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General information on France. Getting to France. Country profile, climate, entertainment, leisure, transport.

GENERAL INFORMATION

FACT FILE

France is the world's most popular tourist destination boasting dozens of major tourist attractions, like Paris, Côte d'Azur (the French Riviera), The Atlantic beaches, the winter sport resorts of the Alps, the Castles of Loire Valley, Brittany: Mont Saint Michel. The country is renowned for its gastronomy (particularly wines and cheeses), history, culture and fashion.

Official Name: French Republic
Area: 674,843 sq. km. (260,558 sq miles)
Lowest point: Rhone River delta -2 m
Highest point: Mont Blanc 4,807 m

Capital: Paris
Currency: Euro (EUR) from January 1, 2002
Official language: French
Time zone: UTC+1
Dialing Code: +33
Internet top-level domain (TLD): .fr
Emergency services: 112

Average temperatures: The average daily temperature range in Paris is 1 to 6C (34 to 40F) in January and 13 to 24C (55 to 75F) in July. The oceanic climate fully dominates the west coast. Brest, in Brittany, has an average January temperature range of 4º to 9ºC (39 to 47F) and an average July temperature range of 12º to 19ºC (54 to 67F).
Blue flag beaches: 238

Main International Airports: Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport (CDG);
Paris Orly International Airport (ORY); Bordeaux International Airport (BOD); Lyon Saint-Exupery International Airport (LYS)
Ports and terminals: Basse-Terre (Guadeloupe), Bordeaux, Calais, Degrad de Cannes (French Guiana), Dunkerque, Fort-de-France (Martinique), La Pallice, La Trinite (Martinique), Le Havre, Le Port (Reunion), Marin (Martinique), Marseille, Nantes, Paris, Pointe-a-Pitre (Guadeloupe), Rouen, Strasbourg
Religions: Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%

Government: Unitary semi-presidential republic with strong democratic traditions
President: Nicolas Sarkozy
National holiday: Fete de la Federation, 14 July - the celebration actually commemorates the holiday held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille (on 14 July 1789) and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy
Population: 63,713,926 (2007)
Population density: 114 people/km²
Gross Domestic Product (GDP): Total est. USD 1.871 trillion (2006); Per capita $30,100
Human Development Index (HDI): 0.952 (high) (2005)

Business hours:

Banks: In Paris and in most of northern France banks are usually open from 9am to 4:30pm-5pm, Monday to Friday. Some banks close from 1pm to 3pm, and some are open Saturday mornings. Provincial banks are usually open from 10am to 1pm and from 3pm to 4:30pm, Tuesday to Saturday. Note that the day before a national holiday banks may close earlier than usual.

Shops: The normal opening hours for shops are Tuesday to Saturday from 9am (or 10am) to 7pm, and in larger cities, some stores may remain open until 10pm. Outside of Paris midday closing is traditionally a two-hour break for lunch usually from 1pm to 3pm, taken sometime between midday and 3pm, although many shops and supermarkets in larger towns and cities now open continuously.
Most major credit cards are widely used and accepted.


France is the most visited country in the world. It has everything that you could ever want to see on your holidays: a great city like Paris, good beaches, more monuments than any other country, lovely nature, incredible mountain scenery. France is also a very pleasant place to stay. It has good food, great wines and people enjoy their lives. And the best thing is, maybe apart from Paris, living in France does not have to be expensive. The North of France consists of the flatlands around the town of Lille and the Channel. The area will remind visitors in many ways of Belgium and the Netherlands. The Grand' Place in Lille for example is a lot like that of Brussels.

Paris, the city of light and its surroundings are one of the most visited areas. Paris is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities on the planet.
West of France is turned towards the Atlantic Coast. In the north Normandy & Brittany have rolling hills, sandy beaches and quiet little harbour towns. Normandy & Brittany have a more rugged coast and many neolithic sites. It has quite a distinct atmosphere from the rest of the country; you can still sense the Celtic origin of the region and its inhabitants.

The eastern part of France consists of the Alsace, Lorraine and Burgundy regions. The landscape has rolling hills and many beautiful cities, such as Metz, Strasbourg, Nancy and Dijon. This region produces many famous wines, including magnificent pinot noirs and chardonnays valued the world over, as well as the famous "Yellow wine" from the Jura mountain vineyard.

The Center of France is in many ways the quietest part of France. But the great treasure of this region is the Loire valley, with many great castles and beautiful towns. Chartres with its famous cathedral and Tours rate among the most beautiful French cities.

The Alps are great for skiing in winter and hiking in summer. Albertville, Grenoble and Chamonix have all hosted the Olympic Games. But the Alps also have nice towns to visit, such as Annecy or Grenoble.

The South with its lovely nature, good food, roman ruins and of course the Riviera draws a lot of visitors every year. If you want to get some expensive presents or just buy something exclusive for yourself the best places to make purchases are Cannes or Nice. There you can find a great number of jewelry, clothing and wine stores, so it will be rather an enjoyment for you to go shopping at that area. Of course you may spend your holiday just resting on the sandy beaches of sunny Riviera, without leaving your luxurious hotel.

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Paris

Cannes

Nice

LEISURE, ENTERTAINMENT & CULTURE IN FRANCE

Being one of the most famous countries in the world there is a lot to do in France. You can choose to go to an exhibition, to a show, visit one of the numerous festivals or carnivals or go to a sporting event. In terms of culture there are a plethora of theaters, cinemas, concerts, casinos and nightclubs to be visited. And to top it all there are numerous amusement parks and zoological and animal parks. Click here to learn more


GUIDE TO LIFE IN FRANCE

This section of our website acts as a guide, providing you, our visitor, with practical and useful information with regards to life in France, including: Electricity in France, Telephone and Internet Services, Education system, Insurance, Taxations, Pets, Shopping, Traveling to and around France


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