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Coming to France : recommandations


The French language basics, formalities, Helpful recommandations 

HELPFUL RECOMMANDATIONS

TIPPING


Porters

Most of them have an official scale of charges, but it is usual to give about 5 FF extra, depending on the number of bags.
Taxi drivers
Tip about 10 % to 15 % of the amount marked  on the meter.
Hotel staff
5 to 10 FF for every item of baggage to the hotel porter who carries bags on arrival and departure.  You are not obliged to tip the concierge (hallporter), doorman, etc, if you have not used their services.  Leave about 10 FF per day for the chambermaid.
Restaurant waiters
Service is generally included in the bill. If not, leave an extra 10 to15 % of the total amount. If you have been served personally by the wine waiter, you  may give him about 10 FF.
Cafe waiters
Tip is generally included. If not, leave an extra 10 to 15 % of the total amount.
Cloakroom attendants
In theaters and restaurants, give at least 5 FF per item. To the toilet attendant : 2 FF.
Cinema movie and theater usherettes
Give 2 FF per person to the usherette who shows  you to your place in cinemas and theaters.
Hairdressers
Tip the hairdresser about 10 %. To women's hairdressers give 5 FF to the person who does your hair and to the  person giving a shampoo. Give 10 FF to the manicurist.
Guides
For group visits to museums and monuments, 5 FF per person is a reasonable tip.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS .
The major public holidays in France are:
January 1st, Easter, Easter Monday, Ascension Thursday, May 1st (Labor Day), May 8th (End of world war II), Whit Monday, July 14th (Bastille Day), August 15th, November 1st, November 11th and Christmas
On those days, banks, shops and almost everything else will be closed. Make sure you have enough money and a full tank of gas (petrol). During July/August all of France goes on vacation. So traffic  conditions may be congested on highways and the hotels often   fully booked out, except in Paris, which you may so have all to yourself

SCHOOL VACATIONS
In France, the school vacations vary from one Academy to another
according to a division of the French territory into three areas.
The teachers go back to school one or two days before their pupils.

Area A covers the Academies of:
Caen, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Lyon, Montpellier, Nancy/Metz,
Nantes, Rennes and Toulouse

Area B covers the Academies of:
Aix-en-Provence/Marseille, Amiens, Besancon, Dijon, Lille,
Limoges, Lyon, Nice, Orleans/Tours, Poitiers, Reims,
Rouen and Strasbourg.

Area C covers the Academies of:
Bordeaux, Creteil, Paris and Versailles

VOLTAGE
Most of France has switched to 220-230 volts AC,
although a few parts may still run on 110-115 volts. Current
alternates at 50 cycles, not the 60 in use in U.S.A. If you are
bringing shavers, travel irons, hair dryers or whatever, take
along a voltage transformer. Remember the outlet prongs are
shaped differently also.

PUBLIC TOILETS
There are public toilets at railway stations, bus stations, metro stations, in public buildings and in stores, cafes, restaurants. In smaller towns, there may be one toilet for both men and women. Charges are usually 5 FF or less. Soap and towels are extra. If there is an attendant (or her saucer) on duty, tip 2 FF.

LOST PROPERTY
If property is lost in a subway or bus, go immediately to the terminal point of one or the other, and you may find it there. Otherwise, 48 hours later, call: the Lost and Found Office  Prefecture de Police
Bureau des Objets Trouves, 36 rue des Morillons, 75015 Paris
Tel.: (1) 45.31. 14.80 Metro: Convention.
Open daily, except Saturdays, Sundays and vacations, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.
Tuesdays and Thursdays till 8:00 pm. Anything lost will be retumed  to this office. It is wise to report to the district Commissariat de Police  if you know exactly where you lost the item in question.  If found you will be required to pay 4 % of the item's value for the service.  Lost property is held for one year and one day.

IF YOU BECOME ILL
If you are taken ill and need medicine, remember a  drugstore (chemist) is called a "pharmacie". Night time and on Sundays, the Commissariat de Police of the districtwhere you reside will inform you of the nearest drugstore (chemist) open and the address of the nearest doctor on duty. If you need to be taken to a hospital, the doctor will call an ambulance for you or you can apply to the:
Ambulances "Assistance Publique"  28, rue de I'Entrepot, 94220 Charenton
Tel: (1) 43.78.26.26 - Fax.: (1) 45.13.65.82

American Hospital
63, boulevard Victor-Hugo, 92202 Neuilly
Tel.: (1) 46.41.25.25 - Fax.: (1) 46.24.49.38 - Telex: 613.344

British Hospital Hortford
3, rue Barbes, 92300 Levallois -
Tel.: (1) 47.58.13.12 - Fax.: (1) 47.58.02.34

Medicine by air from home
Ministere des Affaires Sociales
Service Central de la Pharmacie, 14, avenue Duquesne, 75007 Paris
Tel.: (1) 40.56.53.80 - (1) 40.56.60.00 - Fax.: (1) 40.56.53.55
Open: daily except Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30 am to 12 noon  and 2:00 pm to 5:30 pm. It is forbidden to import narcotics into France unless you obtain beforehand a special authorization from the French narcotic office at the address mentioned above.

WHERE TO GO, WHAT TO DO, WHAT'S ON
Read fhe International Herald tribune and the Daily Mail,  as well as Une Semaine de Paris/Pariscope, L'Officiel des Spectacles, Paris-Passion magazine (monthly, in English), etc.  You can also find lists of events in most of the French daily newspapers.

