a road, you must collect an entry ticket from a machine which records the point on the road you started at and ensures you only pay for the distance you travel. Be careful not to lose your entrance ticket or you will be charged for the longest possible distance. All toll stations accept major credit cards although they may not accept foreign credit cards. It is also possible to use the automatic booth, but only if your card is equipped with a special chip.

Roads range from the narrow single-carriageway lanes found in the countryside to major highways. Most towns and cities were built before the general availability of the automobile and thus city centres tend to be unwieldy for cars. Keep this in mind when renting: large cars can be very unwieldy. It often makes sense to just park and then use public transportation.

A French driver flashing headlights is asserting right of way and warning you of intentions and presence. Do not use it to mean thanks. Flashing headlights can also mean, “Watch out as there’s a police speed-check ahead of you!” Horns should be used only in legitimate emergencies; use of the horn in urban areas outside such circumstances might win you a traffic ticket. Parisian drivers were notorious for honking their horns at anything and everything, though increased enforcement has greatly reduced this practice.

Don’t forget that in France they drive on the right!

Renting a car:

Once you arrive in France you may need to use car hire services. Most of the leading companies operate from French airports and it is advisable to book car hire in advance. It is a common experience at smaller French airports to not get the type of car you booked online but an alternative model. Sometimes the alternative model is quite different so check carefully before accepting the vehicle and stand your ground if it does not match your booking request and is not suitable to your needs.

Most cars in France are equipped with standard transmissions, a fact that derives equally from the preferences of the driving public and the peculiarities of French licensing laws (automatic transmissions are generally only used by the elderly or those with physical disabilities). This extends to vehicle categories that in other countries (read: the US) are virtually never equipped with a manual transmission, such as vans and large sedans. Accordingly, virtually all of the vehicles available for rent at the average car hire will be equipped with a manual gearbox. If you do not know how to drive a car with a manual transmission and don’t have the time to learn before your trip, be certain to reserve your rental car well in advance and confirm your reservation. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a car that is much larger than you can afford (or with no car at all).

It is a good tip when travelling in numbers to get one member of the party with hand luggage to go straight through to the car hire desk ahead of everybody else, this will avoid the crush once the main luggage is picked up from the conveyor.

BY SHARED RIDE:

Blablacar has a quasi-monopoly in France, but it is still a convenient, economical and efficient way to see the country. Prices for distances are below the ones of the train and buses, about €8-10 per 100 km. Between the largest cities you will find many options, some starting in the centre, others just going by the highway—checkout the exact meeting point before committing to a booking. BlaBlaCar has a rating system and the rides are very reliable.

BY TRAIN:

Trains are a great way to get around in France. You can get from pretty much anywhere to anywhere else by train. For long distances, use the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse, or High-speed train) on which reservations are obligatory. But if you have time, take the slow train and enjoy the scenery. The landscape is part of what makes France one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Like many things in France, the TGV network is focused on Paris to an almost ridiculous degree, and you may be out of luck when searching for a fast connection between secondary cities. Quite often a considerable detour via the Paris region can be faster than the direct train would be. Usually, if you need to change trains, you can do so at one of three out of town TGV stations: Massy, Marne-la-Vallée or Charles de Gaulle Airport, which are on a connection line linking the northern, eastern, south-eastern and south-western high-speed lines, but it is still sometimes necessary to change in central Paris. However, the capital has several terminus stations, which are not linked by mainline rail, so you’ll likely have to use the RER or metro to transfer from one train to another.

The French national railway network is managed by SNCF Réseaux, a branch of the nationalised company SNCF (Société nationale des chemins de fer français).

For regional trains, schedules can be found at ter.sncf.com (choose your region, then “Carte and horaires” for maps and timetables). Booking is available in two classes: première classe (first class) is less crowded and more comfortable but can also be about 50% more expensive than deuxième classe (second class).

The SNCF website Gares & Connexions provides live train schedules, keeping you informed about platform numbers and delays. This information is also available on smartphones via the free application SNCF.

