|World Europe France France travel guide|
France travel guide
With an area of 543,965 sq km, France is the largest country in
western Europe. To the South West forms the mountainous Pyrenean
boundary with Spain, the West side is the Atlantic coast, and the North
West borders with the Channel of Manche. The North East side marks the
frontier with Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Saar. On the East, the Rhine
river provides a natural frontier with Germany, the Jura Mountains and
the Alps divide France from Switzerland and Italy, at whose border
stands France's, and the Alps', highest mass, Mont Blanc . Finally, the
South East of France skirts the Mediterranean.
Banks are are closed either on Saturdays or Mondays; but most hotels and many shops and restaurants will cash travellers' cheques or foreign bank-notes.
Driving and traffic: Traffic in France drives on the right, as in all Continental Europe. Traffic signs are standard European. You can buy a copy of the French highway code (Code de la Route) at most frontier posts. The main point to watch is that, at a road junction, cars coming from the right always have priority unless there is a road sign to the contrary. This is always the rule at cross-roads of equal importance, notably in towns, and it is essential to keep glancing right. If you are coming to a main road where you do not have priority, you will be warned by signs. If you are on a main road where you do have priority over a minor road to your right, a sign will say Passage Protege.
The speed limit in built-up areas is 37 miles . On the open road, you will sometimes be warned of a speed limit where there is a dangerous curve or road works. The French themselves tend to drive fast, but not recklessly. Their reactions are quicker than an Englishman's, and they use their brakes a great deal.
The French prefer amber headlights. Though foreign cars with white lights are not obliged to change, it is a friendly gesture to put amber discs on your lights. The French sound their hooters often, though they are practically banned in the Paris region and some other towns, except in an emergency. Zebra crossings give priority to pedestrians. A second type of pedestrian crossing, the passage cloute or double line of studs, is recommended for pedestrian use in towns, but does not give them priority. Mechanics are generally competent, and it is possible to get even quite major repairs done quickly on a Sunday. Best take a phrase-book, though, and spare parts if your car is not French.
open for detours to be possible. When the Mont Cenis is closed (usually November to April), the rail tunnel from Modane in France to Bardonecchia in Italy provides an alternative. A new toll-road tunnel under Mont Blanc links Chamonix in France to Courmayeur in Italy.
WHAT TO WEAR Your newest, smartest clothes. The sort of thing you would wear in any large city at home. Don't wear white shoes on the street. You'll need a raincoat, a suit, walking shoes, evening clothes if you plan any gala night life. Men should dress as in any city. Dinner jacket is a necessity for a man. If you go to the Riviera, take your newest sports clothes, evening clothes and a fur jacket, beach clothes. Men need slacks, sport shirts, bathing trunks and robes. For skiing what you would wear at a good resort at home, or buy your ski things abroad.
|2007 travel guides|