France’s climate is temperate, but divided into four distinct climatic areas. The oceanic climate of western France brings average rainfall spread over many days, and modest annual temperature variations (Brittany, Normandy, Atlantic Loire, Loire Valley). Central and eastern France’s continental climate harbours cold winters and hot summers (the Champagne region, Burgundy, Alsace). The Mediterranean climate of south-eastern France is responsible for hot, dry summers, with rainfall from October to April (when the weather is damp but mild) and ample sunshine all year round (Provence, Côte d'Azur and Corsica). Above 600-800m altitudes, France’s mountain climate brings heavy rainfall, and snow three to six months per year.
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Electricity in France runs on a 220-volt, 50-hertz AC current. France also uses a Type E plug (round pin and receptacle with male grounding pin). If you bring electrical appliances, you might need a plug adapter. You may also require a transformer, although today, most major appliances have one built in. When in doubt, check with the manufacturer.
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The sales tax on goods and services in France is known as the value added tax (VAT) (or TVA in French, for "taxe sur la valeur ajoutée"). This tax is actually applied on every stage of a product commercialization, from the purchase of the raw materials to the final sale to the consumer. This is different from to the American sales tax, which is only imposed once on the final retail sale.

For the consumer, there is no difference when it's time to pay, because the tax rate will be applied on the total amount.  The Sales Tax Rate in France stands at 20 percent. Sales Tax Rate in France averaged 19.69 percent from 2000 until 2017, reaching an all-time high of 20 percent in 2014 and a record low of 19.60 percent in 2001.


Almost all restaurants include tax and a 15% service charge (service compris) in their prices. If a meal or service has been particularly good, leaving another 2-3% is customary, as is leaving the waiter the small change from your bill if you pay in cash. If service is not included (service non compris) a 15% tip is appropriate. In hotels, tip porters approximately 1.50€ for each bag and chambermaids 1.50€ a day. Taxi drivers should be given 10-15% of the metered fare. Tip hairdressers 10%, assistant 5%. Small tips of around 1€ are reasonable for cloakroom and washroom attendants, ushers and museum tour guides. It is standard practice to tip tour guides and bus drivers after an excursion, generally 1.50-3.00€, depending on your level of the satisfaction.
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France, in Western Europe, encompasses medieval cities, alpine villages and Mediterranean beaches. Paris, its capital, is famed for its fashion houses, classical art museums including the Louvre and monuments like the Eiffel Tower. The country is also renowned for its wines and sophisticated cuisine. Lascaux’s ancient cave drawings, Lyon’s Roman theater and the vast Palace of Versailles attest to its rich history.


Security is a priority for all: - The state of emergency is a measure declared by the President of the French Republic to keep people in France safe. This provisional measure means increased security checks and greater police powers. - Police and gendarmerie reinforcements have been deployed throughout national territory. - Inspections and staff numbers have been increased in public transport and around public sites, including tourist attractions (three-fold increase in staff at Parisian sites compared to usual levels). - Lastly, all representatives of the tourism sector have announced the recruitment of additional security staff to ensure the safety of visitors.
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The majority of crimes directed against foreign visitors, including U.S. citizens, involve pick-pocketing, residential break-ins, bicycle theft, and other forms of theft.

Visitors to congested and popular tourist areas (e.g., museums, monuments, train stations, airports, and subways) should be particularly attentive to their surroundings.

Crimes of opportunity are more likely to involve violence on the street late at night or when the victim resists. 

Women should exercise extra caution when out alone at night and/or consider traveling out at night with trusted companions.

While the incidence of sexual assault is statistically low, attacks do occur.

Be aware of “date-rape” drugs. 

Be cautious in bars and clubs where alcohol is served, and do not leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from strangers, as they may have slipped drugs into the drink.

There are high incidences of “smash and grab” robberies in economically depressed areas or on highly traveled thoroughfares such as roads to and from the airport. Thieves on foot or motorcycle will approach a vehicle that is stopped in traffic, smash a window, reach into the vehicle to grab a purse or other valuable item, and then flee. Keep doors locked and valuables out of sight.

Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations. 

Check local media for updates on the situation and traffic advisories.  


It's unlikely you'll face any health problems in France you didn't have at home; the country is not a high-risk zone for communicable diseases. Still, check with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( before visiting any foreign country. As of the date of publication, the CDC recommends being vaccinated against common illnesses, like measles and mumps, as well as hepatitis B, before visiting France. Bring any over-the-counter and prescription medications you take regularly, since getting prescriptions refilled in France can be tricky.