There are a number of different kinds of high speed and normal trains:

  • TER (Train Express Régional): Regional trains form the backbone of the SNCF system. TER are sometimes slower but do serve most stations. Available on Eurail and InterRail passes.
  • Intercités
  • TGV (Trains à Grande Vitesse): The world-famous French high-speed trains run several times a day from Paris to the south-east Nice (5-6h), Marseille (3h) and Avignon (2.5 h), the east Geneva (3h) or Lausanne, Switzerland and Dijon (1h15), the south-west Bordeaux (3h), the west Rennes (2h), Nantes (2h), Brest (4h) and the north Lille (1h). Eurostar to London (2h15) and Thalys to Brussels (1h20) use almost identical trains. Reservations are compulsory.
  • Night train services (Intercités de Nuit) include couchettes second class (6 bunk beds in a compartment), first class (4 bunks) and reclining seats. You can ask for a “private room” (in first class). Night trains have been gradually phased out, and there were only a handful of them still in service in 2015.

Booking online:

IBooking tickets online can be quite a confusing process: SNCF does not sell tickets online by itself, and it is possible to book the same journey through a number of different travel agencies websites (in different languages and currencies). The fares for journeys inside France are the same with every travel agency.

  • Voyages-sncf.com French language booking website by Expedia and the SNCF. It can get sometimes confusing, and is known to hardly work when you try to buy a ticket from abroad or with a non-French credit card. Be careful: you will need the credit card that has been used for payment to retrieve your tickets from the ticket machines. If you don’t have it, your tickets will be lost, and you will need to buy new tickets.
  • Trainline French, English, German, Spanish and Italian language booking website. It aims to be as easy to use as possible. Unlike “Voyages SNCF”, you don’t need your credit card to retrieve the tickets, only the reservation number and the last name entered for reservation. You can pay with Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Paypal. Tickets can be printed or downloaded on your mobile phone or Apple watch or Android watch.
  • RailEurope are booking agencies owned by the SNCF. Fares will often be more expensive on these sites than on the “official” sites, but they are generally easier to use than the SNCF sites.

Beware: To avoid any form of fraud, your ticket must be punched by an automatic machine (“composteur”) before entering the platform area to be valid. The machines are situated at the entrance of all platforms. However, e-Billet electronic tickets do not have to be punched: in doubt, punch it anyway, you won’t be fined for punching an e-Billet.

French information booths, especially in larger train stations, can be quite unhelpful, especially if you do not understand much French. If something does not seem to make sense, just say “excusez-moi” and they should repeat it.

It is cheaper to book and purchase train tickets, especially those with reservations, in advance.

BY BUS:

There is no single national bus service. Buses used to be limited to local mass transit or departmental/regional service. However, a market liberalization (similar to that in Germany) has meant that long distance buses are now allowed to run everywhere in France and prices can be quite low, especially when booked in advance. However, journey time and comfort tend to be worse than on the train.

The tourist information will often recommend the train before the bus, even though there are often many options to choose from. Be insistent when asking for the bus there, and they will hand you a local long distance bus time table.

On local/city buses always validate your ticket if necessary, especially the card-like tickets with magnet-band.

BY BICYCLE:

France is not a particularly cyclist-friendly country (unlike, say, the Netherlands), but the situation is improving: more cycle paths are being built and about 40 cities have a bike-sharing system.

Beware of bike thieves. If you have to park your bike in the street, make sure to lock it properly, particularly in larger cities and at night. Avoid using the cable-locks that can be cut within seconds, instead use U-shaped locks, chains or folding locks. Lock your bike to a solid fixed support like a U-Rack. Lock the frame (not only the wheels) and make sure that your wheels cannot be removed without a more-determined thief with tools.

EAT:

With its international reputation for fine dining, few people would be surprised to hear that French cuisine can certainly be very good. As a testament to this, France is tied with Japan for first place as the country with the most Michelin star restaurants.

