What to expect when visiting France

28 June 2019

One of the most enriching places for a school trip or student visit, France is home to some of the world’s best galleries, museums and attractions – as well as a fantastic culture.

Those visiting for the first time might find getting used to the local way of life a little daunting at first, but with this handy guide, you should be on track to knowing what to expect and having a great time on your trip.

Transportation

When travelling around France, it can be different to what you’re used to in the UK. To make it a little easier, you should follow these tips:

  • Remember that France drive on the right-hand side of the road. This is more useful to know when crossing the road and knowing which way to look
  • When using the metro service, try to steer clear of travelling in a big group. Splitting into smaller groups before getting on the train will make travelling easier – but make sure everyone knows which stop to get off at
  • Bring your student card (if you have one!), as lots of attractions are free for those under 25

Food and accommodation

French cuisine and hotels are among the best in the world. Make sure to bear these things in mind when visiting, however:

  • Generally, hotel breakfasts are served continental style
  • Try and book restaurants ahead of time, as the best ones tend to get booked up very quickly
  • Remember to take your travel adaptor, as France uses the European plug types C and E
  • There aren’t any particular rules for tipping France, so think of it as more of a gesture and not an obligation

Safety

Staying safe while on holiday should be a number one priority for everyone. When visiting France, you should:

  • When disembarking a vehicle, beware that coach doors might open directly onto the road with traffic approaching. Take your time and stay aware of your surroundings

Parks and recreation

When heading out on day trip to Frances’ various parks, activities and attractions, make sure to think about:

  • When heading out on trips to attractions, you should arrive 5-10 minutes earlier than your allotted timeslot. This will give your group enough time to check in and get settled
  • If you are delayed en-route to your trip, make sure to phone ahead and let your tour guide know that you’re going to be late. You should be able to find the number to call on your itinerary
  • Look out for group entrance signs when visiting a museum
  • The main galleries and museums in Paris tend to be closed on either Monday or Tuesday. Your WST Tour Consultant will advise you of this but please be prepared for this if you are travelling at the beginning of the week.
  • For groups visiting Disneyland® Paris: the best time to head to the rides is during a parade, fireworks or during a big show
  • Be aware that small shops, pharmacies and some restaurants will stay closed on Sundays

General manners

For those unaccustomed to French ways of living, remember that:

  • It is considered polite to know the ‘four magic words’ in French (that’s please - s’il vous plait, thank you – merci beaucoup, excuse me - excusez-moi and sorry – pardon/désolé)
  • You should always greet and say goodbye to people providing you a service

When travelling around Paris

When travelling around Paris, to make it a little easier follow these tips.

  • The city is best explored on foot, so take an extra pair of shoes
  • Be aware of pickpockets in Paris, they operate in the typically tourist areas – particularly near the Eiffel Tower. Encourage your students to bring bags with zips and even to carry their bags on their front

Our team are specialists in creating bespoke school trips to France. If you’d like to find out more or enquire about booking your own school trip to France, or any of our other destinations, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.