France Guide

Know Before You Go...®

France is a country known for its rich culture, history, and diverse landscapes. From the bustling city of Paris to the charming villages in the countryside, there is something for everyone to discover in this beautiful country. Each region in France has its own unique charm and beauty, offering a variety of experiences for travelers. From the sunny beaches of the French Riviera to the rolling hills of Provence, and the picturesque vineyards of Bordeaux, France boasts an abundance of natural beauty and cultural treasures. So, whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or gastronomic delights, France has it all.

Why France?

  • France has the second largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world.
  • Did you know, France has more than 400 different types of cheese.
  • The French Riviera, located on the Mediterranean coast, has over 300 days of sunshine per year.
  • France is the most visited country in the world.
  • The highest mountain in France is Mont Blanc, which stands at 4,810 meters.


To the north, you’ll find untamed beauty - the bucolic fields of Normandy and sweeping beaches and ancient forests of Brittany. Enjoy a sprawling seafront villa on the wild windswept dunes of the mid-Atlantic coast at Poitou-Charentes, or a country mansion in the vine-striped hills of Cognac country. Continue down the coast to discover the old-world glamour of Aquitaine - the heart of French wine country, where every map of the Bordeaux region reads like a well-chosen wine list. Further south still, you’ll find the old-world elegance of the Basque coast peppered with Belle Époque beach resorts like Biarritz.

Inland, the ravishing hills of the Dordogne and Loire Valley paint a perfect picture of quintessentially French countryside. Once home to kings and noblemen, the landscapes here are dotted with elegant reminders of a bygone era, from medieval towns to fairytale chateaux - the essence of fine French living at its most opulent. Dividing the coasts, the snow-capped peaks of the Midi-Pyrénées soar in the south, while in the east the frosted Alps stretch skyward, giving way to the rolling hills of the Languedoc and the furrowed fields of fragrant lavender that so epitomise Provence.

On the Mediterranean coast, you’re at the fabulous heart of the French Riviera, perfectly poised to enjoy some of Europe’s chicest resorts. From the golden age glamour of Nice to the sparkling shores of St. Tropez and the heady hedonism of Cannes, these dazzling resorts have long been among the most popular in Europe, coveted by starlets, celebrities and jet-setters alike.  

France is a destination that never fails to seduce, with its artistic heritage, pretty villages and gastronomic gifts. From hillside towns lost in time, to the sparkling cities of the Cote D’Azur - France has something for all tastes. History lovers should opt for one of our luxury villas in the timeless hills of Provence, while those looking for a city escape can retreat to a luxury penthouse in Paris’s chicest locale. Those looking for something a little more extravagant should head to the fabulous French Riviera, where a sprawling villa in the hills of La Californie provides the perfect vantage point from which to explore the heady glamour of the coast.

Whether you’re looking for a sleek beach pad on the shores of St Tropez or an expansive hideaway in the hills of Provence, our luxury villas in France are hand-picked and vetted by our team of travel experts - creating a curated collection of only the very best villas in France. If you’re looking for the perfect luxury holiday in France, enquire with one of our team of France villa specialists today to discover our selection of hand-selected luxury villas in France.


France, a country known for its romantic language, exquisite cuisine, and elegant fashion, has a rich and fascinating history that spans over thousands of years. From the ancient Gauls to the modern-day Republic, France has seen numerous empires, revolutions, and cultural influences that have shaped its identity.

The earliest known inhabitants of France were the Gauls, a Celtic tribe that settled in the region around 1200 BCE. They were known for their fierce warrior culture and their resistance against the powerful Roman Empire. However, in 58 BCE, Julius Caesar conquered Gaul and incorporated it into the Roman Empire, bringing with him Roman customs, language, and architecture.

In the 5th century, the Western Roman Empire crumbled, and France was invaded by Germanic tribes, including the Franks, who gave the country its name. It was during this time that the legendary King Clovis united the Franks and established the Merovingian Dynasty. Over the next few centuries, the Franks would face invasions from the Vikings, Arabs, and Normans, but they managed to maintain their control over the region.

In the 10th century, the Capetian Dynasty took over the rulership of France and established Paris as the capital. This period also saw the emergence of feudalism, with powerful nobles ruling over their own territories and pledging allegiance to the king. However, by the 14th century, the Hundred Years’ War between France and England weakened the feudal system and paved the way for the consolidation of power by the French monarchy.

The 16th century saw the beginning of the Renaissance in France, with the rise of humanism and the arts. The country became a center of culture, with artists like Leonardo da Vinci and writers like Michel de Montaigne flourishing under the patronage of the French monarchy. However, the 17th century brought about political turmoil with the rise of absolutism under King Louis XIV, which led to the French Revolution in 1789.

The French Revolution was a turning point in French history, as it overthrew the monarchy and established a republic. The revolution also brought about significant changes in society, including the abolition of feudalism and the introduction of civil liberties. However, the revolution was followed by a period of political instability and wars, including the Napoleonic Wars, which saw France rise as a powerful empire.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, France saw significant economic growth, industrialization, and colonial expansion. It also played a significant role in both World Wars and emerged as a global superpower. In the aftermath of World War II, France became one of the founding members of the European Union, solidifying its position as a major player in international affairs.

