Practical France

Where To Stay

The France Discovery Guide offers tips for travelers and special offers. The tourist office also provides complete Paris and regional hotel listings with prices and guides covering all types of accommodations from small family-run operations to luxury inns and fabulous châteaux. Call the tourist office for a copy.


Arriving & Departing: Charles de Gaulle is the main airport for Paris; Orly airport also receives trans-Atlantic flights, as do the airports in Lyon and Nice. Trains connect de Gaulle and Orly to Paris.

New stations at de Gaulle and Lyon-Satolas are served by the 180-mph Trains ˆ

Paris Visite: This card provides unlimited transit on Paris's incomparable Métro, 100 years old in 1998, and on all regional trains, as well as discounts on selected attractions. It's $40 for two consecutive days. With one added flexible day, the total is $53; two added flex days, $64; three added flex days, $73. Call Rail Europe at 800-324-RAIL.
Grande Vitesse, the world's fastest. New TGV Duplex service, with bilevel cars, runs daily between Paris and Lyon.

Eurostar trains run from London to Paris in just three hours via the Channel Tunnel. Automobile shuttle trains also use the tunnel between Folkestone and Calais.

Getting Around: The TGV system continues to expand, with high-speed trains running north to Lille and Brussels, south to Tours (as well as Lyon and Marseille), west to Brittany and east to Switzerland - all connected by the Réseau bypass around Paris.

For information on France Railpasses, see by rail.

The limited-access highway system expedites travel between regions. The north-south routes, for example, link the Belgian frontier with the Mediterranean - crossing Burgundy, the Rhône valley and Provence.


New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday and Monday (Mar. 30 and 31), Labor Day (May 1), Victory Day (May 8), Ascension (May 8), Whitsunday and Whitmonday (May 18 and 19), Bastille Day (July 14), Assumption (Aug. 15), All Saints Day (Nov. 1), Armistice Day (Nov. 11), Christmas.

Money Matters

Banks are open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break. The French franc is divided into 100 centimes. $1 = 5.28 FRF as of Dec. 2, 1996.

Free Literature

  • FRANCE DISCOVERY GUIDE: The 112-page 1996 edition features the heritage heartland cities of France with regional itineraries, practical information and great values.
  • INSIDER'S NEWS: Free-subscription quarterly update to the France Discovery Guide.
  • VISITING THE VINEYARDS OF FRANCE: A new 36-page guide with maps and visiting and tasting information.
  • FRENCH ALPS DISCOVERY GUIDE: Ski-vacation planner covering top resorts, practical tips and a list of ski tour operators.
  • FRANCE FOR THE JEWISH TRAVELER: A new edition of the popular guide.

French Government Tourist Offices:

676 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Los Angeles
9454 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
New York
444 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10022

The nationwide "France-on-Call" information number is 900-990-0040 (There is a charge of 50 cents per minute).
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