PROLONGING YOUR STAY
If you stay in France over three months or beyond the validity  of your visa, you must get a residence permit from the: Prefecture de Police, Service des Etrangers 7, boulevard du Palais, 75004 Paris.  Tel.: (1) 42.77.11.00 Ext.: 51-72, 51-77 and 51-66 - Fax.: (1) 45.48.52.65  Open daily except Saturdays, Sundays and vacations, from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES

Units of capacity
1 litre = 1.7 pint = 0.88 quart
10 litres = 2.20 imperial gallons = 2.64 US gallons
1 pint = 0.56 litre
1 quart = 1.136 litre = 2 pints
1 imperial gallon = 4. 54 litres = 8 pints
1 US gallon = 3.73 litres = 0.63 imperial gallons

Units of weight
1 gramme = 0.035 oz
1 kilogramme = 2. 20 Ibs
1 oz. = 28.35 grammes
1 metric ton (tonne) = 0. 98 tons
1 lb = 0.45 kilogrammes
1 short ton = 907 kilogrammes
1 long ton = 1.016 kilogramme

TELEPHONE
* To call France from abroad: first dial 33
* To call abroad from France: first dial 19, then the country's code and then your number.
* To call Paris from a region of France: dial 16 and then 1, followed by your 8 figure number, * T call a region from Paris: dial 16 followed  by your number of 8 figures.
* don't forget the new "France Direct" telephone service in your language in a number of foreign countries.

Remember the time change when you phone home:
U.S.A. : 6 to 9 hours behind in winter.
Australia : 10 hours ahead,
Canada: 5 to 7 hours difference with Ontario and Quebec,
South Africa : 1 hour ahead.
U.K.: 1 hour ahead.

Some rates U.S.A.:
28.08 FF (3 minutes),
Canada : 28.08 FF (3 minutes)
South Africa : 57.27 FF (3 minutes),
Australia: 57.27 FF (3 minutes)
G.B. : 4.50 FF (the minute)
Reduced rates from Monday to Saturday between
8:00 pm and 2:00 am, 7,17 FF for one minute;
from 2:00 am to 12:00 am; 5,71 FF for one minute;
during Sundays and French public holidays: 0,73 FF for 6
seconds.
Reduced rates between 9:30 pm and 8:00 am: 3,04 FF for one minute.
These rates are also valid on Saturdays (after 2:00 pm), on Sundays
and during French public holidays.

"Telecarte"
The majority of telephone booths, both in Paris and the regions (a total of
168,000 booths), are equipped with the "Telecarte" system. Instead of coins, you have to use telecartes, which can be bought, among other places, at Post Offices and in tobacconists (40 FF and 96 FF). The telecartes have a specific number of bits which are used up when you make calls.You just throw the used card away (unless you make a collection)  and buy another. When you insert your card into the phone slot, the remaining amount of credit is displayed. You can see this amount decreasing as you use the phone. When you hang up, don't forget to retrieve your card.

Telephone booths
You can be called at many telephone booths. Good idea when you are
short of cash.

TO CABLE HOME
There is only one kind of cable: direct.
minimum 15 words
U.S.A. (New York) 74.75 FF
U.S.A. (Other states) 74.75 FF
U.S.A. (Alaska & Hawaii) 81.00 FF
Canada 74.75 FF
U.K. 74.75 FF
Australia 81.00 FF
South Africa 74.75 FF

MAIL
General Postal Information (www.laposte.fr)
Service des Renseignements Postaux
Open: daily except Sundays and vacations, from 8:00 am to 8: 00 pm
Tel.: (1) 42.80.67.89

Main Post Office
52, rue du Louvre, 75001 Paris Open 24 hours,
everyday. It is the only one in France with these facilities.
Post Offices in Paris are open from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm
(Saturdays from 8:00 am to 12 noon)

Stamps
They may be bought at a post office, at a tobacconist's
or at some hotels.

General Postal Rates
Air Mail Letters as of August 1992
up to 10 rammes to:
U.S.A. 3.70 FF
Canada 3.70 FF
Australia 4. 10 FF
South Africa 3.90 FF

Within Europe:
EEC countries, Austria, Switzerland: 2.50 FF up o 20 grammes,
Non EEC: 3.40 FF up to 20 grammes.

THE MINITEL
The minitel is the least cumbersome and most attractively  priced communic ating videoterminal on the market. Thanks to it,  customers, distributors and sales representatives, among others,  can place orders or receive messages at any time. The minitel is also a good way of being informed and keeping others informed. In 1992 the number of minitels installed in France was already in excess of 6 million units. The network is accessed by several phone numbers corresponding to different levels of billing. When outside of France, dial :
(33) 36.43.13.13 for Teletel 1
(33) 36.43.l4.l4 for Teletel 2
(33) 36.43.15.15 for Teletel 3
(33) 36.43.16.16 for Teletel 4, etc.
When in France, dial: 36.13, 36.14, 36.15, 36.16, etc. International minitel number from France now is : 36.19.  Banks, insurance companies, daily newspapers, etc,
have installed news services in either Teletel. The tourist sector  is now also very much involved in the minitel system.  Just ask your partner his code of access.
The Editions TGA Telematique Publishers
293, boulevard Saint-Denis, 92400 Courbevoie.
Tel.: (1) 47.68.92.00 - Fax.: (1) 47.89.30. 14 - Telex: 610.056)
is issuing a booklet called "Le Repertoire Teletel" which gives  an extensive list of the many minitel services related with tourism. In total there are more than 500 minitel services.

SMOKERS, NON-SMOKERS
By law, as of November 1, 1992, all areas open to the public  have been declaied as non-smoking ones. As a consequence,  among others, restaurants should organise separate zones  for smokers and non-smokers. Fines are heavy for both smokers and owners/managers of the place in case of a conflict.


The French language basics, formalities, Helpful recommandations

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