U.S. dollars are not accepted in most establishments, though some hotels, shops, and restaurants may accept U.S. dollars at an agreed upon exchange rate.  Euro (€): The French currency Bills: 500/200/100/50/20/10/5 Coins: 2€/1€/50 cents/20c/10c/5c/2c/1c The Euro is divided into 100 cents, or centimes.

ATMs (known locally as distributeurs automatiques de billets) often have the best exchange rates. Think of withdrawing directly from your savings, not from your credit card, which treats the transaction as a cash advance. If you do plan to obtain cash on your credit cards using an ATM, contact the credit card company for instructions and to let them know your intentions. Virtually all ATMs in France take MasterCard and Visa, and most are linked to the Cirrus and Plus systems. American Express has ATMs in major cities. Note: Most French ATM keyboards have numbers only, so if your PIN contains letters, remember the number equivalents. Four- and five-digit PINs are acceptable in France. Credit Cards  Credit cards are accepted in a large number of shops, hotels, and restaurants. Shopkeepers often state a minimum charge. 
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June generally has both brisk and hot days, with average temperatures at around 62 degrees F. Pack clothes that you can layer in case an unusually cool or hot day sneaks up on you. Bring light cotton clothes for sunny days, but also pack warm socks and a light windbreaker.
 Believe it or not, this is one of the rainiest seasons of the month, and sudden thunderstorms are quite common. Pack a reliable umbrella in case one of these surprises you during a stroll or picnic. If it looks dark and stormy out and the air is heavy and humid, it's probably best to reschedule that picnic for another day-- this usually means one of the city's famous storms is imminent. 

Bring both closed-toed and open-toed shoes. On hot days or excursions to the park you'll appreciate the open-toed pair, but you'll need a good, comfortable pair of walking shoes too, especially since visits to Paris usually involve lots of walking.


Taxis can be found at marked taxi ranks, booked online, over the phone or simply hail one in the street.  In order to determine if a taxi is available or not, you must refer to the illuminated white box situated on its roof: if it is lit red, then it's occupied; if it is lit green, then it's available. Here are some guidelines for when you can't hail a taxi: If it is less than 50m from a taxi rank. If it is found in a bus lane. If it is already reserved (signal box is lit white) Since June of 2007 in Paris, a unique number to call (01 45 30 30 30) has been in place allowing you to call taxis equipped with a terminal. Through an automated assistant, you can choose which arrondisement and station is the nearest to you. If the station then doesn't respond, you will be automatically connect to a second or third in proximity.  You can equally reserve your taxi through internet and phone taxi services. In order to find out all the information concerning the rates of taxis in France, please refer to the "tarifs" or rates section of the Taxis of France website as a guide. Rates will depend on the area, time of day, distance travelled and number of passengers for each trip. 
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Several cities in France (Paris of course, and also Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Nice, Lille, Rennes etc.) have their own métro or tram system and all cities offer a rather expansive bus network. You will find that for the larger French cities, all the relevant information is available on their dedicated websites.
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Tips on How to Avoid Becoming a Victim: Common-sense security precautions will help you enjoy a trouble-free stay. Most problems can be avoided by being aware of one's surroundings and avoiding high-risk areas.

When going out, carry only essential items: ONE credit/ATM card, ONE piece of identification, and no more than €40-50. Avoid carrying high-value jewelry and large amounts of cash. Valuables should be kept out of sight and in places difficult for thieves to reach, such as internal coat pockets or in pouches hung around the neck or inside clothes. Shoulder bags and wallets in back pockets are an invitation to a thief.

Keep photocopies of travel documents and credit cards separate from the originals, along with key telephone numbers to contact banks for credit card replacement. Raise your awareness level while in crowded elevators, escalators, and metro cars. When possible, take a seat or stand against a wall to deter pickpockets and try to maintain a 360-degree awareness of the surrounding area.

Carry only a purse that zips closed and ensure that it is carried under the arm and slightly in front of the body. Swing backpack-type purses around so that they are slightly in front of your body. Carry your wallet in a front pocket. While on foot, remain aware of your surroundings at all times and keep bags slung across your body and away from the street.



U.S. Embassy Paris
2 avenue Gabriel
75008 Paris
Phone: [33] (1)43122222
Alt Phone: (33) 1 42 66 97 83
Fax: [33] (1)42669783


  • In France dial [then dial 0 (zero) when you hear the automated greeting].
  • If you are calling from the U.S., please dial [then 0 (zero)].

NOTE:  Time difference between Washington D.C. and Paris is + 6 hours.