YOU CAN EDIT THIS PAGE! Just click any blue "Edit" link and start writing!


From Wikitravel
Jump to: navigation, search


So, France has 22 official regions and 96 official departements. I think this is too many to handle gracefully on this page, and I think we need to split up the country into our own regions (not the official ones, but travel ones). My attempt is on the France page -- corrections more welcome than comments. -- Evan 13:54, 6 Nov 2003 (PST)

Yep, I really think we need to reorganize that main page. I'm going to do it before the end of the week - I'd love also to get rid of the "CIA" stuff, which IMHO is not useful. The 22 regions can be splitted into geographical groups : north, west, center, east, southwest, southeast, plus Ile de France. That's seven, nice ! -- Mathieu 18:35, 12 Nov 2003.

Hmm... Well, I wonder if more traditional names for the regions won't be more accessible for English-speaking readers. I don't know what's in the East or North-East of France, but I know names like Normandy, Provence, Brittany, and Alsace-Lorraine... I think maybe your division along the official region lines, grouped into geographical areas, may be too exact. And, y'know, we do prefer to use the English names of places when possible (see article naming conventions for details). Any other thoughts? -- Evan 08:46, 16 Nov 2003 (PST)
This is probably more of a philosophical issue, but I think we need both. The "traditional regions" are not always known to tourists, so it is good to have an organization that can be easily found on a map ; on the other hand the geographical region naming doesn't have the same appealing power than the "traditional" one. On a personal viewpoint, I usually prefer working with geographical areas, thus my organization, but I understand that people might work another way. -- Mathieu 06:03, 17 Nov 2003 (PST)
Why shouldn't we be using English names? i.e. Bretagne -> Brittany? We probably should be internally consistent. -- Nils 2004-01-12 14:52 CET

Flat hierachy[edit]

Taken notice from Evan -- I understand better why you stick to a "Flat hierarchy" now. I will move my page to respect this. -- Mathieu 18:39, 12 Nov 2003.


Add Aix en Provence, not a 'big' city but definitely interesting.


Until the Roman invasion, it was pretty much uncivilized. The Romans brought culture, roads, technology, and order. This is quite disputed. Not everybody agrees with this, to put it mildly. ;o) Yann 15:38, 14 Mar 2004 (EST)

Overseas departments[edit]

Should add overseas departments to "regions". -- Nils 19:07, 17 Jul 2004 (EDT)

Places to eat[edit]

Re: the recent additions at France#Finding a good restaurant, mentioning the guide Michelin is definitely a plus but recommending Lonely Planet's listings is a bit iffy. Should the last two paragraphs be nuked? Jpatokal 10:18, 28 Oct 2004 (EDT)

I added the reference to the guidebooks and I intend to make other reference to them in other articles. The above question leads to another, more general, question : should we make reference to guidebooks (other than wikitravel) ? I think that for the time being the answer is yes, at least until wikitravel becomes more thorough and available to carry in one's pocket. Now for a direct answer to the question : guidebooks are not all good or bad. I find the info in Lonely Planet accurate but, I think, not intended for the same "customer" as the info in the Michelin. It is up to the traveler to make a decision as to which guidebook, if any, he should buy. AnTeaX 07:05, 2 Nov 2004 (EST)
(sign your comments with ~~~~...) Wikitravel policy on external links, as per Wikitravel:External links, is to avoid linking to secondary sources like on-line travel guides, which tends to imply that we shouldn't necessarily point at other travel guides (verbal links, if you like). You might want to raise this in a more general way on Wikitravel:Travellers' pub or something, rather than risk edit wars based on the existing policy. -- Hypatia 06:50, 2 Nov 2004 (EST)
1)I certainly don't want to start a war. 2) I'll try not to forget to sign my comments in the future 3) I will raise the issue as suggested in the pub AnTeaX 07:10, 2 Nov 2004 (EST)

Road signs[edit]

Road signs were added to the France article recently. Would they be better on European Union since as the France article notes, the signs are the same? -- Hypatia 05:38, 9 Nov 2004 (EST)

to my knowledge, the official signs are the same in EU, but this has been a recent homogeneization. As a consequences, sign encountered when driving in european countries are not necessarly the same everywere, especially in the countryside, where old signposts were not reimplaced. Berru 14:21, 18 Aug 2005 (EDT)
The article looks horrible with those huge signs in the midst of it all. They should be in a "Driving in France" article or something like that, definitely not here. It's not like it's rocket science either.Jake73 19:42, 19 December 2006 (EST)
There, made a new Driving in France article.Jake73 19:09, 25 January 2007 (EST)


Can anyone list if France electrical power is compatable with US power?

