Soon you will be going on holiday to France. We would like to send you well-prepared, so we have listed some useful information for you. We wish you an enjoyable holiday in 'la douce France'!
In France, you pay tolls on major transit routes, as well as for some bridges and viaducts. Current toll rates can be found here: https://www.autoroutes.fr/index.htm?lang=en
Payment can be made in cash or by credit card, without a PIN. You can also buy a toll badge, valid in 4 countries: Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal.
On 1 July 2016, the Crit'Air law came into force in France. This allows French municipalities to establish permanent and temporary environmental zones. Within an environmental zone, all cars, including foreign vehicles, must have a Crit'Air. The environmental sticker can only be ordered on the official Crit'Air website https://www.certificat-air.gouv.fr/ Delivery time is about 10 days. The cost is €4.61 including shipping to the UK. €3.11 + €1.50 postage outside France (i.e. €4.61 per vehicle)
Current fuel prices: https://www.prix-carburants.gouv.fr/
Fuelling on the motorway is always a lot more expensive than along ordinary roads. Fuelling at the big supermarkets is generally the least expensive.
France has limited charging points for electric cars but the network has expanded enormously recently. Charging points along the way can be found on this route planner: https://abetterrouteplanner.com/
It is compulsory to have a warning triangle and a safety vest in all vehicles.
Are you going by plane and renting a car? A UK driving license is valid in France, The driver must often be at least 21 years old and have had a driving license for at least 1 or 2 years. Only a credit card (with PIN) in the name of the main driver can be used to rent a car.
Black Saturday is the day of the year when road traffic is most dense due to the many departures on holiday. In 2023 it is August 5 and the Saturdays before and after are red.
If you want to stay overnight on the road, there are numerous cheap hotels along the motorway. Some chains include Formule1, Kyriad, Etap, Première Classe or Ibis Styles.
Tap water in France is generally safe to drink. If a tap is labeled Eau non potable (no drinking water), it is then better to drink bottled water.
In France, bakeries and butchers open sometime between 7:00 and 8:00. Around lunchtime, they are closed for a few hours and then they are open until around 19:00. Many bakeries are also open on Sunday mornings. On Mondays, many shops are closed. The big supermarkets are open every day, all day, and often into the evening, They are often found just outside the cities, and apart from food, they sell everything from books to washing machines. Well-known supermarkets include Leclerc, Auchan, Intermarché, and Carrefour, but in France, you will also find Lidl and Aldi. Cigarettes and medicines are not for sale in supermarkets.
If you eat out at the campsite, you can often go early. If you go out to a restaurant outside the campsite, bear in mind that there is often no one there before 19:00. Eating out is cheaper than in the UK. You can have a simple 3-course menu for around €15 (13 GBP). Check the menu or the bill: if it says Service compris, the tip is already included.
French healthcare is of good quality.
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to necessary medical care in case of illness or accident during a temporary stay in France. It is often not necessary to advance any healthcare costs yourself. You will find the personal EHIC on the back of your health insurance card or in their app. Read more about the European Health Insurance Card EHIC.
The pharmacy is the place to go for all kinds of medicine and self-care products. French doctors are always very generous in dispensing medicines.
In case of hospitalisation or when medical-specialist care is required, it is best to contact your insurance company directly.
No COVID-19 measures currently apply in France. There is also no need to get vaccinations.
France is a large country with great geographical differences. As a result, there are diverse climates.
With Google translate you will of course go a long way, but it is also nice to know some phrases. We'll help you on your way:
|Yes / No||Oui/Non|
|Please||S'il vous plaît|
|What is your name?||Comment vous appelez-vous?|
|I am / my name is||Je m'appelle..|
|I do not speak French||Je ne parle pas français|
|Ik begrijp het niet||Je ne comprends pas|
|I don't understand||Quelle heure est-il?|
|How much does this cost?||C'est combien?|
|Where is the restaurant/bar?||Où est le restaurant/bar?|
|Where is the nearest bank?||Où est la banque la plus proche?|
|Where is the swimming pool?||Où se trouve la piscine?|
|Do you accept credit cards?||Acceptez-vous les cartes de crédit?|
|Straight ahead||Tout droit|
|Can I see the menu?||La carte, s'il vous plaît.|
|I would like a beer/glass of white wine/glass of red wine||Je voudrais une bière/un verre de vin blanc/un verre de vin rouge, s'il vous plait|
|Cheers / Sláinte ||Santé !|
|Can I have the bill please?||L'addition, s'il vous plaît|
|Where is the toilet?||Où sont les toilettes?|
|Where is the hospital?||Où est l'hopital?|
|Waar is de apotheek?||Où est la pharmacie?|
|Waar kan ik een tandarts vinden?||Où est le dentiste?|
In France, you pay with the euro. You can pay with your normal debit or credit card almost everywhere. There are many ATMs in France. Please note that withdrawing money with a credit card is usually not free of charge.
Lundi de Pâques
Fête de travail
Le jour de la libération
Jour de l’Ascension
Lundi de Pentecôte
All Saints' Day
Jour de l’Armistice
Are you traveling alone with a minor child, for example, because you are divorced? Or are you taking a friend of your child with you? Then you must be able to prove that you have permission from the parent(s). You can do this with a permission slip.
Put the phone number of a contact person in case of emergency as an ICE (In Case of Emergency) number in your phone.
Tip: before departure, photograph your passport/ID, insurance card, bank card, emergency numbers, and other important items. Mail or app them to yourself or other travel companions, so you can still have important data to hand in case of loss or theft.
Disclaimer: The information on this page has been carefully compiled. However, we do not accept any liability for incorrect or incomplete information. The links we use to other websites are for information purposes only. These websites are not maintained by