All that Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, US and EU nationals require to enter France is a passport which is valid for at least three months beyond the date on which they are due to enter the country.
For all non EU-citizens who intend staying in the country for a period of longer than ninety days, a visa is necessary. Furthermore, all visitors to the country who intend to stay for longer than three months, including EU citizens, need to apply for a residence permit (carte de séjour) within sixty days of their arrival in the country. This can be carried out at the local prefecture, mairie or commissariat.
South African nationals will require a visa to visit the country and residents from any countries not mentioned here or those intending to work or study in France should contact the French Embassy in their home country before travelling.
To ensure you know the full details for entry requirements it is advised that you contact your nearest French embassy.
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, 0.50C, 0.20C, 0.10C, 0.05C, 0.02C and 0.01C.
Language The official language in France is French. You will find many people in Nice speak English, particularly around some of the touristy areas.
Nice enjoys very warm summers with temperatures going above 100F during the hottest months. If you enjoy warm weather, the best months to travel there are between May and October.
Visitors from EU countries are entitled to medical treatment under the EU Reciprocal Medical Treatment agreement, as are visitors from Scandinavian countries. EU natives need to collect an E111 form from therir 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.
You shouldn’t have a problem finding a chemist in Nice. If you do, take down the following address:
5, rue Masséna
Nice is one hour ahead of GMT and 6 ahead of EST.
Clothes shops’ opening hours are generally 10am-7pm Monday-Saturday. Office hours are usually between 9am-5pm from Monday to Friday.
The main tourist office in Nice, where you will get lots of information and leaflets, is on Av. Thiers.
As an EU member, France imposes VAT (TVA in French) on most goods and services. The standard for clothing, appliances, alcohol, perfumes etc is 19.6%. For non-EU residents, however, the good news is that you can get the tax back on any item for which you pay over €180.
In order to avail of this incentive, you need to obtain a Europe Tax-Free Shopping Cheque when you purchase the item. When you are leaving the country, you present both the item and the cheque at customs, the officials will stamp it for you and you can then cash your cheque at any of the booths with the Tax-Free logo and Cash Refund sign. This is only applicable where you are leaving the country within three months.
When in France you can exchange foreign cash in any branch of any bank. They open from 9.00am until 12.00pm and again from 2.00pm to 4.00pm from Monday to Friday but many major branches also open their exchange facilities from 9.00am until 12.00pm on Saturdays. Banks generally offer the best rates so try to exchange your cash in the bigger banks such as Crédit Lyonnais where the least commission is charged.
All major credit cards are accepted in the bigger hotels, restaurants and shops but in smaller businesses or the more remote areas you may have difficulty using this facility. You can also use bankcards which are members of the bigger international networks such as Plus or Cirrus in the larger towns and cities where the ATM states that they are acceptable.
In Nice the best places to change money is either in the Cambio at 17 av. Thiers (across from the train station) and also at Change, 10 av. Felix Faure. American Express has an office at 11 Promenade des Anglais
France uses the European standard of 230V/50Hz
The international country code for France is 33 so if you are calling from abroad you need to dial the county’s international calling code followed by 33, the local area code without the first 0 and the local number. The same instructions apply when you are making an international call from within the country replacing 33 with the country’s area code. You should also note that the international access code for France is 00.
Pay phones can be found in most public places including post offices, bus and train stations, shopping centres and in the street in towns and villages throughout the country. Most are card phones which you can buy from post offices, tobacconists and railway stations. They come in denominations of fifty units which will cost you 40F or one hundred and twenty units which costs 100F. You can also use your credit card in most public telephones.
Nice’s main post office is at 23 av. Thiers.
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%.
In France public holidays are New Years Day (Jan 1st), Easter (March/April), Labour Day (May1st), 1948 Victory Day (May 8th), Ascension Day (May 29th), Whit Monday (second Monday in June), Bastille Day (July 14th), Assumption Day (August 15th), All Saints Day (November 1st), Remembrance Day (November 11th) and Christmas Day (December 25th).
It is worth noting what the public holidays are before you travel to Nice/France as the majority of businesses, banks and shops usually shut for the day.