A valid passport is all that is required if you are an EU national. Same applies if you are from the USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, but only for stays of up to three months. Nationals of many countries need a ‘Schengen Visa’.
To ensure you are aware of the full entry requirements contact the French Embassy in your local country.
The currency used in France is the Euro which is made up of 100 cent. Notes come in denominations of €100, €50, €20, €10 and €5 and the coins in use are €2, €1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c and 1c.
French is the official language in Bordeaux. You will find a lot of people in the city, especially those in the tourism industry, who have English.
The city’s climate is an oceanic one. Due to its proximity to the Atlantic, winters tend to be mild. Summers are warm with temperatures sometimes reaching above 20ºC during the long summer months. October, November and December are Bordeaux’s wettest months.
Visitors from EU countries are entitled to medical treatment under the EU Reciprocal Medical Treatment agreement, as are visitors from Scandinavian countries. Natives of Britain need to collect an E111 form from your local social security office. This form may also be obtained in post offices also. Travellers from non-EU countries are obliged to pay for any medical treatment required during their stay.
Bordeaux is in the Central European Time (CET) zone which his one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
The vast majority of shops in Bordeaux open somewhere between 9am-10am, then close between 6pm-7pm. Others open from 8am-9pm. Office hours are usually between 9am-5pm from Monday to Friday.
The main tourist office is located at 12 Cours du 30 Juillet. It is open daily, with opening hours varying seasonally.
As an EU member, France imposes VAT (TVA in French) on most goods and services. The standard for clothing, appliances, alcohol, perfumes and other goods is 19.6%.
Banks are open from Monday to Saturday and provide competitive exchange rates. Local currency can also be obtained from the 24-hour ATMs found all over the city.
Electricity in France operates on 220 volts AC.
To call abroad from France dial 00, then country code, area code and local number, dropping the 0 on the area code. If you are calling France from abroad the international access code is +33 and the city code for Bordeaux is 05, but don’t forget to drop the 0 on the area code when dialling from abroad..
The main post office is located at 37 Rue de Château d'Eau.
By law a service charge must be included in all restaurants, café and bar bills in France. If you feel that the service merits a further tip an amount between 5% and 10% is sufficient. In bars or cafés one or two euro is the norm. Taxi drivers are usually given a tip of between 10% and 15%. It is worth noting, however, that at no time is it essential to tip and is entirely at your discretion.
It is worth noting what the public holidays are before you travel to Bordeaux as the majority of businesses, banks and shops usually shut for the day. In France they take place on January 1st, Easter Monday, May 1st and 8th, Ascension Day, July 14th, August 15th, November 1st and December 25th. It is a good idea to check the particular area too as certain towns and cities also shut down during special events.