Before you Go
Your valid identification papers should always be with you. Identification can be checked anywhere and at any time, if you are driving or even on the street.
If you plan to drive while in France, you need to carry your Driver's License, a gray card ("carte grise") which is the registration, and a certificate of insurance. If your stay in France is less than six months, you are free to drive with your vehicle throughout France.
All US Citizens and Foreign Nationals entering France will need a valid Passport. If you are American and staying less than 90 days you will not need a visa, unless you are a student and planning to study in France. If you plan to stay longer than 90 days you will need to apply for a temporary stay visa, a long term visa, or a residence card, depending on your circumstances.
US Citizens who have been in France for more than two days can return with $400 worth of merchandise, duty-free. US Citizens who wish to bring more than $400 worth of merchandise with them when they return home are subject to a flat rate of 10% duty on the next $1000 worth. If bringing back gifts, the duty-free limit is $100.) You should keep all receipts from your purchases just in case a Customs inspector asks to see them.
The Value Added Tax (VAT) can be refunded on goods. If you make a purchase of at least 175 Euros, ask the store clerk for detaxe papers. On the paperwork, request that your refund be applied directly to one of your credit cards. You are allowed to do this even if the purchase was made with cash. Fill out the detaxe papers before you arrive at the airport for departure. Have the forms marked / stamped at the airport Customs desks. Customs officials may request to view the purchases, so having them in your carryon bag will make this a faster process. Place the stamped forms in the envelope provided by the store clerk, and mail them while at the airport. You have just begun the refund process. For more information on the VAT refund, please click here.
There are no required vaccinations for entering France. Minors traveling alone are required to carry authorization for travelling, signed by their parents. All currency rules, pet entry requirements, medication requirements, and other up-to-date and detailed information for entry into France please contact the French Embassy.
A really popular way to travel France is by train. Train service is comfortable, punctual, and efficient. France's extensive railway network connects many of the large cities and towns, while the smaller towns without train stations have bus services that travel to the nearest train stations. The inter-city rail link network, Societe National des Chemins de Fer, has frequent express and high-speed trains. The TGV, Train a Grande Vitesse, connects to other European routes including London. Paris Charles-de-Gaulle and Lyon Saint-Exupery airports have high-speed train stations to make rail travel easier for travelers.
E.U. Nationals should ask their local social security office for a European Form E.111 before travelling. Having this form allows you to be reimbursed for prescription charges or medical costs incurred when you return from France. For other international travelers, check with your travel agent and insurance companies to see if they will cover you if there Is an accident or illness while in France.
Airlines from the U.S. to France
Travel by car is very convenient to move throughout France. The roadways are well maintained and there are many toll roads, so be prepared. The minimum driving age is 18 years old, but you must be at least 20 years old to rent a car in France, and have held a full driver's license for a minimum of one year. You are required to have insurance.
An alternative to car rental in France is car leasing. You can lease a brand new car from as little as 17 days, up to 175 days. Leasing plans include unlimited mileage, insurance, roadside assistance, and more. The minimum driving age for car leasing companies is 18 years, so this is a more realistic option for those not quite 20 with the age restriction on rental.
Car Hire France Car Hire Montpellier Car Hire Geneva Car Hire Paris Car Hire Nice
Car Rental & Limousine Services
Alamo Rent A Car, (954) 320-4030 www.alamo.com
Auto Europe, (207) 842-2200 www.autoeurope.com
Auto France, (201) 934-6994 www.autofrance.net
Autoventure, (206) 624-6033 www.autoventure.com
Avis Rent A Car, (800) 331-1084 www.avis.com
Europe by Car, (212) 581-3040 www.europebycar.com
European Car Reservations, (585) 383-1260 www.ecrtravel.com
France Car Hire Rental, www.france-car-hire-rental.com
The Hertz Corporation, (201) 307-200 www.hertz.com
SACCA Tours, (718) 545-4751 www.saccatours.com
Take-A-Guide LTD, (800) 825-4946 www.take-a-guide.com
Hotel Reservation Services
One Travel, www.onetravel.com
Abotel Small Hotels of France, www.hostotel.com
Bed & Breakfast Paris, www.parisbandb.com
Club Med, www.clubmed.com
Concorde Hotels, www.concorde-hotels.com
Crown Int'l Marketing, www.crownintmark.com
Epoque Hotels, www.dpoquehotels.com
European Hotels & Tours, email@example.com
French Boutique Hotels, www.frenchboytiquehotels.com
Global Home Network, www.globalhomenetwork.com
Hotels Around the World, www.europahotels.net
Its Cars & Hotels, www.its-cars-hotels.com
Loire Tours, www.usrc.net
Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts, www.lemeridien.com
Millennium Hotels & Resorts, www.mill-cop.com
Relais & Chateaux, www.relaischateaux.com
Travel Guides Michelin Guide : http://www.viamichelin.com