France: La Vie en Rose Online
Whatever you deem necessary to an unforgettable French holiday, you can find on the Web. Book your flight and a place to stay, research a world-class restaurant or charming French city, and let the Web make your vacation dreams a reality. France has something to suit nearly any interest, so you can wine and dine, laze on a beach, hike and cycle across the quaint countryside, or shop your way through Paris. The choice is yours.
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France has implemented a homeland security system called "Vigipirate Renforce." Travelers needn't worry but should remain aware of heightened alerts, and take the proper pre-trip health and safety precautions. You can make things easier and more comfortable for yourself by learning a bit of French language, culture, and history before you arrive. Knowing the context behind what you see might be the difference between a memorable trip and an unfulfilling one.
- Don't be afraid to speak French when you arrive. Although many people in France (particularly in Paris) speak at least some English, it is best to approach with a "bonjour." You can learn basic French online, but there is no substitute for real-life practice.
- To prep for your trip, find out what's new in French cinema, art, and literature. You might feel compelled to check out an exhibit, purchase a book, or see a film which could lead to an unexpected vacation idea, and give you something to discuss with a Parisian over coffee.
- This blog entry reveals an interesting take on French vs. American culture, including a reference to Adam Gopnik's memoir, Paris to the Moon.
For information on French culture ...
The French Embassy
's cultural services section provides information about French art exhibit openings, reviews of new books and films, as well as listings of French radio stations and TV programs available online and in the United States.
is geared toward students, making it especially helpful for first-time visitors of any age. The Go Abroad France Travel Guide discusses a broad range of topics, like the "People and Culture" section with articles on French etiquette, tipping in France, and French culture shock.
magazine provides a cultural calendar of events, as well as features of new restaurants, galleries, and venues in France. The "Best Addresses" section touts favorite eateries and hotels of the moment, while "Features" provides insight into the subtleties of French culture.
gives an overview of musical history in France. Browse artists and listen to tunes to gain a better sense of France's musical tastes. Each artist has a bio with photo, play list, and link to albums.
To learn French ...
offers fun, free, and quick French language lessons led by a tutor, including video portions and a MP3 audio guide to slang. Gauge your level with an interactive quiz and then get started with the lessons recommended for you.
provides a list of language schools in France; learn the lingo and promptly use it in real-life situations.
is written by Phoenix native, mother of two, and author of Words in a French Life, Kristin Espinasse. After relocating to Provence with her French husband, she started this blog. Entries begin with a French word or phrase, followed by a short story demonstrating its usage.
For French government and history ...
The Embassy of France
n the United States presents a "France in Brief" section offering basic overviews of history, foreign policy, and local and national government, in addition to cultural statistics.
's helps if you are thirsting for in-depth historical knowledge. From Early Gaul through modern-day France, you'll find it here, with book recommendations.
For regulations, health advisories, and entry requirements ...
The U.S. Department of State
Web site helps you tie up the important loose ends regarding passports and visas (and what to do if you lose them). Travel tips and warnings, as well as embassy and consulate listings are provided here.
For students ...
The International Student Travel Confederation
brings you the International Student Identity Card (ISIC), the only internationally accepted student ID card. With it, you'll be eligible for discounts and benefits in 106 countries. On this site you can learn more about the card and find out how to get one.
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