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Revision as of 09:14, 29 January 2004 by Pontauxchats (talk | contribs) (TGV -> obligatory reservation + Roman town planning and monuments)
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Quick Facts
Currencyeuro (EUR)
Area547,030 sq km
Population59,765,983 (July 2002 est.)
LanguageFrench 100%, some regional dialects
ReligionRoman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%


France is divided into 22 administrative regions, which themselves can be grouped into 7 main "cultural regions", which share common points.


Listed below are the biggest cities in France, and the cities which cannot be missed if you wish to thoroughly explore the country.


France is a very old country. Until the Roman invasion, it was pretty much uncivilized. The Romans brought culture, roads, technology, and order. A lot of Roman artifacts are still visible, particularly in the south part of the country. Some of the main roads still follow the routes originally traced 2,000 years ago, and the urban organisation of many old town centers still transcript the cardo and the decumanus of the former Roman camp.
Cities with the most of Roman monuments : Orange, Arles, Nîmes.

See also: European Union

Get in

By plane

By train

Trains are a great way to get around in France. You can get pretty much from anywhere to anywhere else by train. For long distances, use the TGV [Train a Grande Vitesse -- High-Speed Train], obligatory reservation. But if you have time, take the slow train and enjoy the scenery. The landscape is part of what makes France the top tourist destination in the world.

By car

By bus

By boat

Get around


French is the language of choice in France. In Alsace and part of Lorraine is spoken a kind of German language. In the south, the language is closer to Catalan than to French, and is called Langue d'Oc (because the word for "yes" is oc) or Provençal. In Bretagne, Breton is spoken; this Celtic language sounds like French, but is incomprehensible unless you also know Welsh. In parts of Aquitaine, they speak Basque, but not as much as on the Spanish side of the border. In Corse is spoken a kind of Italian language.
Some Parisians are snobbish about French and will correct your French, or spit at you if you talk English to them. People elsewhere in France are more tolerant.
Overall, though, everyone speaks French. The regional languages are (sadly) disappearing, despite some valiant efforts to keep them alive.

Many French people speak some English, but are often embarrassed to use it because it is often rusty. You can get them to speak English if you try speaking some French to them first -- then they will open up. If you try to speak English directly, they will think you are arrogant and will pretend that they don't understand you.

See also: French phrasebook


France is part of the Eurozone, so like in many other European Union countries the currency here is the euro (symbol: ).


The food is reason enough to go to France. Even the most curmudgeonly visitors admit that the food is better there than anywhere else. That is because food is not just food to the French -- it's a passion.






For European people coming from a EEC country, working in France is allowed without problem, and working in many French cities is possible. If you're from outside EU, you will probably need a working permit - check with the French Embassy of your country. Depending on your qualifications, you can find a lot of different jobs.

If you want to earn money to continue traveling, Interim agencies are a good source of short-time jobs. You can also consider working in bars, restaurants, and/or nightclubs (they are often looking for English-speaking workers, peculiary those restaurants in the touristic area - fast-foods such as McDonald's and Quick are also always looking for people).

A lot of "student jobs", if you happen to be in a big city, are also available for the youngest among you travelers, and foreigners are often really welcome - it can be, for example, giving private courses of English, or taking care of young children, or many other things... Check out the university buildings, they have often a lot of ads regarding jobs.

Don't forget being an English speaker is a big advantage when you're looking for a job - French employers really have a problem of finding English-speaking workers. However, note it will be much easier for you if you know a bit of French, for the same reason (your colleagues are not likely to speak English).

The French work market works a lot with contacts - if you know someone that works somewhere, you can probably figure out quite an easy way to work at that place too. It always helps to know people living in the area you wish to work.

Stay safe

Stay healthy



External links

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