France: Visa Information

 
   
 
 
 
     
 

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France is a global powerhouse of history, culture, and cuisine. Travelers can experience it all: world renowned cities, beautiful countryside, and stunning coastlines. It is one of the top tourist destinations in the world, hosting about 83 million annual travelers. France is a member of the European Union, which means it will soon be adopting the ETIAS program. Read further to learn the specifics about ETIAS and French tourism.

In 2022, the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) will be implemented by all EU countries (not counting the UK and Ireland), Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. The program will apply to all travelers who are from visa exempt countries, who will need to obtain a travel authorization before visiting the EU. To apply for an ETIAS, you will only need to provide some basic personal information and a copy of your valid passport. The entire application process occurs online and you will have to pay a fee of only 7 euros. Your application will be processed far quicker than a visa application and if approved, your travel authorization will be sent to your email inbox. You are welcome to use a digital version, but it is recommended to also print a copy, in case something happens to your phone while you are traveling. Your ETIAS will be valid for three years after you receive it, and it will allow you to enter into and travel between all participating countries. The reason for the ETIAS program is to ensure higher levels of security within the EU. Recent years have seen an upswing in security breaches and violent terrorism within Europe. With the implementation of ETIAS, there will be a comprehensive record of all travelers coming into and out of the EU. This will arm authorities with the knowledge to decide who should and who should not be allowed to enter. This will make for a safer and more peaceful experience in Europe for both travelers and citizens. And it will require very minimal hassle on your end.

The only official language in France is French. While many people who work in the tourism industry will also speak English, travelers are often surprised that English is less widely spoken than in many other Western European countries. It’s a good idea to learn a few key phrases to communicate effectively and as a sign of respect for the country’s language. As France is such a large country of varied topography, it also encompasses a wide range of climates. The mountainous regions are cool in the summer and very cold in the winter while the rest of the country is fairly temperate, with warm to hot summers.

If you’re looking for a coastal holiday, there’s no better place than the French Riviera. Nice is a fantastic first stop, with something for everyone. Climb the Castle Hill to get a stunning view of the stretching beaches sandwiched by the aquamarine of the Mediterranean Sea and the picturesque city behind. The Old Town is a mecca of lovely cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops. Music and history buffs will love checking out the Lascaris Palace, which houses an impressive collection of musical instruments, art, and furnishings. The Musee Marc Chagall should not be missed, showcasing incredible works by the celebrated French and Russian artists that were curated by Chagall himself. If you’re looking for some scenic hiking trails, you can’t go wrong with the Parc du Mont Boron to get a sweat on away from the city. And of course, we can’t forget about the beaches. Castel Plage is a private beach where you can enjoy cocktails on the sand, taking the occasional dip into the sea to cool down. There’s even a lovely restaurant on the beach should you start to feel peckish.

We can’t round out an article on French tourism without mentioning the cuisine. French food is the gold standard for quality, history, and technique. It’s a country full of incredible food, from Michelin star fine dining, to local street vendors, to hole in the wall prix fixe menus. One dish to try is a traditional French onion soup, a simple yet incredibly rich and flavorful start to any meal (or a nice lunch in itself). It’s made with caramelized onions and beef stock, with a topping of melted cheese. And of course, it’s served with a slice of crusty French bread to sop up all the soupy goodness. Coq au vin is another French classic, consisting of chicken slow cooked with wine, mushrooms, bacon, garlic, and onions. It’s an incredibly satisfying meal, made popular by Julia Childs. Ratatouille is a well-loved dish from Provence that is beautiful in its simplicity. Vegetables are lightly fried and then baked in a casserole dish; it makes for a wonderful side to any meal or can even be made into a light main. For dessert, chocolate lovers will delight in a superb chocolate soufflé, a technical treat that has a light and airy crust on top, which gives way to oozy warm chocolate underneath. If you’re more of a savory fan, you can try the cheese version for a light lunch. And of course, France is known the world over for its incredible wines. Burgundy and Bordeaux are the classic quality wine regions, where you can tour some incredible wineries. Some of the most popular French wine varietals are cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, syrah, and chardonnay. No French dinner is complete without the right wine pairing.

It’s hard to fully encapsulate the important history, fine food, and well-established culture you can experience in France. Paris holds world renowned sights like the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre Museum. And there’s so much more to see in France. Check back for updates on implementation of ETIAS and enjoy your vacation to France!

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