Quick Guide to France: Say Bonjour to your next escape

2019-05-16 13:00 - Saara Mowlana
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The Eiffel Tower turned a 130 years old and Paris is celebrating!

The iconic monument issued an impressive light show that dazzled spectators and will be on every night until Friday.

Why not join in on the celebrations with a trip to France this year? Check out our guide below for everything you need to know.

Here's what you need to know if you go:

  • Visa requirements: A Schengen visa is required for SA travellers. A short stay Schengen visa is valid for 90 days and costs roughly R1 000 at present (about €60 - euros - SA cost dependent on exchange rate) and takes up to 15 days to process.
  • Population: About 65 251 542 +/- presently
  • Airport HubParis Charles de Gaulle Airport
  • Capital CityParis
  • Flight time: About 11 hours at best for a non-stop flight

READ: Travel the Semi-finals: See the top 4 attractions in the World Cup's top 4 countries

  • Currency: Euro (€) Current Exchange Rate: €1 = R16.69
  • Medical and health: To avoid illness and dampening your trip experience, be sure to heed the warnings and get the appropriate vaccinations beforehand. All Travellers: Routine Vaccinations. Some Travellers: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Rabies.
  • Country code: +33
  • Emergencies: Dial 112 (overall), 17 (police) and 18 (fire) - for more emergency numbers: click here.
  • Public Transport: A network of métros (underground subway services), tramways, buses and taxis are available for transport and travel around France. Read more here.
  • Useful app to download: Uber Paris for getting around.
  • Climate: France has a Mediterranean Climate. The Mediterranean climate is widespread throughout the south of France (except in the mountainous southwest) - it is characterised by cool winters, hot summers, and limited rainfall. The mean temperature is about 11° C at Paris and 15° C at Nice.
  • Popular Cuisine: Must try dishes include: Baguettes, croissants, or the iconic dessert treat: macarons. Check out more here.

ALSO WATCH: Say bonjour to these hidden gems of Paris

Useful phrases to know: 

French is the official language of France. Learn a few key phrases in French to make your stay more enjoyable.

Useful app to download - Duolingo and Google Translate makes learning a new language easy and fun. 

  • Hello - Bonjour
  • What is your name? - Comment t'appelles-tu? (informal)
  • My name is... - Mon nom est...
  • Goodbye - Au revoir
  • Please -  S'il vous plaît
  • How are you? - Comment vas-tu? (informal)
  • I am well - Je vais bien
  • Excuse me / pardon me - Excusez-moi
  • Sorry - pardon
  • Thanks - Merci
  • You are welcome - Ça ñ'est pas grave
  • Where are you from? - D'où êtes-vous?
  • I am from... - Je viens de...
  • What? - Qu'elle?
  • Where? - Où?
  • Who? - Qui?
  • When? - Quand?
  • Why? - Pourquoi?
  • How much is it? - Ç'est combien?
  • Where's the toilet? - Où sont les toilettes?
  • Do you speak English? - Parlez-vous anglais?
  • Top Cities

    • Paris 
    • Nice 
    • Marseille 
    • Toulouse 

    Top attractions in France

    • French Cheese - Say cheese! The French are known for their cheese or fromage. From brie to Gaperon cheese enthusiasts are sure to have their palate preference appealed to. Its temperate climate, ample rainfall, availability of farmland and the commitment of farmers make France a sustainable dairy-producing country. 
    • Eiffel Tower - It is not a truly French experience without mentioning its icon. Standing a whopping 324m high, this 19th century creation was built as part of preparations for the World's Fair of 1889. The tower was selected from among 107 projects and was the brainchild of Gustave Eiffel, an entrepreneur, Maurice Koechlin and Emile Nouguier, both engineers, and Stephen Sauvestre, an architect.
    • Arc de Triomphe - Be sure to swing by this triumphant historic monument. From the top of the panoramic terrace, your eyes sweep over the whole of Paris. The Arc, built from architect Jean-François Chalgrin's concept, was inspired by the Roman Arch of Titus in a single arch. However, it went beyond it by exceptional dimensions (about 50 m high, 45 m long and 22 m wide) and abandoned columns altogether.
    • The Louvre - Visit this iconic museum that's home to the Mona Lisa. Take a trip through the 17th and 18th century society and keep your eyes peeled for the other iconic treasures you can find. Some top works include: Michelangelo's Dying Slave, Venus de Milo and the Great Sphinx of Tanis.
    • Notre-Dame de Paris - This movie-famous cathedral is one to behold. Featured in the beloved children class: The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, we've all come to know its name, but not what it really looks like. The cathedral runs thick with Gothic Medieval architecture styling and looks like something that is rightly fit for a Disney fairytale. With tall towers that point up from intricately designed building faces and an interior to match with beautiful ceiling-high arches.  

    What to do

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