Home to 67 million people, France is the stunning country known for some of the most iconic art museums in the world, the Eiffel Tower, Palace of Versailles, the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and so much more. Paris, France's busiest city, has been in the inspiration for countless poems, stories, and backdrops for works of art and film. Overall, France is the heart of romance.

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Every single year, over 80 million tourists travel to France to be whisked away by the French language and see things that can only be found in Europe. However, many fall flat when it comes to French customs. From coming off ignorant to locals to being ill-prepared on your travels, check out these 10 tips before traveling to France in order to have a seamless trip.


North America is slowly getting the hang of it but Europe is very progressive when it comes to going green. From composting to ditching plastic to buying local — Europeans make it easy.

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Like many other European countries, France charges a fee for those who don't have a shopping bag of their own. It doesn't matter if you're grabbing a few waters from a nearby market or a scarf from a shop, France charges a small bag fee. To mesh with the country and to respect their rules, bring your own reusable bag to save money and do what the locals do.


Sundays are reserved for religion and family. Depending on the city you're in, you'll notice that some of the smaller, family-owned shops and restaurants are closed on Sundays and that's because the French understand life and work need balance.

Sundays should be spent with loved ones or going to church. Some cafes may be open and closer earlier, but a majority of shops shut down so the employees can have some personal time.


North Americans are known for rushing. We always have somewhere to go or someone to meet. When we sit down for lunch, we expect the food to be delivered in a reasonable amount of time and to have the waitress or waiter (literally) wait on our hand and foot at times. In France, the workers take care of you, too, but they don't breathe down your neck like some of the waiters in America or Canada.

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If you're traveling through France and are in a rush, once your waiter delivers your meal, apologize for the inconvenience and ask for the check when they have the chance. Knowing that food should be savored, workers in France don't bother those that are sitting down unless they look like they need something or are called over.


Now, some people may tell you not to tip the French while others may tell you to always tip the French. But what it really comes down to is where you are and what you're tipping for. Most bills will already have a service charge attached to the price, meaning tipping isn't necessary.

Tipping at a cafe isn't really necessary unless you spend over €20. Tourists can tip their cab drivers and those who help with their hotel luggage, however.


Let's be honest, we all want to go to France to see Paris. Seeing the city light up at night is a postcard many of us have in our dreams. However, there's way more to France than just Paris! Paris can also get super congested considering so many people visit, live, and work there every single day.

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You can head to the South of France to see Cannes, Nice, and Bordeaux — or you can head over to Nantes to see what the Western part of the country looks like!


Cash is still king in Europe, especially France. Bigger cities in France will have more English speakers and shops that allow credit or bank cards, but smaller, romantic cities throughout the country don't always have machines that take credit cards. This means that travelers should always have a couple of Euros on them in case they're in need of a snack, mode of transportation, or to make a phone call.

Plus, the shops that do allow credit or bank cards may ask for a €10 minimum on purchases, which can be annoying if you just want a loaf of bread and a coffee.


We've seen the French kiss on both sides of the face in more movies than we can count. That must be how they all greet one another, right? Wrong! Whether you kiss someone twice on the face depends on how well you know the person.

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If you're traveling for business or just meeting someone for the first time, a handshake is completely acceptable. However, if you've come comfortable with someone and see them around, a double kiss is totally normal. When in doubt, read their body language and follow suit.


The French love to have an extended lunch in the middle of their day. Between noon and 2 p.m. you can find many people sitting down for lunch, coffee, and dessert. And since lunch doesn't end until around 2 or 3 p.m., dinner also tends to be a bit later in the evening as well.

If you're planning on dining out and are making a reservation, notice that some restaurants may not even open until around  6 or 7 p.m. So be prepared to eat dinner around 8, and if you have kids, try to plan around this small bump in the road.


Renting a car in France can be a real pain in the butt for tourists. Sure, it may be nice to come and go whenever you please, but it's not easy getting around. For starters, depending on where you are, traffic in Franc can be miserable — not to mention you may not understand French road signs!

Furthering on that point, many roads in France have tolls to pay. If you're not ready for a toll or don't understand what to do, you may be thrown for a little pickle. If you do rent a car, just be aware and Google everything you need to know about French driving.


Remember how lunch is typically from around noon to 2 p.m.? Well, nap time is also around the same time. Many countries in Europe adapt a few hours in the middle of the day to eat lunch and nap before returning to work.

And while this may be slowly leaving certain cities, don't let this catch you off guard when traveling through France. If you were planning on going somewhere in the afternoon, research to see if they're even open. This includes banks!

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