Don't know what you have in USA. In France, electrical power is 220V, 50Hz. Electrical connector may be different, but there are adapter, i think. If it can help, UK and france power are compatible, but electrical connector are different.
See Electrical systems. -- Colin 18:43, 11 Sep 2005 (EDT)


     Solid and cheap meals are found where trucks gather.

Note about the tip. With the French law telling that the waiter can not be paid by tips but must be paid on an hourly rate, the tip tends to be very very obsolete. Anyway, it is impossible to add it at the end when paying with the credit card... —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 14:49, 27 June 2006 (EDT)

Credit Card Risk[edit]

Is this sentance appropriate? I understood that credit card transactions over the internet are just as safe/unsafe as fax,phone, mail-order, etc.

Its main advantage over the Internet is that you pay for services through your phone bill (delayed) or your phone card (instant) so there is no risk like the one associated with sending your credit card number on Internet. bcnstony 18:38, 20 May 2006 (EDT)

Tu / Vous[edit]

Quote : "As an example, ladies will often call each other by their first names but use the "vous" form. On the other hand, boys in schools call each other by their surnames and use the "tu" form."

Unless the intention is to make French customs even more bizarre than they actually are, the above is pure nonsense. Yes, schoolboys calling themselves by their surnames was perhaps heard until the 50s (and in movies from that time). Two ladies calling each other "vous" even when on familiar terms sounds like mad fantasy on the Uppercrust.

This is completly wrong...I'm French, I've never seen that !

This section is quite patronising

Montreuil-Belley and Disneyland[edit]

I will remove those places from the introduction. Naming them as the main attractions in France is completly irrelevant.

Cities / Other destinations[edit]

I've removed Strasbourg from the cities list, to keep it in line with our policy of 9 max. Feel free to swap it for one of the others, I don't know France so just picked one I'd never heard of.

Other destinations probably needs some sort of cutting down as well... - Cacahuate 22:55, 25 February 2007 (EST)

I find it STRANGE that someone who admits not knowing about France would cut Strasbourg out of the cities list!. the European parliament has regular sessions in Strasbourg after all. it is also a great looking town with superb half timbered frame buildings and a remarquable Gothis cathedral . other random items that puzzle me: winter in France is cold to very cold in all the mountainous regions: Alps, Pyrenees, Auvergne, Jura. This is why they have so many ski resorts. There are in fact 4 types of climates in France: Oceanic, Continental, Mountainous, Mediterranean. In French schools they taught that the Middle-Ages start pretty much with Hugues Capet, First king of France. Charlemagne-real name Carolus Magnus-spoke so-called vulgar Latin and was Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, of which France was but a small part. The Middle-Ages ended in the late XVth cent. The 16th century ushering with the start of the Renaissance. The Middle-Ages were an era of discoveries and progress: monks invented the cam-shaft, powered by water mills. Architects and builders invented the Gothic vault, allowing them to build tall churches with huge windows. Fortified castles were built quickly on top of hills and mountains. Several hundreds "new towns" were built in many areas, with streets on a rectangular grid. Scores of people were traveling all around Europe, going from one famous fair to another or to famous pilmgimages. By the way, the churches built before the Gothic cathedrals aren't called Romantics but Romanesques (Romanes in French) meaning that they use the Roman style vault or barrel vault.

