Additional Information About Travel to France
At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your tour guide and driver a gratuity. Your WEST tour coordinator will collect the gratuity at any point during the tour (many travelers like to pay ahead of time to get it out of the way). Although it is not required, your driver and tour guides rely on these tips, and work hard to ensure you an unforgettable experience. We recommend tipping the equivalence of $3 USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6 USD/CAD to $9 USD/CAD per person per day for your tour guide. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalency of $2 USD/CAD per local guide, payable following the local tour. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
In order to enter France, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return to the United States. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the French consulate for your specific entry requirements.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry- on luggage.
Light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort when exploring
the sights is essential for your tour. A sun hat, sunglasses and a
sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers are recommended
for sightseeing. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any
eventuality—a lightweight sports jacket and emergency rainwear are
advised. If you plan to visit an especially elegant restaurant or
attend the opera or theater, you will probably feel more comfortable in
something more formal. Also, remember that it is preferable not to visit
churches or other religious sites with bare legs and
shoulders (shorts are usually not allowed and entrance may be denied on this basis). Women can carry a large scarf to wrap around their shoulders or waist if necessary.
The Euro is the currency you will be using on your tour. Better rates
of exchange are usually available in France, although it is worth
ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you
first arrive. We advise that you take a combination of bank/ATM cards,
credit cards and, if nothing else is available, traveler’s checks*, which can be exchanged for cash at
local banks, as needed. We strongly suggest informing your bank and credit card
company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international
purchases for fraudulent charges, and freeze your accounts.
*With the conversion to the Euro, it has been increasingly difficult to exchange traveler’s checks outside Europe’s major cities—both at banks and shops—and they often attract higher fees.
There are no major health risks when traveling to France. It is always advisable to check with your doctor or health-care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of traveling is the delightful variety of local cuisine. Throughout France, you’ll find endless opportunities to sample wonderful food at every price range. For the most casual snack or picnic, stop at a small grocery store or bakery for cheeses, patés, cured meats, fresh-baked bread and fruit. Sidewalk vendors are known for their steaming crepes, filled with cheese, ham, fruit or chocolate. Mouthwatering pastries and hot café au lait beckon from the cafés. On the restaurant scene, the prix fixe option is popular, offering a three- or four-course set menu for a good price. Nearly all restaurants post a menu outside. Browse around until something strikes your fancy.
Most round-trip flights arrive in and depart from Paris, then proceed to your final destination. After clearing
customs and collecting your luggage, our representative will provide you with your
mode of transfer to your hotel (details will be sent to you prior to
your departure). Included transportation on most tours is by private
motor coach, but while in cities, we will take advantage of France's the excellent
transportation system. For instance, Paris’ massive Métro is world class, easy to
navigate and efficient. Make sure to take time and look for the best
deal on travel passes to use during your free time. Ask your tour director which one might work best.
France operates on the European standard 220 volts.
France is one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and nine hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (PST). When it’s 9 am in California, it’s 6 p.m. in France.