Unfortunately, it can also be quite disappointing; many restaurants that cater to tourists serve very ordinary fare, and some are rip-offs. Finding the right restaurant and one where French people go to is therefore very important – try asking locals, hotel staff or even browsing restaurant guides or websites for recommendations as simply walking in off the street can be a hit and miss affair. The downside is that outside of the tourist traps, it is very rare to find a restaurant with English-speaking waiters, so be prepared to have to speak some French.

There are many places to try French food in France, from three-star Michelin restaurants to French brasseries or bistrots that you can find on almost every corner, especially in big cities. In general, one should try to eat where the locals do for the best chance of a memorable meal. Most small cities or even villages have local restaurants which are sometimes listed in the most reliable guides. In fact, many fine dining restaurants are in rural villages rather than in the big cities, and French people often drive to those villages to dine during special occasions. Even among cities, Paris is not considered by the French to have the best fine dining scene; that honour goes to Lyon. There are also specific local restaurants, like bouchons lyonnais in Lyon, crêperies in Brittany (and in the Montparnasse area of Paris), and baraques à frites in the north.

Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, even Thai eateries are readily available in Paris, either as regular restaurants or traiteurs (fast-food). They are not so common, and are more expensive, in smaller French cities. Many places have “Italian” restaurants though these are often little more than unimaginative pizza and pasta parlours. You will also find Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian, as well as Greek and Lebanese food. The ubiquitous hamburger bars – US original or their French copies – are also available.

In France, taxes (7% of the total in restaurants) and service (usually 10%) are always included in the bill, so anything patrons add to the bill amount is an “extra-tip”. There should not be any additions to the advertised price, do not hesitate to question such additions. French people usually leave one or two coins if they were happy with the service, but it’s not mandatory. Bread and tap water are always free of charge, and no extra price should be applied for the dishes.

Fixed price menus seldom include beverages. If you want water, waiters will often try to sell you mineral water or fizzy water, at a premium; ask for a carafe d’eau for tap water, which is free and safe to drink. Water never comes with ice in it unless so requested, and water with ice may not be available.

As in other countries, restaurants tend to make a large profit off beverages. Expect wine to cost much more than it would in a supermarket.

Ordering is made either from fixed price menus (menu fixe) or à la carte.

A typical fixed price menu will comprise:

  • appetiser, called entrées or hors d’œuvres
  • main dish, called a plat [principal]
  • dessert (dessert) or cheese (fromage)

Sometimes, restaurants offer the option to take only two of the three courses, at a reduced price.

Coffee is always served as a final step, though it may be followed by liquors. Coffee will always be served black unless requested otherwise. For white coffee, ask for café au lait. A request for coffee during the meal will be considered strange.

Not all restaurants are open for both lunch and dinner, nor are they always open all year around. It is therefore advisable to carefully check the opening times and days. A restaurant open for lunch will usually start service at noon and accept patrons until 13:30. Dinner begins at around 19:30 and patrons are accepted until 21:30. Restaurants with longer service hours are usually found only in the larger cities and in town centres. Finding a restaurant open on Saturday and especially Sunday can be a challenge unless you stay close to the tourist areas.

In a reasonable number of restaurants, especially outside tourist areas, a booking is compulsory and people may be turned away without one, even if the restaurant is clearly not filled to capacity. For this reason, it can be worthwhile to research potential eateries in advance and make the necessary reservations to avoid disappointment, especially if the restaurant you’re considering is specially advised in guide books.

A lunch of 2-3 courses for two on the menu including wine and coffee will cost you (as of 2018) €30-50 on average. A main course at dinner will cost €15-30 in a typical restaurant, while a typical dinner for two with beverages will cost €50-110. The same with beer in a local bistro or a crêperie around €35-55. You can, or course, spend considerably more.

Outside of Paris and the main cities, prices are not always lower but the menu will often include a fourth course, usually cheese. As with everywhere beware of the tourist traps which are numerous around the heavy travelled spots and may offer a nice view but not much to remember on your plate.