The History section should starts earlier. after all France is Famous for prehistoric caves with Amazing paintings, non??. see Lonely Planet pages on French history for an example. cities with castles: how can anyone forget Amboise, with a very important Royal castle or Angers with the huge medieval castle of the Counts of Anjou whose family name changed to Plantagenets, who became Kings of England with Henry II (this is why he is buried in Fontevraud abbey nearby, along with his wife, one of his son etc.) What about the town of Josselin, with the castle of the well known Rohan family?(they are still around). On the other hand the castle of Roquetaillade is not in Bordeaux at all but 40 km south!!. Bordeaux does have 2 fortified towers, remains of a XV century castle built by the French when they conquered the town. Bordeaux is better known for its 18th century buildings (around 5000)including one of the few 18th cent. Opera house in the world that not only remains but is still being used. Bordeaux' city hall is the 18th century "Palais Rohan" (see above) there is another Palais Rohan in Srasbourg.. I find the division of France in regions that make sense for English speaking people puzzling.. as it doesn't take in account local cultures and political/administrative realities. Isn't the WHOLE point of a travel guide to TEACH US TOURISTS HOW THINGS ACTUALLY ARE IN A COUNTRY and not HOW WE THINK/WISH THEY WERE??. Auvergne for example has nothing to do with the towns and areas of the Central France region this site made up. Auvergne is part of the lower 1/2 of France that traditionnaly spoke the Langue d'Oc, not French until the late 19th century for languages others than French, please check the internet site of the "Delegation a la langue Francaise et aux langues de France" an official French Government cultural organisation that deal with the 75 odd languages and dialects of France (this doesn't includes foreignlanguages spoken by immigrants). While I do admire all the work that has been done by so many dedicated people, I think that we should DOUBLE CHECK THE INFO against official French sources (many sources are available in English). I also totally disagree about the use of English for towns,places,regions etc. we should always use the local form first then PERHAPS add the English if necessary. Not so long ago we used to say Peking, now we say BEIJING. Using English first and foremost is cultural arrogance. Yes the French, the Germans, the Italians and prety much everbody are also guilty of the same arrogance but we are in the 21st century and are supposed to think globally, not parochially. My apologies for not being a registered user yet. I'll do it ASAP. JOE Canuk French is my second language, learned in primary and secondary schools in France. English my 3rd language.

We limit the list of cities in the country article to a representative sample of 9 of the most popular travel destinations, and include additional cities in the articles covering smaller regions. That means we have to leave out some really good cities on that page. As for organizing the guide by what makes sense to the English-speaking traveler... that's who this guide is for. We certainly want to help educate them about the places they're visiting, also, but our guiding principle is that the needs of the traveler comes first. We try to include some historical background, but focus on the information that's most relevant to the traveler, rather than trying to fit an entire encyclopedia article in it; that's what we have links to Wikipedia for. We use English versions of names because those are the versions that our readers know, the ones they will see used in English-language books and brochures, and the ones they will use to search online. We include the local names in the article because that will help them reading local signs. If we used local spellings exclusively (or even primarily), English-speaking users would have a really difficult time finding the article for 北京. If English-speaking people ever start using that name (rather than the English approximation "Beijing") we can start using it as well, but they don't so we don't. - Todd VerBeek 09:03, 19 May 2007 (EDT)

There are currently 13 cities listed, which violates the 7+2 rule. I'd "plunge forward" and edit it myself but I admittedly don't know a thing about France. If someone who knows a little more than me could try to par it down? 06:30, 1 March 2010 (EST)

I suggest removing Bourges, Nantes, Tours and either Aix-en-Provence or Cannes. I will make that edit (tossing a coin for the Aix/Cannes choice) this time next week, unless there is significant opposition. Jnich99 12:43, 1 March 2010 (EST)


I've created links for the region articles, not that familiar with France, but main article has too many destinations on it, is it appropriate to create these articles? If so, is "Great West" the right name for that area, or should it just be Western France? - Cacahuate 22:55, 25 February 2007 (EST)

Grand-Ouest is the only name I've heard it called in English, although I would say Great West. ( Also, with the current regions, Normandy is cut in half. Suggestions? Hrcolyer 11:42, 20 January 2009 (EST)
It doesn't seem logical to cut Normandy in half like this. --globe-trotter 11:20, 4 April 2010 (EDT)
I think we should place the whole of Normandy into Northern France. --globe-trotter 10:43, 28 May 2010 (EDT)
In the new map I placed the whole of Normandy into the north, which makes for a better fit indeed. When I read at Wikipedia, it doesn't seem that Lower Normandy even belongs in the Great West. --globe-trotter 07:18, 29 May 2010 (EDT)
Very nice work.--Burmesedays 08:42, 29 May 2010 (EDT)

Traveling to Domremy la Pucelle[edit]

I am traveling to France soon, and wanted to know how to get to Domremy la Pucelle and visiting Joan of Arc's birthplace, thank you. Anyone can help what's the best way to get there, by car? or by train? etc

Not sure how old this is, but anyway. Yes, definitely car. Domremy is a small village near Neufchateau. Maybe use Nancy (or possibly Vittel) as a base?

