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About

Villefrance

  • France is a country located in Western Europe.
  • Clockwise from the north, France borders Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.
  • The Mediterranean Sea lies to the south of France. France also has a long Atlantic Ocean coastline, while to the north lays the English Channel.
  • France has been the world’s most popular tourist destination for over twenty years and it’s geographically one of the most diverse countries in Europe.
  • The country is renowned for its gastronomy (particularly wines and cheeses), history, culture and fashion.
  • France is about 80% the size of Texas.
  • In the Alps near the Italian and Swiss borders is Western Europe’s highest point—Mont Blanc (15,781 ft; 4,810 m).

Notable Cities in France

Paris — the “City of Light”, romance and the Eiffel Tower

Bordeaux — city of wine, traditional stone mansions and smart terraces

Bourges — gardens, canals and a cathedral listed as a UNESCO heritage site

Lille — a dynamic northern city known for its handsome center and active cultural life

Lyon — France’s second city with a history from Roman times to the Resistance

Marseille — big harbor and the heart of the Provence

Nantes — the “Greenest City” and according to some the best place to live in Europe

Strasbourg — famous for its historical center, and home to many European institutions

Toulouse — the “Pink City”, for its distinctive brick architecture

HISTORY

  • 1,500 BC – Prehistoric populations, cave art and stone monuments.
  • 1200 BC – Settlement by the Gauls
  • 59-52 BC – Conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar and the beginning of Gallo-Roman civilization.
  • 11th-13th centuries Middle Ages – flourishing of Romanesque and Gothic art. Crusades.
  • 14th-15th centuries – French-English rivalry culminates in the Hundred Years War triggering a new wave of nationalism. France is also plagued by the Black Death and famines.
  • 1539 – French replaces Latin as the official language.
  • 1789 French Revolution – Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen. End of the monarchy.
  • 1804-1815 – Napoleon is named Emperor
  • 1848 – Slavery abolished.
  • 1914-1918 – World War I (1,350,000 killed).
  • 1939-1945 – World War II (700,000 killed). Germany occupies France.
  • 1944-1945 – Normandy and Provence landings. Liberation of France.


FACTS

    Eiffel Tower, Paris

    • France is apparently the sixth largest economy in the world and is a developed country as well. The capital city is Paris. France is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world.
    • One of the most famous symbols of France, the Eiffel Tower stands at a staggering height of 984 feet, almost the height of a 70 storey building. Today, the tower has 2 restaurants, observing desk, a post office, etc and has elevators that take people up on the first three platforms.
    • One of the largest art museums in the world, the Louvre, boasts of having some of the most prized artifacts. This includes Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and also the works of French artists like Monet, Cezanne, and Renoir.
    • One of the most beautiful churches in France, the Cathedral of Notre Dame is a classic example of a church built in the ancient Gothic style. It is located on a small island on the Seine River. The construction began in the 12th century and was completed in the 13th century.
    • French cuisine and cooking is considered to be the best in the world.
    • France is said to have been the birthplace of Gothic art as well as Baroque architectural style. Gothic art was previously known as French Art.
    • During the 18th and the 20th century, French literature and poetry reached its peak. Some of the most famous literary works and stories that are popular till date were penned by acclaimed French writers like Charles Pennaut, Gaston Leroux, etc. Examples of famous stories are ‘Cinderella’, ‘Sleeping Beauty’, and ‘The Phantom of the Opera’.
    • Although only the size of Texas, France has seven mountain ranges and five major river systems.
    • France is home to 29 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
    • It is also referred to as L’Hexagone, which means the hexagon, due to the geometrical shape of the country.
    • French wine is immensely popular all over the world. The country is one of the largest wine producing nations in the world. There are 17 distinct wine producing regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Loire and Provence that continue with the tradition of wine making in France.
    • In France beer is considered a luxury drink saved for special occasions, wine is free with most meals.
    • April Fool’s Day is believed to have originated in France, in 1564, when the country started following the Gregorian Calendar. Those that did not know about the switch in the calendars, were mocked on this day as they continued to believe that April 1st was the first day of the French new year.

Avg. Costs

Lavender Fields in France

  • Single metro ticket costs €1.60
  • Litre of Milk €1.72
  • Coffee €2
  • Main dish €12
  • Movie ticket 6.50
  • Museum day pass €30
  • Chateau D’Angers – €8
  • Mont St Michel – Rocky Tidal Island – €8.5
  • Eiffel Tower – Elevator to top €13, Elevator to second €8, Stairs to second €4
  • Disneyland Resort Paris – Entrance €62
  • Always carry some Euro cash for emergencies.
  • As of 2004, the rate for a 3-star hotel listed in a reliable guidebook falls between €70 (cheap) and €110 (expensive) for a double without breakfast.

 

Click here to see The Economist’s Big Mac Index.  It is arguably the world’s most accurate financial indicator to be based on a fast-food item.

Currency

Information is coming soon.

Safety

Town of Gaillac

  • Crime-related emergencies can be reported to the toll-free number 17.
  • Law enforcement forces are the National Police in urban area and the Gendarmerie in rural area, though for limited issues such as parking and traffic offenses some towns and villages also have a municipal police.
  • France is a very low-crime area, and is one of the safest countries in the world
  • In large cities violent crime against tourists or strangers is very rare, but there are incidents of pick pocketing and purse-snatching.
  • Also in large cities, parts of the suburban are sometimes grounds for youth gang violent activities and drug dealing; however these are almost always far from touristic points and you should have no reason to visit them.
  • The inner city areas and a few select suburbs are usually safe at all hours.
  • It is recommended that foreigners carry some kind of official identity document.

