Welcome to your one-stop shop for all things France.
President: Emmanuel Macron
Prime Minister: Jean Castex
€10.00 ≈ $11.65
Bordered by Spain, Andorra, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium
Bordering The Atlantic & The Mediterranean
Soupe à l’oignon
Coq au vin
Cool winters & mild summers
Beer ≈ €6.00
Baguette = €0.90
Regulated religion: Using its status as a secular state, France has passed laws in recent years which ban the use of conspicuous religious symbols in all schools. Another law bans the wearing of face coverings which includes the burqa and other religious garb in public places. These laws have led to scrutiny both in and out of France and are widely considered to be targeting Muslims – the ban on the burkini is evidence to back up such claims.
Terrorist attacks: Unfortunately, France has been victim to multiple terrorist attacks in recent years. These include the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting, the 2015 attacks at The Bataclan and throughout Paris, and the 2016 Nice attack.
Identification: Police are allowed to randomly stop civilians on the streets and ask for ID and you are legally obligated to provide it.
Drugs: All drugs are illegal and criminalized across France, though you may regularly smell marijuana in the air.
Alcohol: At 16 you are allowed to purchase and consume beer and wine but not until 18 are you allowed to purchase or consume hard liquor.
LGBTQ: Same-sex relationships and marriage are legal across France. Transgender people are allowed to legally change their gender, but only after gender reassignment surgery.
As with most of Europe, France is generally quite a safe country.
While terrorist attacks have occurred, this is unfortunately an awful reality of the vast majority of the world.
Cities in France can be hotspots for pickpockets, especially in highly touristed areas like around the Eiffel Tower and on the metro as well. The south of France, specifically near the Mediterranean, petty crime can at times turn violent. This is not reason to restrict travel to these areas but rather to remain vigilant, as always.
Founding: France as we know it today was established in 1792
Origins: The first mentions of France can be traced back to as early as the year 463.
Recent History: France was involved in both WWI and WWII. Paris was liberated from the Germans in 1944 and in the following years joined many international treaties and adopted a new constitution. France also became a founding member of The European Union.
It is only permitted to go nude near bathing areas.
The burqa is banned.
Hello: Bonjour /bown-zjur/
Please: S’il vous plaît /si-voo-play/
Thank you: Merci /mer-see/
Can I have a beer please: Puis-je avoir une bière s’il vous plaît /poo-je-voir-un-beyarr-sil-voo-play/
Where is the train station?: Où est la gare? /oo-ay-la-gar/
Starring: Hugh Jackman
The epic that is Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables is a tale worthy of repeat viewings. If you have any chance to watch it on-stage, do. But, in the meantime, be sure to catch it in at least one version (film is certainly not shabby) before visiting France.
By: David Lebovitz
Goodreads Stars: 3.60/5
Recommended as one of my books to read while traveling, this is also a great book to read before visiting France. It goes into life as an expat and the humor and frustrations of not only living in the country, but trying to renovate a new home there.
By: Dan Brown
Goodreads Stars: 3.86/5
It does pain me a bit to put this very pop book on a read before visiting France list. But alas, it is an easy read and provides some lovely scenes in France – specifically through the Louvre.