I know well Domremy. Using a car from Nancy (very nice city) seems to be the best way.


It is increadibly ignorant to say that French is the language of 100% of the French Population. Occitan, Catalan, Coriscan, Flemish, Basque, German, Breton and many others are distinct languages and NOT dialects of the French language. French is the first language of 93% of the population - not 100%

That figure (like most of our basic data) came from the CIA factbook article about France. I assume it meant that nearly everyone in France knows French, even if it's not their primary language. I've edited the article to better acknowledge that other languages are used. - Todd VerBeek 10:09, 29 April 2007 (EDT)


We need to mention the fact that French people traditionally go on summer holidays all at once, between some particular dates. Slight exaggeration perhaps, but I know this can have a bad effect on prices and booking availability in the regions where they all travel to, e.g. coastal areas and camping in the Alpes.

We should probably also mention that visiting a French town on Easter Sunday / Monday, is only fun if you like looking around abandoned places :-)

-- Harry Wood 22:51, 26 March 2008 (EDT)

You need to plunge forward! Jpatokal 04:57, 27 March 2008 (EDT)


someone posted some vandalism on this page just wanted to let know of. -- 10:27, 22 May 2008 (EDT)


I've read somewhere that to deny the Armenian Genocide by Ottoman Turks is a crime in France? Is it a law, or only a project???

Some lawmakers close to Armenian groups have mentioned they would like such a law, but such a bill has never been discussed, let alone voted. It's also dubious it would be constitutional. Submarine 17:28, 30 August 2008 (EDT)


Two things: although very nice places, surely Nantes, Bourges & Cannes are not as popular as the other destinations on that list. Maybe a more generic "French Riviera" regrouping Nice, Cannes, and others would be good. Also no mention of the Cote de Nacre/Cote Fleurie (Deauville, Cabourg, Trouville).

Also, I've modified it, The Mont-St-Michel is not in Brittany which the article so far seems to suggest. Historically and culturally (architecturally), as well as administratively it is a Norman outpost. And as Normandy is also one of the major tourist destinations, I added it in the list, it makes it easier to express.

The cities and OD lists are an absolute mess unfortunately.. --globe-trotter 14:57, 1 March 2010 (EST)

Moved from the main article. No idea why these had been left in such an important article.The ODs need some fleshing out (and change) I think. --Burmesedays 12:01, 4 April 2010 (EDT)

Centre - Val de Loire[edit]

The Centre (pronounced "son-truh") is a large inland region of central France located to the south-west of the French capital Paris. The official name for the region is frequently combined in tourist literature with the French 'Val de Loire' to produce the combination Centre-Val de Loire, reflecting the fact that much of UNESCO World Heritage listed valley of the river Loire is embraced by this region. The region is known for its fine historical towns (medieval town of Chinon for example), for its vineyards (Bourgueil, Chinon, Touraine, St Nicolas), its gastronomy (Goat Cheese : St Maure de Touraine, Poire Tappee, Rillons...) and for its many beautiful castles or "chateaux" (Chambord - Amboise - Blois - Chinon - Villandry - Rivau - Azay le Rideau - Rigny Usse - Montsoreau) and Gardens (Villandry - Rivau - Valmer - Chaumont - Chatonniere).

The Canal du Midi[edit]

One of the most remarkable inland waterways in the world, The Canal du Midi was built in the 17th century to link the Atlantic with the Mediterranean, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Canal itself, which starts in Toulouse and finishes in the Thau Lagoon near Sète, has 240 km of navigable waterway, making it ideal for boat holidays. The Canal is extremely picturesque, often serene, and shaded for much of its length by trees. There are some impressive engineering feats along its course, including the series of locks at Fonseranes, near Béziers, which was the birthplace of the Canal's founder, Pierre-Paul Riquet.

