Romantic, captivating and charming, France is one of the most visited places in the world. The selection of food, wine and rich culture make it appeasing to any culture vulture's taste.
The largest country in Western Europe, France is a major world power and borders Spain, Andorra, Monaco, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium & Luxembourg. On the west coast is the English Channel & Atlantic Ocean and in the south the Mediterranean Sea. The Pyrenees Mountains form the natural border with Spain & the Alps in the East form the highest point in the country - Mont Blanc, rising to 4807m.
Paris the capital, the city of love and lights, is a must see for any trip, with highlights including the Eiffel Tower (with over 6 million visitors every year), Arc de Triomphe, Museums including the world famous Louvre, the shopping on the Champs Elysses and the historic buildings of the Bourbons, Napoleon & the Revolution, it is little wonder everyone wants to visit Paris.
If you are visiting France you should always look into travel insurance to eliminate as many risks as possible when travelling.
France is the most popular country in the world with 80 million visitors a year. France has an amazing diversity of landscapes and climates so nearly every leisure activity can be enjoyed in this country. Some of the big ones include: skiing, surfing, fishing, visiting famous battlefields, lounging with the celebrities on the Cote d'Azur, emptying glass bottles of delicious wine and champagne, devouring fine cuisine and visiting some of the finest art museums in the world.
Because of the open borders throughout the EU you won't have much trouble just casually passing over the border from most EU countries. Some may require you to show your passport. If coming in from a non EU country you will definitely be required to show your passport and any relevant visas.
France is part of the Schengen Convention which means many New Zealander visitors can enter without a visa under the 90-day visa waiver program within the Schengen Zone.
The great thing about France is that just about every part of the country is accessible by either train, plane or car. Bigger cities like Paris have extensive metro systems that make seeing sites easy. Pre-book trains in advance to save money. The cheapest way to get to the UK from the France is bus, however the ferry is quicker.
France is a safe country but of course no matter where you are in the world you should always take care of yourself and your belongings. Petty crime does occur on public transport and in busy tourist areas so be aware of beggars and gypsies that could try and rob you of your money. Don't buy fake designer handbags from people on the street, heavy fines can be issued.
There aren't any compulsory vaccinations you need for France. However whenever you travel you should make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines. These include measles-mumps-rubella, tetanus, chickenpox, polio, and your yearly flu shot. See your GP at least 8 weeks before you travel for advice.
Depending on your style of travel you might want to head to France in the summer for hot weather, but you'll be stuck with the crowds. September or October and April are generally less crowded and still have good weather. As for the winter months - museums and shopping will still be great however the weather outside can be horrid - rain, wind and freezing temperatures.
Consulary assistance can be found at the following;
New Zealand Embassy Paris, France
103 Rue de Grenelle,75007, Paris
+33 1 45 01 43 43
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