Restaurant etiquette:

French waiters have a reputation for being rude, but this is largely undeserved. While there are certainly a few bad eggs who will seemingly go to any length to demonstrate their contempt for you as a customer, most perceptions of rudeness are simply down to travellers having certain expectations of service which are different to the French cultural norm.

So let’s clear things up: in France the customer does not come first. You are not always right, your every whim does not have to be indulged, and the amount of money you flash will not entitle you to a superior service to others in the room. The vast majority of restaurants in France are privately-owned independents, with all the proprietary pride that entails; you as the customer are nothing more than a temporary guest in the restaurateur’s home. That means you will be treated well, as long as you are polite and follow a few house rules. Humility and a sense of humour when mistakes happen can both go a long way in this game!

Upon arrival at a restaurant, wait at the door to be shown to your table. Seating yourself without being invited to do so is often taken to be presumptuous, and may result in your getting off on the wrong foot before you can even say bonjour. Asking for a dish to be changed for any reason is unusual and can be taken as a criticism of chef’s cooking. If you don’t like how a particular dish is prepared, or can’t eat one of the ingredients, order something else. There is a reason the full menu is posted on every restaurant door, and that is to allow people to get an idea of what is on offer in advance of making a commitment to eat there. While dining, it is considered impolite to have your elbows on the table; ditto for laying your hands in your lap. If you are given a glass or a cup with your beverage, use it.

Waitering is a respected profession in France, and you should recognise this from the get-go. In the French psyche, a good waiter is there to make sure you receive your meal and drinks in the proper manner, and then to keep out of your way so you can enjoy yourself in peace. If you need something, ask and you shall receive, but don’t expect to be approached during your meal, or for your needs to be anticipated in advance. Above all, don’t copy the movies by addressing your waiter as garçon (boy), as this is demeaning and about a century out-of-date etiquette-wise. A simple excusez-moi is more than sufficient to attract the server’s attention. One way to ensure good service can be to ask the waiter’s recommendations for wine or to point out any local specialities on the menu; this shows that you respect their expertise and gives you the opportunity to learn more about the local cuisine.

You can show your appreciation at the end by leaving a small tip. Tipping is neither compulsory nor expected as the serving staff receive a full wage, and many establishments factor a 10% service charge into the price of the food (this is signalled with service compris printed on the bill or menu). Most French people, when deciding to tip, will just round up the bill to the next multiple of five – if a bill comes to €26, call it €30 and everyone’s happy.

Bread:

Bakeries (boulangeries) are something of a French institution and are to be found all over the country from the smallest villages to city streets. All white bread variants keep for only a short time and must be eaten the same day, or else saved for dunking in soup or hot chocolate the following morning. Hence bakers bake at least twice a day.

  • The famous baguette: a long, thin loaf;
  • Variants of the baguette : la ficelle (even thinner), la flûte, la tradition (a baguette with a generally more delicate taste but also more expensive);
  • Pain de campagne or Pain complet: made from whole grain which keeps relatively well.

Pastries:

Pastries are a large part of French cooking. Hotel breakfasts tend to be light, consisting of tartines (pieces of bread with butter or jam) or the famous croissants and pains au chocolat, not dissimilar to a chocolate-filled croissant, but square rather than crescent shaped.

Pastries can be found in a pâtisserie but also in most boulangeries.

Regional dishes:

Every French region has dishes all its own. These dishes follow the region’s local produce from agriculture, hunting and fishing. Here is a small list of regional dishes which you can find easily in France. Generally each region has a unique and widespread dish, usually because it was food for the masses:

  • Cassoulet (in the south west) : beans, duck, pork & sausages
  • Choucroute, or sauerkraut (in Alsace) : stripped fermented cabbage + pork
  • Fondue Savoyarde (central Alps) : melted/hot cheese with white wine
  • Fondue Bourguignonne (in Burgundy) : pieces of beef (in boiled oil), usually served with a selection of various sauces.
  • Raclette (central Alps) : melted cheese & potatoes/meat
  • Pot-au-feu (found all over France) : boiled beef with vegetables
  • Boeuf Bourguignon (Burgundy) : slow cooked beef with red wine gravy
  • Gratin dauphinois (Rhone-Alpes) : oven-roasted slices of potatoes with sour cream and cheese
  • Aligot (Aveyron) : melted cheese mixed with a puree of potatoes
  • Bouillabaisse (fish + saffron) (Marseille and the French Riviera). Don’t be fooled! A real bouillabaisse is a really expensive dish due to the amount of fresh fish it requires. Be prepared to pay at least €30 per person. If you find restaurants claiming to serve bouillabaisse for something like €15 per person, you’ll find it to be of a very poor quality.
  • Tartiflette (Savoie) : Melted Reblochon cheese, potatoes and pork or bacon.
  • Confit de Canard (south west) : Duck Confit, consists of legs and wings bathing in grease. That grease is actually very healthy and, with red wine, is one of the identified sources of the so-called “French Paradox” (eat richly, live long).
  • Foie Gras (south west) : The liver of a duck or goose. Although usually quite expensive, foie gras can be found in supermarkets for a lower price (because of their purchasing power) around the Christmas season. It is the time of year when most foie gras is consumed in France. It goes very well with Champagne.
  • Moules marinière (found all along the coast, with large regional differences) : Mussels steamed in wine or cider (Brittany and Normandy) with a variety of local produce, e.g. simple shallots and garlic in the north, cream in the west, tomatoes and peppers in the south, etc… Normally served with crusty bread and frites.

Cooking and drinking is a notable part of French culture; take time to eat and discover new dishes.

Unusual foods:

Contrary to stereotype, snails and frog legs are quite infrequent foods in France, with many French people enjoying neither, or sometimes having never even tasted them. Quality restaurants sometimes have them on their menu: if you’re curious about trying new foods, go ahead.

  • Frog legs (cuisses de grenouille) have a very fine and delicate taste with flesh that is not unlike chicken. They are often served in a garlic dressing and are no weirder to eat than, say, crab.
  • Most of the taste of Burgundy snails (escargots de bourgogne) comes from the generous amount of butter, garlic and parsley in which they are cooked. They have a very particular spongy-leathery texture and, for obvious reasons, a strong garlicky flavour. Catalan-style snails (cargols) are made a completely different way, and taste even weirder!

Let us also cite:

  • Rillettes sarthoises also known as Rillettes du Mans. A sort of potted meat, made from finely shredded and spiced pork. A delicious speciality of the Sarthe area in the north of the Pays de la Loire and not to be confused with rillettes from other areas, which are more like a rough pâté.
  • Beef bone marrow (os à moelle). Generally served in small quantities, with a large side. So go ahead: if you don’t like it, you’ll have something else to eat on your plate!
  • Veal sweetbread (ris de veau), is a very fine (and generally expensive) delicacy, often served with morels, or in more elaborate dishes like bouchées à la reine.
  • Beef bowels (tripes) is served either à la mode de Caen (with a white wine sauce, named after the town in Normandy) or à la catalane (with a slightly spiced tomato sauce)
  • Andouillettes are sausages made from tripe, a specialty of Lyon
  • Tricandilles are seasoned and grilled pork tripe from the Bordeaux region
  • Beef tongue (langue de bœuf) and beef nose (museau) and Veal head (tête de veau) are generally eaten cold (but thoroughly cooked!) as an appetizer.
  • Oysters (huîtres) are most commonly served raw in a half shell. They are often graded by size, No1 being the largest (and most expensive).
  • Oursins (sea urchins), for those who like concentrated iodine.
  • Steak tartare a big patty of ground beef cured in acid as opposed to cooked, frequently served with a raw egg. Good steak tartare will be prepared to order at tableside. A similar dish is boeuf carpaccio, which is thin slices or strips of raw steak drizzled with olive oil and herbs.
  • Cervelle (pronounced ser-VELL), lamb brain.