Franche Comté[edit]

In 19th-century European high society, people would often talk of a magical land where winter never came - that land of unending sunshine and azur waters. A few miles back from the shore is a less publicized side of the Riviera --- a world of romantic hill towns and perched villages balanced on craggy peaks. Worn-down stone stairs and cobbled byways lead through modest hamlets crowding around ancient châteaux.


A region flagged by the peaks of it mountains where hiking and winter sports are king. Springing from a glacier, the Rhône River flows south through France toward the sunshine of the Mediterranean. Its broad valley embraces thriving cities, Roman ruins, medieval castles, fabled vineyards and the snowy peaks of the French Alps.


The Louvre Museum, Versailles Château, Orsay Museum, Saint-Denis Basilica and the Fontainebleau Château are all just a small part of what makes Paris Ile-de-France the most beautiful museum in the world. Between cultural visits and entertainment possibilities, there are ample opportunities to take advantage of your stay and discover the very best in festive entertainment and leisure activity : shows, Parisian reviews, operas, not to mention shopping, sports and more.


Norman abbeys, châteaux with glazed rooves, ducal towns and charming villages make Burgundy a historic region with a glorious heritage.Bienvenue to Burgundy, where every day is a celebration of world-famous wines and fond memories often recorded on bottles labeled Gevrey-Chambertin, Pommard, Romanee-Conti or Montrachet.

Western Loire[edit]

The Western Loire stretches along the Atlantic Ocean, just below Brittany. It is a very scenic region, with some 30 miles of the Jade Coast, plenty of green countryside, and 250 miles of waterways.Starting roughly where the huge châteaux of the Loire Valley end and winding west with the river to fine beaches and islands on the Atlantic coast, lies the Western Loire. Its attractions make up the best of two worlds: inland and aquatic.


During the American assault of Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, the Second Ranger Battalion scaled the 100-foot cliff of the Pointe-du-Hoc and seized the German artillery pieces. Normandy echoes the history of past struggles: the Norman Conquest woven into the tapestry at Bayeux; the perils of Jeanne d'Arc recorded in Rouen; and the drama of the D-Day landings recorded along the Normandy beaches.


France itself was born in this northern province located between the Marne and the Somme, for it was here that the Franks - ancestors of the French - settled down. Picardy is the first region and the historical beginning of France; it is a veritable treasure-trove of art and natural beauty.

Champagne Ardenne[edit]

The home of champagne could only be welcoming. Accept its invitation and feast your eyes and taste buds! Champagne country, birthplace of le champagne, the world's most festive wine. La Champagne, the region where this fine bubbly is made, holds so many treasures: a rolling countryside, dotted medieval churches, timeless castles and villages along winding waterways, historic fortifications in the forested Ardennes, and vineyards as far as the eye can see between Reims and Epernay.


Shaped by the volcanic activity that took place 30 million years ago, the Auvergne landscape is all green mountains and wild gorges. Nature in the raw. Intriguing Auvergne, in the very center of France between Vichy and Le Puy, has a broad history from the 13th century's King Philippe Augustus to the Marquis de la Fayette. Celebrated Frenchmen from this region include Vercingétorix, the first Gaulois king, one of the great thinkers of modern times, Blaise Pascal, and former president Georges Pompidou.

Poitou Charente[edit]

The Poitou-Charentes region has a magnificent coastline - and is one of the finest destinations for countryside holidays. The region's reputation is closely linked to cognac – the superb, refined, locally-produced spirit. Poitou-Charentes is a land of tradition, where skills are passed on from generation to generation: its inhabitants know how to wait for a good product to mature – and they also know how to take the time to enjoy life and to welcome guests.


An immense line of golden sandy beaches, bastides and châteaux, an abundance of vineyards, mountains and countryside - that's Aquitaine. Bountiful Aquitaine - what landscapes, culture and heritage! A generosity that is also hinted at in the diversity of its countryside: the sloping Bordeaux vineyards, the sandy heathland along the coasts of the Basque country, the plateaux of the Périgord.


A region situated at the crossroads of Europe, Alsace is a frontier land both open to the world and attached to its own traditions. Alsace is renowned for its geranium-filled villages, its medieval capital of Strasbourg, its tasty "choucroute garni" dishes and its crispy dry white wines. Nestled between the mighty Rhine and the Vosges mountains, picturesque Alsace is fiercely French in its social and political attitudes, but ever so slightly German in its tastes and appetites.