Today, France continues to be a cultural and economic powerhouse, with a rich history that is evident in its architecture, art, and customs. From the Gauls to the modern republic, the country has overcome countless challenges and has emerged as a symbol of freedom, equality, and progress.

Transportation on France

Getting to France and getting around. Our transportation tips will help make your trip smoother. More good sand advice.

Entry Documents

  • Valid Passport: Ensure it’s valid for at least 3 months beyond departure.
  • Visa: Check French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for visa requirements based on nationality.
  • Proof of Accommodation: Have confirmation of hotel or lodging.
  • Proof of Funds: Be ready to show you can cover your stay (bank statements or sponsorship letter).
  • Return Ticket: Show onward travel plans.
  • Travel Insurance: Recommended for health coverage.
  • Arrival Form: Complete if required.
  • COVID-19 Documents: Check latest travel advisories and COVID-19 requirements from reliable sources.

Departure Tax

No specific departure tax in Europe for American citizens; European countries typically include departure taxes in airline ticket prices, applying to all passengers, to fund airport services. Best to check with airline or airport website for any updates.


  • Non-EU/EEA tourists may need an International Driving Permit (IDP).
  • Ensure all occupants, including passengers in the back seat, wear seat belts.
  • Children under 10 or less than 135 cm in height must use an appropriate child safety seat.
  • Adhere to speed limits: Urban areas: 50 km/h; Non-urban roads: 80-90 km/h; Dual carriageways (expressways): 110-130 km/h; Motorways (autoroutes): 130-130 km/h
  • Using a mobile phone while driving is prohibited unless you have a hands-free system.
  • Vehicles coming from the right have priority unless road signs indicate otherwise. Always be cautious at intersections.
  • Yield to vehicles already in the roundabout and give way to the right.
  • Many highways have tolls; pay attention to toll booths and consider electronic toll devices available with some rental cars.
  • Use headlights at all times, even during the day.
  • In case of an emergency, call 112 and familiarize yourself with emergency service numbers.

Local Transportation

France has a robust and efficient transportation system that makes it easy for travelers to get around the country. From high-speed trains to regional buses, there are plenty of options for getting from one city to another. The Paris Metro is a popular and convenient way to navigate the capital city, while rental cars are a good choice for exploring the countryside. Taxis and ride-sharing services are also readily available in major cities. Additionally, France has an extensive network of bike lanes, making cycling a popular and eco-friendly mode of transportation.

Know Before You Go...® - France Travel Tips

Before making their way to France , vacationers like to know a little bit of helpful information to make them feel more at home during their stay. Take a look at our travel tips to make your time in villas in France even more relaxing.

Capital: Paris
Population: 67.9 million (estimated)
Size: 211,208 square miles (estimated)
Electric Current: 220/240
Time: zone:+1 (GMT/UTC )
Official Language: English is widely spoken in tourist areas, but learning a few basic French phrases can be helpful, especially in rural areas.
  • France's official currency is the euro (€).
  • Cash is still a popular payment option in France, especially for small purchases like food from local markets or street vendors. ATMs are widely available and accept most major debit and credit cards, but it is important to inform your bank of your travel plans beforehand to avoid any issues with your cards.
  • Credit cards, especially Visa and Mastercard, are widely accepted in France, even for small purchases. It is worth noting that some establishments may have a minimum amount for credit card purchases.
  • Mobile payment options, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, are gaining popularity in France and are accepted at many restaurants, shops, and public transportation systems.
  • Traveler's checks are becoming less common in France, but they can still be used in some hotels and large department stores.
Tipping and Taxes:
  • In France, tipping is not expected or mandatory, but it is customary to leave a small amount of change or round up the bill as a gesture of appreciation for good service. This is typically around 5-10% of the total bill. However, in tourist areas, it is becoming more common to leave a larger tip.
  • Taxes in France are included in the price of goods and services, so there is no need to calculate or add taxes to the final bill. The value-added tax (VAT) is the main tax in France, and it varies depending on the type of product or service. The standard rate is 20%, but there are reduced rates of 5.5% and 10% for certain items such as food, books, and transportation.
  • In restaurants, the VAT is included in the menu prices, so there is no need to leave an additional tip to cover taxes. However, there is a small tax called "service compris" included in the bill, which covers the cost of the service. This is typically around 15%, but it is not a tip and does not go directly to the ser
Dress Code: The dress code in France is typically elegant and stylish with a touch of sophistication.
Topography: France's topography consists of diverse landscapes including mountains, hills, plateaus, and coastal regions, with the highest point being Mont Blanc and the lowest point being the Rhône River delta.
Telephone: France country code: +33 Area code: 1 (for Paris)

France Weddings and Honeymoons

Vacationers don’t just stay in France villas - they come to paradise to get married and celebrate their honeymoons!

See our favorite France villas for weddings.