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France travel hints and tips

Circle of friends
Have yourself a fantastic vacation but make sure you respect the local culture in France at the same time – here are a few France travel tips and advice:

Speaking French
Try to speak French if you can!  A few rusty words in French is better than going for English, and avoiding the effort.  The French take pride in their language so it’s best to show some respect – many French people will then come to your rescue in English.

La bise - ‘The kiss’
Most of the time you will greet a French person with a handshake, but if you have gotten to know them you may greet them instead with la bise.  It starts by bringing one cheek close to their cheek, then simulating a kissing noise (silence is ok too).  This is then repeated on the other cheek, and maybe a few more times (and sometimes twice is enough).  The total number of kisses depends on the region, the person… Even the French are confused. Left? Right? Two, Three, Four? Kiss? Handshake? Don't take it seriously, and laugh at it if it goes wrong.

Lunch breaks
Lunch breaks in France last one to three hours and, except in major urban zones, everything is closed.  Most supermarkets will stay open but the banks close even in Paris.  As a general rule you can expect shopping and banking to be out between the hours of midday and 2 pm, and if you’re still in a store at 11.45 you will probably be chased to the checkout!

Taxi meters are turned on the moment the driver leaves to pick you up so be prepared for the meter to show more than the minimum!

*The Small Print
We’ve tried to make this destination guide as accurate as possible but please double check the essentials like visas, health and safety, airport information etc with the relevant authorities before you travel.  STA Travel takes no responsibility for loss, injury or inconvenience caused as a result of this guide.  All prices listed are in the currency of the destination, unless otherwise stated.

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