 

Click here to see Canadian Government Travel Reports and Warnings on http://www.voyage.gc.ca/.  Travel Reports offer information on safety and security, local laws and customs, entry requirements, health conditions and other important travel issues.

Climate

Sarlat, Dordogne

  • The climate in France has a lot of variety, but temperate winters and mild summers on most of the territory, and especially in Paris.
  • There are mild winters and hot summers along the Mediterranean and in the southwest.
  • Mild winters, with lots of rain, and cool summers in the northwest.
  • Cool to cold winters and hot summers along the German border.
  • Cold winters with lots of the snow in the Mountainous regions.
  • During the second half of July and August most French take their five-week vacation to the coasts and mountains, and empty cities tend to shut down accordingly.
  • Nice and Perpignan are among the warmest cities, while Strasbourg and Rouen are among the coldest.

Places to See

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral

  • A Gothic, Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in Paris, France
  • Notre Dame de Paris is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in France and in Europe
  • The naturalism of its sculptures and stained glass are in contrast with earlier Romanesque architecture.
  • The first period of construction from 1163 into the 1240’s coincided with the musical experiments of the Notre Dame School.

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Millau Bridge

  • A cable-stayed road-bridge that spans the valley of the river Tarn near Millau in southern France.
  • Designed by the French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux and British architect Norman Foster
  • It is the tallest bridge in the world, with one mast’s summit at 343.0 metres (1,125 ft).
  • Construction cost was approximately €400 million.

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Mont Saint-Michel

  • A rocky tidal island and a commune in Normandy, France.
  • It is located approximately one kilometre off the country’s north coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches.
  • The population of the island is 41, as of 2006.
  • The island has been a strategic point holding fortifications since ancient times, and since the 8th century AD it became the seat of the Saint-Michel monastery, from which it draws the name.

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Corsica

  • Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • It is located west of Italy, southeast of the French mainland, and north of the island of Sardinia.
  • Corsica was formed as an island through volcanic explosions.
  • It is known as the most mountainous island in the Mediterranean.  It has 1000 kilometers of coastline, and over 200 beaches.

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Louvre Museum

  • One of the world’s largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument.
  • Nearly 35,000 objects from prehistory to the 19th century are exhibited over an area of 60,600 square metres (652,300 square feet).

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Eiffel Tower

  • An iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris.
  • Built in 1889, it has become both a global icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world.
  • The tower is the tallest building in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world
  • Named for its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, the tower was built as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair.
  • The tower stands 324 metres (1,063 ft) tall, about the same height as an 81-storey building.

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Cave of Lascaux

  • Located in southwestern France
  • Famous for its Paleolithic cave paintings.
  • The original caves are located near the village of Montignac, in the Dordogne département.
  • These paintings are estimated to be 17,300 years old.
  • They primarily consist of primitive images of large animals, most of which are known from fossil evidence to have lived in the area at the time.
  • In 1979, Lascaux was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites

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Lagoons of New Caledonia

  • The site comprises six marine clusters that represent the main diversity of coral reefs
  • One of the three most extensive reef systems in the world
  • These Lagoons are of exceptional natural beauty
  • They feature an exceptional diversity of coral and fish species and a continuum of habitats from mangroves to sea grasses with the world’s most diverse concentration of reef structures.

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Canal Du Midi

  • 360-km network of navigable waterways linking the Mediterranean and the Atlantic through 328 structures (locks, aqueducts, bridges, tunnels, etc.)
  • Built between 1667 and 1694, it paved the way for the Industrial Revolution.
  • The care that its creator, Pierre-Paul Riquet, took in the design and the way it blends with its surroundings turned a technical achievement into a work of art.

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Pyrénées – Mont Perdu

  • Mountain landscape, which spans the contemporary national borders of France and Spain
  • Mont Perdu rises to 3,352 m.
  • The site has a total area of 30,639 ha
  • It includes two of Europe’s largest and deepest canyons on the Spanish side and three major cirque walls on the more abrupt northern slopes with France

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Etiquette

Communication Etiquette:
• The handshake is the most common form of greeting
– The French may greet friends or people they have known for long periods of time by kissing them on the cheeks
– First names are for friends and family only
• Arrive on time if invited to a French House
• Wait until told to begin eating
• Leave your wine glass nearly full if you do not want any more

Business Etiquette:
• They appreciate courtesy and formality
• To have successful business you need trust and respect
– This is earned over time
– Networking can help earn respect and trust from other people
• They often are very direct
• Appointments need to be made at least 2 weeks in advance
• Maintain direct eye contact while speaking
• Avoid being confrontational in negotiation
• Business dress is conservative
– Men – conservative dark colored suits
– Women – Either business suits or fine dresses
– French like fine accessories
• Business cards exchanged after initial introduction

Contributions (2)

  • [email protected] says...

    What is the norm for a gratuity in France restaurants?

    Posted on Wednesday, June 6th 2012 at 3:26 pm

  • krista says...

    In France the law demands that a service charge must be included in all prices displayed in bars and restaurants. As long as service has been good, you should generally leave a little extra by rounding up the bill. If you are in a bar, it would be appropriate to round the bill to the next euro and in a restaurant a little more, up to 10% if you’re feeling generous.

    Posted on Friday, June 8th 2012 at 10:15 am

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