France Basic Information
Here’s some interesting facts about France. Around 60 million tourists visit the country every year, a certain Levi Strauss imported the now-legendary fabric from Nimes for his pioneering denim trousers, the French tooth fairy is actually a mouse; and it is illegal to call a pig Napoleon in France. Read on to find out more about this magnificent country.
Generally speaking, Australian passport holders who wish to holiday in France for less than 90 days do not require a visa to enter the country, which is also one of the Schengen Convention countries. You’ll also need to ensure you have at least 6 months validity on your passport. For up-to-the-minute visa information, contact your local Embassy or Consulate of France.
As part of the European Union, France uses the Euro as currency. The exchange rate between the Euro and Australian Dollar fluctuates constantly, so it’s best to monitor and purchase your Euros when the rate is at its best. For safe spending while you’re travelling, it’s recommended to bring a credit card or travel money card with you overseas.
It’s no secret that the French are famous for their fine food. Within the country there are at least 12 different regional cuisines, not to mention the impact of seasonality. Famous French faves on the savoury side of things include French onion soup, foie gras and bisque – a creamy, smooth soup. Steak frites or steak and fries is a popular bistro dish that elevates the humble fried potato, and snails, known as escargot, and frog legs keep many a curious traveller on their toes. But where the French really outshine the rest is in the sweet category. From a perfectly flaky, buttery croissant or delicate macaron at the local patisserie to a crème brulee with the ideal crispy sugar crust, no one does sugar, butter, cream and chocolate like the French.
From supper clubs to superclubs, the French know how to party. You’ll find pumping clubs hosting international DJs in Paris and some of bigger coastal towns like Cannes and Nice. A big university means a thriving student social scene so it’s hard to look past uni towns like Dijon, Aix-en-Provence, Strasbourg and Bordeaux for unpretentious bars and nightspots and plenty of joie de vivre. If you like a little cabaret with your cabernet, the famed venues of Paris’s Pigalle and Montmarte districts will, ahem, delight – don’t miss the tantalising Moulin Rouge, Lido and Crazy Horse. For something a little more low key, you’ll find it in the country’s bistros, cafes and quiet neighbourhood bars where you can sip your aperitif as the sun sets and simply watch the world go by.