A region that values its idiosyncrasies, Brittany is a world of its own at the edge of the country. At the westernmost tip of France, Brittany extends out to the sea where the Atlantic Ocean and English Channel meet. Rooted in its Celtic past, Brittany presents visitors with a special personality: an ancient countryside with quiet beaches, rugged capes, melancholic moors, small fishing villages, walled cities and prehistoric megaliths


Corsica is the "the island of beauty", with its contrasting colors: blue like the vast sea, dark green like its laricio pines, ochre like its Genoese towers and red like its creeks. Once described as "That mountain in the sea," the isle of Corsica, with over 600 miles of sandy beaches, and crested by 9,000 foot peaks, lies in the heart of the Western Mediterranean. Easily accessible by air and sea, Corsica is just 110 miles off the Southeastern coast of France and 50 miles from the shores of Italy.

Languedoc Roussillon[edit]

Miles of fine sandy beaches, a hinterland rising up the foothills of the Massif Central and the Pyrénées - Languedoc-Roussillon is a land of sun-filled charm.The Languedoc-Roussillon region, where the Pyrénées Mountains plunge into the Mediterranean, has come into its own with a sparkling group of new yacht-port resorts.


Make a getaway to Limousin and plunge into the most lush vacation destination you could imagine - a land of trees, water and pure, clean air. The Limousin region, on the western slopes of the Massif Central, attracts visitors in search of unspoiled countryside. Almost entirely covered by a thick carpet of vegetation, lit up by a large number of rivers and lakes, Limousin is a haven of profoundly harmonious landscapes.


Lorraine is proud of its strategic position at the border of Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany. A strategic position at the crossroads of Europe explains Lorraine's long, colorful and often turbulent history, which has endowed two major cities with diverse artistic wealth: Metz, once a Gallo-Roman stronghold; and Nancy, whose elegant 18th-century buildings make artwork out of urban architecture.

Midi Pyrénées[edit]

The Midi-Pyrénées is made up of eight departments set in the heart of southwestern France. It has an incredibly wide range of natural sites: from the Pyrenees to the valley of the Dordogne and from Gascony to the Gorges du Tarn; the diversity of its landscapes is equalled only by the wealth of its heritage. One of France's most enticing and enchanting regions, the Midi-Pyrénées boasts a rich cultural, historical and natural heritage.

Pas de Calais[edit]

A region of festivities and human warmth where joie de vivre is a communal affair. Just over the border from Belgium and a tunnel ride across the Channel from England lies the Nord/Pas-de-Calais region. Its major city is Lille, the captivating crossroads of TGV Paris - Brussels and London.

Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur[edit]

With its feet in the Mediterranean and its head in the Alps, the region has an extensive palette of colorful landscapes. Provence, the Midi, these are magical names in a luminous landscape that inspired Van Gogh and Cézanne, and changed the course of modern painting. They have also created a new current in contemporary travel.

Franche Comté[edit]

Between the Vosges and the Jura, Franche-Comté is one of those regions where the natural surroundings are second to none. Verdant and friendly, Franche-Comté occupies France's mid-east, located between the old Duchy of Burgundy and Switzerland, and embraces the western part of the dramatic Jura Mountains.

Most of the cities in France would have an "Office du tourisme". These can help at making itineraries, getting a map, get information about accommodation, visit chateaux, organise wine testing and so on. --Burmesedays 12:01, 4 April 2010 (EDT)

Get in entry requirements[edit]

In case anyone wants to know the source of my edits to include information about the visa exemption for 'Annex II' nationals to work during their 90 day visa-free entry, see this European Union document - [1]. Yeahtravel 09:32, 31 May 2011 (EDT)

Minimum passport validity[edit]

Source of my edit regarding minimum passport validity: (webpage of the Consulate-General of France in Vancouver). Jakeseems 07:01, 23 July 2011 (EDT)

Shopping Etiquette[edit]

I've added a section on shopping etiquette. I once got scolded right out of a store for failing to observe this policy, so I speak from experience. 15:56, 2 May 2012 (EDT)

Even more vandalism[edit]

Just thought I should say this, because it's getting ridiculous 11:38, 7 October 2013 (EDT)