Cheese:

France is certainly the country for cheese (fromage), with nearly 400 different kinds. Indeed, former president General Charles De Gaulle was quoted as saying “How can you govern a country which has 365 varieties of cheese?”.

Breakfast:

Breakfast in France is usually very light, typically consisting of a coffee and a croissant or some other viennoiserie at special occasions. On normal days most people have a beverage (coffee, tea, hot chocolate, orange juice) and toast of baguette or toast bread with butter and jam/honey/Nutella that can be dipped in the hot beverage, or cereals with milk, or fruit and yoghurt. The French breakfast is mostly sweet, but anything can change and you can have savoury breakfasts everywhere today.

DRINK:

Champagne, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhone, the Loire Valley… France is the home of wine. It can be found cheaply just about anywhere. Beer (lager) is also extremely popular, in particular in northern France, where “Bière de Garde” can be found. The alcohol purchase age was recently raised to 18 for all drinks, but this is not always strictly enforced; however, laws against drunk driving are strictly enforced, with stiff penalties.

French wine is classified mainly by the region it comes from. Many wines don’t label the variety of grape that was used, so to know what you’re getting, you have to learn what types of wine each region is known for. Wines are usually labeled with the region (which may be broad or very specific) and a quality level:

  • Roughly half of all wines are AOP (Appellation d’origine protégée), or AOC (Appellation d’origine contrôlée) in wines before 2012. For this highest tier, wine must come from designated areas with restrictions on the grape varieties, winemaking methods, and flavor profile.
  • Another third of wines are IGP (Indication géographique protégée), or Vin de Pays before 2012. These too are judged to meet the character of a region’s wine, but have fewer restrictions than AOP/AOC wines.
  • The lowest tier are Vin de France, or Vin de Table before 2010, which are everyday table wines that are not labelled by region.

Wine and spirits may be purchased from supermarkets, or from specialised stores such as the Nicolas chain. Nicolas offers good advice on what to buy (specify the kind of wine and the price range you desire). In general, only French wines are available unless a foreign wine is a “speciality” with no equivalent in France (such as port), and they are classified by region of origin, not by grape.

Etiquette-wise, you shouldn’t drink alcoholic beverages (especially red wine or strong alcohol such as cognac) directly from a 70 cl bottle. Such behaviour is generally associated with drunkards (though if you are surrounded by college students, you may be OK). Drinking beer from a 25 to 50cl can or bottle is OK.

Prices of food and beverages will vary on whether they’re served to you at the bar or sitting at a table – the same cup of espresso might cost €0.50 more if served at a table than at the bar, and €0.50 more again if served out on the terrace. Really, you’re not paying so much for the beverage as for the table spot. Do consider the bar, though – while you will have to stand, café bars are often where a great deal of public discourse and interaction happens. In any event, cafés are required by law to post their prices somewhere in the establishment, usually either in the window or on the wall by the bar.

There are a couple of mixed drinks which seem to be more or less unique to France, and nearby francophone countries.

  • Panaché is a mix of beer and lemonade, basically a beer shandy.
  • Monaco is a Panaché with some grenadine syrup added.
  • Kir is a pleasant aperitif of white wine (in theory, Bourgogne Aligoté) or, less frequently, of champagne (then named kir royal and about twice the price of regular kir) and cassis (blackcurrant liqueur), or peche (peach), or mûre (blackberry).
  • Pastis is an anise-based (licorice-flavored) spirit, similar in taste to Sambuca or Ouzo, that is served with a few lumps of sugar and a small pitcher of cold water to dilute the liquor. It is traditionally enjoyed on very hot days, and as such is more popular in the south of the country but available more or less everywhere.

There is a variety of bottled water, including:

  • Évian, Thonon, Contrex, Volvic: mineral water
  • Perrier: fizzy water
  • Badoit: slightly fizzy and salty water.

Hotels:

Hotels come in 5 categories from 1 to 5 stars. This is the official rating given by the Ministry of Tourism, and it is posted at the entrance on a blue shield. Stars are awarded according to objective yet somewhat outdated administrative criteria (area of the reception hall, percentage of rooms with en suite bathroom…).Rates vary according to accommodation, location and sometimes high or low season or special events.

