Oh la la, France, the country of fine food and wines, a land rich in arts, culture, and history, and of course, the place they talk the language of love – but if you’re visiting, there are a few things to remember:
France is a wonderful and relatively easy place to holiday in, and let’s face it, 85 million visiting tourists can’t be wrong every year! So here are the essentials for a smooth, fun, and fabulous time.
1. Take The Language With You!
The French are infamous for their lack of patience with visitors who don’t at least make an effort to speak their language, so brush up on your French before you go, and have a phrase book handy – they appreciate it, even if they don’t really show it!
2. Learn To Kiss
Sounds strange, but the rules to kissing varies in France from region to region, and depending on status, relationship, and situation, so it’s a good idea to read up on this to see how they do it – but when in doubt, just copy them!
Interestingly enough, a law was passed in France in 1910 banning kissing on train platforms to avoid delays – although the law is still in place, it’s not really enforced, so don’t worry… kiss away!
3. Licenced To Thrill
You may be on holiday, but laws still apply, and in France you have to be 18 years-old with a full licence to drive. International driver’s licences are recommended, but US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, South African, and all EU driving licences are valid in France for up to twelve months. Carry your licence at all times when driving, and it’s a good idea to have insurance, car rental, and/or registration documents always handy too.
4. Lights, Camera, Action
If you’re driving a right-hand-drive car in France you’ll need to adjust your headlights to dip to the right, as the French drive on the right. This can be done with glare deflectors which can be bought at most car accessory stores or at ferry terminals.
5. Be Patriotic
Don’t forget that if you’re driving a foreign car in France you need to display your national identification letters – these stickers can be bought in most car accessory stores, or once again, at the ferry terminal.
6. Breathalyser Kit
No, we’re not joking, in France it is compulsory for drivers and motorcyclists to have a breathalyser on them when driving. Despite their wine drinking culture, the French are very strict on drink driving, with the legal limit just 50mg per 100ml of blood, compared with 80mg in Britain – the equivalent of a small glass of wine.
7. Take Charge!
Despite being our nearest, and sometimes dearest, neighbours, France has different plug sockets from Britain. France uses 220 volt 50Hz mains, and the sockets are two pins, but you can pick up a European adaptor at Poundland for a pound! Don’t buy at the airport, as they charge through so roof – so to speak!
Remember, your holiday in France will be much more enjoyable with a good grasp on the language, so learn the language of love – and then the world’s your oyster, not just France!