As of 2004, the rate for a *** hotel listed in a reliable guidebook falls between €70 (cheap) and €110 (expensive) for a double room without breakfast.

All hotels, by law, must have their rates posted outside (or visible from outside). These are maximum rates: a hotel can always offer a lower rate in order to fill up its rooms. Bargaining is not the norm but you can always ask for a discount.

Hotels in city centres or near train stations are often very small (15-30 rooms) which means that you should book ahead. Many newer hotels, business oriented, are found in the outskirts of cities and are sometimes larger structures (100 rooms or more); they may not be easy to reach with public transportation. The newer hotels are often part of national or international chains and have high standards. Many older hotels are now part of chains and provide standardized service but they retain their own atmosphere.

When visiting Paris, it is greatly advised to stay in the city proper; there are cheaper tourism hotels in the suburbs, but these cater to groups in motor coaches; they will be hard to reach by public transportation.

Along the autoroute (motorway) network, and at the entrance of cities, you’ll find US-style motels; they are very often reachable only by car. Some motels (e.g. Formule 1) have minimal service, if you come in late you find an ATM-like machine, using credit cards, which will deliver a code in order to reach your assigned room.

B&Bs and Gîtes:

Throughout France, mainly in rural areas but also in towns and cities, you can find B&Bs and gîtes.

B&Bs are known in French as “chambres d’hôtes” and are generally available on a night-by-night basis. By law, breakfast MUST be included in the advertised price for a chambre d’hôte. Bear this in mind when comparing prices with hotels, where breakfast is NOT included in the room price.

Gîtes or gîtes ruraux are holiday cottages, and generally rented out as a complete accommodation unit including a kitchen, mostly on a weekly basis. Literally the French word gîte just means a place to spend the night; however it is now mostly used to describe rental cottages or self-catering holiday homes, usually in rural parts of France. There are very few near or in the cities. Finding them requires buying a guide or, for greater choice, using the internet, as you will not find many signposted on the road.

Traditionally, gîtes provided basic good value accommodation, typically adjacent to the owner’s household or in a nearby outbuilding. More recently the term has been extended, and can now be used to describe most country-based self-catering accommodation in France. Hence it includes accommodation as varied as small cottages to villas with private swimming pools.

During peak summer months the best self-catering gîtes require booking several months in advance.

There are thousands of B&Bs and gîtes in France rented out by foreign owners, particularly British and Dutch, and these tend to be listed, sometimes exclusively, with English-language or international organisations and websites that can be found by keying the words “chambres d’hôtes”, “gîtes” or “gîtes de france” into any of the major search engines.

There is a large number of organisations and websites offering gîtes.

Gîtes de France:

A France-wide cooperative organisation, Gîtes de France groups more than 50,000 rural places of accommodation together and was the first in France to offer a consistent rating system with comprehensive descriptions.

Despite the name, Gîtes de France offers B&B as well as holiday rental (gîte) accommodation.

The Gîtes de France rating system uses wheat stalks called épis (equivalent to a star rating), based on amenities rather than quality – though generally the two go together.

Through its website, bookings can be done directly with owners or through the local Gîtes de France booking agency (no extra fee for the traveller). Although an English language version is available for many of the website pages, for some departments the pages giving details of an individual gîte are only in French.

There is no particular advantage in using Gîtes de France rather than one of the other online gîtes sites, or booking directly with a gîte owner. The procedure is pretty standard for all gîte booking sites, whether French or foreign – with the advantage that the whole booking process can be done in English, which is not always the case with Gîtes de France.

After making a gîte booking you will receive, by post, a contract to sign (for gîtes only). Sign and return one copy. When signing write the words “Read and approved”, and the name of your home town, before signing and dating the contract. You will normally be asked to pay a deposit of a quarter to a third of the booking fee. The rest will be required one month before the start of your holiday. When you arrive at the gîte a security deposit, specified in the contact, should be given to the owner in cash. This will be returned at the end of your stay, minus any fuel charges and breakages.

Another great resource for booking gîtes and villas in France is Holiday France Direct, which enables you to deal directly with the property owners and offers customers discounted ferry travel with Brittany Ferries.

Gîtes d’étape:

Another possibility is gîtes d’étape. These are more like overnight stays for hikers, like a mountain hut. They are mostly cheaper than the Gîtes de France but also much more basic.

Short term rentals:

Travellers should definitely consider short-term villa/apartment/studio rentals as an alternative to other accommodation options. Short term can be as few as several days up to months at a stretch. Summer rentals are usually from Saturday to Saturday only (July & August). This type accommodation belongs to a private party, and can range from basic to luxurious. A particular advantage, aside from competitive prices, is that the accommodations come with fully fitted kitchens.

Hundreds of agencies offer accommodation for short term rentals on behalf of the owner, and can guide you into finding the best property, at the best price in the most suitable location for you. An internet search for the location and type of property you’re looking for will usually return the names of several listing sites, each of which may have hundreds or thousands of properties for you to choose from. There are plenty of sites in both English and French, and the rental properties may be owned by people of any nationality.

Well established holiday rental sites include Gitelink France, Holidaylettings.co.uk, Owners Direct and Alpha Holiday Lettings. If you are looking to stay in just a room or part of the property, Airbnb matches holiday makers with hosts who only rent out part of their homes.

**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/France
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Name: Eiffel Tower
Location: Paris, France
The Eiffel Tower is a wrought-iron lattice tower on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. It is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower.

Constructed from 1887 to 1889 as the entrance to the 1889 World's Fair, it was initially criticised by some of France's leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but it has become a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognisable structures in the world. The Eiffel Tower is the most-visited paid monument in the world; 6.91 million people ascended it in 2015.

The tower is 324 metres tall and the tallest structure in Paris. During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to become the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years until the Chrysler Building in New York City was finished in 1930. Due to the addition of a broadcasting aerial at the top of the tower in 1957, it is now taller than the Chrysler Building by 5.2 metres. Excluding transmitters, the Eiffel Tower is the second tallest free-standing structure in France after the Millau Viaduct.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eiffel_Tower
Name: The Louvre
Location: Paris, France
The Louvre, is the world's largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France. A central landmark of the city, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine. Approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 72,735 square metres. In 2018, the Louvre was the world's most visited art museum, receiving 10.2 million visitors.

The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, originally built as the Louvre castle in the late 12th to 13th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. Due to the urban expansion of the city, the fortress eventually lost its defensive function and, in 1546, was converted by Francis I into the main residence of the French Kings. The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versailles for his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louvre
Name: Palace of Versailles
Location: Versailles, France
The Palace of Versailles was the principal royal residence of France from 1682, under Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI. It is located in the department of Yvelines, in the region of Île-de-France, about 20 kilometres southwest of the centre of Paris.

The palace is now a Monument historique and UNESCO World Heritage site, notable especially for the ceremonial Hall of Mirrors, the jewel-like Royal Opera, and the royal apartments; for the more intimate royal residences, the Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon located within the park; the small rustic Hameau (Hamlet) created for Marie Antoinette; and the vast Gardens of Versailles with fountains, canals, and geometric flower beds and groves, laid out by André le Nôtre. The Palace was stripped of all its furnishings after the French Revolution, but many pieces have been returned and many of the palace rooms have been restored.

In 2017 the Palace of Versailles received 7,700,000 visitors, making it the second-most visited monument in the Île-de-France region, just behind the Louvre and ahead of the Eiffel Tower.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_Versailles
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...WHO ARE WE?

...WHO ARE WE?

…WHO ARE WE?
…WHO ARE WE?

My name is Manny and I would like to personally welcome you to Global Visas.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluable.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluableI have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects...

I have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects.

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https://usglobalvisas.com/personal/more/about-us

We look forward to working with you and meeting all your expectations.

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